CHARLIE McMAHON ’18
This weekend, Trinity hosted to the 12th Annual International Hip-Hop Festival. Trinity hosts a plethora of cultural events throughout the year, but the hip hop festival is unique in that it draws a wide variety of people from the surrounding community. Walking around the Washington Room on Saturday evening, students watched Hip-Hop performers and danced along with guests of all ages from all around the country. This interaction with the Hartford community connects back to the festival’s theme: “U.N.I.T.Y.: Unifying Gender, Race and Class Through Hip-Hop.”
The Hip Hop weekend began with the Annual Iron Poet poetry gathering at Cleo of AX on Vernon St. At this event, dozens of poets, writers and speakers met to watch and listen to multi-cultural and wide-ranging forms of poetry. This poetic element of the festival reinforces the importance of poetry in the long history of Hip Hop. The two are closely intertwined, and the poetry of this event was the perfect frame for the Hip Hop events that followed. In recent years, the college administration has made greater efforts to connect with the surrounding neighborhoods through educational programs, but one thing everyone can come together over is good, positive music. MC Lyte, this years headliner, was the first woman to perform hip-hop at the White House, and has been one of the most positive female forces in the hip-hop community, serving as the first African American female of the Recording Academy (the organization that supervises the Grammy Awards). While many incorrectly view hip-hop and rap as male dominated genres, MC Lyte has proven her haters wrong not only through her aforementioned accomplishments, but the powerful lyrics of her music.
MC Lyte’s performance was one of the most central performances of the Hip-Hop Festival. She was a well chosen headliner because of her fun, jubilant energy, and the impressive rhyming she was able to make look easy. Lyte was only one of the talented performers featured during the course of the weekend. Students also performed, along with dozens of other guest hip-hop artists and dancers.
One thing that makes the Hip Hop festival so enduring is how much it has evolved, and continues to evolve with each new year. The unparalleled level of energy was fun and electrifying for everyone in attendance
What was particularly special about the show-case was the number of children from the surrounding community who showed up in droves to listen and interact with the recording artists they respect. Seeing Trinity’s campus as a community space where hundreds of people can meet and enjoy music and discussion is a great argument for why the campus community should strive to make the energy of this unique weekend last all year.
The focus of the event may have been music, but a wide variety of art forms were represented. The “Youth 4 Change” showcase exhibited graffiti design submissions, on top of original poems and rap verses, in order to provide these children with a platform to express themselves.
While the twelfth installment of the “Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival” may have come and gone, next years will prove to be just as entertaining and integral to the campus community.
CHARLIE McMAHON ’18