13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival: Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest”

Hip hop, music genre developed in the 1970s by inner-city African Americans from the Bronx, New York city, consists of conscious lyrics which often bluntly address social, political, or economic issues. The nature of hip hop is explicit, authentic, and genuine, and now after decades of diffusion and cultural spreading, the art form perseveres to survive even in areas where censorship and limitation of expression run deep. On April 6th 2018, during the Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” at the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival, Howard University’s Dr. Msia Kibona Clark moderated a group of hip hop artists from all over the world who discussed the condition of media censorship of hip hop in the realm of social change and political discourse.

Dana Burton, a hip hop pioneer and influencer in China asserts that the supposed ban on hip hop in China was simply “fake news.” Burton went on to explain the reaches of Chinese censorship, exemplifying the Chinese ban on the ‘Free Tibet movement.’ In summary, anything that violates national integrity remains off limits in China. For example, videos which include the Tibet flag are banned and individuals are forbidden from using the word ‘Tibet’ in public or media settings.

Another panelist, MC Puos is a hip hop journalist who cofounded china’s first hip hop magazine, Bang. He discussed his upbringing in Detroit and referenced his understanding of words, communication, and censorship, and the unspoken rule of limited self-expression as a youth. A person could lose their life by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person: a realization that showcased the strength of words.

Panelist Emile YX?, a journalist, author, playwright, b-boy, and member of Black Noise, (one of the first hip hop groups in South Africa) discussed the current censorship is South Africa. As a solution to the suppression of black voices in South African Media, YX? proposed that black people create their own markets and industries. His project, Heal the Hood focusses on dismantling the Eurocentric monopolization of the capitalist society by supporting our own businesses. Overall the event was an enlightening intellectual experience.

Trinity Hip Hop Festival 2018 Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” Recap

The 13th annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival was focused on censorship and activism when it comes to hip hop on a global scale. Aside from great performances and artwork from international acts, there were also discussions and panels catered to the overall theme of protest, free speech empowering the youth around the world. One panel in particular that was very engaging was the discussion on “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” which featured MC Puos and Dana Burton from China and Emile YX from South Africa on the panel that moderated by Dr. Msia Clark herself. Continue reading “Trinity Hip Hop Festival 2018 Panel Discussion: “Free Speech, Censorship and Protest” Recap”

A Fulfilling Festival

This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Trinity College’s International Hip Hop Festival. I visited the festival with a couple of classmates and my teacher, and it was an experience that I’ll never forget. Continue reading “A Fulfilling Festival”

Trinity International Hip Hop Festival

The Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College in Hartford, CT is the 6th to the 8th of April. The festival celebrates all FIVE of the hip hop elements, and brings together artists & hip hop heads from all over the world.  See their event info on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/556633418027033

HHAP Episode 12: Burkinabe Rap Dialogue

This is episode 12 of the podcast, and the fourth and last in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode features a conversation with Mathurin Soubéiga, who does booking and promotion at Shrine World Music Venue in New York. He is also the former Coordinator of the Waga Hip Hop Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Soubéiga also runs the Burkina Rap Connection blog

The Waga Hip Hop Festival has a history of being an epicenter of West African, especially Francophone, hip hop. The festival had a strong reputation for promoting serious hip hop. In this conversation we discuss hip hop and Burkina Faso and the legacy of the Waga Festival.

In Ouagadougou, where the festival began and was held, the hip hop community has produced some serious & conscious hip hop artists. Smockey, one of the activists in the Le Balai Citoyen (Citizen’s Broom) movement that helped to overthrow Burkina Faso’s previous president, is also a pioneer in Burkinabe rap.

The intro and outdo song is “Insoumission” by Burkina emcee Smockey: https://youtu.be/e89IvPAq8Zc 

In 2011, Nomadic Wax released a 17 minute documentary titled Hip Hop Burkinabé, and it can be found on YouTube

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf0OUz6LDEo%5D

In 2016, Aj Jazeera published an article on the involvement of the artists in the Le Balai Citoyen movement titled “The soundtrack to Burkina Faso’s revolution”

Text on hip hop in Burkina Faso include:

Marie-Soleil Frère and Pierre Englebert. “Briefing: Burkina Faso—the Fall of Blaise Compaoré” in African Affairs (2015).
Daniel Künzler and U Reuster-Jahn. “Mr. President”: musical open letters as political commentary in Africa” in Africa Today (2012).
Daniel Künzler. “Rapping Against the Lack of Change: Rap music in Mali and Burkina Faso” in the book Native Tongues: An African Hip-Hop Reader (2011) edited by P. Khalil. Saucier.

This is episode 12 of the podcast, and the fourth and last in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode features a conversation with Mathurin Soubéiga, Continue reading “HHAP Episode 12: Burkinabe Rap Dialogue”

HHAP Episode 10: Hip Hop and the State in Cuba

This is episode 10 of the podcast, and the first in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode was a panel titled “Independent and Political Hip Hop in Cuba” with Pedro Vidal of the Cuban Soul Foundation in Miami, Florida and hip hop artists David D Omni and Escuadron Patriota, who live in Cuba. The panel was an interesting discussion on hip hop and the state in Cuba.

This is a link to the video for the song Decadencia, played at the end of the episode. The video has English subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQPXTsTderI

David D Omni on Facebook and Twitter @domnibus

Escuadron Patriota has a Twitter account @s4dronpatriota, but he has not posted in awhile.

Here is a link to the Cuban Soul Foundation: http://cubansoulfoundation.org/

This is episode 10 of the podcast, and the second in a series of episodes recorded live at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. The festival took place the 6th to the 9th of April, 2017. This episode was a panel titled “Independent and Political Hip Hop in Cuba” with Pedro Vidal of the Cuban Soul Foundation in Miami, Florida and hip hop artists David D Omni and Escuadron Patriota, who live in Cuba. The panel was an interesting discussion on hip hop and the state in Cuba.

Continue reading “HHAP Episode 10: Hip Hop and the State in Cuba”