Hip-Hop Theater Festival
Under a category of grants typically reserved for traditional theater companies, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival is proud to announce its acceptance of $15,000 on behalf of the NY Council of Humanities to be used toward informing New Yorkers about the depth and breadth of Hip-Hop culture. With support from the New York Council for the Humanities, and in collaboration with Urban Word and NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, HHTF is launching Hip-Hop Humanities, a unique series of public conversations exploring the role and impact of Hip-Hop culture on society.
Hip-Hop Theater Festival kicks off with DEEZ NUTS, a workshop production in honor of the highly acclaimed underground rap duo the Beatnuts, written by long time music writer Sacha Jenkins, co-conceived with noted promoter Peter Oasis. Deez Nuts explores the rich musical legacy of the Beatnuts through the performance of their tunes by the maestros themselves; Deez Nuts also canvases the sights, smells and characters of their native Corona, Queens. A fellow Queens-ite turned journalist, on a fact-finding mission, returns to the old neighborhood in order to meet group members Psycho Les and JuJu. This journey not only nets cultural nuggets about the Latino duo and their surroundings, but crucial observations about self and the state that created hip hop.
Another anticipated event, The Black Book “Graffiti” Master Class taught by Stylemaster Enrique “Part One” Torres and Jacob Kimvall, is a free class that takes a deeper look at the art of graffiti through the black book tradition with specific techniques and a more profound knowledge of the visual art’s origin.
The Hip-Hop Theater Festival will also present B-Boys on Broadway, a free outdoor event held right in the middle of Times Square, celebrating the true elements of Hip-Hop. Hosted by D-Stroy with special guests Blitz the Ambassador and Ken Swift, this unique production will showcase b-boys and b-girls from all over the world, while DJ DP One supplies the beats as one of Hip-Hop’s hottest and most pure turntablists.
Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip Hop Creation Myth, a family friendly production enjoyed by anyone ages four and up, is a contemporary version of an African tale incorporating a modern take on traditional creation stories. Zomo the Rabbit must perform three tasks for “The Sky God” in order to receive ultimate power. Eventually, the story leads to the creation of Hip-Hop and a harmonious celebration of culture.
The Word Begins is another innovative piece, written and performed by lyrical geniuses Sekou Tha Misfit and Steve Connell. Nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards, the performance verbally illustrates the artists’ struggle with belief and morality in America today through the powerful medium of spoken word.
The festival will wrap with Angela’s Mixtape, a play by Eisa Davis using music and memory to tell the story of a radical upbringing on the dividing line between Oakland and Berkeley, California. Described by The New York Times as “a rhythmic collage of scenes, songs and reminiscences,” the music bounces from decade to decade bringing a variety of styles and intense theatrical momentum for a lively and dynamic show.
“Hip-Hop is not something you can you can buy at a record store. It is an evolving, pulsating movement best served live and direct alongside people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Clyde Valentin, event producer and executive director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. “This year we are about fusing the traditional Hip-Hop ‘family’ with elements of art, music, and dance. We really want to educate and enliven the community with Hip-Hop.”
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