The DC Hip Hop Theater Festival turns 15 this year and with a new year around the sun comes a new approach to the way the festival is done. This year, the festival has not one, but two curators who will be responsible for making things “pop” from July 6th-July 12th. Goldie Patrick and Baye Harrell are the team behind the upcoming week designed to celebrate hip hop culture, so we sat down with them to get a sense of what to expect. In this Take 5, we hear from Goldie . Make sure to follow the action on Twitter @HHTF and make sure to RSVP for the kick-off party scheduled for Monday, July 6th, 7PM.
LSP: Why did you want to curate the 2015 DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival?
Goldie Patrick: I wanted to curate the festival with Baye because I felt like we both represent how the Hip Hop Theater festival in DC has impacted artists. We have both written plays produced in the festival and have either programmed, managed or performed in the festival for years. Years ago, we would sit in the company of our peers and talk about developing strategy to empower the community through Hip Hop, we were young then. As adults with a host of experiences, we have an opportunity to manifest the ideas of community empowerment through Hip Hop. Today, we are artists pursuing careers in Hip-Hop Theater, and you can’t ignore the impact of the festival in our lives and careers. My introduction to Hip-Hop Theater was through the festival 15 years ago. Curating this festival was a chance to give back to the institution and community that has had a huge influence on the artist I am today. Baye is an incredible artist and a comrade of mine and has been for years, but I wanted to curate with him because I recognize he has a wealth of history and knowledge when it comes to DC; which has made the curation process quite magical.
LSP: What does hip hop theater entail? Is it different from theater in general?
GP: Hip Hop Theater is work produced of Hip Hop and usually in the aesthetic, language, and tradition of Hip Hop culture. Yes, it’s different from general theater largely in that it is not restricted to building, form, or codification the way theatre in general is.
LSP: How is this year’s festival going to be different from previous years?
GP: This year we focused on shifting the focus of the festival to local artists of DC. The festival in the past has done a tremendous job of bringing exceptional performers and productions from throughout the nation and the world to DC. That exposure to the international and national ecology of work being produced in Hip Hop Theater has in many ways opened up opportunities for local artists to produce their work, expand their audience, and develop their craft. This festival kind of double backs and examines what is being produced in DC and who is producing the work in DC. We have a focus on emerging voices, performers, and producers as well honoring and celebrating the pioneers in DC that made a way for the art to exist and evolve.
LSP: What are you most excited about?
GP: I am most excited about the day after the festival. Ha! I think Spirituals by Dahlak Braithwaite and Sound of the Underground’s New Work series, are gonna be absolutely incredible. I also know that Anu Yadav’s Capers…10 years revisited is going to be extremely poignant because it addresses displacement in a way that is so real right now, for so many. ‘Capers is a great example of the tone of the festival, we aren’t just gonna produce the show, we’re setting up resources that aide in the conversation and the resolution to the conflict the play addresses. We’re inviting a variety of people to come in and talk and build about the future of DC, and also doing the same at the Youth summit. At the Youth summit, the youth are literally planning their future in Hip Hop but also planning the future of Hip Hop in DC with a keynote given by Timothy Jones. I say I’m most excited about the day after because I am interested in how the dust settles, how the conversations continue, how bridges are built between communities and resources. The festival is essentially an opportunity for us to use our art to transform and resource our community, how the community is impacted after the festival is the testament of success for me.
LSP: Since the theme is Diggin’ DC, who are your favorite DC-based hip hop artists, in any order.
GP: That’s a hard one! I love Old School go-go and love a lot of artists in DC for various reasons. But you know you never want to forget anyone. I will say, DC is the place where my love and appreciation for djing really blossomed. I became a fan being in DC because I witnessed so much diverse genius. I am a huge fan of DJ RBI, DJ 2-Tone Jones, DJ Stylus, Jahsonic, DJ Saucee and Nick da 1 da just to name a few. I will say, I am also a big ole fan of Hueman Prohpets, and constantly ask Baye about the next album; their last work was so prophetic especially about where DC is today.