“The original goal was to provide a space at Trinity College for positive, healthy, and fun interaction between Trinity students and Hartford youth,” said Magee McIlvaine ’06, who, with Jason Azevedo ’08, created the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in 2006. The weekend-long festival on campus hosts music and dance performances, while promoting social justice and racial equity initiatives.

Trinity International Hip Hop Festival
Photos by Amanda Macchia.

Since its founding, the festival has continued to grow thanks to the dedication of Trinity students working behind the scenes. Each year, the Trinity chapter of the Temple of Hip Hop, collaborates with Nomadic Wax and World Hip Hop Market—two companies devoted to international hip hop and social change—to make the event a reality. The support of Khaiim “Self Suffice the RapOet” Kelly ’03, Jasmin Agosto ’10, and Taris “MachineGun Poptart” Clemons also is key, according to faculty adviser Seth Markle, associate professor of history and international studies. Past festivals have featured performances by Brother Ali, Talib Kweli, Rakim, K’Naan, and MC Lyte, among other artists from around the world.

Camryn Clarke ’17, a lead organizer for the 2017 event, noted that Hartford has a thriving hip-hop community, affording a learning experience for all involved. “We provide a space to engage with it [hip-hop],” she said. “The fest allowed me to become more connected with Hartford and has shown me the pedagogical importance of hip-hop.”

Watch a video on the origins of the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival below: