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the 2008 Hip-Hop Theater Festival

VIDEO:Hip-Hop Theater Festival: Shorts I

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VIDEO:Hip-Hop Theater Festival: Waxploitation

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FOLLOWING THE HIP-HOP THEATER FESTIVAL: WAXPLOITATION
by William Philpot

If there were ever a time to celebrate hip hop and it’s impact on social cultures, it was this past Saturday night held at the Pacific Café Lounge on Pennsylvania Avenue.

With so much music, so much art and so many people, there wasn’t nearly enough time to take it all in. Put together as the closing piece to the Hip-Hop Theater Festival’s D.C. celebration, this event symbolized many things within and without the D.C. area; the consciousness of hip hop in D.C. life, the respect and pure admiration for classic hip-hop, and the lifestyles that hip-hop has engendered. As D.C. is many times pigeon-holed for its Go-Go culture, this event showed that hip-hop lives just like a vinyl record hanging on the wall—in fact many vinyl records on the wall, priceless yet on display for everyone to see.

Everything from the Leaders of the New School to The Roots to Guru to The Lost Boys to Blackstar, anything that is classic hip-hop…you had it. What a vibe! But the music wasn’t the centerpiece here; you had the variety of personalities coming together to show some real love for the passion of the hip-hop communities—big ups to Kris Jenkins, DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and everyone else. Yet again, it was all love! Donovon, of the Pacific Café Lounge, has proven that there is true majesty not only in having art but also in living art—as hip-hop is one of the greatest arts of them all. And Elz Cuya, Communications Director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, thanks for proving that great minds can cultivate great things.

Though I didn’t hear too many southern grooves and beats—perhaps because I was running my mouth chatting and socializing—I recognized the classic images of the tall buildings and kids chillin’ on the concrete, all of it laced with memories of thick-thighed “Bonita Applebums” and how “I Used To Love H.E.R.” all the time during ’94 summertime parties. The beats and rhymes would make you pause for a moment and be like “Mmmmm. Yeah. That’s what it was all about.” From one corner to another corner, images and paintings on the walls, candlelight reflecting the mahogany of the people, conversations of laughter, Spanish smiles and Asian styles, it was all right here—right here for hip-hop.

Hope you were there, ‘cuz if you missed it then it’s like you dissed it—maybe next time then. Peace.

VIDEO:Hip-Hop Theater Festival: Interview with Ali Shaheed Muhammad

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