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One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide
March 25 to April 14, 2014

The Kennedy Center, in collaboration with Hi-ARTS, producers of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, presents One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide, a festival celebrating this uniquely American art form. The festival highlights MCing, DJing, b-boying, and graffiti writing, the original four elements of hip-hop culture, alongside contemporary interdisciplinary work born of hip-hop aesthetics. Ticketed and free performances and exhibitions explore the breadth and depth of hip-hop today.

Read about the evolution of hip-hop and the One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide festival »
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Sights & Sounds

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The ReMINDers

Nomadic Wax presents this hip-hop duo featuring Brussels-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born emcee/vocalist Aja Black as a preview concert for the Center's upcoming One Mic: Hip Hop Culture Worldwide festival.

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Kokayi

This Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee, producer, and D.C. native offers a preview concert for the Center's upcoming One Mic: Hip Hop Culture Worldwide festival.

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Chachi Carvalho

As a preview to the Center's One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide festival, Nomadic Wax presents a hip-hop performance by this multi-talented artist and songwriter.

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Asheru

The D.C. hip-hop artist, known for writing and performing the opening theme song of the popular TV series, The Boondocks, showcases material from his upcoming release Sleepless in Soweto, a musical dedication to South Africa. This performance is a preview of the Center's spring festival One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide.

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Black Noise

South Africa's oldest Hip Hop Group, Black Noise celebrates their 25th Anniversary with the release of this new track called "Black is Back". The group will release a full album with various artist to celebrate their 25 years by the end of this year. Expect interesting local and international collaborations.

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Official 2013 Cipher, Part 2: Trinity College International Hip Hop Festival

At the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, we are lucky enough to gather top MCs from around the world. At the 8th annual, 2013 edition of the festival, we captured groups of these MCs in our ciphers. This cipher features artists from Cuba, Haiti, Senegal and USA.

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Horizontalidad / Krudas Cubensi

Horizontalidad is the latest offering from the Cubano hip-hop duo Krudas Cubensi. Together, Pasa Kruda and Pelusa MC express socially conscious lyrics with revolutionary feminist politics. The group made a name for themselves in the slums of Havana, Cuba before ultimately relocating to Austin, Texas, where they've been collaborating with various Latino hip-hop artists in communities across the US.

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Keur Gui Kokayi Recording Session

Keur-Gui is a Senegalese hip-hop crew consisting of Kilifeu (a.k.a. Kalachnikov) and Thiaat (a.k.a. Mass 36). Their first album was heavily censored by the Senegalese government, but they couldn't stop the duo's exposure of incompetent government officials and political corruption rife within Senegal.

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MV_(Dynamic Duo)_BAAAM feat. Muzie of UV

Dynamic Duo is a Korean Hip Hop duo, made up of members Choiza and Gaeko. Dynamic Duo's style can be described as an audience-friendly sound with a brighter hip hop ambiance. The group debuted their first album Taxi Driver, which was released in 2004. It rocketed to become the bestselling Korean hip hop album of the year. Their second album, Double Dynamite - Operating Manual won them their first "Best Hiphop Album" in the Korean Popular Music Awards in 2005.

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NATIVE SUN - LIGHTNESS OF HAPPINESS

Hip Hop Afro Beat group Native Sun collaborate with one of the UK's Biggest Hip-Hop Music directors Globalfaction for yet another exciting video.

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The Narcicyst featuring Meryem Saci

Meryem Saci is a singer/songwriter/MC from Algeria. At the age of 13, Meryem and her single mother were forced to flee the country due to its civil war. After several weeks of moving underground, her and her mother finally immigrated to Montreal, Canada as political refugees. While struggling to adjust to a new country, culture and language, Meryem found release in music and hip hop. In the year 2005, she joined multi-cultural super group Nomadic Massive.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 1 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 1 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 2 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 2 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 3 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 3 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 4 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 4 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 5 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 5 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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Planet Hip Hop: Episode 6 hosted by Dumi Right

Planet Hip Hop: Episode 6 from Nomadic Wax on Vimeo.

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The State of the U: The Effects of Gentrification on DC Hip-Hop

In the late 1990's to early 2000's the famed U Street, NW corridor was bustling with artistry of all kinds. There were venues like Mango's Cafe, Bohemian Caverns, State of the Union and Bar Nun which served as community spaces for artists and thinkers alike. Today U Street, NW resembles many of the gentrified areas of DC and the once progressive and Black arts movements have been slowly pushed out over the years, save for one or two venues. This panel will discuss the trickle down effects of gentrification on DC hip hop specifically and the independent artist movement in general. What happens to culture when it is priced out? How do artists regroup when their meeting and performing spaces are taken or lost? What is the cultural price of gentrification? This panel was curated and produced by Risikat "Kat" Okedeyi for LiL SoSo Productions (www.lilsoso.com).

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An Evening of Conversation with Nas and Michael Eric Dyson, moderated by James Braxton Peterson

This discussion with hip-hop star Nas and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson reflects on Nas's career, the impact of Illmatic, and the state of hip-hop.

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Faith, Hip-Hop, and the Common Good, hosted by Russell Simmons and featuring Talib Kweli

This concert, presented in cooperation with Georgetown University as part of their Faith, Culture, and the Common Good initiative, is hosted by Russell Simmons and features artists of diverse faiths—MCs Talib Kweli, Jin, Poetic Pilgrimage, AmKoullel, and Mandeep Sethi and DJ Boo—in a performance showcasing interreligious diversity and tolerance through the hip-hop lens. Please join us for a short post-show discussion immediately following the performance. Free tickets will be distributed two (2) per person in line on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in the Hall of States, beginning at 5 p.m.

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In the Producer's Studio with the Low Budget Crew / Just Beats Listening Lounge

For over ten years the Low Budget Crew (which consists of a total of fifteen members) has represented DMV hip hop, collectively and individually. With production from members like Kaimbr, SlimKat and yU and DJ Roddy Rod, the crew known for capturing that "PG County sound", has become a household name in several independent hip hop scenes around the world. During this special event, members of Low Budget will discuss their various paths and offer up a live demonstration of their production process. Just Beats immediately to follow. Separate ticket required. This panel was curated and produced by Risikat "Kat" Okedeyi for LiL SoSo Productions (www.lilsoso.com).

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Pass the Mic

Join Busboys and Poets as they celebrate the poetic legacy of hip-hop with a special event with DC hip-hop artist and educator Asheru, showcasing the connection between hip-hop MCs and American poets. This event is NOT at the Kennedy Center.

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Who is the I?: Shifting the Hip-Hop Framework on Sexuality and Identity

Long known for its heterosexual overtones, Hip Hop in the 21st century is being challenged to come into a more realistic understanding of shifting sexual norms specifically, as it relates to heteronormativity, sexual identity, race and gender roles in Hip Hop. How does the fan’s proximity to black masculinity enable or restrict her or his access to Hip Hop culture? The conversation will explore the monuments and myths at the intersection of sex, race, and gender performance in Hip Hop and discuss the hegemony, the alienation, and the fierce forms of expression that are emerging out of this space. This panel was curated and produced by Risikat "Kat" Okedeyi for LiL SoSo Productions (www.lilsoso.com).

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Performances

About

ABOUT ONE MIC

One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide is an opportunity to explore the breadth and depth of the uniquely American art form, positive cultural movement, and global phenomenon that is hip-hop. Although hip-hop culture officially celebrated its 40th anniversary recently, it came of age when technology fused with globalization. The young practitioners of New York City, many barely out of high school, became internationally recognized and revered artists.

Hip-hop was immediately global from the very composition of its earliest participants, African Americans who migrated north to New York City, Caribbean immigrant youth who arrived to New York with their families, and white urban youth, all contributed to the different forms of expression that would collectively come to be known as hip-hop.

Clyde Valentin
Director of the Arts & Urbanism Initiative,
SMU Meadows School of the Arts
Formerly Executive Director of Hip-Hop Theater Festival
Kamilah Forbes
Producing Artistic Director for Hi-ARTS

I am proud the Kennedy Center, the national cultural center, is examining and celebrating this unique culture that has united people from across the world and has helped shape the discourse of popular culture itself. Our effort is modest and, admittedly, there is more work to do beyond our three weeks. It is important to acknowledge as humbly as we can the countless individuals and organizations that are archiving, documenting, teaching, and celebrating hip-hop as a contemporary form of culture that now spans multiple generations.

Through One Mic, the Kennedy Center hopes to contribute and move the needle toward a more progressive, sustained approach to hip-hop in all of its expressions. As Nas reminds us, all we need is ONE MIC and sometimes, no mic at all.

Garth Ross
Vice President of Community Engagement
The Kennedy Center

About Hi-ARTS

Founded as the Hip-Hop Theater Festival in 2000, the Hi-ARTS mission is to support hip-hop as a vibrant urban art and culture movement. Hi-ARTS invigorates the arts and culture field by nurturing the creation of innovative work within the hip-hop aesthetic; presenting and touring artists whose work addresses the socio-political issues relevant to the hip-hop generation; and serving young, urban communities through outreach and education.

The vision for Hi-ARTS extends to creating a lasting, positive impact on urban and under-privileged communities through the powerful contemporary voice of hip-hop culture and by developing a physical space in New York City that manifests the organization's mission beyond its flagship project, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival.

After thirteen years of nurturing an aesthetic climate and carving out space for a generation of diverse artists that reflect the future of America, the transition of the Festival into a full-fledged institution is at hand. As Hi-ARTS prepares for the next decade, it will transform into an international arts and culture center dedicated to the development, exploration, education and production of hip-hop theater, dance, music, and visual art.

About Nomadic Wax

Nomadic Wax is a U.S. based social enterprise that produces music, film, and educational events aimed at increasing awareness of global issues and creating cross-cultural exchange by blending media and entertainment with non-formal education curriculum and programs.

For the One Mic festival, Nomadic Wax tapped into its extensive network of global hip-hop artists to curate six nights of concerts from artists representing South Africa, Senegal, Cuba, Korea, UK, Mozambique, Canada, and Iraq. In addition to outstanding live performances, audiences will be treated to a simultaneous multimedia presentation which will display a combination of live subtitled texts, video, and still images from each of the countries represented.

Lastly, each of the performances will open with a screening of Planet Hip-Hop; an original youth-focused global hip-hop music video program that will feature 39 music videos from the hip-hop diaspora and will be hosted by DC-based Zimbabwean rapper Dumi Right.

About the One Mic Creative Ecosystem

The One Mic Creative Ecosystem is a group of active members of the D.C. creative community working together to ensure that local hip-hop culture is faithfully reflected in the global One Mic festival. It is a forum for local artists, leaders of arts organizations, social activists, youth, and community leaders to come together and align festival programming with the work of those local artists who are already serving their communities through hip-hop culture. The Creative Ecosystem includes representatives from local organizations such as Words Beats & Life, Lil Soso Productions, Buoyant Sound, FRESHH, Hedrush, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, Split This Rock, and Busboys and Poets, among others.

Sponsors