Hip-Hop Fest 2016 celebrates black tradition and music

The Community Board at Art Beat. India Hamilton // Pulsefeedz.

To celebrate the evolution of hip-hop as a form of expression for young African Americans, members of Hip-Hop Fest 2016 hosted a series of events last week April 4-8.

“Hip-hop is not just rap music. It’s a community that brings people together. Hip-hop encompasses other things like theater and dance,” said Whitney Geohagan, a sophomore theater major who attended Art Beat in Washington Quad Tuesday.

Art Beat was an event for students to create poster art using acrylic and spray paint. During the event, a DJ played a mix of contemporary and “old school” rap and hip-hop.

“This was meant to showcase the tagging pillar of hip-hop and to let people feel like they’re in that same creative space,” said sophomore Elijah Freeman, who worked as the talent coordinator on the executive board for Hip-Hop Fest 2016.

The Department of Resident Life, the University of Maryland Black Alumni, the Maryland Black Music Association, the Black Student Union and Do Better UMD sponsored the group’s events throughout the week, allowing them to purchase paint, poster board and dinner for participants at Art Beat.

“Hip-hop focuses on specifically on black people and for us, it’s not just the music; it’s the clothing, the thoughts, the language,” said Freeman.

“Hip-hop is important to me because it’s a tradition black people use to share stories and express themselves… It’s a beautiful thing,”said sophomore Matt Wheeler.

In addition to Art Beat, #HHFest members hosted a music industry panel, a musical showcase and a lip-synch battle as a way to revitalize the hip-hop culture on UMD’s campus.