Members of Trinity Community Travel to Russia for Hip-Hop Cultural Exchange Program

Russian Delegation Will Attend 12th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival in April

​Hartford, Connecticut, March 20, 2017 – This year will mark the 12th annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, an event that brings to campus hip-hop artists from around the world and seeks to educate members of the Trinity and Hartford communities about hip-hop culture. In preparation for the festival, which will take place from April 7 to 9 and will feature headliner MC Lyte, two members of the Trinity community involved in planning the festival recently visited Russia for a week-long program called “Under the Curtain: USA-Russia Hip-Hop Cultural Exchange,” sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Camryn Clarke ’17 and Associate Professor of History and International Studies Seth Markle in Moscow’s Red Square. ​
Camryn Clarke ’17 and Seth Markle, an associate professor of history and international studies who teaches a global hip-hop cultures class and serves as faculty advisor to the Hip-Hop Festival, spent a week in February visiting the cities of Moscow, Belgorod, and Togliatti. They were accompanied by four other delegates from the United States: Khaiim Kelly ’02, aka Self Suffice the Rapoet, a hip-hop emcee, author, educator, and consultant for Trinity Chapter of Temple of Hip-Hop/Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival; John Manselle-Young, aka Tang Sauce, a Hartford hip-hop artist and musician who served as the host of the 11th Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival in 2016; Tiger Luangpraseuth, aka B-Boy Tiger, a hip-hop artist and world renowned breakdancer and educator from East Hartford; and Greg Schick, executive director of World Hip-Hop Market and coordinator of Nomadic Wax.

During their visit, the six facilitated lectures about the festival at Trinity, held workshops on the arts of rhyming and breakdancing, and performed live at community centers. The delegates also went on tours of each city, visiting Red Square in Moscow, the WWII Memorial Museum in Belgorod, and Technical High School in Togliatti.

​The U.S. hip-hop cultural exchange delegation including Trinity College Associate Professor of History and International Studies Seth Markle and Camryn Clarke ’17  (above) held lectures, workshops, and performances in three Russian cities. Photos courtesy of Greg Schick.

The visit was organized in part by Russia-based non-governmental organizations Da Exit, Hip-Hop Union, 4 Quarters, and Federation of Breakdancers and by U.S.-based groups the Temple of Hip-Hop (Trinity chapter), World Hip-Hop Market (Atlanta), and Nomadic Wax (Washington, D.C.). The U.S.-based groups are co-partners of the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival.

The idea for the trip was sparked when Sergei Ivanov of Da Exit attended last year’s Hip-Hop Festival. While visiting, Ivanov also participated in a Common Hour panel on hip-hop education. Last summer, Ivanov submitted a proposal to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to bring U.S. hip-hop artists, educators, and organizers affiliated with the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival to Russia to share their knowledge of hip-hop and strengthen ties with hip-hop communities abroad. To complete the exchange, four Russian hip-hop delegates will be attending the 12th Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival this year.

“The Trinity Chapter of Temple of Hip-Hop has now been established as an organization that is truly invested in our international partners,” Clarke said. “The door of cultural exchange has been opened on our side now, allowing us to understand and see how hip-hop manifests in certain communities abroad and why. We have now shown that we are dedicated to hip-hop as a movement of exchange and exploration on both sides.”

Markle echoed that sentiment, adding, “What struck me about the trip was the response to educational possibilities of hip-hop. Many people were sincerely interested in the courses I teach about hip-hop at Trinity and hip-hop studies in general. They were surprised and envious that hip-hop-oriented courses are being offered at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Written by Molly Thoms ’17