The Chicago Hip-Hop Theater Festival (CHHTF), “Sound Da Alarm,” is coming back to Clarendon Park, 4501 N. Clarendon, June 14-18.
The festival is a platform for community building and provides Chicago young adults a public space to tell their story publicly through performances that explore racism, sexuality, abuse, drug addiction, mass incarceration and much more.
In the above interview, these powerful leaders and alumni discuss the importance of the festival, what people can expect and the value of arts and culture.
This event is presented by Kuumba Lynx, an urban arts youth development organization that promote hip-hop as an artistic tool of expression. The students and alumni from the organization are the recipients of several prestigious arts honors, such as (but not limited to) Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival Champions, Lyric Opera Community Created Performances Winners and the 1/2 Pint Poetics Elementary School literary project.
“We developed this project in 2016 to provide a theater platform for Kuumba Lynx participants and affiliates who have aged out of youth programming to continue to work towards their artistic goals as they emerge into professional artists,” added Jaquanda Villegas, who is a co-founder of the youth organization.
The festival will feature eight ensembles, with a total of 21 presenters who are all Kuumba Lynx alumni, ages 18-26, who seek to share their truth with the Chicago community through artistic expression. Performances include music, movement, dance, spoken word, and poetry. The artists will address these topics through a critical lens, be it comedic or bittersweet.
“This festival is important because it allows us to create a safe space in which people, including myself, can share and explore the challenges that are associated with identity,” stated DW McCraven, one of the festival presenters. “It is important for both artists and the community to have an opportunity to collectively have real conversations concerning the stigmas existing within hip-hop and popular culture,” McCraven added.
“The Chicago Hip Hop Theater Festival is needed in our city because we need more opportunities for young adults over the age of 18 to make original theater work that connects to who they are and where they are from, “ said Jacinda Bullie, another co-founder of Kuumba Lynx.
Additionally, this year, instead of presenting under a big top tent, Kuumba Lynx is investing in the development of a sustainable and repurposed Mobile Black Box Theater & Recording Structure, which various community and business groups can utilize after the festival. The Englewood community will serve as the first host destination for the Mobile Black Box Theater (rendering of the structure available upon request).
The attendee experience includes witnessing the nation’s newest theater professionals while supporting youth artistic expression and development programs right in Chicago’s backyard.
The suggested donation for attendance is $10 for students and $25 for adults. For more information, visit KuumbaLynx.com.
About Kuumba Lynx
Kuumba Lynx (KL) is a Chicago-based urban arts youth organization. KL uses Hip Hop as a tool to provide youth with access and instruction to artistically express themselves through poetry, dance, painting, theater, multi-media, film, production, and performance. KL directly engages 1500 youth aged 8-25 annually through art-making programs. KL events and performances attract an annual audience of 10,000.