Noname, Taylor Bennett Headlining Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival

Chicago natives Noname and Taylor Bennett will co-headline the three-day 13th Annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival in Hartford on April 7 at 8 p.m.

Noname (Fatimah Warner) appeared on “Lost,” a track from Chance the Rapper’s 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap,” before releasing her acclaimed debut album, 2016’s “Telefone.”

Bennett, who is Chance the Rapper’s younger brother, has self-released several albums, EPs, mixtapes and singles, including the 2017 release “Restoration Of An American Idol.”

“We decided to stray from what we’ve normally done, which is an older headliner,” says co-head organizer Paola Otero, a Trinity senior. In recent years, legacy artists Rakim, Talib Kweli, MC Lyte and DJ Kool Herc headlined the festival.

“People have been asking us: When are we going to address this change in hip-hop?” Otero says. “We wanted to go with a younger crowd, but we want to keep our integrity. For us, having these two conscious artists is huge.”

Noname, Otero says, is “somebody who’s a little bit different. She has an incredible way with wordplay. She’s a woman and she’s on the younger side.”

Bennett, a black male LGBT rapper, Otero adds, shows “a really positive side. In the larger context of hip hop, that’s remarkable.”

Opening acts include hip-hop artists and dancers from China, Canada, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cabo Verde.

But because of the current visa restrictions, organizers might not know who’s showing up until the last minute.

“A lot of the visas have been delayed,” Otero says. “That’s tying us up a little. Sometimes we don’t find out a week before the festival if we’re going to get a certain performer.”

The festival’s theme is “Censorship, Free Speech and Protest.” All events, which run April 6 to 8, are free and open to the public.

Other highlights include a Friday-night dance show and battle; various lectures, workshops, panel discussions and films; and a presentation on hip-hop history by Pete Nice (3rd Bass) and DJ Stretch Armstrong (Saturday at 11 a.m.), drawing on their extensive collection of nightlife flyers. Armstrong released a book in 2016 titled “No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999.”

The full schedule will be posted next week on the festival’s Facebook page.

In February 2017, a group of hip-hop artists and scholars from Hartford, including Trinity History and International Studies professor Seth Markle and performers Self Suffice, Tang Sauce and B-Boy Tiger, traveled to Russia for a weeklong program called “Under the Curtain: USA-Russia Hip-Hop Cultural Exchange.”

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