CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Culture and representation are at the forefront during the first-ever Hip-Hop South Festival in Chapel Hill.
The festival is part of the Southern Futures Initiative from the Carolina Performing Arts. The festival is taking a deeper dive into racial equity, social justice, and the southern culture, all through an artistic lens.
“Thinking about the stories that need to be captured that haven’t been documented or are being created, crafted, and told right now. Especially when you [are] talking about Black and brown youth…hip-hop has been a way for those folks to kind of talk about their southern experience,” said festival co-curator Chris Massenburg.
Massenburg was also a Nasir Jones hip-hop fellow at Harvard University.
The festival runs Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or later). It’s taking place across various venues in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Stages will host big names like rapper Big Boi and North Carolina native rapper Rapsody. Local artists will also get the opportunity to perform too, giving smaller names a big stage and more exposure.
There will also be a “B-Boy Jam Show” beat battle and an ode to sneaker culture. There will also be plenty of art. Organizers are hoping to revive the hip-hop scene in Chapel Hill.
“We’ve lost some venues, we hope new venues will emerge and there hopefully will be new possibilities for being able to create space within the town for some of the new artists that are coming up,” said Massenburg.
Massenburg says Chapel Hill has a rich history in hip-hop.
“Microphone Mondays used to happen at Local 506 and folks all the way from the coast to the mountains all the way down to South Carolina used to come to Chapel Hill to participate in that event. There was a syndicated hip-hop show that was connected to UNC called “Hip-Hop Nation,” said Massenburg.
The festival is also giving people across the state, and the south in general, a stage to be artistic and express their experiences.
“It’s about relevance. These are the most relevant voices coming up in N.C. throughout the south and we want to make sure there’s a platform and resources to support ongoing creativity there because the south has something to say,” said Alison Friedman, The James and Susan Moeser Executive and Artistic Director with Carolina Performing Arts.
You can get tickets here.