Hip Hop Theatre Fest Review

The 9th Annual DC Hip Hop Theater Festival kicked off on July 6th , and I was pleased to catch the performance of Paige in Full, a visual mix-tape that blends poetry, dance and live music to tell a story about a multicultural girl growing up in Baltimore. The performance was handled solely by actress Paige Hernandez and disc jockey Nick the 1da. How did these two young people entertain an anxious crowd of over a hundred people? Well, let me tell you.

Paige in Full told us a story about Paige Hernandez growing up in Baltimore while being a mix of African American, Cuban and Chinese. Her mixed race heritage just added an extra claw to the “crabs in barrel” complex in the Baltimore area, which she briefly spoke on. (The “crabs in barrel” complex is how many in the population of Baltimore and its surrounding areas do not support each other and instead bring each other down by all means necessary.)

The performance opened with how Paige was created. She did an impersonation of how her parents met with the classic 1970’s soul music playing in the background and showed off all of the old school dance moves. This gave the audience time to try their hand, myself included, at singing with some of the classics being played by Nickthe1da. Hernandez demonstrated the whole process from the simple invitation for a dance, to the “boob grab” to her birth. This was definitely one of the highlights of the show from an acting standpoint.

The performance grew more interesting as Hernandez performed on a game show titled “What you Say When you’re Young, Dumb & in Love.” This was the comedic relief of the show as many of the lines were thoughts women have, such as “he can sleep with all the women he wants to as long as he comes home to me.” It was hitting close to home with some of these lines.

The realness continued throughout the show as she portrayed her experience dealing with an abusive boyfriend while she was a teenager.  With such lines as,“I am going to hurt you so nobody will want you,” spoken in her abusive boyfriend’s voice, you could hear many women in the crowd’s hearts drop just a little more.

All this being backed by soulful music and hip hop made it worth the time to see, and it ended with an appropriate standing ovation.


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