Temple of Hip Hop Hosts Festival Headliner Release Party At The Mill

4 min read

Nick Cimillo ’26

Staff Writer

The Mill bumped to the beat of hip hop music spanning decades this past Saturday night, March 23, when Trinity’s chapter of the Temple of Hip Hop held a headliner release party for its upcoming annual Hip Hop Festival. The event was planned and carried out by Temple’s production and showcase coordinators, Thao Vy Duong ‘26 and Anaya Depina ‘25. The Tripod met with Depina to discuss her role in the release party, Temple’s plans for the Hip Hop Festival and its headliners that the party aimed to promote. 

“Myself and my partner, Vy,” Depina begins, “we both coordinated the entire thing… we found the DJ, put it in with the Mill; [we] basically did everything that was in the background.” She went on to add that “the [purpose] of this party was to promote not only our festival, but to promote our headliners: Maiya the Don and MC Soffia.” 

Maiya the Don is a rapper from Brooklyn, New York, known for her breakout 2022 song “Telfy” and for being featured on a remix of Flo Milli’s “Conceited.” Her debut mixtape, “Hot Commodity,.” released in October 2023. MC Soffia, born in São Paulo, Brazil, has been singing and rapping since the age of seven, rising to fame for her performance at the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Influenced by her mother’s fierce activism for racial equality in South America, she incorporates her experience as an Afro-Brazilian woman into her music as a means of advocacy.

In coordinating the event, Depina cites some difficulties that arose along the way: “I think the spring semester proved to be very, very busy, especially [the time around] spring break… I think with everyone traveling for spring break, it was kind of hard to… do outreach and things like that.” Despite their constraints, Temple’s efforts proved to be very worthwhile, culminating in a fun and well-received party. “I feel like [we’ve] got a lot of good feedback,” Depina said. “When I was leaving, there were a lot of students outside saying ‘That was a great party’… the DJ did such a good job, it seemed like everyone was enjoying themselves, everyone was mingling. I got to meet a lot of new people.”

The Temple of Hip-Hop’s 18th Annual Hip Hop Festival will kick off Thursday, April 4 and will conclude Saturday, April 6 with a concert featuring the co-headliners. When asked what Temple has planned for the Festival this year, Depina listed a wide array of events: “We have a bunch of different showcases… [we’ll]l have a beat making workshop with students, we’re doing a panel discussion, we’re having a DJ showcase [with] DJs battling… all the elements of hip hop will be introduced in some form.”

The theme for this year’s Hip Hop Festival is “highlighting underrepresented voices”, and Depina discussed how the headliner release party and the Festival aim to do just that. “One of the main things we really wanted to emphasize this past Saturday… was women. We tried to make sure that our DJ played a lot of women[s’] music… and [music by] queer people as well… [we aimed to] incorporat[e] all those artists and all those different backgrounds.” 

Depina concluded with a note on Temple’s emphasis on community, a value that motivated the Mill release party to be open not just to Trinity students, but Hartford as a whole. “One of the main things with Temple is really just connecting with the community… I think not enough people [on campus] know about Temple… [so] come to the Fest, come join us. Get to know us. It’s a great way to connect not only with Trinity students, but people around the campus as well.”

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