PRESS RELEASE: Rhythm of Change 2017

February 14, 2017

Brown University Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies will host a hip hop summit, Rhythm of Change Festival 2017, from February 24 to 26 at Lyman Hall on the main campus at Brown University. 

The Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University presents the Rhythm of Change Festival 2017, an annual festival of West African and African Diasporic performance. This year’s festival brings together performance artists from Mali, Senegal, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and the Caribbean to engage in a weekend of workshops, roundtable discussions, and performances to celebrate the richness of our diversity. Nationally acclaimed hip hop choreographer Rennie Harris and his troupe Puremovement will headline the festival as part of FirstWorks’ Artist Icon Series. Harris will also be performing on Friday, February 24 at the VETS Auditorium.

On the morning of Saturday, February 25, Rennie Harris will be joined by feminist breakdancing titan Ana ‘Rokafella’ Garcia, Jamal Jackson, Omari Wiles Mizrahi, and hip hop scholars Dr. Daniel Banks and Dr. Tricia Rose for a breakfast conversation on the efficacy of hip hop theatre to inspire cultural awareness, art-activism, and social justice. The festival continues throughout the weekend with community workshops in West African drumming and dance, Vogue Femme, Contemporary African dance, Breakin’, Poppin, and hip hop classes for young dancers with RawKin RhythMix, Rokafella, El Niño, and Devious. 

The festival will culminate in a hip hop summit with the Art of RhythMix Jam, co-sponsored by RawKin' RhythMix and Ground Breakin’. The event aims to facilitate an interactive and creative dialogue between hip hop scholars and artists around hip hop education and activism. The summit will take place on Sunday, February 26 from 4pm until 9pm with judges from the Floorlords of Boston and the GR818RS from Los Angeles.

The Rhythm of Change Festival is an annual event at Brown University celebrating African and African diasporic performance. For over twenty-seven years, the festival has been gathering people across divisions of class, nationality, culture and discipline to co-create art for social change. The festival aims to create a place of safety irrespective of class, (dis)ability, religious practices, gender identity, sexual orientation, or country of origin. It seeks to awaken participants to the realities of our sociopolitical surroundings, not in protest but rather to support mindful vigilance and increased advocacy. 

The Rhythm of Change Festival 2017 takes place at the Catherine Bryan Dill Center for the Performing Arts at Brown University (83 Waterman Street, Providence 02912). The festival runs February 24 through 26. For more information and to book tickets, visit:

For ticket sales: call (401) 863-2838, or visit the Box Office in the Leeds Theatre Lobby (83 Waterman St, Providence), Tuesday-Friday from 12-4pm, or email To book online, visit: More information on the full Brown Theatre performance season available at:


If you have any questions or to schedule an interview with the festival director or producer, please contact:

Paul Margrave, Marketing Coordinator

(401) 863-2730 / /