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HATFestDC music panel examines social media influence

The Humanities Arts & Technology Festival (#HATFestDC), a free festival featuring live music, art culture and events for children and family members of all ages, will take place this weekend (August 2nd and 3rd) from 1-6 p.m at Gateway DC on the East campus of St. Elizabeth’s (2700 MLK Jr. Avenue, SE).

HATFest DC 2014
HATFest DC 2014
HATFest DC 2014

The #HATFestDC main stage features daily musical performances by Y’anna Crawley, Clifton Ross, Reesa Renee, Kim Jordan and many more talented artists. But the event I’m really looking forward to is the Will Rap 4 Food Music Panel: “Music’s Social Influence in Media” with DJ Heat, Angela Byrd, PatIsDope, Marcus K. Dowling, Briana Younger and Matt Talley. The panel (2:00 p.m. on Sunday) will bring together notable music journalists to debate various media issues and is likely to address the “pay to play” topic that has been simmering in the DMV hip-hop community for much of the year.

The discussion began when DJ Heat from WPGC wrote an opinion piece on her personal website critical of hip-hop bloggers that accept monetary payment for blog postings. Her basic premise was if you accept payment for postings, your readers are probably being exposed to subpar talent and content. The targets of the piece were assumed to be PatIsDope and other local bloggers. DJ Heat’s commentary was taken seriously because she is respected for her knowledge of the music industry and her tireless advocacy for independent musicians.

PatIsDope is also a respected voice in hip-hop. His website gives exposure to both local and major label rappers, and he often travels around the country to interview artists from other cities. Pat has built a large audience nationally - as evidenced by his over 212K Twitter followers.

The DJ Heat piece sparked a spirited dialogue on Twitter with Judah (a prominent local music producer and a blogger himself) and Angela Byrd - who both agreed with most of Heat’s points. Byrd is a skilled and hard-working publicist who has worked with DC rap stars like Wale, Shy Glizzy, Black Cobain and Fatz Da Big Fella. She also writes for All and other music websites. Byrd definitely leans toward DJ Heat’s position.

Matt Talley is the co-owner and operator of DMV Followers, a popular music and urban fashion website. He also promotes and organizes many music and art events around the city through his Collecting Cool movement. He and PatIsDope have collaborated on various projects and they will probably view things from a similar perspective.

Marcus K. Dowling has written for the Washington City Paper, Brightest Young Things, Hip-Hop DX and Complex Magazine. Dowling is recognized as one of DC’s most knowledgeable music journalists. It’s unclear where he and Briana Younger, a music programmer at SiriusXM, stand on the social media issue.

Will Rap 4 Food has assembled a smart and charismatic panel, so expect a lively conversation. The panel members won’t always agree, but they respect each other professionally and they all share a passion for the DMV music culture.

Come to the festival prepared for an entire day of edutainment. Before the panel discussion (at 1:00 p.m.), Liberated Muse presents a musical tribute to Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee. And after the panel concludes, stick around for performances from two outstanding acts, rising star Visto and the uber talented rap fusion New Retro Band. For more information about #HATFestDC “Humanities, Arts & Technology at Work” please go to:

For a detailed explanation of the “paying for blog posts” debate, check out the recent Ally Schweitzer WAMU Bandwidth article:

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