By: Ville Iso-Ahola
On Thursday evening, The Kennedy Center and Hip-Hop Theatre Festival audiences watched an emotionally-charged performance of the Griot Girl Ensemble’s “Louder Than a Whisper” musical play. This play featured soulful singing, rap performances, poetry, and stage acting. The attendees embraced it wholeheartedly.
The play began with a DJ set by DJ Miss HER, who spun hip-hop tunes as attendees and a local dance troupe warmed up the crowd. After the 30-minute DJ set, the six young ladies of Griot Girl Ensemble delivered an hour-long performance of “Louder Than a Whisper”. The play captivated everyone in attendance.
Moreover, the evening was delightful. DJ HER’s set induced plenty of body-moving and head-bobbing. “Louder Than a Whisper” was a mix of acting scenes and musical numbers, which delivered a very powerful message and sentiment reflective of the struggle and strife so many young African-American girls face daily.
They expressed frustration towards a society that tends to forget and overlook the plight of young African-American girls who are extremely susceptible to sexism, racism, and inequality.
However, while “Louder Than a Whisper” began with expressions of anger and frustration, Griot Girl Ensemble treated the audience to music and singing. The music reinforced the play’s overall theme and seemed to provide a sense of harmony and healing through music. Indeed, some parts of the play were sad.
For example, the ensemble beautifully sang Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.” They discussed being preyed upon and mistreated by men who call them bad names. The play goes back and forth between acting and musical scenes, which provided a wonderful balance.
Furthermore, “Louder Than a Whisper” drew much applause during and after the show. The music segments were the strength of the play.
“Louder Than a Whisper” is just one of many performances during the ongoing Hip Hop Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center. For more information, visit The Kennedy Center’s website.