Passing The Mic: 9th Annual Hip Hop Arts Festival

Presented by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and Wisconsin Book Festival in honor of John “Vietnam” Nguyen

 Location for All Events: Promenade Hall, Overture Centers for the Arts

October 17–19

Featuring Gil Scott-Heron’s Daughter Gia Scott-Heron, Tony-Award Winning HBO Def Poet Lemon Anderson, 2014 NEA Jazzmaster Awardee Richard Davis, the Best of Line Breaks, and the Midwest Youth Spoken Word & Hip Hop All-Stars.

Gia Scott-Heron
Gia Scott-Heron







Thursday, October 17

*Passing the Mic/All Elements Hip Hop Arts Showcase 7:30-9pm

Hosted by: First Wave featuring: the Midwest Youth Spoken Word and Hip Hop All-Star

Location: Promenade Hall, Overture Center

This spoken sord & hip hop event is hosted by First Wave and features the Midwest Spoken Word and Hip Hop All-Stars. Come hear visiting youth poetry slam champions and hip hop artists from cities across the Midwest including Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities. 


Friday, October 18th

First Wave Feature @ WI Book Festival’s High School Day 10-11:00am 

Location: Promenade Hall, Overture Center 

High schools from across the state of Wisconsin will be on hand to witness the brilliance of First Wave who will perform an array of spoken word and hip hop theater pieces. A talk-back with the performers will follow.

OMAI/First Wave Welcome Luncheon

1-3:00pm, Red Gym (MSC Lounge)

Visiting First Wave prospects will break bread (or tortillas) and then learn more about what makes First Wave work from a variety institutional allies of OMAI as well as current members of First Wave.

Tour of Campus 3:00-4:30pm  Current First Wave students will lead a tour of campus for visiting First Wave prospects.

*First Wave: Performance Poetry and the Personal Narrative featuring: First Wave Artists (Dominique Ricks, Erika Dickerson and Thiahera Nurse)

Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Erika Dickerson-Despenza

 Hosted by: Rain Wilson

5:30-7:00pm Promenade Hall/Overture Center

Presented in partnership with the UW Program in Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and Madison Poet Laureates Wendy Vardaman and Sandra Busse

Poetry and performance were once a united art, going back to common ancient roots. In the last few centuries, this connection has largely been lost. This event will point to some of the ways back, bring “page” poets and “stage” poets together across multiple divides: page/stage/class/race/gender/age.

Dakota Alcantara-Camacho
Dakota Alcantara-Camacho

 *Best of Line Breaks featuring: First Wave Alum Dakota Alacantra-Camacho with opening performance of “Culture Shock” performed by 2012 First Wave Hip Hop Touring Ensemble

7:30-9:00 Promenade Hall, Overture Center



Saturday, October 19th

First Wave Workshops 1-3 Red Gym


Lemon Andersen
Lemon Andersen

*Lemon Anderson Film Screening and Talk-Back 6:00-7:30pm Location: Promenade Hall

Tribute Showcase  8-10pm

Honoring 2014 Jazzmaster Richard Davis, Gil Scott-Heron and John Vietnam Nguyen featuring Gia Scott-Heron, First Wave Artists, Friends of Vietnam and hosted by Lemon.

Richard Davis
Richard Davis

This special evening will celebrate the lives, achievements and legacies of three pioneers through poetry, music, dance, spoken word, and hip hop theater. OMAI will celebrate, with the entire Madison community, the recent announcement that UW-Madison’s own legendary bassist Richard Davis was named the 2014 NEA Jazzmaster, the highest honor in his field. A special First Wave performance will be premiered in his honor that will be presented at the gala award ceremony in January (tentative).  Gia Scott-Heron will read some classic works from her father’s collection and perform original pieces from her own collection and friends and family of Vietnam will read and perform pieces from his recently published poetry collection.