The Passing the Mic 10th Annual Hip-Hop Arts Festival will be Thursday, Oct. 16, through Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall, 201 State Street. The free event is open to the public.
Passing the Mic is an annual event that celebrates the transformational potential of hip-hop arts in the Madison community and on the UW-Madison campus and involves First Wave scholars, teen artists from across the nation as well as internationally-renowned performing artists. This year’s celebration continues to honor the lives of First Wave scholar John “Vietnam” Nguyen and First Wave/UW-Madison Alumna Nakila Robinson, both of whom have passed on during the past two years.
The event is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and Wisconsin Book Festival present in conjunction with the Madison Media Institute, the Hip Hop Revival, UCAN, the Morgridge Center, YWCA and 100 State Street.
The opening performance on Thursday, Oct. 16, will be 7:30-9:30 p.m. The All Elements Hip- Hop Arts Showcase featuring the Midwest Youth Spoken Word and Hip-Hop All-Stars will be hosted by reg e gaines, Chinaka Hodge & First Wave. Come hear visiting youth poetry slam champions and Hip-Hop artists from cities across the Midwest including Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Indianapolis and see two of America’s top spoken word and Hip-Hop artists, reg e gaines and Chinaka Hodge.
Presented in partnership with 100 State, the Morgridge Center, the YWCA, the Madison Media Institute, the Hip Hop Revival, and UCAN, First Wave poets put their unique poetic spin on the Race to Equity Report, one of the documents that has exposed the profound inequality existing in Dane County among communities of color regarding achievement gap issues, incarceration rates and beyond. The poems will be responded to by renowned local and internationally-acclaimed artists, community intellectuals and UW faculty members.
On Saturday, Oct. 18, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Passing the Mic will host “Bridge Da Gap and the Future of Hip-Hop K-12 Education” featuring Super Producer Kevin “Khao” Cates and Moderated by UW-Madison School of Education faculty members Gloria Ladson-Billings and Maisha Winn.
Later Saturday evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., OMAI’s Passing the Mic Tribute Showcase honoring Nakila Robinson hosted by Dasha Kelly and Chinaka Hodge and a Special Tribute Performance Honoring Maya Angelou by OMAI’s Associate Artistic Director Rain Wilson.
This special evening will celebrate the life of a great spirit who has passed and many more spirits that are alive and deserve our love and solidarity. Nakila Robinson was the self-proclaimed “gatekeeper of all things fierce.” A young womyn (sic) representing those who are proud and loud about who they are, she was an inspiration to all of those around her to be better humans. Although in this world too briefly, her impact was vast and her life will be celebrated this evening by spoken word and Hip-Hop arts pieces from those that were impacted by her ferocity.
OMAI’s Associate Artistic Director Rain Wilson will close out the evening with a special tribute performance to the life of Maya Angelou, additionally addressing the challenges facing our own community outlined in the Race to Equity Report.