It is a hip-hop occasion with a lineup like no different. 

Music stars Public Enemy’s Chuck D, YG, Huge Daddy Kane, Bun B, Rapsody and Cordae are on the invoice — together with journalists like Soledad O’Brien, teachers like Cornel West and politicians like Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. — for the Hip-Hop Political Training Summit, streaming on Tuesday, Nationwide Voter Registration Day.

With its mixture of music and social-issue shows, the summit shares some traits of Hip-Hop Week MKE, established in 2018 by Milwaukee Ald. Khalif Rainey. That annual week of occasions — the one considered one of its form sponsored by a metropolis’s authorities — options concert events and explores monetary literacy, politics, well being and wellness and different subjects via a hip-hop lens.

“It is in all probability finest to go to the physician and listen to from him as to how one can make way of life modifications and reside more healthy, however a few of these messages simply do not resonate from these people,” Rainey stated. “However if you put them within the context of hip-hop, now a number of the apolitical and the disenfranchised and the unengaged members of our group, their curiosity is piqued.” 

The ability of hip-hop, he stated, is its capability to deliver collectively various teams. 

David Mays, founding father of seminal hip-hop journal the Supply and a chief architect for Hip-Hop Week MKE final 12 months, is likely one of the co-founders of the summit. Hip-Hop Week MKE is a sponsor and Rainey will likely be a speaker. (He is not the one politician from Wisconsin presenting; state Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes can also be a part of the lineup.)

“In loads of methods, you would say that earlier than there was Black Lives Matter there was hip-hop,” Mays stated. “Within the late ’80s and ’90s, it was the car that gave voice to all the identical points, of systemic racism, police brutality, and many others., that at the moment are making it into the mainstream discourse.”

The summit will likely be free to observe on hip-hop media website Revolt TV’s YouTube and Fb pages, with occasions to be finalized. Viewers are requested to register free of charge, so that they’ll be capable to ask questions of the audio system, at hiphoppoliticaled.com.

Roots in summer season of protest  

Mays established the Hip-Hop Political Training Summit this summer season with Bakari Kitwana, a cultural critic and activist (and former Supply editor-in-chief), after the demise of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the nation. 

“With all of the social and political exercise, all of the protests which might be happening, it simply felt to me that there was a void by way of hip-hop probably not having a voice,” Mays stated.

On the similar time, Mays was working with Rainey on programming for Hip-Hop Week MKE, which had been scheduled to happen Aug. 17-22, the identical week that the Democratic Nationwide Conference was to be held in Milwaukee. The coronavirus pandemic pressured the DNC to turn out to be a largely digital occasion and Hip-Hop Week MKE to be canceled. 

However the momentum Mays and Rainey have been constructing for Hip-Hop Week was channeled into the summit, Mays stated.

“I had been feeling we will not let one other 12 months go by and never attempt to do something,” Mays stated of working with Rainey. “His imaginative and prescient from the start with Hip-Hop Week was to reveal and present how hip-hop can be utilized to interact at-risk communities on topic issues that may be life-changing, however that typically people don’t take note of.”

Voter suppression a central theme 

That is the strategy for Tuesday’s summit, with voter suppression being an overarching theme, one which’s vital in Wisconsin, a battleground within the November election.

Wisconsin has already been on the heart of this debate this 12 months.

The state moved ahead with an in-person election in April in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Voters ready to solid their ballots in key races, together with for state Supreme Court docket and the Democratic presidential main, skilled lengthy traces after a extreme scarcity of ballot employees pressured Milwaukee to open 5 polling facilities as a substitute of its regular 180 websites. 

This all got here on the heels a contentious authorized battle over an effort to rapidly take away 1000’s from the state’s voter rolls as a result of they have been believed to have moved. The state Supreme Court docket is not anticipated to rule on the case till after November’s election.

“There’s many in our group … after they hear concerning the Supreme Court docket of Wisconsin forcing us to have an election and solid our poll within the midst of a pandemic as a substitute of deferring it to a later date, they scroll previous that article,” Rainey stated. “However if you put it within the context of hip-hop and you’ve got these conversations with individuals who you may establish with, individuals that you could relate to, I feel we stand an opportunity to interact individuals and have them actively get entangled with politics going ahead.”

Rainey is hopeful Milwaukee residents will tune in and anticipates the artists and teachers will draw a various viewers.

Finally, he stated, making change comes right down to voting and electing people who find themselves centered on the problems residents care about.

“The entire purpose of all of it is to encourage and encourage and empower individuals to get energetic of their communities and pay nearer consideration to what is going on on, to allow them to be concerned and their voice will be heard,” he stated.

Keynote speeches, panels, performances 

Tuesday’s summit will embody 4 keynotes and musical performances by Akua Naru and Insurgent Diaz.

The opening dialogue explores how hip-hop has formed political discourse, with veteran music producer ninth Marvel and Duke College professor Mark Anthony Neal moderating a panel that features West, Kane and Rapsody.

A second panel, moderated by “The Breakfast Membership” co-host DJ Envy and hip-hop discuss present “State of the Tradition” co-host Eboni Ok. Williams that includes Chuck D and Nationwide City League President Marc Morial, will have a look at how the pandemic has exacerbated voter suppression. 

The third keynote will have a look at social media disinformation associated to the election, moderated by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and together with Bun B and U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Indiana, amongst its panelists.

Latosha Brown, co-founder of the advocacy group Black Voters Matter, will current the ultimate keynote. 

Following this summit, Mays is pursuing funding for extra occasions this fall forward of the election, together with some that could be tailor-made particularly to voting in Wisconsin.

“One of many issues about hip-hop, that has at all times been a part of its energy, is that it’s a really sort of unifying tradition, and it appeals to loads of various kinds of individuals and brings various kinds of individuals collectively in a really highly effective approach,” Mays stated. “Hopefully, we’ll see some unimaginable attention-grabbing issues come out of this, and I hope that this lights a flame beneath the hip-hop group slightly bit, so we will do extra and make a distinction.” 

Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or [email protected]. Comply with him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Fb at fb.com/PietLevyMJS.

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