On September 1, 2020, the 3rd Annual Hip-Hop Week MKE continues its mission of addressing the importance of civic engagement with a one-day virtual summit targeting the multi-generational Hip-Hop Community—a group of citizens with a shared interest in leveraging Hip-Hop’s cultural influence into political power.
This year’s event coincides with both the Democratic National Convention’s gathering in Milwaukee and a new University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee study which found that more than 50 years after federal civil rights legislation, entrenched institutional racism continues to reproduce “caste-like conditions for vast numbers of Blacks” in the city. The study highlights racial disparities in income, wealth, incarceration, education and health—all issues at the core of the recent George Floyd protests.
Likewise, through its music, activism and political engagement, Hip-Hop has always placed racism and racial disparities in the spotlight—from Chuck D, KRS-One, Queen Latifah, Ice Cube and Geto Boys to Sista Souljah, Tupac, Nas, Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, J Cole and many more.
These issues are at the heart of hip-hop’s sustained critique of voting as an end-all be-all solution. At the same time, Hip-Hop Week recognizes that today is a unique moment in which our rights—including voting rights, the very cornerstone of democracy—face unprecedented threats. According to the US Election Assistance Commission, between 2016 and 2018, states dropped more than 17 million people from the voting rolls. Additionally, the recent primaries in New York, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, etc., all suggest that there are forces planning to steal the upcoming national election by undermining the process.
A call to action, this Hip-Hop Political Education Summit places Hip-Hop’s leading voices in conversation with voting rights thought leaders about the myriad ways voters who are Black, Brown, working class whites, elderly, college students and formerly incarcerated felons must protect their votes.