Chuck D

Leader of the rap group Public Enemy

Michael Eric Dyson

Georgetown professor, author of Jay-Z: Made in America

Cornel West

Harvard University professor, author, activist and actor (The Matrix)

LaTosha Brown

Co-founder of Black Voters Matter

Mutale Mkonde

Founder of AI For People

DJ Envy

Co-host of The Breakfast Club radio show

Cliff Albright

Co-founder of Black Voters Matter

Marc Morial

President, National Urban League

Big Daddy Kane

Grammy Award-winning artist

Bun B

Artist, lecturer and activist

Congressman Andre Carson

U.S. House of Representatives (Indiana)

Dame Dash

Co-founder Roc-A-Fella and founder of Dame Dash Studios

Jasiri X

Artist, activist and co-founder/CEO of 1Hood Media

Akua Naru

Hip-hop artist, producer and founder of The Urban Era

Khalif Rainey

Milwaukee Alderman, founder of Hip-Hop Week MKE

Mandela Barnes

Lt. Governor of Wisconsin

Paradise Gray



Hip-hop artist / The Lost Boy

Ras Baraka

Mayor of Newark, NJ

Sekou Kaalund

Advancing Black Pathways / JP Morgan Chase




Alliance For Safety & Justice


New Georgia Project




Rebel Diaz


Florida Rights Restoration Coalition


REVOLT Black News




U.S. Senate (New Jersey)


NAACP Youth Director






Hip-hop artist




United We Dream


Nat'l Coalition on Black Civic Participation









SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
12:00 PM EST Opening Remarks

Summit hosts Jasiri X and TiffanyLoftin; co-founders of the Hip-Hop Political Education Summit Dave Mays and BakariKitwana; Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter; Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey, founder of Hip-Hop Week MKE


12:20 PM EST “Rhyme & Resist” video premiere

A look at the history and evolution of social and political consciousness in Hip-Hop


12:30 PMEST Keynote Panel I

The Legacy and Challenge of Hip-Hop Music and Politics 

Hip-Hop artists discuss the history of political hip-hop music, the various ways hip-hop shapes the political discourse, and the history and future of hip-hop civic engagement.

Moderators: 9th Wonder & Mark Anthony Neal

Panelists: Professor Cornel West, Cordae, Big Daddy Kane, Rapsody, Paradise Gray


1:50 PM EST Musical Performance by AkuaNaru


1:55 PM EST Freestyle Session – Michael Eric Dyson


2:15 PM EST Summit Sit-Down – Senator Cory Booker


2:30pm EST Keynote Panel II

Voter Suppression, Corona & The Hip-Hop Vote

How the pandemic exacerbates voter suppression—absentee ballots, mail-in ballots, polling site drama, gerrymandering, electronic voting machines, disenfranchised felons.

Moderators: DJ Envy & Eboni K. Williams

Panelists: Chuck D, Marc Morial, Andrew Gumbel, Shakyra Diaz, Congresswoman Terri Sewell


3:50 PM EST Musical Performance by Rebel Diaz


3:55 PM EST  Summit Sit-Down –  Desmond Meade (Florida Rights Restoration Coalition)


4:10 PM EST  Freestyle Session – Sekou Kaalund (Advancing Black Pathways)


4:15 PM EST  Freestyle Session – Cliff Albright


4:20pm EST Keynote Panel III

Social Media, Disinformation, Foreign Election Interference and You

The ways new technologies, new media and challenges to democracy undermine your rights online and in these protest streets.

Moderator: Mayor Ras Baraka

Panelists: Bun B, Congressman Andre Carson, Mutale Nkonde, Nse Ufot


5:35 PM EST Poetry Performance by Jessica Care Moore


5:40 PM EST  Summit Sit-Down –  Riggs Morales (Atlantic Records)


5:50 PM EST  Freestyle Session – Dame Dash


6:10 PM EST  Special Session w/Soledad O’Brien & SekouKaalund

A discussion on the relationship between voting and your finances


6:25 PM EST  Summit Sit-Down – Greisa Martinez (United We Dream)


6:35 PM EST  Keynote Speech by Latosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter

The Time Is Now

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.

Spotlight on Racism and Racial Disparities

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. The persistence of these issues is at the heart of why many in Hip-Hop have been critical of voting as an end-all be-all solution.

Voter Suppression

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

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.

Co-Founders: Dave Mays and Bakari Kitwana

Dave Mays is a media and branding entrepreneur who has specialized in Hip-Hop music and its cultural impact over the past 30 years. Mays founded The Source magazine out of his Harvard dorm room in 1988 as a single-page newsletter. In the 1990’s, The Source grew into the #1 selling music magazine on newsstands in the world, and was famously dubbed the “Bible of Hip-Hop” by Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Mays also created the first awards show dedicated to Hip-Hop, The Source Awards, which set ratings records on both the UPN and BET television networks. In 1999, Mays created The Source Youth Foundation, which raised over $1 million to fund programs and organizations across the country using Hip-Hop to effectively reach at-risk, inner-city youth. Mays created the first national Hip-Hop political summit (“A Special Summit On Social Responsibility In The Hip-Hop Industry”) in 2000 with Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, as well as the first independent social/political action organization for the Hip-Hop industry, The Hip-Hop Action Network. During his 18 years of growing and running the company, The Source magazine became an institution in the field of Hip-Hop, helping to empower and influence a culture that today pervades everything from sports to fashion, film, television, technology, education, language and more. In 2007, GQ magazine called The Source one of the “27 Things that Changed Men’s Lives” over the last 50 years.


Bakari Kitwana is an internationally known cultural critic, journalist, activist, and thought leader in the area of hip-hop and Black youth political engagement. The Executive Director of Rap Sessions, which for the last fifteen years has conducted over 100 townhall meetings around the nation on difficult dialogues facing the millennial generation, Kitwana has been the Editor-in-Chief of The Source magazine, the Editorial Director of Third World Press, and the co-founder of the 2004 National Hip-Hop Political Convention. The author of the groundbreaking books The Hip-Hop Generation (2002) and Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop (2005), Kitwana is co-editor of the new book Democracy Unchained: How to Rebuild Government For the People and the collaborating writer for pioneering hip-hop artist Rakim’s recently released Sweat The Technique: Revelations on Creativity From The Lyrical Genius. He was recently named the 2019-2020 Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellow at Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, where he is curating the “Hip-Hop and Presidential Elections Video Archive,” an archive of over thirty national townhall meetings he convened with hip-hop thought leaders during the 2004, 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections.

Co-Organizers: Black Voters Matter Fund

LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright are the co-founders of Black Voters Matter Fund (and BVM Capacity Building Institute), which builds community and organizational capacity related to Black voting power. BVM received national attention in 2017 when they helped mobilize Black voters during the US Senate Race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore in Alabama. In 2018, the BVM team travelled throughout seven southern states in the “Blackest Bus in America” energizing voters and exposing voter suppression. They have continued this mission leading up to the 2020 Election on the ground during primary elections in Georgia and Kentucky, while raising a call to action around voting rights. They have appeared on major television news outlets like CNN and MSNBC and in national newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and others.

Co-Organizers: Hip-Hop Week MKE

Hip-Hop Week MKE is the city of Milwaukee’s official celebration of Hip-Hop culture that incorporates music, art, dance, fashion, entrepreneurship, networking and community discussion. Hip-Hop Week MKE was conceived by Alderman Khalif Rainey in 2018 with the idea of demonstrating and elevating the power of Hip-Hop to transform communities by bringing focus and attention on critical issues including financial literacy, civic engagement, social justice, economic development, violence prevention and healthy living. Hip-Hop Week has proven itself to be a strong driver of citywide pride and unity across racial and socio-economic lines. Hip-Hop Week works as a platform to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations by recognizing the common values that exist due to the influence of Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop Week activities are designed to channel the culture’s role as an outlet for creative, enterprising and socially-conscious thoughts and actions, while also educating participants on the history of Hip-Hop.