Rob Dz (left) and Karen Reece-Phiffer at the Madison Public Library.


For the fifth year, Cap Times reporters asked several Madisonians to share their "bright ideas" for the new year. We will publish the 2018 edition of Bright Ideas throughout the next week.

How do we repair the harm that has been done from years of Madison residents saying they don’t want hip-hop here, unless it is something that they deem “safe”?

We are in the beginning stages of the city of Madison’s Task Force on Equity in Music and Entertainment. This task force was an idea that came about over eight years of work with city officials initiated by ShaH Evans and Dexter Patterson and continued by the Urban Community Arts Network.

The task force convenes multiple stakeholders from the city and the community together to strategize about how to get hip-hop artists on stages in Madison. We are dealing with two issues: racial disparities we know exist here that impact almost every area of life and the mischaracterization of hip-hop, which is often associated with violence in the media and the public eye. Going into 2018, we want to engage in a public information campaign to push the conversation forward, make sure people understand the root causes and work together for sustainable change in the Madison music scene.

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UCAN is also working to get community groups up and running in a few different locations throughout the city so people can understand what's happening at the task force meetings and make sure their voices are heard. Whatever recommendations we come up with will be vetted by the community groups. We want to make sure the people who are affected by this are represented and the task force does not become another bureaucratic committee.