OCTOBER 13-16, 2022

and year round


First Wave Spoken Word Showcase: Indigenous Traditions, Multilingual Voices - First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble, J. Ivy, Frank Waln, Telmary Diaz, Baba Israel - <span class="date-display-single">10/23/2015 - 5:00pm</span>

First Wave Spoken Word Showcase: Indigenous Traditions, Multilingual Voices

10/23/2015 - 5:00pm

Overture Center for the Arts - Promenade Hall

First Wave poets put their unique poetic spin on the global languages of hip hop and will be responded to by renowned local and internationally acclaimed artists, community intellectuals and UW faculty members.

About Presenter First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble


The First Wave Hip Hop Theatre Ensemble (FWTE) is a groundbreaking collective of spoken word poets, emcees, dancers, singers, actors, and activists from across the United States. FWTE represents the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Learning Community at UW-Madison, the world's first and only full tuition scholarship for Hip Hop and urbans arts. They create works that unpack the personal narrative as a route to academic engagement, artistic productivity and community engagement.


They have performed in England, Mexico, Panama, Africa, Australia, and Jamaica as well as across the USA including featured performances on Broadway and annual performance keynote at the Boys & Girl Club Keystone Conference.  Touring Members host workshops and performances in local and regional high school and community spaces.


FWTE Members for 2021-22 are Azura Tyabji (Seattle), Jackson Neal (Houston), Marjan Naderi (DC), Sarah Abbas (St. Louis), & Zachary Lesmeister (St. Louis).

J. Ivy

About Presenter J. Ivy


Performance Poet J. Ivy first discovered his affinity for the written art during a routine high school assignment. This Chicago native headed to Illinois State University, where he soon became known on campus as “The Poet,” which later led him to performing throughout Chicago and then across the country and around the world.
His motivational motto, “Dreams Don't Come True, They Are True” has guided him from his native home Chicago to becoming a Grammy Award Winning Artist. From his breath taking performances for people of all ages to his appearances on countless television networks, like HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry, NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and ESPN’s National Spelling Bee, J. Ivy’s passionate delivery always leaves spectators transfixed in a state of inspiration, and because of that he is recognized World Wide.
Known for his historic verse on Kanye West’s classic song “Never Let Me Down (The College Dropout),” which also featured Hip-Hop Icon Jay-Z and as the man who gave Oscar & Grammy Award Winning singer-songwriter John Stephens the name John Legend, J. Ivy has penned poetry for Deepak Chopra, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, an upcoming Muhammad Ali documentary produced by and airing on B.E.T., and for his own work "Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain," a book which was published January 2015 by Beyond Words Publishing, an imprint of Atria Books & Simon and Schuster, with an audio book set to follow Late Summer of 2015.


Dear Father: Breaking The Cycle of Pain

Frank Waln

About Presenter Frank Waln


Frank Waln is an award winning Sicangu Lakota Hip Hop artist, producer, and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Waln attended Columbia College Chicago where he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics. Waln’s awards include three Native American Music Awards, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 2014 Native American 40 Under 40, and the 2014 Chicago Mayor’s Award for Civic Engagement. He has been featured on Buzzfeed’s 12 Native Americans Who Are Making a Difference, USA Today, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music Native America. Waln has written for various publications including Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society and The Guardian. Frank Waln travels the world spreading hope and inspiration through performance and workshops focusing on self-empowerment and the pursual of dreams.

Telmary Diaz

About Presenter Telmary Diaz


One of the shining stars of the Cuban underground music movement is the native poetess and rapper, Telmary Diaz. Without placing herself completely in the hip-hop tradition, Diaz has been able to use the genre as a means of expressing her ideas and communicating with young people in Cuba. She has collaborated with the likes of Isaac Delgado, Jane Bunnet, Descemer Bueno, Kelvis Ochoa, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, Los Van Van, and the Buena Vista Social Club. She has performed and recorded with figures from the international hip-hop and electronica community such as Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Raphael Seebag of the United Future Orchestra, and DJ Akakage from Japan. Her first album "A Diario" was prized the CubaDisco award for Best Hip Hop Album in 2008. Telmary has recently wrapped up recording her second album, "Libre”.

Baba Israel

About Presenter Baba Israel


Baba Israel was raised in New York by parents who were core members of the Living Theatre. He developed as a young artist exploring spoken word, Hip Hop, and experimental performance. He next lived and worked in Australia working on community theatre projects and festivals. During his time in Australia he received a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to produce and perform the Hip Hop Theatre production “The Bridge” which was performed in non-traditional venues and toured to juvenile detention centers. He began his career as an arts educator in Australia and has gone on to be a leading educator and consultant working with organisations such as Urban Word, BAM, and the University of Wisconsin. He has also worked as a cultural ambassador with the State Department delivering workshops and performances across Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and in Gambia and Turkey.
He is co-founder and Artistic Director of Playback NYC Theatre Company who have bring theatre to hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, as well as theatres and festivals. The company is currently developing projects to support immigrant communities in Long Island in a series of performances and workshops funded by the Hagedorn Foundation.
As a theatre and Hip Hop artist He has toured across the US, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia, performing with artists such as Outkast, Philip Glass, Rahzel, Lester Bowie, Afrika Bambaataa, Vernon Reid. His debut solo show Boom Bap Meditations was supported by the Ford Foundation and The Hip Hop Theatre Festival which toured the US and Europe. He has worked on sound design for theatre and dance projects with Renita Martin’s It is the Seeing and Rha Goddess’s Meditations with the Goddess.  He was Artistic Director and CEO of Contact Theatre in Manchester from 2009- 2012. Contact is a leading international organisation at the intersection of the arts and youth leadership. During his tenure he created flagship festivals, directed and produced touring productions, and programmed seasons that focused on innovative and diverse work.

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