Passing the Mic/All Elements Hip Hop Arts Showcase featuring Midwest Hip Hop All Stars
This spoken word & hip hop event is hosted by First Wave and features the Midwest Spoken Word and Hip Hop All-Stars. Come hear visiting youth poetry slam champions and hip hop artists from cities across the Midwest including Chicago, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Indianapolis and see two of America’s top spoken word and hip hop artists, reg e gaines and Chinaka Hodge.
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).
reg e gaines is a Tony Award nominated playwright and Grammy nominated lyricist of, Bring in da Noise/Bring in da Funk, a Heideman Award Finalist, The Beatles Killed Jazz, and winner of the 2003 Downtown Urban Theater Festival’s Best Play Award, Other Aspects. Directing credits include, Jerry Quickley's, Live from the Front, Marcella Goheen’s, BLAK, Regie Cabico’s, Straight/ Out, The Brick City Players, Brick City Blues, Lisa Jesse Peterson/ La Bruja’s, Lesson On The A Train, Aileen Reyes’, Sadico, Underground Voices, and Other Aspects.
reg has four books of poetry including, The Original Buckwheat and Abstract Sax, and his poems appear in the anthologies, Aloud: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Café, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Bum Rush The Page, African Voices, Bomb Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, and City Works Magazine. reg is editor of, A Year In Ink, Volume 8, 2015. This former Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam Champ has read his poems on, The Arsenio Hall Show, Jon Stewart Show, MTV's Spoken Word Un-Plugged, Woodstock '94, MSNBC's Edgewise and Seasons Four/ Five of HBO's Def Poetry. His work as a composer includes the score for, Senior Year, a thirteen episode series for PBS.
reg has conducted his, Is Poetry Theater, workshops during residencies at New Jersey City University, Grossmont College, University of Southern California, Farleigh Dickinson University, Passaic County Community College, Miramar College, Southwestern College, San Diego City College, The World Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Luna Stage, LA City Stage, Nuyorican Poets Café, New Jersey Performance Arts Center, Beyond Baroque, New Jersey Juvenile Correctional Facility, Rosa Parks Performance Academy, Jersey City Performance Arts High School, Los Angeles Windward, Voz Alta Gallery, Jersey City Public Library, Montclair Public Library, San Diego Public Library, and Scratch DJ Academy, co-founded with Jam Master Jay and Rob Principe. reg's solo performance piece, The Last Celebrity, premiered at Art House Production, February 2013. It has been produced in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey and is scheduled for performances during Black History Month 2015. reg is writing/ producing the Hip-Hop musical, FREE. It is scheduled for staged reading workshops at School of Excellence, South Bronx and Wadleigh Performance High School, Harlem, NY. September 2014. reg will return for his seventh season as Artistic Director of the 2015 New York City Downtown Urban Theater Festival.
Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, she graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May of 2006, and was honored to be the student speaker at the 174th Commencement exercise. In 2010, Chinaka received USC’s prestigious Annenberg Fellowship to continue her studies at its School of Cinematic Arts. She received her MFA in Writing for Film and TV in 2012. In the fall of that year, she received the SF Foundation’s Phelan Literary Award for emerging Bay Area talent. Chinaka was also a 2012 Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA. In January 2013, Hodge was a Sundance Feature Film lab Fellow for her script, 700th&Int’l. In June of 2013 Chinaka began as a first year fellow at Cave Canem’s prestigious summer retreat.
For over a decade, Hodge has worked in various capacities at Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project, the nation’s leading literary arts non-profit. During her tenure there, Chinaka served as Program Director, Associate Artistic Director, and worked directly with Youth Speaks’ core population as a teaching artist and poet mentor. She has acted in comparable capacities in New York and Los Angeles at Urban Word NYC and Get Lit: Words Ignite. When not educating or writing for the page, Chinaka rocks mics as a founding member of a collaborative Hip Hop ensemble, The Getback. Her poems, editorials, interviews and prose have been featured in Newsweek, San Francisco Magazine, Believer Magazine, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.