Michele Byrd-McPhee

The UW–Madison Division of the Arts welcomed Michele Byrd-McPhee as the fall 2020 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence.

During the semester, Byrd-McPhee continued working on avenues of growth and sustainability for the Hip-Hop community. In the course “Hip-Hop Culture, Women & the World,” students examined the roots of Hip-Hop culture and its current place as a global phenomenon with a specific focus on the history, contributions, and experiences of women in Hip-Hop. This semester’s residency was held remotely.

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About the Artist

Michele Byrd-McPhee headshotMichele Byrd-McPhee is the founder and Executive Director of Ladies of Hip-Hop. Byrd-McPhee has been working for many years to re-contextualize spaces and conversation of Hip-Hop culture along gender, sex, cultural and socio-historical and racial lines for decades. She also situates the arts and dance techniques in spaces that honor and acknowledge their roots and the many creative pioneers who have shaped them. This is especially important given the ways in which Black dance has been co-opted into studio appropriation –  given its community cultural origins.

Byrd-McPhee earned her BS from Temple University and an MS in Nonprofit Arts Management from Drexel University. She also spent many years in TV and arts production, working as a production coordinator at Brooklyn Academy of Music and then as a Senior Music Coordinator at Late Night with Seth Meyers. She currently serves as a Bessie Award Committee Member along with her ongoing commitment as Executive Director for Ladies of Hip-Hop.

Sponsors

Dance Department logo Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives University of Wisconsin–Madison logo The Studio Creative Arts Community University of Wisconsin–Madison logo
Art Department logo PLACE Prfessional Learning and Community Education, UW–Madison School of Education logo

The Fall 2020 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program was presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the Dance Department with Assistant Professor Duane Lee Holland, Jr. as lead faculty. Co-sponsors included the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) & First Wave Learning CommunityThe Studio Creative Arts CommunityProfessional Learning and Community Education (PLACE)Art Department, and Drum Power. Other campus and community supporters included Department of Afro-American Studies and Barrio Dance.

The UW–Madison Division of the Arts has hosted world-class artists-in-residence since 1995 and formally launched the Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program (IARP) in 1999. The IARP is made possible by funding from the university’s Office of the Provost.

Guest Artists

Ursula Rucker headshotUrsula Rucker is a Philadelphia born poet, mother, activist, and recording artist. She has been performing, recording, and releasing works for over 20 years. She has five solo recordings and collaborated on over 100 songs. Rucker has been awarded the Leeway Foundation’s Art for Change and Transformation Awards and a Pew Fellowship. She is the subject of the documentary short POET and continues to perform her first one-woman show and live memoir, My Father’s Daughter. Instagram: @urucker; Twitter: @urucker

LaTasha Barnes headshotLaTasha Barnes is an internationally recognized and awarded dancer, educator, coach, entrepreneur, and cultural ambassador. Barnes performs and competes in these cultural traditions: House, Hip-Hop, Waacking, Vernacular Jazz, and Lindy Hop. Besides performing in International Lindy Hop Championships and the Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, she collaborates with many artists and organizations. Her performance and research bridges the gap between communities of practice and academic cultural dance research, performance, and preservation. Instagram: @tasha_b_va

Maori Holmes headshotMaori Karmael Holmes is a curator, filmmaker, and writer. She founded BlackStar Film Festival and serves as its Artistic Director and CEO. She has organized programs in film at notable organizations. Other projects include KinoWatt and Black Lily Film & Music Festival. As a director, her works have screened internationally including her feature documentary Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop (2006). Her writing has appeared in multiple outlets. Instagram: @blackstarfest

Stacey "Flygirrl" Wilson headshotStacey “Flygirrl” Wilson is the founder of Flygirrl which incorporates her art, design, music, and ground-breaking promotions and events. She has produced and promoted thousands of events. Her design and event production clients include a long roster of notable artists. Her art works on wood, canvas, and sneakers have been featured in various exhibitions, media outlets, and TV shows. Wilson teaches graphic design classes as well as teaching painting for all ages. Instagram: @flygirrl; Facebook: @flygirrl; Twitter: @flygirrl

Resources + Media Mentions

Course

Group of female dancers standing with fists raised on stage against a purple backdrop.Hip-Hop Culture, Women & the World: A Movement & Lecture Course

Course: Integrated Arts 310/610 (3 cr.) or Integrated Arts 330 (1 cr.)
Course Number: 72310/72332
Day/Time: Wednesdays / 2:15–4:05 p.m. Wednesdays will be synchronous (required time), and the rest of the course will be online.
Credits: 1 or 3 | Counts toward technique requirements for Dance majors
Location: Held remotely
Limit: 20 students across any discipline.
Prereq: None. No dance training is necessary.

Non UW-Madison students will need to apply in advance for special (non-degree) student access at: acsss.wisc.edu/special-student-types/

Description: Students will examine the roots of Hip-Hop culture and its current place as a global phenomenon with a specific focus on the history, contributions, and experiences of women in Hip-Hop. This course is a combination of movement and lecture.

The course will explore race, class, gender, sexuality, and politics through the lens of Hip-Hop culture. Students will engage with artists using visual art, spoken word, music, dance, and technology. This course will debunk perceptions and question students’ understanding of Hip-Hop culture. It will provide an introduction to the theory, practice, aesthetics, and historical foundations of Hip-Hop dance.

Guest artists include spoken word and recording artist Ursula Rucker; dancer, dance educator, and scholar LaTasha Barnes; curator, filmmaker, writer, and director of BlackStar festival Maori Holmes; and visual artist and graphic designer Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson.

Download the course flyer (PDF).

Image: Loreto Jamling.

Announcements

  • Watch“Advancing Hip Hop as a Path Toward Equity” featuring Michele Byrd-McPhee, Duane Lee Holland Jr., Sofía Snow, Rob Dz, and Michael Ford is now available. This virtual event was part of the UW–Madison School of Education PLACE’s Real Talk for Real Change series.
  • Assistant Professor Duane Lee Holland Jr., brings Michele Byrd-McPhee and senior VP of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, Anthony Denaro (aka YNOT) together for THE HARVEST, an evening of Hip-Hop theater and concert dance Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 p.m. via Zoom and Facebook Live.
  • A recording of “Ursula Rucker and the Ladies of Hip Hop,” featuring Michele Byrd-McPhee, Assistant Professor Duane Holland, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, is now available on YouTube. The virtual event was part of the 2020 Passing the Mic Festival, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives.
  • Michele Bryd-McPhee is one of the keynote speakers for the annual Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) National Conference. She will be joined by Assistant Professor Duane Lee Holland, Jr. for Creating Racial Justice & Change Through the Arts and Why It’s Important.”
  • Tune in to our IG Live Chat series with Michele Byrd-McPhee and guest artists on Instagram (@uwmadisonarts) on Mondays at noon (CDT) through August 17, 2020.

Events

Madison Mondays – Conversation with LaTasha Barnes

October 19, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT
Free

Interdisciplinary Artist-in Residence Michele Byrd-McPhee will be joined by guest artist LaTasha Barnes for a virtual conversation. Barnes is an internationally recognized and awarded dancer, and educator and will talk about various dance forms and her research.

Creating Racial Justice & Change Through the Arts and Why It’s Important

October 26, 2020 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm CDT
$20

Michele Bryd-McPhee is one of the keynote speakers for the annual Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) National Conference. She will be joined by Assistant Professor Duane Lee Holland, Jr. in UW-Madison’s Dance Department.

Madison Mondays – Conversation with Ursula Rucker

October 26, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT
Free

Michele Byrd-McPhee will be joined by guest artist Ursula Rucker. Rucker is a renowned spoken word and recording artist and activist. At this event, they will discuss her background and career.

Ursula Rucker and Marc Bamuthi Joseph In Conversation

October 27, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT
Free

Guest artist Ursula Rucker and former Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence Marc Bamuthi Joseph (spring 2007) will be in conversation during the 2020 Passing the Mic Festival.

Madison Mondays – Conversation with Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson

November 2, 2020 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CST
Free

Michele Byrd-McPhee will be joined by guest artist Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson for a virtual conversation. Wilson will talk about her artistic practice and background in event planning.

Just Bust! featuring Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson

November 6, 2020 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm CST
Free
The Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI)’s Just Bust! is Madison’s longest running open mic and is hosted virtually for the fall. Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson will provide a time lapse video of her creating artwork. She is a guest artist of Michele Byrd-McPhee’s Interdisciplinary Arts Residency.

Virtual Workshop with Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson

November 7, 2020 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST
Free
Join the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) for an interactive workshop with guest artist Stacey “Flygirrl” Wilson on strengthening your artistic brand.

THE HARVEST: An Evening of Hip-Hop Theatre & Concert Dance

November 7, 2020 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm CST
Free
THE HARVEST is an an evening of Hip-Hop theater and concert dance through the fundamentals and lens of Hip-Hop culture.

Real Talk for Real Change: Advancing Hip-Hop as a Path Toward Equity

November 19, 2020 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CST
Free
In “Advancing Hip Hop as a Path Toward Equity,” hip hop artists, scholars, and educators will share artistic representations, discuss connections between hip hop and youth-led movements for Black lives, and share proven practices in hip hop education as paths toward youth empowerment and equity.