Businesses on State Street stay open late to participate in Mad Lit.It has been great to see and hear the reaction to the first Mad Lit event that occurred on July 2. Mad Lit 2021 is presented in partnership with Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) and theGreaterMadison Music City project (GMMC). I am glad the City was a major sponsor for this event and wanted to let you know that many more are in the works.

The goal of these events are to: 1. increase traffic to downtown, 2. provide opportunities to diverse artists, musicians and performers, and 3. intentionally combine arts and culture with commerce by creating space for pop-up shops for small businesses owned by people of color.

Some businesses on State Street that normally closed for the evening stayed opened last Friday as D.J. Ace spun the tunes and Sammy + J. Vocal w/ Crown Vic performed. People of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds were there dancing, shopping State Street businesses and local vendors, and connecting with community.

Kudos to Rob “Rob Dz” Franklin, who works at Madison’s Central Library, for envisioning this creative collaboration, and to his Mad Lit team and partners for putting together this series of events highlighting local artists and businesses owned by people of color.

You can look forward to future Mad Lit events, which are planned for every other Friday night from July through October between 8pm-11pm. These events will combine live bands and local DJs, visual arts exhibits with an intentional effort to be a diverse artistic experience and business pop-ups featuring businesses of color on the 100 block of State Street.

Franklin told the Capital Times that he wanted to expand people’s definitions of what music made by Black artists can sound like.

“We can have different reflections of artists of color,” Franklin said. “Hip-hop is towards the end of the series. It was trying to be mindful of having different reflections of what is our excellence.”

The series is free and open to all ages. Mark your calendars for these excellent performances coming up:

July 16 — Orquesta Salsol del Mad / Featuring D.J. Chamo

July 30 — Natty Nation / Featuring D.J. Phil Money

August 13 — The Adem Tesfaye Band w/ Zander Anim + Vilas Park Sniper

August 27 — Spoken Word + Comedy Showcase / Featuring D.J. M. White

September 10 — D.J. Block Party featuring Bruce Blaq, D.J. Fusion, D.J. Pain + Nick Nice w/ Hitterz Collectve + The Dynamic Badgerettes

September 17 — Rey Cruz w/ Almighty from the 8 / Featuring D.J. Flaco

October 8 — Supa Friends w/ Marcus Porter + Juciee Monroe

Mad Lit attendees dance the night away on State Street.I also want to thank the sponsors of the series. The City of Madison is joined by a long list of sponsors, including American Family Insurance, Synergy Coworking, Madison Community Foundation, WORT 89.9FM, Madison Arts Commission, Dane Arts, Madison Central BID, Great Dane Brewery, 107State, Tito's Vodka, Downtown Madison Inc., UJAMAA Business Network, Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County, All of Us Research Program, Destination Madison, and Greater Madison Music City.

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