Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Broadway Center Reaches Out To Hip Hop

This press release just came out over the Tacoma Arts Listserv:

With Immediate Response to Community Concerns Broadway Center Will Host A Hip-Hop Community Dialogue

Hip Hop music is at risk of being marginalized in our society as solely focused on violence and the degradation of women. The Broadway Center will host a community dialogue to challenge those assumptions and discuss ways in which Hip Hop music can be presented in a safe and positive manner: A Hip-Hop Community Dialogue on Sunday, April 27, 2008 at 3 pm in Theatre on the Square.

David Fischer, Executive Director commented, “I believe there is a fantastic history of artistry in hip-hop; and I also believe there are artists who aren’t brandishing guns and celebrating the abuse of women. The Broadway Center is committed to diverse access, but also in making sure our venues are safe and welcoming for the entire community. The upcoming community dialogue is designed to empower our community to better serve the Hip Hop audience.”

This dialogue is a free event and will be open to the public. Mediator and University of Puget Sound Professor, Dexter Gordon will facilitate the dialogue with intentions of maintaining an environment where all voices and opinions will be spoken and heard. Broadway Center encourages dialogue participants to attend with an open mind and willingness to listen and learn.

Broadway Center has invited Tacoma City Officials and members of 2012, while encouraging other community leaders to attend and participate in this dialogue.

The Broadway Center embraces a tremendous diversity of performing arts and audiences. Various Broadway Center community dialogues are hosted annually. This year, the Broadway Center has hosted Urban Explorers, African Heritage, and Latino Culture dialogues. Future dialogues slated for the upcoming year include Communities of Faith, GLBT and Asian Culture.

For more information about Broadway Center’s community dialogues, contact Lucas Smiraldo at 253.591.5341. For information and details about upcoming events, visit
It's good to see them actually reacting to the whole E40 show fiasco in a positive manner. I have some degree of fear that the dialogue will devolve into the hip hop community being angry and the BCPA administrators being defensive, but hopefully that won't happen. I know some of the people involved in the decision to nix the show, and while the (admittedly minimal) information that I've seen leads me to believe that they dropped the ball rather severely on that one, I also know that they are reasonable people, smart people, and genuinely interested in pushing to highlight the positive aspects of hip hop, and diversity in general.

Hopefully we'll have some of the level-headed arguments seen here, rather than just a bunch of upset people who have given up on the Broadway Center altogether.


NineInchNachos said...

Hip Hop community has a right to be outraged. What the TPD/BCPA crew pulled was bullshit.

I see this as a 'lets feel good about ourselves' exercise on the part of the bean counter admins.

Anyhow, If there were ever an event I wished could be podcasted this would be it.

izenmania said...

Response 1: I agree that the hip hop community has a right to be outraged. I think that the BCPA fucked up severely in caving to pressure from the TPD, and need to be held accountable for this.

Response 2: The Tacoma Hip Hop community will gain nothing from shouting at David Fischer except a sense of grim satisfaction. I genuinely believe that David (director) and Benjii (deputy director) will listen to a well constructed argument, and that there is some opportunity for progress here.

I have worked with David in theatre in the distant past, and I know Benjii on a personal basis. However, personal relationships aside, I will be attending this event, and I will be as impartial as I can manage. IF the hip-hop community comes forward intelligently against this slight, and IF I perceive that the BCPA brushes off their arguments and seems to be just trying to look good in the face of protests, I will certainly speak out firmly against them. But I am willing to at least grant them this opportunity to present their argument and possibly redeem themselves.

And I agree with you... I will talk to Kevin, and if he has nothing else going on, I will either get him to come down or harass him until he lets me borrow his official feed»tacoma digital recording device to make sure the content of this discussion makes it out to non-attendees.

NineInchNachos said...

for culture jammers this is a once in a life time event. Will a tacoma Ali-G arise to the occasion?

For the love of god I hope the Hip Hop folks take advantage of this. All their arguments could be in spoken word or freestyle/voicebox format.