Fall Interdisciplinary Artist Byrd-McPhee featured in Q&A with Capital Times

Michele Byrd-McPhee, the fall 2020 interdisciplinary artist with UW–Madison’s Division of the Arts, was featured in a Q&A for the Capital Times where she spoke about adjusting to teaching via Zoom, the challenges women face in hip-hop, and the role of music and dancing in protests.

Michele Byrd-McPhee

Byrd-McPhee is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, producer, curator, and director of Ladies of Hip-Hop. Her fall 2020 class at UW–Madison, “Hip-Hop Culture, Women & the World,” 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.

Byrd-McPhee said her goal with that class was not to focus on “the usual timeline, because you can look that up, and you don’t need to pay for that in a college class.”

“So let’s talk about all the things that no one says, or they talk about behind closed doors,” she said.

The class started out focusing on Black women’s contributions to the arts, starting around the late 1830s, and went as far forward as the appropriation of Black dance on TikTok, Byrd-McPhee told the Capital Times.

The UW–Madison Division of the Arts’ Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program (IARP) brings innovative artists to UW­­–Madison to teach semester-long, interdepartmental courses and to publicly present their work for campus and community audiences and is funded through the university’s Office of the Provost.

The Fall 2020 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program was presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the School of Education’s Dance Department, with Assistant Professor Duane Lee Holland, Jr. as lead faculty.

Learn more about Byrd-McPhee by reading the Capital Times’ Q&A, here.