This summer, students organized and performed the show “The States Step Out,” portraying the duality of physically stepping out of the U.S. and out of the state of comfortability into a new world of both difficulty and new artistry. Songs, monologues, and rap were used to discuss topics such as gun violence, gender relations, the danger of not belonging, strength, and community.
The students’ performances were great. They were so excited to perform internationally and to share their art with a different audience.”
— University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor Ethelene Whitmire.
The students – who are a part of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s First Wave Hip-Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community – were at DIS on a Faculty-Led Program (FLP) led by Professor Ethelene Whitmire. Whitmire based her summer class, The Transnational Experiences of African Americans in Denmark, off her research on African American communities in Denmark. The past years, she has spent every summer engaged in research in Denmark and she was a Fullbright scholar in Copenhagen for a semester. While there has been much research on African Americans’ presence in Paris in the 1950s and their influence on for example the jazz scene, there is little work on African Americans in Denmark.
During their time in Copenhagen, the class saw the “Voices from the Colonies” exhibit at the National Museum, visited Kronborg castle, went to Jazz performances, met with minority Danes, and discussed the role of African Americans on the Danish art scene. They also walked in the footsteps of African Americans who settled in Denmark last century, and sipped tea at Brønnums like Jamaican-born writer Roy De Coverley did in 1954.
The students ended the class with more academically informed reflections. Whitmire plans to be back next summer with a new group of students who might also be rapping and singing about their experiences as minorities stepping out of the States.Back to all news