On June 21, local Milwaukee artists including WebsterX, Darius Smith, Lex Allen and Zed Kenzo helped organize the first Black is Beautiful Ride. The ride rolled 16 miles around all different areas of Milwaukee and drew a diverse crowd of more than 1,000 riders raising over $20,000 for Walnut Way Conservation Corp. and Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT).
Due to the success of the first ride and to keep the momentum going, Black is Beautiful: Volume II will take place this Sunday, Aug. 16 at Reservoir Park at 1 p.m. with the ride starting at 2 p.m. An after party will follow in the No Studios parking lot at 6 p.m. More details can be found here.
This week on the podcast, I was joined by local rapper WebsterX (Sam Ahmed) and Enrique "Mag" Rodriguez, director of Radio Milwaukee’s Backline program, an accelerator program for artists that was rated a top ten most innovative music companies by Fast Company in 2020. Both played a big role in the success of the first ride, and both were on the frontlines of the Milwaukee protests following the murder of George Floyd. Neither hesitated to step up and organize the Black is Beautiful ride knowing they had the platform and resources to pull it off in just eight days.
"We have to go now. We knew there was going to be momentum lost from the movement; we had to strike now. Let’s put that date down and figure it out later," WebsterX said. "We were 21 days into protesting and needed a mental health day."
On the podcast, we go deep into how the ride came together and what it was like to be on the frontlines of the protests.
"It was like witnessing 'Saving Private Ryan.' It was a full war zone," WebsterX said.
We also touch on the Milwaukee music scene and how we can come together moving forward.
And as for this coming Sunday?
"I think volume two is going to be even more powerful," Webster X said. "We haven’t seen a protest this size in Milwaukee in 30-40 days."