The Bellhops perform at a previous Urban Cabaret.

“A lot of people see the Urban League building and they don’t really know what we do inside this building,” says Hedi Rudd, Development and Events Manager at Urban League of Greater Madison. “With the Urban Cabaret, we really want to show people what we do here at the Urban League of Greater Madison. Having 500 people in a room listening to and talking about our story is a great opportunity for us … and hopefully they will all go on to share that story, too.”

Rudd has been busy planning the Urban League of Greater Madison’s 3rd annual Urban Cabaret titled “Love, Peace, and Soul” which will take place Friday, Sept. 25, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

It is the marquee event for the Urban League of Greater Madison(ULGM) that raises money to support their empowerment, employment, and education programs that help with things like job training, placement, and coaching for unemployed parents along with academic tutoring, career awareness internships, and other enrichment programs for youth.

“Things are going great here at the Urban League. I think it’s very timely to be celebrating with the community. We’re moving things forward in a positive way,” says ULGM President and CEO Ruben L. Anthony. “I’m so happy to be a part of the Urban League at this time with the great staff we have here. They are really intent on serving the community whether it’s in education or helping people find jobs or helping people find homes.

“Having an event like this helps us to keep moving forward with our great tradition that the Urban League has established since 1968,” Anthony added.

Urban League President and CEO Ruben Anthony
Urban League President and CEO Ruben Anthony

On February 20, 1968, the National Urban League approved the application of the Friends of the Urban League for affiliation and a movement for justice and education was born in Madison. For 47 years, ULGM has worked to ensure that African Americans and other community members are educated, employed, and empowered to live well, advance professionally and contribute to the common good.

The Urban Cabaret is an annual chance to show off what ULGM does. The theme of this year’s event is “Love Peace & Soul.” Leotha Stanley and the Community Choir will perform for the crowd as will the popular Madison R&B group Kinfolk who are well known for their soulful harmonies and gritty vocals. Rob Dz and the New Breed Jazz Jam will perform Gil Scott-Heron poetry in their own jazzy and hip way. Solomon Roller will play acoustic guitar on the Grand Terrace. At the end of the night, DJ Chill will keep people moving with a high-energy dance party.

The emcee of the evening will be Roger Putnam III, the founder and CEO of SQUID communications, a firm that specializes in new-media strategies, community relations, coalition building, and more.

The event brings the community together to network with each other, to celebrate progress made since last year, and to recommit to creating a more equitable Dane County where all citizens are enjoying the same great quality of life. The Cabaret also puts a spotlight on the diverse culture and artistic talent of the community.

“The Urban Cabaret is a big fundraiser for us and it draws attention to the work that we do at the Urban League,” Rudd says. “For me, selfishly, it’s an opportunity to honor and showcase the local talent that we have around here … particularly, people of color who don’t always have this type of venue and stage to get on.”

UW First Wave students perform at last year's Urban Cabaret.
UW First Wave students perform at last year’s Urban Cabaret.

Nia Trammell, ULGM board chair, and Angela Russell, ULGM board vice chair will present 2015 Whitney M. Young Awards to Jonathan Gramling, the publisher and editor of The Capital City Hues, and to the YWCA of Madison. The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award is given by boards of directors of Urban League affiliates across the country in memory of the great civil rights leader and former head of the National Urban League. Young was one of America’s most charismatic, courageous, and influential civil rights pioneers.

“We have some great people in this community who don’t really do it for the recognition,” Anthony says. “We have a lot of quite heroes … people who don’t toot their own horns. So we have an opportunity that night to showcase them and spotlight them and to show our appreciation for the work they do in this community.”

Anthony will also present the 2015 President’s Awards to the following individuals and organizations in the community who represent the spirit of the Urban League in some incredible ways:
• C. Wade Harrison – Distinguished Service
• Carola A. Gaines – Exceptional Community Collaborator
• Madison Community Foundation – Community Champion
• Will Green – Grassroots Hero
• Percy Brown, Jr. – Rising Star

The Urban Cabaret is a way to empower, educate, and employ while providing attendees and artists a way to intimately communicate ideas and experiences. It’s a place for local artists to perform and connect with the community. Proceeds from the event will benefit many of ULGM’s great programs.

“I want people to come and have fun and be able to get away from all of the day-to-day stuff. This is a great opportunity to network, to dance, to listen to good music, and enjoy good food,” Anthony says. “All of the while, we will be supporting the Urban League programs in employment, education, and social justice. What better place than Monona Terrace? We’re going to bring 500 people together to celebrate. It’s a great honor to host this event at this time.”

For more information contact Hedi Rudd at (608) 729-1268 or hrudd@ulgm.org. To purchase tickets, click here.