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"Make Milwaukee": Finding Hmong Roots Through Hip Hop

(Main story image from millsizz's Flickr)

Listen: As we continue our exploration of cultural identity and creatives working in Milwaukee, we meet a musician ( check out his Myspace page), actor ( check out his IMDB page), and activist Elvis Thao. I've spoken with Elvis before, so I had a game plan going into the interview, but as things go, the conversation ended up meandering, touching on family, music, politics, Hmong history, art, Milwaukee, and plenty more -- Elvis' path through life has been fascinating.

My plan was to make a broad-scope piece, tracing his chronology. Then, Elvis made the following statement: "Before hip hop, I didn't even care that I was Hmong..." That statement struck me -- hip hop, a thoroughly American art from in its origin, led to Elvis search for his own story as a Hmong-American. Let's explore: 

There is far more to his story, as well as the Hmong community in Milwaukee. Soon, we'll be back again to gather more.