News, Brews & Beatz

News, Brews & Beatz


In November 2021, Illinois Public Media launched News, Brews & Beatz. These quarterly community conversations are focused on serving the Black community here in central Illinois and are the brainchild of our Assistant Corporate Support Director Jill Clements and our Director of News and Public Affairs Director Reginald Hardwick.

News, Brews & Beatz strives to always provide a space for diverse voices to engage in breakthrough conversations regarding pressing community issues and allow for realistic solutions to be identified. The inaugural year of events focused on the gun violence crisis here in Champaign-Urbana, and much of the solution-based work discussed at these events could be applied to communities across the country.

News, Brews & Beatz also works to highlight the diverse and impactful work of Black artists throughout our region.

Watch past events on our News, Brews & Brews YouTube playlist.

The health, wealth, and challenges of Black-owned businesses in central Illinois

Past events

Parenting Black children and teens in today’s world

This installment of News, Brews & Beatz series focuses on parenting Black children. From “The Talk” to addressing a child’s cultural identity and self-esteem in predominantly white spaces and navigating the challenges of social media with today’s peer pressures, a panel of community experts discuss the challenges of raising Black children in 2023 and what has changed over the decades. 


A look at the University of Illinois’ efforts to connect with CU’s Black communities

Our next News, Brews & Beatz community forum will feature University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones, Christopher Span, chief of staff and associate chancellor for administration and PreK-12 initiatives, and Wanda E. Ward, executive associate chancellor for public engagement. This discussion will include enrollment, tuition, agriculture, race, and the campus’ relationship with the Champaign-Urbana community.


The Impact of Housing & Economics on Gun Violence

The sixth edition of News, Brews and Beatz is focused on the impact of housing and economics on community gun violence. The community event returns to Pour Bros. Taproom, with a panel of experts from the housing authority, City of Champaign, the University of Illinois, and Parkland College, plus performances by spoken word artist Missy Richland, and Ryan Byfield & Nuclei Trio Band.


Ruby Mendenhall, Rachel Joy, Evelyn Reynolds, Lily Walton, Missy Richland Ryan Byfield