Milwaukee Strong

In the summer of 2020, Imagine MKE, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 worked together to highlight Milwaukee’s vibrant artistic community and honor our city’s heroes. The launch on July 24 shared two projects with the public: the release of the “Milwaukee Strong”
song and music video which features over 30 Milwaukee musicians, and the
completion of “The Hero In You” mural by artist Ken Brown at the MacArthur
Square parking garage.

Milwaukee Strong by 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Imagine MKEImagine MKE

The song and music video project was the culmination of over two months of work. In April, musicians in the City of Louisville released a “Lift Up Louisville” song. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called it a “love song” to the city, and challenged the mayors of peer cities to create a similar song and video. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett saw this as an opportunity to invite musicians in Milwaukee to engage in the project, and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Imagine MKE were invited to partner to create a song and video the city could rally around.

“Milwaukee artists have brought creativity, imagination, and passion to both ‘Milwaukee Strong’ and ‘The Hero In You.’ The results of their work are remarkable,” said Mayor Barrett. “In suggesting a Milwaukee song, I hoped for a piece that would inspire and unify our community; my expectations have been greatly exceeded.”

Shonn HintonImagine MKE

Milwaukee Strong
Music and Lyrics by Shonn Hinton and Ray Nitti
© 2020

We are the proud we are the true
We work together we’re heroes through and through
Like the foundation of our homes
We stand together
Milwaukee Strong

Through the fire and through the rain
our tomorrow will be a better day.
Cause we are proud of what we know,
we are the good land
Milwaukee Strong.

From the ashes and the dust
we will rise we’ll all stand up
With hope in our eyes we’ll grow on
We will rebuild brick by brick
stone by stone

Through the test of fire
through the test of rain
our tomorrow will be a better day.
Cause we are proud of what we know,
we are the good land
Milwaukee Strong.

Milwaukee strong, like black coffee
Milwaukee Black and Brown, so please change policy
Milwaukee let’s work on ending poverty
Milwaukee growing, let’s make sure that we grow it properly
Milwaukee home, so let our love show
Milwaukee special, invest in the homegrown
Talent, we all searching for balance,
united the Good Land’s approaching all our challenges

Hand in hand
You and me
Working together
Like a family
Together we stand
Through it all
Hand in hand

Standing tall
In every way
Spreading love
The Milwaukee way
Loud and proud
Through and through
This is who we are
And this what we do

Through the test of fire
through the test of rain
our tomorrow will be a better day.
Cause we are proud of what we know,
we are the good land
Milwaukee Strong.

Milwaukee StrongImagine MKE

Over 30 artists – “The Milwaukee All-Stars” – were brought together to contribute to the song, resulting in a rich piece that highlights the diverse talent of Milwaukee’s musical community. Contributions include a string quartet of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra musicians, a trio of student musicians that participated in 88Nine’s Grace Weber’s Music Lab, a vocal quartet of harmonies from band Ruth B8r Ginsburg members, favorite Milwaukee duos SistaStrings and REYNA, and much more.

Complete artists featured are: Dena Aronson, Alex Ayers, B~Free, Alyssa Caroline, Roxi Copland, Olen Franklin, Ava Gessner, Trinity Grace, Paul Hauser, Shonn Hinton, Kyndal J., Terry Jeanes Jr., Jonathan Jones, Alex Julien, Timothy Klabunde, Greg Koch, Evan Lane, Alesia Miller, Ousia Moon, Ray Nitti, Danielle Renee, Elle Renee, REYNA, Johanna Rose, SistaStrings, Jesse Weinberg, Warren Wiegratz, Dee Yancey, and Adrien Zitoun.

"The Hero in You" Mural by Ken Brown and Samer GhaniImagine MKE

The music video features the 620-foot long, 5-foot high “The Hero In You” mural by Milwaukee artist Ken Brown, who was commissioned by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, and the Downtown Placemaking Task Force in April. The mural features 10 downtown essential workers and is intended to honor Milwaukee’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

The “Milwaukee Strong” project also honors everyday heroes and their contributions to our city. The following heroes are highlighted: Caitlin Cullen, Tandem; Andray DeCordova, Department of Public Works; Kayla Fleming, Advocate Aurora Health; Mia Harvey, Rocketship Transformation Prep; Beth Lappen, Milwaukee County Housing First; Willie Nash, Milwaukee County Transit System; and Nicole Thompson, COA Youth & Family Centers - Goldin Center.

Credits: Story

We stand together, Milwaukee Strong.

Nearly 40 Milwaukee-based creatives came together to create “Milwaukee Strong,” a song, video, and mural project that seeks to honor heroes, amplify our city’s artistic community, and inspire resilience.

We invite you to take action. Sign our pledge to stand up for arts and culture. Tip the creatives who donated their time to honor heroes. Head here --

“Milwaukee Strong”
© 2020 Quik Fingerz Muzic

Music by: Shonn Hinton
Lyrics by: Shonn Hinton & Ray Nitti
Produced By: Shonn Hinton
Assistant Producer: B~Free
Mixed By: Kevin Sucher
Mastered by: Randy Merrill
String Arrangement: Warren Wiegratz
Director of Photography: Samer Ghani
Video Editor: Dan Didier
Video Producer: Patrick Buckley
Staff of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Imagine MKE

Performers | The Milwaukee All-Stars:

Dena Aronson
Alex Ayers
Alyssa Caroline
Roxi Copland
Olen Franklin
Ava Gessner
Trinity Grace
Paul Hauser
Shonn Hinton
Kyndal J.
Terry Jeanes Jr.
Jonathan Jones
Alex Julien
Timothy Klabunde
Greg Koch
Evan Lane
Alesia Miller
Ousia Moon
Ray Nitti
Danielle Renee
Elle Renee
Johanna Rose
Jesse Weinberg
Warren Wiegratz
Dee Yancey
Adrien Zitoun


Artist: Ken Brown
Produced by Milwaukee Downtown BID #21


Caitlin Cullen, Tandem
Andray DeCordova, Department of Public Works
Kayla Fleming, Advocate Aurora Health
Mia Harvey, Rocketship Transformation Prep
Beth Lappen, Milwaukee County Housing First
Willie Nash, Milwaukee County Transit System
Nicole Thompson, COA Youth & Family Centers - Goldin Center

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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