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Hip Hop Fridays: Congressional Black Caucus To Participate In Hip Hop Summit

The roster of attendees at next week's Hip-Hop Summit organized by Russell Simmons seems to be growing larger by the day. Yesterday, it was confirmed and announced that members of the Congressional Black Caucus will be lending their political authority, insight and perspective to the event. The news of the CBC's involvement is a welcome addition for many, including the event organizers, who are concerned about the political establishment's evolving position(s) on criminal justice issues and media censorship.

For too long, organizers, indicate, there has been a divide between the Hip Hop industry and Black elected officials. The attendance of Black Caucus members, who will participate in a series of private group and one-on-one meetings with Hip-Hop artists and music executives, is expected to bridge that gap in a manner that lays the base for a mutually beneficial relationship. Some connected with the event have made it clear that whatever develops between the politicians and Hip-Hop industry and community will not be a one-dimensional relationship that serves short-term interests.

We hold out high hopes for the event, which represents Hip-Hop's best potential to unify across cultural, political and economic lines. The event will feature a keynote address by Nation Of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Here is yesterday's press release concerning the latest developments:

U.S. Representatives Sign On to Help Politically Empower the Hip-Hop Nation

Congressional Members Join Growing List of Civil Rights Leaders, Artists, Music Executives At the Hip-Hop Summit

-- Already positioned as the meeting place for major civil rights leaders, rap artists, music business executives, and religious leaders, today Russell Simmons announced that the Hip-Hop Summit taking place June 12-13 in New York will feature an unprecedented group of political figures.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Rep. James E. Clyburn, (D-SC), Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-AL) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) have accepted Simmons' invitation to meet with the hip hop community and discuss the potential political power in the large constituency. The meeting will be assisted by the Recording Industry Association of America President and CEO Hilary Rosen, noted author ("Race Matters," "Jews & Blacks Let The Healing Begin") Cornel West, and Rock The Vote Executive Director Mario Velasquez.

"We are very pleased that members of Congress will have a presence at this important Summit," said Simmons. "Their attendance sends a clear message that working together, the hip-hop community and political leaders, can serve as a positive force of change."

"The fact that members of Congress will participate in this year's Summit clearly shows that hip hop is a prominent force in popular culture," said Rosen. "This growing movement is ready and willing to work with both sides of the aisle to make a difference in communities across the country."

Simmons also announced today that some of the most influential civil rights leaders and organizations in the country will be joining the Congressional Representatives in establishing a new level of clout for the hip hop nation. Lending their active support to the Hip-Hop Summit are Martin Luther King III, Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, Hugh Price and the Urban League, Kwesi Mfume and the NAACP, Nkiru Center for Education & Culture, The Schomberg Center for Research and Culture, and the Million Family Movement.

In addition, the music industry backing is growing. Joining those names already announced, and figuring prominently in the organization and implementation of the Hip-Hop Summit will be Kedar Massenburg of Motown, Barry Weiss of Jive Records, and key representatives from Arista Records, Atlantic Records, and Violator Records/Management.

The latest artists to throw in with already announced participants Sean ``Puffy'' Combs, Dr. Dre, Jermaine Dupree, Talib Kweli, KRS-1 and Master P--and to confirm their support of the goals of the Hip-Hop Summit--are Will Smith, Run DMC, Foxy Brown, Wyclef Jean, Black Rob, Method Man, Eve, Ja Rule, LL Cool J, Jay Z, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mobb Deep, Queen Latifah, Chuck D, Keith Murray, Sister Souljah, Luke Skywalker, Ludicrous, Cash Money Millionaires, Funkmaster Flex, Jinx, Scarface, Redman, Lady Luck, G-Dep, Fat Joe, Common, Lil Bow Wow, Q-tip, dead prez, JT Money, MC Lyte, MTV's Ananda Lewis and Sway, and Rah Digga.

The goal of the Hip-Hop Summit is to initiate positive, proactive reforms from inside the music industry.

Friday, June 8, 2001

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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