The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), which held its first major Summit
in New York in June 2001 and
the second in Los Angeles in February of this year, just completed its third major
Summit meeting of hip-hop artists, record industry and business executives, civil
rights leaders and elected officials in Dallas on October 11-12. During the last 18
months, mini-Hip-Hop Summits have also been held in Queens, New York; Miami,
Oakland, CA; Kansas City; Washington, DC;
Seattle; and Raleigh, NC.
Under the theme of "Taking Back Responsibility:Empowering our Youth," a
special effort to increase youth involvement resulted in a tremendous
response from over 1,000 young participants. HSAN made the decision to convene
in Dallas as a result of an invitation from hip-hop legend and Dallas native, the
D.O.C., who was so moved by the L.A. Summit he attended.
The official radio station of the Dallas Hip-Hop Summit was 97.9 THE BEAT, a
Radio One affiliate.
The Dallas Hip-Hop Summit featured HSAN chairman Russell Simmons; HSAN
president/CEO Minister Benjamin Muhammad; the D.O.C.; Reverend Run from
Run-DMC; Motown recording artist Erykah Badu; Congresswoman Eddie Bernice
Johnson, chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus; former Dallas Mayor and
Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate Ron Kirk, Dr. Beverly
Brooks-Mitchell, president and CEO of the Dallas chapter of the Urban
League; State Senator Royce West; Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley
Price; Dallas business consultant Cliff Miller; Silverback Records COO
Vernon Norris; Latino Hip-Hop community representatives Rikki Rincon and
Synbad; and 97.9 The Beat on air personality Action Jaxon.
At the conclusion of the two-day meeting, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Hip-Hop
Summit Action Network Youth Council was established, spearheaded by the
D.O.C., whose mission it is to coordinate programs utilizing hip-hop culture
to improve the quality of life of communities in the Dallas-Ft.Worth area.
"It was humble beginnings for great things to come for Dallas-Ft.
Worth," commented the D.O.C. "The children are the key. We gotta get them
now, while they're young or they're going to be plum out of luck. Without
the older folks caring about the younger folks and the middle-aged folks
caring about the older folks, none of it is going to work. Everyone has to
get on the same page. After the turnout at this Summit, maybe the people of
Dallas will take that more seriously and we can really make a change here.
I'm committing myself to making sure that happens."
Russell Simmons noted the growing positive influence of hip-hop on society.
"Jay-Z is more influential than Colin Powell and the large number of youth
here today at the Hip-Hop Summit proves that young people are interested in
changing society for the better" Simmons stated.
"The Dallas Hip-Hop Summit was a powerful statement from the grass roots,
indicative of the return to greater social conscious in the evolution of hip-hop,"
added Minister Benjamin Muhammad. "Young people are standing up
and young people are speaking out and it is our responsibility, through the
Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, that the voice and the interests of the youth
Erykah Badu introduced her latest video, "The Love Of My Life," which is
included in the soundtrack of the newly released hip-hop movie, "Brown
Sugar." In Badu's address to the Summit, she chronicled the historical
development of hip-hop and noted that hip-hop is about speaking the truth
and not being silent in the face of injustice. "We need to bum rush the
system with truth," commented Badu.
In addition, the Urban Leaguer Def Jam Reader literacy program, the
NAACP/Rap The Vote, the S.I.T.E.S. (Students Information Technology
Education Scholarships) program, Bryan's House, an adolescent program to
help Dallas-Ft.Worth youth become responsible adults, as well as programs on
Hip-Hop Economic Development with Merrill Lynch, Hip-Hop Political
Empowerment and the Dallas-Fort Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council were also
included in the Dallas Summit.