Russell Simmons, chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, said that HSAN will co-sponsor its largest Hip-Hop Summit ever in the city of Detroit, MI on April 26, 2003, along with hosts: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Oscar and Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Eminem, the Detroit branch of the NAACP and one of Clear Channel's leading hip-hop stations, FM98 WJLB.
The Summit will be held at Detroit's Cobo Arena, which has a capacity of 13,000. Other confirmed hip-hop artists and recording industry executives participating include Reverend Run of Run-DMC, Shady Records' D12 and label vice president/GM Paul Rosenberg, the DOC, Doug E. Fresh, Jive Records' Petey Pablo, Arista Records' Cherub and Red Cafe, Slum Village, Web Entertainment's Bass Brothers, Def Jam Records president Kevin Liles and artists from the Def Jam Vendetta Tour including Method Man, Redman, Cam'ron and the Diplomats, Keith Murray and Capone-N-Noreaga. Admission to the Detroit Hip-Hop Summit at Cobo Arena will be free to the public on a first come, first served basis.
The theme of the Detroit Hip-Hop Summit will be the Remix:
Rebuilding…Refocusing…Reinvesting…Resurgence, the focus of which will be utilizing hip-hop for youth empowerment. Topics to be addressed at the Summit will include hip-hop's economic, political and social impact and effective strategies for youth empowerment.
There are several unique aspects to the Detroit Hip-Hop Summit. It is being held in collaboration with the Detroit branch of NAACP's Freedom Weekend, which draws thousands to Detroit for a dialogue and America's largest sitdown dinner in Cobo Hall on April 27. During this event, Simmons will receive the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with America's youth. Also unique about this Summit is the partnership with Kilpatrick, America's youngest mayor, who has engaged young people in the political process.
"Our commitment is to help empower the youth of today, who are the most gifted and talented generation of young people that we've ever been blessed to have. Assembling in Detroit, amidst its rebirth under a dynamic, young 32-year- old hip-hop Mayor, is a great tribute to the power of hip-hop," asserted Simmons.
Mayor Kilpatrick stated, "Detroit is rebuilding and resurging, and young people are beginning to understand that they have a place and a role in changing the world right here from their city."
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president/CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, emphasized, "Inside the Cobo Arena, the world will witness hip-hop at its best.The icons and moguls of the industry will present themselves before thousands of inner city youth, not only to answer their questions but, more importantly, to lift their spirits and encourage them to excel in school and in society."
"For me, Detroit symbolizes hip-hop in a lot of different ways," said Eminem. "Everybody who's been involved in Detroit hip-hop culture here has spent years trying to bring light to the city the same way Russell worked to bring hip-hop to the attention of the world. And the same way the Mayor is working to put Detroit back in the spotlight. It's the struggle to be heard and to be recognized. It's our time, both hip-hop's and Detroit's."
For the first time, a Hip-Hop Poetry Slam at the St. Andrews Hall, will feature hip-hop poets from throughout Michigan and the Midwest region. St. Andrews Hall is located at 431 East Congress, Detroit. In addition, an official Hip-Hop Summit Talent Showcase will follow the conclusion of the formal Summit. Featured performances will include the Def Jam Vendetta Tour artists: Cam'ron and the Diplomats, Method Man, Red Man, Keith Murray and Capone-N-Noreaga; the DOC and Web Entertainment's King Gordy. The Detroit Hip-Hop Summit Showcase will take place at the State Theater, located at 2115 Woodward, Detroit. The Detroit Hip-Hop Summit official post Summit celebration will be held at the Detroit Historical Museum, located at 5401 Woodward, Detroit.
"Freedom Weekend will allow us to showcase Detroit as a Mecca of dialogue and ideas, while creating economic opportunities for businesses," said Reverend Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit branch of the NAACP.
Earl Jones, GM of Clear Channel's WJLB and WMXD added, "We are excited to be the official radio host of the Detroit Hip-Hop Summit. This Summit will result in increased education, economics and knowledge for youth everywhere."
Dr. Benjamin Chavis said, "We appreciate the emerging partnership
between the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and Clear Channel to make possible the growth and expansion of our Summits and service to youth across the nation."
Mayor Kilpatrick further affirmed, "We believe bringing the absolute largest names in hip-hop culture to the city of Detroit will generate the kind of dialogue that creates young entrepreneurs who can rebuild urban communities across America."