Hip-Hop Summit Registers 30,000 Voters

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — In the six weeks leading up to the March 27 Chicago Hip-Hop Summit, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s Hip-Hop Team Vote project, working in partnership with local grass roots organizations, was able to register over 30,000 new young voters, between the ages of 18 and 35, from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Indiana. Through hip-hop radio, artist television PSA’s, the hsan.orgwebsite and street team and grass roots door to door campaigns, the Hip-Hop Team Vote initiative continues to build momentum throughout the Midwest as well as other regions of the United States since the beginning of 2004.

ON March 27 at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Pavillion, thousands of young people newly registered to vote enthusiastically responded to the opportunity to raise questions with some of the nation’s leading hip-hop artists and recording industry executives. The celebrity hip-hop panel discussion was led by Kanye West, Ludacris, Russell Simmons, Twista, Common, Shawnna, Loon, Jim Jones of
the Diplomats, Def Poetry Jam’s Malik Yussef and Red
Storm, Babs from Da Band, Layzie Bone, Crooked I, Duane “Hump” Hobbs, White Boy, Nuisance and Ruff, G-Zuz from Soldierz At War and Five Star General James. Doug E Fresh and Dr Ben moderated the session.

Some of the issues addressed ranged from the importance of the youth vote, halting police brutality and rap profiling and freeing U.S. political prisoners to raising public awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, self-improvement as a basis for family and
community development and using hip-hop to promote
social change.

Russell Simmons, chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action
Network, declared, “The Chicago Hip-Hop Summit was
full of energy and exemplified the growing power of
hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon that represents the
best generation of youth ever. The youth vote of 2004
will make a positive difference in the national
elections.”

“It’s time for all of us to stand up
and show the power of our votes so that the interests
of our communities gets represented." Ludacris said.

West and Twista gave a freestyle performance of
their latest hit “Slow Jamz.” Afterwards, West
stressed the importance of youth empowerment. “We all
have to work on improving ourselves educationally and
culturally and be prepared to speak out on the issues
of justice and equality,” he stated.

Common, who co-hosted the Chicago Hip-Hop Summit along
with West, affirmed, “Hip-hop is about truth
telling, and the truth is there’s still too much
poverty. There’s a wealth of creative talent in our
communities that should take more leadership in the
struggle to eliminate poverty.”

Both Malik Yussef and Red Storm of Def Poetry Jam
performed spoken word pieces. Yussef poetically
called for more unity between hip-hop artists and
hip-hop activists.

A highlight of the Chicago Hip-Hop Summit was the

presentation of a National Achievement Award to George
Daniels, founder of George’s Music Room, for his
contributions to the entrepreneurial development in
the African-American community. George’s Music Room is
a retail outlet for music established in 1969.

Anheuser-Busch executive Johnny Furr presented a
$10,000 scholarship check to Dr. Warrick Carter,
President of Chicago’s Columbia College, which
specializes in higher education in the arts and
culture.

“The fact that we were able to register young people
from throughout the Midwest in preparation of the
Chicago Hip-Hop Summit indicates that there is an
acceleration of interest and involvement of youth who
are participating for the first time in the political
process,” concluded Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president/CEO
of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. “This is very
encouraging and indicative of the rising power of
hip-hop.”

The Chicago Hip-Hop Summit was sponsored by Clear
Channel Radio’s WGCI-FM 107.5, Anheuser-Busch, Inc.,
ICEE Records, Clear Channel Entertainment and a local
Mercedes Benz dealership. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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