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HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK’S FOURTH ANNUAL ACTION AWARDS A HUGE SUCCESS
The embodiment of hip-hop empowerment was evident in full force at the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s (HSAN) Fourth Annual Action Awards. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kanye West, Debra Lee and BET Networks and Steve Stoute were acknowledged and honored for their contributions to the hip-hop community. HSAN co-Chairmen Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Event Co-Chairs Andre Harrell and Sylvia Rhone and event host respected journalist Ed Gordon (TV One’s “Our World”) welcomed the sold out industry crowd at New York’s Chelsea Piers’ The Lighthouse, where celebrity guests Reverend Run, Common, Black Ty (aka Tyrese), Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen, Kid Capri, The Gotti’s and Gayle King were among those to witness a compelling and uplifting ceremony that was a testament to the power of the hip-hop dream.
Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging founder/CCO Steve Stoute, who broke down the barriers to connect Fortune 500 companies with celebrities from music, sports, entertainment and fashion, talked about how times have changed since he began his work. “At first, it was really difficult convincing companies to make these kinds of deals,” he explained. “Now, we’ve come a long way. The calls we get sometime amaze me. Everyone wants to participate in this space.”
Magic Johnson, CEO of Johnson Development Corporation, Magic Johnson Enterprises and Chairman/Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, is an undisputed world champion in the fields of business, finance, real estate, sports and community empowerment. His moving acceptance speech drew a standing ovation and spoke to the importance of mobilizing African Americans to realize their spending power. “We all have to be disciplined because there are those that come after us,” Johnson emphasized. “I used to be called Magic when I walked into a room, but now its Mr. Johnson. Everyone used to ask me about basketball and now they ask me about business.”
Kanye West and BET Chairman/CEO Debra Lee also gave rousing acceptance speeches, and the magnetism of the honorees and sheer star power in the room made this an unforgettable night. (PHOTO CAPTION #1: (left to right) Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) co-Chairman Dr. Benjamin Chavis; HSAN Managing Director Valeisha Butterfield; HSAN co-Chairman Russell Simmons; HSAN Action Award honorees: Debra L. Lee, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Steve Stoute; Anheuser-Busch, Inc VP of Urban Marketing and Community Affairs, and Johnny Furr.)
(PHOTO CAPTION #2: (left to right) Hip-Hop Summit Action Award honorees Kanye West and Earvin “Magic” Johnson)
Corporate Sponsors which made the 2006 Action Awards possible included Gold Partners: Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and Windows Live Search, with Silver Partners: Amtrak, DeBeers, General Motors, BET, MTV, Pepsi, and Warner Music Group.
In prior years, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s Action Awards have honored the good charitable works of Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris and The Ludacris Foundation, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Chrysler Financial,
Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Pepsi-Cola North America President Dawn Hudson, Tommy Hilfiger and MTV’s “Choose or Lose” Campaign.
HSAN is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. The work of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network started at HSAN’s inception in 2001, after the first National Hip-Hop Summit themed “Taking Back Responsibility.” A series of initiatives were established and, in the past five and a half years, HSAN followed through –engaging the Hip-Hop generation in community development issues related to equal access to high quality public education and reading literacy, reformation of unjust laws, freedom of speech and artistic expression, voter registration and mobilization, financial literacy and empowerment and youth leadership development.