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NEW YORK, NY – FEBURARY13, 2008- Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Chairman and President/CEO, respectively, of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), respectively, announce the Fifth Annual Action Awards, an exclusive fundraising dinner event that recognizes the outstanding work of corporate and artistic icons in hip-hop for their work in empowering lives and giving back to the community.

Set to take place on Monday, February 25, 2008, at Capitale, 130 Bowery (at Bowery and Grand), in New York City, the 2008 Action Awards will honor Snoop Dogg, Ciara, Doug E. Fresh, Chris Lighty, Jim Jones and Mellody Hobson for their dedication and commitment to community service and empowerment. Event Co-Chairs are BET ExecutiveVice President of Entertainment and Music Programming, Stephen Hill, and Disturbing Tha Peace Records’ CEO, Chaka Zulu.

Red Carpet and Cocktail Hour begins at 6:30 p.m., with the Action Awards Dinner and Program to follow from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Music will be provided by the legendary DJ D-Nice.

Corporate Sponsors making the 2008 Action Awards possible include Gold Partners: Anheuser-Busch, Inc. with Silver Partners: BET, MTV and Viacom.

Russell Simmons stated, “HSAN holds the Action Awards to celebrate the importance of people taking action to give back to our communities. Snoop, Ciara, Doug E., Chris, Jim, and Mellody represent the best of hip-hop and all have uniquely and effectively given back their time, money and energy to help improve the quality of life of all people. HSAN, therefore, is proud to honor each of them with the 2008 Action Award.”

International hip-hop star and icon Snoop Dogg continues to prove to the world that there is longevity in the genre. A philanthropist at heart, Snoop chooses to leverage his celebrity status in his community by giving hundreds of at-risk and underprivileged young boys in Los Angeles an opportunity to be part of the Snoop Youth Football League. He coaches the boys directly about the game of football but also about the game of life. He inspires them, gives them hope and provides a positive learning experience that they can carry into adulthood.

International superstar and Atlanta native, Ciara Harris, has devoted her time, talent and resources to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America’s public schools by restoring music education programs that have been cut due to budget reductions or to save programs at risk of elimination due to lack of instruments.

Hip-Hop icon, Doug E. Fresh has been a community advocate for decades, inspiring young people though his unparalleled devotion to economic empowerment and healthcare awareness. Doug E. is passionate about educating and empowering young minorities to become financially independent through entrepreneurship, investing and making sound financial decisions, and has participated as the co-moderator with Dr. Benjamin Chavis, in many Hip-Hop Summit financial literacy Summits around the country.

Entertainment industry powerbroker and Bronx New York native Chris Lighty has exhibited the qualities of a business and social icon from the inception of his career. In his role as CEO of Violator Management, managing such superstars as 50 Cent, Diddy, LL Cool J, Missy Elliot and more. Chris has trail blazed as a community pioneer by providing jobs, resources and opportunities for hundreds of young aspiring professionals. Chris remains committed by sponsoring annual community events and by serving as a board member for the G-Unity Foundation. The G-Unity Foundation, founded by 50 Cent, provides grants to non-profit organizations that focus on improving the quality of life for low-income and underserved communities.

Platinum selling hip-hop star and Diplomats CEO Jim Jones understands the adversities that young people from underserved communities encounter each day. A Harlem native, Jim channels his time to support community initiatives that provide educational programs to NYC schools. As an advocate of the Entertainer 4 Education Alliance, Jim sponsored the Achieve Your Dreams Poetry Contest and other community events dedicated to the educational advancement of NYC youth. The program provides stipends to cover the cost of books to college freshman and provides internship opportunities to deserving individuals.

As the President of Ariel Capital Management, one of the largest African-American owned investment firms in the world, Mellody Hobson is one of the most powerful businesswomen in the United States. Her dedication and commitment to entrepreneurialism and financial literacy make her a true pioneer. Mellody devotes her time and focus to the Ariel Education Initiative and Ariel Community Academy in the south side of Chicago where they teach financial literacy to students from pre-K to 8th.

At prior Action Awards, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s has honored the charitable works of Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris and The Ludacris Foundation, Kayne West, “Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, Jermaine Dupri, Chrysler Financial, Debra L. Lee and BET, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Pepsi-Cola North America President Dawn Hudson, Tommy Hilfiger and MTV’s “Choose or Lose” Campaign and Steve Stoute.

HSAN Executive Director Valeisha Butterfield emphasized, “Each of our award recipients has made a significant contribution to the empowerment of people and communities. The mission of HSAN is the empowerment of all people. The Action Awards Red Carpet, Reception and Program will be filled with a very positive vibe as we enthusiastically salute the achievements of these six leaders.”

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 seven 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.

This past year alone, the HSAN has:

· Produced in conjunction with Chrysler Financial and Anheuser-Busch, Inc. a third year of highly successful series of Hip-Hop Summits on Financial Empowerment, which included Summits in Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Greensboro, Houston, Washington D.C. and Toronto.
· Launched the Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN), a coalition of women committed to supporting, promoting and defending the positive portrayal of women of color in entertainment and in society, in response to the negative portrayal of women in media and entertainment.
· Engaged young people in the importance of voting through its Hip-Hop Team Vote program.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis declared, “Hip-Hop is about transformation. The 2008 Action Awards will be a festive celebration of the transformative impact of hip-hop culture in America and throughout the world. The awards ceremony will be broadcast globally via the Internet with the help of Global Grind and other online media. ‘Taking back responsibility’ is HSAN’s motto. We are pleased to pay special tribute to those who are making a responsible and positive difference.”

About Hip-Hop Summit Action Network:

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition of artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents and youth leaders united in the belief that the “hip-hop” phenomena is an enormously influential agent for positive social change which must be responsibly and pro-actively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice. For more information on the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, go to

Board of Directors
Co-Chairman: Russell Simmons
Co-Chairman: Dr. Benjamin Chavis

Lyor Cohen, Warner Music Group; Sean “Diddy” Combs, Bad Boy Entertainment; Damon Dash, Dash Music Group; Jermaine Dupri, Def Jam Records; Kevin Liles, Warner Music Group; Mike Concepcion, Grand Jury Records; Dr. Manning Marable, Columbia University; Kedar Massenberg, Kedar Entertainment; Kwesi Mfume, Mfume Group; Hilary Rosen, former President of the Recording Industry Association of America; Rich Slomovitz, Rush Communications; and Steve Stoute, Translation Marketing.

For more event information, or to purchase tickets or tables, please call Valeisha Butterfield at 212.997.3014.

For more information on the local summits and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network efforts, go to