Jody L. Miller [email protected]
Ellen Zoe Golden [email protected]
JLM PR, Inc. (212) 431-5227



CHICAGO, IL. – MARCH 29, 2004 – In the six weeks leading up to the March 27th 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 the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio and Indiana. Through hip-hop radio, artist television PSA’s, the website 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.

Last Saturday, 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.”

Ludacris stated, “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.”

Kanye West and Twista gave a freestyle performance of their latest hit “Slow Jamz.” Afterwards, Kanye 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 Kanye 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. Malik 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.

For further information on the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and registering to vote, go to

Ellen Zoe Golden [email protected] JLM PR 580 Broadway, Suite 1208 New York, New York 10012

212-431-5227 212-431-6818–FAX

Russell Simmon’s Hip Hop Summit Action Network; Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Music along with Rocawear, Armadale Vodka, other corporate ventures from Damon Dash; writer, filmmaker, producer, cultural critic Nelson George