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RUSSELL SIMMONS AND THE HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK’S HIP-HOP TEAM VOTE CONTINUES TO BUILD NATIONAL MOMENTUM TOWARD ELECTION DAY 2004, DRAWING THOUSANDS OF NEW YOUNG VOTERS AT ITS BOSTON HIP-HOP SUMMIT
LLOYD BANKS, ANDRE 3000, WYCLEF JEAN, YING YANG TWINS, BONE CRUSHER, FREE, LOON, BIG TIGGA AND FARNSWORTH BENTLEY JOINED OTHER HIP-HOP ARTISTS SUPPORTING “HIP-HOP TEAM VOTE”
PLAYSTATION 2 PULSE POLL INDICATES 81% OF YOUTH POLLED PLAN TO VOTE IN THIS YEAR’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
BOSTON, MA. – JULY 26, 2004 – Nearly 5,000 youth participants rallied at the Boston Hip-Hop Summit today in the heart of Boston’s Roxbury community, while thousands of delegates were preparing to attend the opening of the Democratic National Convention. Members of Congress, State Legislators, Mayors, recording industry executives, hip-hop artists, civil rights, youth and community leaders witnessed the thunderous applause and affirmations of thousands of newly registered to vote young people who had jammed into the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center on the campus of the Roxbury Community College. The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is the largest non-partisan, non-profit national coalition of hip-hop artists and recording industry executives. Its youth voter registration initiative is called “Hip-Hop Team Vote” (www.hsan.org).
The four-hour Summit featured hip-hop celebrity panelists including Russell Simmons, Reverend Run of Run DMC, Def Jam Enterprises President/CEO Kevin Liles, HSAN President/CEO Benjamin Chavis, Dunk The Vote President Ron Bell, Lloyd Banks, Andre 3000, Wyclef Jean, Ying Yang Twins, Bone Crusher, Free from BET’s “106 & Park,” Loon, Big Tigga, Farnsworth Bentley, Babs from Da Band, and HSAN’s Vice President Jeff Johnson.
The Honorable Kwame Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit, was introduced to the Boston Hip-Hop Summit as “the Hip-Hop Mayor.” Mayor Kilpatrick stated, “This is the most important election of our lifetime, and we’re all pleased to see so many young people here today who’ve made the decision to get involved.”
Congresswomen Maxine Waters (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) all brought greetings to the Boston Hip-Hop Summit.
The Boston Hip-Hop Summit was sponsored by PlayStation 2, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and Radio One’s WBOT-FM Hot 97.7, and WILD 1090 AM.
The PlayStation 2 Pulse Poll, taken at the Boston Hip-Hop Summit, revealed:
- 81% of eligible youth plan to vote in this year’s presidential election
- 74% are registering to vote because they want to make a difference in the country and feel that voting is the best way to do that
- the top three issues of importance to young people were education, jobs and the economy
- responding to the question “Looking ahead to the 2004 presidential election, how will you vote?” 81% were for John Kerry, 13% were undecided and .4% were for George Bush
Declared Russell Simmons, “Clearly, today is another great sign of the growing energy and momentum of youth who are responding throughout America by registering to vote and by offering themselves in the service of ending poverty and ignorance.”
While a key theme at the Summit was the importance of youth voter registration and the “Hip-Hop Team Vote” initiative, the broader issue of self empowerment was at the heart of the encouragement offered by the panelists to the young people paying rapt attention in the audience. Kevin Liles, an HSAN board member and a mentor to many, emphasized, “To be successful in life requires hard work, diligence and, most of all, perseverance. You all must take advantage of every opportunity you can to be responsible for improving the quality of your own life and the life of your community.”
Andre 3000 of Outkast made a surprise guest appearance at the Boston Hip-Hop Summit and encouraged young people “to take voting seriously.”
Lloyd Banks, who has the #1 album in the country this week with The Hunger For More, was insistent in saying, “The youth of today can make a difference. That difference will be made at the voting polls, as well as in the communities, where we all are demanding a better way of life.”
Boston native Free of BET’s award-winning “106 & Park” program, was presented with an “Outstanding Leadership Award” by HSAN for her contributions to youth empowerment throughout America. Wyclef Jean received an HSAN “Outstanding Leadership Award” for his contributions to youth leadership development throughout the world.
The Boston Hip-Hop Summit, as with all of the HSAN Summits, received tremendous support from local community-based organizations to make it possible. Those organizations include: Dunk The Vote, the NAACP, the National Black College Alliance, Greater Love Tabernacle Church, Griffin House, Women’s Circle, Freedom House, FIRST Askia Academy, Youth Substance Abuse Task Force, Youth Opportunities Program, Massachusetts Black Alcohol and Addiction Council, First Church in Roxbury, Dudley Main Streets, Brockton Neighbors United, Project Right, Darcy’s Barber Shop, Cut N Edge Barber Shop, Us Making Moves Forever, Youth Police in Partnership, Bold Team, Father Friendly Initiative, Coalition of Black Women, Recovery Community, YMCA of Roxbury, Neighborhood Network Learning Center, Roxbury Presbyterian Church, Teen Alternative Program, Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Center, Nation of Islam, We’re Educators-A Touch of Class, Lemuel Shattuck Hospital-Addiction Services, Shelburne Community Center, WRBB 104.9FM, Keith’s Place and The Tape Connection.
Reverend Run offered a final prayer at the conclusion of the Boston Hip-Hop Summit.
“Our prayer is for peace and for a universal love among all the people of the world.”
Dr. Benjamin Chavis concluded, “Once again, young people have resoundingly stood up and demanded that their interests and voice be heard. There is no question that the youth vote will determine the outcome of the 2004 elections. We’re now getting ready for the “March on New York: Still We Rise,” on August 30, 2004 in New York City.”