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ST LOUIS HIP-HOP SUMMIT ANNOUNCES OVER 114,000 NEW YOUNG VOTER REGISTRATIONS IN MISSOURI
NELLY WELCOMES RUSSELL SIMMONS, REVEREND RUN, JADAKISS, ANTHONY HAMILTON, BIZ FROM D12,FREE,LOON, REMY MARTIN, LAYZIE BONE AND ZION TO HISTORIC SUMMIT
SUMMIT PLAYSTATION 2 POLL INDICATES 98% OF NEW REGISTRANTS THAT ATTENDED THE SUMMIT WILL VOTE IN NOVEMBER ’04
ST. LOUIS, MO. – AUGUST 23, 2004 – Nearly 9000 young people aged 18-35 assembled at the America’s Center on August 20, 2004 in St. Louis, MO. for what turned out to be the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s most successful Hip-Hop Summit. According to HSAN’s “Hip-Hop Team Vote” youth voter registration and Get Out The Vote (GOTV) initiative, a record number of daily youth voter registrations were recorded in the days leading up to the St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit. In St. Louis county alone, over 1,000 registrations per day were recorded. HSAN and America Coming Together (ACT), along with other organizations such as the St. Louis and Kansas City branches of the NAACP, all worked together over the past several months leading up to the Summit to register a record 114,000 new youth voter registrations throughout the state of Missouri.
The St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit took place during the Missouri Black Expo.
Given the fact that Missouri has been designated as a key state in the upcoming national 2004 election, the hip-hop and youth vote will potentially be a decisive factor in the outcome of the election. From those polled by PlayStation 2 at the St. Louis Summit for its PlayStation 2 Pulse, 98% indicated they will vote in the upcoming Presidential election. The leading issues identified by the PlayStation 2 Pulse poll in their order of importance were: education, censorship, jobs/employment, healthcare, criminal justice, the economy, gay rights and national security.
Multi-platinum recording artist and St. Louis native, Nelly, hosted the St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit. As part of a four hour panel discussion, where Nelly and other leading hip-hop artists answered questions from youth in the audience, the Summit participants were encouraged to take voting seriously, as well as understand the value of a good education, hard work and to maintain strong family ties. “I had the courage not to listen to those who tried to deter me from staying in school and graduating,” Nelly emphasized. “Today, we are here to help you learn courage to try and make a change in your lives.” In a special presentation by Anheuser-Busch, Inc., a corporate sponsor of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Anheuser-Busch Executive Johnny Furr presented a check for $10,000 to Nelly’s charitable foundation.
Joining Nelly at the St Louis Hip-Hop Summit were Russell Simmons, Reverend Run, Jadakiss, Anthony Hamilton, Biz from D12, Free, Loon, Remy Martin, Layzie Bone, Humpty Hump, Styllion and Donovan Knowles. HSAN President/CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis and seminal hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh moderated the Summit.
“The St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit was a perfect example of HSAN’s theme, “Taking Back Responsibility,” exclaimed HSAN Chairman, Russell Simmons. “We’re proud of the artists who donated their time and energy and we’re very proud of the thousands of youth who responded in such record-setting numbers to register to vote.”
Following the screening of Jadakiss’ hit video for the song “Why,” which asks poignant and socially conscious questions about contemporary American society, he responded to questions. When asked why he recorded the song, Jadakiss explained, “I made that song and video so that every one of the 50 states could relate to it. While some may call us gangstas or thugs, I wanted people to recognize that we have a head on our shoulders and know what’s going on in America. And, that our vote counts.”
Attending the St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit were St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, U.S. Congressman William L. Clay, Jr., State Senator Madia Coleman, State Representative Rodney R. Hubbard and special invited guest Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele. Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and Lt. Governor Steele were applauded for their leadership in dismantling Maryland’s mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws, as well as supporting minority economic development.
The success of the St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit was due, in part, to the incredible teamwork and partnerships with the Missouri Black Expo, America Coming Together (ACT), the NAACP, Clear Channel Radio’s 100.3 The Beat KATZ-FM, 618 Management, Lock ‘Em Down Records and Mad Flava Magazine.
Local artists who performed during the Summit pre-show included Alpine, The Allstars, 2 Sense, Zion and Shades Dancers. A special guest performance was done by female rapper from Oakland, Styllion.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis concluded, “Hip-hop is vibrating strongly in the heartland of America. The St. Louis Hip-Hop Summit epitomizes the resident creative genius of groups like Nelly, J-Kwon and Chingy. We are grateful to Nelly for hosting and we’re grateful to all of the organizations that helped to make this historic gathering possible. There’s no question, the youth of Missouri and the entire Midwest are going to weigh in decisively to determine the future of America.”