NEW YORK: The last high-profile gathering of the hip-hop elite led
to flying bottles, fisticuffs and the premature finale of The Source
Hip-Hop Awards Show in Pasadena, CA last year.
That was the image that last week's two-day Hip-Hop Power Summit in New
York City wanted to dispel. Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam records,
organized the round-table event to address serious issues in the Hip-Hop
More than 200 hip-hop artists including big guns Sean "Puffy" Combs, LL
Cool J, Chuck D, Queen Latifah and Jay-Z attended. A series of
discussions were held (mainly off-limits to the press) that allowed
artists to vent their frustrations and come up with solutions on topics
that ranged from how the genre impacts youth, to how rap is marketed, to
police profiling of the hip-hop community.
New York-based JLM Public Relations, working on Def Jam's behalf,
coordinated the shindig, gaining extensive coverage with mentions in USA
Today, The New York Times, People.com, and The Village Voice among
others. The summit has also been the focus of spots on ABC News, MTV,
and the E! network.
On the agenda was the effort led by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to
censor the music industry and other areas of the entertainment industry.
Earl Hilliard (D-AL) attended and asked the industry to regulate itself
in terms of the tone of the lyrics - widely felt to be misogynistic and
violent - and the behavior of its stars. Leaders from the NAACP,
Southern Christian Leadership, the Urban League and Nation of Islam were
also in attendance.
Simmons said that he hoped the summit would produce a plan of action
that could rally the Hip-Hop community.
So for giving a positive spin to this much-derided genre, the Hip-Hop
Power Summit receives this week's Play of the Week. Respect.