Hip-Hop Heavyweights Plan California Summit

The Russell Simmons-founded Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HHSAN), which held its first national Summit last June in New York, has finalized plans for a West Coast Hip-Hop Summit next Thursday (Feb. 1

The Russell Simmons-founded Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HHSAN), which held its first national Summit last June in New York, has finalized plans for a West Coast Hip-Hop Summit next Thursday (Feb. 14) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

HHSAN president Minister Benjamin Muhammad will moderate the conference, which has also confirmed the participation of Death Row label head Suge Knight, hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, radio personalities Steve Harvey and Davey D, and many other West Coast-based industry members, activists, and artists, including L.A.-based rapper The D.O.C.

Simmons is sending a videotaped message to be played at the summit, and Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan will deliver the keynote address, as he did at the New York summit last June.

The conference is intended to lay the groundwork for a second national summit, tentatively scheduled this June in an as-yet-unnamed location, as well as address some issues specific to West-Coast hip-hop. Among the focuses of the Feb. 14 summit will be political empowerment (Mario Velasquez, executive director of "Rap The Vote," will speak about voter mobilization) and economic empowerment of the hip-hop nation, as well as the success of parental advisory labeling on hip-hop albums. Another major focus will be hip-hop's relationship with federal regulatory agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

As previously reported, Nas, members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Run-D.M.C.'s Reverend Run, Fat Joe, and other hip-hop artists took part in a HHSAN-sponsored Hip-Hop Youth Summit on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21) in Queens, N.Y. Attendees put forth a number of youth-oriented initiatives at the summit, including anti-drug and pro-literacy projects.
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