Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick Announces Hip-Hop Summit for April 26 In Partnership With HSAN, NAACP, Clear Channel

Apr 18, 2003, 01:00 ET from City of Detroit

    DETROIT, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when political candidates
 traditionally ignored 18- to 35-year-olds, 31-year-old Kwame M. Kilpatrick
 embraced them.  They, in turn, elected him the youngest mayor ever in the city
 of Detroit and the youngest big-city mayor in America.  At a time when hip-hop
 is still struggling to gain national acceptance, Eminem rocked the world by
 winning Grammys and an Oscar -- the first time a rapper has ever received such
 recognition.  And in the early 1980s, when critics said rap music was a trend
 that wouldn't last, Russell Simmons -- the catalyst in developing hip-hop and
 founding Chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, or HSAN -- cultivated
 a youth culture and today has built a $1-billion corporation from it.
     The Detroit NAACP -- the nation's largest NAACP branch -- was, in the
 early 1990s, among the first civil rights organizations in the country to
 embrace hip-hop as a culture and economic powerhouse.  The NAACP produced
 annual hip-hop summits to bring record executives and performers together with
 community leaders to discuss the vast opportunities within hip-hop.
     On April 26, Mayor Kilpatrick, Eminem, Simmons, and the local NAACP branch
 will deliver a lesson of entrepreneurial, economic and political empowerment
 to America's youth.  The event: The Detroit Hip-Hop Summit 2003 - The Remix:
 ReBuilding, ReFocusing, ReInvesting, ReSurgence.  The summit is expected to
 draw more than 13,000 young people, making it the largest such summit in
 America to date.
     The Detroit Hip-Hop Summit will be held in conjunction with the Detroit
 NAACP's Annual Freedom Weekend.  The Freedom Weekend, which grew from previous
 hip-hop summits, will include several symposiums and workshops focused on
 rebuilding communities.
     This year's Freedom Weekend hip-hop summit will host some of the nation's
 most famous hip-hop artists and business people.  In a panel setting, they
 will reinforce the power of hip-hop culture by offering their experiences as
 testimonies of its unlimited potential and opportunity.
     Hip-hop summits have been held in seven major U.S. cities, including New
 York City and Los Angeles.  However, the Detroit summit will be unique, and
 not just because of its scope.  The Detroit summit will go down in history
 because of its connection to the NAACP Freedom Weekend and the key involvement
 of Mayor Kilpatrick, Simmons and top-selling artist Eminem.
     The summit will feature two panels.  The first panel will focus on
 discussion topics that range from getting a first record deal, to owning a
 record label, to the business behind the art.  The second panel will address
 broader hip-hop culture issues, such as leveraging political and economic
     Other events in Detroit that celebrate the hip-hop culture are scheduled
 in conjunction with the summit.  They include: the Mayor's opening reception,
 hosted by Shady Records; the official launch of Phat Farm's footwear line,
 sponsored by Russell Simmons and Phat Farm; and a poetry slam and separate rap
 battle, as well as a Hip-Hop Summit after-party.  The poetry slam, rap battle
 and party are sponsored by Clear Channel Entertainment.
     "As a result of the historic local involvement with hip-hop, we decided to
 go national and recognize one of the key motivators and developers of this
 multi-billion-dollar industry -- Russell Simmons," said Rev. Wendell Anthony,
 President of the Detroit Branch, NAACP.  "And, Freedom Weekend will allow us
 to showcase Detroit as a mecca of dialogue and ideas, while creating economic
 opportunities for businesses."
     "We want young people and up-and-coming artists to know that when we talk
 about hip-hop culture, it goes so much further than just getting a rap song
 played on the air -- it impacts fashion, theater and corporate business and
 political decisions," said Simmons of HSAN, the largest coalition of rap
 artists and record company executives.  "This culture influences this entire
 world, generating America's urban entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, clothing
 designers, millionaires and mayors."
     Hip-hop was born on the streets of New York, at a time when local artists
 in Detroit struggled to get a break on the local and national radio stations.
 Today, in Detroit, Clear Channel Entertainment, a co-sponsor of the Detroit
 summit, celebrates local hip-hop through its FM station WJLB, which is the
 city's leader of urban radio.
     "For me, Detroit itself symbolizes hip-hop in a lot of different ways,"
 said Eminem.  "Everybody who's been involved in Detroit hip-hop culture here
 has spent years trying to bring light to the city, the same way Russell worked
 to bring hip-hop to the attention of the world.  And the same way the Mayor is
 working to put Detroit back in the spotlight.  It's the struggle to be heard
 and to be recognized.  It's our time ... both hip-hop's and Detroit's."
     The Motor City is known for the auto industry that moves the nation's
 population to its destinations.  Since the 1960s, it's also been known for
 being the center of political movements that jumpstarted Dr. Martin Luther
 King Jr.'s March on Washington, and for the Motown sound that moved Americans
 to dance floors in every city.  It has become a center of fashion, diversity,
 dialogue, political and spiritual movements, and -- yes, hip-hop, said Mayor
     "In short, Detroit moves the world, and in many cases, we have done it on
 the backs of young people without them really realizing it," said the Mayor.
 "Detroit is rebuilding and resurging, and young people are beginning to
 understand that they have a place and a role in changing the world, right here
 from their city.
     "Hip-hop artists and managers can begin to utilize their talents and
 platforms to actually change the things in urban America that they describe as
 troubling in the music," added Mayor Kilpatrick.  "We believe bringing the
 absolute largest names in the hip-hop culture to the city of Detroit will
 generate the kind of dialogue that creates young entrepreneurs who can rebuild
 urban communities across America."

SOURCE City of Detroit