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brought to you by: EspreeNet News Service

Published March 11, 2004

Hip Hop Summit Syracuse:
Stressed Hard Work and Staying Focused.

While Making History and Bringing International Coverage.

EspreeNet News Service

Syracuse, NY (ENet News) - The Hip Hop Summit Action Network hit Syracuse and the Carrier Dome with conversation and a little entertainment.

Nearly 3,000 Syracuse City School District students from 5 schools watched, listened, danced and cheered during the HHSAN's first education summit, led by co-founders Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons and Former NAACP President Dr Benjamin Chavis.

The message for the day was hard work, focus, empowerment and education, a main objective of the group according to the Hip Hop Summit's website. Local organizers, led by Julius Edwards and Akua Goodrich, decided to focus on the Summit's mission and apply it from a youth perspective. It's time to "view young people as resources" said Goodrich.

The HHSAN has convened summits in 17 cities across the country, but this is the first summit that has worked within a school curriculum, said Dr Ben Chavis, "every city and every school district should do this".

The students provided the energy and the questions, while the panelist provided the insight. Doug E. Fresh, (known as the human beat box) a long time fixture of the summits across the country, answered the first question (Should Hip Hop be apart of schools?) by saying "Hip Hop can be a positive vehicle for learning" and "In life you can learn from books but you also have to learn from actions because the combination of both are important".

Other panelist included Rap Pioneer Rev Run (Joseph Simmons or Run of RunDMC), Ras B (of the R&B Hip Hop Group B2K), Fabulous (Platinum selling rap artist), Akua Goodrich (Local Organizer and former artist), and Russell Simmons (Founder of Def Jam Records, Phat Farm Apparel, Def Comedy & Poetry Jams).

Notable quotes from the Summit:

Rev Run: "Keep your dreams to yourself", "Make sure the people speaking in your ear are speaking wisdom" and "Giving is everything"

Russell Simmons: "Don't except what the world tells you on face value. Learn how to listen and see the world", "All of us are here to do gods work. Give first, you will never get anything unless you give first".

Ras B: "Everyone has a calling", and I view passions of Christ as "a wake up call".

Fabulous: Understanding Hip Hop is important because "Hip Hop educates you everyday. It teaches you how to talk, dress, and listen".

Once the Summit started the controversy stopped. For weeks leading up to the event, local media reported on individuals who had negative views on Hip Hop's music, lifestyle, and culture. The facts speak for themselves, according to Simmons, the Hip-Hip Summit Action Network has put on summits in major cities including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston with more than 200 thousand participants. "Take the high road today, it's an ongoing process" said Simmons "People see what they want to see" but today it's about the youth.

International coverage:

International news crews from CNN and the London Times, based in New York City, traveled to Central New York for this history making event. It's the first time that the Hip Hop Summit has worked to make Hip Hop apart of a regular school day. London Times reporter Joanna Walters said that she was interested in how this would impact youth.

Syracuse Hip Hop Summit Official Website

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