forum known as HipHop Speaks!
returns to Harlem Thursday, September 20, 2001 at 7:00
pm. This event, the third in a series, has proven to be
a popular outlet for a healthy exchange of ideas and issues
related to the hip-hop nation and the community-at-large.
The evening’s program will lead with presentations
by activist, educator, poet Ras Baraka; Raquel Cepeda,
Editor-In-Chief of One World Magazine; Jessica Care Moore,
featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, 5-time Apollo winner,
and publisher of Moore Black Press; writer, activist Kevin
Powell; and activist/cultural arts entrepreneur April
R. Silver. Bobbito AKA DJ Cucumber Slice will moderate
the program and on the ‘one and twos’ will be
DJ Kuttin Kandi. The new venue for the program will take
place at the National Action Network (founded by Rev.
Al Sharpton) located at 1941 Madison Avenue (off 125th
St.) in Harlem, New York. Admission is free and open to
new about this edition of HipHop Speaks! (HHS!) is its
performance component. Da Cypha MC Battle, produced by
Mahogany Browne, will showcase local rappers and their
arsenal of talent. When asked about this new feature,
Kevin Powell (who conceived of the forums last year) stated,
“It has always been our intent to do forums for the
people, not just for industry cats. What better way to
manifest that than to have an mc battle as part of HipHop
Speaks! If there is anything that heads check for in the
hip-hop community, it is the battle, and we know this
is going to introduce HipHop Speaks! to an even bigger
crowd.” The battle will be held after the discussion
and participants will be expected to ‘freestyle’
about at least one of the issues raised during the panel.
The audience will serve as judges, while artists compete
for prizes donated by Phat Farm, Rawkus Records, Motown
Records, DaDa Footwear, and PNB Nation. Registration is
on-site and begins at 6:00 PM
Co-organizers Powell and Silver first bought HHS! to Harlem
in March earlier this year. The standing room only audience
heard from a dynamic panel that included two of hip hop’s
most respected pioneers, rapper KRS-ONE and Doug E. Fresh,
the Original Human Beat Box. The program also featured
longtime hip-hop activist and City Council Candidate Erica
Ford and core HHS! presenters Powell, Silver, and Baraka.
In June, Monifa Akinwole-Bandele and Rosa Clemente of
the Malcolm X Grassroots Organization (sponsors of the
Black August Benefit Concert) helped lead the discussion.
The forum has also served as an outlet for community organizations
to disseminate information and attract membership through
the free space that is allotted for at each event.
and key organizations that have been consistent supporters
of HHS! since its inception include The National Black
Theater, The National Action Network, KISS-FM, WLIB, and
Odell’s Restaurant, which donated dinner for nearly
200 guests at the June event. “It has been a labor
of love for us and the volunteers to do this program.
The least of what we hope to see come out of this is for
people to get a balanced view of the full spectrum of
hip hop – – in its variety of forms. We believe that an
informed perspective is the most fair one,” said
information, media, or sponsorship inquiries: call 718.756.8501
or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.