Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network announced that the St. Louis,
Missouri Hip-Hop Summit was the most successful ever, registering over 100,000
Rev Run, D12, Lazy Bone, Remy Martin and others spoke to more than 5,000 people
who showed up for the summit. Organizers said they registered 114,000 new voters.
In addition to
the registrations, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network honored Maryland’s
Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, also a Republican,
for their work on the drug laws in Maryland and their efforts to improve businesses
in the African-American community.
to registering a record number of voters, we honored them for changing the harsh
laws in Maryland and for installing programs that uplift black businesses in
the state,” Simmons told AllHipHop.com.
Earlier in the
day before accepting HSAN’s honor, Steele, who is African-American, addressed
other African-American Missouri Republicans.
of the 20th century, civil rights was the singular focus," Steele told
the Associated Press. "That struggle is over … It’s now about economic
and political empowerment. My parents were FDR Democrats. We had the [John F.]
Kennedy portrait on the wall. But Ronald Reagan spoke to me. I found [the GOP]
just fit once I matured politically."
In April, Gov.
Ehrlich and Lt. Gov. Steele passed landmark legislation that will dedicate ten
percent of Maryland’s contracting dollars for small and minority businesses.
Last month, Ehrlich
established the Maryland State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, by executive
order. Maryland will now coordinate efforts to prevent, evaluate and treat
drug and alcohol abuses in the state as an alternative to incarceration.
The honors also
come on the heels of Simmons’ victory in Albany, New York Supreme Court,
where he and Hip-Hop Summit Action network CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis were locked
in a battle with the lobbying commission over a protest of the laws last year.
The State Lobbying
Commission was investigating Simmons and Chavis for failing to disclose the
costs of their anti-Rockefeller Drug Law really in June of 2003, in front of
City Hall in Manhattan.
Director David Grandeau, the State Lobbying Commission frequently targeted groups,
looking for violations of state lobbying laws.
The Supreme Court
ruled that the lobbying laws are unconstitutional and that Simmons is guaranteed
a right to protest, protected by the First Amendment in the Constitution of the United States.
On August 30, Simmons
and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network will hold another anti-Rockefeller Drug
Law rally, the same day as the Republican National Convention.
Simmons said it
would be “the biggest Hip-Hop gathering ever.””The Democrats do not own Hip-Hop,” Simmons said. “They rarely discuss poverty in a meaningful way. I found John Kerry’s speech at the Democratic National Convention offensive to millions of poor black, white and brown Americans who are struggling in this country.”