Hip-Hop Stars Urge ‘Regime Change’ At Ohio Summit

Russell Simmons led an all-star Hip-Hop cast at the Ohio Hip-Hop Summit today (June 3), encouraging potential voters to vote in order to accomplish “regime change” in the United States.”It’s possible that Ohio will pick the next president,” Simmons said. “The biggest power in America today is Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is more respected than President George Bush. I mean you must like Puffy, Jay-Z and Kanye West more than George Bush and John Kerry.”Kanye West, Loon, Layzie Bone, Damon Dash, Def Jam President Kevin Liles, Reverend Run and others also showed up to remind over 10,000 attendees the importance of voting.The Value City Arena in downtown Columbus was transformed into an open forum with Hip-Hop Summit Action Network President Benjamin Chavis playing host.”In all 50 states, between the age 18-25, 12 million new young voters have registered to vote,” Chavis announced. “Yes our vote counts, and we are gonna make sure they count every vote. Your the best generation. They are gonna try and trick you to not vote, but we are gonna be on the case.”Loon shared a story of how his grandfather took him to vote when he turned 18 and how the experience in the voting process made him feel powerful.”Almost 3/4th’s of the world is paying more attention to us,” Loon said. “I think that music is the perfect vehicle to empower us.”Layzie Bone echoed the same sentiments as Loon, saying the music could be used as a starting point for positive action.”Hip-Hop music is the best way to reach our generation,” Layzie Bone said. Once we present the music, its up to the community leaders to organize and step forward.”While Kanye West stated that Hip-Hop musicians were as different as Spike Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger, he said the opportunities to deliver messages via Hip-Hop music were slowly opening up.”Like Dame always says, they see me dressed like Carlton [the nerdy character on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air] and they let me in the clubs…then they like ‘ohh I didn’t know it was all yall’ when I bring everyone through. More of the messages can get out and get heard now.”Def Jam President Kevin Liles delivered a heartfelt message as well.”Instead of seeking a mentor, be a mentor,” Liles urged the crowd. “If I can make a difference without being a rapper, singer or a writer you can too. I am you and you are me.”

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