Common, Kanye Host Chicago Hip-Hop Summit

The Chicago Hip-Hop Summit took place Saturday (March 27) at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.Kanye West and Common hosted the event and Twista, Shawnna, Layzie Bone, Crooked I and others took part in a variety of discussions, ranging from police brutality, the surveillance of rap artists, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other issues."This was a great summit," Russell Simmons told "We registered over 30,000 new voters in the six weeks before [the summit] took place.The Hip-Hop Summit is a product of Simmons' non-profit Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN).Since 2001, HSAN has registered almost 2 million new young voters across the nation."The youth vote of 2004 will make a positive difference in the national elections," Simmons predicted."We all have to work on improving ourselves educationally and culturally and be prepared to speak out on the issues of justice and equality," Kanye West added.Common admitted he had never voted in the past, but planned to this year."Hip-Hop is about telling the truth, and the truth is there's still too much poverty," Common said. "There's a wealth of creative talent in our communities that should take more leadership in the struggle to eliminate poverty."Legendary Chicago businessman George Daniels was honored with a National Achievement Award, for his role in entrepernuerial development of Chicago's African-American community. Daniels founded a music retail outlet, George's Music Room, in 1969."It's time for us to stand up and show the power of our votes so that the interests of our communities gets represented," Ludacris said."You've got to figure out what you want for yourself and your community and then figure out who in politics will do that for you," Common told the crowd. "If you can't find anyone, run for yourself."