Rappers Join Russell Simmons To Address Economy

Rapper/actor Ludacris and mixtape turntablist DJ Drama will be among those addressing the current economic crisis crippling the country at a National Hip-Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment.

The event, which organized by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is scheduled to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Clark Atlanta University's Cornelius L. Henderson Student Center in Atlanta.

The summit is designed to help facilitate discussion among young people, families and communities about the importance of personal finance through HSAN’s “Get Your Money Right” summit and the coalition’s “Get Your House Right” workshop.

An interactive panel discussion on financial literacy will take place at the Get Your Money Right summit with participants such as DJ Drama, Fat Joe, Gorilla Zoe, Asher Roth, R&B singer Monica, BET’s 106 & Park hosts Rocsi and Terrence J, DJ Toomp, Bryan-Michael Cox and Universal Motown music executive Shanti Das.

Participants will explore topics ranging from the basics of banking to repairing and understanding credit scores to asset and wealth management, vehicle financing and home ownership.

For HSAN co-founder Russell Simmons, the financial empowerment summit could not come at a better time as the nation deals with high gas prices and the recent credit shakeup affecting banks, colleges and consumers.

"The interest of the Hip-Hop community, ultimately, is always about empowerment," Simmons said. "Given the profound financial challenges facing our nation and world, HSAN's National Hip-Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment is very timely. Beyond being reactive, we will be proactive."

According to government data obtained by The Associated Press, weekly jobless claims surged to the highest level in seven years, while new home sales plunged to the slowest pace in 17 years.

On Monday (Sept. 29), the House of Representatives rejected an earlier version of a proposed $700 billion bailout plan that will help restore the financial system.

Senate leaders debated Wednesday (October 1) before voting on the economic recovery package, which was passed by a 74-25 vote late last night.

Although many people are frustrated by the economic downturn, HSAN CEO/president Dr. Benjamin Chavis emphasized the importance of remaining strong.

"This is not the time to panic. It is a global crisis, but we've been through crises before,” stated the activist, who noted the relevance of Hip-Hop in dire situations. “Hip-Hop emerged out of the crucible of the crisis of poverty over thirty years ago, but maintains a transformative message of empowerment. The truth is, young people will be listening and watching for solutions to the economic challenges of our time. The poetry and music of Hip-Hop have always reflected both the hopes and the contradictions of life. 'Get Your Money Right' and 'Get Your House Right' will offer paths to a better future."

Doors open at 4 p.m. for the National Hip-Hop Summit on Financial Empowerment, which is sponsored by HSAN, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., BET Networks and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.