Russell Simmons Salutes Coretta Scott King

A Hip-Hop Salute to Coretta Scott King: Continuing the Struggle

for Freedom, Justice and Equality

February 8, 2006

Across America and throughout the world, millions of people have

taken the time to say a prayer, to utter a word of condolence, or to make

some expression of gratitude for the living legacy of Coretta Scott King.

Like the living legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mrs. King’s

life-longed contributions to the freedom struggle now stand as a living

testimony to the oneness of humanity and to the transcendent power of God’s

love. Today the hip-hop generation of youth inherits and appreciates the

progress, sacrifices and remaining challenges of the civil rights generation

in word, deed and spirit.

In the wake of the tremendous public outpouring of support and

solemn respect for the King family and the effective movement that they led,

we did not want this historic moment to past without offering a sincere

salute to Coretta Scott King from the perspective of hip-hop culture. In her

elegant and dignified manner, Mrs. King lived the life of a freedom

fighter in her own right. She was an outspoken leader who was not afraid

to raise her voice against injustice. She consistently refused to bow down

to the temptations of a world gone mad with poverty, war and ignorance.

The poetry of hip-hop captures the essence of the continuing

struggle for freedom, justice and equality. When Dr. King and Coretta Scott

King were a young married couple, they both had high aspirations and

resolute faith that “The Movement” would eventually overcome the evils of

that day and time. The good news is that today’s youth have those same high

aspirations for a better quality of life and a resolute determination not to

be satisfied with an impoverished mindset or living condition.

Now young people all over the world are reaching out to one

another in solidarity through the music and other cultural manifestations of

hip-hop that transcend the racial and social divisions of the past. The

legacy of the civil rights era connects directly with the resilience and

recommitment of this new emerging force for change and empowerment.

We will not forget the wisdom and perseverance of Mrs. King and all of the

other elders of the struggle. We mourn her passing, but we celebrate her

dedicated life and example. We know the importance of speaking truth to the

powerful in behalf of the powerless. May the words of mouth and the

meditations of our heart be acceptable in the sight and presence of God. May

God bless the living legacy of Coretta Scott King.

Russell Simmons, Co-Chairman

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Co-Chairman

Hip-Hop Summit Action Network