Hip-Hop Fridays: Hip-Hop Represents For The Million Family March

Props go out to all of the Hip-Hop artists and music executives that have offered their support to the Million Family March. The support is especially commendable in light of the fact that the Hip-Hop community, for the most part was missing in action at the Million Man March 5 years ago.

I remember that in 1996 Tupac expressed regret that he wasn't in attendance at the Million Man March. He had just been released from a New York jail that week in October of 1995. He told members of the media that he and others would represent to the fullest at the next Million Man March. He also expressed his belief that the Hip-Hop Community was left out of the planning and involvement of the Million Man March. He expressed disappointment at this.

Well, no such scenario exists this year as a slew of Hip-Hop artists have endorsed the Million Family March, are involved in a steering committee and will record Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to promote the event. The artists involved have also given their word that they will be bringing their families to the event in Washington D.C. which culminates on October 16, 2000 with an address from Nation Of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan.

Here is the official press release from Russell Simmons announcing the impressive level of support from he and members of the Hip-Hop community, among other R&B notables who have stepped up to the plate.

360hiphop.com and Russell Simmons announce Million Family March Entertainment Initiative Star Studded Turn-out for October 16th March in Washington D.C.

Today, 360HipHop.com and Russell Simmons announced a massive entertainment industry effort to bring the hip-hop community to the Million Family March, a rally called by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. To be held in Washington D.C. on October 16 2000, the event will commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Million Man March.

Organizers will mobilize around a National Agenda centered on public policy issues that impact the quality of life for people of all races. Efforts will include massive voter registration initiatives, candidate/issue education and "turn-out-to-vote" campaigns in every congressional district in the United States.

"I believe this march will have a dramatic effect on race relations. It's a march about the human family, rising above color and religion, symbols and creed," said Russell Simmons.

He added, "this march could be a defining moment for this year's presidential election. With both candidates running neck and neck, we could easily be the ones to determine who the next President of the United States will be."

Simmons and his wife, Kimora Lee, will be heading the co-chair committee along with Will Smith & Jada Pinkett-Smith, Whitney Houston & Bobby Brown, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Queen Latifah, Haqq Islam and Chris Tucker. Simmons announced a list of entertainers who have committed to serving on the March's Entertainment Committee, including: Mary J. Blige, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, Isaac Hayes, Ice Cube, DMX, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Macy Gray, Derick D-Dot Angeletti, Erykah Badu, Joe, Common, Eve, Kelly Price, Dead Prez, Gipp from Goodie Mobb, Wu-Tang Clan, D'Angelo, Jay-Z, and Jam Master Jay. These artists (with their families) will create PSAs to further promote the spirit of the march and encourage attendance at the march. Mary J. Blige, Macy Gray, Rev. Run, Kelly Price and Erykah Badu are confirmed to perform.

In addition, Simmons announced support from industry moguls such as: Bob Johnson (BET), Cathy Hughes (Radio One), Clarence Avant, Magic Johnson (Magic Johnson Enterprises), Spike Lee (40 Acres & a Mule), Keith Clinkscales (Vanguarde Media), James Lassiter (Overbrook Entertainment), Damon Dash (Roc-A-Fella Entertainment), Lionel Ridenhour (Arista Records), Kedar Massenburg (Motown Records), Ron Gillyard (J Records), Damon John (Fubu), Karl Kani (Kani Fashion), Marvet Britto (the Britto Agency), Steve Stoute (Interscope), Kevin Liles (Def Jam Records), Andre Harell (Bad Boy Entertainment), Shakim Compere (Flavor Unit Records), David Mayes (The Source), Emil Wilbekin (Vibe Magazine), and Bobby Shriver (Special Olympics), Tracey Maitland (Advent Capital), Leyla Turkkan (360hiphop.com).

Minister Benjamin Muhammad, one of the lead organizers of the march said, "Our goal is to transform the political system by practicing the principle of coalition-building and by affirming a God-centered, spirit-filled, mass movement for social transformation and empowerment."

In conjunction with Minister Farrakhan, an unprecedented coalition stands in solidarity to support what may be a turning point in American history. The broad array of supporters includes: Kwesi Mfume (NAACP), Hugh Price (Urban League), The Congressional Black Caucus, Martin Luther King III (SCLC), Al Sharpton (National Action Network), The African Methodist Church, and churches and community groups across the nation. Together, they represent the first unified initiative to reconstruct the American family and galvanize social transformation in the 21st century.

Visit the official Million Family March website

Cedric Muhammad

Friday, September 22, 2000