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Russell Simmons Calls For Closed Door Hip-Hop Meeting


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HSAN Chairman Russell Simmons Calls For Closed Door Meeting To Discuss The Status Of Hip-Hop

By Danielle Harling

Date: 4/16/2007 12:20 am

Russell Simmons will be holding a ‘closed door’ meeting with artists and executives from the Hip-Hop/urban community for a discussion on the future of Hip-Hop and how the genre can be moved forward in a positive direction.

Sources told AllHipHop.com that the invitation only meeting takes place on Wednesday (Apr.18) at Lyor Cohen's Manhattan residence.

The meeting comes shortly after the ousting of talk show host Don Imus and the heightened criticism of Hip-Hop’s representation of women.

Imus was fired after making sexist and racist remarks about the Rutgers University basketball team.

A number of activists are now shifting their focus to Hip-Hop, including Reverend Al Sharpton, who has received a number of death threats over the past few days due to his involvement in the Imus controversy.

On Friday (Apr. 13), Sharpton announced that he would turn his attention to the music industry, specifically Hip-Hop music.

Sharpton said his National Action Network wants to also meet with performers in the industry about lyrics that he claims are racist and demeaning to women.

Sharpton may have many followers on his side, but some activists aren’t quite receptive of Sharpton’s stance on Hip-Hop.

“Language can be a powerful tool. That is why one's intention, when using the power of language, should be made clear,” said Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and Russell Simmons in a joint statement released on Friday (Apr. 13). “Comparing Don Imus' language with Hip-Hop artists' poetic expression is misguided and inaccurate and feeds into a mindset that can be a catalyst for unwarranted, rampant censorship."

Russell Simmons is also scheduled to appear on Good Morning America and an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show later this week.

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Now that's true stepping up. But maybe he should do a meeting tour. I hope it isn't just the few "typical" rappers that get involved in these kinda things and other various figures who choose to speak out. It's obviously not going to be a one time thing. This first meeting needs to turn some heads right off the bat.

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FP has attended stuff like this in the past. I could see him showing up 2 this. I think something like this is always good, and at least temporarely motivates some of the idiots who need 2 hear it. At the same time, it's kinda embarassing that legends like Russell have 2 do stuff like this tho.'

I think it's interesting that the whole Imus thing sparked it tho'...since it seems so disconnected from Hip-Hop. On top of that, there's alot of other stuff that they should be focusing on. Back 2 Imus tho'...commercial Rap has become just as sexist and in some cases, as racists as idiots like Imus. Where waz waz the whole Hip-Hop Summit thing back in the 90's when it all started falling apart??

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I think it's interesting that the whole Imus thing sparked it tho'...since it seems so disconnected from Hip-Hop. On top of that, there's alot of other stuff that they should be focusing on.

It's pretty clear to me that white America felt like it had something to defend and wanted a scapegoat...

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I was watching Hardball last week (incidentally, that was a sucky week for Chris to be on vacation) and Bob Johnson called in and complained about how derogatory and denigrating Imus's comments were. He expressed that Imus should have been fired right away and was taken aback that he wasn't... This is Bob Johnson, former CEO of BET... Think BET uncut a few years back... :shakehead:

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Well, there was C. Delores Tucker and the whole situation with 2pac (plus his cases in relation to his music), Snoop, Dr. Dre, and the likes. And we've had the protests against Eminem when he came out. The FBI letter in regards to NWA. Where was the Hip Hop summit? People were letting more and more slide.

2pac understood the good and bad of women and knew he wasn't perfect in the way he dealt with all of them. BET uncut was a bit much, but they ran it real late at night. Or they should've had it have it's own channel that people would have to pay for. And I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't enough to push the buttons. I tell you what, I better not hear any excuses of "Oh, I can't make it because of my schedule." Especially when it's over something petty as it relates to this. Even if it's by speaker phone or something. And the people who do go, if they're not going to effectively take action, I don't wanna hear of them being there.

plus, Will's music itself is enough to be a speak out. We're his fans and can "promote" his music. Lost + Found ring a bell? But I hope he still gets involved. Everybody's throwing out some good points.

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this has been done a few times before, i just hope this time they actually get somewhere, and get through to some of these artists. I watched the two part Oprah show, and Russell was kinda making me mad, the way he was speaking up for some of these artists calling them "poets" and their lyrics and stuff "art", when these days at least 75% of it is BS...but i would like to say hip-hop had nothing to do with what Imus said, that was just an old racist idiot shooting off at the mouth, attacking those girls for no reason. Is the state of hip-hop part of the problem? yes. but you can't blame it all on that (like he tried to in a statement to some show he did) and i'm sick and tired of the people who run around saying we as black people need to own up to that(can't think of the guy, uhh Jason Whitlock) b/c contrary to popular belief we don't run around calling e/o "nappy headed hos" and "jiggaboos" (some ish i haven't heard since I saw Spike Lee's School Daze) which sparked all this in the first place.

there, there's my rant.

Edited by MissAshley
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Music Execs Discuss Rap Lyrics


Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - In the wake of Don Imus' firing for his on-air slur about the Rutgers women's basketball team, a high-powered group of music-industry executives met privately Wednesday to discuss sexist and misogynistic rap lyrics.

During the furor that led to Imus' fall last week from his talk-radio perch, many of his critics carped as well about offensive language in rap music.

The meeting, called by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, was held at the New York home of Lyor Cohen, chairman and chief executive of U.S. music at Warner Music Group. The summit, which lasted several hours, did not result in any specific initiative.

Organizers billed the gathering as a forum to "discuss issues challenging the industry in the wake of controversy surrounding hip-hop and the First Amendment." Afterward, they planned to hold a news conference at a Manhattan hotel to discuss "initiatives agreed upon at the meeting." But by early afternoon, the news conference was postponed, because the meeting was still going on.

After the meeting ended, it was unclear whether there would be another one. Simmons' publicist released a short statement that described the topic as a "complex issue that involves gender, race, culture and artistic expression. Everyone assembled today takes this issue very seriously."

Although no recommendations emerged, the gathering was significant for its who's-who list of powerful music executives.

According to a roster released by Simmons on Wednesday, attendees included: Kevin Liles, executive vice president, Warner Music; L.A. Reid, chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group; Sylvia Rhone, president of Motown Records and executive vice president of Universal Music Group; Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America; and Damon Dash, Jay-Z's former Roc-A-Fella Records partner. Top-selling rapper T.I. also attended, organizers said.

Simmons declined to comment through a spokeswoman. But he appeared this week with others at a two-day town hall meeting on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to discuss the issue. While Simmons, Liles and the rapper Common agreed "there is a problem," Simmons cautioned against trying to limit rappers' free-speech rights.

He said that "poets" always come under fire for their unsanitized descriptions of the world.

"We're talking about a lot of these artists who come from the most extreme cases of poverty and ignorance ... And when they write a song, and they write it from their heart, and they're not educated, and they don't believe there's opportunity, they have a right, they have a right to say what's on their mind," he said.

"Whether it's our sexism, our racism, our homophobia or our violence, the hip-hop community sometimes can be a good mirror of our dirt and sometimes the dirt that we try to cover up," Simmons said. "Pointing at the conditions that create these words from the rappers ... should be our No. 1 concern."

Common said criticism of rappers and their music should come with love. "When I talk to the cats, regardless of rap, when I talk to cats on the street, they don't wanna be in that situation," the rapper said. "We don't wanna be in this painful situation. We want it to heal. And we are apologizing for ... the disrespect that does come from the mouths of men to women whatever color."

Meanwhile, the Rev. Al Sharpton, who said he planned to challenge the recording industry on denigrating lyrics, announced he had suspended plans to honor Def Jam's L.A. Reid during this week's convention of his National Action Network in New York. Sharpton was among Imus' most vocal critics and demanded his firing.

Several rappers under Reid's label frequently use racial and sexual epithets.

Imus was fired last week by CBS, which owned his radio show, and MSNBC, which produced the TV simulcast, for having referred to the Rutgers players as "nappy-headed hos."

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