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Kool Herc Calls On Will Smith and Queen Latifah


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One of hip-hop's pioneers is waging a battle that has little to do with freestyles or beatboxing - instead DJ Kool Herc is hoping to raise enough funds to keep a high-rise, who many believe is the birthplace of hip-hop, out of the hands of real estate developers.

The Bronx building where Kool Herc, whose real name is Clive Campbell, threw a now legendary house party in August 1973 may no longer be affordable to many long-time residents if they are unable to raise enough funds to buy it from the developer.

Yesterday (Jan. 15) Herc, accompanied by Senator Chuck Schumer and a number of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue tenants, called a news conference to bring attention to the resident's plight

"This is where it all started," Kool Herc said at the press conference, according to New York's Daily News. "But it's turned into a sad story. People are about to be put out of their houses."

Last February BSR Management, the company that owns the property, announced plans to take the complex out of New York's Mitchell Lama affordable housing program and sell the building to real estate developer Mark Karasick. If development plans are carried out, rents at 1520 could rise far beyond the reach of the current tenants.

While tenants were able to get the building declared eligible for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places, the new designation had no bearing on the sale to Karasick.

Last month Karasick offered to sell the building to the tenants for $14 million, however according to Dina Levy, who works with UHAB, the nonprofit group helping the tenants, even with private lender funding and city subsidies the residents are only looking at an estimated $11.5 million, about $3.5 million short of their goal.

In the meantime, Kool Herc is hoping to enlist some of hip-hop's biggest names to dig into their wallets for the cause.

"All the Queen Latifahs and Will Smiths," Herc said in his appeal, "We're asking all those guys you see in Forbes magazine that are living hip-hop to recognize this building."

Those interested in donating can also do so online at www.save1520.org.

If they are successful in their bid to buy the building, residents hope to convert the 100-unit complex into a permanently affordable, limited-equity co-op.

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True honor for the 'Prince + Latifah (amoungst others) 2 be called on by a legend. So many people want 2 disconnect big celebs from Hip-Hop...so seeing that there are strong connections there is cool. I hope they support this. Hip-Hop's legends need 2 keep it tight and make the difference. Now if they can only do it for mainstream music.

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Oh, so now Will is a hip hop legend. When he's being made fun of or called soft, we don't hear much in defense of him. Now that money is needed, Will is "living hip hop." Interesting...

:yeahthat: I swear I was thinking the exact same thing; about the Queen to some extent as well. I think it's interesting their names came up.

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Oh I think someone like Kool Herc would always have respect for the fresh prince

I think he does, but when Eminem, Bow Wow and even journalists are talking foolishness, we don't hear anything about the "hip hop legend."

When the lists are made, guys have to be reminded that Will is one of the pioneers. I just find it funny that he's one of the last people added to the lists, but one of the first when money is needed.

I don't really remember Herc standing up for Will or backing him like that.

Not that Will shouldn't donate. It's just suspect.

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