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Hip Hop Helped a Dream Come True

AFRO, News Report, Marcus A. Williams Posted: Jan 24, 2009

Rappers, songwriters, producers and the creative minds behind the scenes of the hip hop culture worked overtime to encourage the youth of America to get out and Barack the vote. And this inauguration weekend, they all fashionably flocked to the nations capital to celebrate a job well done.

Music and fashion mogul Russell Simmons, entertainment executive and social activist Valeisha Butterfield, Dr. Benjamin Chavis president and CEO of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network were the creative forces behind the fourth annual Hip Hop Inaugural Ball at the prestigious Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C.

We really thought this would be a great time and occasion in the nations capital to honor those hip-hop artists who were responsible for generating the largest youth voter turnout in American history, said Chavis. We think its important to highlight the positive attributes of the hip hop community.

The group of politically savvy hip hop leaders included industry executives and artists like T.I., LL Cool J, Young Jeezy, Bow Wow and the creators and organizers of the Hip-Hop Caucus Respect My Vote Campaign.

Though hip hop has grown into a mainstream phenomenon, there are still many individuals who know little about the genre of music and view rappers as gangsters with no purpose.

Its for that very reason, artists say, this ball was so special; it allowed the world to witness a more humbled side of the honorees.

For rappers Young Jeezy and T.I. being honored at the event was surreal.

Give me a minute to get my thoughts together, like Young Jeezy said its not often that my name is called for doing something good, T.I. said in his acceptance speech.

This may sound funny but I want to thank God for me dropping out of the school, selling crack, living the street life, putting fear in my heart, which made me go out and buy machine guns to protect myself and now facing a year in the penitentiary, he continued. It was those things that allowed me to be able to better talk to the youth I lived it all so when I went out to tell the youth to vote, they listened because they know I am just like them and now look what happened.

Whats happening is beautiful, Russell Simmons recounted. When I stepped off the plane I could feel it in the air I felt love and excitement from everyone about what is preparing to happen. And it feels good to know that hip hop had something to do with it.

Those artists honored couldnt contain themselves from reiterating how happy they were to be recognized for their efforts to help what once was a lone dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. manifest into a reality.

In honor of President Obama singer and star of Dancing With the Stars Mario performed a moving rendition of Michael Jacksons Man In The Mirror to echo the theme of change that pervaded the presidents campaign.

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