"We offered to meet with him on Wednesday because we take his concerns seriously. We think his voice should be heard, and if we have another hearing he’ll be included."
——Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein

HIP HOP YA DON’T STOP, EXCEPT AT THE SENATE DOOR

Hip-Hop Community Moves On Summit Initiatives, But Is Absent From Today’s Hearing
The goals set by the recent Hip-Hop Summit in New York have begun to come to fruition. Last week, organizer Russell Simmons and hip-hop community leaders, formed the political action committee Nu America PAC, complete with three corporate offices and an executive board to lead the operation.

Inspired by the Summit, which brought the rap community together to discuss responsibilities of the subculture, Nu America PAC will promote political empowerment of the hip-hop community and support officials who take a strong stance on issues affecting the community. Summit co-organizer Benjamin Muhammad has been named executive director.

But that’s not enough to be in the Hi-zouse.

The PAC’s first order of business, a trip to the Senate floor today to testify during an investigation of the entertainment industry's marketing practices, was a no go. Nu America spokesman Simmons, was turned down by Senate Governmental Affairs Committee when he asked to represent at the committee’s session. Damn, Gina.

A spokesman for committee chair Sen. Joe Lieberman said that Simmons requested a seat at the table after the witness list had been set. Lieberman, has, however, agreed to a face-to-face meeting with Simmons after the hearing.

"We offered to meet with him on Wednesday because we take his concerns seriously," Lieberman spokesman Dan Gerstein said. "We think his voice should be heard, and if we have another hearing he’ll be included. Besides, if Hilary won’t rap for those of us in tha House, maybe Russell will."

Those who will be in the house as witnesses will be RIAA president/CEO Hilary Rosen, Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti, Creative Coalition president William Baldwin and a Maryland homemaker, as well as a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker.

Rosen today is expected to present details of the recording industry’s new campaign to educate parents about advisory labels for explicit lyrics, which includes public service announcements starring Quincy Jones and joining with the National Association of Recording Merchandisers to update retail displays about the advisories.

The RIAA also plans to create a brochure describing the Parental Advisory Labeling program in detail. The pamphlet will be mailed to parent-teacher organizations, school administrators, coaches, music teachers, school guidance counselors, school psychologists, government officials, and Groundskeeper Willie.

"This campaign will build on the commitment we already have in place: to give people the information they need to make decisions based on their own values," Rosen said. "We're going to work hard to make sure our industry lives up to all these commitments. And I hope the FTC and others will recognize that progress over the long term, so they’ll get off our effin’ backs about it."

The Senate committee will also use Wednesday's hearing to explore the pros and cons of scrapping the separate rating systems for film, TV, music and video games, in favor of one all-encompassing ratings code—a move opposed by the entertainment industry.

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