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"In hip-hop, there is a diversity of opinions. We've shown that we can come together and discuss certain issues. Both [Suge and Dre] see the need for all of us to work together."
——Minister Benjamin Muhammad

HIP-HOP SUMMIT HEADS TO THE WEST SIDE

Meetings to be Held in the Most Hip-Hop Part of Los Angeles—Beverly Hills

This time, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is coming west.

Island Def Jam Chairman Russell Simmons and Minister Benjamin Muhammad, President of the Network, have planned a West Coast mini-summit for Feb. 14 at the post Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills as a prelude to a larger summit in L.A. slated for June. You've come along way, baby.

"We intend to get the word out as to exactly what the Hip-Hop Summit is," Simmons explains. "We've been very fortunate to have the RIAA and a number of record companies underwrite some of our projects, and we're proud of what has been accomplished so far."

Muhammad says that the purpose of the summit is to "increase the level of communication, do whatever conflict resolution needs to be done within the industry and move forward."

Simmons and Muhammad expect a turnout that will include hip-hop movers and shakers such as Tha Row's Suge Knight and Dr. Dre. Guess they have their work cut out for them.

Addressing the first meeting of Knight and Dre, who have clashed since their days at Death Row Records, Muhammad says: "In hip-hop, there is a diversity of opinions. We've shown that we can come together and discuss certain issues that are good for all of us. Both see the need for all of us to work together."

The first Hip-Hop Summit, held last June in N.Y., spearheaded a number of key reforms within the urban community, including a literacy program sponsored by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, as well as mentoring programs initiated by Def Jam and Combs' Bad Boy Records.

"The support and follow-up have been strong," Simmons says. "Traditionally, a lot of civil-rights organizations from around the country have not been so responsive to the needs of the young, poor black community. Thanks to the Hip-Hop Summit, we have been able to bridge that gap."

Radio One, KKBT's Steve Harvey and KPWR's Big Boy were among the radio people involved in putting the West Coast Summit together, while Rep. Maxine Waters (D, L.A.) "has been a very important part of this development process," Simmons points out.

Just as he did at the Hip-Hop Summit in NYC last June, Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will deliver the Keynote Address at the Feb. 14 meeting.

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