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"Vengeance is not for us to take care of. Let the man upstairs handle it. You do the
right thing."
——Jay’s widow Terry

JAM MASTER JAY LEAVES A PEACEFUL LEGACY

Hip-Hop Royalty Emphasizes the Positive at Manhattan Press Conerence
"Hip-hop is one big family," Russell Simmons stated earlier today at a Manhattan press conference whose stated purpose was to announce the formation of a coalition to help the family of slain Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay (given name: Jason Mizell) and to help catch the shooter. But Simmons and the others behind the coalition had a general point to make as well. As he spoke, the Def Jam co-founder and hip-hop entrepreneur stood in front of a banner that read, "The Positive Legacy of Hip Hop." "There is no division," he insisted. "Show the love and stop using your pen as a weapon."

During the event, various speakers focused on the positive impact hip-hop has had on music and culture, while countering speculation that East Coast-West Coast rivalries still exist and may have been responsible for the murder of the well-liked turntable pioneer. ""Rap is indifferent; it's whose hands it's in," said Rev. Run, aka Joseph Simmons, Jay’s longtime bandmate "This murder has nothing to do with rap music, it has to do with someone who has a sick mind."

The initial impetus for the press conference was to collect money on behalf of Jay's surviving family members: his wife Terry and kids. In attendance was a who's who of hip-hop's most high-profile figures, including record executives Lyor Cohen, Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles and Kedar Massenberg, artists P. Diddy, Busta Rhymes (who donated $30,000 to aid Jay's surviving family members), the Beastie Boys, Chuck D, Doug E. Fresh, Foxy Brown, Spinderella, Redman, Ghostface Killah and MC Serch, as well as Rev. Run and Darryl "DMC" McDaniel, radio personalities Doctor Dre and Ed Lover and The Source's Dave Mays.

What follows are selected quotes from the press conference:

Rev. Run, announcing the retirement of Run-DMC: "Some rock bands can replace the drummer. I don't know any other way but to be the three original members."

Kevin Liles: "Jay's passing brings light to a big issue. When gang records weren't as popular, gang wars still got higher. I hope we can look at this situation knowing that Jay didn't die in vain. We want to help his family, put away money for his kids' college education. There are a lot of people supporting this effort: Kid Rock, Aerosmith, Eminem, The Source, Blender... The NY Police has been good and supportive to the whole family."

P. Diddy: "Anybody that knew Jay, knew he had such a positive vibe and message. He was always smiling and always uplifting. His family, children and legacy must be taken care of."

Foxy Brown: "I'm here representing the younger generation. I'm like the baby, but Run-DMC is the epitome. Everybody's dying around us; it's time to take a positive step."

Ed Lover: "If it wasn't for Jay, Run and DMC, none of us would be eating what we're eating today. Run-DMC created the pilot for Yo! MTV Raps that made hip-hop commercially viable. We gotta put some love back into the music. This has to be a catalyst to put love back in people's hearts. Hip-hop is not reflective of the street [anymore]."

Doctor Dre: "Jay was a father, family man, a community activist who gave and gave and gave. Respect the school of rap, not old or new... It's our children we're talking about."

Spinderella: "Losing Jay is something we're gonna use to make sure this never happens again. People didn't know how much power his life had."

Chuck D: "I speak clearly and I don't stutter. I talk directly to the people, and I'm here to clarify that I praised Jay-Z and Ja Rule as younger brothers [referring to a quote that suggested he was feuding with Jay Z and Ja Rule]. Technology and images created a situation where life follows art. Understand that it goes from here to the ears and minds of the people."

Russell Simmons: "We see violence all day. It's OK for Tony Soprano to drink a Pepsi, but Ludacris, who said nothing harmful and who's a comedian...people are offended by his language. It's our sick society."

Terry Mizell, Jay’s widow: "Vengeance is not for us to take care of. Let the man upstairs handle it. You do the right thing."

Russell Simmons, on the reward: "$50k should be enough incentive to come forward and speak. We hope they do."

Shirley Halperin reported from the press conference.

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