Rap music gets good spin

Panel urges rap leaders to promote music as positive

WASHINGTON — Hip-hop, here’s a message from your elders: Don’t squander your potential to shape culture and politics.

At a Friday summit sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP prexy-CEO Kweisi Mfume and Hilary Rosen, president-CEO of the Recording Industry Assn. of America, were among those urging rap leaders to help others understand the musical genre as a positive, potent force.

“What are you going to do with the power this music brings? We’re going to continue selling records. Whether this music has the potential to change the world is up to you,” Rosen said.

Also on the panel was Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons, who formed the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a relatively new org trying to counter the stereotype that the music is just about violence.

Simmons has worked hard in recent months trying to educate Washington lawmakers about hip-hop, as well as staff at the Federal Trade Commission. Over the last year, the FTC has been closely monitoring whether violent, mature-rated entertainment is being peddled to kids.

The RIAA has provided office space to the Simmons org, Rosen said.

Also attending Friday’s panel were rappers Black Ice and Public Enemy’s Chuck D.

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