Suge Knight To Give Opening Remarks At Hip-Hop Summit

Death Row founder to address hip-hop community at February 14 event.

Suge Knight, one of the most controversial figures in music, will speak

Thursday (February 14) to a contingent of the hip-hop community that will gather to discuss the future roles of rap in society.

Knight, along with comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey, will

give opening remarks at the West Coast Hip-Hop Summit at the Four Seasons

Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will follow with

the keynote address, according to a spokesperson for the Hip-Hop Summit

Action Network, which is organizing the event (see "West Coast Rappers

Steppin' Up To The Mic At Their Own Summit").

Afterwards, invited artists, politicians, music executives and religious

leaders will convene behind closed doors to tackle many of the same issues

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Ja Rule and others discussed at last year's inaugural

summit in New York (see "P. Diddy, Luther Campbell On Hand As Rap Summit

Begins").

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who launched the Hip-Hop Summit Action

Network last year (see "P. Diddy Joins Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit

Action Network"); Minister Benjamin Muhammad, the network's

president; and Bay Area radio personality Davey D will be among the

attendees at the West Coast Hip-Hop Summit, along with rappers Xzibit,

Kurupt, the D.O.C., DJ Quik and others.

Issues on the table include becoming more politically active, economically

empowering impoverished communities and fighting federal censorship.

Muhammad, the moderator of the meetings, will announce plans by the network

to support spoken-word artist Sarah Jones, who is battling the Federal

Communications Commission over the banning of one of her pieces of work

about hip-hop.

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, which held a youth summit in January in

New York (see "Nas, P. Diddy, Wu-Tang Addressing Youth At NY Hip-Hop Summit"), will hold its second national summit in Los Angeles in June, the

spokesperson said. National issues will be discussed at that event.

Last year's summit, titled "Taking Back Responsibility," resulted in the

formation of a mentoring program and an agreement for a new set of marketing

guidelines (see "P. Diddy, Jermaine Dupri Help Announce Hip-Hop Initiatives").

Knight was recently released from prison, where he served five years on

charges stemming from a 1992 assault (see "Suge Knight Talks About Freedom,

Tha Row And Who Killed Tupac") and is currently recruiting artists

for his new label, Tha Row (see "Left Eye Signs With Suge Knight's Tha Row").