Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Wu-Tang Protesting NYC School Budget Cuts

Mos Def, Fat Joe, Ashanti, Dead Prez also involved in fighting mayor's

They may have valued P.E. and D.M.C. over Ph.D.s and B.A.s when they were in

school, but Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Mos Def, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan, Ashanti and Dead

Prez have joined the protest against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's

proposed $1 billion in education cuts.

On June 4, one day before the mayor makes his final budget proposal to the

city council, the rappers plan to gather at City Hall alongside Russell

Simmons, minister Benjamin Muhammad, Al Sharpton, "Sex and the City" star

Cynthia Nixon and thousands of students, teachers and parents to voice their

objection to Bloomberg's plans.

During the event, dubbed the Mobilization for Education, the performers are

expected to make brief speeches, a rally spokesperson said, adding that the

hip-hop community has such an active interest in the event because the

proposed cuts would have a devastating effect on inner-city schools.

"We are mobilizing the hip-hop community to join with the United Federation

of Teachers and the Alliance for Quality Education because education is a

vital issue for hip-hop," Simmons said in a statement. "I visit schools all

the time, and I'm tired of hearing about kids sharing books and having no

desks of their own. I'm tired of the debate of 'Who will manage the

schools?' when the real issue is 'Who will prioritize the funding of our

children's education?' The elite have abandoned the war on poverty and

education, and it's up to us, the hip-hop community, to stand up. No one

else will. Our elected officials have failed us."

In addition, Jay-Z, Sharpton, Nixon and Simmons have recorded public service

announcements that are airing on local hip-hop stations.

"On June 4 at 2:30 p.m.," Jay-Z says on one, "I want you to get up, walk out

of class and meet me at City Hall in protest of the more than $1 billion cut

from the school budget the city wants to make."

Others who have pledged their support to the campaign include Nas, the LOX,

Charli Baltimore, Lady May, Megahertz, Rah Digga, the Rev. Run and Chuck D.