'Evolution of Hip-Hop': Minister Louis Farrakhan tells it like it is
KILLER MIKE SHEDS A TEAR AT JUSTIN'S
(photos by Shannon McCollum)
Oct. 14, 2007, started like any other old Sunday. Me, dreading Monday and feeling slightly guilty about not remembering the last time I went to church (I think it was my cousinâ€™s wedding). But little did I know, one afternoon would make up for a lifetime of spiritual truancy.
With the shadow of the overhyped BET Hip-Hop Awards looming over the city, special invited guests abandoned the red carpets, name dropping, and VIP theatrics to embrace the core values of love, compassion and humanity. A whoâ€™s who of hip-hop artists, industry tastemakers and activists huddled into Justinâ€™s on Peachtree seeking spiritual renewal via â€œThe Evolution of Hip-Hop: An Intimate Conversation with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,â€ sponsored by AllHipHop.com and 9196 Management.
As rap gets star billing as the new American scapegoat (T.I.â€™s arrest certainly didn't help its public image), the gathering sought to combat attacks on the art form, offering straight-no-chaser strategies to center the global influence and cultural impact of hip-hop through social responsibility, atonement and activism. The star-studded roundtable of guests included Chuck Creekmur (AllHipHop.com), Benjamin Chavis (Hip-Hop Summit Action Network), Chuck D and Professor Griff (Public Enemy), Dee Dee Murray (Murray Music Media Corp.), Iâ€™na Saulsberry (the Starfire Group), Organized Noize, Jason Orr (Funk Jazz KafÃ©), Michael Eric Dyson, director Bryan Barber, Teddy Riley, Nâ€™dea Davenport, David Banner, NO I.D., Diamond D, and Atlanta rappers and producers Killer Mike, Cee-lo, DJ Toomp and Bryan-Michael Cox.
Anyone questioning Nation of Islam leader Farrakhanâ€™s effectiveness need only witness a room full of â€œindustryâ€ folk humble themselves enough to plead for direction, as was the case with a teary-eyed Killer Mike, who was so overwhelmed by the rousing speech he not only offered a public apology for his headline-grabbing feud with Big Boiâ€™s Purple Ribbon record label, but also sought guidance in coping with an industry built on capitalism and greed. Mikeâ€™s impromptu alter call has already become legendary.