Hip hop for the people

NEWARK, N.J. – Ras Baraka, an educator and deputy mayor of Newark, announced the founding of Hip Hop for the P.E.O.P.L.E. at a recent press conference. Comedian Bill Cosby and numerous hip hop artists and producers are lending their talents to this ambitious and unprecedented national program.

The organization’s goals, Baraka said, is to utilize the power of hip hop to remediate issues dealing with violence, gangs, drugs, unemployment and education. The organization also has committed itself to narrowing the gap between young people in the hip hop community and the elders, he said.

“The concept of hip hop for the P.E.O.P.L.E. project is to use hip hop as a vehicle to educate on anti-violence in all forms,” Cosby said.

Hip hop for the P.E.O.P.L.E. (Providing Education Opportunity Prosperity and Life Eternally) was created to save lives from the recent increase of gang violence, especially on the East Coast. On May 21, 2004, the City of Newark brokered a “peace treaty” among the gangs, the Crips and Bloods. The idea for the organization came out of that experience.

Hip Hop for the P.E.O.P.L.E. will launch a compilation CD project with several New Jersey and New York hip hop artists, dealing with the issues that currently plague “our communities providing a positive outlook on how to improve our situation.” The project will include street interviews with gang members discussing their needs for a better way, political commentary, inspirational spoken word and positive hip hop.

Also, filmmaker Hafiz Farid has produced and directed a feature-length documentary to provide an understanding of poverty, oppression and “miseducation.” The film features viewpoints from gang members, as well as politicians, educators and law enforcement officials.

Baraka said, “The City of Newark appreciates Dr. Cosby’s support in our on-going efforts to combat gang violence and to take back our communities. … We are also in contact with well-known hip hop luminaries from New Jersey such as Queen Latifah, Wyclef Jean, Rah Digga, Redman, and Treach of Naughty By Nature to participate in the CD and/or the documentary.”

For more information or to get involved: www.hiphopforthepeople.com or call Newark City Hall (973) 733-4361.