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Real Stories

Hip-Hop Entrepreneur

Materials Needed:
Set of documents: Document One, Document Two, Document Three, Computer access for word processing, Printers

The facilitator should begin this activity by sharing and discussing the following:

Recently, "USA Today" named Russell Simmons one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years," calling him a "Hip-Hop pioneer" for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.

In addition to these accomplishments, Simmons helped create the "Hip-Hop Summit Action Network." Founded in 2001, the Network is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns, such as civic engagement and financial literacy, fundamental to the well-being of at-risk youth throughout the United States.

The facilitator should then print out the directions below or place them on an overhead projector and review with the participants:

After you have viewed the segment from "Your Life, Your Money," on the Hip Hop Summit and the career of Russell Simons, read the documents included with this lesson and then use them to do the following:

  1. Identify the main idea of each document. Illustrate, with specific examples, why you feel the idea you have selected is the main idea.
  2. Is there an overarching theme related to the documents? Why or why not? Defend your choice with specific examples.
  3. Discuss the documents as they relate to the segment of the "Your Money, Your Life" program that you have viewed on the Hip-Hop Summit. Explore such issues as empowerment, role models and the story of Russell Simmons' career as an entrepreneur, not just as a music executive.
  4. Compare the statements from the article made by Benjamin Chavis, Ph.D., former president of the NAACP and the Vice-President of HSAN, with those he made in the program segment.
  5. Finally, analyze and discuss the statements made by Dr. Chavis and Russell Simmons (both in the documents and in the program segment) in regard to the 60s Civil Rights movement and the societal impact today of Hip-Hop.

Facilitator Tip: You may wish to use the questions above as discussion questions if time does not permit a lengthy writing assignment. Select those you feel are most relevant to your group.

The facilitator should conclude this activity with the following: Sharing the written work of the participants and using it for further discussion and analysis.