Hip hop was in full effect at this year’s Hip Hop Inaugural Ball that was presented by the Hip Hop Summit Action Network and Russell Simmons.
Everyone from 2 Chainz to La La Anthony was in the building to celebrate the second term of President Barack Obama and many spoke about what his presidency meant to them.
While Barack’s legacy will live on for decades, hip hop played a major role in getting him elected in the first place. When Jay Z and his beautiful wife Beyonce showed up at the Inauguration to pay honor to the president, it was obvious from that point on that hip hop is here to stay and might one day ascend to the highest office in the land.
Singer John Legend also acknowledged how hip hop played a role for Barack. “I think hip-hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America because we made it so black people were in people’s homes..via our music and through our culture.”
“Just in the past 25 years, there have been many from the hip hop community that has struggled to make sure our voices were heard and Russell Simmons played a major role in that with his Hip hop Summit Action Network. From voter registration drives to promoting higher education and equal pay for teachers in New York, Russell Simmons, Dr. Ben Chavis and members of the organization fought battles in the front line of the hip hop struggle so it’s only fitting that many are jubilant in seeing President Obama in office. ” stated Hip Hop Enquirer’s CEO Dennis Byron.
Hip-hop pioneers MC Lyte and Doug E. Fresh were both given lifetime achievement awards. Fresh even hit the stage, beat boxing while comedian-actor-singer Wayne Brady cooed Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” At one point, Brady even busted out his own rhymes.
Rapper Yo Yo earned a roaring cheer when she hit the stage to honor MC Lyte; Lil Mama also paid tribute to the “Ruffneck” rapper.
2 Chainz, who had a breakthrough year with his Grammy-nominated solo debut and multiple rap hits, earned the street soldier award for encouraging young voters as a spokesperson for the Hip-Hop Caucus’ “Respect My Vote!” campaign.
“Doing my thing on the charts is one thing, but to be getting honored on another avenue, it just feels like a blessing,” he said in an interview. “I’m keeping my head leveled and staying humble.”
Actress Rosario Dawson won the vanguard award for her work as chairman of the Voto Latino organization.
“It’s time to step out of the shadows. It’s time to not just be talked about by other people, it’s time to take the leadership ourselves and that first step of leadership is voting,” Dawson said of the importance of the Latino vote.
Rappers Swizz Beatz and Meek Mill also earned honors at the event, attended by a few hundred hip-hop fans, including model Tyson Beckford, former NBA star Dikembe Mutumbo and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. La La Anthony and Terrence J hosted the ball.
British singer Marsha Ambrosius also delivered a rousing performance, and playful jokes about Obama.
“I got a call from the president and he asked me to perform his favorite song,” she said before singing the R&B jam “Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player).”
Then she sang “Butterflies,” a song she co-wrote for Michael Jackson’s 2001 “Invincible” album.
Photo credit: Prince Williams and Johnny Nunez
Source: HuffPost/ Getty Images
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