Hip Hop Commentary

An Open Letter to Suge Knight
by Chris

We got a ton of feedback regarding the article we wrote last week about the West Coast Hip Hop Summit. We felt we did a good job covering the event accurately. We felt we did a good job offering possible solutions and directions for people to take to improve Hip Hop. During the event Minister Farrakhan spoke for an hour and a half and emphasized the importance of us connecting to our spiritual side and for us to take responsibility. 14 individuals spoke after the Minister and covered subject matter ranging from the state of Hip Hop to pending legislation in Washington DC. Most offered solutions and solid steps to take to move our collective agenda forward.

Despite all those wonderful things, many who covered the event decided to spend all their ink and air time on sveral minutes of remarks made by Suge Knight. Although many of his points made sense, others were taken back by the way he stated his remarks and by some of the swipes he took at other artists. Suge became the focal point of the Summit and not the other compelling remarks. I had suggested that if people felt like things were out of pocket to spark dialogue. I suggested that they reach out and drop a line to the brother. After all, over the years we have shown tremendous patience and have had a lot of patience shown to us for our collective activities, remarks and antics. I've been to more than a few meetings and summits where people have said worse, done worse and disrupted more. We have long understood that change does not always happen over night, but we must take productive steps to help bring it about..

With that in mind a brotha named Chris wrote an open letter which he mailed off to Suge Knight... He asked if we could share it.. Hopefully people take his words to heart and act appropriately if they see themselves in his words. What we are dealing with is bigger than Hip Hop. And its bigger than Suge Knight. Here's Chris' letter..

An Open letter To Suge Knight

Dear Mr. Knight,

I read about your recent appearance at the West Coast Hip Hop summit. While I was disheartened to say the least, I can't say I am surprised. Nonetheless, rather than focus on the negative, this letter was written to provoke discussion and positivity.

You touched on some important issue in your brief speech; namely self-empowerment and economic justice for black people and rap artists. Yet, I feel that your comments about Dre, Puffy, gays, etc, overshadowed the important points you made. The press is always looking to portray our beautiful culture in a negative light and they pounce like predators at the first opportunity. I feel you did yourself and the hip-hop community a disservice by providing the fodder for their metaphorical cannon. It is time to move on, bury old divisions, and build towards a glorious future for ALL of us. The world is changing fast and I fear that our young brothers and sisters are being left behind. I believe that everyone can have a role in this, but especially brothers like you: smart, entrepreneurial, business minded people. We just need to focus on what is important.

This is 2002. A new century. Like Nas says it is time to destroy and rebuild. We have destroyed and we should be rebuilding. If we do not, the deaths of Tupac, Biggie and countless others will have been for nothing.

Mr. Knight, you have the power to be a forerunner of a new era in rap music. An era where artists will make the money they deserve. An era of black-owned record labels and black distribution. An era where black children can look up to their heroes and see positive images of black people. This is your moment; you have the power to secure a space in black/hip hop history. To be a force of change. This applies not only to you Mr. Knight but also to everyone in the industry.

I have always said that, fundamentally, the most powerful thing about rap is that it makes young black children proud to be black. This was true for me, but of course I grew up when Public Enemy and KRS-ONE were in the spotlight. But it can be that way once again.



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