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Hip hop is a phenomenon that has been admired, condemned, and studied since its inception. The culture has permeated the realms of every industry from politics, education, and sports to tech, venture capitalism, and corporate America.
Due to its transcending influence, many have tried to silence it.
Sean “Diddy” Combs, one of hip hop’s iconic living legends, has recognized this and created REVOLT Summit x AT&T, a three-day meeting of the minds to celebrate its power and inspire, educate, empower and connect people who are passionate about building their dreams, taking control of their future, doing the work, and ultimately pushing the culture forward. Let’s set the scene.
Atlanta is one of America’s crowning cities of Black leadership and culture and prides itself on being a central place for the hip hop culture and Black entrepreneurship. So, when thinking of locations where the Summit would have the most significant impact, Atlanta proved to be a no brainer.
Huge shipping containers transformed into art museums featuring the work of many local and national artists within the culture, Black-owned and operated food trucks. Thousands of young, brilliant Black minds filled the REVOLT Summit grounds, all eager to develop and hone crucial skills in their respective craft. The summit was tucked away in Mechanicsville, one of Atlanta’s oldest neighborhoods that had once been home to influential Black entrepreneurs.
The event was held ay 787 Windsor, the 3.5-acre urban art studios and outdoor open area campus. While some may have only seen vacant lots, boarded up homes, and children -- from households where the median income is $18.3K -- running up and down the streets playing, Diddy instead saw an opportunity. He found a way to bring something positive into the communities where he would like to see inspiration and hope infiltrate and help bring change and growth.
And he did just that, even stopping to talk to the youth, indirectly letting them know that hard times don’t always last but people who work hard do.
On day three, people were overcome with excitement and emotion about their newly ignited dreams and the new possibilities awaiting them. REVOLT TV breaks down the best moments from day three, the final day.
FOLLOW HER LEAD
The panel was moderated by radio pioneer Angie Martinez, as she talked with panelists Latrice Burnette, Tamika Mallory, Phylicia Fant, and Shari Bryant. Martinez asked them to share their perspectives on getting past issues with women if one gets to a place where they don’t get along and don’t see eye to eye. The advice that was given to all women was to believe in the movement that women have where they are trying to uplift each other.
Latrice Burnette states: It’s about communication, collaboration, and relationships. There’s nothing more important in life and business than relationships. You’re human, and you go through things just like the next person. I think it’s about sitting down and talking through your differences and being real and putting things on the table. You can agree to disagree, but as long as you put it out there, you can move past it. And then I think we need to know that collaboration is [essential], and it’s something that benefits everyone.
Shanti Das, who is a music industry trailblazer and essentially the heart of Atlanta’s music game, talks with her Atlanta brothers, super producers Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Rico Wade. None of them need an introduction. Everyone knows their resumé’s, the artists who they developed and introduced to the world, and their contributions to the culture. They are Atlanta, and the thing about their city is that it’s not manufactured.
Atlanta was never afraid of being who they were. When the hip hop culture didn’t respect their music, Austin, Dupri, and Wade never tried to conform. They just did the work and made everyone else take notice.
Together, they shared stories of how they made their mark in the culture and pushed dirty south music to become a force within the hip hop culture. The genre of music soon spread nationally and also globally. Plus, they all shared that it’s never been a competition with one another. They have always been friends and are super protective of each other and the city that they love: Atlanta.
Jermaine Dupri left everyone with this gem that applies to anything in life: “You have to make something so good that people cannot ignore you.”
At the end of the panel, Diddy got on stage and addressed the crowd: “I have to interrupt this panel. These are four of the greatest music executives in history, not just in my opinion. They are from Atlanta and they represent Atlanta. These are four of the greatest music executives and the reason why we are in this MF. These are also four of my best friends, no matter what I was going through, east vs. west shit, Jermaine was always right here and gave me a place to go. I directed the first Outkast video. They gagave me a chanceto work with some great artists. Shanti Das has been a great friend and just a great executive.
Sometimes because things are moving so fast with the age of social media, sometimes you may not understand when you are in the presence of greatness because you may be so busy just trying to get to it. But, you can’t know where you are going unless you know where you came from. THE ONLY REASON WHY WE ARE HERE IS BECAUSE OF THESE FOUR EXECUTIVES RIGHT HERE. Give them a round of applause.”
TRAP THE VOTE x REVOLT: HIP HOP & POLITICS
Michael Render known to most as Killer Mike is the absolute truth. Not only does he speak with conviction and passion, he genuinely gives a damn about black people and the culture. The Atlanta native and politically outspoken rapper, drops so many jewels during the Trap The Vote x REVOLT: Hip Hop & Politics panel. You have to watch the full video here.
But, until you do, let’s dig into this conversation about whether or not the narrative that we don’t inspire children to vote by saying, “someone died for your rights to vote” right here!
QUOTES OF THE SUMMIT
Industry power players and gatekeepers like Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Jeezy, Angela Yee, Mara Brock Akil, Jermaine Dupri, T.I., Killer Mike, and DJ Khaled, came out to share their stories with hopes of inspiring and giving advice to those who are trying to create careers within the culture.
We caught up with a few of them who participated throughout the three days to find out why they believe that an experience like the REVOLT Summit is important.
Panel: Swizzy & Tim
Timbaland stated: “[The Summit] is culture. The importance of it is that we are doing something for the future. It’s an outlet for people to get advise when they get frustrated, when they get down. They can come here to build their inspiration back... This is a dream and I watched it come true.”
Panel: Combs Cartel
Justin Combs stated: “ I feel it’s a blessing. I feel [that] he’s ahead of his time... It’s just a blessing to call him my father. I feel like it’s a milestone and it’s something that can build and grow. You know? It’s the first one in Atlanta and [I imagine] that five to 10 years from now it’s just going to be crazy.”
Panel: Monetizing Social Media: The Money Behind the Click with B. Simone
B. Simone stated: “The panel was so important...to have legends [like Diddy] at REVOLT [Summit] look at me and see something in me. To [be able] to talk to [the youth], these Black entrepreneurs, up and comers on social media; to just give the jewels. I hate panels where people sit there and just talk about themselves. There needs to be panels where you sit there and hear people just drop gems. You know?”
Diddy aka “Brother Love, The Cultural Leader” Closes Out Atlanta’s First Summit With These Words
“I just want to tell you, I love y’all [Crowds stand, cheer and scream]
And I want to say, WE [expletive] DID IT. We brought something to the hood, and people are learning things, and people’s dreams are getting ignited. And I’m just so proud to be standing on this stage. I just want to tell you guys I love y’all.
That’s it. I love y’all.”
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms presented rapper Diddy with the Phoenix Award, the city’s highest honor. “Sean Combs has been a staple in the Atlanta community for more than three decades. As a child, he spent every summer here with his aunt and credits Atlanta for helping him to cultivate his creative talents,” the mayor’s spokesman Michael Smith said.
Diddy was also honored at the Georgia State Capital by the Georgia Entertainment Caucus and received one of the highest honors from the state. State representatives acknowledged the fact that Diddy was bringing his platform, Revolt Summit, to Atlanta and strategically boosting and creating entrepreneurs with aspirations of being moguls.