Hip Hop Inaugural Ball Shines Light On Music And Politics

WEBN staff photo

By Shakala Alvaranga 1-20-2013

Hip Hop icons made their way to The Harman Center in Washington D.C. tonight to honor the influence that hip hop music had on the 2012 election.

2 Chainz, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, John Legend and many more were invited to the Hip Hop Inaugural Ball, launched by rap mogul Russell Simmons. Terrence J and La La Anthony hosted the event.

Legend was one of the many artists who received an award. “I think hip-hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America,” the R&B star said after receiving the humanitarian award.

He admits that if it were not for people like President Barack Obama, he probably would not have made it as far as he has.

MC Lyte and Doug E. Fresh both received Lifetime Achievement awards.

Performances included a duel act by Yo Yo and Lil Mama and a performance by singer Marsha Ambrosius. Ambrosius whispered “This is for you, Michael” before singing a song that she co-wrote for Michael Jackson called “Invincible.”

“It’s really great to see people so excited about our political process,” actress Rosario Dawson said on the red carpet. “Every citizen makes a really dramatic difference and we’ve seen a huge prevalence of celebrities, corporation, lots of people who have whatever influence they have…they’re exercising it and flexing it as big as possible.”

The award-winning actress received the Vanguard Award for her position as chairman of the Voto Latino organization. The organization empowers American Latinos in claiming a better future by voting in the election.

Dawson says the outpouring of celebrities who have gotten involved in the election is important. She hopes that in the next election we can focus on the people, rather than the branding aspect.

Rapper 2 Chainz was also honored at the Hip Hop Inaugural Ball. The Grammy-nominated rapper was recognized for his contributions to the Respect My Vote Campaign. The campaign educates ex felons between the ages of 18-40 years about their voting rights.

Other honorees at the star-studded event included Swizz Beatz and Meek Mill.