Hip Hop Summit To Promote Diversity and Tolerance

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 21, 2006 at 10:37 PM EST

Davone Nealy hopes people come to the Greater Binghamton Hip Hop summit with an open mind.

He says many people view the music as violent and vulgar.

But he hopes to change image with an event to promote tolerance and understanding.

"If you want to get these people off the streets, get these people to stop doing things against the law, take this medium which they embrace and use it for positive aspects they're capable of," says Nealy.

From 200 to 300 people are expected at meeting, being held at the American Legion post in Binghamton.

Along with music performances, the summit will explore topics of diversity and tolerance of all races.

Issues that Nealy believes are often ignored in places where there's not a strong hip hop culture.

"Unbeknownst to the ones who run suburban America, their kids are the ones that make the music the number one selling genre in music," says Nealy.

Local Hip Hop artist Anthony Valentine is struggling to make his mark in the industry.

He says it's hard to expand hip hop's influence here.

"I would like to see people embrace it but I think Binghamton is too small for it to go to a bigger state," says Valentine.

Valentine and others at Blazin Cuts barbershop in Binghamton say it's not just about the music, but expression.

Something they don't think the media always understands.

"This is what they're doing, they're expressing their feelings through their music and giving people an opportunity to listen to what they've been through," says Leroy Fields of Binghamton.

And organizers of the Hip Hop Summit hope people will come and listen to the music and the message Wednesday night.

The summit runs from 7 to 10 Wednesday night at the American Legion on Main Street in Binghamton.

It's sponsored by All People United, a nonprofit group which promotes tolerance and understanding in our communities.

There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome.

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