Hip-Hop to It

Get the vote out and your groove on at the Missouri Black Expo

As we noted in these pages a few months back (Ben Westhoff, "Stripping Bush," June 2), everybody's trying to get out the vote for this November's election, including Russell Simmons (pictured) and his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. And unlike the past musical voting efforts (Rock the Vote, anyone?), this free summit might actually work (no offense, MTV fans). Instead of just talking from a platform somewheres on the coast, Simmons is taking his fifteen-point wish list and his register-to-vote message to the streets. He's here on ours with Nelly and a few others (at America's Center, 701 Convention Center Plaza) on Friday, August 20, at noon as part of the thirteenth annual Missouri Black Expo 2004.

And if you're already registered to vote and down with Mr. Simmons' message, check out some of the Expo's other events going on all weekend (Friday through Sunday, August 20 through 22; check www.missouriblackexpo.com for times). For an entry fee of only $10, attendees can browse more than 500 book, food, clothing and arts-and-crafts booths; listen to the Black America Today panel discussion (hosted by the Julius Hunter) on Saturday at 1 p.m.; visit the ARCHS Health Fair and the college fair; and check out the music pavilion -- all at America's Center.

But that's not all the music at this year's Expo. MTV has revamped its voting encouragement with this year's nightly Charter Communications/MTV2 Music Fest (including Jadakiss, Twista, D12 and more!); for more info on the concert, see the Critic's Pick on page 63 (tickets are extra and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com). Nothing makes people want to vote more than Jada -- seriously.

As if Mr. 'Kiss wasn't enough, the Expo is also the host of many other special events, including the free one-mile Prostate Cancer Survivors and Awareness Walk on Saturday (at 7 a.m. at the Blue Cross Blue Shield building at 1831 Chestnut Street). For more info on these and all other events, check the Expo's Web site. Oh yeah, and don't forget to vote in November.

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