High profile entertainment industry executives, artists & producers gathered to discuss over five decades of Black and Jewish cultural collaboration in the Hip-Hop industry.
Los Angeles – In celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA) recently hosted two events featuring some of the biggest names in Hip Hop music. On September 14th in Los Angeles and September 21st in New York City, leading artists, producers, and executives from the Black and Jewish communities discussed the history of Hip-Hop and cross-cultural collaboration in the industry. The events were held in partnership with UTA, Recording Academy, and UJA-Federation New York.
The panelists included Steve Lobel, CEO, We Working and Lobel Music Group; Layzie Bone, Artist, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony; MC Serch, Artist and Music Executive; Benny the Butcher, Artist; Mazik, Artist, Blood of Abraham; Steve Rifkind, Founder of Loud Records, SRC Records and Spring Sound; Vin Rock, Artist, Naughty By Nature; and XZIBIT, Artist, Actor, Television Host & Radio Personality amongst others. The event was modereated in Los Angeles by Justin Hunte, Music and culture critic and creator; and in New York by Peter Rosenberg, Hip Hop Producer and Radio Host, Hot 97fm.
Engaging in thought-provoking discussions, the panelists shared personal experiences and insights on how Black and Jewish collaboration has influenced the landscape of Hip-Hop.
“What kept me engaged in music was somebody that cared about my career, even more than me,” said Layzie Bone. “Steve Lobel cared, that’s what makes him a manager. The consideration he has is why im here 30 years later.” In response Lobel shared “this my brother for real…but it is very uncommon that a white Caucasian Jew is with an African-American group for 30 years. I’ve been through hell and back with them. They’re my brothers and my friends.”
Through lesser-known industry intel, attendees also gained a deeper understanding of the cultural contributions made by both communities. Justin Hunte admired Eazy-E’s pioneering foresight to sign Blood of Abraham, a Jewish Hip-Hop group, “To have that unity at that point in time to me is what Hip-Hop truly is.”
Mazik from Blood of Abraham added, “Whenever you meet anyone, you can always attach to people with music. Music is a connection.”
Echoing Hunte in New York was artist Remedy, a Jewish rapper who is a Wu-Tang Can affiliate, who stated, “We should respect the culture – live it, love each other, because we all have so much more in common than different. And that’s about humanity – that’s what this is really about, uniting humanity.”
MC Serch took the discussion a step further by adding, “We are all here together to experience a human experience. Not as Black people or Jewish people, but as human… You should see race, but just don’t judge them by it. We have to start looking inside. If you start to eliminate who a person is by the color of their skin, you eliminate who they are.”
“The 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop is a momentous occasion, and it was important for us to recognize the contributions that Black and Jewish artists have made in shaping the genre,” said Cory Litwin, Music Executive and Managerand BJEA member. “Hip-Hop is a powerful art form that has brought together people from different backgrounds, and these events allowed us to highlight the power of collaboration and to inspire future generations of artists and industry professionals.”
Vin Rock closed out New York adding, “Hopefully this – because of this coalition – can span into more music conferences and networking like that… Just realize that the human experience is a rainbow coalition.”
ABOUT THE BLACK JEWISH ENTERTAINMENT ALLIANCE
The Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance (BJEA) is the first initiative by Black and Jewish entertainment industry leaders dedicated to building bridges between their respective communities and countering institutional racism and antisemitism. To learn more, please visit: https://blackjewishentalliance.com/