After almost 50 years, Hip-Hop finally has a holy alliance designed to help rappers in their lives, their health, careers and overall wellness. Two of rap’s pioneers, and their new organization the Hip-Hop Alliance, have connected with the executives at SAG-AFTRA to pull off a cultural coup, which will allow for artists to receive benefits.
AllHipHop.com, in an exclusive interview, got the details.
Pioneer rapper Kurtis Blow, the Vice President of the Hip-Hop Alliance who suffered heart disease and received a transplant in 2021, said to Chuck Creekmur, “Well, we are actually proud to announce the partnership with SAG-AFTRA and the Hip-Hop Alliance.”
SAG-AFTRA and the Hip-Hop Alliance, an affiliate of the United Coalition for Humanity, are aiming to “build a better future for hip hop artists, and the entire music industry.” Chuck D currently serves as the president of the organization.
“What we want to do is, we want to join forces to promote fair wages and fair royalties, and also benefits, mental health and physical health benefits, retirement benefits. And this is all for the artists because the artists nowadays are in a bad way,” “The Breaks” rapper continued. “We all know, because of a pandemic, everything is shut down and it is so difficult to make a living. Theaters are shutting down all over the country, concert halls, clubs, what have you. So it is so very difficult to make a living, first and foremost.”
He continued, “Then you have these deals that these artists are in, and they are exploited, and it’s been happening for hundreds of years. So now we are coming together, a group of people, to stand up and say, ‘This is not right. Let’s change the game and create fairness for the artists who are out there giving their all to the community.’”
The Hip-Hop Alliance includes other artists like the Force MDs (Khalil Lundy and Stevie D. Lundy), Dr. Pebbles (aka Pebblee Poo), Billboard Baby, Alonzo E Williams, Darryll (DLB – Fearless 4) Barksdale, DJ Hollywood, William (Grandmaster D) Carter Billboard Baby and more. Others who are participating on the executive side are Bob Lee, Founder / Chairman Emeritus; Bishop Cathaye Jones, Executive Director; Jameson Bennett, Founder / Secretary; Nadia Young, Legal; Janice Pendarvis; Mandy Aragones; Melvin Kelly and Kurtis Walker Jr.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the National Executive Director for SAG-AFTRA said that he is excited about this movement, “Hip-Hop is and has long been a major force in American culture. We are thrilled to partner with the Hip-Hop Alliance and to work jointly to create a more equitable music ecosystem. Together, we will protect and empower artists through collaborative educational efforts and collective legislative actions, like the FAIR Act.”
The Chairman of the Hip Hop Alliance, Bishop Eric Gailliard said to Creekmur the urgency of this type of assembly is paramount.
“With the passing of these recent artists and these recent talents, it’s like an undercurrent where in the midst of all of this chaos and calamity and craziness… I’ll call it the three Cs, chaos, calamity, and craziness… throughout the world,” The Bishop shared. “We’re really coming back to this place called unity in the process of this grieving.”
This partnership with SAG-AFTRA will help prolong the lives and ensure the wellness of artists that we love so dearly, something we should have done years ago.