Lights! Camera! Take Action and Vote! PlayStation®2 and Russell Simmons Host 'Make a Difference' Benefit for the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Raising Money to Encourage Voter Registration

Special Performances by Miri Ben-Ari, India.Arie and Chaka Khan


In an effort to empower young voters to participate in the 2004 election, PlayStation®2 joined forces with Russell Simmons, Brett Ratner and Andre Harrell to host "Make a Difference" -- a fundraiser that raised money to benefit the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) and its non-profit, non-partisan youth voter registration initiative "Hip-Hop Team Vote." The last presidential election in 2000 only brought 36 percent of Americans ages 18-24 to the polls, according to census figures. The fusion of hip-hop and interactive entertainment presents a unique opportunity for a strong connection with today's young people to encourage them to vote on November 2.

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With most states' voter registration deadlines falling the week of October 4, the fundraiser came at a pivotal time to remind those who have not registered to vote to fill out voter registration forms. HSAN and PlayStation 2 are focusing support for voter education to the same young demographic that have popularized the world of hip-hop music and gaming, and hope to increase awareness and support for the effort to improve voter turn-out.

Sanaa Lathan emceed the evening, where Capitol Hill met Beverly Hills in the elegant outdoor pool and cabana area of the Beverly Hills Hotel. Congresswoman Maxine Waters thanked Russell Simmons and PlayStation 2 for reaching out to today's youth to encourage political participation. India.Arie was so inspired by the event that she registered to vote onsite right after her performance.

The crowd, including Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union, Vivica A. Fox, Tommy Davidson and Serena Williams, had the chance to watch footage from HSAN Summits around the country where the organization has emphasized to young people the importance of community involvement. Prince, Boris Kodjoe, Chris Kattan and Rebecca Gayheart mingled with Russell and Brett Ratner, while listening to acoustic performances by Chaka Khan, India.Arie and hip-hop violinist, Miri Ben-Ari with synchronized swimmers spelling out "VOTE" in the pool. Donald Trump even made time to stop and send his regards to Russell.

Guests perused silent auction items, including a W Hotel weekend getaway package, a customized golf cart with a built-in PlayStation 2 console and a meet and greet with Dodgers players. The golf cart took in $4,000 that went straight to HSAN to support its efforts outreaching to the urban community.

Through the credibility of PlayStation 2, today's hottest hip-hop artists, entertainment industry leaders and education advocates aimed at involving the hip-hop generation in issues such as voter education, youth leadership and economic advancement, HSAN has already registered hundreds of thousands of young people over the past 12 months.

About Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

HSAN is a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition of artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents and youth leaders united in the belief that the "hip-hop" phenomena is an enormously influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and pro-actively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice. For more information on the local summits and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network efforts, go to

About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era.

Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

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