Jay-Z , P DIDDY, Alicia Keys, LL Cool J, and members of the Wu Tang Clan were among the stars who turned out in NEW YORK yesterday (June 4) to campaign against a proposed $1 billion cut in the city’s education budget.
The glittering collection gathered on a specially erected stage across from City Hall in front of 60,000 protestors. A further 10,000, eager to voice their disapproval, were locked out of the designated area. Wyclef Jean was amongst them, and to make his own protest he lay down on the street and was led off handcuffed by police, according to MTV.
Leading the crowd in a chant of ‘We ain’t havin it’, P Diddy also said: “If [the children] don’t have education, they have no future. It’s unfair for people that don’t have money to go to private schools to have over $1 billion cut from their funding. This is a positive way for the kids to understand how to protest and speak out and how to get the mayor and the people that make decisions to listen. I think [Mayor Michael Bloomberg] is gonna watch the news tonight and realise he has a problem on his hands.”
His point was echoed by an adamant Alicia Keys. “We are not just gonna take what we’re given,” she said. “We’re not gonna take $1.2 billion in cuts. We’re worth more than that. I’m a New York City resident, born and raised here. When I was in school we were fighting the same fights against budget cuts. Once again they constantly want to take from the system of education, from schools, from the people that are going to be the future. I’m out here to show my support that we’re not going to accept this.”
The protests were organised by hip-hop producer and guru Russell Simmons – identified by P Diddy simply as ‘The Godfather’. “[The protest] is about reminding [the Mayor] that the people do care and want to prioritise their education,” he said.
“Last year, even in a time of prosperity, they cut over $400 million, and I think the people were too silent. It’s had a devastating effect on our education system already.”