Mix a little grassroots Hip-Hop culture with a dash of political urban swagger. Add a touch of dynamic news and dialogue, and you have an incredible online epicenter for the Hip-Hop community.
It’s called Global Grind, and it’s the first of its kind: a free, all-news website for the Hip-Hop community.
Backed by rap mogul Russell Simmons, the new initiative is also supported by Facebook investors Accel Partners, and is led by former BET technology executive Navarrow Wright.
Launched in November 2007, Global Grind has become a Hip-Hop destination for news and information. It combines hundreds of relevant stories, entertainment, sports, gossip and blogging sites.
Globalgrind.com posts information in real time, allowing both editors and users to essentially create their own version of the Huffington Post (an online newspaper) for the global Hip-Hop community with a worldwide appeal.
Simmons, an entrepreneur who was recently named one of USA Today’s Top 25 Most Influential People, said he stands behind the concept and the potential of Global Grind.
“If we can find all the things that matter for hip hop and put them in one place…then this huge global community can make a big difference in this whole world. And I believe that Global Grind has that potential,” Simmons told the South Florida Times.
Simmons, who co-founded the widely successful Def Jam Recordings music label, is also known in the fashion industry for his Phat Farm, Baby Phat, and Run Athletics clothing lines.
He is also known for HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam’’ and “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.’’
Simmons introduced his new menswear collection at the Argyle Culture Fashion Show last Friday, Oct. 3 at the swanky Setai Hotel in South Beach, according to The Associated Press. The male models donned sporty suits, pinstriped shorts and argyle V-neck sweaters, combining urban aesthetics with traditionally professional and preppy attire, the AP reported. Actress Gabrielle Union attended the event, which also included a red-carpet rollout of Global Grind.
Simmons turned 51 on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Wright, the Global Grind CEO, said that what makes the website unique is that its users can submit their own content. This feature allows users to become engaged in shaping what appears on the site, and therefore what is most important to them and the Hip-Hop community.
“We want users to submit content that people don’t know about,’’ Wright said. “This audience has a voice and power behind that voice. And we want to give them a place to show the stories that are important to them, share their outrage as well as give them a place to get information.’’
Wright also said he knew the initiative’s name truly meshed well with the concept of giving the urban, Hip-Hop community a unique, communal voice.
“This site is all about people finding things that are important to them and providing a unique perspective, not only just gossip alone but politics, social justice issues and mainstream everyday news,’’ Wright said. “At the end of the day, we’re all on our daily grind.’’
With a target group of more than 24 million, 15 to 34 year-olds who have a spending power of $500 billion annually, Global Grind organizers say they want to emphasize the distinctiveness of the Hip-Hop demographic, as well as its interests and needs.
In fact, it was the lack of Hip-Hop representation that was a strong influence in the creation of Global Grind, Wright said.
“People think that the urban Hip-Hop audience is just black people. It’s not. It’s a multicultural audience with 76 percent being non-African American,’’ he said. “The things that happen in the world touch the Hip-Hop community very differently than others. We’re very creative. We’re entrepreneurial and that’s not shown on the media.”
In an effort to engage in the highly discussed political process, Global Grind recently launched an initiative called “Countdown to Change,’’ a non-partisan online news center where key information and news stories about the presidential candidates, the issues, polling numbers, statistics and important voter registration information will be regularly updated and shared on the website.
The “Countdown to Change” initiative is interactive for users, enabling them to vote on the most popular stories, blogs, videos, photos or items read or seen about the election.
As an added bonus, video blogs and postings by some of the biggest names in Hip Hop will be regularly featured.
The effort seeks to inspire the Hip-Hop community to get involved and vote.
“Global Grind’s ‘Countdown to Change’ initiative is a real-time, visible countdown clock that keeps us knowledgeable of how many days there are to vote and any and all relevant information needed to keep us engaged in this electoral process,” Wright said.
Pictured above: Navarrow Wright, CEO of Globalgrind.com, left, actress Gabrielle Union, center, and Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons, right, attended a red carpet roll out event for the news website venture in Miami Beach.