Mo' Money, No Problems

Eminem, Russell Simmons, Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Benjamin Chavis got together at the 2003 Hip-Hop Summit in Detroit Rock City. Now Simmons and Chavis are bringing the show back to another D-town...uh, Denton.

If you consider eating Ramen and drinking 75-cent PBRs to be the ultimate acts of fiscal responsibility, you need some lessons, son. And none other than the czar of sizzurp, Paul Wall, is coming to North Texas to administer them.

Wall will be joined, in fact, by Erykah Badu, Raz B of B2K, 106 & Park's Rocsi and hip-hop godhead Russell Simmons, as they head up a panel on financial literacy, part of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's "Get Your Money Right" tour. Simmons and his partner in good works, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, co-founded the HSAN originally to address the rights of hip-hop artists, but it has since expanded to addressing issues of empowerment and social justice.

Unfair Park spoke with Chavis on the phone recently, and he informs us that "most people across the U.S. ruin their credit by the time they're 25. Teenagers just don't get this kind of information." In other words, unless you're Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan, The Man has you screwed before you hit 30.

And it's not just an issue of whether you can get that AmEx card or afford that diamond-encrusted BlackBerry; the subject of financial literacy is actually a civil-rights issue. Can you own your own house if you don't know how banks work? Can you lift yourself out of poverty if you can't balance your checkbook? Can someone of color start her own business if she doesn't know how to get a loan? And how can you afford the 24K bling when it's the 401(k) that's begging to be filled? In other words, as Chavis says, "In hip-hop culture young people have high aspirations. But how do you achieve your aspirations?"

Badu, Wall and the other featured panelists will share their stories about how they did so. "Out goal is to make financial literacy sexy,"Chavis says. "And it works: The panelists are all artists young people look up to. They all share their own journey and young people pay attention because they can relate. Most of these artists were not born wealthy."

Along with the big names, specialists and financial experts from Chrysler Financial will provide lectures and workshops covering topics like the basics of banking, home ownership, repairing bad credit, entrepreneurship and more.

Now we know the concept of fiscal responsibility might not put the bubbles in your Cristal, but we also know most of y'all have the credit of a Depression-era coal miner, so we ask you this: Would you rather get your financial lessons from some accountant straight outta TCU or someone who penned the words, "I'm a chick magnet, I'm a ladies man/I put a smile on your face any way that I can/I got the world in my hands, you got the world in your pants"? We thought so.

The Get Your Money Right summit takes place at the Main Audtiorium at University of North Texas. You have to have a ticket to get in; to download one, or get more info, go here, where you can also download the Get Your Money Right workbook. -—Jonanna Widner