'Empire' star to headline Walk Against Hate

'Empire' star to headline Walk Against Hate

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Yazz the Greatest, an Overbrook-born rapper and star of the television hit “Empire,” will headline the sixth-annual Walk Against Hate next week.


The walk, hosted by the Anti-Defamation League, takes place in each of the organization’s 28 chapters. It has a new home this year in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard and a new keynote speaker in Mayor Jim Kenney. It’s the first time a mayor has participated in the region’s event. 

“The city very much has always supported it, but this year several members of every community have relationships with the mayor’s office,” said Brandon Morrison, ADL executive committeemember. “Given Kenney’s platform and views on inclusion, this is a perfect fit for him.”  

The Walk Against Hate starts at 9 a.m. May 15 at the Navy Yard, South Broad Street and Constitution Avenue. It costs $25 to participate. The fee includes a T-shirt.

The Diversity Expo, including information from organizations like Equality Pennsylvania, runs from 9:30-10:45 a.m.

“We share a common cause with the [ADL] and their work to fight bigotry, defend democratic ideals and protect and extend civil rights to all Americans,” said Joe Dungee, director of operations at Equality Pennsylvania, which has participated in the walk since its 2011 inception.

Yazz the Greatest will take the stage between 10:30-11:30 a.m. He plans to perform original tracks and some from “Empire,” as well as speak about his own experiences overcoming discrimination.

“We all truly do have a civic responsibility to help improve the quality of the community and respond to hate, whether it’s directed at us or anyone else,” Morrison said. “Yazz works very hard to fight hate in a positive way.”

Brittany Lynn’s Drag Mafia, led by Ian Morrison, will open for Yazz.

“I’m squeezing every talent of every friend I have on stage,” Ian Morrison said, noting it’s Drag Mafia’s second year in the Walk Against Hate. He said he wanted to join the walk again because people from every walk of life participate.

“It was the greatest mix of people I’ve seen in 20 years of performing,” he said.

The walk has previously been held along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. But, as event attendance blossomed, organizers wanted a bigger venue. Up to 5,000 people are expected to participate this year.

The walk is also a fundraiser for ADL. More than $325,000 has been raised so far. The goal is $600,000. Ian Morrison has started a Gayborhood Team to raise money; people can join at www.walkagainsthate.org/phillygayborhood.

For more information, visit www.walkagainsthate.org. 

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