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caption: Dumi Maraire, the hip hop artist better known as Draze.
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Dumi Maraire, the hip hop artist better known as Draze.
Credit: Facebook Photo/Draze

Seattle hip-hop artist Draze wants to help launch 100 African-American businesses

Seattle hip hop artist Draze is known for lamenting the gentrification of the Central District. Now, he has an idea for how to turn things around.

He wants to help launch 100 African-American-owned businesses in one calendar year.

The idea is not about restoring black homeownership to the neighborhood — Draze said he's "a realist" about that. Instead, he would like to help African-Americans with business ideas to take advantage of the money flowing into the Central District.

In his wildest dreams, he said, African-Americans would own 80 percent of the businesses at 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street.

"We do not necessarily have to live in the Central area," Draze said. "But it can be the business epicenter for African-Americans. It should be. It needs to be. It is still our community."

Draze is joined in the effort by the Michael Bennett Foundation, the charitable organization started by the Seattle Seahawks defensive end.

Draze, Bennett and community builder Wyking Garrett will hold a free "Power Summit" at the Seattle Art Museum from 10-5 on Saturday July 29, to build resources and excitement for the effort.