Russell Simmons is one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs in history. As the founder of Def Jam Records, Simmons has gone on to create a business empire that has made him (as of April 2011) the third richest person in hip hop. The elder brother of Rev. Joseph Simmons ("Run" of Run-DMC), Russell forever transformed hip hop music and hip hop culture.
In addition to co-founding Def Jam (which in 1999 he sold his interest in for $100 million), Simmons went on to spawn the major clothing lines Phat Farm, Baby Phat, Argyleculture and American Classics under his own Rush Communications. The Simmons Lathan Media Group, expanded Russell's reach into television with the HBO hit shows “Def Comedy Jam” and “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” Simmons brought Def Poetry Jam to Broadway as a live show, earning a Tony award for his efforts.
Always looking to expand, Simmons launched ‘UniRush‘ and released the immensely popular RushCard, a pre-loaded Visa debit card that allows consumers who might find it hard to get a credit card to establish or repair their credit.
If all of these business and financial accomplishments were all that Russell Simmons has done he would still be one of the most inspirational people in America. Simmons however is just as successful and dedicated to helping people as he is dedicated to building great businesses.
Russell Simmons - Activist
Russell Simmons is a believer in peace and happiness for all. The author of several books related to spiritual enlightenment and prosperity, Simmons practices what he preaches. An avowed vegan and a practitioner of Yoga, Simmons believes that one’s life should be dedicated to the pursuit of happiness and oneness with the earth.
As a social, environmental and animal rights activist, Simmons is involved in multiple causes to include his co-founding of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation to provide disadvantaged urban youth with exposure to the arts. In 2001 Simmons was given the PETA Humanitarian Award and in 2011 was the PETA Person of the Year. In May 2009, Simmons was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial at the United Nations to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. From its start in 2011 Simmons has been heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, giving time and financial support.
Always willing to lend a positive voice for humanity while maintaining his empire of millions, Russell Simmons is truly one of the most inspirational people on the planet.
Russell Simmons gives back to the community. From his early days in hip hop to his latest business foray with the Rush Card, Russell Simmons has been a staunch supporter of equal rights and opportunity for all people. Although one of the richest people in the country, Russell still donates much of his current time to the Occupy Wall Street movement. In addition he does tireless work with charities, youth programs and politicians who have the objective of fairness for people in this country and around the world.
Russell Simmons understood the intersection between business and hip hop. One of the first people to "get it", Russell Simmons knew that hip hop was more than an art form; it was a business that could yield considerable wealth to both the artists and the executives. Building the Def Jam empire took skill, foresight and determination, and his work inspired other African Americans who followed like Jay-Z and Sean Combs.
Russell Simmons speaks softly but carries a big stick. Russell Simmons is one of the most influential people in the music industry. He is estimated to be the third richest person in hip hop and has the power to make or break a career. With all this power however, Russell Simmons is a very soft spoken man and never wields his power to destroy others. He is always looking to uplift people, especialy those within the community.
"If you learn late, you pass it on to people so they can learn early. It's a step process." - Russell Simmons
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