So what if Russell Simmons is rich? The hip-hop mogul doesn’t believe that takes away from his support of the Occupy movement in the least bit. For the Def Jam co-founder, it doesn’t matter if he is part of the 1 percent — ultimately all he wants is to be part of the solution.
“I can’t show solidarity with the people that are suffering?” Rush asked MTV News rhetorically. “I just don’t want to have corporations control our government, I want a better democracy. I’m part of the 100 percent. If they’re suffering, I’m suffering with them.”
Russell, who has spent much of his career fighting social injustice, wrote a blog on his Global Grind website in September asking the U.S. government to raise his taxes in an effort to reverse the effects of the economic recession. “For far too long in this country we have allowed the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer,” he wrote.
Simmons has since been a chief supporter of New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement, which began in September. Rush, who is worth more than $340 million, will not let his bank account or celebrity keep him from doing what he feels is right. “Muhammad Ali, didn’t he help build the Nation of Islam? Did he help stop the war in Vietnam? Did Harry Belafonte and those guys help Dr. Martin Luther King?” the mogul questioned.
On October 10, Simmons brought the very famous Kanye West out to Zuccotti Park and has since rolled down to the demonstration with Katy Perry and her comic husband Russell Brand. Tom Morello , David Banner and Talib Kweli have all visited and lent their support. Some have questioned the celebrity motive behind the Occupy movement, but Rush feels anyone who helps raise awareness is helping the cause.
“It’s just nutty to think that people can’t use their celebrity for good and that they can’t show up to help people who are suffering,” he said. “I show up, that’s what I do, I add voice to the voiceless, that’s what I do. That’s what rap does. So I don’t see why that’s a conflict. I let people talk but I do have an answer for them, it’s nutty. It’s disingenuous half the time when the media says these things.”