Courtesy of Hip Hop Association
Got a minute? Music and fashion icon Russell Simmons discusses his New York fashion challenge, Obama mania, and being a hip-hop pioneer.
Q: You're hosting a fashion entrepreneur contest as a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the winner will be announced this Friday. What motivated you to get involved?
A: I am really interested in encouraging entrepreneurs. The cultivation of creativity is something that is overlooked in America. We cannot survive in the world today without a new shot at this.
Q: This seems to be in sync with your other work, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, being a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, blogging for the Huffington Post. How did you get bitten by the social-justice bug?
A: People needed it. And its easy because you know you have the resources. As you get it you give it. If you hold onto it you get sick.
Q: What do you hope to give?
A: I want young people not to feel like "Wait until I get there." They ain't never going to reach their creative goals that way. Kind of a depressing thought but kind of a happy thought if you see it.
Q: How does it feel to be called the "CEO of hip-hop"?
A: It doesn't feel like much. I am not a good celebrator, and I am not into celebratory titles. When Obama won I said, "That's nice."
Q: Really? That was it?
A: I left. It was fun to watch the results. I kind of expected it so maybe that's the reason. I don't celebrate.
Q: Where were you?
A: I don't know. I was at a big event but I left. Everybody was going crazy.
Q: And that's a problem?
A: I mean, now we have all these issues. Work is fun. The results are not always so much fun.
Q: How so?
A: I've been reading my scripture too much and I really believe a lot of it. Now we've got a lot of work to do ... and I sleep better when I do the work. Not when I get some result or a pat on the back, but when I do the work. Vanessa Rothschild