Man Candy Monday | Russell Simmons and Snoop Dogg Visit Flint, Michigan

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On the heels of Russell Simmons diagnosing the Flint, Michigan water crisis “environmental racism”–where low-income or minority communities are disproportionately affected by a major environmental disaster, like dumping toxic waste–on The Real Friday, he visited the city today.

Going door-to-door to deliver 200,000 water bottles. Plus offering a listening ear to people like Nakeyja. She has three kids and two tested positive for lead poisoning. The 3-year-old suffers from seizures and Nakeyja’s other child doesn’t speak.

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The story brought tears to Russell’s eyes. Like most of the stories coming out of Flint recently.

To add insult to injury, the water filters the govt passed out don’t work; they do nothing to decontaminate the poisoned water.  Take note govt officials…

imageedit_7_4767175301Russell Simmons next stop was a rally where he met the whistleblower of Flint water crisis, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

The media mogul followed that up by dropping by Classical Academy to chat up the kids and Principal Tate. RHOA’s Phaedra Parks was also there. No sign of Ayden though….damn.

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Rounding out his trip was playing waterboy once again to Flint residents.

It’s the same role Snoop Dogg had when he visited Flint Saturday for a water drive.

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Decked out in a ‘Flint Lives Matter’ tee the rapper had a one-on-one with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. To offer help and to exploit his celeb status for this necessary cause. Snoop made this vow to the crowd.

I have a lot of information to take back to my celebrity friends and people around the world who want to help, but mainly we’d like the governor to step up and do what’s necessary to make sure Flint is taken care of.

Don’t we all. Don’t we all. Keep your prayers up for Flint.

 

Russell Simmons’ Art Foundation Honors Dave Chappelle & Ava DuVernay

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Art merged with philanthropy at Russell Simmons’ Art for Life Gala in the Hamptons this weekend. The 20th anniversary (yes, count ’em the big 2-0) brought out habitual hermit Dave Chappelle and ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay. The odd pair were recognized for their artistic abilities. And helped raise money for Russell Simmons’ RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation that finances arts programs in schools and galleries.

Funnyman Chappelle didn’t mince words about art saving his life, and it being used to reveal some deep seated issues (cough…racism… cough) and disturbing societal patterns (cough…police brutality against minorities… cough) still present.

“I went to an arts high school when shit was awful; there was a crack epidemic and AIDS, and all kinds of shit was happening, and the National Guard was policing DC and I found out about this arts program, and it changed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

“And now  look at me today! Here I am with the “Winners Circle” in the Hamptons. And I have a ‘Great Gatsby’ hat on… I can say honestly that I’m happy. I can stay home on Tuesday nights and watch (Keegan Michael) Key and (Jordan) Peele do my show. And it doesn’t hurt me at all. It doesn’t hurt me at all. I’m just joking y’all.”

Jokes aside, he hinted at how art could be instrumental in making a change.

” The biggest enemy of an artist is apathy. A kid gets killed by the police and I buy a T-Shirt and before I can wear that one, there’s another kid (killed) and I’m running out of closet space.”

Hopefully he won’t need anymore.

Russell Simmons Donates 100 Percent of Clothing Line Profits to Black Empowerment

Russell Simmons and Kanye West want to change the fashion industry, but have conflicting ways on doing it. Photo Courtesy: unclerush instagram

Russell Simmons and Kanye West want to change the fashion industry, but have conflicting ways on doing it.
Photo Courtesy: unclerush instagram

Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons is putting his money where his mouth is.

Earlier this month the yogi took to Instagram to gripe about minorities not getting a fair shake within the fashion industry. Somewhere Kanye West is rolling his eyes and saying “duh.”

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But instead of storming on an established designer’s runway and claiming to have the best line of all time. Or ranting at a music concert, Russell decided to take all,I mean every last cent he makes with his Arglyeculture line he sells at Macys and donate it to Black empowerment.

“I want to help create space for more black designers to have access to sell their lines in big American department stores,” he writes on Instagram.

In another Instagram post he writes about donating profits to black empowerment designers and education programs. And giving neighborhood antiviolence programs a cut as well.

It wouldn’t hurt to have more faces of color being on the stage, rather than in the audience.

Yankees CC Sabathia and Shark Tank’s Daymond John Honored at Annual RUSH HeARTS Education Valentine’s Luncheon

 (l.to r.) C.C. and Amber Sabathia, Russell Simmons, Angela Simmons and guests attend the RUSH HeARTS Education Valentine's Luncheon today.

(l.to r.) C.C. and Amber Sabathia, Russell Simmons, Angela Simmons and guests attend the RUSH HeARTS Education Valentine’s Luncheon today.

Celebs BRRaved the Alaskan-like temps in New York City to attend Russell Simmons’ 12th annual RUSH HeARTS Education Valentine’s Luncheon, held at the Plaza Hotel, to raise money for his philanthropic arts foundation fostering children’s creativity.

Of course Russell’s niece Angela Simmons, the supreme socialite, appeared on the red carpet.

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Not far behind was Angela’s bestie track and field star Sanya Richards-Ross.

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Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon reclaimed her hosting duties for the event.

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DJ Cassidy, Miss Universe and Law & Order SVU‘s Tamara Tunie also made an appearance.

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And Marsha Ambrosius, draped in feathers, performed at the benefit honoring ABC Shark Tank’s Daymond John, founder of FUBU fashion line, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley for their career efforts and philanthropic efforts.

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Grammy nominated soul singer Marsha Ambrosius singing at the benefit.

To give a brief snapshot, Daymond is not only known as the shark in suspenders, he also mentors up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

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Daymond was honored at the RUSH HeARTS Valentine’s luncheon. He’s holding up a painting kids did of him.

CC and Amber Sabathia are celebrated for their Pitcch In Foundation that empower inner-city kids with sports programs.

And Cynthia Rowley participates in several charities benefitting breast cancer awareness and community outreach.

The Black Ball!! Alicia Keys’ Keep a Child Alive Celebrates 11th Anniversary

aliciakeysAlicia was the belle of the ball at her annual gala to raise money for her Keep a Child Alive org that provides HIV treatments and support services to families affected in Africa.

How adorbz is the cute PDA between Alicia and Swizz on the black carpet?

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Diddy and Alicia’s hubby Swizz Beatz co-hosted the event held at the Hammerstein Ballroom,in NYC last night.

Diddy and Swizz Beatz (don’t they look like dapper dons?) brought out Kanye West to introduce participants at the Black Ball’s opening.

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Madge cuddled with the guest of honor at the fundraiser and took selfies with Mr. West.

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The event drew in leggy beauties Joan Smalls, Alek Wek and Selita Ebanks, making it a model affair. And where there are models…

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…that’s where music mogul Russell Simmons’ will be. Joined by niece Angela Simmons and Lala Anthony, Russell took video of Diddy and Nas rocking the stage with “You Can Hate Me Now.”

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But it looks like the real showstopper was  Alicia’s performance of  “Empire State,” seeing how they were in the Big Apple.

And backed up Nas for his “If I Ruled the World” performance at the ball.

Rounding out the ball bashers are Estelle and “Top Chef’s” Padma Lakshmi.

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And living legend Aretha Franklin graced A.K with her presence.

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No official word on how much the affair raised, but got a very generous donation of $200K during the night. If I was a betting woman I’d say they took in at least $1 or $2 milly for the cause.

Good work, Ms. Keys. I’m sure the preggo glow worked wonders on those with deep pockets.

LL Cool J and Russell Simmons Visit Incarcerated Teens for Anti-Violence Initiative

Image Courtesy: New York Daily News

Image Courtesy: New York Daily News

The two legends of the recording industry unify their star power to promote anti-violence programs that will protect youth. LL Cool J and Russell Simmons visited a Queens (where they both hail from) housing project hit hardest by the violence.

The GOAT rapper and hip hop mogul chatted with kids about their defense against violence: LIFE Camp, a group of local based-peacekeepers that act as “violence interrupters” when tensions begin to escalate. Their job is to lead raging teens in a more positive and peaceful direction.

To hear what LL and Russell Simmons told the crowd click here

After leaving their old stomping grounds they visited Rikers Island to offer encouraging words to incarcerated young people that could also benefit from the LIFE Camp. LL and Russell revealed their upbringings could have easily led them right where they are now. But, told them not to give up on the fresh start that awaits them later. Simmons preached to them about focusing on their inner thoughts.

The LIFE Camp is funded through Russell Simmons’ prepaid debit RUSH Cards. The millionaire philanthropist already donated $100,000 to the community initiative.

It’s nice to see influential celebs being hands on with this overlooked issue. Kudos, guys.

Russell Simmons’ Art for Life Charity Celebrates 15-Year Fundraiser

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Russell Simmons’ Art for Life gala has entered its 15th year and it’s still the most sought after philanthropic ticket in town. The mega-mogul, along with some wealthy friends–rapper Rick Ross and Patriots owner Bob Kraft, put their influence and fat wallets behind arts education for inner city youth.

The Hamptons-based fundraiser also threw a spotlight to honorees with an appreciation for arts in the community. Such as former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and Simmons’ ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons (who returned the favor by donating $1 milly to RUSH Arts Foundation.)

Rounding out the guest list was the fam: brother Danny Simmons, niece and nephew Angela Simmons and JoJo Simmons (duh!!)

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Star Jones

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Gayle King

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Soledad O’Brian played MC for the night

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Bevy Smith worked the red carpet giving interviews

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow and Naughty By Nature got the crowd off their feet.

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Photo Credit: Global Grind

Sounds like an epic night that’s worthy of a cash donation.

If you were absent from the festivities there’s still a way to give to RUSH Arts Foundation and meet your fave celeb. Click here to make a bid.

GOLDEN CAUSES: Halle Berry, Neyo, Kelly Rowland Hit Post-Oscar Parties to Support Charities

Image Credit: Kimberly Reynolds

Image Credit: Kimberly Reynolds

The envelopes have been opened. The congratulatory champagne uncorked and gowns have been celebrated and widely panned. Award season is officially a wrap. Yayyyyy!!! As happy as I am to see its entrance every year, I’m even more ecstatic to see its exit. Despite the Oscar revelry (more so than ever this year) I can’t help but compare it to a circus in town. Instead of lions, tigers and elephants emerging from their cages to entertain, we’ve got celebs climbing out their limos, some more carelessly than other’s (yes, I’m looking at you J Law), to stand under the Big Top  Big Tent to give us a 360° view of their stylists creations. 

Before you label me a cynic or Debbie-the-downer, I must admit I love award season. I live for award season. My mother and I nearly circle the dates on the calendar in anticipation. And this year was no different. We were both certainly apart of the Lupita Nyong’o ever-growing fan club. And I jumped off my couch when she joined the small ranks of Black women clutching lil Oscar (for those counting she makes 8). She is a shining example of class and grace to young girls around the world. I look forward to her next human condition contribution.

We won’t have to wait long for some celeb’s charitable deeds. Elton John’s 22nd Annual Fundraising Oscar viewing party raised $5.1 million dollars towards HIV/AIDS prevention. The cause attracted the likes of Kelly Rowland, Russell Simmons and Mel. B as attendees.

Kelly Rowland Arriving at Elton John AIDS foundation Oscar night. Image Courtesy of: ejaf.org

Kelly Rowland Arriving at Elton John AIDS foundation Oscar night.
Image Courtesy of: ejaf.org

Elton John alongside Russell Simmons at his AIDS Foundation on Oscar night. Image Courtesy: ejaf.org

Elton John alongside Russell Simmons at his AIDS Foundation on Oscar night.
Image Courtesy: ejaf.org

Mel B striking a pose at Elton John's AIDS Foundation party Oscar night. Image Courtesy: DailyMail

Mel B striking a pose at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation party Oscar night.
Image Courtesy: DailyMail

Meanwhile in Beverly Hills, Halle Berry made a rare appearance (where you been hiding, girl?) at the Fame and Philanthropy party that attempted to raise $1 million dollars each to two charities: Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach project that educates African youth on AIDS/HIV and The Community Inspiring Today’s Youth, a LA-based non-profit that guides students on entrepreneurship.

Halle Berry looking super gorg at the Fame & Philanthropy party in Beverly Hills.  Image Courtesy: Daily Mail

Halle Berry looking super gorg at the Fame & Philanthropy party in Beverly Hills.
Image Courtesy: Daily Mail

Neyo cheesin at the Fame & Philanthropy party. Image Credit: Zimbio

Neyo cheesin at the Fame & Philanthropy party.
Image Credit: Zimbio

Neyo performed at the inaugural event and raised awareness for his Compound Foundation.

Fun times, had by all.

Russell Simmons’ RUSH HeARTS Valentine’s Day Luncheon

Russell Simmons joined by Zac Posen, Alek Wek and Patina Miller, all honorees at the HeARTS Valentine's Day Foundation.

Russell Simmons joined by Zac Posen, Alek Wek and Patina Miller, all honorees at the HeARTS Valentine’s Day Foundation.

Russell Simmons is spreading the love today by honoring two philanthropic women–any man would choose as a valentine–at his third annual HeARTS Valentine’s luncheon in NYC today. Gorg supermodel and UN refugee goodwill ambassador Alek Wek was honored for her efforts to educate young girls in South Sudan, where she was born and had to flee from when war tarnished her hometown of Wau.Tony-Award winner Patina Miller (remember that big voice wrapped around Whoopi Goldberg’s nun robe in Sister Act on Broadway?) used her stellar voice to entertain and possibly show the kids how to unleash creative talent.

Russell Simmons holding up a program for his HeARTS Valentine's Luncheon. Photo Credit: Facebook

Russell Simmons holding up a program for his HeARTS Valentine’s Luncheon.
Photo Credit: Facebook

The HeARTS Valentine’s lunchion is to raise money for Russell Simmons’ Philanthropic Arts Foundation that develops art programs and exhibitions for children.

Yes, I would be next to the sweet treats too. Photo Credit: Instagram

Yes, I would be next to the sweet treats too.
Photo Credit: Instagram

Russell’s niece Angela Simmons, who channels her creative juices with her new fashion line and tv hosting, is never one to miss a party. Wonder when she sleeps…

Uncle and Niece stepping out together. Fun Times... Photo Credit: Twitter

Uncle and Niece stepping out together. Fun Times…
Photo Credit: Twitter

What better way to showcase love then to our future creative Einsteins. Keep giving back, Simmons’.

Russell Simmons’ 14th Annual Art for Life Gala

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Russell Simmons brought out a bevy of stars on Saturday for his annual Art for Life Gala that raised $1.5 million for arts education, which has been sorely lacking in our schools these days, geared towards at risk youth. Russell works with his brothers: Rev Run and Danny Simmons, an artist in his own right, (check him out)  to develop opportunities for young ones to  showcase their artwork in galleries around Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as in public schools. RUSH Philanthropic Foundation boasts that it caters to 2,500 kids annually with their programs.

Not to shabby, Mr. Simmons, so it’s only fitting that the event get a major upgrade. Mission Accomplished. To cater to a larger guest list. The Art for Life Gala was held in a Field of Dreams. Well, actually, Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, but you guys know what I mean.

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Anyhoo, the stars were shining extra bright to raise awareness for the arts.

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Anthony Anderson pointed out what must have been a very lovely crowd.

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Danny Simmons looking extra sharp made an appearance.

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Tyler Perry was honored at the event.

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Soledad O’Brien hosted the event…While Rick Ross, Maxwell and Estelle rocked the mic.

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A lucky friend of mine who attended the gala, actually hijacked Estelle’s performance. Good thing Estelle likes to share the stage with an American boy.

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But nothing beats this epic photo of Rick Ross and Russell Simmons’ two daughters. There are no words…

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Fun Times had by all!!