Russell Simmons Raps About Giving Back

Bling and Bentleys don’t bring true happiness, Russell Simmons says. Not that the hip-hop mogul ever was in it totally for the money—-at least not that kind of money, he says.

Somewhere along the way to becoming one of the richest men in rap, with a net worth estimated between $325 million and $500 million, he says it became more important to give back. With a business empire spanning music, television, theater, film and fashion, Simmons is driven by a belief that hip-hop is a powerful change agent. That belief extends to his work for social and
philanthropic causes, too.

Simmons chairs four nonprofit foundations and is active in several others. His pet causes include promoting education, financial literacy and voting among young people, as well as providing access to the arts for disadvantaged youth.

“Hip-hop is about creating and maximizing opportunity,” Simmons says. “It is about transforming the American dream into a living reality."

Simmons organizes the ‘Get Your Money Right’ hip-hop summits as a way to help young people empower themselves with the basic tools of financial empowerment. With the proper education and information about financial literacy, Simmons believes a young person today can work hard and still be successful, even during the current economic environment.

Simmons has shown remarkable vision, ambition and stamina over the years, shepherding innovative projects to fruition against the long odds of corporate indifference and racial marginalization. Through it all, he believes a few key principles have endowed him with a wealth of success and insight, and furthermore, the desire to empower others.

To access the power in you, follow Simmons’ lead with these key principles:

• See your vision and stick with it

• Always do you [be true to yourself]

• Get your mind right [meditation and prayer]

• Stop frontin’ and start today [stop saying “one day, I’m going to”]

• Never less than your best

• Surround yourself with the right people

• There are no failures, only quitters

• Science of success: plant the good seeds

• You can never get before you give

• Successful people stay open to change

• Be powerful, be heard

As he continues to move forward with his ever expanding empire, Simmons reiterates the need to focus on happiness and take an active role in the well-being of those around you.

“I’ve found that the resources I get are no good unless I give them back,” Simmons says. “That cycle of giving is the process that sustains you, makes you happy and makes you whole.”

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