Advisory Board Chairman
Russell Simmons is the Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications, and a co-founder of the Diamond Empowerment Fund, along with Dr. Benjamin Chavis. Mr. Simmons has been involved in the music production, fashion, and jewelry industries. As an entrepreneur, Russell Simmons has been the leader in bringing the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business, media and fashion since its inception in the late 1970s through current day. Simmons’ businesses have always been rooted in giving a powerful voice to emergent new creative and social movements, and integrating them into the American psyche. His business successes have spanned music, film, television, fashion, video games, online and financial services; his activism has encompassed all of the areas touched by his businesses, including poverty, education, social justice and inclusion.
However, Mr. Simmons interests extend far beyond the business world, and he spends a great deal of his time and considerable energy working for social, political, and philanthropic causes, pushing hip-hop on to new plateaus of power and relevance. In 19995 he, along with his brothers Danny and Joseph Simmons (Rev. Run), founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. In 2001 Mr. Simmons co-founded Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. He is also Chairman of Rush Community Affairs and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. In 2006 after a trip to Africa to see how some diamonds were positively affecting the lives of Africans where they are a natural resource, he created the Diamond Empowerment Fund.
In 2012 Mr. Simmons was named the number one ‘Social Change Agent’ in JCK’s Power List of Movers, Shakers, and Tastemakers in the Jewelry Industry. Mr. Simmons is on the Advisory Board for the Diamond Empowerment Fund as well as Petra Nemcova’s Happy Hearts Fund.