Russell Simmons: Diamond Empowerment Fund Beginnings:
It was the humble hope of Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons that they could join in and make a difference in helping Africans empower themselves. In this hope was the genesis of the idea for the Diamond Empowerment Fund™ (D.E.F.) as a way to make a positive difference for Africa.
In fall 2006, while completing a fact-finding mission to southern Africa to see firsthand how diamonds are empowering Africans in Botswana and South Africa, Russell and his delegation witnessed concrete examples of how the diamond industry directly enhances sustainable economic development and contributes to the overall self-empowerment of African people and communities. They first chose those places in Africa where there are stable democratic governments and the kind of government-private sector joint ventures that have a factual and transparent track record of improving the quality of life.
When the delegation arrived back in the United States, they reported the findings of fact and announced the establishment of D.E.F. to support education initiatives in Africa. At the same time, the then Simmons Jewelry Company launched the Green Initiative™ collection of jewelry to raise funds for D.E.F. Green symbolizes prosperity, well-being, and care for the planet Earth and its entire people. Importantly, green also represents the continent of Africa; including its natural and human resources. The collection symbolized the efforts to empower Africa’s most treasured resource – its youth – through education. Indeed, the malachite and rough-diamond “Green Bracelet” became the first symbol for D.E.F.
Russell Simmons: Author
In 2007, Simmons released the wildly successful book entitled “Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success,” which combined effective business practices with a spiritual foundation to be the best you can be. The book was a New York Times Best Seller, and was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. This was followed up in 2011 with a second New York Times best seller, “Super Rich: Inside and Out” about the power of inward strength and reflection as a means of achieving human aspiration.
Russell Simmons: Business 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 in which its integration into mainstream American Culture has created an entirely new, post-racial, progressive new America.
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.