Russell Simmons Travels to Africa, Starts Diamond Empowerment Fund

russellsimmons.jpgFashion and Entertainment mogul Russell Simmons will be traveling to South Africa and Botswana later this month to tour the two nations’ diamond mines in preparation for the launch of his Diamond Empowerment Fund, the New York Daily News reports. According to Simmons, who owns The Simmons Jewelry Company with his estranged wife Kimora, the Fund will seek to teach native Africans the skills needed to cut and polish diamonds themselves. Currently, the majority of the world’s precious gems are processed in countries such as Belgium and Israel. “I want to give my money back to the people in Africa. We’re starting the Diamond Empowerment Fund to teach Africans how to cut and polish diamonds on the continent, instead of taking the diamonds out. We want more of Black Africans to become executives. The diamond industry should be the leader of African empowerment,” Simmons commented.

The diamond industry has come under fire in recent years as a result of heightened public awareness of human rights offenses stemming from the trade of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds are gems that are mined in areas under the control of rogue factions opposed to internationally recognized governments, and used to fund military opposition to those governments. Next month, Warner Bros. studios will release the Leonardo DiCaprio film Blood Diamond, which is set against Sierra Leone’s civil war in the 1990s. Def Jam/Sony recording artist Nas has signed on to contribute to the film’s score.

  • SUPERMAN

    1ST BITCHES!

  • SUPERMAN

    2ND? HELLS YEAH!

  • real talk

    who gives a fuck if you’re first?
    all you guys who wait around and post “first bitches!” are not hip hop… get a life.

  • Big Chops

    3Rd H-A H-A H-A!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Big Chops

    Fourth Also H-A H-A H-A!!!!!!!!!!

  • OFFICIAL

    NN

  • http://occasionalsuperstar.com Fabian Williams

    That’s why Russell Simmons is the man.

  • phantom

    thats really amazing….it benefits him, but the african people benefit so much more….i have new found respect for russell..whats kimora doin
    ? damn

  • Three4

    Good shit…

  • http://www.annansi.com/blog nappywun

    There’ve been reports that the trip is sponsored by DeBeers which is the main cause of the problems. I hope this is not true. Russell has his heart in the right place though.

  • Mr.Me

    Russell looks younger than JayZ an they both dress alike

  • puiopuiopu

    big up to russell and big up to africa!

  • http://www.TRAVELMASTERZ.net YIDIEL TRAVELMASTER

    I just Pray that they have the mind to Digest what comes after the financial stability, ALl we don’t need is more conflict on the Continent…

  • http://www.myspace.com/bigsydproductions syd2yall

    i respect whats hes doing,thanks for giving back to your people,we need you.on the other hand its just shows what women stand for.straight up golddiggers get rich and dump the man wtf………….i never fucking have respct for this kind of atitude.

  • S.DOT

    THATS SOME GROWN MAN SHIT THERE GIVING BACK TO THOSE WHO AINT GOT NON.THATS WHAT GIVES YOU RESPECT AND NOT BALLIN. JAY-Z DID THE SAME WITH THE WATER CRISES IN A U.N CONFERENCE THATS WHY I GOT MAD RESPECT FOR JAY

    IAM SURE IGNORANT MOTHERFUCKERS DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THESE GUYS ARE DOING RIGHT, COUZ THEY TO HYPHERED BALLIN.

  • 973nigga

    superman u r a fuckin herb come see me

  • tropicana

    Good for him, good for him. Great to see postive actions like this. But anyway “Blood Diamond” will be a great movie. Can’t want to see it.

  • sant boogs

    it took russell all these years and media talk about diamond mines for him to start this foundation??? fucking asshole!!!

  • 11kap

    Word up, Russell! That way more of the brothers can be blinged out. ‘Nuff Respect, Dun.

  • LiqdTide

    How bogus is this? So Russell Simmons is now Africa’s great Central Planner? Duh. Let the market decide what Africa should do to generate wealth. The problem is too many planners and not enough market economics. Africa is filled with white elephant central planning projects – rotting steel mills in Nigeria, empty sewing shops in Ghana, abandoned rubber plantations in Ivory Coast. The list goes on. The solution is rule of law and less interference, not dictat. Help us by giving us a foundation to build upon not just another bogus idea built on a pile of sand.
    -Liqd

  • JamZ

    yeah, let’s train Africans to cut diamonds, so dictators don’t have to farm the work out. they can just force these newly trained diamond cutters to do the work and keep all of the profits for themselves…Russell, why not use your leverage to highlight and help end genocide in Darfur or help fund a global campaign to strengthen the African Union.

  • http://xxlmag.com Frances Talk

    Although it may seem that Russell is doing something to benefit Africans, you have to know the history and what’s truly going on in Africa and the diamond mines to understand if their is an ulterior motive.

    How is teaching Africans how to cut and polish diamonds going to help the situation of white miniorities killing, cutting off arms, and manipulating youths so they can have access to these diamonds? I think that Russell is a smart man, and he knows that having a diamond company is setting our people back, so he is attempting to do something positive to make it seem as if he is giving back while taking our attention away from the issue at hand.

    Maybe a better idea would be to provide education or other opportunities for these children instead of taking advantage of their labor as the whites are currently doing. At the end of the day we maintain the capitilistic ideology of the rich get richer while the poor stays poor.

  • B.X.

    To LiqdTide,JamZ,Frances Talk and anyone else concerned with African Diamonds, what is really going on there and what Russell is doing, please take a minute to consider this, when was the last time you heard about Botswana? Damn when was the first??

    I am an African, futhermore I am a Motswana (=person from Botswana). The only reason you’ve probably never heard of it is it because it the most peaceful, democratic and economically stable country in Africa. We’ve never had a dictactor, never had a genocide and we use our resources (mainly diamonds)to educate and enrich ourselves. I guess the western media doesn’t find that interesting.

    Botswana is the largest producer of diamonds in the world and we do very little of the cutting there. Mr Simmnons’ plan can only stand to help my country out of its recent eceonomic trouble, which was caused by people accusing our government along with DeBeers of forcefully relocating, torturing and killing an ethnic minority in my country in order to get even more diamonds. This has been accompanied with calling our diamonds BLOOD DIAMONDS and a vigourous smear campaign in European and western media which is killing an African economy mainly depend on diamonds. Most of our accusers mainly Survival International are white organisations who I guess can’t bear to see black folks, worse yet an African country doing good for itself. It seems they’d prefer us chopping each other up, starving or getting a dictator like every show on Africa you see on Cnn.
    Shout out to Russell Simmons and anyone else trying to help out.

  • B.X.

    oh by the way, no i don’t have a pet lion, rhino or any wild animals in my back yard. I don’t travel on donkeys or any of that stereotypical shit you’re thinking Africans do or have.

  • asd

    word B.X. these fools always have some criticism to make when we are moving on up!

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    Check me out at http://www.myspace.com/gopentertainment, enjoy it and cop it at cdbaby.com/sayso

  • http://soontocome Peaches

    Russell, I am an African-American 32 year old mother of one, and a Registered Nurse bachelor’s educated, married to a lovely Ghanain man. Big-up my brother for taking things to another level. May God’s divine spirit be with you. Today I just created my e-mail uplift@hotmail.com as I work towards helping to create an int’l forum for black people to take worldwide action with an international 1800 number, meeting grounds or something that is one unit, breaking down into local neighborhoods having meetings and taking action to keep our kids ahead of the game, be healthier down to meeting with families on a one on one basis, getting those blacks who are exploring new frontiers in the professional/entrereneuaial, etc. world to share their knoowledge and experiences so that we can become more self-sufficient instead of waiting on the non-chalant and at times genocidal government ways to do it for us. We have to overlook our differnces for the bigger picture and celebrate together the strengths of each one of our cultures, share those ways so that we can all become stronger. Big-ups to my well educated Jamaican and all other sisters and brothers. Big-ups to my Amazing African brother and sisters. Big ups to all my African-American and Latino-American sisters and brothers who keep going in a positive direction despite the forces set against us. Blacks and Latinos represent a huge disparity in overweight and obesity-related illnesses, HIV, partly from our brothers ending up in the system from a young age and becoming secretly bisexual,financial illnesses due to lack of knowledge and poor habits, etc. Where are we who have a little more knowledge and experience about this who can share with our masses who need us to get involved in our communities, nationallly, internationally, etc. We have to create an organization of some type to get involved with fellow families and work with them on improving on eating habits and staying physically active. That’s one of the reasons that I like HIP-Hop, it at least encourages exercise. Music can be good for you. Look at the traditional African dances. Let’s hold on to that. Let’s have festivals celebrating this; events to recognize our elders, learn from them, celebrate them; Teach our kids profitable technical skills that will prepare them for the world that we live in. we cannot wait on anyone. The answer is you and me. I am a sister who is down and ready to go to the best of my ability despite by busy and complicated life. I am passionate about this. Contact me if you would like to start brainstorming for the future of our kids. who is truly succesful if the masses are suffering? —Love Peaches, your sister.
    uplift@hotmail.com

  • Damani

    Has Russell forgotten the history of Debeers? Ok does he know anything about the history of Debeers. There is a reason the African miners don’t have polishing and cleaning experience. What plantatation system has ever given it’s slaves any tools to create their own wealth. Cecil Rhodes. Cecil Rhodes. Cecil Rhodes was the original owner of Debeers. He sold it in the 30′s during the depression to the Oppenheimers, who owned another mining company stealing precious metals and stones from southern africa. Their company Anglo American still owns the largest shares of mining concerns on the entire continent. There are no clean diamonds anywhere on the face of the earth at this juncture. They have all be doused with the fine spray of privledged family control. Russel should be building methods of getting clean water and steady food supplies to the Africans. Schools and hospitals are needed in great demand. Some damn diamond processing crap isn’t going to increase the stability of the nations involved. This man has been on a whirlwind tour of his own ego, with very little substance or true knowledge paving the way.

  • Onyeike

    Russell Simmons is a fraud and a sell out. He doesn’t care anything about these people, he’s a DeBeers puppet saying whatever they tell him to.

    The people of Botswana don’t have it so good. In a country with only 1.7 million people and $4 billion in diamond revenue, why are 32% living under the poverty line?

    And why does DeBeers punish workers attemtping to unionize for fair wages and safe working conditions? They have violated several international labour conventions with regard to unionization.

    Why, with $4 billion in revenue, is Botswana’s life expectancy only 33 years? Why isn’t DeBeers and the govt. doing more to provide free antiviral drugs to those infected with HIV/Aids? Botswana has one of the highest infection rates in the world.

    And BX, your country’s economic troubles did not start when NGOs responded to appeals from the San people, who are absolutely being forcibly displaced from lands they have inhabited for thousands of years, just because diamonds were found there. Various human rights organizations are trying to protect indigenous peoples’ rights, not the economic rights of big multinational corporations and your government. To oversimplify the situation by blaming it on white foreigners s a disservice to the San people and dedicated human rights workers.

    Furthermore, if you really want empowerment for your people, stop supporting idiots like Russell Simmons and DeBeers and push for nationalization of the mines, returning ALL rights, revenues and profits to the citizens of Botswana. Look at Bolivia, where the first indigenous president in South America has done just that, taken back the country’s natural gas and silver resources., Also, Botswana should consider diverisfying its economy, as the diamonds will not last forever. Do you think DeBeers or Russell Simmons will feed and educate your people or give a shit about you when the diamonds are done?

  • http://www.yahoo.com larrybello nima ghana

    Jay z never gave or contributed any money to africans for water.WTF we already got our waters running through our showers and shit.He only came to do his concert and charge 70 dollars in Ghana.We dont give a fuck abt Jay,Russel or Fiddy we dont want anything from them.I didnt even go to that concert cus i was waiting until Nas esco,Jada,Methodman,Mobb Deep,AZ,The Game,Outlawz and Cass would come to Ghana.They are they real Gs in hip hop.Africa aint they way ya’ll see it on TV and so ya’ll should stop sayin sum nagetive about it suckers.