Russell Simmons Pens Open Letter to Kanye West

Many fans were taken aback last week when Kanye West apologized to the former president for his infamous “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” comments during his shocking appearance on a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005. One person that doesn’t believe Yeezy needs to take back his sentiments is Russell Simmons. The Def Jam Records co-founder posted an open letter to the Louis Vuitton Don on his Web site yesterday (November 12),, sharing his feeling on the matter.

“When you spoke about President Bush during the Katrina telethon, it was not the particulars of your words that mattered, it was the essence of a feeling of the insensitivity towards our communities that many of us have felt for far too long,” the hip-hop mogul wrote. “It was the image of the President, our President, the President of the United States of America, peering out the window of an airplane, as the people on the ground were drowning, that hurt us the most. For centuries, our people have relentlessly tread water as hard as they could to stay afloat, and here we were, literally drowning, and it felt like the President was insensitive.”

As previously reported, during a recent interview with Matt Lauer, Bush said that one of the “most disgusting moments” of his Presidency was being called a racist by Kanye.” Ye quickly responded on Houston radio station 97.9 The Box, apologizing for the unsympathetic remarks. “Well I can definitely understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way because the same thing happened to me, you know, where I got accused of being racist, and with both situations it was basically a lack of compassion that America saw,” he said. “With him it was a lack of compassion not rushing, you know, taking his time to rush down to New Orleans. With me, it was a lack of compassion in cutting someone off in their moment, but none the less I feel we’re all quick to pull the race card [in America]. And now I’m more open, and the poetic justice that I feel to go through the same thing that he went [through], and now I really more connect with him on a humanitarian level … the next morning when he felt that, I felt the same thing.”

While Simmons might not have agreed with Yeezy’s apology, he expressed his utmost respect for the Chicgao-bred talent’s artistry and commitment to the innovation of the hip-hop genre.” I have early recollections of Damon Dash calling me and forcing me to put you on Def Poetry Jam,” he recalled. “I knew your record, ‘Through The Wire,’ but I didn’t know much more.“When you took the stage on Def Poetry Jam that night, and spit those genuine, heartfelt words, I witnessed your specialness that Damon had emphatically told me about. From that moment on, you became a poet who has inspired the poets. I have proudly watched your career since then, and in case someone has missed the obvious, you are making a historical impact on music.”

Ending his letter, Simmons declared his undying support for West, “Keep on, Kanye. Keep on. We love you. We cherish you. And we will always have your back.” —Elan Mancini

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  • Kingroy

    I hope Russell Simons words hit Kanye.

  • IndyBoy

    What an idiot. Are you kidding me? He appologized because he said something WRONG. Kanye regularly says dumb shit and he’s rightfully appologizing. Russel should keep his nose out of other people’s business. He’s not the god of hip-hop who can just insert himself into any situation.


    It wasn’t just black people drowning there, folks. I saw it.

    • Wyzard of Hip Hop since 98

      well its OBVIOUS that you are not black. So you need to stfu and stay out of the issue. You comments are not even worth a reply but somebody had to address your ignorance otherwise it will seemlingly ‘go unchallenged’ any FOOL can youtube the footage and see the VAST majority of those people were black and I mean VAST majority. its not even CLOSE. I’m sure there were white/indian/asians(>? maybe) as well but I can honestly say I dn’t remember seein ONE non black as the cams panned the vast crowds. You have no idea what the pain of the black American is like on a day to day basis from one issue to another. Always been made to be last, always having to settle for the scraps always having to work twice as hard to get half as much. Ive said it so many times and I’ll say it hear the pains of racism inflicted on blacks is like waking up every day with a migrain in the following sense. IF it was being exaggerated or it was non existent sooner or later we would get ‘tired of talking about it’ or ‘tired of witching and complaning about nothing’. don’t you think it would get old to conTINUE to talk about something all these years if it did not exist. So therefore by virtue of the fact that we still talk about it is proof in and of itself that racism is VERY real and VERY UNexaggerated!! Why would we keep going on and on about something if it were not true?? How old would that get? We don’t get a monthly racism check and in turn in fear of it ceasing choose to continue to keep complaning about racism!! there is NOthing in it for us so by virtue of the fact that we keep complaning about it is proof that its real and its as bad as we make it out to be!!! PERIOD. ESpecially being a black male. White racism and superiority complexes are SLIGHTLY and I mean SLIGHTly less toward black females and light skin ‘book read’ educated blacks across the board but its still there. And being a young black male who happens to date white woman (not as singling them out but thats just the demographic I attract in dating and vice versa) I see it THAT much more. So if you don’t know what you are talkin about and dont’ have ‘a horse in this race’ SHUT up and get out of the way!

      • Pete from Harlem

        Well articulated, sir… I concur wholeheartedly.


      Ok Indyboy Kanye’s an ass. But was he wrong? Not really sure but Bush (FEMA and the country) did a piss poor job in getting aid to those people. True again, it wasn’t only black people droening, but!! Black people were the only ones “looting” in the publications. So I understand Kanye’s comment.

  • sScCR

    @indyboy GTFOH.. take your goofy white ass on somewhere 1. Russell Simmons is one of the most influential hip-hop voices of all time he can speak on whatever the fuck he wants! 2.what ye said wasn’t wrong it was exactly what was needed and shined a light on how Bush didn’t give a fuck about the black people drowning.. people keep sayin kanye apologized but I’ve never once heard him say I’m sorry in any of the mainstream interviews he addressed this issue in.. empathy means he can feel his pain not that he’s sorry for shit!!

    • Wyzard of HIp Hop since 98

      THANK You SScCR! You see what I told him ^ have a look. I’m so sick of people opening they mouth when they dont’ know what they are talkin about!! No body asked him! and the uneducated “proffesor” below me is equally foolish and ignorant (NO not name callin just callin it as it presents itself, if someone is in the room with make up on and a red nose and hair I’m going to call it a clown!) sittin there saying he went thru just as much if not worse, BS!! White people and most ALL woman LOVE Euro/Italian and Sicilian people!! I would know b/c I have friends and fam who are Sicilian immigrants who live in Long Island NY so I can speak from both perspectives! And you compare that to being black and what blacks go thru, fuc’outta here with that bull shit

    • Anonymous

      i love how openly racist these boards are towards whites

  • The Proffesor

    I think it makes me sick when people can throw the race card like its a debit card! It’s not right,My family was immigrants from Sicily and didnt become U.S. Citizens until 1928!So i dont think its right to call white people racists when in fact my family went through just as much or worse coming to the states! When they arrived at customs a agent told my family that Sicilians are the white ni**ers.So dont be quick to judge,learn your facts and pick up a book once in your life!

    • yoprince

      you THINK it makes you sick?

      odd. does it make you sick? or not? make up your mind.

  • mav

    george bush doesnt care about black people so how is that playing the race card his mom had the nerve to say so many of them are underpriviledged that livin in a stadium was quote workin out pretty well for them…..and she said it with a laugh so indyboy and professor might as well have not commented

  • Anonymous

    Yo Professor, first you should really stop with “my italian people: went through the same thing crap, it’s not true!! FACT

    Second, lets address the fact the very word “race card” has evolved from the minds and mouths of euroamericans whose own history has shown that they continue to victimize others and yet claim they are victims..FACT.

    The nerve and audacity to diminish a peoples complicated and challenged existence to a “card” is discussing and evil!!

    Post slavery America is no more than 40 years old!! a book on that!!

    • Wyzz of Hip HIp zince 98

      The nerve and audacity to diminish a peoples complicated and challenged existence to a “card” is discussing and evil!!

      Post slavery America is no more than 40 years old!! a book on that!!

      WELL WELL SAID!! Teach the people. And they gotta think, look at it like this. Evil white imperilism and superiority complexes had blacks in chains, then slavery and chains then as recent as forty years ago segregation and Jim crowism and bs. NOW, those things are seemingly gone. DO you really really think that those FEELINGS from racist (not all but racist) whites are gone?? The FEELINGS are still in they hearts and being used in other ways!! Just because the ‘legality’ of it is gone does not mean the tangiable feelings are gone think about that! I live in VA whre I see confederate flags every where I go. Now why else or where in the WORLD does a ppl fly a flag of a defeated DEFEATED cause, idea, army and movement that never got off its feet! For what reason what they do that other than to send messages. southern pride my ass, yeah southern pride in being HATEful and racist! its hate PERIOD! The kkk, still alive, the aryian brotherhood, still alive, the united skin head of american still alive and well and the list goes on and on. and shit changed but the ways and means. You non blacks have NO idea what its like so don’t pretend like you do!!! That OJ thing was not even about whether or not he was actually guitly it was about a black man ‘havin the audacity’ to be with a blonde white woman which racist can’t stomach! And – which applies to this situation – jus like one of OJ’s laywers said; “You have no right to speak until You’ve been in the HIDE of a black man!” take his advice.

      • austins

        I know this is a very old thread, but I couldn’t let this go without saying how I feel….
        No, the OJ thing for me had everything to do with he is a murdering scumbag. I could give a rats ass how many white girls are with black , green or purple guys. We are all created equal in god’s image regardless of color. OJ is a piece of shit not because of his color, but because of who he is inside. No doubt there are plenty of racist dickheads out there, but they are from all races and backgrounds. Don’t lump all of us white people together, because there are plenty of us that don’t care what color you are. I care about what kind of human being you are, and that’s it period. The racism from both sides needs to stop, if we are ever going to truly become one race…the human race.

  • these posts are racist


  • east from tha west

    ummm euroamerican and italians inclusive,came to the americas by choice ie mostly economic migrants..but the africans..well,u know the rest

  • pap3rchazer

    damn yall see that, Dame Dash “BEGGED” Russell to put Ye on Def Poetry…

    shoutout to Dame for puttin Ye on!

  • Don mcCaine

    papa Rush standing by son…I hope cats see this…




  • Autumn

    I think West was better on radio, than on the today show. He sounded like am ass on the today show. Like i woulda been annoyed by them popping that stuff up too but he over reacted. and his appology seemed worthless after he tripped out. i think his heart is in the right place, but he gets riled up too easy. I don’t think he was wrong for hisw opinion of bush. i prolly wouldn’t say bush is racist, though he may be, but the point was that his reaction to katrina was crappy. they should of let people go in and other countries should of been able to help. it was handled completely wrong

  • truthisspeakingyoushouldlisten

    Kanye West is DIFFERENT.Hes articulate and artistic almost to the point of Prince or MJ,and those guys were weird and we didn’t hold them to very high social standards,so why does Kanye keep getting blackballed?He’ll go down as one of the best to EVER do it,regardless of the off-the-wall things he says or does,so let’s just chill and enjoy the show!Also racism will always exist,and there is nothing anyone can do to stop that.Just press forward and make our ancestors proud.What Kanye said was true.And Russell Simmons needs to start dressing like the grown ass man that he is,enough with the fitted hats and track suits playa.

  • megulito

    my family has hurt very bad from rascism i have fmily that saw their mothers raped and beaten by white but the one thing they always stressed to em is to never stoop to the level of the oppressor with racism and degredation. you all are prob the same cats that thought Martin Luther King was pussy when in reality he was enlightened to an incredibly high degree whites black asian we are all brothers even though some of us have forgotten it.

    • tru WYZZ of hip hop since 98

      repect and love to you and your fam Megulito, respect and mad love. I’m so sorry for how your ppl suffered. ‘Lets get to gether and feel alright’ just like the great bob Marley said; lets CURE racism and hate with the power and medicine of love and bringing together music! God bless every one who blogged and God bless The US and the world!

  • The Truth Hurts

    Come on people, we know went down. Had that been in Vermont or Alaska the national guard would have been out same day.

    Bush and his cronies pillaged america and left it to obama to unphuck. I thought this was America “Freedom of Speech”.

    It’s obvious if you speak on the wrong shit your life will be living hell. Kanye’s apology is a statement saying “Aight stop following me now.”

  • So. MD 301

    [24 Yr old "White" male]..since after reading some posts, I figured it waz important that I state the “white” part. So your sub-conscious mind can judge me and the post’s emotion real quick..Since thats the vibe goin around. I have nothing 2 do w/ any white suppression bullshit in history, nor do i condone that shit. How about from this point on in 2010 Everybody just disregard the fucked-up events and opression in history. they make it look like “blacks” are inferior or sub-human….SO, how about we stop teaching the younger generation coming up about the shit “blacks” went thru. I’M PERSONALLY AGAINST THE PAST HISTORY ON “BLACKS”. BUT DUE 2 THE REASON THAT TIME FLIES, WHO THE FUCK IS GONNA BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE 4 IT? FUTURE “WHITES”? OR IS SOME “WHITE” REP GONNA COME OUT IN LIKE 20 YRS & GIVE LIKE AN APOLOGY???…WE JUST GOTTA SAY FUCK THEN, AND LIVE 4 NOW….HIP-HOP HAS POTENTIAL 2 BE AMERICAS “BRIDGING THE GAP” FACTOR. (ALL OF US GOT THAT IN COMMON ON XXL)……..unless the “illuminati secret society conspiracy” is real. Then we’re fucked, cuz I do think their racist. REVOULTION ANYONE?

    • Don mcCaine

      “from this point on in 2010 Everybody just disregard the fucked-up events and opression in history…”

      “SO, how about we stop teaching the younger generation coming up about the shit “blacks” went thru”

      ^ u CANNOT be serious with this

      Let me just pull you outta yo’ house, send you to Siberia to chop ice with a butter knife and eat fish bones, and let me see YOU “just disregard” it. U can’t snap of a finger eliminate years of mental & physical oppression.

      The 40 acres & mule was the only way of payment, but you wouldn’t have capitalism in it’s finest form today if they made that payment.

  • Javi

    the fact that your defending famous people is funny.. where was russel simmons when katrina hit? haha who gives a fuck. im mexican so this comment has nothing to do with me being a racist asshole

    • Wyzz of Hip Hop since 98

      he was giving millions and prolly going down thre like most of the hip hop community. Hell some rappers how lived down there gave up they HOMES for ppl to stay in. SHows how much you know.

      and hey So MD, I agree!

  • Tre

    Dear Professor,

    Look up the definition of strange fruit, then get back at me. Until then, I don’t wanna hear that bullshit

  • John Cochran

    This is HipHop right here. The elder statesmen reaching out to the leader of the new generation. I can tell Russ wrote that out of love, not just for ye, but for the culture he helped to build. I personally can’t say if the man should have apologized. An apology should be a personal decision if you feel you’ve done wrong. I don’t agree with apologizing for shit just becuase your pr people told you to, or because you’re a coward who won’t stand behind what you say.

  • Reggie

    r sims…….is an idiot. he isnt relevant anymore. this dude will be 80 years old and trying to get in someone elses buisness. like it or not all different races where killed in N.O. those who chose to only acknowledge one race suffered, shows racism in them. but at one point you gotta suck it up and deal with it. lets just focus on ALL of those affected. who cares what was said. someone will always be offended. just a fact. pick up the bible worry about you and God before you worry about what Kanye said or what Bush did. I thought we were adults?

  • mwash

    i’m from Africa and i guess everyone is missing the point. This issue about Katrina and Bush was about class pure and simple! The lower class was abandoned in new orleans as politicians feel nothing for the poor. Same thing happens all over the world i doubt Bush would have cared if it was a bunch of poor white people trapped. So Kanye was wrong for calling him a rascist. Bush just doesn’t care for the underclass.

  • Gemz

    That sounds more acurate.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, i buy what mwash was saying. BUT it was like dude said a Vast majority of Black people! I loved it when Kanye said that shit, i was watching and cheerin!!!!
    And the dude that said just forget about the past…….seriously!!!! Gotta know your history before we move on, and that ugly part of history is necessary for out youth to know! Don’t mean i hate u, i got pleny of white friends, but that’s a part of history that cannot be forgotten. Wasn’t as long ago as u think bruh! And i still can’t walk down the street w/a Dez Bryant Jersey and a white du’rag without gettin stopped…just stopppd for walkin!!! THat’s a whole nother issue…

  • ureallidiots

    In any situation, it is always wrong to make ignorant public statements for two reasons. 1. it makes you look like an idiot, 2. it is offensive to the person you are making the comments about. Katrina was not about racism, you guys with your arguments are just developing it into a race situation. For those who are misinformed (the vast majority) Bush has said himself that he fucked up Katrina and the relief efforts, but it was not because the majority of the people down there were black. God forbid anybody believe that Katrina wasn’t a race situation because then what will SOME other African-Americans use as their excuse for their lack of success? Without a white scapegoat, you, in the public’s eyes would have no excuse for being on welfare, selling drugs etc..So YOU create it into a race situation and its a damn shame. Doing that sort of thing doesn’t help you elevate in society. There are plenty of Blacks today who don’t fit into this category, they have high paying jobs, are successful people in society, and THEY ARE NOT sitting around trying to figure out every situation in which they can play the race card. But I guess some of you would just say he’s an uncle tom (racism??) or he’s not really black, even though he really is.

  • ureallidiots

    P.S. To the person who said Kanye wasn’t being racist, he was stating an opinion… If i said “I hate black people” I’m sure you would find that racist, however, that would be an opinion too. Keep in mind, i’m stating an example, I don’t actually feel that way. Opinions are what makes racism. In the civil rights era, whites didn’t want blacks to have the same amount of rights because it was their OPINION that blacks were a lower class of people. Be smart, and don’t say dumb ignorant shit, you sound retarded.

  • ralph toussaint

    if you guys heard the interview kanye didnt really apologize about what he said he apologize that it hurt buses feelings bush is a really bold president to say this was his worst moments of his presdiency really i would think as president you would have other down parts like people calling you the most dumbest president ever at the end of the day words arent bullets they cant hurt you, name calling shouldnt be your lowest point maybe it was his lowest because its true and kanye just hit the spot, the guy ran for president thats all they do for god sake is bash the other party come on bush you just want kanye to look like the bad guy

  • jane

    Although I think that Kanye is behaving like a moron. I agree with Russ Bush DOES NOT deserve an appology.

    Kanye sold his soul for ratings. He will say and do anything for extra camera time. I remember the day of the marathon when he said those words…. it was filled with emotion and he took the words out of soooooo many peoples mouths. He was given a forum and he used it to do good. Now look at this coon, he is a souless fool and he needs to meditate and bring back the old kanye.

  • Reggie

    ok…….everyone one keeps talking know your history……does anyone here “know” their history? Who traded there on people for wealth? how many black people in america are really from africa? unless you have traced ur family tree back to africa you have no clue…i am tired of my people always talking about wanting equality but turn around and only promote “black” issues!!!!! how we ever gonna be equal in other peoples eyes if we refuse to be equal in our own eyes….this shit is gettin old…thank God i wont have to put up with bs like this forever

  • Wczasy

    This is awe-inspiring poste for a long time i ‘ve ever study. Can i have your contact please? I have somthing to ask over. TXaLOT.

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