Monday, Mar. 19, 2012

Russell Simmons

In the fall of 2011, Zuccotti Park became the place for celebrities and left-wing activists to make an appearance. Filmmaker Michael Moore, actress Susan Sarandon and even Alec Baldwin showed up to support the burgeoning Occupy Wall Street movement. But perhaps no celebrity put in as much time as Russell Simmons. The co-founder of Def Jam records came during one of the group's evening general assemblies, made a speech of support and stayed to talk to protesters for more than an hour. "You represent the seeds of a revolution," Simmons told the crowd. But his appearance wasn't fly-by-night. Simmons came back, standing in solidarity with the protesters at 5 am one morning as the NYPD threatened to clear the park and arrest everyone inside. "Dear @MikeBloomberg — I will pay for clean-up of Zuccotti Park to avoid confrontation," he tweeted to New York Mayor Michael Broomberg. "I don't wanna go to jail but I will be there ready!" As it turned out, he didn't have to. The NYPD backed down that day, and Simmons continued to support the Occupy movement.