Happiness Over Money:
The Life Philosophy of Russell Simmons
Photo by Johnny Nunez.
Modern day visionaries, like the Rupert Murdochs and the Warren Buffetts, have exceptional antennas for business. However, few can boast that they've clothed a generation and, through music, forged a sociopolitical movement that has encapsulated the attention of young America. Russell Simmons is perched at the core of an expansive conglomerate that has changed the face of the mogul into a suit and Addidas impresario.
Born in Queens, Simmons co-founded Def Jam Recordings in a dorm room, signing revolutionary acts like LL Cool J and the Beastie Boys.
"One part of our core business belief is that we wanted honest expression of the artist," mused Simmons. "We wanted them to do what's in their heart, dress the way they felt most comfortable...that kind of thing was a part of Def Jam's philosophy, which was not introduced into hip-hop before that."
Soon after, Simmons introduced the Phat Farm and Baby Phat fashion lines and RushCard credit cards, worked in television and film production, started the Def Comedy Jam, and landed a book deal -- just to name a few.
Dismissing his lunch, Simmons says, "Making other people money is good because then I make money, but making other people happy is better."
The self-proclaimed yogi-vegan has now undertaken the task of being U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and is a champion for financial literacy. But what moves this modern day visionary?
"It's service. You go to work to try to make people happy. Most of the time making people happy has a financial result. The most core thing you can give people is consciousness, and there is no payment for that."
Now, as the editor-an-chief of GlobalGrind.com and regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Simmons has yet another platform to inspire the next generation. "Having people lift themselves up or empower themselves, that, to me, is the greatest gift, because then I get lifted up and empowered." END