Besides being a music mogul, Russell is well known for his work with animals — participating in programs with PETA, Farm Sanctuary and other organizations that help shed light on the cruelty of the food animal business. He was a popular guest at the event, but I managed to get a few words in.
Parrish: Hey Russell. I work for Ecorazzi. Have you been to our site before?
Russell Simmons: Oh yeah, I’ve read you guys. Do you ever go to Global Grind?
P: I’ve been before, yeah.
RS: You guys are one of the RSS Feeds.
P: Oh great! So tell me about your work with the Sanctuary.
RS: I get involved anytime I get called. Any group that makes an effort to commit to consciousness, if I have time I like to show. And these guys call me. I’ve chaired events to raise money and awareness for them. I love what they do. There’s 10 billion farm animals and no representation. They get abused. And these companies are abusing Mother Earth and that’s important to stop. If we keep it up we won’t be here. We need groups that are aware and conscious and pay attention. And this group is special. They’re the number one advocate for farm animals. The work that they’re doing — the legislative work and the other work — it’s inspiring. They’re honoring my gurus today [ Sharon Gannon and David Life from Jivamukti Yoga School ] so I couldn’t miss it for the world.
P: I’ve followed your career and I know you’ve done a lot of really great work for animals including appearing in a PETA public service announcement to speak out against dog fighting.
RS: Oh yeah I’ve worked for PETA. I’ve worked for PETA in negotiations for corporations too.
P: And you’re vegan?
RS: Yeah, I’ve been vegan for 8 years.
P: And what made you decide to do that?
RS: What started it? I just don’t want to eat the animals. I don’t want to ingest the poison. I don’t want to ingest bad feelings. Karmically I think it’s bad.
P: I agree. Well listen there’s about 5 people behind me who all want to say hello so I’ll let you go, but thanks for taking a minute to speak with me and thanks for all the great work you do.