Watch Russell Simmons Put Geraldo Rivera On Blast For Anti-Hip-Hop Comments
Russell Simmons had harsh words for Fox News pundit/reporter Geraldo Rivera today after the mustachioed political commentator made assertions that hip-hip, in his view, was "very destructive, culturally."
Simmons was approached by the gossip site TMZ yesterday after Rivera disparaged hip-hop at length while being interviewed by the Huffington Post. In that interview, Rivera claimed that "Hip-hop has done more damage to black and brown people than racism in the last 10 years," and claimed that leaders in the genre, including Simmons specifically, "need to cop to the fact that by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can't participate from the racks of the garment center and those entry-level jobs."
In response, Simmons offered an extended critique of Rivera's assumptions about how hip-hop works. "Geraldo, the prison industrial complex got people so twisted," the mogul told TMZ. "For 40 years, they've been locking up diseased drug addicts, educating them on criminal behavior and dumping them back in the hood. The poetry and the reflection [in hip-hop] are what come from that jail culture; that's obvious...The media is really dumb to let that man [speak]. He needs to be progressive and do good work to help people. And now he's a talking head."
In one final dig, Simmons rebuffed Rivera's claim that the two were friends and jabbed "He never did shit to help nobody, not in a very long time."
Rivera has displayed a pattern of blaming elements of hip-hop culture, particularly fashion, for struggles in minority communities. In 2012 the anchor claimed that Trayvon Martin's black hoodie was as responsible as George Zimmerman in bringing about the 17-year-old's death--comments for which he ultimately apologized. Simmons also had harsh words for Rivera at that time, however, going on record to say "Geraldo, your apology is bullshit!". Watch Simmons correct Rivera's recent defamation of hip-hop below and stay tuned as the sparks continue to fly.