Events

Hailing from Long Island, NY, EPMD’s first album, Strictly Business, appeared in 1988 and featured the underground hit “Strictly Business,” which sampled Eric Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” Many critics cite this first album as the group’s most influential. The group’s brand of funk-fueled sample-heavy hip-hop proved to be a major force in the genre. Unlike old school hip hop, which was originally based on disco hits but eventually became more electronic, EPMD based its music mainly on lifting funk and rock breaks for samples and helped to popularize their usage, along with Marley Marl and Public Enemy.

 

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“You’re a Customer” combined snippets of Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie, the bass line from ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses” and drum beat (Roger Linn LM-2 machine). “Jane,” about a romantic rendezvous gone bad, would be revisited on no less than five sequels; a first for hip-hop, and, perhaps, rock and roll as well. “You Gots to Chill” used 1980s funk band Zapp’s “More Bounce to the Ounce,” which has become one of the most enduring sample sources for hip-hop. EPMD later appeared on the single “Everybody (Get Up)” by Zapp frontman Roger Troutman on his last solo album, Bridging The Gap, in 1991. “I’m Housin’” was covered some 12 years later by Rage Against the Machine. Managed early on by Russell Simmons’ RUSH Management, the group toured with such hip-hop luminaries as Run-DMC, Public Enemy, and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.

EPMD signed with Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records, which eventually released its debut album, Strictly Business, by electro funk pioneer Kurtis Mantronik, who also worked as an A&R representative for the label.

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Propelled by several strong singles (“You Gots to Chill” and the album’s title track), the album was eventually certified gold, selling over 500,000 copies, as did 1989’s follow-up, Unfinished Business. Financial frustrations followed when Sleeping Bag went under in 1992. The two EPMD albums and Nice & Smooth’s debut album were acquired by Priority/EMI Records before the label was sold to Warlock Records.

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The duo’s Sleeping Bag contract was acquired by Def Jam. EPMD returned in 1990 with Business As Usual and Business Never Personal two years later. By 1992, the group presided over an extended family dubbed the Hit Squad, which included Redman, K-Solo, Das EFX, Hurricane G, and Knucklehedz.
In 1992, EPMD had a hit with its song “Crossover,” which lamented rappers making blatant concessions to pop sensibilities in order to get mainstream attention from music audiences.  Ironically, the song became a hit itself peaking at No. 42 on the Billboard Hot 100 and in doing so becoming their biggest hit to date.

 

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On August 3, 2008, EPMD joined Method Man & Redman on stage at the Rock The Bells concert at Jones Beach, New York. The following month, EPMD took the stage as part of AllHipHop.com’s Breeding Ground event at S.O.B.’s in New York City. The duo performed many of their early hits and featured Keith Murray as a guest. In March 2011, EPMD performed at the Lawyer4Musicians Hiphop showcase at Venue 222 in Austin, Texas. It was the duo’s first time performing in Austin, where they performed many of their early hits as well as cover songs and freestyle rhymes.

Russell “Rush” Simmons is the Beastie Boys first manager and the person responsible for signing them to Def Jam Records. In 1984, Simmons and Rick Rubin established Def Jam Records. Earning early hits with LL Cool J, the two were able to increase Def Jam’s net worth and move toward building a music empire. Among their smart business decisions, they signed several of the rap groups that would define the “golden era” of hip hop, including Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, 3rd Bass, Onyx, and Warren.

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With Def Jam’s creation, Simmons also created Rush Artist Management, offering management and publicity services to artists signed to Def Jam. Simmons took on the role as manager of Beastie Boys. As manager, he was responsible for creating the Beastie Boys image. He and Rubin decided the Beastie Boys image should be that of obnoxious, beer-drinking, skirt-chasing, VW badge-wearing characters. They believed that the image would sell records–and they were correct. Licensed to Ill has sold more than 10 million copies.

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In a February 22, 1987, article by the Washington Post, Beastie Boys talked about what Simmons did for them at the beginning of their musical career

“We started doing rap in our shows,” says MCA. “We’d put down the instruments and rap for half the show. Then we just decided it would be kind of exciting to be an all-rap band. And we met Russell Simmons, and he was like, ‘Oh, this is really cool. A white rap group’s really cool.’ So he wanted to get down with it. And when we found out he was Run-DMC’s manager, we thought, ‘Wow!'”
Russell was the first person to take us to black clubs,” says Mike D, “where virtually no one had seen a white person rap before, and we were going in front of the worst b-boy crowds. This was real hard-core b-boy, up in the Bronx and the worst part of Queens. It was intimidating at first, but once our singles started to come out, and they began to know us, it was like we were just another rap group. It was almost like, ‘Oh, those are those ill white kids.'”

 

Following the Licensed to Ill world tour, Simmons asked Beastie Boys to return to the studio and record a follow-up to Licensed to Ill. Tired from touring and angry that Simmons had not paid them royalties from their quadruple-platinum album, Beastie Boys told Simmons that they were not interested in going right back to work.

 

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Simmons, unhappy with the band’s attitude and decision not to work on another album, refused to pay them, claiming he had the right to withhold payment because they contractually owed him another album and because he needed the money to handle claims of copyright infringement from their sample use. When Simmons learned the band had been looking at offers from other labels, he terminated their contract with Def Jam. Beastie Boys eventually signed with Capitol Records, ending all ties with Def Jam. The failure of payment over Licensed to Ill has remained a source of contention between the parties involved even to this day; however, time lead them to acknowledge that they had a long history and friendship prior to the departure from the label and agreed business shouldn’t come between them. Beastie Boys, however, have continued to take lyrical jabs at Simmons in their music throughout the years

BEASTIE-ill.(source: beastiemania.com)

Ever wonder about the beginning of DEF JAM RECORDINGS?? Where artists like the Beastie Boys, RUN D.M.C. and LL Cool J came from?? Check out this awesome piece from ROLLING STONE’s youtube channel…all about the early days of DEF JAM! Rick Rubin returns to his NYU dorm room to talk about how it all began with Russell Simmons! DEF-JAM-SIMMONS-RUBIN

Check out this EPIC video feature from ROLLING STONE here:

 

~And history was made…

RushCard is the prepaid debit card provider co-founded by hip-hop mogul/master entrepreneur Russell Simmons. The program is adding new security features to better protect its customers from theft and secure piece of mind through financial empowerment. The company will add a fingerprint authentication to the app, as well as the option for customers to temporarily freeze their accounts if they lose their cards.

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RushCard’s app will also allow customers to virtually access a discount prescription program at Walmart without having to physically show a card.

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The app’s upcoming features represent the first major changes brought under the new CEO Ron Hynes. He joined the company last month from Mozido, which is a mobile payments platform, and before that he served as executive vice president of MasterCard’s prepaid solutions division. Though Hynes led the rollout, the security upgrades were planned before his arrival. He was enthusiastic about the company’s fine-tuning of its customer service, suggesting it represents a return to RushCard’s core business strategy.

Russell Simmons’ advice for starting a business: Sell what you love

Want to launch a business but not sure where to start? Russell Simmons recommends thinking about what you wish you could buy that isn’t currently available. “Entrepreneurship is about giving people things they don’t already have,” Simmons tells CNBC. “For me, it is filling a white space. It is giving people something that you love that you think they need.” The hip-hop impresario got his start founding Def Jam Records in 1984. Today, he is a serial entrepreneur and an avid yogi — roles he says are more similar than you might think.

“ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS ABOUT GIVING PEOPLE THINGS THEY DON’T ALREADY HAVE.”
-Russell Simmons, hip-hop mogul and serial entrepreneur

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“A yogi gives what he wants to receive and that’s it; it’s that simple,” says Simmons, who is in the process of starting a yoga studio, Tantris, that will open in West Hollywood this fall. This yogic philosophy has guided Simmons’ approach to business. “If you have commercial tastes, what you want to receive is what everyone is going for and is not available,” he says. “Then you have really hit something special. And that’s all I have ever done.”
When Simmons started promoting rap parties in the late ’70s, he was bringing people to the music because he loved it. He launched the Def Jam producing company because he wanted to distribute the music he loved. And now, in a different stage of his life, Simmons is bringing to life a yoga studio because of his natural interest in and passion for yoga, meditation and veganism.
“You love something, you go to work, you try to give what you love to other people,” says Simmons. “You sell what you love to other people.”

(by Catherine Clifford, for cnbc.com)

The first time Russell Simmons saw Rap music being performed was at the Charles Gallery in Harlem, New York. Even though Eddie Cheeba was the first person he saw rapping, Cheeba and DJ Hollywood were labeled “disco rappers” because they were a little older and performed at venues that were indoors.

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“The first time I seen rap was in Charles Gallery,” Russell Simmons said. “Was Eddie Cheeba. Niggas don’t know the history very well, you know. Like Eddie Cheeba and Hollywood, Lovebug Starsky. Some of these guys especially Hollywood and Cheeba for instance, they played in Club 371. They were indoors…The idea that they was indoors and they was a little, tiny bit older, a lot of rappers referred to them as ‘disco rappers.’ I don’t know what the fuck they mean disco rappers. They were rappers way before rap records.” (hiphopdx.com)

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Eddie Cheeba was surely a legend in his time! The “in” spots of the time such as Small’s Paradise, Charles Gallery, Hotel Diplomat and Club 371, would hear Cheeba shouting into the mic: “Who makes it sweeter?” And everyone in the crowd would shout back “Cheeba, Cheeba, Cheeba!”…Cheeba is the credited creator of the old school rhyme, “It’s on and on and on on and on like the hot butter on the what?” And if you were in the club and down with Cheeba, you knew to shout out, “Popcorn!” “We had a book of ‘em”, Cheeba said in reference to the call and response tactics that he and his friend and partner, DJ Hollywood came up with.

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The call and response style (back then called ‘house rockin’) that MC’s/DJ’s like Busy Bee, Kid Capri, Doug E Fresh, Kurtis Blow and Biz Markie are notorious for can be traced back to the smooth style of guys like Lovebug Starski, DJ Hollywood and of course…Eddie Cheeba.

A look at a master…Grandmaster Flash, is a Barbadian-born American hip hop recording artist and DJ. He is considered to be one of the pioneers of hip-hop DJing, cutting, and mixing. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, becoming the first hip hop act to be so honored!

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Grandmaster Flash carefully studied the styles and techniques of earlier DJs, particularly Pete Jones, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flowers. As a teenager, he began experimenting with DJ gear in his bedroom, eventually developing and mastering three innovations that are still considered standard DJing techniques today.

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Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were signed to Bobby Robinson’s Enjoy Records and in 1979 released their first single, “Superrappin'”. The following year they signed to Sugar Hill Records and began touring and releasing numerous singles.

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The seminal “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel”, released in 1981, is a 7-minute solo showcase of Grandmaster Flash’s virtuosic turntable skills, combining elements of Blondie’s “Rapture,” Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache,” Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” Chic’s “Good Times,” and the group’s own “Freedom.” It is also the first documented appearance of record scratching on a record. That year, the group opened for The Clash and were poorly received by an audience unaccustomed to the new style…

 

So what about Lovebug Starski? He was born Kevin Smith, May 16, 1960, The Bronx, New York City… Lovebug Starski was an MC, musician, and record producer. He began his career as a record boy in 1971 as hip-hop first appeared in the Bronx, and he eventually became a DJ at the Disco Fever club in 1978.

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Starski recorded his first single, “Positive Life,” on the Tayster record label in 1981. Later, he recorded a song for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Rappin’, which was released on Atlantic Records, before recording his first album, House Rocker, on Epic/CBS Records. This featured his most successful chart single, “Amityville (The House on the Hill),” a parody song named in reference to the film The Amityville Horror …it  was a #12 hit on the UK Singles Chart in 1986.

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Lovebug Starski and World Famous Brucie B also worked together at the Rooftop Roller rink in Harlem during the 1980s. In the 1990s, Starski began DJing again with his friend DJ Hollywood.

With a career that began in the early ’70s, Lovebug Starski has performed in nearly every hip-hop club throughout the New York area. A five-year jail sentence curtailed Starski’s activities throughout the late ’80s, but in the ’90s he began DJing again with old pal DJ Hollywood…

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So What about Christmas Rappin’? Where does it fit into all of this?Pretty big deal right?! In 1979, aged twenty, Kurtis Blow became the first rapper to be signed by a major label, Mercury, which released “Christmas Rappin'”. It sold over 500,000 copies.  Kurtis Blow had done the actual Christmas rappin’, but Simmons had brokered the deal.

It was the first rap song ever released by a major label, only the third released by any kind of label at all. That alone made it a novelty; that it was also about Christmas made it novelty cubed. Thirty-five years later, that’s the status it retains. Christmas raps are still a novelty, and this, of course, is still the first. But what it opened the way for was something so much larger and more substantial.

~But what about Eddie Cheeba!

Let’s interrupt this little story to jump to 2016 to see what Russell Simmons…the man himself, has to say about some of this:

Hip-hop’s master impresario brought marginalized voices to a mass audience — and cross-marketed a youth cultural movement in music, comedy, fashion, poetry, and social action. Born to middle-class parents in 1957, Russell Simmons grew up in Queens, New York. He flirted with gang life, but changed his focus after he heard rap music. In the mid-1970s, its arresting, novel sound — just beats and rhymes — was emerging from New York’s grimmest African American neighborhoods. JOURNAL-young-russell (Source: pbs.org — http://to.pbs.org/1W0e0YN) As a promoter, Simmons started organizing concerts and managing the inner-city artists, but the music industry paid no heed. Its executives considered the 1979 smash, “Rapper’s Delight,” a one-time novelty. Not until 1983, when Simmons helped form the group Run-DMC, would rapping — now part of a broader cultural phenomenon called hip-hop — reach the mainstream. RUN-title Rapper Chuck D would describe hip-hop as black America’s C.N.N., a network for news about life in America that was not being reported elsewhere. The members of Run-DMC wanted to “keep it real.” Unlike other black performers, who had adopted white manners and fashions to find success, they remained true to themselves in their styles, their diction, and their choice of rhymes. At Simmons’ urging, they wrote a paean to their sneakers — “My Adidas.” It brought the German company’s executives running, checkbooks open. (Source: pbs.org — http://to.pbs.org/1W0e0YN)

Def Jam was founded by Rick Rubin in his dormitory in Weinstein Hall at New York University and its first release was a single by his punk-rock group Hose. Russell Simmons joined Rubin shortly thereafter… The first single released with a Def Jam Recordings logo was T La Rock & Jazzy Jay’s “It’s Yours.” The first releases with Def Jam Recordings catalog numbers were LL Cool J’s “I Need a Beat” and the Beastie Boys’ “Rock Hard,” both in 1984…

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The singles sold well, eventually leading to a distribution deal with CBS Records through Columbia Records the following year. This created a short-lived subsidiary label called OBR Records, short for Original Black Recordings, catered toward R&B artists — the first artist signed to that imprint was Oran “Juice” Jones, who enjoyed success with his hit single “The Rain”.

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A few years later, Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen started an umbrella label called Rush Associated Labels to handle Def Jam and its numerous spinoff labels. RAL became the home to Nice & Smooth and EPMD after both acts were acquired due to the folding of their former label Sleeping Bag Records

Other acts under the RAL umbrella included Redman, Onyx, Flatlinerz, Domino, Warren G and Jayo Felony. Def Jam also signed its first and only thrash metal band, Slayer, in 1986, and the band’s third and fourth albums were the only two Def Jam releases to be distributed through Geffen Records under Warner Bros. Records as opposed to Columbia/CBS.

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As the decade drew to a close, the label signed Public Enemy, whose controversial lyrical content garnered the company both critical acclaim and disdain. Lyor Cohen became president of Def Jam/RAL in 1988, after winning a power struggle with Rubin, who would shortly thereafter leave the company to form Def American Recordings. Rubin would take Slayer with him to Def American in its initial stages.

By 1992, despite recent multi-platinum selling releases from Public Enemy, and EPMD, Def Jam ran into severe financial troubles and was faced with folding. However, in 1994, PolyGram purchased Sony’s 50% stake in Def Jam Recordings — subsequently bringing the label into its fold. Following PolyGram’s purchase, Def Jam distributed the Violator Records-signed artist Warren G’s Regulate... G Funk Era album, which went triple platinum and brought much-needed revenue to Def Jam through its distribution deal with Violator.

 

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PolyGram acquired an additional 10% in Def Jam Recordings in 1996, further strengthening its ownership of Def Jam. Shortly thereafter, Rush Associated Labels was renamed Def Jam Music Group. The label remained profitable as its veteran star LL Cool J released his successful album Mr. Smith in 1995. The label later signed Foxy Brown, whose debut album Ill Na Na became a platinum seller in 1997

In 1998, PolyGram was purchased by Seagram and merged with the MCA family of labels, which became Universal Music Group. It then purchased the remaining interest of Def Jam Recordings from Russell Simmons for a reported $100 million. UMG merged 14+ record labels including: Def Jam, Island Records and Mercury Records to form The Island Def Jam Music Group. Despite the formation of IDJMG, the Def Jam, Mercury, and Island labels (among others) continued to operate as separate imprints underneath the bigger umbrella.

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Simmons signed unknowns to Def Jam, the record label he started with producer Rick Rubin. Many of those artists, like Public Enemy, Kurtis Blow, Slick Rick, and LL Cool J, became famous. Hip-hop reached the record-buying masses. White, suburban youth grew fascinated by black urban culture. If white parents started to wonder why their children were “acting black,” the answer was simple: Russell Simmons had made it cool. JOURNAL-Slick-rick-kurtis-blow Simmons stood at the center of hip-hop’s growth, making sure his performers followed the money. He lobbied MTV to air Run-DMC videos, and had the rappers record a song with Aerosmith, a well-known white rock band. He signed a group of white rappers, the Beastie Boys, helping broaden the movement. He welcomed white audiences, defining hip-hop as a youth culture, not a race-based one. When fashion designers co-opted hip-hop styles, he created his own clothing line, Phat Farm; it would grow into a $140 million business. In 1985, he inked a music distribution deal with CBS worth $600,000. Fourteen years later, Universal would buy Def Jam for $120 million. (Source: pbs.org — http://to.pbs.org/1W0e0YN) Simmons took his promotion of African American creative talent to television, producing a cable program, “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam.” It ran for seven years, launching a generation of black comedians including Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, and Martin Lawrence. In 2001, he started “Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam,” a similar proving ground for young poets. His next project: social action, through philanthropy and political involvement.

 

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Russell Simmons took the cultural expression of an impoverished minority and innovated it as a business; by harnessing its economic power, he made it a pervasive element of contemporary life. Dozens of black artists found a national audience, in a movement that not only generated wealth, but also changed America’s understanding of itself. As Simmons once said, describing the diversity among African Americans, “the truth is that everybody doesn’t look like Bill Cosby, and we need to hear the truth, and see the truth, in order for us to know where we’re going, and what our problems are.”

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(Source: pbs.org — http://to.pbs.org/1W0e0YN) DID YOU KNOW: The name Simmons chose for his new label reflected the fusion of the new music he promoted: “def” was hip-hop slang for cool, while “jam” referred to the freewheeling breakouts of classic jazz. JOURNAL-def-jam (Source: pbs.org — http://to.pbs.org/1W0e0YN)

 

 

King Keraun is definitely gearing up to expand his run in comedy. The known viral star has now gotten behind the scenes to add to All Def Digital’s growing catalogue of projects. For the soon to be released comedy ‘Major Deal’; Keraun will tell the story of a struggling rapper who has to finally catch a break.

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From the looks of the trailer we can expect a roster of familiar faces over at Russell Simmon’s All Def Digital which stars Juhahn Jones, Simone Shepherd, GG Townson, Kiya Roberts, and Jaidyn Triplett.

 

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Not only will this be All Def Digital’s first run in a full legnth-film but this also looks to be Keraun’s career moment of showing he’s not limited to just online sketches. Since first hitting the internet we’ve seen him grow a following of supporters who enjoy his stream of work.

 

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Better known online as King Keraun, he is a social media phenomenon who established himself on Instagram by using the network’s 15-second video feature. He then started gaining traction on the 6-second video app Vine. He began his Instagram career in late 2013 and as of early 2016 he has over 1.4 million Instagram followers in addition to his 300,000 followers on Vine. His social media fame led him to hosting parties at clubs in the biggest cities, like Houston, Miami and Atlantic City!

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King Keraun is quite possibly one of the few out of the millions of Instagram users that can literally say he blew up off of using this app. For those who are unfamiliar with Instagram, it started off as picture sharing social media network which was eventually bought out by Facebook. Instagram has 54 million users accounts and that number is rising daily.

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About 7 months ago, Instagram updated their app to allow their users to record 15 second long videos which is a feature that directly competes against the video social network named Vine (owned by Twitter) which only allows users to record 6 second videos. And that is how this all blew up!

Now, King Keraun is hosting parties in the some of the hottest clubs around the country and  he’s backstage or in VIP with some of the biggest stars in the music business all thanks to 15 seconds granted to him by Instagram. So what does the future have in store for King Keraun? The ball is in his court…the future is looking pretty bright…MAJOR-deal-movie

So check out the trailer for this epic situation…All Def Digital is up to some seriously big things. Don’t take this one off of your scope! For real…

 

 

…It’s way past anger. It’s way past sadness. It’s way past disappointment

It’s reached beyond madness…

Philando Castile was shot and killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016 by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez…this happened during a traffic stop. Immediately following the multiple shots that struck Philando, with him bleeding in the car, His fiance Diamond Reynolds live streamed via “Facebook LIVE”.  Philando’s 4 year old daughter was in the back seat all the while…witnessing the entire sequence.

It’s way beyond sadness.

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The officer approached the pulled over car. When asked for his identification Philando reached for his wallet and told the officer that he was licensed to carry a concealed weapon and had one in the car “.  The officer then told Philando not to move and upon attempting to put his hands back up in the air he was shot…multiple times. Castile was 32 years old and worked at (and was considered a saint at) the Saint Paul Public School District since 2002.

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He worked in the Nutrition Service Department since he was 19 years old. A definite role model to HUNDREDS of kids, who called him “Mr. Phil”, he memorized the names of these 500 children he served every day, along with their food allergies.

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Two years ago he was promoted to a supervisor position and was currently working at the school for the summer session. His co-workers all agreed that he was overqualified for his job but his heart and soul kept him happily taking his position very seriously. He fed these children…everyday…and these children looked up to him with utmost respect.

It is way past disappointment.

 

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“Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based

national organization working for the validity of Black life.

We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement.

This is Not a Moment, but a Movement.”

  #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was posthumously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our dehumanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.

                                                                          -BlackLivesMatter.org


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On Thursday, July 14th, Thousands of mourners arrived at the Cathedral of St. Paul under the grand dome to pay their respects. While dozens of mourners lined the sidewalk Castile’s casket arrived on a horse-drawn carriage and some people had even joined in the forty minute procession.  The skies were dark…it looked like rain. There was a mixture of age, race and gender who attended the funeral but the message was one of solidarity. The ceremony swayed from uplifting and spirit raising Baptist preaching to the standing rituals of the Catholic Church. Local dignitaries including St. Paul’s Mayor, a Congressman and two U.S. Senators. Rev John Ubel stated that the mourners have gathered “as people UNITED in the HOPE that God intends the FUTURE to be better than the present.”…

 

~After the ceremony the casket was placed back on the hosre-drawn carriage and Philandro was taken away for a private burial. Just before the departure a black man and a white woman reached across the casket together and arranged an array of red and white roses.

 

~Upon leaving the cathedral the Paulbearers raised their fists to the skies~

…It is FAR beyond sadness.

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Snoop Dogg, The Game, Bloods, Crips, Nation of Islam and hundreds of citizens silently marched to Los Angeles Police Department to begin a conversation, “have some dialogue” said Snoop, and “America is broken, we’d like to put it back together again” added Game, following another horrifying week in America, rife with senseless killings, Alton Sterling and Philander Castile, shot to death for doing nothing more than driving their car, and selling CD’s. Then the next day five police officers in Dallas were gunned down by a sniper as a peaceful demonstration was winding down.

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Coincidentally the LAPD was graduating cadets on the Police Department grounds at he same hour so the scene was a bit surreal. A request to meet was sent from Snoop and Game which was accepted by Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Eric Garrcetti. A closed door discussion took place and a press conference followed. The meeting lasted about an hour with much progress being made according to all who attended. “We all represent the same cause and we all want to go home to our families. Today was a first step of many steps. We are here to show love and support to the police force in Los Angeles and get some understanding and communication, and we feel like this is a great start.’ ‘Snoop Dogg said. The Game later added that “Before this day is done we will have saved some lives.”
“A bridge to save lives” as Simmons dubbed it, has seemingly begun to be built on this day (source: youtube, PSiTV LA)


 

Watch as actor/comedian Kevin Hart takes to the camera with his message. Short. Sweet. ACCURATE. Hart has spoken on several platforms but this video shows the heart behind the meassage. While his words are powerful in delivery you can almost feel his “loss for words”…Hearts are breaking…something has to change.

It is way past anger…

 

So by now we are well aware of Russell Simmons’ ALL DEF DIGITAL (ADD) venture…He partnered with Brian Robbins from Awesomeness TV…So what is Awesomeness TV??

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The short answer is that AwesomenessTV is a media and entertainment company located in Los Angeles, California. It is a joint venture of DreamWorks Animation, Hearst Corporation, and Verizon, with the former owning controlling interest.

Founded by Brian Robbins and Joe Davola, AwesomenessTV started as a YouTube channel and multi-channel network. Targeting teenagers and preteens, AwesomenessTV creates original web series, television shows and theatrical films across all platforms.

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The company operates a talent division, branded entertainment division, consumer products division, publishing division, music division, and global network of affiliate YouTube channels.

The AwesomenessTV Network, or Multi-Channel Network (MCN), launched in December 2012 and has since grown to include 90,000 channels from YouTube creators around the world. One year after the company was established, AwesomenessTV was acquired by DreamWorks Animation for $33 million in cash, it’s one of the first acquisitions of a Multi-channel network by a larger corporation and the largest deals of its kind at that time.

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With parent company DreamWorks Animation, AwesomenessTV launched DreamWorksTV, a YouTube channel aimed at families and kids ages 6 to 12. DreamWorksTV offers original animation and live action shows and features well-known DreamWorks Animation characters (like Shrek, Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda).

 

AwesomenessTV produces the television sketch comedy series called AwesomenessTV on Nickelodeon. The show includes sketches, parody videos, and hidden camera antics. Season One launched in July 2013 with 20 episodes and Season Two premiered in May 2014 with 20 episodes. Expelled The Movie, a comedy featuring Vine star Cameron Dallas, Lia Marie Johnson, Andrea Russett, Teala Dunn, Marcus Johns, and Matt Shively premiered in December 2014.

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AwesomenessTV partners with leading global brands to develop campaigns for teen and millennial audiences. In addition to brands such as Old Navy,[22] The Coca-Cola Company and Google, AwesomenessTV partnered with Royal Caribbean to create the scripted web series “Shipping Julia”, “Royal Crush” and the docu-series “YoMuscleBoii’s Royal Caribbean Adventure,” which launched on AwesomenessTV’s YouTube channel.

So where does Russell Simmons and All Def Digital come into all of this? Check out this write-up and interview from back in 2013 on the Huffington Post:

“Live from the Samsung SMART Studio at CES 2013, Russell Simmons and Awesomeness TV CEO Brian Robbins chat about their upcoming collaborative “All Def Digital” YouTube network, which Simmons projects as a production empire of music, comedy, poetry, and much more. “In terms of just taking artists and broadening them across different media, I think that there’s no one really there managing them properly,” Simmons says. “I just think that there’s a hole in the market.”

While Simmons already has his GlobalGrind.com site up and running, he still has big ambitions to realize online. “America is integrating and this is post-racial America. And it’s underserved,” he says. “I think that people consume content differently from the way that most people are putting it out and that’s what I want to do.”

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And it looks as if he’s found the perfect partner for his project: Brian Robbins. The two actually go way back in terms of working in the entertainment industry. Robbins managed to convince Russell to star in the first movie that the young filmmaker ever produced and directed. Now, Robbins is riding the recent launch of his own Awesomeness TV channel, which has emerged as YouTube’s destination for teen/tween content. He says, “If MTV, Nickelodeon and the CW had a baby, that would be Awesomeness.”

So this venture is all about the videos right? So why don’t we just jump straight to the video! Check out a little overview of Awesomeness TV!

 

That was Awesomeness TV in a nutshell…So how about a little preview/ovewrview of All Def Digital?? Enjoy!

 

“…But what do you eat?”…

Such a common question…what do vegans eat? Everyone who has chosen the clean and healthy lifestyle has definitely dodged this question MORE THAN ONCE! And those looking to make the switch have also pondered this situation…Let’s break down a simple but delicious meal plan that actually saves you money! Veganism SOLVED!

Vegan-vegan

Just like veganism is the sustainable option when it comes to looking after our planet, plant-based living is also a more sustainable way of feeding the human family. A plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. With rising global food and water insecurity due to a myriad of environmental and socio-economic problems, there’s never been a better time to adopt a more sustainable way of living.

VEGAN-solved

Avoiding animal products is not just one of the simplest ways an individual can reduce the strain on food as well as other resources, it’s the simplest way to take a stand against inefficient food systems which disproportionately affects the poorest people all over the world

Breakfast:

1 cup store-brand ‘Total’ cereal
1 cup fortified soymilk
¼ cup raisins
½ medium banana
One vegan English muffin with:
2 Tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1 cup thawed frozen calcium-fortified orange juice

VEGAN-breakfast

Lunch:

Baked potato – medium for females, large for males
(with 2 Tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine for males)
1 cup frozen broccoli, cooked
4 ounces canned pears
3 ginger snaps

 

Dinner:

Bean burrito (2 bean burritos for males) made with:
1 cup canned beans and rice
½ cup canned beans, mashed and cooked to make refried beans
1 cup frozen spinach, cooked
1 tortilla
10 tortilla chips
½ cup salsa

Breakfast:

1 cup prepared quick oatmeal
½ cup fortified soymilk
One medium banana
1 cup thawed frozen calcium-fortified orange juice
(Add 2 slices of toast and 2 Tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine for males.)

Lunch:

1 cup pasta
4 ounces marinara sauce
1 cup frozen broccoli, cooked
1 slice bread (2 slices for males) with:
1 teaspoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (2 teaspoons for males)
3 ginger snaps
(Add 4 ounces applesauce for males.)

VEGAN-lunch

Dinner:

Baked potato (small for females, large for males) with:
2 teaspoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine (4 teaspoons for males)
½ cup vegetarian baked beans
1 cup frozen peas and carrots, cooked
1 cup canned peaches

Breakfast:

¾ cup fortified cold cereal (1 cup for adult males)
1 cup fortified soymilk
½ banana (whole for adult males)
6 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice (8 ounces for adults)
(Add 2 slices of toast with 2 teaspoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine for adult males.)

Lunch:

Hummus sandwich with:
2 slices bread
2 Tablespoons hummus
Lettuce and tomato
4 ounces applesauce
3 ginger snap cookies (6 cookies for children and for adult males)
(8 ounces fortified soymilk for children)

VEGAN-dinner

Dinner:

Lentil Soup with:
1 slice of toast
½ cup frozen mustard greens, cooked (1 cup for adult males)
(4 ounces fortified soymilk for children)

Breakfast:

Eggless French Toast
1 Tablespoon maple syrup for each slice of French Toast
¼ cup thawed frozen strawberries
6 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice (8 ounces for adults)
8 ounces fortified soymilk

Lunch:

Eggplant-Rice Burger (See recipe in Vegan Handbook or at vrg.org.) with:
2 slices of bread (4 slices for adult males)
1 Tablespoon vegan mayonnaise (2 Tablespoons for adult males)
½ cup frozen carrots, cooked
(Add ½ cup frozen kale, cooked, for adults.)
½ cup pineapple chunks (1 cup for adults)
(8 ounces fortified soymilk for children)

 

VEGAN-lunch-2

Dinner:

1 cup Vegetarian Chili (See below.)
Baked potato with:
1 teaspoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
½ cup broccoli (1 cup for adults)
(Add a slice of bread with 1 teaspoon vegan margarine for adult males.)
(8 ounces fortified soymilk for children)

Breakfast:

½ frozen bagel (whole bagel for adults) with:
2 Tablespoons peanut butter (4 Tablespoons for adults)
½ medium banana (whole banana for adult males)
(Add 2 Tablespoons raisins for boys and for adults.)
6 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice (8 ounces for adults)
8 ounces fortified soymilk

 

VEGAN-meals

Lunch:

Veggie Pizza (2 pizzas for adult males)
½ cup canned peaches (1 cup for adults)
3 ginger snaps (6 for adult males)
(Add 2 Tablespoons peanut butter for children.)
(8 ounces fortified soymilk for children)

Dinner:

1 cup spaghetti and marinara sauce
½ cup frozen peas and corn, cooked
½ cup spinach (1 cup for adult males)
1 slice bread for boys (2 slices for adults) with:
1 teaspoon nonhydrogenated vegan margarine for boys (2 teaspoons for adults)
(8 ounces soymilk for children)

These meal plans provide room for substitutions. You should feel free to eat fruits and vegetables other than the ones that are mentioned, but you should make sure that you are consuming adequate nutrients when you make these substitutions. An easy way to do this is to model the colors of the rainbow on your plate. You should make sure you include dark leafy greens in your diet every day and eat fruits and vegetables that are red, orange or yellow, white, and blue or purple regularly.

VEGAN-color

 

VEGAN-header

If you are trying to lower your sodium intake, you may need to choose some low sodium products. For example, 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter has 140 milligrams of sodium, while no-salt-added peanut butter doesn’t have any sodium. If you buy high-sodium products, such as canned beans, rinse them under running water before using to reduce their sodium content. Lastly, if you can spend a little more than the Thrifty Food Plan figures, you may want to choose more whole grain products, fresh produce, meat analogues, and/or favorte foods that are not listed here.

 

 

Whenever the topic of a “meat-free” lifestyle comes into play there is always a MAJOR question on the table:  How do you get your protein? Well, let’s examine this questions to debunk the MYTH plaguing many decisions to choose a healthier way of life! It’s not as complicated as one may think…but that question is still the first thing out of a doubter’s mouth!

protein-what

It is easy for a vegan diet to meet recommendations for protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is not necessary; it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout the day. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein is certainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the way our bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. Only about one calorie out of every 10 we take in needs to come from protein. Chew on that!protein-label

To meet protein recommendations, the typical moderately active adult male vegan needs only 2.2 to 2.6 grams of protein per 100 calories and the typical moderately active adult female vegan needs only 2.3 to 2.8 grams of protein per 100 calories. These recommendations can be easily met from vegan sources. It is very easy for a vegan diet to meet the recommendations for protein. Nearly all vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often much, protein.

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Let’s look at a little background on the myth of “complementing” proteins. Protein is made up of amino acids, often described as its building blocks. We actually have a biological requirement for amino acids, not for protein. Humans cannot make nine of the twenty common amino acids, so these amino acids are considered to be essential. In other words, we must get these amino acids from our diets. We need all nine of these amino acids for our body to make protein.

Protein-muscle

Some people say that eggs, cow’s milk, meat, and fish are high quality protein. This means that they have large amounts of all the essential amino acids. Soybeans, quinoa (a grain), and spinach also are considered high quality protein. Other protein sources of non-animal origin usually have all of the essential amino acids, but the amounts of one or two of these amino acids may be low. For example, grains are lower in lysine (an essential amino acid) and legumes are lower in methionine (another essential amino acid) than those protein sources designated as high quality protein.

PROTEIN-eggs

It is recommended to eat a variety of unrefined grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and vegetables throughout the day, so that if one food is low in a particular essential amino acid, another food will make up this deficit…As an extreme example, even if you only ate one kind of grain, bean, potato, or vegetable as a protein source, and ate enough of that food, you could meet your protein and amino acid needs. Admittedly, it would be a very monotonous way to eat and you might miss out on other nutrients. We point this out, however, to illustrate the idea that almost all non-animal protein sources contain all of the essential amino acids.

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So Let’s break down a “typical” day …a day in the life of a vegan, if you will. Take a look at how easy and tasty this decision can actually be! This is just ONE of the countless meal plans that you can easily create for yourself. And when they are mixed up the possibilities are endlaess!

Breakfast:

½ frozen bagel (whole for males)
1 Tablespoon peanut butter (2 Tablespoons for males)
½ medium banana
Fruit smoothie made with:
½ frozen banana
4 ounces thawed frozen calcium-fortified orange juice
1 cup frozen strawberries

 

PROTEIN-bagel

Lunch:

Mock ‘Tuna’ Salad wrap in large tortilla with:
1 cup lettuce
¼ cup tomatoes
¼ cup grated carrots
4 ounces applesauce
1 cup fortified soymilk
3 ginger snaps (6 ginger snaps for males)

 

 

Snack:

10 saltines (20 saltines for males)

ORRice cake with:
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup fortified soymilk

 OR…   1½ cups air-popped popcorn (2 cups for adult males)

protein-fffff

Dinner:

Tofu and veggie Thai noodles made with:
1/5-block tofu
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
¼ cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup pasta
1 cup frozen mustard greens, cooked
Dessert:

½ cup canned peaches (1 cup peaches for males)
1 crushed ginger snap (2 crushed ginger snaps for males) to sprinkle over peaches
(Add 4 ounces soymilk for males.)

~Again, this is just ONE example of a typical day’s meal plan…there is a plethora of food available to us everyday and it is no more expensive than the “typical” meat diet. Remember this: Meat is expensive to “grow”…these meat companies need to make theirt money too…who is paying their profits? You are, that’s who! So forget the whole “It’s expensive to be a vegan” argument…Do a little research and live a healthier more productive more FEEL GOOD life! Start NOW!

“United for Philando”: Phil’s Life Mattered.

…It’s way past anger. It’s way past sadness. It’s way past disappointment It’s reached beyond madness… Philando Castile was shot and killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, 2016 by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo...

Maha yoga, also referred to as ‘great yoga’ is said to be the designation of the first of the three Tantras of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Although it has a Buddhist touch to it, it is different from Zen meditation. MAHA-russell-use

To begin a Maha yoga session at home, follow the step by step instructions mentioned below:

1. Find a comfortable and quiet place/a corner of your home where you can sit, relax and practice Maha yoga. 2. Choose a yoga mat or a cloth/blanket, typically known as ‘asana’ in yogic terms, for your session. Always keep one piece of cloth for your yoga session. Do not keep changing it every day. 3. Choose a time frame (15- 30 minutes, if you are a beginner). One should practice meditation for as much time as he or she can. But due to the fast-paced and busy lifestyles we lead, it is not always possible. Maha-header-use

4. Close your eyes and try to concentrate on your breath. Inhale and exhale deeply, and throughout the session. Keep your eyes closed till the end of the session. 5. Place your hands on your knees in Dhyana mudra. This increases your concentration levels.

Maha-pink

6. Feel the divine energy around you and let it engulf you. Concentrate and let the divine energy enter your body with full force. Feel the energy entering your body and rejuvenating it.

 

7. Do not let your mind get distracted from this energy. This energy also helps in activating the energy chakras in your body. Continue breathing completely and deeply. 8. If at all you think that your mind is getting distracted by thoughts, do not try to suppress them. As a substitute, you can try to shift your concentration on your body parts, the energy running through it, the effect of energy on your body, etc. MAHA-russell-2

9. Remain steady in this state for 10-15 minutes in the beginning and then you can take it up to 30-45 minutes. 10. Release from the meditation state by slowly palming your hands and placing them on your eyes.

MAHA-and-russell

In this way, the energy that you create by keeping your hands in Dhyana mudra is transferred to your body through your eyes. (Source:www.stylecraze.com/articles/maha-yoga-its-benefits)

Yoga and Thriving at Business – Russell Simmons’ Story In Meditation And Yoga 

It comes as no surprise that the founding father of hip-hop, media mogul Russell Simmons has been a long time believer in yoga and meditation. He has stated several times that he attributes his successes as a business man to his years in the realm of his yoga and meditation.

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He is quoted as saying: “Many of us are looking to achieve that state that we call “yoga”; that still place, where we operate from a higher place. To broaden our clarity. Meditation is the best tool known to man to do that.”

RUSH-YOGA

He continues: “The gray matter in your brain will grow. Your nervous system will get stronger. Your immune system will get stronger. Your relationships with people will change. You will be a happier person.” Some simple states tword acheiving Nirvana can change everything in a person’s life. In order to complete these steps you must make the first step. Start today!

MAHA-and-russell

Maha yoga, also referred to as ‘great yoga’ is said to be the designation of the first of the three Tantras of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Although it has a Buddhist touch to it, it is different from Zen meditation.

MAHA-russell-use

 

Ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern interviews “yogi” businessman Russell Simmons on the role of yoga in business and life at large. Known for being a hip hop mogul, Simmons’ feats in the music industry, fashion, and even politics launched him into the high powered world of business early on in his career. Since discovering yoga and developing his practice, he began placing much more emphasis on service and community development.

(Source: www.deepakchopra.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this trip back in time…well not that far back…to 2008. Hip Hop Media Mogul Russell Simmons had a segment on E! News talking about how ArgyleCulture was for the “urban Graduate” and how he left the industry of trendy hoodies and baggy pants. This step-up in sophistication was hot then and it’s about to be hot again as we get ready for a new launch in 2016 from ArgyleCulture and Russell Simmons!

The fashion world anxiously awaits the new launch in 2016…Everyone is dying to see what Simmons comes up with! He certainly had a way in the past of bringing the trendy forward and knocking it out of the park! So let’s see how things changed from 2008 to 2015…This is an ArgyleCulture photoshoot from 2015…BRING ON THE NEW LAUNCH!!

Vegan-why-header 1. Vegans can eliminate their chances of getting chronic diseases, even they’re genetically pre-disposed to developing one. In 2008, 63% of deaths globally were due to non-communicable chronic diseases. Such as, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers, according to the World Health Organization. Studies have continually shown that plant based diets decrease risks for these diseases, monumentally. Plant based diets are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants soak up free radicals which can lead to chronic inflammation. Vegan diets also stop the formation of blood vessels that feed cancerous tumors.

2. 150,000,000,000 Are Killed Every YEAR For Meat Consumption Hold up, is that billion?!? Yes! 150 billion animals are killed annually for meat consumption in the world. Even if you’re vegetarian, baby chicks and baby calves are harmed and killed as a result of dairy and egg industry. This is NOT including animals killed in shelters, in circuses or zoos. This is simply just for meat consumption. 97% of animals killed are for food production. (source) Vegan-why-chickens So put down the steak knife and pick up the salad fork. You never know which life you may save, it may be your own!

3. Vegans Live Longer Now, we can be around longer to drive our children crazy! In all seriousness though, who wouldn’t want more time on this earth and to have their loved one around for longer. Loma Linda University followed 70,000 men and women for over 6 years, found that people who follow a plant based diet live longer. “After categorizing study participants into five dietary groups — vegan-why-old non-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians, pescatarians, lacto-ovo-vegetarians, and vegans — authors found that vegetarian groups — the lacto-ovo-vegetarians and the vegans — tended to be older, more highly educated, and more likely to be married, drink less alcohol, smoke less, exercise more and be thinner.

Mortality rates were also lower among those who followed meat-free diets — 12 percent lower than their carnivorous counterparts. This was particularly noteworthy among male participants, who showed a significant reduction in cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease-related deaths, researchers point out.

VEGAN-grapes

 

The overall mortality rate was six deaths per 1,000 person years, or 2,570 deaths over a follow-up time of about six years. It’s the latest study to tout the benefits of a meat-free diet. Earlier this year, researchers from the University of Oxford found that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32 percent lower in vegetarians than their counterparts. ” – NY Daily News

Eat those fruits and veggies!

4. Studies Find Eating a Plant Based Diet Makes You Happier and Less Stressed New research was published in the Nutrition Journal, stating that those that don’t eat any meat are happier and less stressed than those that eat meat. The study took 39 meat eating participants and split them up into 3 groups: Fish/poultry/meat, Just Fish and No “Meat”. The ones who didn’t eat meat felt less stress and were happier than the other 2 groups.

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VEGAN-watermelon

 

Researchers are attributing it to fatty acids. Diets that include meat and fish are higher in arachidonic acid (AA), an animal source of omega-6 fatty acids. Much of the meat Americans eat today is quite high in AA: The average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid profile of modern grain-fed meat is 5 times higher than grass-fed meat, like our ancestors ate. And previous research has shown high levels of AA can cause mood-disturbing brain changes.

 

Vegan-why-weight 5. Vegans Tend to Have Lower BMI What?! Being vegan makes you skinnier? Well basically. Loma Linda University did another study (yes, I referenced them earlier. What do you expect from a vegetarian University?! I say, keep ‘em coming, guys!) that was published in The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study. It’s based on data from the Adventist Health Study 2, which includes dietary information from five groups: meat-eaters, semi-vegetarians (occasional meat-eaters), pesco-vegetarians (vegetarians who eat fish), lacto-ovo vegetarians (vegetarians who consume dairy) and vegans (who don’t consume any animal products).

 

Data was collected between 2002 and 2007 from 71,751 Seventh-Day Adventist men and women, with an average age of 59. Researchers found that average BMI was lowest among vegans, while average BMI was highest among the meat-eaters. Looking at obesity (defined as having a BMI over 30), researchers found that vegans had the lowest percentage of people who were obese, only 9.4%. While meat-eaters had the highest percentage of people who were obese , 33.3%. About 24 percent of semi-vegetarians were obese, 17.9% of pesco-vegetarians were obese, and 16.7% of lacto-ovo vegetarians were obese.

VEGAN-fruit-veg

Even though calorie intake was similar across all the groups, there were differences in the types of nutrients consumed. Meat-eaters had the lowest intake of plant proteins, beta carotene, fiber and magnesium, and the highest intake of heart disease-linked fatty acids.

6. Better Sex Who doesn’t want better sex? Studies have shown that a vegan diet leads to an increase in libido. Vegans tend to intake more zinc and vitamin B complexes than meat eaters and therefore have an increase sex drive. Also, a vegan diet changes our body’s overall chemistry which can make the body and bodily secretions taste and smell sweeter. Plus, fructose, a natural sugar found in fruit increases energy and stamina without crashing. High water volume in fruits and vegetables also increase lubrication and overall hydration in the body. vegan-why-sex

 

10. A Solution to World Hunger More than 925,000,000 don’t have food to eat. Even though we produce enough grain and corn to feed everyone in the world twice over, annually. So what’s the deal? Well most of our grain and corn are used to feed livestock. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just one pound of edible meat. According to the USDA and the United Nations, using an acre of land to raise cattle for slaughter yields 20 pounds of usable protein. That same acre would yield 356 pounds of protein if soybeans were grown instead, more than 17 times as much! Vegan-why-hunger So there you have it, being vegan is so much more than just choosing to save animals, it’s also about choosing to save the planet, for future generations to come. High five, vegans! (source: veganhousewives.com)

As the first commercially successful rap artist, Kurtis Blow is a towering figure in hip-hop history. His popularity and charisma helped prove that rap music was something more than a flash-in-the-pan novelty, paving the way for the even greater advances of Grandmaster Flash and Run-D.M.C.KurtisBlow-old

Blow was the first rapper to sign with (and release an album for) a major label; the first to have a single certified gold (1980’s landmark “The Breaks”); the first to embark on a national (and international) concert tour; and the first to cement rap’s mainstream marketability by signing an endorsement deal. For that matter, he was really the first significant solo rapper on record, and as such he was a natural focal point for many aspiring young MCs in the early days of hip-hop. Kurtisblow-Breaks

For all his immense importance and influence, many of Blow’s records haven’t dated all that well; his rapping technique, limber for its time, simply wasn’t as evolved as the more advanced MCs who built upon his style and followed him up the charts. But at his very best, Blow epitomizes the virtues of the old school: ingratiating, strutting party music that captures the exuberance of an art form still in its youth.

KURTIS-Iam-Hip-Hop

Kurtis Blow was born Kurtis Walker in Harlem in 1959. He was in on the earliest stages of hip-hop culture in the ’70s — first as a breakdancer, then as a block-party and club DJ performing under the name Kool DJ Kurt; after enrolling at CCNY in 1976, he also served as program director for the college radio station. kurti9sBlow-2pics

He became an MC in his own right around 1977, and changed his name to Kurtis Blow (as in a body blow) at the suggestion of his manager, future Def Jam founder and rap mogul Russell Simmons. Blow performed with legendary DJs like Grandmaster Flash, and for a time his regular DJ was Simmons’ teenage brother Joseph — who, after changing his stage name from “Son of Kurtis Blow,” would go on to become the first half of Run-D.M.C. Over 1977-1978, kurtisBlosw-run

Blow’s club gigs around Harlem and the Bronx made him an underground sensation, and Billboard magazine writer Robert Ford approached Simmons about making a record. Blow cut a song co-written by Ford and financier J.B. Moore called “Christmas Rappin’,” and it helped him get a deal with Mercury once the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” had climbed into the R&B Top Five.

KURTIS-christmas

Kurtis BlowBlow’s second single, “The Breaks,” was an out-of-the-box smash, following “Rapper’s Delight” into the Top Five of the R&B chart in 1980 and eventually going gold; it still ranks as one of old school rap’s greatest and most enduring moments. The full-length album Kurtis Blow was also released in 1980, and made the R&B Top Ten in spite of many assumptions that the Sugarhill Gang’s success was a one-time fluke. Kurtisblow-hard

Although the album’s attempts at soul crooning and rock covers haven’t dated well, the poverty-themed “Hard Times” marked perhaps the first instance of hip-hop’s social consciousness, and was later covered by Run-D.M.C. Blow initially found it hard to follow up “The Breaks,” despite releasing nearly an album a year for most of the ’80s. 1981’s Deuce and 1982’s Tough weren’t huge sellers, and 1983’s Party Time EP brought D.C. go-go funksters E.U. on board for a stylistic update. kurtis-partytikme

Around this time, Blow was also making his mark as a producer, working with a variety of hip-hop and R&B artists; most notably, he helmed most of the Fat Boys’ records after helping them get a record deal. 1984’s Ego Trip sold respectably well on the strength of cuts like the DJ tribute “AJ Scratch,” the agreeably lightweight “Basketball,” and the Run-D.M.C. duet “8 Million Stories.”

KURTIS-run

 

Blow followed it with an appearance in the cult hip-hop film Krush Groove, in which he performed “If I Ruled the World,” his biggest hit since “The Breaks.” Kingdom Blow “If I Ruled the World” proved to be the last gasp of Blow’s popularity, as hip-hop’s rapid growth made his style seem increasingly outdated. 1985’s America was largely ignored, and 1986’s Kingdom Blow was afforded an icy reception despite producing a final chart hit, “I’m Chillin’.”kurtis-kingdom

Critics savaged his final comeback attempt, 1988’s Back by Popular Demand, almost invariably pointing out that the title, at that point, was not true. In its wake, Blow gave up the ghost of his recording career, but found other ways to keep the spirit of the old school alive. In the early ’90s, he contributed rap material to the TV soap opera One Life to Live, and later spent several years hosting an old-school hip-hop show on Los Angeles radio station Power 106. In 1997, Rhino Records took advantage of his status as a hip-hop elder statesmen by hiring him to produce, compile, and write liner notes for the three-volume series Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap. The same year, he was a significant presence in the rap documentary Rhyme and Reason. kurtis-Blow-world

Blow’s music has also been revived by younger artists seeking to pay tribute; Nas referenced “If I Ruled the World” on 1996’s It Was Written, and R&B group Next sampled “Christmas Rappin'” for their 1998 smash “Too Close.” The following decade, Blow founded the Hip Hop Church in New York, became an ordained minister, and recorded religious rap albums with the Trinity. Kurtis-minister (Biography by Steve Huey for allmusic.com)

Bringing it back to the Fall of 2012 launch of Russell Simmon’s menswear brand, Argyleculture, when they announced its partnership with HMX Group and designer Joseph Abboud. As HMX Group Chief Creative Officer, Abboud worked with Simmons in translating his vision of quality and style by establishing creative direction for the entire line. The HMX partnership added to Argyleculture existing partnerships, which included Peerless Clothing for Clothing, McGee Group for Eyewear, Concept 1 for Headwear and American Belt Company for Belts and Small Leathers. 2012-AC-Russell Back in the Fall of 2012, Argyleculture’s launched a collection that focused on classics with a twist, as well as many other detail additions that were traditional, but highlighted with a degree of unpredictability. Originally designed with the Urban Graduate in mind (a term coined by Simmons that defines an emerged male and female consumer born and bred in the hip hop culture, now mature and successful in his or her own right), Argyleculture had been recreated, extending its’ reach and appeal to all fashion conscious men. 2012-AC-RUSSELL-1 Argyleculture’s style has evolved each season with the intent of staying classic yet playing with elements that provide slightly more edge. Abboud’s input and knowledge of menswear will continue to grow the brand and allow us a far greater opportunity to fill a space that is wide open and satisfy a customer that is very underserved.

Russell Simmons sometimes has a way of delivering a message that allows people to understand a little bit further. A simple solution to a complex problem…a few words and everything makes sense. Simmons has made a big transition from being a drug dealer in the streets of Hollis, Queens, to being a business magnate who is a strong promoter of veganism, meditation, and yoga.

 

VEGAN-book

During a recent conversation with VladTV, Russell shared a story about shooting at someone after being robbed back when he was 15, and he told DJ Vlad that he purposely aimed over the guy so he wouldn’t shoot him. He then added, “It was the only time I ever held a gun. I don’t believe in guns.”

VEGAN-russell-vlad

 

During the conversation Russell also shared his thoughts on rapper G-Dep turning himself in for murder 20-years after committing the crime, and the Def Jam co-founder admitted that he would have forgiven himself if he were put in that situation. Russell explained, “I would’ve forgave myself within a week,” adding, “I would suffer ongoing, but I would not turn myself in.” (from VladTV’s youtube channel)

 

 

 

 

Actor Jesse Williams stepped up on the stage at the BET Awards as an honoree and completely stole the show… Jesse is best known for his work on “Grey’s Anatomy”.  He received the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award and delivered a powerful acceptance speech which touched on issues such as calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation. His words reached the hearts of so many that publications such as Billboard are featuring his speech (in its entirety) and it has certainlt blown up the internet. BET-AWARDS-Jesse-header(story on page 2, video of speech on page 3) Check out this excerpt from By KATIE ROGERS from the New York Times!

How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism

Since 2009, Mr. Williams has played the role of Dr. Jackson Avery on “Grey’s Anatomy.” When he is not working on the set of the hospital drama, Mr. Williams, a former teacher, champions causes related to civil rights. He starred in and produced “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement,” a documentary that premiered last month on BET. He produces Question Bridge, an art project about the experience of black men in America, and works with Sankofa, an organization dedicated to ending racial injustice. Mr. Williams is also on the board of the Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization. The child of a white mother and a black father, Mr. Williams told The Guardian last October that his parents had shaped his activist roots, and said that being biracial allowed him to see both sides of a cultural divide. BET-awards-jesse (Jesse Williams accepting the humanitarian award at the BET Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. Credit Matt Sayles/Invision, via Associated Press) “I have access to rooms and information,” he told the newspaper. “I am white and I am also black. I am invisible man in a lot of these scenarios. I know how white people talk about black people. I know how black people talk about white folks.” But on Sunday, he delivered a speech that spoke solely to black Americans, and drew thunderous applause and shouts from the audience. Mr. Williams addressed the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and Rekia Boyd, all black people who died during confrontations with the police. “‘You’re free,’ they keep telling us,” he said. “‘But she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so … free.’” He ended his speech by calling for an end to racial oppression and cultural appropriation, including a reference to the Billie Holiday song, “Strange Fruit,” a meditation on racism and lynchings. “Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit,” he said. “The thing is, though, the thing is that just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.” Check out Jesse’s speech here! https://youtu.be/HeRIUPlxlv4

“…I guarantee you…No more music by the suckas…no more music by the suckas…no more music by the suckas…” PUBLIC ENEMY celebrated the 28 year anniversary of their certified Platinum  ground breaking album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” on June 28th! It is the second studio album by P.E. and was released on June 28, 1988 by Def Jam Recordings. The album charted on Billboard for 49 weeks , making it to #42. By August of 1989, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)…PLATINUM! Music critics praised it for its production techniques and the socially and politically charged lyricism of lead MC Chuck D. It also appeared on many publications’ year-end top album lists for 1988, and was the runaway choice as the best album of 1988 in The Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll, a poll of the leading music critics in the US! NATION-title Russell Simmons, Def Jam Recordings’ co-founder, was quoted saying:  “ It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back was the greatest record Def Jam ever made…” Simmons continually praises the platinum album. “That’s the best record (of my time at) Def Jam Records. That album is great.” Simmons added. “The only thing that fucks with it (It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back) is Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted… It’s in the same category.” Rick Rubin was listed as executive producer, in one of his final Def Jam Records credits. “…an unusual musical happening in a most unusual place…” Let’s jump right into Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos! The vocals are done mostly by lead MC Chuck D, with Flavor Flav appearing in between verses, seemingly speaking to Chuck over the phone. A storyteller approach that caught the attention of P.E. fans…Flavor went to another room and did actually call the studio to achieve this effect! The song tells the story of a draft dodger who makes a prison escape. It is built on a high-pitched piano sample from the 1969 Isaac Hayes song “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” from the album “Hot Buttered Soul” Who remembers watching YO! Mtv Raps and waiting to hit record on your VCR when this video was dropped! https://youtu.be/ZM5_6js19eM Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos features a slower, more melodic beat in comparison to other songs from It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back but still remains highly chaotic. Aside from the aforementioned Hayes sample, the song samples “Little Green Apples” by The Escorts and “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder. The lines in the scratch breaks, “Now they got me in a cell” and “Death Row/What a brother knows”, are samples from another song from the same album, “Bring The Noise”. This tune charted on U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks , peaking at #88 and #11 on U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles!

“…Live lyrics from the bank of Reality…”

…And remember Flavor Flav’s SOLO?! “Yeah Boy I gotta solo”!

“…A clock on my chest proves I don’t fess I’m a clocker rocker, rocking with the rest Flav in the house by Chuck D’s side Chuck got the Flavor, Flav don’t hide P.E. crazy, crazy P.E Making crazy Louies for the shopping spree You’re eating dirt cause you like getting dirt from the graveyard

(Check out this LIVE performance from 2010 in Central Park!)

https://youtu.be/TmyyQ338xKU

You put gravy on it Then you pick your teeth with tombstone chips Casket cover clips, dead women hips you do the bump with Bones, nothing but love bones Lifestyles of the living dead, first you live then you’re dead Died trying to clock what I said Now I got a murder rap cause I bust your cap with Flavor Pure Flavor…”

NATION-lp

TRACK LIST FOR

IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK

 Side Silver Countdown To Armageddon 1:41 Bring The Noise 3:47 Don’t Believe The Hype 5:20 Cold Lampin With Flavor 4:13 Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic 4:30 Mind Terrorist 1:18 Louder Than A Bomb 3:37 Caught, Can We Get A Witness? 5:03 Side Black Show ‘Em Whatcha Got 1:57 She Watch Channel Zero?! 3:50 Night Of The Living Baseheads 3:16 Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos 6:25 Security Of The First World 1:22 Rebel Without A Pause 5:05 Prophets Of Rage 3:15 Party For Your Right To Fight

So this was a stance back in March of this year…what has changed?? Take a look at this article from Rollingout.com’s Nicholas Robinson!

(By Nicholas Robinson March 23, 2016)
SIMMONS-TRUMP-TILTLE
Photo Credit: Russell Simmon’s Instagram (@unclerush)

Donald Trump has had more than his fair share of celebrity critics, especially when it comes to Black celebs taking the Republican presidential hopeful to task for his racist and xenophobic comments. One Black celeb in particular, Russell Simmons, already spoke out against his former friend Trump last year and now he’s decided to blast Trump online yet again.

 

As previously reported, Simmons criticized Trump back in December with a scathing Instagram post about how he’d watched his former friend transform from someone who was kind and a positive influence to all people to someone who was racist and divisive. Simmons even went so far as to compare Trump to Hitler because of his Islamophobic stance. “My friends, both Muslims and Jews, are saying there are so many comparisons between your rap and Hitler’s, and I cannot disagree with them, Donald.

TRUMP-point

 

You can’t possibly want your kids or your wife Melania (all of whom I know and respect) to live with that. You are a born leader, who is set to possibly win the nomination of your party, but don’t compromise what I know is in your heart to do it. You are a generous, kind man who has built a career on negotiating deals where everybody wins. Now, you seem like a one-man wrecking ball willing to destroy our nation’s foundation of freedom,” Simmons wrote.

TRUMP-wrecking

Although Simmons claimed at the time that he had faith that Trump wouldn’t make it all the way to the presidency, Trump is still in the presidential race with 739 delegates and has a solid chance of winning the Republican nomination.

SIMMONS-Tump-yelling

 

Simmons decided to take the time to blast Trump, once again, with another scathing Instagram post, calling Trump “ugly” and criticizing America for letting Trump come so far in the presidential race.

RUSSEL-INSTA   “Donald you have gotten older and UGLIER. Live and learn. the idea of politically correct for me as an artist never was appealing now I realize that if the politicians take that out the equation then women gays blacks Latinos Jews and Muslims are at risk People have fought to be treated with respect And spoken of with respect. The unspeakable becomes speakable the undoable becomes doable and AMERICA IS IN DEEP TROUBLE LETTING THIS HATE SPEECH GO UN CHECKED IN A SLIPPERY SLOPE,” Simmons wrote.

Argyleculture Eyewear Argyleculture created by legendary media mogul Russell Simmons, represents a modern American point of view. Argyleculture clothing is designed with an eye towards the gentlemanly lifestyle, but appeals to all fashion conscious men offering wardrobe options across sportswear, clothing and accessory categories. GLASSES-title   The brand features traditional and classical elements, with highlighted twists, that add a degree of irreverence and unpredictability. The optical collection offers a “fashion fit” category, featuring larger eye sizes, longer temple lengths and components such as compressed acetate and titanium. This focus allows for a streamlined, lightweight, on trend frame for the customer requiring a larger fit. Glasses-2-use Check out this exclusive line of Eyewear by Russell Simmons HERE!  

Russell Simmons, Danny Simmons and the Board of Directors of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation announce

17TH ANNUAL HAMPTONS GALA * ART FOR LIFE

AFL-title In 2016, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation will celebrate our 17th Annual ART FOR LIFE Hamptons Benefit Gala– our primary fundraising initiative for our friends and supporters. AFL-simmons The evening is held in celebration of the creative energy of our inner-city youth, honored exemplary individuals for success in their respective fields and good works to better our communities. Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF) is dedicated to providing inner city youth with significant exposure to the arts, as well as to supporting emerging artists with exhibition opportunities. AFL-brother Rush was founded in 1995 by three brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; media mogul Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC. Their goal was to fill the gap that the disenfranchised and people of color faced in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities. This year the 2016 Gala will be honoring: AFL-honoreeee   FRANK COOPER III, CMO/CCO, BuzzFeed JAMES CRUZ, President Bad Boy Management & Strategic Alliances DEBRA L. LEE, Chairman & CEO, BET Networks SOLEDAD O’BRIEN, Journalist & CEO, Starfish Media Group ALEX WAISLITZ, Founder & Chairman, Thorney Investment Group Australia & Waislitz Family Foundation NARI WARD, 2016 Featured Artist   Will you be there?? Individual Tickets $1,500 Tables from $15,000 AFL-end To become a sponsor and purchase tables/tickets please contact: Tracey Doolin, Inez Weinstein Special Events Inc. at 212.254.6677 or tdoolin@inezevents.com For more info: Art For Life 2016

So the time has come…you are sick of tossing your money out of the window MONTH after MONTH to a landlord. It is time to find your dream home. So where to start?? NEW-House Step 1: Get Your Team Together Buying a home may be the biggest investment you ever make — so it pays to call in the experts. You’ll need a Realtor and a loan officer. A Realtor will represent you and your interests during the home-buying transaction yet their commissions are generally paid by the seller, so as the buyer, these essential services are free. So find someone you can relate to and who sincerely wants to help you. new-home-1 Once you find a Realtor (and you will, Location agents are a likeable lot and they’re the best in the business), the next step is finding a loan officer. Step 2: Get Prequalified There are a few steps in buying a home that are critically important, and one of those is that your first stop — before getting into a car to look at property — is the lending office. You can even talk to the loan officer on the phone, although it’s nice to do it in person and talk a little story — get to know each other. new-home-2 Once you’ve found a lender you like and trust, the next step is to talk numbers. The loan officer will ask you a series of questions about your income and your expenses to determine how much house you can afford. If you start looking at homes that cost $850,000 when what you really can afford is a townhome for $350,000, you’re just wasting your time. Do it right, get pre-qualified first. The goal is to find out how much you are qualified to borrow. new-home-3 Skipping this step is setting your self up for disappointment. Remember, at this point you only want to get an idea of your borrowing power and you are not making any commitments to borrow from any particular lender. Shopping for the very best loan terms will happen later on in the process. Step 3: Clean Up Your Credit Report Part of getting prequalified will include a check of your credit score. If your score comes in low, you won’t qualify for the best interest rates. The loan officer will advise you on what you can do to improve your score.new-home-credit Step 4: Gather All Your Financial Documents In some cases, you might be able to prequalify for a loan without all of these documents, but it’s best to have them handy. new-home-papers Typically, what you will ultimately need to provide the loan officer is your most recent 2 years of tax returns, 2 months of bank statements, and 3 months of pay stubs. If these items are not immediately available, now is a good time to start gathering them. Step 5: Start Your Search Online You’re in the right place. LocationsHawaii.com is the most comprehensive real estate website, offering not only the all the “active” listings around the island and in the state, but “solds” and “pending properties” as well. new-home-key With all the listings at your fingertips, you can take the dollar amount the loan officer gave you and view a list of everything on the Island at or below that price. You might be surprised at all you have to pick from. (Source:locationhawaii.com)

It has nothing to do with being a “penny pincher” …it comes down to PURE common sense! You work hard for your money. Let’s examine some sure fire ways for you to keep some of it in your bank account…starting with the kitchen!   MONEY-title-use

Use cloth napkins instead of paper… You don’t have to use a new one every time you eat (unless, of course, it’s spaghetti night), you’ll find yourself naturally gravitating away from paper products as a whole. Even though there are plenty of cheap options for paper napkins, it’s hardly worth the 99 cents when you have to buy a new pack of 100 every week.

MONEY-napkins

Scrape, don’t rinse plates Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to pre-wash plates before you put them in the dishwasher. Merely scraping any food waste off the surface (especially rice, which can expand and clog up the dishwasher’s mechanisms) is sufficient. According to Good Housekeeping, many dishwasher detergents contain enzymes that need to latch onto food particles in order to work effectively.

dishes

If the plates are already squeaky clean, that’s a waste of money. On top of that, you’ll save nearly 6,000 gallons of water a year when you stop pre-rinsing. The average dishwasher only uses about 5-8 gallons of water per load—by hand, you’re more likely to use almost 27 gallons and twice the electricity. Seriously, give your water bill a break. Just scrape the plates.

Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are at their optimal temperature It’s tempting to turn your fridge and freezer down until they breathe icy clouds of air every time you open the door, but the likelihood is that your appliances are actually too cold—which is a giant energy suck. According to the FDA, your fridge should be 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder (but not too cold or you’ll damage delicate produce), and your freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If your refrigerator or freezer doesn’t have an actual thermometer inside, there are plenty of inexpensive models you can purchase and stick to the inside wall.

MONEY-freezer

 

Make coffee with a mesh coffee filter or French press Paper coffee filters are expensive, and they go quickly. Even if you buy a pack of 100 (or 1,000 if you’re shopping at Costco), eventually they’ll run out. Not so with a wire filter or a French press.

french-press

Although you’ll have to use a slightly coarser grind of coffee to avoid the bottom-of-the-pot sludge, you’ll never have to buy another filter. Plus, a French press is great if you only want a cup or two of coffee. No need to make a giant pot that you won’t even drink!

Get rid of your Keurig This is a very simple trick: just get rid of your Keurig (or Nespresso) and you will save a disgusting sum of money every year. According to a 2015 article in The Atlantic, the tiny serving of coffee in each K-Cup ends up costing almost $40 a pound—nearly three times the price of a pound of ground Starbucks coffee.

 

keurig

In a Time Magazine  article from the same year, Caribou brand K-Cups versus traditional ground coffee were compared, showing that one K-Cup cost 66 cents versus 28 cents, respectively. “If you make three cups a day, 365 days a year, that adds up to around $723 spent on K-Cups, versus $307 for regular coffee brewers,” the article says. So save yourself some money, and just do it the old-fashioned way.

 

MONEY-unplug

Unplug your appliances You probably don’t think about it, but appliances suck energy even when they’re not being used. According to the department of energy, the average phone charger consumes .26 watts of energy when not in use, and 2.24 watts even when a fully charged device is connected to it. Now think about your coffeemaker, which uses about 1400 watts when active. How long do you keep it plugged in after the coffee has been made? Or any of the other various appliances in your kitchen that you don’t use as often? Alone, 1400 watts here and 2.24 watts there won’t cause a huge bump in your energy bill. But once you add in everything else that’s plugged in all day without use, you can see why “energy vampires” can add 10 percent or more to your monthly utility bill.

 

Use Tupperware instead of expensive plastic wrap A single roll of plastic wrap can run you anywhere between $2.50 and $4. And if you’re constantly covering large bowls and plates, it runs out quickly. Ditch the cling wrap entirely and just use containers. You don’t even have to go out and buy them (although you can if you wish). So many foods come in reusable containers: shredded cheese, Chinese takeout, soups from the deli… the list goes on and on. Plus, it’s much easier to see what’s in your fridge when everything is in a container, instead of concealed beneath a drippy layer of plastic wrap.

MONEY-tuppewrware (source:simplemost at wcpo.com)

The word “maha” means “great” or “supreme.” Maha Yoga is a beautiful, light and music-filled yoga studio, located in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, where people experience the “great” fun and euphoria that only yoga provides. Yoga-gen   Steve Ross has explored the physical aspects of yoga as well as the philosophical and spiritual roots of yoga. He spent four years as a monk in the Vedic tradition, and since that time, he has ceaselessly sought out and reveled in the presence of some of the most notable masters of our time – in India and elsewhere.   (Source: www.mahayoga.com) Just in case you needed a reminder about why we love the yoga stylings of Steve Ross, here’s a little “blast from the past.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-UMtfaFqY (source:  www.mahayoga.com)

Media mogul Russell Simmons talks to CNNMoney’s Cristina Alesci about his former friend Donald Trump and why Simmons says he’ll do anything to make sure Trump isn’t elected! SIMMONS-video-Trump Check out this interview on page 2! Clear and to the point, right? Check this out!! https://youtu.be/wOtXtaosUt0  

Asana is considered to be a practice of Raja Yoga, but asana actually underlies all types of Yoga. To practice Yoga you must be incarnated—meaning living in a physical body. The bhakta chants with her heart and voice, which are part of her body; the jñani sits and meditates while in a body; and the karma yogi certainly performs his compassionate actions by means of his body. Displaying relax.jpgDisplaying relax.jpgrelax Asana pertains to our relationship with the Earth and all others, and our means of relating to others is physical. The practice of asana can bring us directly to enlightenment because the only thing that stands between us and enlightenment is our perception of ourselves and others. The karmas generated by our interactions with others are stored in the tissues of our bodies—in fact, our karmas actually make up our bodies—so moving the body through asana practice has the effect of purifying our karmas, helping us feel more comfortable in our bodies and in our relationships with others, and ultimately leads to freedom and liberation. Asana practice has the power to sharpen our senses and restore us to our natural state—the state of unity with all of existence, the state of eternal joy. Looking at the history of Yoga, over time the practices had to become more and more detailed or refined in order to address our own escalating sense of alienation from life. The earliest writings about happiness, realization, living in harmony, knowing God and knowing Self seem to us now very idealistic, very philosophical and very difficult for people in the present time to understand and put into practice. For example, The Rig Veda teaches, “Who knows this? No one knows.” Most of us needed a little more direction than that. So the teachings of the Vedas were distilled in The Upanishads and are presented as narratives, stories and parables. yoga-general   Many people still needed more concrete instruction than that, and eventually we got The Yoga Sutra and The Bhagavad Gita, much of which we can relate to even now, but much of which still strikes us as abstract. Then in the Middle Ages came The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which gives detailed instruction for fifteen asanas, among many other practices. (source- excerpts from:for jivamuktiyoga.com)

The RUSH CARD? So What is it? RushCard is a prepaid debit service owned by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and was started in 2003. RushCard’s main perk is its two-day advance on direct deposits. RUSH-title   There are 2 plans to choose from –  you simply pick the one that works best for you: RUSH-cards-2 With the Rush Unlimited Plan, you get unlimited signature and PIN transactions for a Monthly Fee of $7.95 – or $5.95 for every month you are enrolled and using Direct Deposit. With the Pay As You Go Plan, you pay $1.00 for each purchase up to a maximum of $10 per calendar month So, WHY? Why RushCard?? The mission is simple…based on Simmons’ commitment! “Today there are more than 68 million Americans who cannot, or choose not, to establish a traditional banking relationship. We believe that every American should have access to an affordable place to keep their hard-earned money—an alternative banking solution that’s safe and convenient. RUSH-empower Russell Simmons started RushCard more than a decade ago with a mission: Empower our members by providing products and financial services that enable them to gain control and realize their personal hopes and financial goals.” Once you set your PIN and load your card with money, you are all set to start using it…Simple, right? RUSH-close-up You can load money by: Setting up Direct Deposit for your paycheck or government benefits Loading checks at Walmart. Loading cash at thousands of retail locations nationwide RUSH-retailers Looking for piece of mind…Russell Simmmons’ RushCard has you covered! RUSH-visa-prepaid RushCard is safer than using cash. *Visa Clear Prepaid: Transperency Protection Opportunity *Fraud detection & safe to use online *Visa Zero Liability Policy7 *FDIC-insured through MetaBank®, Member FDIC *Meets the Visa Clear Prepaid standards for clearly communicated fees and great consumer protections Check out the details here…Stop just getting by, and start getting ahead!

 

How does one go about raising their credit score? Seeing your score jump 100 points can help you qualify for lower APR credit cards and a lower mortgage rate. There are many things that you can do to start to improve your score…but it won’t happen overnight when reaching for a 100 point jump! Basically, patience, dedication and DISCIPLINE can get you there in about 6 months! STEP 1: ELIMINATE YOUR DEBT! Credit card debt is the #1 beast haunting the credit reports of most people! This includes all major credit cards, department store or retail store cards, and gasoline credit cards. The quickest way to a higher score is to pay off your credit card debt! OUTdebt-title If you’re carrying too much debt, it’s dragging down your credit utilization, which is just a fancy way of describing how much you’re leveraging your credit card accounts. The metric compares your balances to your credit limits. STEP 2. DON’T MAX OUT YOUR CREDIT CARDS! One of the biggest signs of “financial irresponsibility” is a maxed out credit limit!  Actually, as far as your credit score is concerned, you should use as little of your available credit limit as possible. By general rule, keep your credit limit under 30% used! Quite honestly, it’s best to keep your your credit card usage to 10 percent or less of your credit limit and your score will reap the benefits OUTdebt-maxout STEP 3. Ok, this is huge: PAY YOUR BILL ON TIME! Not only does a late payment leave you on the hook paying a late fee and accumulated interest charges, but it also has the SERIOUS potential to hurt your credit score substantially. That’s because making on-time payments is one of the main factors credit scoring models take into consideration when tallying your credit score. OUTdebt-fishing   An important STEP: And finally…DON’T GET SCAMMED!! A common question: Is it true that there are companies out there that you can pay to help you with credit problems????? OUTdebt-scam There are, indeed,  companies out there, called “credit repair companies”. They claim they can improve your credit score for you… for a small fee of course. PLEASE avoid these agencies as they tend to be SCAMS. Their main objective is to hound credit bureaus with disputes so that they can clear your credit report of negative instance. While it may seem like a quick and easy way to improve your credit score,  this process does not have a high success rate. In general there is no such thing as a fast credit fix.

Def Jam Recordings started back in an NYU dorm room in the mid 1980s. Together, Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin, took the idea of fusing together urban hip hop and rap and core fundamentals of hard rock music. So many artists have crossed the threshold since Def Jam’s early days…So who was your favorite? Let’s highlight some of the greats!

DEFGREAT-title

The BEASTIE BOYS started out as a punk/hardcore band as far back as 1979…They formed as a four-piece hardcore punk band,The Young Aborigines, in 1978 by Diamond (vocals), John Berry (guitar), Yauch (bass) and Kate Schellenbach (drums), the band appeared on the compilation cassette New York Thrash…

DEFGREAT-Beastie

 

For the majority of the BBoys career, the group consisted of Michael “Mike D” Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam “MCA” Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz (vocals, guitar). They recorded LICENSED TO ILL in 1986 and it was Def Jam’s fastest selling debut record to date and sold over nine million copies!

DEFGREAT-licensed ~Sadly, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch died in 2012…Forever remembered.

EPMD is a hip hop group from Brentwood, New York. The group’s name is a play on the members’ names “E” and “PMD” or an acronym for “Erick and Parrish Making Dollars”, referencing its members, emcees Erick Sermon (“E” aka E Double) and Parrish Smith (“PMD” aka Parrish Mic Doc). During an interview on college radio station WHOV in 1987, Parrish Smith stated that the name evolved from the original: “We were originally known as “EEPMD” (Easy Erick and Parrish the Microphone Doctor), but chose to go with EPMD because it was easier to say.”  He also stated that they dropped the two “E’s” because N.W.A.’s Eric Wright was already using “Eazy-E” as his stage name. The group has been active for 30 years (minus two breakups in 1993 and 1999), and is one of the most prominent acts in east coast hip hop. Diamond J and DJ K La Boss were DJs for the group and their current DJ is DJ Scratch The word “business” is used in every title of the group’s albums. Every album also has a track with “Jane” in the title.

 

DEFGREATS-EPMD

 

Onyx is a hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York. The group is composed of East Coast rappers Sticky Fingaz and Fredro Starr. Sonny Seeza (formerly known as both Suavé and Sonsee) and the late Big DS (Marlon Fletcher) were also members; Big DS left after the group’s debut album. Their music has been used in movies such as How High and 8 Mile and TV shows such as The Cleveland Show and Tosh.0 as well as numerous commercials, including SoBe and Gatorade.

 

DEFGREATS-onyx

3rd Bass was a hip-hop group that rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was notable for being one of the first successful interracial hip-hop groups. They split up in 1992 and again in 2000 after a failed reunion. The group released two studio albums in their initial career and both of them were certified gold by the RIAA. Of course we remember “THE GAS FACE”!!! Let FUSION REIGN!!

DEFGREATS-3rd

Lastly…SLAYER!!!!! Following the success of Hell Awaits, Slayer was offered a recording contract with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin’s newly founded Def Jam Records, a largely hip hop-based label. The band accepted and with an experienced producer and major label recording budget, the band underwent a sonic makeover resulting in shorter, faster songs with clearer production. Gone were the complex arrangements and long songs featured on Hell Awaits, ditched in favor of stripped down, hardcore punk influenced song structures.DEFGREATS-SLAYER

Whether you are a long term Vegan or just beginning…RELAX! We have you covered with a quick and easy look at Breakfast, Lunch and dinner…SIMPLIFIED! BREAKFAST! Check out this amazing, cruelty free recipe for Blueberry Oatmeal Waffles!   1 cup white whole wheat flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1 cup quick cooking oats 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or your fave non-dairy milk) 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries VEGAN3-breakfast Sift flour, baking powder, salt and allspice into a mixing bowl. Mix in the oats. Make a well in the center and add applesauce, milk, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. Stir with just until combined. Let batter rest for 5 minutes or so, it will thicken a bit. Fold in the blueberries. Don’t worry too much about the blueberries bleeding into the batter, it’s no biggie. Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturer directions. In my 8 inch waffle iron, I use a heaping 1/2 cup of batter. Remember to spray or brush the iron with oil in between each waffle. Ok, Breakfast was delicious… so what about lunch? Well then, check out this amazing recipe for Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Wraps…Sooooo goooood!! DRESSING + SALAD 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (90 g) hummus 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp (37-45 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste 1 small lemon, juiced (2 Tbsp or 30 ml) Hot water to thin (1-2 Tbsp or 15-30 ml) 1 head romaine lettuce or 1 bundle kale, cleaned, large stems removed, roughly chopped BUFFALO CHICKPEAS 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried (~ 1 1/4 cups when drained) 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil (or sub grape seed or olive oil) 4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) hot sauce*, divided (I used Louisiana’s Pure Crystal Hot Sauce) 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or sub 1 garlic clove, minced) pinch sea salt FOR SERVING 3-4 vegan-friendly flour tortillas, pita, or flatbread optional: 1/4 cup red onion, diced optional: 1/4 cup baby tomato, diced optional : 1/4 ripe avocado, thinly sliced VEGAN3-lunch -Make dressing by adding hummus, maple syrup, and lemon juice to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add hot water until thick but pourable. -Taste and adjust flavor as needed, then add romaine lettuce or kale, and toss. Set aside. -To make chickpeas, add drained, dried chickpeas to a separate mixing bowl. Add coconut oil, 3 Tbsp hot sauce, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt – toss to combine/coat. -Heat a metal or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, -add chickpeas and sauté for 3-5 minutes, mashing a few chickpeas gently with a spoon to create texture (see photo). Once chickpeas are hot and slightly dried out, remove from heat and add remaining 1 Tbsp hot sauce. Stir to combine. Set aside. To assemble, top each wrap with a generous portion of the dressed romaine salad, and top with 1/4 cup buffalo chickpeas and a sprinkle of diced tomatoes, avocado, and/or onion (optional). Serve immediately. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days, though best when fresh. You can enjoy the buffalo chickpeas cold, room temperature or heated up. NOW…It’s DINNER TIME!! Check this out! Super Kale, Hemp and Flaxseed Oil Pesto Pesto 2 to 3 cloves garlic 3 cups packed kale (about 1 small bunch) ¾ cup hemp seeds or toasted walnuts 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon) ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt ¼ teaspoon ground pepper Red pepper flakes, optional (if you want to add some kick) ¼ cup flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil (more if desired) Entirely optional: ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese Pasta (if you want pasta…) 1 pound (16 ounces) whole grain pasta, like linguine 1 cup reserved pasta water VEGAN3-dinnnerrrrrrr Make the pesto: In a food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves and process until the garlic is minced. Add the kale, hemp seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper if necessary. (You can thin out the pesto with more oil, but if you’re serving with pasta, keep in mind that you can also thin it out with reserved pasta cooking water.) Cook the pasta (optional): Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve one cup cooking liquid before draining the pasta. Let the pasta and pasta water cool for a minute to make sure the high heat doesn’t damage the flax oil pesto. If you intend to have leftovers, transfer the amount of pasta you think you’ll be eating immediately to a serving bowl and mix in pesto with splashes of cooking water. Otherwise, you can mix the pasta and pesto together in your cooking pot, adding splashes of cooking water as necessary. Keep in mind that you have diluted the flavor a bit with the cooking water, so taste and add more lemon, salt or a drizzle of olive oil as necessary.

So, is there a “right way” and a “wrong way” to approach posture with meditation? Well, there are a million forms of meditation in the world…new practices popping up daily. But even amongst these different forms you will see some major similarities…Why is this? Because there are some basic elements of “meditation posture’ that are employed across the globe in order to calm the mind and align the body. ~The first look at posture brings us to “sitting down”…our world has us accustomed to sitting in a chair. The body naturally conforms into this position. But when it comes to sitting on the floor, some people find it difficult…at first. POSTURE-cushion There are variations of sitting cross-legged…it is always best to have a “meditation cushion” of sorts. It is worth the money to invest in a proper meditation cushion if you plan on meditating consistently. Of course, you can use some household cushions (bed pillows, throws etc) but they will take some adjusting and getting used to…they are not made to support this posture…so it is best to buy the right thing! So let’s look at some of the bare basics with proper “posture”… ~To start with, the Quarter Lotus is probably one of the loosest poses and a great place to start. Start on your meditation seat with your legs loosely crossed and both feet resting below the opposite thigh or knee. Keep it loose…find your sweet spot. POSTURE-quarter-lotus   THE HALF LOTUS  is a variation on the the Quarter Lotus. Your legs are crossed with one foot resting on the opposite thigh. The other foot can fold underneath the top leg and rest below the knee or thigh. POSTURE-Half-lotus and now…THE FULL LOTUS…you’ve achieved! In short…Your legs are crossed with both feet resting on top of your opposite thighs…This is a pose that many people strive for…it may look simple but it surely has its challenges. POSTURE-full-lotus The BURMESE POSITION…If you have trouble sitting with your legs crossed then try this variation…simply lay both feet on the floor and stay RELAXED! POSTURE-burmese it’s now time for SEIZA!  Instead of sitting with your legs crossed you can simply kneel and put your yoga cushion between your legs. This traditional meditation posture is essentially a propped-up Virasana (Hero Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose). POSTURE-Seiza And Lastly…A Chair? Yes, there is no shame in it. Just be sure to sit away from the back of the chair and place your feet firmly on the floor, aligned with your hips and knees. POSTURE-chair

REFORM-title (Article by Cherise Johnson for HipHopdx)  LOS ANGELES, CA – Russell Simmons invites the public to join him at All Def Digital’s first Town Hall meeting addressing police reform at The Montalban in Los Angeles on June 23 at 7 p.m. PST. The deaths of unarmed Black men, women and children who were killed by White officers that were never indicted for their actions, has spurred conversation of whether or not America’s police force is due for a change. REFORM-black-lives “We created this event to honor the lives of Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Ayana Stanley-Jones, Mike Brown and anyone else that has been killed or victimized by excessive police force,” reads a Facebook post signed by Simmons. REFORM-tamir Those wanting to attend the event must RSVP to gain entry. The Town Hall meeting’s goal is to, “help end any more senseless deaths by reforming and reframing police officers practices, policies, and procedures.” Police reform was chosen as a topic to “evoke passion.” In 2014, Jay Z and Simmons met with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to address the same subject, requesting a special prosecutor be assigned to cases dealing with police brutality. REFORM-jayZ The move was in the wake of the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a cop in New York for allegedly selling cigarettes.   In November 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police in Cleveland, Ohio. The responding officer mistook his Airsoft gun for a real gun because it lacked an orange safety feature. June 25 will mark Rice’s 14th birthday. REFORM-freddie The deaths of Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray soon followed in 2015. RSVP for All Def Digital’s first Town Hall meeting here: RSVP-Town Hall Reform to understand your rights and to learn more about police reform.

Argyleculture Menswear Russell Simmons created ArgyleCulture with the Urban Graduate in mind – a term coined by its’ founder that defines an emerged male and female consumer born and bred in the hip hop culture, now mature and successful in his or her own right. The Brand represents a “modern” American point of view, which is multi-racial, yet singularly cultural, therefore, genuinely speaks to all races, colors and backgrounds.argyle-title In collaboration with accomplished clothing company, Bernette Textile USA, Argyleculture products are designed with inclusionary intentions, appealing to all fashion conscious men and offering wardrobe options across sportswear, clothing and accessory categories ARG-redo-2 The brand features traditional and classic elements, with highlighted twists, that add a degree of irreverence and unpredictability. ARG-redo-1 But it doesn’t just stop at fine clothing…Russell Simmons branched out into eyewear offering an exclusive line of Men’s sunglasses and optical eye wear. Top of the line fashion pieces to accessorize…There are many choices…a design for every occasion! argyle-glaSSES       Take a peak at some of the items in ARGYLECULTURE collection!

 

Check out ARGYLECULTURE Here!

On Tuesday, June 21, Public Enemy hosted a free concert at Betsy Head Park in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn as part of the park’s SummerStage Series. Opening up the show for P.E. was remix master DJ Tedsmooth! PE-title It was really high energy and they surely didn’t disappoint! The full stage of Live musicians and spinning turntables left the crowd wanting more but going home satisfied! Check out this clip of “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos” from the show! https://youtu.be/-Usmw5zeUeQ Public Enemy is an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn, DJ Lord, and the S1W group. Formed on Long Island, New York in 1982, they are known for their politically charged music and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community. They remain one of the most critically acclaimed bands in history. Their first four albums during the late 1980s and early 1990s were all certified either gold or platinum and were, according to music critic Robert Hilburn in 1998, “the most acclaimed body of work ever by a hip hop act.” PE-end In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Public Enemy number 44 on its list of the Immortals: 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, the highest ranking for a hip hop act. The group was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007. The band were announced as inductees for the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on December 11, 2012, making them the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted. (Excerpt from Wikipedia)

Phat Farm Clothing is a division of Phat Fashion, which was founded in 1992 upon the inception of the “mainstream” hip hop movement. Russell Simmons, the founder of Phat Farm, is also regarded as the founder of the largest hip hop movement which has launched the careers of countless Hip-hop/rap/fusion artists… PHAT-farm-russell-simons-title Phat Farm clothes are not for a particular ethnic group or particular social class as stereotypes may draw it. Today, it’s a brand for all by all. Even thought hip hop was in the mind of the inventor, times have changed and today, this line of clothing is appreciated by all. PHAT-shoes Phat Farm has a wide range of clothes for men, youths, girls, children, women and even newborns and infants. Phat Farm also has a line of sportswear that mixes sport aesthetics of the street life. The clothes are designs for everyone and for all occasions, whether attending college, going for a date, attending a hip hop gig, partying and so on. With is diversified cloth line, Phat Farm has become not only a street brand, but a family brand too. PHAT-kids Originally Simmons sold at a small shop in New York’s Soho district. Simmons enlisted the help of Marc Bagguta, who ran a boutique, and 22-year-old skateboarders Alyasha Jibril Owerka-Moore and Eli Morgan Gesner, who became designers for the brand. While Simmons does admit that Phat Farm was not an immediate success, losing him almost $10 million during the first six years, he said that once things took off, they really took off!! PHAT-Russell So what happened?? Simmons sold Phat Farm and Baby Phat to the Kellwood Company in 2004 for $140 million. PHAT-end  

So what happens when you get invited by Russell Simmons to try out some new cryogenic procedures that you don’t fully understand?? Why, you prank the the founding father of hip-hop into thinking you’ve died!! THIS…IS…GREAT!!! DEATH-PRANK (Video on page 2!) You have to check out this video…watch as Russell Simmons sends the dude into a chamber of -225 degrees…and when he comes out? Simmons is scared! Such a good Prank! Gotcha Russell!! https://youtu.be/XRaTgLIRxHY

The Beastie Boys formed in 1979 in New York City and were originally a punk/hardcore band. They started getting into rap/hip hop in the early ‘1980’s and it was this changed the course of music history forever! BEASTIE-title The original line up consisted of Michael Diamond, John Berry, Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. They had moderate local success as an opening act for many popular punk bands at the time such as The Misfits and Dead Kennedys. BEASTIE-1979 -In 1982 the band met Adam Horovitz.  Adam was in the band, The Young and the Useless, who was opening for The Beastie Boys at the time.  In 1983 John Berry left the Beasties…being replaced by Hortowitz. BEASTIE-Young-useless (Look at that smile!! Must have know good things were coming!) It was this same year that they recorded “Cooky Puss”…which was when they started experimenting with adding a hip-hop/rap flare to their already established punk sound! BEASTIE-cooky (Who remembers the original “Cookie Puss” from Carvel?!?!) Rick Rubin, at the time, was a DJ and student at NYU who was also in the process of producing his own records. Rubin started up a company called Def Jam Recordings (Maybe you’ve heard of it?) and approached the Beastie Boys to sign to Def Jam with new found fusion style. When the BBoys agreed, drummer Kate Schellenbach left the band. BEASTIE-rubin-def-jam They immediately began working on their first major recordings with Def Jam and Rubin at the healm. The band’s line-up now resembled what we know today: Michael Diamond (aka Mike D), Adam Yauch (aka MCA), and Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock). 1985 offered a series of singles and touring/opening for major acts such as Madonna, Run DMC and LL Cool J. The quick success from this touring made way for their first major release… BEASTIE-madonna So…in 1986… The Beastie Boys released a “little” album called: LISENCED TO ILL …Remember that one??? It was the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart and eventually sold over 10million copies in the US alone! BEASTIE-ill …and the rest, as they say…is HISTORY!! (RIP John Berry and Adam Yauch)

Some call it a trendy phase…some devote their life to the cause. But the rise of Veganism has spread far and wide…especially with the celebrity circuit. Take a look at this list of celebs who have made the lifestyle change…Some of them may surprise you! Starting out this list, almost 2 decades in to this “new way” is RUSSELL SIMMONS! I wouldn’t call 2 decades a “phase”! This hip-hop-entrepreneurial mogul is also a devout Yogi…He’s doing something right! Hey, he even “wrote the book” on the topic, The Happy Vegan… VEGAN-russell-simmons Check out his book here: THE HAPPY VEGAN by Russell Simmons Ellen Page is very outspoken about her views on Social Justice so it comes as no surprise that she, for quite some time, has been a full fledged vegan! VEGAN-ellen-page Alicia Silverstone has been vegan since 1998, when she was 21. She claims that back then she was having some health issues that led her to the change…and many of her ailments went away after the switch! She even posed nude for a PETA statement! VEGAN-alicia-silverstone Ellen DeGeneres has been a loud and proud animal advocate for many years! She uses her show as a platform to her veganism and bring awareness to a mainstream audience. Which is MILLIONS of people! VEGAN-ellen-degeneres Woody Harrelson has been a vegan for just over 10 years now. As we all know, he strongly supports a natural…ahem…lifestyle. He has always supported “mother nature”…again…ahem. VEGAN-woody Rock-n-Roll hard woman Joan Jett, lead singer of the Runaways and the Blackhearts, has been a vegan since the 1980s! Her best quote on the topic: “Twenty years ago I thought: What’s the difference between eating a bloody steak and killing my dog, slitting him open and roasting him?”VEGAN-jett

LL COOL J!! Of course, stands for LADIES LOVE COOL JAMES and he is one of the founding fathers of “pop-rap”! To date he has released 13 albums and 2 full compilations (greatest hits)…His album in 2008, EXIT 13, was the last to be released under his DEF JAM family…and his last album (so far!) was titled “Authentic” and was released in 2013! LL-title LL started rapping at a very early age…he was influenced by the legendary hip-hop group The Treacherous Three… in 1984 when Russell Simmons and, then NYU student Rick Rubin, were introducing DEF JAM RECORDINGS to the world, LL was in his grandparents’ house mixing demo tapes at the young age of 16! His grandfather was very supportive and even bought him a bunch of equipment to get him going! LL-2

 

 

Check out this interview from 1986…Starting at LL’s Grandparents’ house then a walk around the neighborhood!! Priceless material!

 

Ever wonder about the beginning of DEF JAM RECORDINGS?? Where artists like the Beastie Boys, RUN D.M.C. and LL Cool J came from?? Check out this awesome piece from ROLLING STONE’s youtube channel…all about the early days of DEF JAM! Rick Rubin returns to his NYU dorm room to talk about how it all began with Russell Simmons! DEF-JAM-SIMMONS-RUBIN Check out this EPIC video feature from ROLLING STONE here: https://youtu.be/IBHADseIs-w ~And history was made…  

Russell Simmons had a sit down chat with Oprah. Simmons is an enterprising entrepreneur, media mogul and considered the Grandfather of hip-hop. He and Rick Rubin co-created Def Jam Recordings who brought forth the talents of such artists as RUN DMC, The Beastie Boys, Kurtis Blow and many MANY others! With this Oprah sit down Simmons discusses how we can live a “calmer, healthier and more mindful life through the practice of meditation” OPRAH-russell-simmons Simmons and Oprah also discussed his book, SUCCESS THROUGH STILLNESS: Meditation Made Simple OPRAH-book Check out all of RUSSELL SIMMONS’ available books HERE! (Oprah/Simmons video on page 3) Take a look at the interview… https://youtu.be/LHEq7LMZeBA

KRUSH GROOVE (Warner Bros. 1985) is the iconic semi auto-biographical story of Russell Simmons (named Russell Walker in the film) who was played by Blair Underwood in his big screen debut.  The movie tells the story of the early days of the DEF JAM Recordings label and it focuses on Run DMC hitting the scene in a big way! KRUSH-title Let’s focus on some of the highlights of the film! Run DMC opens the film performing “King of Rock” in the studio. The group works at a car wash with Jay mixing records outside and dancers doing head spins on the rooftops of cars. KRUSH-Run-DMC We also get a look at Donnie Simpson of BET fame as the talent contest MCKRUSH-donnie DJ Run and Russell Simmons real dad Daniel plays their preacher father in the film KRUSH-daniel-simmons Many performances were taped at the legendary Disco Fever and the Danceteria KRUSH-danceteria (At the Fever performance of Sheila, check the backdrop which features rappers names on it including “LL Kool J”) The real Russell Simmons plays theater owner for one of the big shows.KRUSH-russell-simmons The Beastie Boys appeared in the film performing “She’s On It.” KRUSH-bboys and  The Fat Boys (still calling themselves The Disco 3) perform “Don’t U Dog Me” in the school stairway…and also  “Pump it Up.” KRUSH-Fat-boys The closing performance of “Krush Groovin” by The Fat Boys, Run DMC, Sheila E. and Kurtis Blow tears the roof off as we ready to role the credits. Overall this iconic film is LOADED with the pioneer heroes of the industry and tells quite a detailed story…Lace up your Adidas, hook up your VCRs and revisit this hip hop classic! KRUSH-end  

Def Comedy Jam, the longest running HBO series ever, launched the careers of Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, and featured Chris Rock, and Jaime Foxx. The Def Comedy Jam franchise has extended into tours and sold over 8 million DVD’s worldwide. A Russell Simmons Production! DEF-title (Source: russellsimmons.com) The original run of Def Comedy Jam ran from July 1, 1992 to January 1, 1997. In the fall of 2006 it returned to HBO. Many comedians had their careers launched by the huge success of this series! DEF-bernie-mac ~Check out a young Bernie Mac!! So Just to name a few…Bernie Mac, Dave Chappelle, Bill Bellamy, Damon Wayans, Jamie Foxx, Mike Epps, and Chris Tucker were amongst the ranks who took center stage in this uncensored series! Most of the funny black comedians who were first featured on the show went on to achieve major fame and brilliant careers! DEF-a-bunch   The show caught major criticism for using  excessive foul language and a “supposed” negative representation of African Americans (well, according to some critics) DEF-advisory It was announced that Russell Simmon’s along with his company All Def Digital have signed an HBO production deal with 5 projects attached. One production that stood out will be a return of Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam for it’s 25th Anniversary special. DEF-russell-end

Transcendental meditation is defined as a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation, repetition of a mantra, and other yogic practices. This new way was brought forward by an international organization founded by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi! TRANS-med-title   Many well known figures, including celebrities and other members of the rich and famous, have practiced Transcendental Meditation throughout the years…from the Beatles and Clint Eastwood to Russell Simmons! TRANS-russell   Russell Simmons, the man who brought the music of Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and the Beastie Boys (among many others) to the mainstream with Def Jam Records, has a quiet, simple ritual he has subscribed to for 15 years, and to which he partly attributes his success: Meditation. TRANS-russell-simmons Twenty minutes, twice a day. When asked why he — or anyone — should meditate, the media mogul has a straight answer: “The first, most important thing about meditation is happiness. You become a happier person when you meditate,” he says. With the launch of his new app, Meditation Made Simple (a companion to his best-selling book, Success Through Stillness) Simmons is sharing his straightforward, no-nonsense take on the practice, which he first adopted in yoga class, and later infused with principles from Transcendental Meditation, a mind-focused style he learned of at a school in South Africa. It’s an unorthodox method from a man who knows how to innovate. Here are some pointers he offered to get started. TRANS-russell-simmons-stand Slow Down the Rush Growing up in Hollis, Queens, Simmon’s got his nickname, “Rush” since his attention could never stay put. That drive fueled his early career, but it was when he slowed down, finding value in quiet moments of stillness (like sitting in a silent recording studio working on a final mix), he says he felt more fulfilled and inspired. “Meditation got me to learn to be more patient,” Simmons says, “And the only thing you really need to be a good meditator is patience.”   Set an Alarm, and Commit “Put your alarm on, don’t move, and commit,” Simmons says, when describing how to meditate. “The mind will go crazy without the movement, but the mind has no choice but to settle, as the nervous system settles.” In his guided meditation, Simmons says there’s no “right” way to meditate, so start with what’s comfortable — TRANS-russell-sittingsit however you like, wherever you like — but set an alarm for 10 or 20 minutes so you won’t worry about the time. Eventually, your mind will relax, and you’ll gain the ability to let go of unwanted thoughts, worries, or frustrations. If you still find it too challenging, Simmons suggests toughening up: “My daughter started at nine, and if she can do the twenty minutes, so can you.” Find Your Mantra Simmons recommends using a mantra (a word repeated during meditation) and in his app, the “Vibration” option is simply a wordless repetition of his suggested rhyme: “rum.” He doesn’t mean the alcohol: “Rum” is a thousand-year old mantra, and a reverberation that can be stripped of all meaning so it won’t bring up any connotation, interpretation or judgment when you hear it. “Words are static but vibrations are free,” Simmons writes in the book. “And in meditation, you always want to be free.” So every time your mind wanders or gets distracted, return to that solid syllable, choose it, and find a calm, stable place. TRANS-book     Make the Time If you feel like you’ve got no time to meditate in your busy schedule, Simmons suggests you re-evaluate your priorities. “If you don’t have 20 minutes, you need two hours,” he says. “Everyone should re-boot their brain every day.” That’s because maintaining your mind should have equal importance as taking care of your career, body, home, and money. He recommends the morning as the best time to do it, and suggests in his book that you get creative about where to meditate if you don’t think you have a quiet spot: Try the car, a stairwell, or a hallway. TRANS-Title (By Jilliam Rose Lim for Men’s Journal)

Russell Simmons leads an amazing empire with a foundation built by hip-hop & rap music. Simmons and Rick Rubin co-created DEF JAM Records in the early 80s which helped to launch the careers of a number of important artists like Kurtis Blow, Slick Rick,  Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys. His social activism has many people people believing that he should be running New York City! From Def Jam to Phat Farm to even making an Energy Drink…Simmons prolific portfolio of life events is ever evolving…But let’s take it back Old Skooool… SIMMONS-video-title   This is an awesome video interview with Russell Simmons from 1985 with an appearance from MCA from the Beastie Boys! Check out what Russell was thinking about for his “near future” in 1985! https://youtu.be/rocATEyGjBY ~Oh to be a fly on the wall of Rick Rubin’s NYU dorm room back in the day…in that room a very young Simmons and Rubin started mapping out plans that would forever change the music industry. Bringing all walks of life together with a new found FUSION…Breaking down societal walls left and right with this new breed of thinking…Opening doors for artists like no other entity in history…we tip our hat! SIMMONS-video-end  

Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin are credited for co-creating Def Jam Records in 1984 in the Rubin’s NYU dorm room! It is one of the most successful black-owned record labels in the history of the United States and its success and influence on music and popular culture are paralleled only by Motown Records in the 1960s and 1970s! DEF-title Russell Simmons founded Rush Productions, a production company,  in the early 80s which held Run-D.M.C. and Kurtis Blow. It was at this time when Simmons and Rubin put their heads together in that dorm room… DEF-run-kurtis LL COOL J’s “I Need a Beat” was the first single released by Def Jam. The Beastie Boys were short to follow with “Rock Hard”. The success of these two singles earned Def Jam a distribution deal with CBS Records which dramatically raised the profile of the young company in the music industry. DEF-LL Rick Rubin left Def Jam in 1988 to form his own label leaving Russell Simmons to head of the company. Def Jam continued to expand in the early 90s, attracting a new generation of rap artists such as West Coast producer/rapper Warren G. DEF-WarrenG In 1999 Simmons sold his controlling interest in Def Jam to Universal Music DEF-universal

RUN-DMC was founded by Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell in  1981…Once RUN-DMC’s  debut album dropped, it was obvious that they were a step beyond any other Rap/hip-hop group of the time. Their stylings changed the face of music, in general. They brought a “fusion” to the table that mixed traditional hip-hop, rap and hard rock. This banning together of styles truly shaped an overall attitude of the band’s mission.  “Rock Box” was the 3rd single released from their debut album and it is constantly cited as one of the most groundbreaking tracks in music history! Not too shabby! RUN-title This new “Fusion” was such a hit that they continued this “rock-oriented-hip-hop”. Their second album had the HUGE hit “King of Rock”…so big, in fact, that they were invited to play at LIVE AID in 1985! They were the only Hip-Hop act on the bill! RUN-live-aid Their producer, Rick Rubin, along with Jam Master Jay, urged them to release a joint effort with…oh…this band called Aerosmith (heard of them?)… Together, RUN D.M.C. and Aerosmith released the most famous “cover” of any song in history: “Walk This Way” (I’ll give you a minute to sing it in your head!)…ok…back again: In 2008, “Walk This Way” was ranked #4 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop”. This version of the song is currently ranked as the 88th greatest song of all time, as well as the best song of 1986, by Acclaimed Music! (source:wiki) RUN-Walk-this-way And How about this list of firsts!! Check this out: ~First Hip-Hop group to have a video on MTV! ~First Hip-Hop group to appear on the cover of ROLLING STONE! ~First Hip-Hop group to earn a PLATINUM record! (1985 “King of Rock”) ~First Hip-Hop group to earn a multi-platinum certification (1986 “Raising Hell”). RUN-history In April of 2009, RUN D.M.C. became only the 2nd hip-hop group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th annual dinner…after Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five! In good company! RUN-Hall Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) – was shot and killed at a recording studio in the Queens district, police said. A second person was injured by two gunmen. RUN-RIP

Argyleculture Eyewear

Argyleculture created by legendary media mogul Russell Simmons, represents a modern American point of view. Argyleculture clothing is designed with an eye towards the gentlemanly lifestyle, but appeals to all fashion conscious men offering wardrobe options across sportswear, clothing and accessory categories. The brand features traditional and classical elements, with highlighted twists, that add a degree of irreverence and unpredictability. The optical collection offers a “fashion fit” category, featuring larger eye sizes, longer temple lengths and components such as compressed acetate and titanium. This focus allows for a streamlined, lightweight, on trend frame for the customer requiring a larger fit.

The McGee Group

Headquartered in Marietta, GA. Family-owned and operated for over 35 Years specializes in the design and manufacturing of eyewear, sunwear, readers, and cases. https://www.mcgeegroup.com/shop-online/argyleculture

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RushCard

Connect with RushCard! Follow them for all your financial needs. Experience the convenience of credit without debt! https://www.rushcard.com/

Brands

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF) is dedicated to providing inner city youth with significant exposure to the arts, as well as to supporting emerging underrepresented artists with exhibition opportunities. Now in its 20th year Rush was founded in 1995 by brothers: Danny Simmons, visual artist and community builder; Russell Simmons; and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC; with the goal to fill the gap that the disenfranchised and people of color face in both accessing the arts and exhibition opportunities. http://rushphilanthropic.org/

“Art saves lives, it’s that simple.” – Russell Simmons

Brands

Diamond Empowerment Fund

The Diamond Empowerment Fund is an international non-profit organization supporting education initiatives in diamond producing countries and communities where the industry does business.

http://www.diamondempowerment.org/

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Foundation for Ethnic Understanding

The FFEU is dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities. The Foundation was formed to promote understanding and cooperation between and among ethnic groups and to reduce the existing tensions among diverse racial and ethnic communities.

http://ffeu.org/

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Health & Wellness

Tantris

Tantrìs is a yoga lifestyle brand featuring apparel and studio centers for the devoted community of authentic yoga enthusiasts, who appreciate and invest in the lifestyle from a premium, sophisticated point of view.

Coming Soon:

Tantris Yoga Center and Apparel Store
9200 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Shop on www.tantris.com

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Celsius

Celsius, the world’s first negative calorie drink, was developed by a dedicated team of experts united by a strong commitment to true science. Celsius launched in June 2005 after completing a clinical study validating its calorie burning benefits.
http://celsius.com/

Brands

Books

The Happy Vegan

A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life

By Russell Simmons
With Chris Morrow

We are all born with happiness inside us. We just have to remind ourselves how to find it. That mission has been at the heart of everything that Russell Simmons does.

Whether he is making records with Def Jam, clothing with ArgyleCulture, building a multi-platform media company with All Def Digital (ADD), or best-selling books with Penguin Random House, entrepreneur, hip-hop mogul and activist Simmons has always sought joy and the opportunity to bring positive change into other’s lives.

The Happy Vegan, (Avery, November 3, 2015) fulfills Simmons’ mission. It promises to not just change your life, but to save it too.

In this game-changing guide to veganism, Simmons reveals information that will likely shock—and even disturb—some readers. But it’s information not only backed by science, but also Simmons’ personal experience. Documenting his evolution from someone who abused his body with animal products, drugs, and other toxins to someone committed to a non-harming lifestyle, Simmons generously recounts his embrace of this compassionate, spiritual, and healthy approach to life.

Despite its popularity amongst the A-list, veganism is still a diet shrouded by misconception. In The Happy Vegan, Simmons clears up common misunderstandings and apprehensions some have about abstaining from animal products and presents three fundamental reasons for why you should adopt this lifestyle today:

  1. It increases energy, vitality and health while helping protect against killers like heart disease and cancer.
  2. It is the best way to protect Mother Earth against the terrible damage wreaked upon it by factory farming. Indeed, it is impossible to be a true environmentalist without being a vegan.
  3. By not eating animal products, you disconnect your karma from the suffering and violence inflicted everyday on billions of animals.

The Happy Vegan is an empowering, emotional, and inspiring testament to a misunderstood but celebrated movement. Join Russell Simmons and make the move today to a more successful, focused, compassionate, and happy life.

Success Through Stillness

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Do You!

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Super Rich

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Live and Def

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Def Poetry Jam

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Def Comedy Jam

Def Comedy Jam, the longest running HBO series ever launched the careers of Chris Tucker, Martin Lawrence, Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, and featured Chris Rock, and Jaime Foxx. The Def Comedy Jam franchise has extended into tours and sold over 8 million DVD’s worldwide.

Brands

ADD – All Def Digital

All Def Digital is the hottest comedy destination online! Don’t miss our brand new series Worldstar Headquarters, Cracker Jackson w/Dr. Chorizo, our hilarious sketches and parodies featuring the best on the rise comedians in the game, or your daily news on The Drop with J Snow & Cynthia! Need your daily dose of music? Don’t miss The Signal on Mondays or in depth interviews with your favorite online personalities on The Vault. In other words, if you don’t have ADD you’re not paying attention!

http://www.alldefdigital.com

Brands

Narrative

Narrative_ is an advertising agency that operates like an innovation lab. We experiment and develop strategic, creative, and innovative solutions against a brand’s business and cultural needs. It is our job to identify the white space in order to make it ownable for the brand. Then, we innovate tastefully through cultural connections, influencer marketing, product development, tech, content creation, experiential, digital and social campaigns/experiences. A story is something you tell , a narrative is something you experience, and brands are defined by how we experience them. In order to create real engagement, we must empower people to become active participants in our brands. At Narrative___ everything we make begins with an invitation, which we call a CTE — a Call to Experience. We’re bent on using the power of tech and culture to bring the dialogue between brands and consumers to the next level. We have assembled a cross-disciplinary, savvy, and dynamic team that is rewarded for invention and entrepreneurship. Our team is designed to disrupt. We are mandated to stay culturally captivated, strategically rooted, creatively led, and technologically native. This team has spearheaded the creation of unprecedented integrated campaigns with the world’s largest brands including Under Armour, Samsung, Universal Pictures, and JCPenney. http://www.narrative.is/

Brands

Def Pictures

Newly founded film and television production company founded by Russell Simmons

Brands

Global Grind

Our evolved segment of users (18-49 years old) drives and influences trends in culture, fashion, music and style. Globalgrind.com is an all-encompassing site that provides a platform for an active, multicultural audience to consume and interact with compelling content and unique digital experiences. We are the eyes, ears and voice of this multi-racial, active and engaged audience.

GlobalGrind.com chronicles celebrities (and blogs), lifestyle content, entertainment news, fashion, music, and politics with an authoritative voice.

http://globalgrind.com/

Brands

Def Jam Enterprises

Def Jam Enterprises, LLC provides marketing and advertising services for fashion, film, gaming, and mobile industry. The company was founded in 1998 and is based in New York, New York. Def Jam Enterprises, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Rush Communications, LLC.

Brands

Argyleculture Menswear

Russell Simmons created ArgyleCulture with the Urban Graduate in mind – a term coined by its’ founder that defines an emerged male and female consumer born and bred in the hip hop culture, now mature and successful in his or her own right. The Brand represents a “modern” American point of view, which is multi-racial, yet singularly cultural, therefore, genuinely speaks to all races, colors and backgrounds.

www.argyleculture.com

Brands

American Classics Eyewear

Russell Simmons created American Classics with the Urban Graduate in mind. The brand represents a modern American point of view, which is multi-racial, yet singularly cultural, that genuinely speaks to all races, colors and backgrounds. American Classics products are designed with inclusionary intentions, appealing to all fashion-conscious men.  The eyewear collection melds classic Ivy League heritage with a modern fashion forward sensibility. Inspired by the musical genius of Russell Simmons, each frame in the collection is named after a true music legend. Available at Walmart.

The McGee Group

Headquartered in Marietta, GA. Family-owned and operated for over 35 Years specializes in the design and manufacturing of eyewear, sunwear, readers, and cases.

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Brands

History

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With great love, all things are possible.

Russell Simmons

Entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist.

The Happy Vegan

A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life

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RUSH Communications

A leading multi-faceted holding company with investments in prominent and respected brands in three industry segments: entertainment and media; fashion and lifestyle; and empowerment.
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Since the founding of Rush Communications our goal has remained the same: to house the most innovative brands on the forefront of entertainment and media, lifestyle, and empowerment.

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