Russell Simmons has been attempting to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement for quite some time now, even though not everyone wants him to be there (he has been asked to leave countless times—see below video). Yet he returns to show his face, push his Rush Card debit card, make a few statements to the cameras, and get his photo taken. Recently, he even pat his pal Jay-Z on the back for introducing an "Occupy All Streets" t-shirt to the Rocawear clothing line. Thing is, Rocawear is profiting from the sales, and not giving a dime to the protesters (so far, that fact hasn't changed). Now Billboard magazine has published an interview with Simmons, after tossing him some softballs last week. When asked about the t-shirt, Simmons says:
What's wrong with selling goodness? There's nothing wrong with it. It's not the most preferred. In yogi scripture, at least, the highest form of giving is giving without expectation. Selfless. But a lot of people need incentive.
You should sell things you're happy about. You should sell products that you're inspired by, that promote lasting and stable well-being. Give the world something or sell the world something that you're proud of. Jay-Z didn't make a T-shirt [that said] "Fuck the Bums on the Street." He wrote a T-shirt "Occupy All Streets"—I'm happy, it furthers the movement, it inspires the movement.
Listen, I'm going to get every corporation that wants to support us to get branding as part of the process. No one's against business. We're against business having too much control over our government.
"Fun" fact: Simmons and Rocawear outsource their clothing manufacturing to Mexico, which Simmons has addressed recently via Twitter, saying, "If the congress didn't make it impossible to make clothes in USA I would. If I tried, the American jobs I give would go away #ows." So, Simmons and his higher ups aren't willing to cut their inflated salaries to create more American jobs, yet he is hijacking a movement that is about corporate greed and the unemployment problem in the U.S.? What was that Jay-Z lyric from "Monster"? "All I get are these vampires and bloodsuckers."