News: Russell Simmons Addresses Jay-Z's "Occupy All Streets" T-Shirts

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011 11:04PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Rap mogul Russell Simmons has offered his take on former Def Jam star Jay-Z catching heat last week for selling a pro-Occupy Wall Street t-shirt but not offering the profits to protestors.

In Simmons' perspective, Jay should be applauded, not scolded, for showing his interest in supporting the movement.

"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] "F--- 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." (Billboard Biz)

Prior to the shirts going retail, Jay was spotted alongside Simmons rocking "Occupy All Streets" at his New York City concert last week.

Jay-Z isn't trying to Occupy Wall Street, he's trying to Occupy All Streets. While backstage at hisWatch The Throne concert, Jay rocked an "Occupy All Streets" t-shirt, as he snapped a few pictures with his good friend Russell Simmons. Jay-Z and Kanye West told us that somebody watch the throne, and the critics should have listened. DETAILS: Jay-Z & Kanye West "Watch The Throne" Tour Dates While backstage at their Watch The Throne concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Jay-Z and Kanye were presented with platinum plaques for selling over a million records for Watch The Throne. (Global Grind)

The pro-Occupy Wall Street shirts are reportedly available for just over twenty dollars.

The revolution will not be merchandized! Or will it? Jay-Z's Rocawear clothing line drew criticism last week for "Occupy Wall Street"-inspired t-shirts. Days after the $22 tees debuted in a photo tweeted by Russell Simmons, the label conceded (in a statement to Gawker) that, no, proceeds would not benefit the protest movement. Critics claimed victory when the shirts vanished from the online catalog -- but on Monday they reappeared, for sale but back-ordered. The logo, noted the label rep, isn't "Occupy Wall Street" but "Occupy All Streets, signifying "there is change to be made everywhere." (And bank to be made as well.) (Washington Post)

After showing support for the Occupy Wall Street NYC movement last month, where protestors are publicly opposing corporate power, Simmons hinted at a massive rap protest next year.

"In a minute, we'll pick a date and we're going to bring all the rappers and the community," Simmons exclusively told XXL. "I think I'm going to have to do it. [The protestors] are going to be here all winter. We'll pick a date that we can go up there with 100,000 people or so and do what we have to do. I think it has to be spring. I think that's a realistic time." This comes after Simmons told XXL last week that he'd be willing to go to prison over this, as he believes in the movement that much. Protesters have been clogging Zuccotti Plaza for over a month now, trying to take and balance out power from the powers that be in Washington and have the wealthy 1% give them back to majority 99%. (XXL Mag)

Check out Russell Simmons speaking on Jay-Z below:

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