*Eventually Russell Simmons will get around to telling the truth. It probably won’t be anytime soon, but there’s always hope, as slim as it might be.

Simmons is by most accounts the ambassador and titular head of hip hop. From his role in the development of the landmark music label Def Jam records with Rick Rubin in the 80s, to the eponymous Broadway and HBO spoken word program Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam; Simmons has led the evolution of hip hop each step of the way.

Even today, his news and entertainment website Globalgrind.com is arguably the leader for all things pop and political and their sometimes curious intersection. Despite Simmons’ illustrious and unparalleled impact on popular culture, he’s been historically loathe to tell the truth. Recently Ashley Judd apologized for remarks relating to her reticence to work with YouthAIDS, because of its affiliation with Snoop Dogg and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

“As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music — with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘hos’ — is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”

Although we should be able to agree that the phrase “rape culture” may be hyperbolic and incendiary, the rest of Judd’s quote is accurate. Russell Simmons, who although was kind enough to publish Judd’s apology, has yet to get around to using his influence to address, acknowledge or more importantly admonish the hip hop community for its deplorable treatment of women.

Eventually Russell Simmons will get around to telling the truth. It just won’t be anytime soon.

March 15, 2011 – Simmons published an editorial detailing the cold shoulder comedian Bill Cosby gave him recently, allegedly related to an ongoing dispute over the imagery and impact of hip hop on youth. Instead of acknowledging the truth and accuracy of Cosby’s criticisms, Simmons chose instead to focus on Cosby’s profanity and dismissive attitude towards him.

“When I look back, I feel remorse for judging him (Cosby). And it has been a source of a ‘rap beef’ for years.  He has been critical of the poets but I have maintained that the entertainment, especially most of the poets, are simple reflections of cultures of truth.”

How Simmons managed to bypass and step across the historical vulgarity of hip hop to chastise Bill Cosby for his use of profanity is not only hypocritical, it’s hysterically laughable. In addition, euphemistically characterizing rappers as “poets” to obfuscate hip hop reality is another distortion of the very “truth” he purports hip hop represents. Nevertheless, Simmons’ version of the “truth” always stops short of critical analysis of the hip hop genre.

Remember, Simmons was clear… “I have maintained that the entertainment, especially most of the poets, are simple reflections of cultures of truth.”

Hip hop degrading women is not reflective of any truth, with the exception of the permissive nature of the ONLY music genre which employs and celebrates it. It is neither appreciated nor acceptable in the real world where the rest of us live; only in hip hop…and that’s the truth…Russell.

March 24, 2011 – Simmons came to the defense of social pariah Chris Brown with the editorial, Chris Brown: When Fame Snatches Your Freedom

“I sat with Chris Brown, one of the greatest performing artists of his time, during his celebration dinner for the release of his new album, F.A.M.E.  I know that this young man’s dancing, singing and art are his prayers. Without them, he’s left to deal with a cluttered world in a way that is far too complicated than he imagined when he was a 13-year-old kid with a dream of being famous. I am troubled by the people, critics and members of the media who drag Chris away from his art. His freedom is deeply rooted in his artistic expression. It is during those seconds of stillness when you’re dancing that the Christ/Buddha/Allah/Moses inside of you is awakened and comes to power.”

Not only did Simmons manage to avoid offering any thoughts on the evils of domestic violence against women, he even placed blame with those who find fault with Brown for punching out Rihanna or the windows while at Good Morning America.

“It is during those seconds of stillness when you’re dancing that the Christ/Buddha/Allah/Moses inside of you is awakened and comes to power.”

– Russell Simmons on Chris Brown

Russell…care to comment on what Christ/Buddha/Allah/Moses might have to say about beating the snot out of a woman? Mic checka…1-2-1-2 (Mo’Kelly hands Simmons the microphone).

Didn’t think so…

If misogyny were a drug, Simmons would be the chief enabler for the user, the head lobbyist on Capitol Hill for the legislator and the top neighborhood dealer.

One’s art is never explanation , or justification for criminal behavior. This applies to Charlie Sheen, Roman Polanski and most definitely Chris Brown. Russell Simmons is simply not interested in telling the truth about hip hop or the misogyny found within it.  He is complicit in its promulgation and it’s time SOMEBODY told the truth.  Mo’Kelly needs to say it again…

If misogyny were a drug, Simmons would be the chief enabler for the user, the head lobbyist on Capitol Hill for the legislator and the top neighborhood dealer.

Let’s now go deeper on this search for “truth.”

The powerful messages and imagery of hip hop don’t only have deleterious effects on the masses, but also the messengers who impart them. The lines between artistry and reality have been blurred to the point that hip hop artists by and large are destined to become imprisoned, broke, or both.

In the first 3.5 months of 2011, the first 100 days, the following rappers…er uh, POETS have been arrested.

Young Fly Richy (Just added 4.13) – Filing False Police Report/Faking Death

http://zuri1.com/2011/04/10/photographer-and-rapper-arrested-after-he-lied-about-being-kidnapped-raped-on-twitter/

Skull Duggery (Just added 4.13) – Possession of Child Porn, Just Sentenced

http://allhiphop.com/stories/news/archive/2011/04/13/22670592.aspx

DMX – Parole violation

http://quieroweb.net/dmx-one-year-in-prison-for-violating-probation.htm

Juelz Santana – Drugs

http://kimoracochran.com/rapper-juelz-santana-arrest/

Jim Jones – Suspended License

http://www.tmz.com/2011/03/30/jim-jones-arrested-rapper-manhattan-police-new-york-city-nyc-driving-on-a-suspended-license/

Juvenile – Drugs

http://www.tmz.com/2011/02/27/juvenile-arrested-marijuana-possession-louisiana-weed-pot/

Gucci Mane – Reckless Driving/Parole violation of drug sentence

http://www.avclub.com/articles/rapper-gucci-mane-arrested-again,47165/

Gucci Mane – AGAIN (Battery – throwing a woman from a moving car)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20052834-504083.html

Flocka Flame – Drug and weapons

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1655228/waka-flocka-flame-arrested-on-drug-weapons-charges.jhtml

Rick Ross – Drugs

http://ca.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idCATRE72R6OQ20110328

40 Glocc – Weapons

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/01/rapper-40-glocc-arrested-in-san-bernardino.html

Webbie – Drugs

http://www.fox19.com/Global/story.asp?S=14398358

Swag – Drugs

http://www.prohiphop.com/2011/01/rapper-swag-arrested-for-running-a-drug-operation.html

Dorrough – Drugs

http://blogonblast.com/2011/02/08/dallas-rapper-dorrough-arrested/

Koke – Murder

http://getwritegossip.com/2011/04/07/roc-nation-rapper-arrested-for-murderbritish-artist-k-koke-in-custody-for-march-shooting/

Now for the list of just NOTABLE rappers POETS either presently in, or on their way to jail in 2011.

C-Murder – Murder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-Murder

Scarface – Failure to pay child support and other unrelated federal charges

http://hiphopwired.com/2011/02/03/rapper-scarface-arrested-held-without-bail/

Willie D – Wire and fraud charges

http://hiphopwired.com/2011/02/03/rapper-scarface-arrested-held-without-bail/

T. I. – Guns, Weapons, Parole violations

http://www.tmz.com/2010/11/01/t-i-jail-prison-federal-probation/

Ja Rule – Weapons, Tax Evasion

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-03-09/gossip/28689286_1_rapper-ja-rule-dennis-cherry-gun-possession

That is just a short list of those in jail or on their way to jail in the first 100 days of 2011. The list does not include those recently released (i.e. Lil Wayne, Prodigy, Mystikal, Shyne, Da Brat et al.)

Maybe if Ashley Judd changed “rape culture” to “drug and prison culture” there would have been little blowback from hip hop POET apologists.

If it’s about detailing the “simple reflections of cultures of truth” then let’s do that. Clearly Simmons isn’t about the business of engaging hip hop in a dialogue which involves critical self-analysis. Might as well be Mo’Kelly then. Simmons will likely tell you that “fame” snatched away all of their freedom too and we as law-abiding citizens should be loathe to criticize them or their criminal behavior. Don’t hate Mo’Kelly Russell, he’s just a “poet of prose” shining a light on the truth.

Ashley Judd should not have apologized for telling the truth. The historical treatment of women in relation to hip hop is indefensible. The uncritical, irresponsible complicity of Russell Simmons is equally undeniable.

Eventually Russell Simmons will get around to telling the truth. On second thought, make that “hopefully.”

No guarantees.

The Mo’Kelly Report is an entertainment journal with a political slant; published at The Huffington Post and EURWEB.com. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mr. Mo’Kelly can be reached at [email protected]

twitter – @mrmokelly

Morris O’Kelly