Russell Simmons Joins the Obama Campaign - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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(Source: Barack Obama for America) Russell Simmons on the Obama campaign trail

(Source: Barack Obama for America) Russell Simmons on the Obama campaign trail

Media mogul, Russell Simmons, is adding “Barack Obama campaign surrogate” to his impressive list of titles. Simmons, the founder of Def Jam Records, Phat Farm clothing apparel, Def Jam Comedy and much more is known for introducing Hip Hop culture to the world.

This weekend, he has been introducing Sen. Barack Obama to Ohio, where polls have Obama and Sen. John McCain going neck and neck for the presidency. This weekend he will be extremely crucial to the Obama campaign since Ohio was the battleground state that lost the election for Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

Michelle Obama sent emails out this week encouraging everyone to call their acquaintances living in Ohio and implore them to register to vote early. Ohio voters have until this Monday, October 6th, to register and vote early.

NBA star LeBron James will join Simmons in Cleveland where they will meet with community leaders, the black press and visit two voter registration rallies in Columbus Park.

(Source: Obama for America Campaign) Russell Simmons and LeBron James campaigning for Obama in Cleveland


Recently Simmons, founded, a news and blog hotspot for and by the Hip Hop community. Simmons says that educating people about the election is a central piece to the site’s purpose.  Countdown to Change is a section of the site specifically dedicated to news about the election.

In an interview on Saturday Simmons explained why he has gotten so involved in the presidential campaign this year.

Black Enterprise: Why is it important for you and other celebrities to get involved in campaigning?

Russell Simmons: All of my companies have something that speaks to something more than fashion or popular culture. My business investment has something called Countdown for Change. It is an investment that is focused on the election. It will tell you what Lil Bow Wow, Jay Z, Puffy, Snoop, and Queen Latifah are doing for the election.  Global Grind is a business but its really working hard on this election. All of my companies have some element of empowerment.

BE: From what I read earlier you originally did not throw your support behind Sen. Obama. Can you explain why you feel it is now important to get involved with his campaign?

RS: I went on the road as a surrogate for Sen. Obama since midway through the primaries. This is not my first trip. I was in Mississippi working for Senator Obama for the campaign.

I originally supported Sen. Hillary Clinton because I have a long time experience with the Clintons. Hillary Clinton and I fought drug laws. We fought education cuts.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.