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Russell Simmons to President Obama: Black America Needs to ‘Hear Your Loud Voice’

Hip-hop mogul, entrepreneur, and activist Russell Simmons writes an open letter to President Obama about addressing issues that affect the urban community


It appears that many prominent African American Civil Rights and business leaders are joining forces to encourage President Obama to speak out against issues that are specifically affecting the black community. Russell Simmons has joined that league of individuals urging the President to discuss mass incarceration, education, and poverty.

In an open letter to President Obama, Simmons expressed that he is “deeply concerned about the future of urban America, specifically the plight of people of color.” He also let the President know that he’s aware that there are underlying factors to why he can’t address issues that specifically affect the black community, and he understands that President Obama has to be the president not “just to black America, but to all America.” Simmons then continued saying, “but they [black America] need to hear your loud voice, as only a President like you can have this critical conversation with our community.”

He then outlined a list of three agenda items that the President should focus on:

1. End the “War on Drugs.” For the past forty years, we have unsuccessfully waged a war against our own people, creating a “baby to prison” pipeline that has annihilated the working population of young black and brown men. Through the use of archaic and unjust laws, we have been able to warehouse millions of prisoners, many of whom were first-time, non-violent offenders. The solution to our drug problem is not imprisoning more people, it is rehabilitation, fair laws and drug courts.
2. Continue the viscous assault on the eradication of poverty. Levels of poverty have hit an all-time high during this recession, however we have solutions that can bring these numbers down. We should continue to innovate programs for the most vulnerable, including job-training (technical skills), fatherhood classes, healthcare prevention, teen-pregnancy prevention, after-school activities (including arts and sports) and more access to healthier foods.
3. Build the best and affordable education system in the world. Your understanding of education as a path out of poverty has resonated with millions of families in this country. Your protection of Pell grants, promotion of community colleges and the “race to the top” initiative have been some of your greatest accomplishments in your first term. The 2020 goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world is attainable and we should keep fighting to reach it.

He also said destitution in the black community has become a “status-quo” and it would be declared a national emergency in White neighborhoods. Simmons concluded by challenging President Obama to seal his legacy by tackling the three agenda items of his constituency that has had unwavering support for him since 2004.

Do you believe a Black Agenda will be pushed from the community this upcoming year?


30 Responses to Russell Simmons to President Obama: Black America Needs to ‘Hear Your Loud Voice’

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  3. thoughtfulreader

    December 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Why does America have an ever increasing number of
    people receiving some form of government handout
    from cell phones, intenet access, food stamps,
    welfare checks, debts paid by goverment (or
    looking to be paid by government such as student
    loans for college) and on and on. Why does
    government spend over $60,000 per person that is
    in poverty (clue, government waste in
    administrating the afoermentioned programs). If the
    government just gave $45,000 to those in poverty
    the problem would disappear. But the real problem
    is deeper. One of the things is personel motivation
    to be responsible for ones self. Lack of this is one of the results of one parent households. Another problem is the “dumbing down” of education
    in America. An ill educated populace is the easiest
    to influence, control, fool, mislead, corrupt, make
    feel entitled and generally get to believe anything
    that is placed in front of them. People ill-
    educated ttend to less able to think critcally or\see the far reaching ramifications of any
    particular line of action.
    Another problem is the lack of education of
    history whether it be American history or world
    history. Those who don’t learn from history are
    doomed to repeat it.
    Respect that is earned should be freely given.
    Respect that is demanded by intimidation is not
    respect at all but merely a reaction induced by
    I could go on, would anyone care to comment on
    what I have offered?

  4. Mattie M. Kyle

    November 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Until an official get rid of these racist officials in the Senate, Congress, legal system we will always have problems. Any time you have senators making racist comments about a race of people and nothing is done, and no consequences suffered for their remarks. I wish all officials that are found to be racist could be removed from authority.

  5. Imhotep

    November 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Black folks who don’t think that its all about a fight for the allocation of resources, study the white aristocracy and their ” agents” and tell me if they are not DEMANDING something everyday! ! Why not us crazy folks! ! We pay taxes. My mom and dad paid taxes 50 plus years! ! Study the methods of all parties involved and maybe y’all will quit saying we don’t need anything. True we don’t need, we DEMAND, like everyone else does! ! Or give me and mine back the 1800 to 2000 a month in taxes we pay along with my FICA also..THINK NEGROIDS!!! HOTEP

  6. Imhotep

    November 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    @ Nedrea. … Why did u vote? What do u without choice pay taxes for? Have u ever studied political science? Did u read that the Blackfeet are getting some cash? Is that not catering to a particular segment of the populace? Did u know Israel got their Bunker buster bombs from Obama and Bush wouldn’t give em to them. ? Did u read the executive order on the dream act? Did u know the Council if LaRaza had a conference call with Obama the day after the election? Why? Do u know what lobbyists do?Why do they lobby? What are interest groups? What is their purpose? Do u know what countries get foreign aid? Why do we give them OUR money? Lastly, ever heard of the term influence? Who uses it politically and why? PS was my minor so that’s enough to start u thinking. Think cognitively, not emotionally bout the role of politics and what it is by definition ( the ability to use influence in relation to the allocation of resources) . Maat. .