Russell Simmons - Dismantling Islamophobia

October 17, 2016 - Russell Simmons 10/17/2016 Views: 30,008

Russell Simmons talks about fighting intolerance through the Muslims Are Speaking Out campaign and weighs in on his old friend Donald Trump as a presidential contender. (6:04)

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Please welcome Russell Simmons.

-♪ -(cheering, applause)

How are you?

-Welcome, sir, welcome.-Thank you.

-Thank you for being on theshow. -Happy to be here.

-Yeah, you are-you are just...-I was watching you backstage,

you tearing Trump's ass up.

-Did you say I tanned it up?-I... No.

-Oh, I thought you said I tannedit up. -That's, too...

I think it is tanned already.

Thank you so... Thank youvery much for being here.

You are, uh, the Zen masterof many worlds, I feel.

You know, you are-you are knownfor being a godfather

of hip-hop and thenthe recording industry.

Uh, you are known forphilanthropy,

you're known for TV shows.

But... but what you're here

to talk about todayis really special.

Uh, launching a new campaign,but something you've been

working on for many yearsand that is Muslims Speak Out.

Yeah. Uh, I have a Foundationfor Ethnic Understanding.

I've been workingfor 15 years or so.

And over the last eight or tenyears we've been working on

Muslim-Jewish relations,and then...

of course, uh,Islamophobia has grown,

you know, so muchover the last...

-A little-a little bit.-Yeah, right.

So that's, like, the worstscourge we have. I mean,

there's a lot of phobias,for God's sake.

But, uh... but Islamophobiais the worst.

And I think peoplehave misunderstandings

about, you know,the Muslim community.

Like, for... 99.9...nine-tenths

of Muslims are notradicalized, right?

And-and... There's probably moreChristians that are radicalized.

-I mean, and...-Like how you pointed at me

-when you said that, but yeah.-Yeah, well, I didn't know...

-I'm-I'm crazy like that, man.I'm cra... -You're cra...

I blow (bleep) up for Jesus,man. I don't play those games.

Right, but... I mean, but, no,this idea that Muslims

aren't speaking out on this,that they're not

our greatest allyin the fear against terror...

I mean, the fightagainst terror is crazy.

And I think we have to sharethat message.

And I think that will helpAmerica get over

this horrible hate that we havefor our Muslim communities.

Now, when youtalk about speaking out,

it's-it's always a toughconversation.

Because something happens,people go,

"Why aren't Muslimsspeaking out?"

And Muslims always speak out.Muslims have never... You know?

But... but when you're launchinga campaign like this,

when you're trying to getthat conversation going,

who are you... who are youdirecting it towards?

Because it feels likethere are people

who've made their minds up.They go, "Muslims are bad.

"Muslims should notbe in this country.

They are all terrorists."

Look-look... Look at itthis way, I mean,

America was moving towarda-a more peaceful,

more loving communityand collective.

And then... then we have Trumpand we have these whole,

this whole pushback,and partly because of Obama,

for whatever reasons, people need to blame their...

their discomforton someone else.

-And so it happens very quickly.-Yeah.

You know, what happenedin Nazi Germany

or what happened in Rwanda,

-or in Croatia, (bleep)just happened overnight. -Yeah.

And so this growing hatethat we have here in America

is-is somethingwe're gonna have to work on

long after Trumploses the election.

I mean, telling people, like,smart people like you

in the media,and then you can communicate it

in a funny enough waythat people will digest it

and understand that, you know...that these, uh...

all the children of Abrahamare the same, right?

The Muslims, the Jews,the Christians, the Buddhists.

We're all the same, right? Andwe all have the same aspirations

and hopes and desires.

And-and that is somethingthat we should...

as Americans, we should wantto give everybody

the same rights,the same kind of freedom,

the same kind of, um, happinessthat we want for ourselves.

And that's how we becomemore happy.

-And that's simple. But it'snot... -(cheering and applause)

It is. You...

you are... you are somewhatof a scholar

-when it comes to religion. -Whydo I have this little-ass chair?

-Why are you taller than melike that? -(laughter)

-My chairs seems to be...-I-I can drop mine way down

if that makes you feel better.Is that good? I can do that.

-Much better. Much better.-Comfortable now? So...

-why do you... when you...-(cheering and applause)

You-you are somewhatof a scholar

-when it comes to religion.-What'd you say, son?

-(laughs) -I'm just (bleep)with you. I'm sorry.

No, you-you are somewhatof a scholar

when it comes to religion,and-and there are people

who say, "I disagree with you,Russell. I-I don't agree.

"Muslims don't want the samethings that Christians want.

"Mus-Muslims want Sharia law.

"They want men to control women.

"They don't want womento have freedom.

"They don't want us to eat porkand people love bacon

and that's why we needto shut the borders down."

Well, I'm-I'm an animal rightsactivist, and I don't know why

the American factory farmingindustry is poisoning us all

or why we eat this (bleep),why we all get cancer

because of it either. Orthat we're destroying our planet

by eating animals. Sinceyou mentioned that (bleep).

-I mean, I don't like anyof that. -You were like...

-Oh, I agree with that.-You're a vegan extremist--

that's what you are.You're a vegan extremist.

Well, you know, your childrenwon't have a planet

-if you keep (bleep) it up.-That's true.

-That is very true.-And... all my friends my age

are getting ass cancer,they're getting sick,

they're getting all kindsof problems.

-Real problems. -You've beena vegan now for how long?

-20 years or so.-20 years?

But, I mean,American factory farming,

they never talk about itat president election, right?

But isn't it the number onemost threatening thing

-that we're facing? -I thinkISIS is the number one thing.

That's bull(bleep).That's... Come on,

-you can't believe that (bleep).-Yeah, I love that.

But that's-that's the truth.That is what the world

has been led to believe. We go,"We're fighting this thing."

That's what the world has beenled to believe. They go,

-"We're fighting this thing."-The factory farming industry

has killed a lot ofmother(bleep). A lot of people.

And it continues to kill peopleand it's poisoning the planet

and all its inhabitants.And it's scary.

Not as scary as, uh,Donald Trump right now though.

Here's a question,here's a question I have.

You-you have... you have metwith Donald Trump now and again

-in circles.-I've known him for 30 years.

We actually traveled together,hung out together.

I went on his first datewith Melania. I know Donald

very well. He wrote the forwardto my first book.

Wow. So you're the black friendhe talks about.

-I... You know, listen, look...-(cheering and applause)

-I've heard him say that.I've heard him say... -Listen,

-I like everybody.I was Occupied. -Yes.

I'm far to the leftof Dennis Kucinich, right?

My p-progressive, uh, politicsare what they are,

and they're... but it doesn'tmean I don't love everybody,

-you know? I don't haveto agree with them. -Yes.

And Donald wasa funny enough person,

I mean, fine, you know,to do what he does.

But president? (bleep), please.

(laughter, applause)


I feel like...

I feel like you just came upwith the greatest Trump slogan

for his campaign."Trump for president,

(bleep), please."

That is the greatest sloganever.

-Thank you so much for beingon the show. -Thank you.