Russell Simmons helps men feel like $1M Bucks...

Often referred to as the godfather of hip hop, Simmons, a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation and a supporter of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, has built an empire from his mega-success in the music and entertainment industries, and has -for years now- been offering his advice on how others, too, can live their best life.

(Do You! 12 Laws To Access The Power In You To Achieve Happiness And Success. Gotham Books, 2007)

Simmons' personal story is well-known; after co-founding Def Jam Records in 1984, he sold his stake in the company for $100M (USD) to Universal Music Group in 1999, and in 2004, he sold Phat Farm and Phat Fashions into a partnership with Kellwood clothing company, reportedly to expand his vision of the brand; but during divorce proceedings from his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons, he stepped down as CEO of Phat Fashions, leaving Kimora to helm the company.

2009 proved to be a weighty year for Simmons, as he and Kimora finally divorced in January. Shortly thereafter, in April, he launched his collaboration with Wal-Mart, but amidst the celebration was scandal, as Simmons received backlash from public misinformation surrounding his 2004 RushCard banking venture. With claims that it robbed lower income individuals of true financial freedom, Simmons adamantly defended the service, smoothing over consumer fury by stating, “The RushCard is a prepaid card, NOT a credit card. It gives people the convenience of a credit card without the debt... I have watched with pride the way RushCard has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people giving them respect and dignity. It gives under served communities the tools to get their money right.”

Thankfully, by May of that year, Simmons proved to be in the clear as he was appointed Goodwill Ambassador by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations for the UN Slavery Memorial, to Honor the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Drama-free and now able to fully focus his attention on fun fashion and philanthropic endeavors, Simmons proudly promotes his Argyleculture, Green Bracelet, and American Classics initiatives.

(a look from Argyleculture's S/S '09 collection)

The Green Compassionate Bracelet (available at Zales, Gordon's Jewelers, et al.), retails for $125.00 USD, and is made from African natural resources. For every purchase, 50% of net profit is donated back to Africa via the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F).

Earlier this year, in February, Simmons was a guest on the Martha Stewart show, further advancing his life's causes...

...and in describing the nature of his American Classics clothing brand, via his personal blog on huffingtonpost.com, Simmons says it's his "...mission of giving all Americans a competitive edge in fashion. It has given me great satisfaction, and giving Americans more for less is a challenge I am up for. In fact, designing has been a real pleasure. The merchandising and imagery are what I envision or wish for all Americans and for all of the human family. I don't believe that American Classics is for people who make less but it is for people who are smart with what they make. Respectfully, American Classics is for those people who shop at Wal-Mart who are interested in making fashion-forward sophisticated choices.

(American Classics argyle sweater vest, $14.00 USD)

(American Classics gingham shirt, $12.00 USD)

(American Classics plaid shorts, $12.00 USD) ...all items are available at Wal-Mart.

The brand's website also bolsters Simmons' vision, stating, "American Classics is an inspirational lifestyle brand, built on the principles of purpose, unity, integrity and pride. Better choices! Better Living!"

* Video (Russell Simmons talks American Classics with Wal-Mart, 2009)

For more information and for up-to-the-minute news on Russell Simmons, please visit: www.twitter.com/UncleRUSH

www.google.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.walmart.com, www.americanclassicsbrand.com, www.simmonsjewelryco.com

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