Russell Simmons Heading To Africa In Hopes Of Changing Diamond Business

Hip-Hop philanthropist Russell Simmons will join the Diamond Information Center in spearheading a fact-finding trip to Africa in hopes of discovering ways to empower the country's communities through his diamond business, Simmons Jewelry Company.

The nine-day trek, beginning Nov. 26 and ending Dec. 4, will include stops in South Africa and Botswana.

Simmons and his delegation team plan to explore how to leverage their relationships in the diamond business to improve educational and economic conditions in distressed African communities.

Known for its dominant diamond trade, some half a million South Africans, including dependents and suppliers, currently rely on the industry.

In January 2004, Simmons announced that he had teamed with the diamond company, M. Fabrikant & Sons, to create Simmons Jewelry Co.

Simmons soon began producing two lines of fine jewelry & diamonds that were promoted as "conflict free" and benefited a large percentage of communities affected by the diamond trade.

In related news, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president/CEO of Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, will be present along with concerned members of the Hip-Hop community to address the African diamond trade issues during a fundraising celebration for Congressman Ed Towns.

Towns, who recently won the Primary in the 10th Congressional District in Brooklyn, N.Y., will be joined by special guests Reverend Al Sharpton, Damon Dash, Londell McMillan, Esq. and Mona Scott of Violator Management, as he continues his bid for a 13th term.

The fundraiser will be held today (Oct. 24) from 6-8 p.m. ET at the PM Lounge.