Simmons Buys Beverage Co; Pepsi Gives In

While Pepsi decided to agree to most of the HHSAN (Hip-Hop Summit Action Network) demands, Russell Simmons has other plans to combat the bias the hip-hop community has faced from conservatives like Bill O’Reilly of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Simmons said that he has begun the purchase of an unnamed soft drink company, although he didn’t offer additional details.

“I hope people don’t misunderstand this but I might as well say it – my first response when Pepsi dropped Ludacris and I got calls from civil rights leaders saying, “What do we do” - My first response was what it was my whole life. I bought a beverage company,” Simmons said.

“The first thing I did then was go to Ludacris and I’ve been negotiating for sometime [for him] to be the spokesperson that company. So, Ludacris said he’s not interested in doing ads [for Pepsi],” he explained. “Its not that they won’t let him back on the air – he was offered additional commercials as part of the original settlement. It didn’t make sense for him.”

“I think he wants to own a piece of what we are developing and that’s what he’s going to be doing.”

On Feb. 13, Pepsi Cola averted the looming hip-hop boycott as they faxed Russell Simmons a document that explained that the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, The Ludacris Foundation and the soft drink company would funnel millions in to charity efforts. According to Simmons, the documents appeared about 20 minutes before the press conference.

“It’s a million dollars a year for three years, but the details of the partnership are not for everyone,” Simmons stated. “I can tell you its at least a million dollars [per year and] I’m expecting it to be a lot more.”

On Feb. 12, Bill O’Reilly suggested that that Pepsi was not going to fulfill the original verbal agreement with the HHSAN by posting statement from the soft drink company. However, the statement proved to be either severely flawed or completely fraudulent because Pepsi settled quickly.

Simmons stated, “O’Reilly didn’t have a signed agreement when he used their statement. That’s statement from last night was proven not to be true because here is our signed agreement with Pepsi, The Ludacris Foundation and the Hip-Hop Summit [Action Netowork].”