For the past eight years, hip-hip mogul Russell Simmons has thrown one of the most festive summer galas in the New York City area, Gayle says. This year, at the ninth annual Art For Life benefit gala, Russell is once again hosting a star-studded party at his East Hampton, New York, estate. Russell talks with Gayle about the mission behind the event and how he hopes to influence the lives of disadvantaged children with the funds raised.
While guests bid on luxury items in a silent auction and mingle with the who's who of New York City, Russell says more than $1 million will likely be raised for his Rush Philanthropic foundation. One of the goals of his foundation is to help urban youth embrace the arts and arts education, he says. "The cultivation of creativity is one of the most important things you can do in terms of educating a child," Russell says. "Without art education—without practicing and expressing yourself through art—the schools can be like prison."
Russell also talks about his recent amicable divorce from model and designer Kimora Lee Simmons and being named one of USA Today's 25 most influential people of the past 25 years.
Published on July 17, 2008