Russell Simmons—recognized as one of the founding fathers of hip-hop for his record label, Def Jam, and author of Do You!—says that Imus is wrong. "It is historically incorrect. Black people didn't invent 'nappy-headed hos.' Don Imus's statements were offensive to everyone," Russell says. "I almost want to thank him for creating this forum. It's a long time coming."
Russell emphasizes that the music does not create the conditions of the world, or celebrate them, but rather it discusses them frankly. "The hip-hop community is a mirror, a reflection of the dirt we overlook—the violence, the misogyny, the sexism. They need to be discussed."
"All throughout history the poets who have been a reflection of society have always been under fire. We don't like what they have to say, but some of it has to be examined. It's important that we teach artists more. It's my job to teach artists to know more and say more."