Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons brought his RushCard’s Keep The Peace initiative to the University of Southern California campus on Tuesday, August 1. Over seventy-five South L.A. youth filled the room.
Simmons, who co-founded the prepaid debit card company RushCard, provides grants annually to organizations that promote peace and reduce youth violence within their communities.
This year, the Los Angeles Community Coalition’s received a grant of $25,000 for their peace promoting efforts.
The coalition empowers Los Angeles youth through literacy and teaching civil rights history.
Recipients have ranged from major cities including New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and Cincinnati.
Simmons began the event with focusing on the importance of giving.
“By giving away happiness, you gain happiness,” said Simmons.
“Achievement is just the reinforcement for giving. Your gifts are what make you happy. Focus on your gifts and give them.”
The New York native built successful business empires throughout the years, including Phat Farm, RushCard, and Def Jam Records.
Simmons openly expressed his business failures. “Do you know how many times I failed with Phat Farm? RushCard failed. Def Jam failed. You cannot fail nothing unless you quit!”
While wearing his yogi apparel, Simmons advocated why yoga should be a daily practice for everyone.
“I teach in the morning and I teach at night. Yoga is the science of happiness.”
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies suggest practicing yoga can relieve anxiety, depression, and decrease back pain.
Simmons gave everyone free passes to his West Hollywood yoga studio called the Tantris Center.
Though Simmons has achieved financial success, he elaborates on money misconceptions.
“A poor man can be just as happy as a rich man. Don’t focus on what everyone else has. Focus on what you have and you will gain more of it,” said Simmons.
The event ended with group mediation. Russell guided the youth with deep breathing exercises. He told them to clear their mind and relax.
For five minutes energized kids stood still. Some snickered, while others focused on their breathing.
“If any negative thoughts come, replace it with positive thoughts. You have the control,” said Simmons.
Each student signed a peace pledge to promote tranquility in his or her lives.
The final question came from a young girl. She asked what quote does he live by.
Simmons said, “That changes everyday. It is simply being grateful for what I have now.”