Russell Simmons, known as the co-founder of Def Jam record and too many other businesses to name here, had a lot to say to his “real friend” Donald Trump. Simmons campaigned against Trump during the election. So, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the hip-hop mogul felt compelled to write a lengthy open letter to Donald Trump regarding his recent election win. Are the two now political foes? Simmons and Trump have known each other for almost 30 years and the letter warns Trump that young people think of him as a dictator and that he’ll have a tough four years in office if he just listens to people like Rudy Giuliani.
The letter, titled “A Prayer for Donald Trump and America, from an Old Friend” originally published on HuffingtonPost.com last Friday, reads as follows:
Donald, congratulations on becoming our next president of the United States,
While almost everyone in this country doubted that you could win, you believed in yourself and pulled off one of the greatest upsets in political history. Now, your new job begins and I offer you some friendly advice. As a yogi, not a priest.
You’ve never been a part of the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, as neither of them ever fully embraced you. You have been an independent thinker and successful businessman, who has spoken your own truth during your entire life. While I disagree with many of the things that you have said during your campaign and many of your policies that you have proposed, you will still be our president, and I am willing to work for and with you.
You have many progressive friends from New York and your campaign has alienated many of them. It is time to bring them back into your circle, so you can get honest advice from people who have known you for years. Those who have surrounded you during the campaign have offered some very dangerous policies that would hurt people and the planet, which I want to believe you still care about. The far right wing and the alt-right were your most staunch supporters, but those people are not your friends and you know that. You have the chance to be the first true independent president this country has ever seen, but your radical beliefs you ran on during your campaign must be addressed.
Donald, you cannot target a religious group of people. That is dangerous. You cannot separate families and deport people who have only known this country as their home. That is immoral. Donald, you cannot further militarize the police and empower them to antagonize and terrorize black communities. That is unjust. You cannot wage war against women’s rights. That is disastrous. You must stop with the hateful and harmful language towards women and people of color. That is unacceptable. Donald, you cannot rip up all of our regulations that protect our planet, continue to subsidize the meat industry and put people in power that think climate change is a hoax (the rumor of who you want to appoint to run the EPA is frightening). That is beyond repair. There are a lot of people who felt the government had forgotten about them, lead them to outcomes that don’t hurt those who did not support you. Put the pain on the lack of ingenuity and opportunity that government might have not provided to them, but never punish those that think differently than you.
Since you were elected, Donald, we have already seen hundreds of incidents around the country of hate, whether swastikas spray-painted on buildings or students taunting children of color… it is terrifying. And many of them claim to do it in your name. As our president-elect, as a man, as a human being with children (who I have known since they were all born), it is your duty to denounce this kind of behavior immediately. This is not the legacy you want to leave behind.
I, like millions of Americans, will watch you very closely. Every statement you make. Every tweet you send out. Every person you hire. Every document you sign. We will be watching you to make sure that your power does not corrupt the entire union. We will never be caught off guard by any move you make that would hurt the most vulnerable in this country. In that first hundred days, you have expressed your desire to deport two million people, implement a ban on Muslims and propose a Supreme Court justice that will favor overturning Roe v. Wade. Donald, you don’t work for the Republicans in the House or the Senate (or the Democrats either), you work for the American people. And you didn’t win the popular vote, so more people in this country disagree with what you propose, so remember that if you make a dangerous move, the people will be at your front door — I am sure you heard the 100,000 people who showed up last night in front of your New York City apartment. The numbers will only grow and they will be in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every night for four years. And I will be there with them.
An entire generation of young people fear that this country has just elected its first dictator, and I cannot blame them for thinking that. However, I know you and I have to believe that you want to listen to outside people. But if you want to just listen to people like Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pence, then I am sorry to tell you that your four years in the White House will be incredibly unpleasant. As always I stand with ALL the people and strongly admonish you to do the same.
For more details about Russell Simmons, follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/unclerush