Russell Simmons Brings Kanye West to Wall Street Protests

Visit follows celeb appearances by Talib Kweli, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Michael Moore

Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011  |  Updated 11:24 AM CDT
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<a title=Kanye West visited the growing Occupy Wall Street protest on Monday." />

Kanye West visited the growing Occupy Wall Street protest on Monday.

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Russell Simmons and Kanye West dropped by the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan Monday, becoming the latest celebrities to pay tribute to a movement that has spread nationwide.

“I just walked @kanyewest thru the #occupywallstreet. I love how sweet and tolerant he was to the crowd,” tweeted Simmons after the pair toured Zuccotti Park.

Manhattan news site DNAinfo reported that a large crowd formed around West, who was wearing a gold necklace during the brief outing.

The gawking reportedly prompted one person to yell, "There are no celebrities, just people."

Simmons, the activist and hip-hop mogul, tweeted later that West’s “presence matters.”

"Celebrity have [sic] no real value except to use it to help others," Simmons wrote.
He also suggested that West and other “concerned artists” consider organizing a “big rally.”

As the protests enter their fourth week, they have already drawn the support of Talib Kweli, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum and Lupe Fiasco, NBC New York reported.

On Friday, Kweli performed his song “Distractions” without using amplification then Mos Def joined in for a version of "Thieves in the Night," according to reports.

Seasoned celebrity activists Susan Sarandon, her ex-Tim Robbins, and Michael Moore have also cheered on protesters, according to the Washington Post.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that the protesters will be allowed to "express themselves" as long as they obey the laws. Asked how much longer he thinks the month-long protest will continue, Bloomberg said he had "no idea."

Selected Reading: DNAinfo, Washington Post, Twitter

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