Swizz Beatz Honored by Russell Simmons for Improving Ethnic Relations
Producer/rapper Swizz Beatz was honored last night (October 27) by legendary music industry figure and activist Russell Simmons and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, for his work in improving Muslim and Jewish relations.
The foundation, of which Simmons is chairman, was created by Rabbi Marc Schneier in an effort to build a "national non-profit dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities." According to the FFEU website, they consider "face-to-face dialogue between ethnic communities" to be "the most effective path towards the reduction of bigotry and the promotion of reconciliation and understanding."
Accepting his award, Swizz -- aka Kaseem Dean -- spoke about difficulties he's faced as a Muslim, being frequently profiled by police and airport security. He has also agreed to produce a song in support of Queens activist Erica Ford, who works to fight youth violence. The song is said to be "backed" by Simmons, Nas and the FFEU.
In April, the FFEU awarded LL Cool J the Joseph Papp Racial Harmony Award at an event held at Simmons' home. The award is named after the organization's late co-founder and "honors individuals for their efforts in promoting diversity and ethnic tolerance through their business and personal endeavors."