Rap Music Mogul Russell Simmons

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This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 25, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: And in the "Impact" segment tonight, in the wake of the Imus firing, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has called for three words to be stricken from all rap lyrics. They are the "N" word, bitches, and hoes. Now for years Mr. Simmons and I have disagreed about the harmful influence of gangster rap. Take a look back at our conversation in 2002.


RUSSELL SIMMONS: I'm very proud of what I represent in rap music. And I think that the artists that I represent make great statements and they're important statements.

O'REILLY: You're not answering my question. I'm concerned about kids in poverty. You're concerned about kids in poverty.

SIMMONS: I wonder how much you do for kids in poverty.

O'REILLY: All right, well, you wonder all you want. I am concerned.

SIMMONS: I wonder how much you really do.

O'REILLY: I am concerned about kids in poverty. I want to tell you that calling women hoes, that using cocaine, that flashing a gun.

SIMMONS: Those are.

O'REILLY: ...and using the F-word are not going to get kids out of poverty. They're going to make them deeper into poverty.


O'REILLY: With us now is Russell Simmons, the author of the brand-new best selling book "Do You: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success."

Now are you actually agreeing with me now? Have you changed your mind?

SIMMONS: First, I want to apologize to you.

O'REILLY: Or lost your mind?

SIMMONS: I want to apologize to you, because I do believe you care about kids in poverty.

O'REILLY: Thank you.

SIMMONS: So that statement was out of order.

O'REILLY: Thank you.

SIMMONS: But I must say to you that I think the rap community always tells the truth. And I think that it's important that we listen to their voices so we can have a roadmap, because artists — almost every single artist in hip-hop, they paint a picture of society that's overlooked. The misogyny, the racism, the violence, the homophobia, these are things that we try to avoid instead of dealing with. All of that I see it so often.

O'REILLY: All that theoretical argument is true. And I've never disputed the fact that the people who are writing these lyrics are reflecting what goes on.

But the audience is a young audience for this. And they are not sophisticated enough to know, many of them, the difference between stating what's reality and glorifying. And therefore, it falls in. But I want to know why you now have called for the "N" word and the other words to be banished after all this time.

SIMMONS: I think — I can't believe — I wrote this statement. And it's very clear in the statement that I'm asking that what we give to mainstream radio and television be — we edit and delete those words for mainstream consumption.


SIMMONS: I do not want to censor the artist.

O'REILLY: No, but why do you want those particular words out?

SIMMONS: Because I think that children, and parents, and every else who doesn't really understand the hip-hop community should have a choice. There are some words, seven words that you can't use. I'm hopeful that after the hip-hop community decides that bitches, hoes, and the "N" word are not good for mainstream consumption, and then you won't be able to use them.

But for now we'll start with hip-hop. We'll take those words off the radio. And I talked to many people who are already on board. And after the hip-hop community voluntarily takes those words out, it may help all of us to heal.

The idea of speaking black men, 99 percent of the artists are black men. Speaking to the pain of black women is appealing to me. And it's important to me. Also the "N" word, which a lot of adult blacks feel is a self-hating word. But given by rap — we've all discussed the semantics, but the fact is that these three words are words that if we take out of our mainstream distribution, it will be helpful to bridging the gap between the activists who are so angry, and the hip-hop community that is disconnected.

O'REILLY: It'll also be helpful to the kids, don't you think?

SIMMONS: Oh, absolutely.

O'REILLY: Because that's my primary concern. That really is.

SIMMONS: The purpose of doing it is we want people to choose what they want. And if you turn on mainstream radio, you shouldn't have to hear these words.

O'REILLY: OK. Well, good for you, Russell. I mean, good for you. Thank you for doing that. Your voice has a lot more weight obviously than mine in that area.

SIMMONS: It comes from public outrage.

O'REILLY: Of course. The Imus thing.

SIMMONS: And it promotes self-study. And after self-analysis, I mean, self, I mean the whole body of hip-hop I said here's something we can do.

O'REILLY: Right.

SIMMONS: ...that speaks to the pain of these people who are frustrated with these words.

O'REILLY: Sure. And you're going to get a lot of letters from both black and white parents...


SIMMONS: ...thanking you. You probably already have.

Now so the Imus thing actually is doing some good.

SIMMONS: I always.

O'REILLY: It's focused America on this kind of a problem. And it also, the culture has been debased. Not only by gangster rap. See, I don't think hip-hop itself is debasing. All right? But it's the gangster rap stuff, it's the hardcore stuff.

SIMMONS: The other day, Cameron was on "60 Minutes."

O'REILLY: Yes, he said he wouldn't turn in anybody, even if it was a murder to the cops. That doesn't do anybody any good.

SIMMONS: But I have to say something. Here's what's good about it. I have a program, which I support in Chicago. And it's called Anota. It's dialogue between police and community that goes on all the time now.

And because of this dialogue, they have a much greater cooperation and appreciation with the police from the community. And the police have learned different levels of respect.

O'REILLY: I got you. It's almost a reverse situation. But Cameron himself needs to be wised up.

SIMMONS: When I grew up, it was a no snitch campaign, too.

O'REILLY: He needs to be wised up. And wised up quick.


O'REILLY: He was in here — if he comes in here again, I'll wise him up.

All right, look, we only have a minute left. Why should people — you know, your book is designed to help other people.

SIMMONS: Yes. Well, the book is about.

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

SIMMONS: ...the inner-voice that gives us great strength when we're connected to it. That unity that connects all of us is the thing that makes the secret work. For instance, there's a secret book. It's a big deal.

O'REILLY: Right.

SIMMONS: But the secret only works when you're connected to the higher source. And the book is about that. I mean...

O'REILLY: Is that your conscience?

SIMMONS: ...my brother — well, it's what you may refer to as God or Krishna or Allah or.

O'REILLY: All right, so it's something outside of yourself that's guiding you.

SIMMONS: Well, it's inside you is the answer — all the answers. And in order for our secret to work, you must be connected to that source. So the book "Do You" is about the inner-voice and listening to it, how to listen to it, and how use to it access the laws of attraction.

O'REILLY: Wow, you're turning to the Dalai Lama here. You know?

SIMMONS: No, this is basic stuff. It's in all.

O'REILLY: All right.

SIMMONS: The bible, the Koran.

O'REILLY: Well, it's a bestseller already.

SIMMONS: That's for sure.

O'REILLY: And we appreciate you coming in, Russell. Thank you very much.

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