Zoë Kors: It’s a big honor to speak with you. What inspires you most?
Russell Simmons: It changes by the day. Your smile, this minute. It’s presence. The seconds of presence are where most inspiration comes. There are sunsets that promote it. There are songs and melody that make you really happy. And there are spiritual gifts that you have— giving these gifts away sometimes gives you that feeling of inspiration. These seconds of awareness make you realize that any second can be your favorite one, and it really is up to you. I don’t like to say, Oh, this is my favorite record because there was a moment that that record made me feel a certain way. The one on the radio at the present moment could be the one that’s most inspiring, because it’s at that second that you’re aware of “the infinite everything.”
So I have a problem more recently saying, What’s your favorite? Because the answer is, Well, the one that’s playing. The thing I’m doing. Seldom do I have those seconds, where I can say, The one I’m playing or What I’m doing. But I can’t reach back because there are too many. Too many different genres, too many different kinds of experiences. I like to move towards a place where my greatest experience is promoting happiness for others. I know that that creates a cycle of the same great experience. As opposed to selfish moments where you have this second of personal inspiration, but they don’t come back as often. They don’t promote a stable, lasting happiness, they promote a short-term feeling. I like to be moving towards a place of need less. I always say neediness is the cause of suffering. I’m not the only one who says it. It’s something
I adopted and I believe. Needing nothing really is the ultimate goal. And to have nothing to do with things.
ZK: What makes you feel vulnerable?
RS: Lots of sh*t. I don’t know, what makes you feel vulnerable?
ZK: [laughing] What makes me feel vulnerable? Being open and honest. Letting people see me.
RS: That could be it. Sometimes.
ZK: How do you process pain, emotional pain?
RS: Oh, I block it out. [laughs] I’m f*cked up like that.
ZK: Tell me what projects you’re working on that you’re most passionate about right now.
RS: They’re all different, depending on what’s in front of me. I love making movies and TV. New sh*t I do. Taking my kids to school is new. Meditating with them every morning, taking them to school. Moving to LA to do that.
I am excited about improving financial empowerment through our financial services company. I’m excited about my fashion company. I’m excited about the Rush Arts Foundation. I’m excited about the Happy Hearts Foundation, building all those schools. I’m excited about the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and the work that we have to do now—because we have to do it now more than ever, between imams and rabbis.
I’m excited about, you know, so much sh*t, I can’t think of which one is more exciting.
ZK: That’s a good place to be. Thanks so much, Russell.
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