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Inspirational entrepreneur Russell Simmons is the thought leader engaging with African youth in the latest revealing episode of MTV Base Meets.
MTV Base Meets Russell Simmons with MTN premieres on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) on Wednesday 8 August 2012 (repeats Thursday 9 August @ 11.00 CAT and 17.00 CAT and Sunday 12 August @ 20.30 CAT) and terrestrial stations across the continent, including STV (Nigeria), Spectrum TV (Cameroon), Viasat (Ghana), Rwanda TV (Rwanda), Swazi TV (Swaziland), Muvi TV (Zambia) and NTV and WBS (Uganda).
The co-founder of influential hip hop record label Def Jam, Russell Simmons has been described by Donald Trump as “one of the most extraordinary entrepreneurs of our time”, and has combined a hugely successful business career with a reputation for “giving back” to communities in the US, Africa and the Caribbean.
MTV VJ Vanessa Mdee and young Africans from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Liberia, Kenya and Tanzania met up with Simmons in New York City earlier this year to quiz him on his thoughts on success, money, happiness, social activism, equality and digital media. Another topic discussed during the relaxed interview, held on the 43rd floor of Simmons’ Rush Communications Inc headquarters, was the Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF), the international non-profit organization founded by Simmons and his ex-wife Kimora that supports education initiatives in diamond producing countries. Simmons explained how DEF programmes have been successful in providing African youth with higher education opportunities, including leadership development and building entrepreneurial skills.
Ghanaian rapper, fashion designer and dancer Isaac Boateng was one of the young entrepreneurs picked to meet with Simmons together with investment banker Ngozi Nwaneri from Nigeria. They were joined by broadcast journalist student Sandra Nyanchoka from Kenya, Ayodele Alli an aspiring Nigeria musician, Senegalese fashion designer Sophie Nzinga Sy, wannabe music mogul Johnson Lujwanga from Tanzania and Liberian singer and writer Dominique Taylor.
First initiated in 2011, MTV Base Meets…with MTN connects African youth with the thought leaders, opinion formers, decision makers and role models who shape their world. Further influencers still to feature in the current series include: Liberian supermodel Alek Wek (15 August), former Nigerian head of state Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (22 August), Togolese international footballer Emmanuel Adebayor (29 August) and South African politician and activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (5 September).