Russell Simmons

Celebrated American hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons has come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Simmons appears in a video for the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality” campaign.

In the video, the co-founder of Def Jam Records and head of Rush Communications says, “I’m a New Yorker and a long-time supporter of Marriage equality”.

He adds: “I’m happy that we’re coming to a time when we can make a change. Make your voice heard. Stand up now for marriage equality.”

Simmons, the ex-husband of model, fashion entrepreneur and reality TV star Kimora Lee Simmons, will also be honoured by the LGBT community later this month at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City.

He will receive the Excellence in Media Award, presented to “media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community”.

According to GLAAD, Simmons and his foundations have tackled issues such as inner city poverty, voter registration among youth, HIV/AIDS awareness, animal rights and full equality for LGBT people.

In 2009, Simmons wrote an open letter to Governor David Paterson of New York urging him to continue supporting marriage equality and in 2010, he penned an open letter to the United States Senate, urging it to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

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