Russell Simmons, of Def Jam fame, was so impressed by Occupy Boston’s encampment and enthusiasm he agreed to a massive group hug with protesters.
“It’s slick [here],” said the hip-hop mogul during a visit to Tent City Square on Tuesday. “My team back in New York would be inspired.”
Simmons took a tour of the camp, briefly donning a Red Sox hat, agreeing to make donations to help winterize the site and sustain the movement.
He made a quick stop in front of an information booth and put $20 in a cup for a donation.
“That’s the first $20 we have seen in there,” said the protester behind the information table.
“And here is the second, and third,” said Simmons, dropping two more $20 bills in the cup.
Simmons even took time and meditated with campers.
High-fives and hugs aside, Simmons’ purpose for visiting was to deliver a proposed Constitutional amendment that would take money out of politics.
Simmons told the crowd of more than 100 protesters that a senior Congressman drafted the legislation, but is looking for bipartisan support to push it forward.
The proposed legislation suggests all presidential and congressional elections should be publicly financed, taking corporate control out of the political process.
The proposal states that no political contributions should be permitted to any candidate, including from the candidates themselves.
“Nine out of 10 Americans will tell you there is too much corporate control [on our government],” he said.
Simmons said despite what happened in New York with the removal of protesters, the occupations will “end well” with this new proposal.
“If not for your courage and your endurance then we wouldn’t have this dialogue,” he said.
Following his speech, protesters were given time to ask the hip-hop enthusiast a series of questions.
When asked about his role as a wealthy member of society, Simmons said he “doesn’t think it’s American” that he pays fewer taxes than his secretary.
“I’d rather give my money to charities than the war machine,” he said.
Protesters were inspired by the hip-hop legend’s visit to the campground, which came just hours after officials cleared out New York’s occupation.
“For me it was neat to have him answer questions about the political world,” said Shane Aspinall.
“I’m just excited. I see him as a hero.”
Aspinall said when “public figures” stand up for the underdogs it can further expand a movement.
“We are stronger now with his support,” he said. “I’ve been inspired. I have a bigger resolve now for what we have been doing.”
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.