By Shakira Atitebi
Russell Simmons is an undoubtedly influential leader in the hip-hop community, but now the media mogul can a rare achievement to his list of many. Through a new campaign with PETA, Simmons has been granted his own postage stamp. The Queens, New York native is honored in PETA’s “Vegetarian Icons” collection from the U.S. Postal Service.
Simmons is a devout vegan who has admitted that it took him an entire year to transition to veganism and he advises others to do the same. “You can’t jump to vegan if you’re not. Some people are absolute,” he once explained on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.” “Some people are able to be gradual. You know the transition from first eating red meat and pigs to not eating chicken, when you realize how they’re being raised. One day, you stop eating fish or you stop eating dairy and eggs – the next thing you know, you’re a vegan. It can happen over a period of time. I started out as a vegetarian.”
Simmons also spoke about how disappointed he is with the lack of healthy food choices available his hometown of Hollis, Queens.
“I grew up in Hollis, Queens and always make it my job to never forget where I came from and to always give back to my community,” he continued. “So, of course, I am particularly saddened that in poor urban communities the cheapest, most accessible food is fast food, which is also the most likely to increase the risk of developing various diseases and illnesses, including heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes and obesity. That is why, whenever I can, I use my voice to speak out for healthier food options to be offered in vending machines, local markets and inner city classrooms.”
Other famous celebrities vegans that are featured in PETA’s latest campaign include Woody Harrelson, Cesar Chevez, Gandhi, Bob Barker of “The Price is Right,” Gandhi, Paul McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres and others. The stamps can be purchased online through December and possibly into January at www.PETA.org.