So, I guess the shit storm started when I was on the plane heading to Miami where I will be speaking this weekend at The Summit Series on a boat somewhere between Miami and the Bahamas. Right when I got off the plane, I got a frantic call from a long time friend, Ashley Judd, who just released her book about her international social justice, human rights, and public health work and revelations about painful experiences growing up as a child. There is a paragraph in the book where she briefly mentions the misogyny in some hip-hop and has caught a lot of heat because of it, in the past twenty-four hours.As the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador to the Permanent Memorial On Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, I have worked closely with Ashley on her inspiring work to end modern day slavery and the abuse of the poor, and women and girls, in particular, around the world. I want to give her the platform to express what she does, as she has been one of the great champions. While she’s in Africa, India, Central America or Southeast Asia fighting to end poverty and exploitation, a lot of people are unfairly criticizing her. While we can debate her views on hip-hop, a debate we have had since the days of Def Jam, let us not lose perspective on her love for our people and all people.Below is the transcript from our phone call:Russell: What brought you to a point that you wanted to write a book?Ashley: I was trying to bring voice to the voiceless, bring attention to the exploited and disempowered and make a difference at both the grassroots and international level. I’ve spent the majority of my time in slums, brothels, refugee camps and hospitals, in make shift schools, and clinics that in this country would be condemned buildings, listening to the sacred narratives of the oppressed and then bringing those narratives to the public and trusting that once the truth is shared, the world can start to change. I have been to Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Rwanda, I’ve been to the Congo multiple times, I’ve been to Guatemala, El Salvador, India, Thailand and Cambodia. I addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the abolition of the modern slave trade, I was the keynote speaker in May of 2008. And I addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the urgent need to protect the health of African girls and women. I recently visited, for three hours, President Kagame of Rwanda about the need to stop mass rape in Congo. I basically retired from Hollywood in 2004 and have been doing this full time, serving on multiple boards and advisory councils, but, most importantly, sitting and standing with people worldwide who need to be heard.I do this work and I wrote the book because I know that there is no difference between me and another human being. The heart beats the same under the skin. I myself was neglected as a child, and I have fought hard to recover my personal dignity and self-esteem and I consider it my responsibility to fight on behalf of others who are still suffering. I carry a message of resilience, hope, perseverance, and identification. Together we can accomplish what no one can do alone.