The Daily Grind Video

The video that came out last week of Lil Reese beating up a young woman had me sick to my stomach. We know that physical abuse of women is rampant in our community, but the video really bothered me. Not just because the attacker was so young, but because it reminded me of the failed opportunity that this young artist is wasting. I have always believed that artists and entertainers have gifts that can uplift the consciousness of millions of people around the world. We have seen that time and time again. However, the actions of Lil Reese and his subsequent “apology” cause me great concern because he thinks that will be enough. He will have to do much more work to rid himself of his violent behavior.

The truth is, I know many guys who I grew up with who beat their girls. Domestic abuse is everywhere, in every trailer park and in every project building and in every rich, gated community. At times it might seem like it will never stop, but we must stand up against it. And artists should be the ones who are forward thinking and creating more awareness around the solutions, not perpetuating the problem. I certainly respect the difficulties of growing up without all of the tools to become a man, but this should NEVER be an excuse to hit a woman. Our children are growing up in neighborhoods where during one weekend, 80 people are shot, where violence is everywhere they look and they are becoming numb to it all. We must do better raising our children, but as artists, we must do much better about how we use our voices.

I am certainly a believer in compassion and will do everything I can to uplift Lil Reese, in private. But let me very clear, publicly, we must do better.

~Russell Simmons

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