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“Making it rain” sound financial advice

Rap mogul Russell Simmons is a genius at diversification. After co-founding Def Jam records more than 25 years ago, he’s become quite a businessman. He’s used his entrepreneurial spirit to launch a clothing line (Phat Farm), bring spoken word poetry to HBO and Broadway (Def Poetry), and even held a political reception last year for Maryland Republican U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele.

To say Russell Simmons (pictured at right) wears many hats is an understatement. Over the weekend in Greensboro, N.C., an organization Simmons co-chairs called the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) held a financial investment seminar entitled “Get Your Money Right.”

The organization’s mission statement says, “The network is dedicated to harnessing the cultural relevance of Hip-Hop music to serve as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the empowerment of youth.”

The summit featured current rap music artists including Jim Jones and Lil’ Mo explaining the benefits of home ownership, investing intelligently and trying to avoid debt.

I wonder if the current real estate crisis couldn’t have been avoided if there were more organizations like Simmons’ talking about the benefits of smart investing or trying to appeal to people through their current favorite celebrities.

Imagine if Madonna did a public service announcement saying: buy a home, settle down, invest your money wisely and retire when you’re 50. Or maybe if Britney Spears did one saying: I really love playing the stock market. Invest your extra pennies and you’ll always be able to take care of yourself.

It’s time we start demanding more from our celebrities and public figures. You wouldn’t expect sound financial advice from rapper Lil’ Mo, but at the summit she made a very sage comment:

“Everybody wants to make it rain, but they never have enough saved up for a rainy day.”

The phrase “make it rain” is taken from rapper Fat Joe’s album entitled “Me, Myself & I” and means to let dollar bills fall from the sky like it’s raining money.

So listen to Lil’ Mo, and hopefully others will follow her lead in offering sound advice for those of us who really want to “make it rain” common financial sense.

What favorite celebrity of yours would you like to see offering financial advice or investment tips?

-TODD ZIMMERMAN, Presentation Editor