Naomi Campbell on Trial? How About Russell Simmons.

July 2, 2010  |  

Supermodel/ diva extraordinaire Naomi Campbell is  in some hot water for allegedly accepting blood diamonds from the corrupt and former leader of Liberia, Chuck Taylor. Campbell has been called to testify at a war crimes trial later this month and her testimony could potentially invalidate Taylor’s claim that he never owned or traded diamonds, which many believe he used to “finance a rebellion in Sierre Leone in the 1990s.”

While Campbell has certainly shown a clear reluctance to get involved and even has denied receiving diamonds from Taylor, her actions, albeit passive, are not surprising or that disappointing. Most people in her situation would’ve accepted the gift. She has never claimed to be a role model or leader and is very comfortable with her role as a fashion model and celebrity and nothing more.

Russell Simmons, however, does fashion himself a leader. And he is a leader, who in 2006, came out in criticism of the film “Blood Diamonds.” Although nothing’s confirmed, it was suspected that DeBeers recruited Simmons to speak out on their behalf. While so many people have continuously worked to expose the dysfunctional and damaging relationship between the diamond trade and unrest and dysfunction in many African countries, here was Simmons telling everyone that diamonds do more good than harm, based on a “fact-finding” mission he went on, sponsored most likely by DeBeers.

Whether he really believed what he was saying or not, Simmons should take stock of his level of power and influence amongst Black America especially when endorsing such a delicate matter. Campbell may be getting all the attention these days for her involvement with Mr. Taylor but Simmons’ earlier actions and publicity tour for the diamond industry has had a much more far-reaching and direct affect on the public’s perceptions.

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