Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons sat on a bar stool with a mic, talking to about 350 students at John Marshall High School like they were his personal friends.
He talked to them about all kinds of things — the music industry, fashion, Occupy Wall Street, veganism, modern day slavery and the death of the U.S. ambassador in Libya. He talked about giving back to the community.
But mostly, he talked to them about determination and making good decisions.
“You are who you hang with,” Simmons said. “If your friends are gangsters, you're a gangster, like it or not.”
Simmons said he was a in a gang, but he was lucky enough to escape. He had friends who weren't as lucky, and he told the students they'll have friends who go down the same path.
“Some of your friends are going to jail,” he said. “Some of your friends are going to die in the streets.”
Simmons visited John Marshall High School in northwest Oklahoma City Monday afternoon before speaking to business students at the University of Central Oklahoma.
The multimillionaire owns a laundry list of companies and has his hands in music, fashion, finance and other industries. He co-founded Def Jam Records and created Phat Farm clothing.
Simmons' visit was paid for by UCO, and his stop at John Marshall was a way for the university to reach out to students, said Mickey Hepner, dean of the UCO business college.