The New York Times looks at Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons’ involvement with the diamond trade–an industry now under scrutiny thanks to a critical Hollywood film. “Blood Diamond,” directed by Harvard graduate Edward Zwick, depicts the violence surrounding the diamond trade in Sierra Leone in the 1990s.
Simmons entered the diamond trade in 2003 with the opening of his Simmons Jewelry Company, which is supplied by De Beers. An industry trade group recenly brought Simmons to Africa. Since his return to the U.S. he’s been vocal in his support of diamonds.
Mr. Zwick, in a Dec. 11 interview with The Daily News, accused Mr. Simmons of being a public relations puppet for the diamond industry; Mr. Simmons retaliated with an open letter in The New York Post on Thursday, saying they were concerned about “the current wave of misinformation” about diamonds and that they had observed concrete examples of how the diamond industry “contributes to the overall self-empowerment of African people and communities.”
Diamond Facts, a World Diamond Council site, estimates that 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry.