No one could ever accuse hip-hop icon and mogul Russell Simmons of being apathetic. Using his celebrity to champion a cause is nothing new to the "Def-Jam" producer. A few weeks ago he and rapper Kanye West showed up at the Occupy Wall Street camps to lend their support, with Russell tweeting about the experience the whole time. Now it appears that Simmons has another pet cause.
When home improvement mega-store Lowe's pulled it's advertising funding from the TLC show "All-American Muslim," it incensed Simmons and fellow celebrity tweeters Mia Farrow, Danny Masterson and Kal Penn, all of whom tweeted their displeasure at the incident. Simmons, though, took it one step further. He's now reportedly in talks to purchase ad time with the show, putting his money where his mouth is.
Simmons is certainly not the only celebrity to use his status to push a cause forward into the public consciousness. For years stars have used their fame to champion charities and personal causes, and here are a few other notable celebrity activists.
Sean Penn - The "I am Sam" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" star has been vocal about human rights issues for years now. In the wake of 2010's devastating earthquake in Haiti, Penn actually went to the embattled island nation and started a relief management foundation, which he frequently ran from within the country.
Susan Sarandon - The "Dead Man Walking" star has been politically active for decades. She's taken on causes like LGBT equality, environmental causes, and anti-war protests. In September of this year, she added the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement to that list. Then in October she referred to Pope Benedict as a "Nazi" and brought down the wrath of the Catholic church in the process. Her remarks were in regards to the many sexual scandals involving the church.
Bono - The U2 front man has become a champion for AIDS research and fighting the epidemic the disease has caused in Africa. To help fund important AIDS research, Bono helped start the "Red" campaign. Companies agreed to work with Red in created product lines that would specifically be targeted at giving proceeds to AIDS research.
Angelina Jolie - For many actors and actresses, winning an Oscar would be enough to rest on for the entirety of their career. The star of "Girl, Interrupted" and the "Tomb Raider" films though, was not content with awards and accolades. While filming the first "Tomb Raider" movie, Angelina was exposed to what orphans in war-torn countries experience while in Cambodia. The experience was so life-changing that she took it up as her personal cause and has been a special envoy and ambassador for the United Nations ever since.
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