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November 23, 2014

Rudy Giuliani Says White Cops Needed To Stop Black People From Shooting Each Other

Rudy Giuliani
Meet The Press

Marion Barry, 4-Term D.C. Mayor, Dead At 78

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The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Impact and Lasting Legacy of Ferguson, Missouri and Michael Brown

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Officer Shoots 12-Year-Old Boy Holding Fake Gun At Rec Center

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Ferguson Announcement Does Not Appear Imminent

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Lawsuit Alleges 911 Dispatchers Were Told They 'Speak Ghetto'

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Officer Testifies About Eric Garner's Chokehold Death

Chokehold
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Toni Morrison Schools Colbert On Race In America

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Paige Tutt
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Family Of NYC Man Killed By Police Seeks Answers

Akai
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Bill Cosby Says He Won't Answer To 'Innuendos'

Bill Cosby
Gerardo Mora via Getty Images

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Obama Ferguson
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REPORT: FBI Arrests Men Near Ferguson After Allegedly Buying Explosives For Protests

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Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

University Of Chicago's Racist Halloween Costume Controversy Part Of Larger Problem

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These Ferguson Protesters Have Become The Movement's De Facto Spokespeople

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Public domain

Allegations Against Bill Cosby Begin To Snowball

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Ethan Miller via Getty Images

Juror Bias the Biggest Barrier to Indicting Wilson and Cops That Kill

Ferguson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

School Official Apologizes For Retweet About Mixed-Raced Couples

Strickland
13 News Now

Can Ferguson Residents Wait on Commission Report?

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Video Shows Cop Beating Man In Head With Nightstick (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Donovan Lawson
YouTube

Here Are The Key Figures In The Ferguson Shooting

Michael Brown
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Some African-Americans Question Bill Cosby Allegations On Social Media

Bill Cosby
Al Pereira via Getty Images

These Photos Show Why Hope Is Alive In Detroit

Corine
Detroit Institute of Arts

Judge Issues Court Orders To Uphold Right To Record Police In Ferguson

Ferguson Police
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Fox Host Links Immigration Reform To Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Eric Bolling
Noam Galai via Getty Images

Church Threatens 'I'm Not Gay No More' Man With A Lawsuit

Gay Viral Video
ABC 46

NYPD Officer Shoots And Kills Unarmed Man In Brooklyn

Nypd
Rudi Von Briel via Getty Images

Why Does Alleged Sexual Predator R. Kelly Still Have a Career?

R Kelly
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

REPORT: Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson In Talks To Resign

Darren Wilson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why We Don't Need Another White Dude On The Cover Of People's Sexiest Man Alive

Chris Hemsworth
Don Arnold via Getty Images

Bill Cosby's Arizona Show Canceled

Bill Cosby
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'I Do Not Want My Son's Death To Be In Vain'

Michael Brown Sr
You Tube

Ferguson Police Arrest Demonstrators In Confrontation

Ferugson Protests
Andrew Burton via Getty Images

Holder Announces New Guide For Police Ahead Of Ferguson Decision

Holder
Justice Department

Read The Full Text Of Obama's Immigration Speech

Barack Obama
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NAACP Blasts Nevada Speaker-Elect's Racial Comments

Ira Hansen
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An Anti-Gay 'Christmas Gift' On The Way For Uganda?

Uganda Gay
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former Wrestling Superstar Struggles As Double Amputee

Kamala
Bleacher Report

This Is What School Districts Are Doing To Prepare For The Ferguson Verdict

Normandy Schools
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Raven-Symone Speaks Out Against Rumors That Bill Cosby Assaulted Her

Raven Symone
Imeh Akpanudosen via Getty Images

This 5-Year-Old Gives Homeless Kids Care Packages That Make Them Feel Right At Home

Jayla Newson
Today Show

Facts On Stop And Frisk Reform That Shatter Right-Wing Media Fears

Bill

'Urban Militia' Group Offers Bounty For Location Of Officer Darren Wilson

Darren Wilson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Cosby Controversy: 6 Signs Of Rape Culture

Bill Cosby
Brad Barket/Invision/AP

Police Arrest 6 Protesters In St. Louis

Police Arrest Protesters St Louis
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Ferguson and the 'Us vs. Them' Illusion

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Calling Nevada's Incoming Speaker Racist And Sexist Would Be A Huge Understatement

Ira Hansen
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'The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore' Has A New Name

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Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images

Daniel Handler's Offensive NBA Jokes Prove Book Industry Has A Long Way To Go

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Rand Paul Honestly Thinks He's Congress' Biggest Defender Of Minority Rights

Rand Paul
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Violence in Post-Verdict Ferguson: What We Should Be Worried About

Ferguson Protests
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Man Who Spent 39 Years In Prison To Be Freed After Witness Admits He Lied

Ricky Jackson
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NFL Star Finds Wallet, Goes To Owner's House To Return It

Marshawn Lynch
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Jane Doe 10 From Cosby Case Goes Public With Claims

Cosby Serignese
Getty/Courtesy of Therese Serignese

Ballerina Of Our Dreams Misty Copeland Is Getting A Reality Show

Misty Copeland
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Florida Cops On What Ferguson Can Learn From Trayvon

Trayvon Martin
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Getting Beyond Ferguson

Ferguson Police
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Rape Accusations Against Bill Cosby Must Not Be Ignored

Bill Cosby
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Standing Your Ground in Journalism, Even When Diversity Isn't Valued

Racism Newsroom
David Joyner via Getty Images

Black-Owned Food Trucks Give New Meaning to Meals on Wheels

Goodies Frozen Custard
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Meet The Teach For America Official Charged With Bringing Change To Ferguson And Beyond

Brittany Ferguson
Emily Kassie

Sharpton: Activists In Ferguson Are Ready

Rev Al Sharpton
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Why One Ferguson Store Owner Refuses To Board Up His Windows

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Study Shows White Americans Draw Distinctions Between African-Americans And Blacks

Naacp
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Mo'ne Davis Has A Memoir Coming Soon -- And She's Only 13

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Reflections on Ol' Dirty Bastard Ten Years Later: ODB as a Microcosm of American Inequality

Ol Dirty Bastard
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Racial Disparity In Ferguson Arrests Is Big, But Not As Big As Other Places

Ferguson Police
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Motown Singer Jimmy Ruffin Dead At Age 78

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Corporate Buyout: Why Legacy Civil Rights Groups Are on the Wrong Side of History

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A Unique Love Story About a Ugandan Transgender Woman

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Will The National Guard Really Help Keep Peace In Ferguson?

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Wall Street's Lack Of Diversity Is Putting Us At Risk Of Another Crisis

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Liberian-American Health Care Workers Join Fight Against Ebola

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Hard Time: Lessons From a Maximum-Security Prison

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Tanzania Is Uprooting 40,000 People For The Most Despicable Reason

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Ferguson Remains On Edge Ahead Of Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson
Getty

Students Walk Out Of School To Protest Racist Tweet They Believe Was Sent By Administrator

Student Protest
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Justice Department Probe Of Ferguson Police Could Spur Broad Change

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Missouri Executes Killer For 1994 Murder Of Gas Station Attendant

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Ferguson Protesters Fear Police Crackdown After Grand Jury Decision

Ferguson
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Human Toll of 'Stop and Frisk'

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Bruno Mars Sang Backup While Mystikal Rapped On 'SNL'

Bruno Mars
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► Terry Crews' 3-Phase Plan To Be A Better Man: Are You Up For It?

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Beyonce's New Music Video Is Her Best Surprise Yet

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Former En Vogue Singer: I Want Money For Lifetime Movie Or I'll Sue!

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WATCH: Tina Knowles Dishes New Details On Solange's Wedding

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My Conversation With Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Gina Prince-Bythewood

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What Michael Sam Would Change About His Coming Out In Hindsight

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'RHOA' Star Slams Incarcerated Husband's Talk Of Reconciliation

Phaedra Parks Apollo
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Don't Tell This 'Scandal' Star He Isn't 'Black Enough'

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Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Listen To Two New Beyonce Songs

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Wyclef Jean Is Still Totally Down For A Fugees Reunion

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MC Lyte Among Honorees At Annual Women's Empowerment Event

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LL Cool J, Chaka Khan Honor Quincy Jones At Ebony Gala

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Tyler James Williams: The Black Community Is 'Notoriously Homophobic'

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Bill Cosby's New NBC Show Is No Longer In Development

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Cornel West And Questlove Discuss Politics & Music

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Tracy Morgan Fighting 'Severe Brain Injury'

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EBONY To Honor Top 100 Black Influencers Of 2014

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Netflix Postpones Launch Of Bill Cosby Comedy Special

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Tiger Woods Is Very Angry About A Very Fake Satirical 'Interview' With Him

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Janice Dickinson Alleges That She Was 'Sexually Assaulted' By Bill Cosby

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Dave Chappelle Defends Donald Sterling

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Chris Rock Explains The Double Standard Of Being Black & Famous

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Wendy Williams Shrugs Off 'Aaliyah' Movie Critics

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Katherine Heigl Opens Up About Her Alleged Feud With Shonda Rhimes

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'I Refuse To Let Them Come Into This Space'

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Solange's Bridal Afro Upsets Beauty Standards

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I'm a Hip-Hop Feminist Dating a Patriarchal Man

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LOOK: Michael Sam Covers GQ Magazine And Nabs HUGE Honor

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Solange Son Wedding Dance
Vimeo

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'106 & Park' Cancelled?

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J. Cole Announces New Album Coming In December

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Solange Knowles Is Married!

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Timbaland Slams Lifetime's Aaliyah Biopic

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Bill Cosby's Lawyer: No Comment On Sexual Assault Allegations

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20 Questions: Hip-Hop Impresario Russell Simmons

Comments (19)


In the music business, so many people have titles, but there's only one godfather of hip-hop, and that man is Russell Simmons.

Since building the Def Jam empire, the New York native, who's affectionately known as Uncle Russ, has gone on to launch successful clothing labels -- Phat Farm and Baby Phat -- produce HBO shows 'Def Comedy Jam' and 'Def Poetry Jam' -- and its Tony Award-winning Broadway spin-off. He's also helped tomorrow's leaders through philanthropic efforts, including his Hip Hop Summit Action Network and as his role as a Goodwill Ambassador.

In the midst of keeping up his vegan and yogi lifestyle, the 53-year-old rap mogul found time to debut a new Oxygen reality series, 'Running Russell Simmons' which follows the female assistants who keep Simmons sane and organized.

As someone who's energized about politics and making the world a more peaceful place, the father of two doesn't shy away from weighing in on politics. BlackVoices.com recently caught up with him to chat about last week's election results and what's really going on in his world.

BlackVoices.com: So, you're really into politics. What are your thoughts on the election?
Russell Simmons:
Well, we expected that. We held on to the Senate and maybe there will be negotiations between the Senate and the Congress and we'll be able to make some deals because before we got nothing done. I shouldn't say we got nothing done, but maybe a Congress/Senate relationship might actually be more functional. I'm just telling you the upside because I would much prefer to have all Democrats in office at this moment, because the president's agenda is pretty much my agenda.

BV: Why do you think people are so apathetic about voting?
RS:
It's A.D.D. that we have from television and everything else. People wanted a miracle over night, but they shouldn't. We should be enthusiastic[about voting].

BV: Do you think President Obama will be elected to a second term?
RS:
I wouldn't want to speculate that he wouldn't. I accept that he would. If I'm lucky, Sarah Palin will run. In two years, he has a lot of time to turn things around, but people are fickle. They like to kick a man [when he's down].

BV: What do you think about your friend Donald Trump running for president?
RS:
Donald's my friend, but I think he's a little too conservative for me. That's hilarious. He's not a Republican; he's a Democrat. I am very progressive thinking regarding politics and promotion of freedom for everybody and the promotion of peace instead of war. I look at the investment in education over war. They look like they aren't connected, but they are. I prefer him over any Republican that might run right now, though.

BV: Will you run for political office?
RS:
No. I don't think that's possible. Did you read my first book? My reality is a little scary for a politician. I know it takes skill to be political and you have to stomach a lot of s**t. I have a lot of issues that I believe in that would prohibit [me from holding a political office]. I don't believe in the 10 billion suffering farm animals, and I'd be fighting to pass all kinds of laws to protect animals. I'm pro-gay rights, and I'm a socialist because I think we should lift the poor. People would be mad as hell. I'd be taxing myself all day long and everybody like me with money – taxing them much more.

BV: How's it been doing a reality show?
RS:
[On the show], I've talked about all these issue that I think are important and there is lots of business and fun stuff, but I like watching the girls that worked all these years [for me]. Christina has been there...she makes me say 10-plus years. They don't really like to talk about how long they've been working with me.

BV: In terms of the timing, you're such an innovator with the different business ventures you launch ahead of the curve. Why did it take you so long to do TV?
RS:
I produced my brother [Rev Run]'s show and was on there, and I've done Kimora's show quite a bit. And I've done my nieces' show. There were so many ideas I wanted to promote and so many brands that could use exposure. It's part of my marketing and branding, and there's nothing I'm afraid of or embarrassed by.

BV: You weren't uncomfortable on the first episode when the interns were cleaning your bathroom and you were in the office making out with the model?
RS:
I'm a grown man. I'm still single. I'm human. Maybe the next time, I'll be sitting around with this girl who's a yogi, Buddhist, a sweet person. I date her a lot, but she travels the world...maybe I'll be settled next season, or maybe not.

BV: Are you obsessed with models?
RS:
I live on Seventh Avenue, and like most men, I'm very visual. This girl I was just talking about is an actress, and they get a little crazy. She's on episode three or four. We gravitate toward certain physical types. I wish I could date this chubby yogi who looks enlightened. She always has this glow on her face, but I'm not dating her yet.

BV: Are you really going to date a chubby Yogi?
RS:
I said I wish I could! I wish I had it in me, but maybe this African French actress girl has beauty and heart. You'll see her on the show. She's a sweet girl and has a good heart.

BV: At this point, is that something that's important to you in a significant other? Do you have to be into yoga?
RS:
You don't have to be a yogi. You have people that are opposite of you that you like, but I don't think I want anyone blowing smoke in my face and wearing fur. That would probably bother me.

BV: Do you watch any other reality shows?
RS:
I watched Lala's show because she's another friend. I watched a little bit of Rev's show since I produced it for three years. I watch my kids on Kimora's show sometimes, but I don't watch a lot of television.

BV: How do you and Kimora continue to work so well together?
RS:
We have businesses together and a new cosmetic and skin-care company we are about to announce. We have Simmons Jewelry. But, our biggest business is raising our kids, and we have to keep it good no matter what.

BV: There are some celebrity couples whose relationships end badly. How did you all divorce and not go that route?
RS:
There are some things that shouldn't be acceptable. You have more people hating each other than they did before. I think if you have kids together it shouldn't be socially acceptable [or] normal that people don't get along. If they have kids, that's what you have to do for the kids.

BV: What's up with Baby Phat? There was some fall-out and you two are totally unaffiliated with that anymore, right?
RS:
We sold it seven years ago, and Kimora kept running it and running it, and I said, 'Start something new, I'll start something new.' And, now she's starting something new. I think she's grown, and I certainly grew out of Phat Farm. There's an urban graduate to design for. It's more fun for me to design for people a little closer to my age.

BV: Talk a little about your nephew and budding rap star Diggy. Were you surprised he decided to pursue music like your brother?
RS:
I was surprised about Diggy. I thought it would've been JoJo. JoJo is a great rapper, too.

BV: Have you given him any advice?
RS:
Diggy don't wanna hear nothing from me. He doesn't want any advice from Uncle Russ, that's for sure. He doesn't want to hear any of my advice. That's how young people are.

BV: You're always so busy. What's next for you?
RS:
I'm going to England for the Diamond Empowerment Fund, and we've already raised $700,000 that's in the bank to give to a school in Africa, an African leadership academy. That's what's coming up, but we have five different philanthropic ventures.

BV: Is there any philanthropic effort that you want to do more work with? Is there anything you haven't done yet?
RS:
I want to do more work with the Peacekeepers. We want to figure out the right infrastructure and put more Peacekeepers in the 'hood. We have seven chapters of men all over the country who walk the streets in orange and promote peace and harmony. That's something I want to do. Too much violence even in my own neighborhood. It's a tragedy that kids murder each other and it's not really news.

BV: Final question, Where do you see yourself in five years?
RS:
In an old folks' home (laughs). I don't know. Where am I going to be in five years? Probably right here doing what I'm doing now. As long as I can keep doing my meditation and my breathing exercises, I can still walk and do this yoga, I'll still think I'm young.

Russell Simmons's new Oxygen show 'Running Russell Simmons' airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.



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