Buzz

Hip-Hop Mogul Russell Simmons Honored by Mercy For Animals

The INSPIRED gala event in New York City honors one of veganism’s brightest stars.

“The show must go on,” inspired Mercy For Animals Executive Director Nathan Runkle in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Manhattan last Saturday night, barely 24 hours after the plug had been pulled on the famed New York City Marathon due to the aftermath of this year’s “storm of the century.” 

And the show did carry on inside Press Lounge, the stunning award-winning rooftop bar with panoramic views of the urban skyline high above the chic, boutique Ink48 Hotel of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Nearly 200 MFA supporters gathered for a much-needed evening pause from the power outages, hours-long gas lines, and massive clean up at INSPIRED: A Night with Russell Simmons, to fête the hip-hop mogul with a Compassionate Leadership Award for his “dedication to and compassion for all sentient creatures.”

A who’s-who of the always-fashionable New York veganista scene (Joshua Katcher in a bow tie! My, look at Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart … is that James Bond on her arm? Hold on—a Honey LaBronx citing in Manhattan!) squeezed elbow-to-elbow into the lounge and enclosed wrap-around patio, catching up on Sandy stories and sipping the free-flowing liquid hors d’oeuvres while scarfing down scrumptious, delectable passed appetizers from Print Restaurant. The tasty menu included Shiitake-Cabbage Wontons with Scallion Ginger Sauce, Eggplant Empanadas with Pepper Coulis, and Skewers of Grilled Tempeh.

The guest of honor was introduced by animal activist extraordinaire Simone Reyes, who has somehow managed to work for Simmons for 28 years though she doesn’t appear to be that age herself. Reyes’ speech was passionate and funny, as she compared and contrasted the “old” party-boy Russell Simmons to the new vegan/yogi version, before concluding with “and the old Russell Simmons only dated the world’s most beautiful woman (pause) … well, some things never change” to resounding applause and laughter.

Characteristically, a humbled Simmons thanked all of the activists in the room for their tireless, out-of-the-limelight work, and praised Runkle and the MFA team for bringing continued media exposure to the plight of animals through their investigations and media presence.

VegNews was pleased to sponsor of the festivities, which doubled as a fundraiser for MFA. Other sponsors included our friends at V-Dog, Treeline Treenut Cheese, Nicobella Organics, and The Seed.

Check out a full photo gallery from INSPIRED.

More Buzz

15 Vegan Chocolates Sure to Impress Any Valentine

Nothing says “Be my Valentine” like a box of vegan chocolate from a dairy-free chocolatier, and giving a gift from one of these vegan companies to your loved one almost guarantees you’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day for years to come.
Read More »

How Safe is Your Vegan Sex Life?

Before getting it on, make sure you get down with the ingredients in your favorite condoms, lubes, and toys.
Read More »

A Vegan Valentine's Dinner to Woo Anyone

Set the ultimate romantic mood with the perfect music, delicious vegan food, and tantalizing aesthetic.
Read More »

4 Reasons Why I'd Rather Be Single than Go Out With A Meat-Eater on Valentine's Day

This single vegan girl will be spending Valentine's Day on a couch eating Ben & Jerry's while in full cat lady mode.
Read More »

VegNews Celebrates Black History Month

In this exclusive interview with VegNews, food-justice activist Eugene Cooke discusses how a plant-based lifestyle can transform personal health, the food landscape, and communities of color.
Read More »

This Week on VegNews TV: The secret to these delightful sweet treats is white beans! Aylin Erman shows you how to make these simple blondies.

More Videos »