ETHNIC UNDERSTANDING Foundation Cites Celebs
Who Promote Diversity
E ARE in the people business," said Antonio "LA" Reid, chairman of Island Def Jam Records. "We stand for diversity." To that end LA and wife Erica opened their elegant Park Avenue home to 100 supporters of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, an organization that promotes tolerance and strengthens intergroup relations.
Richard D. Parsons, chairman and executive of Time Warner, said, "This is about justice," as he presented awards to Clive Davis, chairman and chief executive of BMG U.S.; Kimora Lee Simmons, president and chief executive of Baby Phat; Aviv Nevo, president of NV Investments; and Seth Gerszberg, president of Marc Ecko Enterprises.
Davis knows about diversity. He grew up in Brooklyn in a family with no means, and was orphaned in his teens. After graduating with honors from Harvard Law School, he went for an interview at a prestigious law firm. They told him he was "not right" for the company. He was Jewish.
Hip hop impresario Russell Simmons, chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, introduced his wife as "what the future of America will look like."
Kimora Lee Simmons, creator of the Baby Phat fashion empire, said, "It is very important to be involved in racial tolerance and diversity."
Rabbi Marc Schneier, the foundation president, told how he and Russell Simmons discussed the rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe. Simmons designed a celebrity campaign with Jay-Z to fight for religious and civil rights. Their public service announcements will begin airing on TV this summer in France.
Among the guests at the reception were Gina Davis, Lenny Kravitz, Ronald O. Perelman, Les Moonves, Harvey Weinstein, Benny Medina, Mark Wahlberg, Amy Sacco, Vicky Ward of Vanity Fair, and Israeli Consul General Arye Mekel.