In an interview with the New York Daily news, Russell Simmons said that he’s heading to South Africa and Botswana to take a look at the diamond mines, factories and the African side of the diamond industry. Simmons currently works with diamond industry giant DeBeers on his own line of jewelry.
"I’m making a lot of money by selling diamonds," Simmons told the New York Daily News. "I want to give my money back to the people in Africa. We’re starting the Diamond Empowerment Fund to teach Africans how to cut and polish diamonds on the continent, instead of taking the diamonds out. We want more of black Africans to become executives. The diamond industry should be the leader of African empowerment."
For years various African rebel organizations in different African nations mined and sold diamonds to fund their wars. These diamonds were called “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds” which for the most part led to the massacre of hundreds and thousands of Africans since the 1980’s. In the late 90’s however, the diamond industry instituted a ‘Certificate of Origin’, a sort of engraving showing that the diamond came from a legitimate mining business. For the past five years, the existence on blood diamonds on the market has been drastically reduced. Now Simmons is hoping to help those who have been hurt by the value of the diamond.
“[I hope] Americans will know that, when they buy a diamond, it doesn’t make you an a-hole with money, it can make you a person who’s empowering Africans," Simmons said.