Russell Simmons Wants to Open the Next Trader Joe’s

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Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is an organization that introduces rappers to political causes. Who knew this was a thing? Awesome. Clinton Hill entrepreneur Hasan Muhammad approached Russell Simmons, a proud vegan and occasional rabbi, to launch an initiative to provide healthy food to New Yorkers living in the city's food deserts. They're working to open a Brooklyn-based food factory and a chain of stores in neighborhoods that include Brownsville and Central Harlem. The idea is to mimic the business model of Trader Joe's, which both manufactures and sells its own brand of products. "We want cool, fun vegetarian stuff," Simmons told the New York Daily News. "Its an alternative to eating poison." He's about to start raising money through a crowdsourcing campaign on his website. We'll support this cause only if Simmons releases a product called Def Jam preferably in strawberry, but we'll settle for blueberry. [Earlier, NYDN]