I commend Simmons footing the bill, but something about his involvement doesn't sit well with me. Like one of the protesters heckled, he is part of the problem. I think there is an effort by the Democrats and others to co-opt the movement, to channel its energy to their ends. They want to neuteralize the movement and some want to turn it into a voting block for Obama in 2012.
As for Simmons, he's made his fortune, but often by selling a warped view of the black urban youth he claims to represent. It's a mixed record, because while I'm sure he's put some folks on, not to mention helped make hip hop a global phenomenon, I have to wonder at how he did it, and what was the ultimate price?