It very well may be that Russell Simmons has his own agenda buying up ad space to promote his own RushCard on TLC's "All American Muslim" TV show. MLive.com's Aaron Foley makes a very good point about the risks of "pre-paid debit cards," which stand to make a lot of money for companies that issue them (a la Russell Simmons) but incur heavy fees for individuals using them. It shouldn't be forgotten that Simmons is, after all, a hip-hop capitalist before being a hip-hop activist.
That being said, one can't deny that there is definitely an anti-racist component here; Simmons does indeed have a history of standing up against anti-Muslim bigotry the way few other moguls in any genre have been able to muster. And so, when Simmons announced that he's be stepping in to fill the void left by Lowe's home improvement after they pulled their ads from the TV show featuring five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, it's hard to resist admitting that it looks good on hip-hop.
More important is how Simmons' actions may possibly open the door for more concrete acts of solidarity with the Islamic community in the US. Videos like the one from the Narycist and Shadia Mansour below (which express a proud identity and willingness to fight for it better than Simmons ever could). Absolutely, anyone seeking to fight religious bigotry in the US should boycott Lowe's, but with news of the "Shariah police" raid on a recent punk gig in Indonesia, the Islamophobia in the music world may be about to take a big step up. It's important that any fan of real rebel music--punk, rap, whatever--be ready to beat it back.
There will be an article taking on the recent events in Indonesia, hopefully published by the holiday break. Keep checking in here at RF.