(NEW YORK) — Russell Simmons is set to honor his ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, among others at the 15th annual Art for Life Benefit in Bridgehampton, New York, on July 26, which will benefit his Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Although it may raise eyebrows for some, the rap and media mogul tells ABC News Radio that in fact, Kimora and her husband, investment banker Tim Leissner, are huge supporters of the foundation and are expected to announce a “huge number” donation that evening, marking the “biggest donation we ever received.”
So how do the two exes remain friends after splitting in 2009? “How is that possible that you could love somebody so much and then create something so beautiful as your children and not share that bond and appreciate the process?” Simmons asks rhetorically.
“No matter what your differences are you should have something much greater than those differences in your children,” he adds. “And I think it seems to me elementary but, you know, surprising to some other people.”
Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons are parent to two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee. Kimora also has a son, Kenzo, with her ex-boyfriend, actor Djimon Hounsou.
With the help of Kimora’s donation, the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation will continue to expose the arts to inner city youth in New York City. Russell said he started the foundation with his brothers, rapper/minister Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and Danny Simmons, because it was instilled in them at an early age that arts and creativity were important.
“My mother was a painter. My father was a poet. My brother is a painter. My other brother is a poet. I’m a producer of creative projects and a writer of creative projects. And so I realized that the outward expression and everything you do is informed by some creativity, some imagination,” Simmons explains. “It’s very important to cultivate the imagination.”
Music lovers may want to check out the “Art for Life” auction on Charitybuzz, in which proceeds will also go to the foundation. The auction includes the opportunity to meet LL Cool J, meet Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and attend their September 13 concert in Las Vegas, hang out with John Legend while he’s on the road or meet Will Smith and attend the red carpet premiere of his upcoming film, Focus, in 2015. Bidding is open for those prizes until August 7.
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