07/03/2012 08:48 am ET Updated Jul 16, 2012

Russell Simmons: 'What It Means To Be American' (VIDEO)

In honor of Independence Day, LatinoVoices and Define American bring you personal stories from all walks of life on what it means to be American.

He's famously known as the co-founder of the hip-hop label Def Jam Russell Simmons but business moguel is also a philanthropist, vegan, and a devoted yogi. As a firm believer of meditation "Simmons’ most impressive asset is his apparent ability to have transcended not only some of the original values he learned on the urban streets as a young man, but the shallow gluttony that often plagues the nouveau riche," according to Allison Klugel who interviewed Simmons for

Born and raised in Queens, New York, Simmons certainly has a strong opinion on what it means to be American.

"The thing I like more about America is that it gives opportunity for all, there a mindset here amongst even the most successful that everybody is welcome," Simmons says in his Define America video. "The idea that if you come from the lowest areas, the most difficult areas and you survive and you become great and you become successful you're accepted in with a badge of honor into the mainstream."

Share Your Story With Us: What is it about being American that we value most? What does 'American' mean to you?



What Does It Mean To Be 'American'?