Yesterday, the Occupy Wall Street protests got yet another celebrity drop-in: the Louis Vuitton Don himself, Kanye West.

Accompanied by hip-hop pioneer-turned-activist Russel Simmons, Yeezy walked through the crowd with an escort and “observed” the protests. While I’m sure many were surprised and excited to see West, one demonstrator shouted, “There are no celebrities, just people.”

While many would argue that West and Simmons have profited from the same systems the Occupy Wall Street protestors are fighting against, Simmons took to his Twitter account to defend Kanye’s presence. He wrote: “His presence matters. #occupywallstreet. ‘Celebrity [sic] have no real value except to use it to help others.’”

After being questioned by another skeptical follower, Simmons continued: “Its inspiring to others to see him there. Maybe he and other concerned artist will organize big rally?”

While he was there, the typically flamboyant West seemed to take his style down, just a notch. While he left his diamonds at home, Ye’ was outfitted with his signature gold grill and chain. And as Simmons said, “I love how sweet and tolerant he [Kanye] was to the crowd.” I guess Yeezy is for the people after all?

What do you think? Do celebs like Kanye West and Russel Simmons have a place in the Occupy Wall Street protests, or are they just muggin’ for the cameras?



*Related: It seems like the Occupy movement is spreading across the pond to Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Read more about it here: “Occupy Wall Street protests go global.

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  • I do not feel like the occupy wall street protests are exclusively for the 99%… I saw a girl on one of the blogs who had a sign saying that she inherited money and had everything she needed but she stood in support of the 99%. I admire that, however I do understand people’s concerns about this becoming a hipster photo opp.

  • I believe that Simmons and West are apart of the 99%. People fail to realize how big a chunk that is in the US. They shouldn’t be exploiting this for photo ops and publicity stunts but they should be out there if they feel they have something to contribute to the movement.

  • lalalalala

    after his last video with Jay-Z he wants to protest what???????

    agree with the people who say dude is a narcissist who doesn’t really care about the cause. people like him should not be at causes like this…

  • EssDot323

    Devil’s advocate:
    Do we or don’t we want celebrities to give a shit?

  • Perception

    He wasn’t always in the 1% as I would say any black celebrity that visited. I think that knowing how things could have been and almost a decade ago he was broke that is something that he doesn’t/shouldn’t forget and could share that with the movement. Also Kanye West and the celebrities that visit are not the ones that created this mess that is wall street. Anything he earns is out of revenue from consumers not because he built a company off the backs of slaves,rode that through the 20th century and now pays his employees meager wages because he wants to keep a billion dollar in profits and not pay taxes. Kanye West is aware of who his audience and fans are…and they are all in the 99%.

    Also the fact that none of the protesters *to my knowledge* objected to him being there shows that he is not their enemy.