*"Today I am announcing my personal endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States," announced entertainment mogul Russell Simmons Sunday.
The co-founder of Def Jam said he arrived at the decision after careful observation of the senator's campaign over the past nine months as well as " substantive discussions with Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama."
"From the sidelines of the primaries and debates, I have been particularly inspired by the fact that Sen. Obama has built an unprecedented, national movement comprised of people from all ethnic, racial, political, social and economic backgrounds," said Simmons."
He added: "Although I have great respect for the accomplishments of Sen. Clinton and I have personally worked with Sen. Clinton successfully on issues concerning education, prison reform and poverty, I am now compelled by my own personal conscience to publicly state, 'I support and endorse Barack Obama for President.'
"As the Chairman of the non-partisan, nonprofit The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, it is my personal opinion that Sen. Obama's campaign for President has and will continue to transcend race in America and have a profound positive impact on the very issues I have been fighting for my whole life. Many of you know my work as Chairman of the non-partisan, nonprofit Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Hip-Hop as a cultural phenomena is also about transformation and taking action to end poverty, war and ignorance.
"While I am endorsing Senator Obama as a private citizen, I am in complete solidarity with the transformative consciousness of the growing number artists and young people from the hip-hop generation that are overwhelmingly supporting Obama."