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Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress to Present Freedom of Speech Award to Russell Simmons
Press Release

Center for American Progress to Present Freedom of Speech Award to Russell Simmons

Center for American Progress to Present Freedom of Speech Award to
Russell Simmons

Bill Bellamy, Dave Chappelle, Cedric the Entertainer, Adele Givens, to join Russell Simmons as part of USCAF’s Freedom of Speech Salute to Def Comedy Jam

Washington, DC – The Center for American Progress (CAP) will present Russell Simmons and Def Comedy Jam the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival (USCAF) Freedom of Speech Award at the 12th anniversary of the Festival next month. Def Comedy Jam veterans Bill Bellamy, Dave Chappelle, Cedric the Entertainer, and Adele Givens and will join creators Simmons, Stan Lathan and Sandy Wernick at a special salute in Aspen, moderated by Elvis Mitchell. The award will be presented by CAP President and CEO John D. Podesta.

The USCAF’s Freedom of Speech Award honoring Russell Simmons and Def Comedy Jam, presented by The Center for American Progress, will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the show and its impact on popular culture. As the first major uncensored forum that exposed young African-American and minority talent to a mainstream audience, Def Comedy Jam helped launch the careers of many of today’s most influential comics. The award will be given on March 10th in Aspen, Colorado.

“We’re proud to honor Russell Simmons as an innovator and champion of new voices in American comedy from an African American perspective,” said Podesta. “Def Comedy Jam provided a unique forum to interpret life in American in a way that makes us think as well as laugh.”

The USCAF’s annual Freedom of Speech award is presented in recognition of the challenges artists have faced while using their craft to speak out on social issues. Previous honorees include George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Bill Maher, The Smothers Brothers, Michael Moore, August Wilson and Garry Trudeau.

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