Simmons summons buddies

Hudson performs at Art for Life fund-raiser

As befitting a fund-raiser to increase arts education in schools, the 12th annual Art for Life included a perf by by Jennifer Hudson who belted out “You’re Gonna Love Me,” “Angel” and “Spotlight” Saturday at the summer home of Russell Simmons in East Hampton.

Edward Norton, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Mary J. Blige were among Simmons’ honorees at the bash benefitting the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation emceed by Soledad O’Brien.

Norton said he’d followed Simmons since high school.

“I knew Russell before he knew me back in Baltimore. The music of the Beastie Boys and Run DMC emerged and it expanded my view of what America was really about. That’s what Russell is about: an expansive view of life.”

Brett Ratner attended because, he said, Simmons is his best friend.

“It’s important to get kids interested in the arts. I took drama and film classes in school and then I made a career out of it,” he added.

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