The Brilliant Lecture Series - Houston
The Brilliant Lecture Series - Conversations with Brilliance was launched in October 2006 with a hugely successful lecture featuring Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, and followed with a sold-out house for the lecture delivered by the Oscar-winning actor, director, writer and humanitarian, Sir Sidney Poitier in February and Secretary-General Kofi Annan in April. Over 10,000 people attended these events, held in Sarofim Hall at the Hobby Center, of which a good 55% to 60% were students and their families.
Intellectually created in 2005 to enable the dream of few, who’s been blessed with the opportunities to meet and work with some of the most notable forces of our times, to enhance the lives of others the organization intents to make at least 65% of the tickets available for less than $35 each. It is a further goal to secure additional grants and funding to lower the ticket prices even more and increase the total number of tickets available at or below these rates. The Brilliant Lecture Series also coordinate with schools and organizations within the community to make sure transport to the events is available for individuals and families unable to make their way independently to the venue.
The guest speaker usually provides a 30-to-45-minute lecture with, ideally, an equal amount of time allocated for questions directly from the audience. Before of after the program there’s a VIP reception held. With diverse programming and the opportunity for individual dialogue with the speakers, the lecture series provides a unique open forum for the exchange of ideas, perspectives and opinions. There are plans of making video recordings of these events available to local schools, hospitals, and organizations free of charge for research and educational purposes as well as to secure a site visit to a local school, hospital or other appropriate community organization during the speaker’s visit to Houston.
The Brilliant Lecture Series aims to present speakers who will appeal to the national and international leaders of tomorrow - the young people of today, to educate, inspire and increase public awareness within the community of Houston, Texas by providing a forum for interaction with national and international leaders, role models, philanthropists, artists, humanitarians and authors. For these programs the local heroes spoke to students in the area on topics ranging from Broadcast media, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and our upcoming event entitled Money Matters. In order to sustain the programs various fundraisers are being organized, the upcoming one being a Benefit Concert in which Linda Eder will be performing.
The next offering from TBLS is a Saturday’s, September 19th meeting with recently appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador and named one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years" Russell Simmons, an American entrepreneur, the co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, founder of another label, Russell Simmons Music Group, and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm. His groundbreaking vision has influenced music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.
Russell Simmons is the older brother of Rev. Joseph Simmons, better known as "Run" of Run-DMC and the second (to Jay-Z) richest figure in hip hop, having a net-worth estimate of $500 million. He attended City College of New York but left his studies to begin promoting local rap music acts, including Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC (whom he would later sign to his record label), and producing records. In 1984, he met Rick Rubin along whom he founded Def Jam Records, signing the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy among other acts. He sold his stake in the record company for $100 million to Universal Music Group in 1999.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Simmons joined 22 other top executives in the apparel and home fashions industry to form Fashion Delivers Charitable Foundation, Inc. to unify the apparel and home fashions industry to donate new products to help needy individuals and families who fell victim to one of the USA's worst natural disaster. In supporting the new charity, Phat Farm underwrote a t-shirt design contest with 100% of the proceeds going to Fashion Delivers. Simmons is also a supporter of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace proclaiming the Transcendental Meditation amongst youth.
Recently, in partnership with a financial institution, Simmons released a line of re-loadable Visa debit cards aimed at consumers who would otherwise have problems obtaining a credit card account. These prepaid cards include the RushCard and the Baby Phat RushCard.
In March 2007, Gotham Books announced the publication of Simmons' new book Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success. The book is co-written with Chris Morrow and features an introduction by Donald Trump.