Over the weekend, hip-hop entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Russell Simmons opened up his home to host a star-studded party for Soledad O’Brien in his lavish two-story penthouse located in lower Manhattan. The occasion marked the release of Soledad’s autobiography, "The Next Big Story", which she co-wrote with Rose Marie Arce.
Besides the authors, celebrity guests in attendance included CBS news anchor Katie Couric, HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell, actor Jamie Hector (“The Wire”), CNN reporters Alino Cho and Susan Candiotti, syndicated columnist Keli Goff, educator Dr. Steve Perry and PR maven Terrie Williams.
Also at the gathering was Soledad’s husband, Brad, her father, Edward, and several of her siblings, as well as Corinne Vargas, who grew up on Long Island not far from the O’Brien family. Ms. Vargas’ legal battle with the Village of Smithtown for affordable housing is recounted in the memoir, a section which serves to highlight the degree of discrimination there against minorities.