Photos of the Year 2011
October 10: Russell Simmons and Kanye West stirred up the streets when they visited the Occupy Wallstreet Protest in Manhattan, New York.

Kanye West is the latest musician to join the protest at Occupy Wall Street. 'Ye was spotted at the protest in Zucotti Park. Russell Simmons, a familar face at Occupy Wall Street, guided Kanye through the protest. "I just walked @kanyewest thru the #occupywallstreet. I love how sweet and tolerant he was to the crowd," Russell Simmons tweeted.

Eyewitnesses described West and Simmons sitting down and talking with protesters around 2:00 pm, with their bodyguards in tow. Ben Fallah, a protester at the Occupy Wall Street site, tells Billboard, "Largely I felt the response was pretty mixed. Some felt [West and Simmons] were being opportunistic as a means to vault their own celebrity. Though in the case of Kanye West, I don't really think that's necessary."

Many of the protesters didn't notice West, since they were either on another side of the park or focused on their message, but the visit caused enough of a stir that Mark Bray with the Occupy Wall Street press team said it was an ideal occurrence for the cause. "We prefer that we can somehow incorporate people into what we're doing," says Bray. "If Kanye West walks through, or whoever walks through, I think it would be mutually beneficial if he has something to say… but ultimately we're not trying to make things rigid."

Last week, Talib Kweli visited the protest sit and performed acapella versions of his new song, "Distraction," then "Thieves in the Night," according to the Village Voice.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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