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Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

Native New Yorker Russell Simmons has been instrumental in bringing hip-hop to every facet of business and media since the aesthetic's inception in the late 1970s. All of his ventures are motivated by the belief that hip-hop is an enormously influential agent for social change, and one which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight poverty and ignorance.

Mr. Simmons is the chairman and chief executive officer of Rush Communications. As such, the cultural avenues he has explored for hip-hop over the years have led to the creation of Def Jam Recordings (which he co-founded); the clothing and fashion lines Phat Farm, Baby Phat, Run Athletics, and Def Jam University; the television series Def Comedy Jam and Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry; the Tony Award-winning stage production Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway; the financial service UniRush (with its attendant RushCard and Baby Phat RushCard); The Simmons Jewelry Co.; and Def Jam Enterprises (for video gaming, mobile communications, and new media). In 2005, the Russell Simmons Music Group (RSMG) was formed as a 50/50 joint label with the Island Def Jam Music Group.

With his brothers Danny and Joseph (Rev. Run) Simmons, he founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation in 1995. This organization is dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as offering exhibition opportunities to under-represented artists and artists of color.

Mr. Simmons organized the historic Hip-Hop Summit in 2001, and subsequently founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), to harness the cultural relevance of hip-hop music as a catalyst for education advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the well-being of at-risk youth throughout the United States. Among HSAN's major initiatives has been Hip-Hop Team Vote, a 50-city grassroots force that registered and mobilized young voters in 2004.

Mr. Simmons is also the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening relations between ethnic communities.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.

Russell Simmons Facts

BirthdayOctober 4, 1957 (64)
BirthplaceQueens, New York, USA
Social Media UncleRUSH

Selected Filmography

Russell Simmons' Presents Def Comedy 82
Russell Simmons' Presents Def Comedy 93
Bone Tomahawk
Vegan: Everyday Stories
Episode 1
Light My Fire
ADD Presents: Tyree Elaine
2 Turntables and a Microphone
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