Date of Birth
October 04, 1957 (59 Years Old)
Co-founder of Def Jam Records
5 ft 8 in
Russell Simmons is a renowned entrepreneur, author, and music producer. In 1983, he co-founded Def Jam Recordings, one of the most recognized record labels in music. It is an American music label focused on hip-hop and urban music.
In 1999, Russell Simmons sold his shares of the company to Universal Music Group for around $120 million to focus on other business endeavors. His current net worth is around $350 million.
Simmons started his company Rush Communications Inc. after he dropped out of college in the early 80s. Since then, the company has expanded to around ten business and three non-profit organizations.
Russell Simmons is also one of the brains behind HBO’s widely popular Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam. He is also one of the producers of the hit Eddie Murphy movie franchise The Nutty Professor.
Simmons used to be married to Korean-American fashion model turned fashion designer Kimora Lee. He ventured into lifestyle and clothing with Phat Farm, with popular lifestyle line Baby Phat at the helm. Simmons was CEO before stepping down, where his then-wife Lee assumed the CEO position from Creative Director.
Simmons sold the company in 2004, and later on he announced his divorce from Lee in 2009. He has two daughters from his marriage with Lee: Ming Lee, who was born in 2000, and Aoki, who was born in 2002.
In 1995, Simmons, along with his brothers Danny and Joseph, founded the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a non-profit targeting youth art programs. They currently have two art galleries featuring work from artists of different backgrounds.
In 2001, Simmons and civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr. founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, a non-profit that aims to use hip-hop and its relevance in raising awareness for issues concerning the youth. He also co-founded the Diamond Empowerment Fund in 2007, which aims to bring education and other related initiatives to countries that focus on mining and producing diamonds mainly in South Africa. Aside from his various organizations, Simmons is also a staunch supporter and member of other non-profit organizations aimed at the betterment of the world.
Simmons also recently launched All Def Digital, a media company that focuses on media and youth culture by taking advantage of the growth of digital media and its various platforms. Although no longer a character commonly seen in pop news and pop culture, Russell Simmons has certainly left an impact and a legacy that is worth emulating and following.