Russell Simmons"Victoria DeSantis, who is on our Western Sales Team, was watching MTV's Cribs and was happy to see Russell Simmons' freezer brimming with Amy's vegan eats."
Combining Hip Hop and a vegan lifestyle may seem incongruous, but, to Russell Simmons, a life of disparate interests and passions only helps him to develop his next idea into a huge success. Whether producing music, poetry slams, expanding his fashion clothing line, promoting free-speech initiatives or devoting time to the practice of yoga, Russell Simmons shows he can accomplish anything when he puts his heart into it.
Russell Simmons was born in Queens, New York on 4 October, 1957. While attending City College of New York, he was inspired by the growing music scene in New York. In the late ‘70s, he left college during his senior year to become a music promoter. At one point his mother lent him $2,000 after a concert he promoted turned out to be a bust.
In 1984 he founded Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin. One of their first musical acts, Run DMC, included Russell’s brother, Joey (aka Run) in the line-up. Other acts followed, including the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, The Fresh Prince and Public Enemy. Def Jam Records is often credited with bringing Hip-Hop music and culture into the mainstream. Shortly after starting Def Jam, the pair produced a movie, “Krush Groove”, loosely based on Def Jams inception. Thus began his multi-media empire, known as Rush Media.
In addition to Def Jam Records (which he sold to Universal in 1999), Simmons portfolio includes: Phat Farm clothing, Def Pictures, the television shows, "Def Comedy Jam" and "Russell Simmons' Oneworld Music Beat", Oneworld Magazine and an advertising agency, Rush Media Company.
Simmons credits yoga with bringing him greater perspective and says that he would rather be remembered as a philanthropist than a Hip Hop impresario.
When asked about his vegan lifestyle, he has reportedly said that he wouldn’t eat anything that could run away from him. He has spoken out publicly against cruelty in factory farming. In 2001, he founded the Hip Hop Summit “a non-profit, non-partisan national coalition of Hip-Hop artists, entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil rights proponents, and youth leaders united in the belief that Hip-Hop is an enormously influential agent for social change which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to fight the war on poverty and injustice.” For more information about the Hip Hop Summit, log on to the website at http://www.hsan.org.