Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons started his own music management company (Rush Management) and became a concert promoter in the late 1970s. But it was in 1985 that Simmons, along with Rick Rubin, formed the iconic music label Def Jam Recordings. They went on to sign some of the biggest acts in hip hop, from Run DMC to Will Smith and the Beastie Boys. Simmons sold his stake in Def Jam in 1999 and later expanded his television ventures, launching the successful Def Comedy Jam on HBO, Def Poetry Jam (which was also on HBO and garnered a Tony nomination when it was staged on Broadway) and the Phat Farm clothing line. He has been a political activist, forming the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, and is an ardent yoga devotee. Simmons has two daughters with former wife, model/entrepreneur Kimora Lee Simmons.

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