Russell Simmons
Co-Founder, Def Jam Records
Call 424.288.2898

Biography Print Bio

Acknowledged as the Godfather of Hip-Hop, he is the visionary behind Def Jam, the legendary label that launched the careers of such artists as Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Jay-Z and Ludicrous; his immensely successful fashion empire of Phat Fashions defines the next generation of chic style, while his Def Comedy Jam, Run’s House and Def Poetry Jam shows breathed new life into comedy and poetry on TV – clearly Russell Simmons is one of the main reasons that Hip-Hop has become the most popular and profitable youth culture in the world today.

Since founding the Def Jam record label in 1984, Russell Simmons has done more than anyone to bring rap and hip-hop into the public consciousness. In candid talks he recounts his own meteoric rise from the streets of Queens to revolutionary music impresario and multimillionaire entrepreneur, in galvanizing his listeners to set their sights high and pursue their dreams. He also welcomes opportunities to discuss the social and political issues that concern him most, including world hunger, AIDS, animal rights, and voter registration.

Russell began his career as a fledgling promoter of the music he heard on the streets of New York City, and today helms the largest black-owned communications company in the United States. A passionate activist from the beginning of his career, he has campaigned against cruelty to animals, launched voter registration drives (such as Getting Out the Vote), and mobilized the hip-hop community to discuss responsible directions in image and marketing in the new millennium. In July 2006 Russell was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations as part of a campaign to use hip-hop to raise public awareness of world poverty, war, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition.

This May, the business and cultural icon finally shares his experiences in and beliefs on success in Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success. Simmons has been instrumental in bringing hip-hop to every facet of business and media since its inception in the late 1970’s, and with a major new digital initiative launching this spring, is more current today than ever. He is also heavily involved with several philanthropic and community organizations including Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the Rush Philanthropic Arts Program, the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Diamond Empowerment Fund. But no matter what the venture, Russell is always driven by the belief that hip-hop and the arts are enormously influential agents for social change. It’s these personal beliefs that have set the foundation for Do You!, which gives readers the 12 “laws” that have fueled Russell’s unprecedented success in business and in life. Their universality insures that they can be applied to the pursuit of success in any venture of industry. Powerful and inspired, Do You! is a rare business acumen, fierce spiritual faith and priceless advice.

Simmons currently resides in Beverly Hills.

Speech Topics

  • Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success
  • Life and Def: Russell Simmons on What Matters Most
  • Getting Out the Vote: Becoming a Part of the Political Process
  • From Queens to King: The Russell Simmons Story
Related Speakers