Forbes Magazine recently named Russell Simmons one of “Hollywood’s Most Influential Celebrities.” USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years,” calling him a “hip-hop pioneer” for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, the jewelry industry, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.
From creating his seminal Def Jam Recordings in 1984, to his fashion industry changing brands including Phat Farm in 1992, Baby Phat in 2001 and current men’s lifestyle brand Argyleculture, to the founding of UniRush in 2003 providing instant access to a set of basic financial services for over 48 million Americans who could not previously establish traditional banking relationships, to the 2007 publishing of his New York Times best-seller Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success, to founding GlobalGrind.com, the leading online destination for celebrity entertainment, music, culture and politics for the new, post-racial America and his latest New York Times bestseller “SUPER RICH: A Guide To Having It All”, Russell is recognized globally for his influence and entrepreneurial approach to both business and philanthropy.
With many decades of successes behind him, Russell recently announced the launch of three new ventures – his original content YouTube channel, All Def Digital (www.YouTube.com/AllDefDigital) – a destination for cutting-edge urban music, comedy and spoken word programming, All Def Music – a next generation music label in partnership with Universal Music Group and created to sign, develop and promote artists on YouTube, and the recently formed NARRATIVE – a marketing, entertainment and technology agency focused on developing cross-platform, story-led experiences and solutions for brands. Employing a blend of strategy, creative innovation, product development & cultural expertise across key platforms.
Giving back is of primary importance to him in all aspects of life and as Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications he has consistently leveraged his influence in the recording industry, fashion, television, financial services, and jewelry sectors to give back. A devoted yogi, Russell also leads the non-profit division of his empire, Rush Community Affairs, and its ongoing commitment to empowering at-risk youth through education, the arts, social engagement, and promoting racial harmony and strengthening inter-group relations. In 1995 Simmons and his brothers (painter Danny Simmons, and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons) co-founded Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a nonprofit that provides arts education programs to inner-city students by putting galleries – and teaching artists – in public schools; and offers exhibition opportunities to emerging and mid-career artists through its two galleries: Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn and Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan.
Russell is a native New Yorker who attended City College of New York. His latest book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple (Gotham Books) was recently named a New York Times best-seller.
Russell has two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee.