On this day in comedy in 1957 Def Comedy Jam Co-Creator, and Hip Hop Mogul, Russell Wendell Simmons was born in Queens, New York.
While attending City College of New York in Harlem, Simmons met DJ/Bboy Kurt Walker, who would change his life. Walker turned him onto hip hop. From there Simmons caught the tiger by the tail and refused to let it go. He formed the Def Jam label in 1983 along with partner, Rick Rubin (who sold out to Universal 13 years later for 2 billion dollars) and his empire grew. He created fashion: Phat Farm, American Classics and Argyleculture; published books, produced films (Krush Groove), founded Internet start-ups and like everybody else, had his own reality show.
Simmons is perhaps most noted for the phenomenon known as Def Comedy Jam. Each week he’d bring new comedic talent to a waiting public. It spawned the careers of Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker, and many more. Simmons would appear at the end of each show to say, Thanks for coming out, God bless you. Good-night.” He also produced the award winning Def Poetry Jam.
Russell Simmons is the third richest mogul in hip hop with an estimated net worth in excess of $340 million.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton