Russell Wendell Simmons is an American entrepreneur, record executive, writer, and film producer. He is chairman and CEO of Rush Communications, co-founded the hip hop music label Def Jam Recordings, and created the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and Tantris.
Simmons co-founded Def Jam in 1983 with Rick Rubin, who sold his share of the company for $120 million to Universal Music Group in 1996. In 1985, Simmons co-produced and appeared in the film Krush Groove.
Simmons' company, Rush Communications Inc., includes over ten businesses and three non-profits. Simmons, with his partner Stan Lathan, has also produced television hits HBO's Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam, and currently has a development deal with HBO.
In 1996, Simmons co-produced the hit film The Nutty Professor, starring Eddie Murphy. In 1997, Simmons co-produced the film Def Jam's How to Be a Player, starring Bill Bellamy.
In 2003 Simmons co-founded RushCard, a prepaid debit card provider.
In 1992, Simmons launched the clothing line Phat Fashions LLC using the Phat Farm and Phat Baby labels. When Simmons first created Phat Fashions LLC, the clothing line was sold in a shop in the SoHo district of Manhattan. Simmons's connections with well known rap artists helped to promote the clothing line to a wide audience. The influence of designers such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger gave the clothing line a classic look and feel. Phat Fashions encompassed hip hop clothing for women and children, as well as men, and grew into a lifestyle brand with the addition of jewelry, perfume, and other merchandise. Phat Fashions LLC sold merchandise in two stores in New York and Montreal, as well as online at www.phatfarm.com. In addition, the clothing line was carried by some 3,000 retailers in the United States.
With Cross River garment factory in mind, the new relationships we are building between African businesses, governments and African American business empires will soon see the likes of Russell Simmons visiting and engaging Africa. The American Irish, the American Jews, the American Arabs, the American Chinese they all help to attract businesses to their original homelands, its time Africans and African Americans build a lasting business relationship.