Simmons at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Mansome
October 4, 1957 |
Queens, New York, United States
|Occupation||Co-founder of Def Jam and founder of Phat Farm, Argyleculture, American Classics|
|Net worth||$340 million (2011) |
|Spouse(s)||Kimora Lee (1998–2009)|
Russell Wendell Simmons (born October 4, 1957) is an American business magnate. He and Rick Rubin founded the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam. He also created the clothing fashion lines Phat Farm, Argyleculture, and American Classics.
Simmons was raised in Queens, New York. He is the son of Daniel Simmons, Sr., a public school administrator, and Evelyn Simmons, a New York City park administrator. His older brother is abstract expressionist painter Daniel Simmons, Jr., and his younger brother is Rev. Joseph Simmons ("Run" of Run-DMC).
Def Jam became just one piece in Simmons' corporation, Rush Communications, Inc., which included a management company, a clothing company called Phat Farm, a movie production house, television shows such as Def Comedy Jam, a magazine and an advertising agency. Rick Rubin sold his share of the record company for $100 million to Universal Music Group in 1996. Simmons produced Def Poetry, begun as a television series on HBO, which also branched into a Broadway live stage production in 2002. In 2000, he co-founded the Internet start-up 360 Hip Hop which he later sold to BET.
He is also majority shareholder of the website Global Grind.
In 1985 Russell Simmons co-produced and appeared in the film, Krush Groove.
Personal life 
Simmons met model Kimora Lee in November 1992 at New York's fashion week. They dated for four years and married on December 20, 1998  on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, F.W.I.. Officiating was Russell's brother, the Reverend Run, now an ordained minister. They have 2 daughters together, Ming Lee (born 2000) and Aoki Lee (born 2002). Before the couple's divorce, they owned a 4-acre (16,000 m2), 49,000-square-foot (4,600 m2), 10-bedroom marital home located in Saddle River, New Jersey. The home includes both indoor and outdoor pools, a wine cellar and a movie theater. Just down the road is the home of his brother, Joseph Simmons, a.k.a. Rev Run. In March 2006, Lee and Simmons announced that they would be getting a divorce. Their divorce finalized in January 2009. They continued to work together on their Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing lines.
In December of 2012, Simmons hired German model Hana Nitsche as his personal escort until February 2013. 
Russell Simmons has been vegan since 1998 and advocates the adoption of practicing Ahimsa and veganism citing animal rights along with the environmental and health benefits. Simmons is a supporter of Farm Sanctuary, an organization working to end cruelty to farm animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals awarded him with the 2001 PETA Humanitarian Award and the 2011 Person of the Year Award. In May 2009, Simmons was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Slavery Memorial at the United Nations to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In a similar vein, Simmons is a supporter of the Somaly Mam Foundation, and was honored at their 2011 gala dinner. Russell Simmons officially endorses the second Muslim Jewish Conference 2011. Together with Rabbi Marc Schneier he served as the official patron of the conference held July 2011 in Kiev, Ukraine. In 2011, he took part in the Occupy Wall Street protests, visiting the protestors at Zuccotti Park often and for many consecutive days.
Simmons is also a long-time supporter for gay rights. He encourages marriage equality. In 2011, when Lowe's withdrew funding from the show All-American Muslim, Simmons promised to pay the Learning Channel for any revenue lost.
In 2012, Simmons supported Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich's re-election campaign, appearing with the politician at various speaking events. “We can’t afford to lose Dennis, because he is the voice of Main Street Americans and progressive politics,” Simmons said in a statement.
In January 2011 he stated in an interview that he is not a Buddhist as previously reported, but is a non-religious practitioner of Yoga, where he prays to the Ātman, or the self. Simmons practices a method of Yoga known as Jivamukti Yoga, which encourages vegetarianism and social and environmental activism.
Simmons is a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and a supporter of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, which was established to ensure that any child in America who wants to learn and practice TM can do so.
- Padgett, Tania (April 26, 2011). "Russell Simmons: Getting rich is so simple". CNN.
- Aquino, Joann Natalia (February 20, 2011), "Russell Simmons, 'godfather of hip hop,' comes to Seattle: Part of 20-city author tour", Seattle P-I, retrieved February 3, 2012
- Kugel, Allison (January 3, 2011). "Russell Simmons Talks to PR.com - "My Religion is Compassion"". PR.com. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
- Russell Simmons; Nelson George (2001). Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, and God. Random House. ISBN 0609606077.
- Russell, Kimora Lee Simmons Split People.com, 31 March 2006
- "Simmonses, LeBlancs split". Oakland Tribune. 01 Apr 2006. p. 1.
- Russell Simmons on his vegan diet, Obama and yoga at Youtube
- "Thanksgiving getting a remake courtesy of Russell Simmons". USA Today. November 13, 2009.
- Cookie Lommell, Russell Simmons Infobase Publishing 2007.
- Calvin Stovall, "Russell Simmons Honored by PETA," BET 19 December 2011.
- Secretary-General pledges to fill gap in knowledge about causes, effects of transatlantic slave trade United Nations
- Staff, Global Grind. "Russell Simmons Got A Joyful Hamptons' Social Life, Hosts Somaly Mam Foundation Benefit". Global Grind. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "2011 East Coast Gala". Somaly Mam Foundation. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- "Russell Simmons, gay marriage and Maryland". The Washington Post.
- Samuel G. Freedman (2011-12-16). "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims".
- "Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons to appear with Kucinich". Toledo Blade.
- Russell Simmons Expounds on the Transition from Materialism to Meditation
- Hurt III, Harry (April 22, 2007). "The Russell Simmons Guide to Success Through Spirituality". The New York Times.
- A Day of Yoga with Russell Simmons, David Life & Sharon Gannon MindBodyGreen, January 10, 2011.
- Russel Simmons: "Why I meditate." Huffington Post, February 24, 2010.
- Press Conference David Lynch Foundation
Russell also co-wrote Do You-12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success with Chris Morrow in 2007.
Further reading 
- Kugel, Allison (January 3, 2011). "Russell Simmons Talks to PR.com - "My Religion is Compassion"". PR.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Russell Simmons|
- Bio and photo of Russell Simmons — Crain's New York Business 40 under 40 — 1992[dead link]
- Russell Simmons' Written Portrait Of His Family
- Current information on Def Poetry Jam[dead link]
- Biography from Salon
- Russell and his brothers featured in the documentary film, Lemonade Stories.
- Russell Simmons Interview on CBC
- Russell Simmons Interview on Soundslam
- Voices on Antisemitism Interview with Russell Simmons & Marc Schneier from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Run Athletics
- Russell Simmons on VYou!