Russell Simmons Takes On Hollywood With Upcoming Film & TV Projects
Russell Simmons has long made his mark as a music mogul, but now the Def Jam co-founder is taking his talents to the West Coast to develop a series of TV and film projects. As part of Simmons’ Hollywood takeover, he will embark upon shooting a TV show pilot, a Hip-Hop opera, and much more.
According to a report from Billboard, Uncle Rush has been living in Los Angeles since early 2014, and already has a number of the pending projects ready to go. In a phone interview, Simmons shared what those projects will be, including working with 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen on a TV drama which will take place in New York. There’s also an impending “rap opera” titled Cain and Abel which was written by Omar Epps and Onyx standout Sticky Fingaz.
One of the more interesting points of the interview was Simmons speaking on the lack of integration in Hollywood and wishes to reverse the trend. Billboard has more:
Simmons wants to give hip-hop artists a higher profile. But his goal is grander than that. He’s focused on “reintegrating” the entertainment business, which in his view has drifted back into a segregated state.
And Hollywood is a prime offender. He believes black and white actors share top billing in hit movies far less often than they once did – think Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs., say, or Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon.
“Right now if you see a poster for a black movie, it looks like a Hallmark card strictly for black people,” says Simmons with a wry laugh. “If you’re white, you just will not go in a theater and see About Last Night.”
Simmons says he’s going to put his formidable money where his mouth is, and hints possible pairings like Channing Tatum and Rick Ross in his projects. He also had some choice parting words for the Hollywood machine during his chat.
Photo: C. Smith/WENN