D.L. Chandler

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

Comment Comments: 2 Tags Tags: russell simmons

More Stories From Hip-Hop Wired

Leave a Comment

  • uguess45

    Maybe he will turn my children’s books into a series. I’m not hard to find ” have your people call my people.”

  • Lady

    I hear you on this issue Russ. I definitely feel there is a need to break down those “white” cogs that run the Hollywood machine, especially when you are invested in “that life”. On a side note, it could take a lot less of your time and money to possibly request RFP (not to the oldheads you know…(leaving out names to protect the innocent) to initiate youth programs in HOLLIS to start educating and teaching them on the road to getting to Hollywood. Hollywood is where you are at, but not where you are from. It is easy to forget the early beginnings, but you went to school with my family, I listened to Run & DMC when they were banging beats on the mailbox on 201st and DMC had tape holding his glasses together…their days hanging in Flushing, etc. History goes deep, loves runs deeper, but your ROOTS are what helped make you who you are today.