University of Pittsburgh
October 28, 2003

Pitt Program Council to Host Hip-Hop Impresario Russell Simmons

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh Pitt Program Council will present "An Evening with Russell Simmons," chair and CEO of Rush Communications and cofounder of Def Jam Recordings, at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 10 in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room, 3959 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.

During the last 25 years, Simmons introduced hip hop to every facet of media and pop culture. He helped to start HBO's "The Def Comedy Jam" and "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry," the Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing lines, OneWorld Magazine, the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, which promotes hip-hop music as a means of addressing educational and other societal concerns facing at-risk youth in the United States.

In 1984, Simmons cofounded Def Jam Recordings, which quickly developed into rap's premiere label. Today, the label continues to hold the leading spot in the market with 2002 revenues of $780 million. Def Jam's roster began with LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Slick Rick, and Public Enemy. It now includes such stars as Jay-Z, DMX, Method Man, and Montell Jordan.

In 1991, Simmons produced "Def Comedy Jam" for HBO, which ran for seven years and helped revolutionize the American comedy industry. It promoted some of today's popular comedians, including Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker, Steve Harvey, Jamie Foxx, DL Hughley, and Bill Bellamy.

Simmons, whose interests extend beyond the business world, works for social, political, and philanthropic causes, pushing hip hop to new plateaus of power and relevance.

Tickets for the event are $8 for students with a valid Pitt ID, and $16 for others. For more information, call 412-648-7900.