EXCLUSIVE: Hip-hop mogul, film and television producer and entrepreneur Russell Simmons has signed with WME for representation in all areas. He was at CAA. The representation shift follows the Def Jam founder’s decision earlier this year to move full time to Los Angeles to focus on building his film and TV businesses, run by Jake Stein and recently appointed Chris Conti, respectively. Under a two-year first-look deal at HBO, which Simmons inked in May, he is executive producing a high-profile new drama project from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. Simmons’ other entertainment endeavors include being the co-founder of the new YouTube channel All Def Digital and of the production company Simmons-Lathan Media Group with partner Stan Lathan, which was behind HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and hit feature The Nutty Professor, among others. Simmons also is the owner and founder of Rush Communications, which spans entertainment, media, fashion and lifestyle, and founder of the online entertainment news website GlobalGrind.com. In music, Simmons co-founded Def Jam Recordings with partner Rick Rubin and spawned the careers of hip-hop stars Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, and Jay Z, among others. He most recently partnered with Universal Music to launch the YouTube-focused music label All Def Music. Simmons, also is a best-selling author, continues to be repped by Ken Ziffren.
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