Russell Simmons Biopic Underway, Kenya Barris Writing Script
A new biopic about Russell Simmons is underway. According to reports, the music and business mogul has snagged a pic via Fox, titled “Life and Def: Sex Drugs Money + God.” The biopic will chronicle his rise from the inner city streets of Queens to one of the most influential music/fashion culture impresarios of his era. Kenya Barris, the creator of ABC’s hit series Black-ish and co-writer of films that include “Barbershop: The Next Cut”, will pen the script. The biopic will also,
Capture the rebellious rise of rap and hip hop in America, through the prism of the disruptive Simmons and the formation of Def Jam Records. That label started with rap icons like L.L. Cool J, Public Enemy, and the Beastie Boys and grew to include Kanye West, Jay-Z and DMX. It’s a different view of a zeitgeist movement than L.A-set films like Straight Outta Compton or All Eyez On Me. The backdrop here is New York City in the early ’80s, when crime and crack were spreading like wildfire, Gotham City teetered on bankruptcy and MTV was blowing up as disco was dying. Into that vacuum walked Simmons, a young party and record promoter who emerged from hustling on the streets of Hollis Queens to managing young musical artists who were rapping words to a beat instead of singing a melody, with furious passionate lyrics that burned across ethnic, class and geographic lines and spoke to an emerging youth culture.
The project is a co-production between Simmons’ Def Pictures and Misher Films, with Simmons and Kevin Misher producing.