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An Evening With Russell Simmons


This hour-long one-on-one interview program provided a rare and insightful look into the life of hip-hop’s pioneering businessman, Russell Simmons. Taped in Chicago, Simmons was interviewed by media maven Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One and TV-One.

Simmons shared his life story before a sold-out crowd of one thousand, telling of his childhood in Queens, New York, his becoming a co-founder of Def Jam records, his enormous successes with the clothing line, Phat Farm, and Def Comedy Jam and Def Poetry Jam. Simmons also spoke at length about his philanthropic initiatives and about his political involvement in urging others to vote. Simmons’ influence can be felt in virtually all aspects of business and media, be it music, fashion, financial services and even the beverage industry.

An Evening With Russell Simmons featured seldom seen historic footage and interviews with friends and associates filmed over the course of Simmons’ career. Taped in front of a live audience at The Art Institute of Chicago, An Evening With Russell Simmons celebrated The HistoryMakers’ fifth anniversary. The program was held in memory of Launa Thompson, wife of Abe Thompson. In attendance was previously honored HistoryMaker, Dionne Warwick, as well as numerous other HistoryMakers. Will Griffin, president and COO of Simmons Lathan Media Group also premiered The HistoryMakers DVD Collection on Faith, Success and Courage.


Discover Financial Services


Hilton Hotels CorporationMcDonald's CorporationWGRB RadioWVAZ RadioWGCI Radio


Aon plcChicago TribuneComcast CorporationAriel Investments, LLCWalgreens CompanyAmerican Airlines


  • Boeing
  • Capri Capital
  • ComEd
  • Jenner & Block
  • Lifeforce International


  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Anheuser Busch
  • Bank One
  • Bonaparte Corporation
  • Michelle Collins
  • Neal, Murdock & Leroy, LLC
  • Nielsen Media Research
  • Northern Trust Bank
  • Nuveen
  • Sara Lee Foundation
  • Shorebank
  • Sophisticate's Black Hair
  • Starcom MediaVest Group
  • State Farm Insurance
  • George & Joan Johnson

Additional Contributor

  • American Family Insurance
  • Francorp
  • Kraft
  • Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation
  • Reginald Powe

Executive Director

  • Julieanna Richardson



  • Tom Spencer

Event Co-Chairs

  • William Bonaparte, Jr.
  • Kathy Roberts
  • Mike Roberts
  • Abe Thompson


Honorary Co-Chairs

  • Clarence Avant
  • Will Griffin
  • The Honorable Emil Jones, Jr.
  • Stan Lathan
  • Michael Scott, Sr.

Benefit Committee

  • Patricia Andrews-Keenan
  • Terry Bell
  • Kimberly Bolden
  • Brady & Geraldine Brownlee
  • Frank Clark
  • Michelle Collins
  • Les Coney
  • Kevann Cooke
  • David Day
  • Amina Dickerson
  • Denise Gardner
  • Frank Gihan
  • Craig Gilmore
  • Gloria Hemphill
  • Ralph Hughes
  • James Hunter
  • Ed King
  • Aly Kurti
  • Mercedes Laing
  • Thomas Loughlin
  • Myron & Pamela Louik
  • Sarah Malone
  • Leonard & Rochelle McGee
  • Kai J. Bunch Minor
  • Johnita Mizelle
  • Sharon Morrow
  • Tom Murphy
  • Kevin Newell
  • Lisa Newman
  • Jamie Piette
  • Floyd Pitts
  • Quintin Primo III
  • Ruth L. Ratny
  • Rosemary Reeves
  • Al Reid
  • Dee Robinson
  • Mr. & Mrs. John W. Rogers, Jr.
  • Anna Roosevelt
  • Carol Hillsman Sagers
  • Belkis M. Santos
  • Langdon Neal & Jeanette Sublett
  • Laurie Tansey
  • Chester Singleteary
  • Deborah Thomas
  • Jacqueline Williams
  • Ginger Wilson

Date and Time

Friday, October 22, 2004


The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
United States