Sticking Together

There has been a lot in the gossip news lately about Damon Dash, one of the founders of Def Jam, and his financial woes. Apparently he's been on the down slide personally and professionally since Jay-Z, his once partner, left Roc-A-Fella Records. I try not to get too caught up in the gossip because how will we ever REALLY know what's going on, but I read something today that brought me some insight into the character of man.

Ain’t No Nigga Like..Dame Dash
Hip-Hop Chronicles: A Blog by Russell Simmons

Sitting in the audience last night at the crowded 37th Street Arts
Theater in NYC, I witnessed another great Damon Dash contribution, one
that takes hip-hop culture to another significant level of

Sony Entertainment and Damon Dash produced the “Hip-Hop Monologues:
Inside the Life and Mind of Jim Jones.” It’s a fantastic show that
portrays the evolution of hip-hop through the life of Jim Jones.

I have to say: Damon Dash is a hip-hop genius who should never be……underestimated. I have watched Dame’s growth, development and
entrepreneurship over the years, not from a distance, but through
first hand observation. He was one of the creative forces behind
Roc-A-Fella Records, the architect of Rocawear Fashions, he made
significant, culturally relevant movies with Dash Films and has made
other creative cultural statements through Dash Enterprises. And
another great note… He spent a small fortune developing a major
talent and women’s brand through supporting his wife to the hilt !!

In our early days, Lyor Cohen and I used to shout at Damon. And Damon
would shout back. Then we would hug and go handle our business That
was our way of communicating. Eventually, Lyor got older and I did
more yoga and we both stopped shouting so much . Dame eventually made
a few bad choices and a few things went sour. We know haters love a
man who’s been hot to catch a lil cold. Hate spreads. But like Tony
Montana said “Two Quaaludes ….. And they gonna love him again.”

So haters, it really doesn’t matter about your blogs from the
sidelines. Dame’s gonna help heat the economy again!! But if he
got hit by a truck today remember this: Dame’s a giver by nature.
That’s why he has already received so much. He was the business
leader, the Architect, and one of the creative forces that built
Roc-A-Fella Records into an empire. I remember that it was Damon who
came to my office, after we signed Jay-Z to be on The Nutty Professor
soundtrack, with a bag of cash ready to put his money where his mouth
was. :-). But the record “Ain’t No Nigga…” didn’t need his cash
(hit from The Nutty Professor). It was a masterpiece and so was his
artist. Jay-Z: the greatest rapper of all time. I saw countless
displays of vision and faith all the way up to and beyond his struggle
to convince everyone, when no one else believed him, of the artistry
and the genius of Kanye West.

In order to succeed in this business you need to have both a business
sense and great creative instincts (The latter is intuitive and
cannot be learned). Damon has, once again, proven that he is a great
innovator with amazing vision.
So now he is helping Jim Jones in a powerful manner that combines
their collective experiences around being born and raised in Harlem by
taking the culture to the 37th Street Theater, off-Broadway in New
York City, with a live hip-hop band, dance, multimedia and the
dynamics of theatrical stage presentations focusing on the struggles
of life through the lens of hip-hop. I have two pieces of advice: 1)
respect Dame’s gangster 2) go see the play immediately.

Russell Simmons has had clear success in the hip hop world - heck if you saw "Krush Groove" you know he was a founder! For him to step up and speak so highly of someone others have spoken so poorly of in the face of his misfortune is a remarkable show of strength in my opinion. I want to be that type of woman - I want to stand behind folk I believe in no matter what AND I wish to be surrounded by folk who will stand by me if things get rough. Last year when I lost my job and my facade of a world began to collapse, I found myself quite alone. While I'm always surrounded by people, few of them REALLY were there to support me in my darkest hour. Luckily the few that were there were essential in breaking me out of my funk. I am grateful for those people in my life and I hope I'm as good of a friend to them as they have been to me!

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