Build Presents Russell Simmons, Donte Clark And Jason Zeldes Discussing "Romeo Is Bleeding" Build Presents Russell Simmons, Donte Clark And Jason Zeldes Discussing "Romeo Is Bleeding"
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More Women Step Forward With Rape Accusations Against Russell Simmons

Five women describe episodes of sexual misconduct with the Def Jam co-founder.

Russell Simmons has been accused of rape by four women in incidents spanning from 1983 to 1996 in New York Times and Los Angeles Times reports both published Wednesday (Dec. 13).

As well, another five women described episodes of sexual misconduct with the Def Jam co-founder as recently as 2016. Simmons issued statements to both newspapers denying the women's accounts.

"I have accepted that I can and should get dirt on my sleeves if it means witnessing the birth of a new consciousness about women. What I will not accept is responsibility for what I have not done," read Simmons' statement to the New York Times. "I have conducted my life with a message of peace and love. Although I have been candid about how I have lived in books and interviews detailing my flaws, I will relentlessly fight against any untruthful character assassination that paints me as a man of violence."

READ: : HBO Removes Russell Simmons Name from 'All Def Comedy' After Sexual Assault Claims

The alleged attacks largely follow a similar pattern, where Simmons used his power and influence as one of music's top executives to assert his dominance over women to lure them into compromised situations where he would sexually assault them. Many of the alleged victims have now left the music industry -- either as artists or executives -- due largely to their negative experiences with Simmons, they said.

The latest accusations follow sexual assault claims against Simmons that came last month from former fashion model Keri Claussen Khalighi and screenwriter Jenny Lumet. The former label head-turned-wellness impresario denied those claims as well and responded to them -- as he did many of the new accounts -- saying he remembered the events differently. After those initial accusations surfaced, Simmons announced he was stepping away from his various businesses.

In the Los Angeles Times report, Sherri Hines of the all-female hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies says Simmons raped her in his office around 1983 when she was 17 or 18, after inviting her up one night when the two ran into each other at a club.

READ: : Russell Simmons Pens Response to Sexual Assault Allegations

Toni Sallie, a former music journalist for the trade magazine Black Radio Exclusive, told the New York Times she met Simmons while on assignment and the two dated casually in 1987. The next year, she said, Simmons invited her to his Manhattan apartment for a party he said he was hosting for his girlfriend. But when Sallie arrived, Simmons was the only one there. After a showing her around, she said, he brought her into his bedroom and raped her. About a year later, Sallie was working for Warner Bros. Records and she said she had to physically fight off Simmons advances one night at a hotel during a music conference in South Florida.

In late 1990 or early 1991, Tina Baker was a singer being managed by Simmons. One night after they ran into each other a club, she said he invited her back his apartment to discuss her career. Once she was there, she said, he raped her. Baker's professional career with Simmons continued after that and she recounted another episode where he exposed himself to her and moved towards her, but she escaped. Baker said she was unable to effectively extricate herself from her contract with Simmons and her musical career became stagnate as a consequence.

Former Def Jam A&R executive Drew Dixon told the New York Times that Simmons made relentless, aggressive sexual advances towards her when she joined the company in 1992. At work, he would close the door to her office and expose himself. But his favor was also key to her creating a successful career and she said she fended him off, while hoping she could lock in a hit record that would help establish her name. It came in 1995 when she executive produced a soundtrack for the music documentary The Show, featuring Tupac and A Tribe Called Quest, but while out celebrating the album's platinum success she said she let her guard down and entered Simmons' apartment. He pushed himself on her and she blacked out as he raped her, she said, even though she hadn't been drinking that night.

READ: : Russell Simmons Accuser Says She 'Froze,' Tried to 'Normalize' What Happened

Soon after, Dixon resigned from Def Jam and started at Arista Records. When L.A. Reid joined the label in 2000, she said he began sexualizing her as well and would turn cold when she denied his advances.

Between the New York Times and Los Angeles Times' reporting, five more women have alleged sexual misconduct from Simmons that ranges from attempting to force one to perform oral sex on him in 1996 to using vulgar language during a 2016 business meeting with actress Amanda Seales to ask if they had ever had sex.

"These new stories range from the patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful claims," Simmons told the Los Angeles Times. "I want to restate categorically what I have said previously: I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life."

Many of the alleged victims said they felt moved to come forward with their stories after Simmons denied any misconduct with Khalighi and Lumet.

To each of the incidents above, Simmons denies any misconduct through his lawyer, Brad D. Rose, with statements rebuking every claim. Those can be read -- along with the alleged victims' full stories -- in the New York Times report here and the Los Angeles Times report here.

The article was originally published in Billboard

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Kehlani Plays Bryson Tiller’s Love Interest In “Always Forever” Video

Kehlani stars as Tiller’s love interest in the intimate new music video for “Always Forever,” released on Thursday (Oct. 22).

The stunning visual, directed by Glenn Michael of Toronto’s Kid Studio, is a creative take on how a relationship can become your entire universe. Tyler and Kehlani cuddle up, kiss, and hold hand in the steamy visual, prompting some fans to question the chemistry between the two. They might look pretty cozy, but Kehlani and Tiller are just friends (Tiller welcomed a child with girlfriend Kendra Bailey last year).

 

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🌎🎥💫Thanks Guys. #alwaysforever @kidstudio_ @ichiki @kehlani

A post shared by [ Bryson ] (@brysontiller) on Oct 22, 2020 at 12:35pm PDT

Kehlani shared some close-up stills from the music video on Instagram along with a message thanking Tiller for being a “solid” friend. “To one of my dearest friends…matching tattoos, years worth of stories, nights of dying laughter and holding each other down in the roughest times…I’m so proud of you. Thank you for being solid.”

The post was deleted after fans in the comments continued to speculate if the two were an item. Kehlani shared a follow-up message on her Instagram Story explaining in part, “I post lengthy captions about all my friends. You would have to follow me to know that.”

 

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#Roommates, #Kehlani explains her previous message to #BrysonTiller. (SWIPE for previous post)

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Oct 22, 2020 at 11:53am PDT

“Always Forever” is the latest single from Tiller’s newly released ANNIVERSARY LP.

Watch the video below.

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Jeezy Seemingly Challenges T.I. To A Verzuz Battle

An ATLien edition of Verzuz could be on the way. Jeezy appeared to challenge T.I. to a friendly battle after the Grand Hustle frontman “respectfully” shot down an offer from Busta Rhymes.

Without directly naming Tip, Jeezy posted a cryptic video message on Instagram on Wednesday (Oct. 21) subtly calling out his potential rival. “I don’t know what you’re avoiding me for. I’ll tell you what though, since it means that much to you put a date on it,” said Jeezy.

Tip jokingly replied in the comments, “Could this long time constituent of mine be referring to me???”

 

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PUT A DATE ON IT ☃️ @therealswizzz @timbaland @verzuztv

A post shared by @ jeezy on Oct 21, 2020 at 3:58pm PDT

The Verzuz battle isn’t confirmed just yet but fans are already excited at the thought of two of ATL’s finest going toe-to-toe. In the meantime, Swizzy and Timbaland are still prepping the lineup for Verzuz season two, and revealed that Busta threw his hat in the ring. “He’s ready for any type of Verzuz action coming his way,” Swizzy told Jimmy Fallon.

Busta also confirmed to Fat Joe that’s he's down to go up against T.I.

KING T.I. aka KING OF THE SOUTH aka @Tip aka MR. EXPEDITIOUSLY aka YOU SAID YOU WANTED THAT N.Y. ENERGY/SLASH NEW YORK SMOKE 💨? I’M HERE FOR YOU WITH OPEN ARMS... DON’T GET SHOOK NOW SHAWTY!!RESPECTFULLY (IN MY @RealSway voice) HARLEM!! @fatjoe #ITSTHESILENCEFORME @verzuzonline pic.twitter.com/O1fFmJYsYe

— Busta Rhymes (@BustaRhymes) October 21, 2020

But it doesn't look like the Verzuz showdown will be happening as Tip responded back citing a “generational gap” between him and Busta.

“I didn’t know we were reaching back through generations. That’s a huge generational gap there isnt it? I have a huge amount of respect for you,” noted Tip. “An exponential amount of respect.”

Watch his full response to Busta below.

TI declines Busta Rhymes’ #Verzuz Battle challenge due to generational gap 👀🤔👀 via: @hiphopdx pic.twitter.com/n9nLyNBF5c

— 935 KDAY (@935KDAY) October 22, 2020

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Beyonce Shows Solidarity With Nigeria Amid Protests Over Police Brutality

Beyonce is showing solidarity with Nigeria following Tuesday’s (Oct. 20) brutal massacre in the country’s capital city of Lagos. The Bey Good Foundation has been partnering with local youth organizations supporting the protests, and working with coalitions to provide food, shelter and healthcare to those in need, Beyonce revealed in a statement.

“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” she said. “There has to be an end to SARS (Special Anti-Robber Squad). We have been working in partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter.”

Bey added in closing, “To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”

A message from Beyoncé. pic.twitter.com/5Ng7JF2stf

— BeyGOOD (@BeyGood) October 21, 2020

The statement directs viewers to her website where they will find links to donate or get involved in the movement to end SARS. Graphic videos and images of the brutality in the Lekki region of Lagos, have been circulating the web, but despite overwhelming evidence of corrupt and violent government forces, kidnapping, murders, non-fatal shootings, and other violent attacks on peaceful protestors,  the Nigerian government continues to downplay the issue. Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu claimed only one fatality in the massacre, and roughly 25 people wounded.

The #EndSARS movement has been amplified across social media, and prompted numerous protests around the globe Wednesday (Oct. 21). Also on Wednesday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence and expressed condolences to the families of the bereaved. Guterres encouraged Nigerian authorities to investigate instances of police brutality and “hold the perpetrators accountable.” Guterres went on to urge security forces to “act with maximum restraint,” and encouraged protestors to remain peaceful.

“While the number of casualties of yesterday’s shooting at the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos is still not clear, there is little doubt that this was a case of excessive use of force, resulting in unlawful killings with live ammunition, by Nigerian armed forces,” said UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet. “Reports that CCTV cameras and lighting were deliberately disabled prior to the shooting are even more disturbing as, if confirmed, they suggest this deplorable attack on peaceful protestors was premeditated, planned and coordinated.”

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