Drew Dixon -- 2020 Sundance Film Festival - "On The Record" Premiere
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Russell Simmons Accusers Detail Sexual Assault Allegations In ‘On The Record’

The documentary debuted on HBO Max on May 27.

On the Record offers a detailed look into multiple sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons, fears that Black women have about sharing their stories, and the lack of intersectionality within the #MeToo movement.

In the 97-minute film, which debuted on HBO Max on Wednesday (May 27), former record executive Drew Dixon grapples with her decision to go public with accusations against Simmons, and the concept of “race loyalty” that Black women battle when they’re attacker is a Black man.

Directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, On the Record does a deep dive into the misogyny and sexism permeating through hip-hop. Of course, hip-hop has never been a monolith. The roots of the culture are steeped in protest, and although the genre didn’t invent misogyny or sexism (which is noted in the film), Black women have had an understandably complicated relationship with hip-hop.

“You stand in solidarity with the movement as a Black woman,” Dixon explains. “You don’t parse the sexism within the movement as a Black woman. We were so excited about hip-hop and what it meant that we laughed it off…and now that I’m older I realize that language set a tone. But I didn’t see it that way at the time.”

Dixon, a former A&R at Def Jam, began her music industry career in the early ‘90s as an A&R for Def Jam where she worked with the likes of Redman and Method Man, Tupac Shakur, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Mary J. Blige, and more.

One night in the mid-1990s, Dixon claims Simmons lured her to his apartment under the pretense of wanting her to listen to a demo track on a stereo located in his bedroom. As Dixon recalls, she walked into the bedroom and attempted to figure out how to turn on the CD player.“The next thing I know he [Simmons] is naked wearing a condom and he just grabbed me…and he threw me in the bed. He wrestles me to the bed and pins me down and I’m fighting and I’m saying ‘no!’ He’s telling me to ‘stop fighting!’ in a very cold, menacing, detached voice that I’d never, ever heard from him before.”

Dixon says she blacked out during the alleged assault. “Which is something survivors often do. It’s like a self-preservation tactic.” The next thing that she remembers is being naked in a tub with Simmons whom she says was casually talking to her as if they had had a consensual encounter. Dixon says she left his apartment, walked 22 blocks home, climbed in the shower and began to sob. “I was reduced to nothing. In that moment, I was trash. Nothing about anything that makes me who I am mattered. I was a physical object. A physical device. Some physical thing that he [Simmons] utilized for his pleasure.”

A few days later, Dixon says that she told a friend and former A&R, Miguel Mojica, about the sexual assault. She also continued working at Def Jam for a “little while longer” before resigning. Dixon went on to work at Arista Records where she says that she endured sexual harassment from L.A. Reid.

Reid denies Dixon’s claims calling the allegations “unfounded, not true, and represent a complete misrepresentation and fabrication of any facts or events alleged therein as having occurred.”

Dixon didn’t speak publicly about the accusations against Simmons and Reid until a 2017 New York Times interview. On the Record chronicles the moments leading up to the article's release, the NYT’s vetting process -- which included an extensive background check-- and the ripple effect that the experience had on Dixon's life and career, namely in that she quit the music industry.

“For 22 years I took one for the team,” she says of keeping allegations against Simmons quiet for decades out of fear of letting “the culture” down and not being believed. “Russell Simmons was the king of hip-hop and I was proud of him. I didn’t want to let the culture down. I loved the culture. I loved Russell too.”

In the film, Dixon also opens up about her children and the life that she built after the music industry. She split from her husband and moved from New York to California to start a new chapter. The film also features a discussion between Dixon and two other Simmons accusers, screenwriter, Jenny Lumet, and Sil Lai Abrams and activist writer, and former Def Jam executive assistant.

More than a dozen women have accused Simmons of sexual assault or misconduct, eight of which are featured in the film. Some of Simmon’s accusers share similar accounts to Dixon’s allegations.

“I have issued countless denials of the false allegations against me,” Simmons notes in a written statement featured in the film. “I have lived my life honorably as an open book for decades, devoid of any kind of violence against anyone.”

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Netflix Pledges To Invest $100 Million Into Black Owned-Banks And Black Communities

As part of their “commitment to racial equality,” Netflix has pledged to invest $100 million into Black communities to help build economic opportunity.

"Going forward, Netflix is going to allocate two percent of our cash holdings - initially up to $100 million - into financial institutions and organizations that directly support Black communities in the U.S.,” Aaron Mitchell, director of talent and acquisition,  and Shannon Alwyn, treasury director, announced in a blog post on Tuesday (June 30).

The company will move $25 million into a newly established Black Economic Development Initiative managed by Local Initiative Support Corporation, a nonprofit community development financial organization that assists underserved communities. LISC will invest the money into “Black financial institutions serving low and moderate-income communities and Black community development corporations in the U.S.”

Additionally, Netflix plans to make a $10 million “transformational deposit” into Hope Credit Union to help boost “economic opportunity” in Black communities in the Deep South.

“This capital will fuel social mobility and opportunity in the low- and moderate-income communities these groups serve,” the company added. “We plan to redirect even more of our cash to Black-led and focused institutions as we grow, and we hope others will do the same.”

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August Alsina Stands By Comments About Jada Pinkett Smith

August Alsina isn’t done speaking up. The singer took to Instagram on Friday (July 3) to clarify a few things about his bombshell interview with Angela Yee.

“The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary,” begins the lengthy post.

The 27-year-old New Orleans native also spoke about oppression, and affirms his commitment to “transparency” and “truth,” no matter how hard things get. “Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but I can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & [it's] mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS.”

Towards the end of the post, Alsina appears to directly address Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith. “My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing & God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I.

“With that being said,” he continued. “I should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!”

The Smiths have denied Alsina’s claims that he had an affair with Jada with Will's permission. On Thursday (July 2), Jada announced that she will be booking herself on Red Table Talk, presumably to address the rumors.

Read Alsina's full Instagram post below.

 

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God said, We may grow weary and tired fighting in the fire, but we shall NOT be burned! The journey to freedom is a deeply complex, tricky, and turbulent road to tow; yet very necessary. Oppression comes in so many forms these days, beginning w/ physical slavery and bondage to the white man, then passed down generational programming that manifest into mental enslavement. Slaves to an idea, slaves to an image, slaves to a code of conduct, slaves to a picture you’ve created in your mind.. even if it contains many falsities.. & anything that differentiates from your “idea” & “image” feels like an attack. & I get it; not only do i get it but I’m also sorry you feel that way, BUT, The only attack here is against the invisible walls of silent societal construct and “code” we place upon each other & upon ourselves hidden behind the desires of others approval & acceptance; another form of slavery & bondage that blocks one’s truest self from showing & spirit flow. Be blocked and stuck for what? Live silent, pressed down crippled in fear for who ? Adversary is but a gift given to you to flourish. We are surround by so much disharmony in this external world, so it is my forever job to do whatever’s necessary to reach the gift of harmony within myself. Truth & Transparency makes us uncomfortable, yes, but i can’t apologize for that. A tower of truth can never fall, only a tower of lies can do that. My truth is MY truth, & its mine to own. There is no right or wrong here, it simply just IS. & I make room and have acceptance for your thoughts and opinions, regardless if I agree or not, you have that freedom to feel WHATEVER it is u feel because when you’re at TRUE peace, all of the noise and chatter becomes that of a whisper. My heart has no malice or hate toward anyone on this planet. I just simply want the chains off & I’m willing to DIE getting there. The gift of freedom is yours to have, God promises us that, but only if you’re willing. &God is not a man that HE should lie.. & I’m His SON, so neither would I. 🙏🏽 W/ that being said i should also say that, no one was side swiped by any conversation, everyone got courtesy calls time in advance. Wishing Everyone Big Love!

A post shared by Yungin' (@augustalsina) on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:12pm PDT

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Jay Z’s Team Roc Demands Arrest Of Milwaukee Cop Who Killed 3 People

Team Roc, the social justice sector under Jay Z’s Roc Nation imprint, is demanding the arrest and prosecution of a Milwaukee cop who shot and killed three people of color, including a Black teenage boy, over the last five years.

The organization took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Thursday (July 2), calling for the arrest of Officer Joseph Mensah. “Let us start off with a simple question,” reads the letter addressed to Milwaukee County D.A. John Chisolm.“How many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? Since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015, Mensah has shot and killed three men of color — Alvin Cole, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson — with an excessive total of NINETEEN fired shots. His actions demonstrate an utter disregard for the lives of these young men.”

The letter goes on to state that the police department’s failure to enforce body cameras, and “failure to preserve video evidence” has impeded numerous investigations. “We are calling for your office to prosecute Mensah to ensure that he never kills anyone again, and to immediately outfit all of our police officers with body cameras. It is your responsibility to do the right thing, hold Mensah accountable for his actions and protect Wauwatosa citizens from further tragedy.”

Cole, the youngest of the shooting victims, was killed in February. Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber claims that the 17 year old fired a gun at officers “before the police officer fired theirs.”

Gonzales, 29, was killed in July 2015, because he refused to drop a sword. At the time, police were responding to a 911 call placed by a homeowner who claimed Gonzales was intoxicated and behaving erratically.

Anderson, a 25-year-old father, was shot and killed while sitting in his car at about 3 a.m. on June 23, 2016. Mensah claimed that Anderson reached for a gun as he approached the vehicle. Prosecutors decided that Mensah acted in self defense, but have since agreed to review the case.

“I would like to see him do some time for the killings he has done,” Anderson's mother said of Mensah. “It is not norma to kill three people. He is a murderer."

Read Team Roc's full letter below.

JAY-Z's Team Roc calls for the prosecution of police officer who has killed 3 men of color

The social justice sector of Roc Nation wrote an open letter in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to Milwaukee DA @DAJohnChisholm,calling for the firing & prosecution of officer Joseph Mensah pic.twitter.com/RvDfh7jSCV

— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) July 2, 2020

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