Russell Simmons Reflects On Dick Gregory's Political Impact And Explains that "All Def Comedy" Relaunch
#DXclusive: The Hip Hop mogul details the importance of comedy in society.
When comedy icon and civil rights activist Dick Gregory passed away this past weekend, it was a reminder that laughter is still a powerful remedy in difficult times. A person who knew Gregory well and that you followed the steps of their cause through comedy is Russell Simmons.
Last month, the Hip Hop mogul announced that his company, All Def Digital, is scheduled to relaunch his legendary stand-up showcase, Def Comedy Jam. Now titled All Def Comedy, the show is scheduled to return in December in its original cable TV home, HBO.
HipHopDX had the opportunity to talk with Simmons about his long friendship with Dick Gregory, the return of Def Comedy and much more.
DX: Dick Gregory's recent death came at a time when we need people like him more than ever. What is your opinion on its influence with respect to race relations in the united states?
Russell Simmons: He was a good friend of mine. People were critical of him, because he told the truth. He was up against, sometimes, the threat of jail or all kinds of racist things that stopped their careers or decreased his career down. But he stood up and used his voice. Learned that in comedy, you can get away with telling the truth to his oppressor. And that inspired a lot of people to tell the truth.
A post shared by Russell Simmons (@unclerush) August 20, 2017, at 10:41pm PDT
Comedians before Dick Gregory, if they don't do anything about the race, it was buffoonish. He did so with dignity. He told the truth the right to the oppressor of the face. Although it was not disguised as a joke. It was a joke, it was funny, but it was hurtful. Their things, it was shocking. I think that has changed comedy. The changed. He was the reason that he had a Def Comedy — the people who had the opportunity to get your pain. It is in the form of comedy.
Still today, there are comedians who are afraid to face the race correctly. Was brave. He was one of our great advocates, and uses the comedy an