‘On the Record’ is the bold new offering from HBO Max that shines a light on the sexual assault allegations against Russell Simmons. The hip hop mogul was the co-founder of Def Jam Records, which has had artists like Nas and LL Cool J attached to the label. However, Simmons, like several others in the music industry, managed to escape the impact of the #MeToo movement.
All this changed when Jenny Lumet, the award-winning screenwriter, spoke out against Simmons. It opened the floodgates and prompted Drew Dixon to come forth with her own story. She, along with three other women, spoke to The New York Times about their experiences with Russell. On the same day, the Los Angeles Times ran their story with five other women who came forward. Around 18 women have accused Simmons up until now.
‘On the Record’ weaves the harrowing accounts and makes deft commentaries on Russell’s stature in the black community and hip hop’s links with misogyny and the bad boy culture. At the same time, it ensures the tale doesn’t focus on Russell Simmons. Instead, we are drawn into the life of Drew Dixon, a woman with poise, charisma, intelligence, and passion. We learn of her meteoric rise within Def Jam records and the world of hip hop, as well as the harassment she had to face at almost every turn. Curious to find out what she’s up to now? We have the latest news and updates and will tell you a bit about her as well.
Who is Drew Dixon?
Dixon grew up in Washington D.C., where her mother was an African American politician and the mayor of DC at one point. She moved to New York after attending Stanford and was always a music fanatic. Drew befriended Biggie Smalls or Christopher Wallace, the legendary Bedstuy rapper. Her rising position in the world of hip hop drew Simmons’ attention, who gave her the job of an A&R executive in Def Jam.
She cemented her place with the soundtrack for ‘The Show,’ which featured the who’s who of the hip hop world, including Tupac, Biggie, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre, as well as A Tribe Called Quest. At the same time, Drew helped build the careers of artists like Method Man.
One might say Dixon achieved greatness on her own, but she had to fight tooth and nail to get there. However, she continued facing harassment in the corridors of Def Jam, with Simmons making relentless advances. Drew, however, viewed it as more of a nuisance than actual danger. Moreover, when Simmons wasn’t making passes at her, he was championing her, and Drew felt she could move from being a sexual object to a respected colleague if she established enough of a professional reputation. All this changed when Simmons assaulted her.
Drew quit Def Jam and landed at Arista Records, where she worked for Clive Davis, the founder, and president. It was fruitful until L.A. Reid took over, and Drew was subjected to harassment once again. Since she refused his advances, he passed on signing an artist she brought to him. The artist was Kanye West.
Her experiences caused Drew to leave at the peak of her career, and she went to the Harvard Business School. After that, she tried helping Estelle record her debut U.S. album, but it was too traumatizing. Drew quit the industry and decided to focus on being a stay-at-home mom. She has two kids and is married to Wesley ‘Bo’ Williams. Check out her picture with her kids here.
Drew did try her hand at being an entrepreneur, with her business idea called EverythingDid. The tech/beauty startup aimed at helping women and girls of color manage curly hair. She was raising money for it when she heard Lumet’s account and came forward with her story. Below is a picture of Drew delivering her #MeToo testimony in Capitol Hill.
While she’d expected to get back to a normal life after opening up, her life has completely turned around. She spoke to the Harvard Business School Bulletin, saying, “The fleeting miracle of the movement is that it created a portal that I walked through, thinking I would do this one thing, drop off my luggage, then go back to business as usual. Instead, it tore down the whole infrastructure that I’d created to keep myself safe from my demons, and then it never ended.” Notably, Dixon has the honor of being the first black woman to be featured on the bulletin’s cover.
Where is Drew Dixon Now?
According to the latest reports, Dixon currently resides in Brooklyn Heights, and facing her demons has helped her return to music. She’s started the 9th Floor, her recording label, whose name pays homage to the time she worked under Davis. The 9th Floor is determined to launch Ella Wylde, a young artist with potential. Drew’s bent on ensuring she’s shielded from the toxicity of the music industry, as well as its pitfalls. Check out a post by Drew helping out Ella by recording background vocals.
Read More: Where is Russell Simmons Now?