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PGA Honors Russell Simmons With 2013 Visionary Award

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that producer, entrepreneur and humanitarian Russell Simmons will receive the Producers Guild's 2013 Visionary Award. The award will be presented to Simmons at the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Saturday, January 26th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Predominantly known as a music producer and hip-hop pioneer, Simmons is being recognized for his dedication to philanthropy and his work as a film and television producer who breaks down barriers to provide opportunities to emerging talent. From the seminal television series "Def Comedy Jam" to his role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador, Simmons continues to inspire people through his work as a creative and cultural visionary.

"Throughout his career, Russell has accomplished the kinds of things that only a true visionary can," said 2013 PGA Awards Chair Michael DeLuca. "He has seamlessly bridged the worlds of hip-hop music and filmed entertainment through poetry, comedy and music, offering viewers and music fans alike not just a reflection of themselves, but a hopeful glimpse of a world filled with art, joy and compassion. Whether he's championing new voices behind the mic, onstage, onscreen or in the classroom, or he is working to raise awareness about the victims of the global slave trade, Russell envisions a world populated by our 'better angels,' and for that, I'm very proud to call him my friend and we are so pleased to honor him with the 2013 Producers Guild of America Visionary Award."

Russell Simmons said, "I'm sincerely humbled that the PGA chose me to receive a Visionary Award. Just to be in the room with all those in the industry is a blessing."

Forbes Magazine recently named Russell Simmons one of "Hollywood's Most Influential Celebrities." USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the "Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years," calling him a "hip-hop pioneer" for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, the jewelry industry, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy. From creating his seminal Def Jam Recordings in 1984, to the 2007 publishing of his New York Times best-seller "Do You! 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success," to founding GlobalGrind.com, a leading online destination for celebrity entertainment, music, culture and politics for the new, post-racial America and his latest New York Times best-seller "SUPER RICH: A Guide To Having It All," Russell is recognized globally for his influence and entrepreneurial approach to both business and philanthropy.

Giving back is of primary importance to him in all aspects of life and as Chairman and CEO of Rush Communications he has consistently leveraged his influence in the recording industry, fashion, television, financial services and jewelry sectors to give back. A devoted yogi, Russell also leads the non-profit division of his empire, Rush Community Affairs, and its ongoing commitment to empowering at-risk youth through education, the arts, social engagement, and promoting racial harmony and strengthening inter-group relations. Russell also serves as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for The Permanent Memorial To Honor The Victims Of Slavery and The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Russell is a native New Yorker who attended City College of New York, and he has two daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee

The Producers Guild Visionary Award recognizes television, film or new media producers for their uniquely positive or uplifting contributions to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance. Previous honorees include producer Laura Ziskin for her commitment to storytelling and her efforts organizing the 2008 and 2009 Stand Up To Cancer campaign and television specials, producer Simon Fuller for "American Idol" and "Idol Gives Back," Jeff Skoll for his work with Participant Media in creating films that inspire social action, Joel Gallen, who produced the landmark post-9/11 telethon "America: A Tribute to Heroes" and Mike Nichols and Cary Brokaw, producers of HBO's "Angels in America."

About the Producers Guild of America

The Producers Guild of America is the non-profit trade group that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The Producers Guild has more than 5,300 members who work together to protect and improve their careers, the industry and community by providing members with employment opportunities, seeking to expand health benefits, promoting fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, as well as other education and advocacy efforts such as encouraging sustainable production practices. Visit www.producersguild.org, www.pgagreen.org, www.pgadiversity.org for more information.


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