A year after All Def Digital, one of the web’s biggest Black-owned digital sites, collapsed in the aftermath of #MeToo allegations against founder Russell Simmons, the reborn company is charting a new course led by two former tech executives and backed by an ownership group that includes music and sports notables such as T.I., Killer Mike, Jason Geter, and Baron Davis.
The new ADD is moving beyond the original platform’s tight digital focus on hip hop, comedy and slam poetry. Under new CEO Cedric J. Rogers and partner Shaun Newsum, the new ADD is exploring more genres and distribution approaches. It’s also expanding relationships and programming ventures with traditional media companies, working with WarnerMedia-owned FullScreen, and Comcast
Rogers and Newsum are engineers by training, working respectively at Apple and what’s now called Disney Streaming Services. By 2018, though, they had launched Culture Genesis to produce programming for underserved “black and brown” audiences online, Rogers said. The company worked with Kevin Hart’s LOL Network and Steve Harvey’s production company Harvey International before bringing to All Def Bar Exam, a digital game show about hip hop music.
Then, things fell apart for ADD. Simmons was one of a number of high-profile entertainment executives facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, and stepped away from the company in 2017. Last year, as funding and business relationships dried up, ADD went into bankruptcy.
Ultimately, through a bankruptcy process called Assignment for Benefit of Creditors, Culture Genesis was tabbed to take over the ADD assets, in part because it already had relationships with many