Damon Dash

Active - 2000 - 2018  |   Born - May 3, 1971 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Crime, Music, Drama, Culture & Society, Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Though he enjoyed a long and lucrative screen career as a multi-hyphenate on various projects, Damon Dash made biggest headlines for his stellar record as a business mogul. The co-founder of multi-platinum generating urban music label Roc-A-Fella Records with rap star Jay-Z, Dash helped guide that outfit into the fiscal stratosphere on the strength of Jay-Z's records plus high-end distribution deals with Def Jam and Priority. Publicly, Dash possessed a rare ability to shift his media image from that of a street-smart urban maestro to that of a sharp-suited, high-rolling entrepreneur in the blink of an eye, depending on the situation and audience at hand. In 2005, Dash turned heads by severing ties with Roc-a-Fella, then promptly diversified his interests by expanding into such areas as watches, apparel, vodka, footwear, and -- significantly -- motion pictures.

Cinematically, Dash concentrated predominantly on low-medium budgeted urban-oriented efforts including the crime thrillers State Property (2002) and State Property 2 (2005), and the crime comedy Paper Soldiers (2002) -- projects that frequently witnessed him holding court as a screenwriter, director, producer, and story author. Dash moved into arthouse material of commendable depth, maturity, and insight by teaming up with producer Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball) and producer/actor Kevin Bacon to create the finely felt, compassionate psychological drama The Woodsman (2004). Dash also produced the documentary Backstage: Hard Knock Life (2000), an up-close and personal view of rap life as filtered through the eyes of Jay-Z and friends.

Dash is the cousin of actress and model Stacey Dash (Clueless, Renaissance Man).

Movie Highlights

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  • Attended boarding school.
  • As a teenager, worked at a local barbershop and sold newspapers.
  • In 1995, co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Kareem "Biggs" Burke.
  • His children, Damon Dash II and Ava Dash, appeared in his film State Property 2 (2005).
  • Founder of the Damon Dash Music Group.