Lena Waithe And Def Jam Recordings Launch Hillman Grad Records In New Joint Venture

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 08: Lena Waithe attends The National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 08, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for National Board of Review)

Lena Waithe And Def Jam Recordings Launch Hillman Grad Records In New Joint Venture

Waithe believes that "music and storytelling have always gone hand in hand."

Published March 11th

Written by Craig T. Lee

Emmy-Award-winning screenwriter, producer, and actress Lena Waithe showcases an eminent love for music that is displayed throughout her endeavors. Now, music is front and center of her latest project. 

For the new venture, 36-year-old Waithe has partnered with Def Jams Recordings to launch Hillman Grad Records— a label that looks to develop artists who have the capability of having a long stint in the music business. 

“Music and storytelling have always gone hand in hand. And I think that’s because musicians are the storytellers we love the most,” said Waithe in a Def Jam media press release. “They can take complex emotions and simplify it in four minutes, the same artist can sing about the revolution and falling in love. Music is a part of us. It’s so often connected to our fondest and sometimes our darkest memories. Musicians tell our story. 

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Waithe is honored to have trust bestowed upon her label by Def Jam’s CEO, Jeff Harleston. 

“Lena has a profound understanding of and appreciation for music. After making her mark on television as an actor and writer, then smoothly shifting gears into her role as a film producer and CEO, it follows that she would now spread her wings at the helm of this exciting new record label,” said Harleston. “Def Jam is the perfect partner for Lena Waithe’s new Hillman Grad venture, and we look forward to bringing her musical vision to life.”

Waithe, CEO of Hillman Grad Records, will be joined by Tebs Maqubela (head of A&R) and Albert Cooke (General Manager). According to Music Business World Wide, Maqubela previously served as an A&R executive for Columbia Records. Cooke was an Artist Development executive at Island Records, before going to SoundCloud to help their A&R workload. Rishi Rajani will serve as  President of Film & TV.

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for National Board of Review)

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