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Bill Stephney Head Shot 2019.jpeg

Bill Stephney

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Bill Stephney, originally a multi-instrumental musician, is the man who brought Public Enemy and Def Jam to the radio and worked with Spike Lee and Chris Rock to put music in their movies. Previously chief executive for Def Jam Recordings, SOUL Records, and Stepsun Music, he has produced artists from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Public Enemy to singer-actress Vanessa Williams and supervised music production for such films as Boomerang, Be Be’s Kids,and Shaft.  He partnered with Chris Rock to launch "The Illtop," a humor magazine produced in conjunction with Howard University’s School of Communications. That partnership developed into the “Summer School Program,” a talent diversity venture created by Stephney and Rock in association with the cable network Comedy Central, and the media conglomerate Viacom. Graduates of the Summer School program include Donald Glover, currently the creator and star of the FX Network award-winning hit sitcom, “Atlanta.” In 2014, Stephney was selected to become an executive committee member for the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap, a cultural overview of the history of the music and culture developed in collaboration with the National African-American Museum of History and Culture and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.  Stephney has recently produced two acclaimed documentaries: Kaepernick & America, which was an “Official Selection” at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and nominee for Critic’s Choice Documentary Award for Best Sports Documentary, and Philly On Fire, which was awarded the Library of Congress/Ken Burns Prize in October of last year.  He is also an adjunct instructor at NYU/Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music and serves on the advisory board for Fairleigh Dickinson University’s School of the Arts.

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