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WAITHE EXPANDS INTO MUSIC VIA DEF JAM

Def Jam Recordings and actor/producer Lena Waithe are joining forces to launch Hillman Grad Records. Tebs Maqubela heads up A&R; Albert Cooke is the GM.

The label intends to leverage opportunities across music, TV & film, capitalizing on the intersection of those worlds. Hillman Grad Productions film and TV projects include The Forty-Year-Old Version, Queen & Slim, and The Chi.

“Lena has a profound understanding of and appreciation for music,” said Jeff Harles­ton, Interim CEO, Def Jam Recordings, in making the announcement. “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. 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.”

Maqubela joins Hillman Grad Records from Columbia and previously worked in artist management affiliated with the Brockhampton camp. Cooke spent years at Island Def Jam as an Artist Development executive before heading to Soundcloud, where he worked in the Artist Relations department. Maqubela and Cooke will report to Waithe and Rishi Rajani, President of Film & TV of Hillman Grad Productions.

“At Hillman Grad Productions we believe in identifying and amplifying new talent, and we want to continue to do that in the music industry,” said Waithe, CEO of the company. “Jeff Harleston and his phenomenal team at Def Jam have given us their trust and their resources to help develop artists that not only have potential, but staying power. We look forward to the journey ahead.”