The much-anticipated documentary “On the Record”—in which former music executive Drew Dixon tells her story of becoming one of the first women of color in the #MeToo movement to publicly accuse Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons of having raped her—premiered Wednesday (May 27) on the streaming service HBO Max.
Helmed by Academy Award-nominated directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, the doc also features Black feminist author Joan Morgan (“When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost”) who shares her perspective on the culture of the music industry during that time. In advance of the film airing, the two women spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the historical struggles that Black women have faced in the country, including within the #MeToo movement.
“When I first began to hear about the #MeToo movement, when it first manifested itself in 2017 with the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, I was amazed and grateful that the women who were coming forward were being believed and heard and seen,” Dixon said. “I certainly never imagined that the conversation would expand to include Black women.”
I am very aware that the story of White women in this country at least began sort of on a pedestal. However illusory that pedestal, the story of Black women in this country began on a slave auction block. So I never even imagined that I was going to be part of that conversation and in some ways I was relieved. I was raising money for a startup, which is very hard as a Black woman, and when Brett Ratner was accused, I started to feel that this might actually force me at a certain point to make a choice because Brett Ratner and Russell Simmons were very close.
Still not ready to go public with her story against Simmons, Dixon told Amanpour the catalyst for her was after other women accused Simmons of sexual assault and he “called them liars.” “That’s when I went to the New York Times, off the record, to tell them my story,” Dixon explained.