Jimmy Jam (L) & Donnie Simpson (R)
Donnie Simpson Talks To Jimmy Jam & Reveals How He Found His Radio Voice & Broke Onto The Airwaves | Up Close & Personal
Last October, the radio giant Donnie Simpson was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame alongside The Breakfast Club, Sway Calloway and the late Cokie Roberts. Naturally, he’s in the mood to survey his half-century-long career and assess the road ahead.
In the Recording Academy's latest edition of Up Close & Personal, Simpson links up with his old friend Jimmy Jam—who’s made waves since the '80s as a songwriter and producer alongside fellow GRAMMY-winning icon Terry Lewis—to discuss their meeting story and the arc of his remarkable career.
Therein, Simpson describes how puberty delivered his signature announcer’s timbre, how he got his foot in the door as a DJ and how success found him at just 15. He also looks back at his fertile TV career—in particular, his legacy with BET, for whom he hosted the primetime music video show "Video Soul."
"I don’t care how much money you make or how much you pay me. Nothing could ever surpass what we created—the history of BET," Simpson declares. "I don’t care what Bob [Johnson, BET’s founder] paid me. To know that we created this country’s first Black television network and grew that thing into what it became—there’s no price on it."
Check out the entire 80-minute video above and marinate in the history of a true American radio and TV original.