Darien Dash

Entrepreneur in New York, NY

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From the youngest age, Darien Dash was almost predestined to become a notable figure within the media world.

Coming from a family of entertainers and music industry leaders, Darien Dash grew up in a milieu that included his record-executive stepfather, a sister who would become a famous actress and a cousin who would go on to cofound one of the most successful record companies in history.

Born in New York City in 1972, Dash formed part of a generational cohort that included some of the most talented and noteworthy hip-hop artists that have ever come out of that city. Part of that group turned out to be Jay-Z, the now-famous music titan whose meteoric rise Dash’s cousin, Damon Dash, played a key role in precipitating.

College and the music business

While he was still a sophomore in college, Darien Dash was approached by his cousin Damon to help with what would turn out to be a critical period in the formation of Roc-A-Fella Records, the label that would propel Jay-Z to global superstardom.

Dash was able to negotiate a number of important recording contracts on behalf of the label. This work netted him nearly $200,000 in the span on less than a year. But Dash would ultimately turn down the quick money that the record industry offered in order to pursue his real passion: bringing the power of the nascent internet to African American communities across the country.

Post-college career

After graduating, Dash briefly worked for Digital Music Express, one of the earliest music-streaming companies.

In 1995, Dash elected to form his own company, which he dubbed DME Interactive Holdings. DME’s mission would be to bring the power of widespread internet access to black families around the country while providing content that was specifically tailored to the unique black American experience.

In 1999, Dash partnered with then-internet-giant AOL to create Places of Color, a program that offered low-cost internet access to minority users across the country while also providing a portal of African American-targeted content.

Presently, Darien Dash remains as the head of DME Interactive Holdings, which has refocused on the company’s consulting business. He is also a prominent philanthropist throughout the New York City area.