The Defiant Ones

In 2014, the day before we officially announced the aquisitition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music by Apple, I met Jimmy, Dre, Luke and Paul at Van Nuys airport for the flight to Northern California.

Jimmy was the only one on the plane when I boarded. He said, «Ian, today, film everything.» I wasn’t so sure, it’s not that cool to walk in to Tim Cook’s office filming, even if you’re using an iPhone. But Jimmy said yes, so I did.

Dre was next to board the plane and sat across from me. I said, «Fair warning: Jimmy told me to film everything today.» Dre responded, «Man, I’m scared of those cameras.» Given the Tyrese video that jeopardized the deal was still a fresh wound, I told him I understood but he didn’t need to worry, it wasn’t Tyrese with the camera, it was me.

I shot a lot of photos and video on my phone that day. I have footage of both Jimmy and Dre signing the many pages of Beats/Apple deal paperwork on the plane, all of us walking in the front door of 1 Infinite Loop the day before the announcement, Eddy Cue in Jimmy’s hotel room at the Four Seasons Palo Alto reading aloud an article refuting Dre as «hip hop’s first billionaire», the photo shoot of the iconic NYT photo at the close of the deal, and Jimmy giving a heartfelt soliloquy about his long-time friendship with Dre.

Out of respect for both the personal and confidential I’ve never posted these videos anywhere public. They sat in my iCloud account and I’d show them to friends and family and sometimes just myself, proof this really did happen to me; it wasn’t a dream. I didn’t know what else to do with it. I thought maybe someday, if I didn’t lose the files first, I’d edit them together into something coherent to give to Jimmy, Dre and Luke as a gift.

When I learned Allen Hughes was making a documentary for HBO about Jimmy and Dre I sent him the footage. He seemed excited about it but I wasn’t sure if he would make use of it. That was more than two years ago. I was stoked and proud to see a few selections in episode 1 of The Defiant Ones when I saw a screening here in Paris a couple weeks ago (apologies to Guillaume who was sitting next to me at the screening and had to hear me point out every shot that was mine).

So to commemorate the release of The Defiant Ones on HBO today I’m posting a photo from that day for the first time – a photo of the above-mentioned plane flight, Dre sitting across from me and Jimmy behind.

I loved every minute of working with Jimmy, Dre, Luke, Trent and the rest of the Beats teams. I’m fortunate on every level to have had the opportunity. Jimmy pushed me to do things I didn’t know I was capable of, and if you watch this documentary you’ll see I’m far from the only one and in extraordinary company in that regard. Jimmy was my first call or email at 7am and my last at 11pm every day, and his work ethic and attention the the business – while having FUN – is something I’ll always strive to replicate. That’s not bullshit. It’s real. I lived it, momentarily. It’s «the high I’ll always try to get back».

Thank you sincerely for inviting me along for a short part of your incredible journey. It was an honor, privilege and pleasure.