Walking This Way with Wisdom:
In a culture where hip hop artists are characterized by bling, drugs, and women, Rev Run is flipping the script. Going from a front man using his words as a rapper to a family man spreading his wisdom through Twitter and reality TV, Rev Run capitalizes on his platform to inspire others to action. Risen sat down with the hip hop legend to talk swagger, street cred and how he keeps his family grounded even in the midst of adversity.
Interviewed exclusively for Risen Magazine in Newport Beach, California
Risen Magazine: You have a huge Twitter following and the basis of your tweets are wise sayings. Where do you pull your material from?
Rev Run: They are God inspired. They pop into my head… usually things I am going through, things I am dealing with, how I am trying to untangle myself out of a problem…I just tweet it out. It gives me strength to give my slight solution to the universe. The energy comes back to me and it’s a lot of fun looking at the responses.
RM: If you could leave this generation with one piece of advice, what would it be?
RR: Do your best and forget the rest. It’s my favorite because it frees you to do your best and not to let everything else drive you crazy as you’re trying to get what you are trying to accomplish. It’s my favorite word of all times.
RM: Looking back on your life, what is one piece of wisdom you wish someone had shared with you?
RR: Funny, I thought about that last night. [The wisdom would be] a period of great favor the book of Ecclesiastes talks about; there is a season for everything. I was in belief that because things were going so beautifully for a nice four-year stretch when I was 18 to twenty-something, that it was going to continue without any drama. I wish I would have saved better and had a better mindset. This moment is going to end and you should pack up some nuts like a squirrel – not only money, but everything – momentos, clippings, pictures, etc. It doesn’t last all through your life. I wish I would have known that I was supposed to be saving money, thoughts, trophies, during this season of prosperity. Like Joseph told Pharaoh, save up some money, there are going to be some years that are going to be nuts.
RM: We often hear people talking about getting this pair of shoes, or do this and you will have instant street cred. What would you tell people they need in order to establish spiritual street cred?
RR: What is spiritual street cred? The streets of gold in heaven? What do you mean by that?
RM: Where people become wise and knowledgeable for whom they are in Christ and the spiritual legacy that they leave.
RR: The hood doesn’t really care about spiritual street cred. You just got to do what is right no matter what. Whatever you are feeling about your god and the way you are operating, the way you are walking. Stay true to that and people respect that. Don’t give into what everybody thinks is going to be cool. What is going to be cool is the confidence in who you are.
RM: How would you describe your faith journey?
RR: I knew it was swagged out. Run becoming a reverend was fly. I went to an African American church. The pastors had their wife and everything was in order. They had swag. They were cool to me.
Definitely a rock star is okay, but it can’t beat being a man of God.
RM: Can you explain swag to those that might not know?
RR: Swag is very simple. That is not a hood word. They have been using that word forever. Swagger means walking with confidence and having a little coolness about you. Men of God and their walk fascinated me. They had it together. I figured if I showed my community this world through me, it would be cool. I had it stuck in my mind. Whether it was work the first eight years before it hit MTV… I was building it. Not everybody understood what I was doing. But I knew it was going to eventually be extremely cool. It took a while like anything else. But you can’t break focus off of what you think is cool. It takes a special anointing too. You have to be smart, be a wise witness.
RM: You and your family were a wise witness when you starred in Run’s House. We consistently hear how reality TV show stars break up or get divorced. How did you and Justine keep your marriage a priority? How did you make sure your family was balanced throughout the show?
RR: We don’t fight each other. We look at it as the enemy coming with energy trying to stop us. We don’t turn on each other when things go crazy. This is an attack against us. The Bible says when you leave your parents you cleave to your wife. You become one. I am one with my wife. I want what she wants, she wants what I want and we watch out for each other. It’s about prayer, scriptures, and knowing where to go to when a dispute comes. We let the Bible settle it rather than what we think. And once the Bible is involved, that’s the book; we sit there with the rules. We don’t have to do it like that, but we know the Bible has the answers to anything that would try and hurt my family.
RM: One of the hardships that your family endured was the loss of your daughter, Victoria, who died shortly after being born due to omphalocele. How did you and your family deal with that?
RR: Being a spiritual leader for my family I was like, God is still God. And God is still good. It’s coming at you, it’s trying to hurt you and you believe in God. You have to believe in God anyway. You have to take off your sackcloth, get up and mourn a bit. Go back to God ask for comfort. Keep it moving. It’s that simple, but it’s a little bit longer of a process. But God is still God, and God is still good, no matter what happens.
RM: You and your wife made the decision to film you breaking the news to the kids about the loss of your daughter? What did that process look like?
RR: We didn’t let the whole thing play out. The whole time she was pregnant, we let that play out. We didn’t tell everybody that Justine was having complications. I knew throughout the whole pregnancy that there was a problem. When the final moment came, I was told by the Holy Ghost to let the people see what is going on. “You took them through the happy times, take them through every time.”
RM: It was encouraging because so many couples struggle with that.
RR: Thank you.
RM: You also keep your family grounded in other ways by supporting each of your kids in their music and fashion endeavors. The media has criticized the parenting of Dina Lohan and Billy Ray Cyrus saying they were more concerned with managing the money than stepping in as parents. How do you and your wife encourage your kids in their dreams, while helping them navigate the realities of the industry?
RR: I took them to church. They do what they do. They are at the age where they are going to do what they are going to do. I can’t take them further than I take them. If a kid is going to act foolish, they are going to do that. If you are 21 years old, you are on your own. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they won’t depart from it.” They have a general idea of what is right. They were taught right. I can let it go. I might come out with another season of what my kids are doing now. I might not be pleased with everything that they are doing, but I am willing to show it.
RM: How do you hope to impact the culture?
RR: I’m just a man of God who loves his family. That’s all I want to show. God’s first plan – man, wife, kids, be a good man. There is no higher honor. Definitely a rock star is okay, but it can’t beat being a man of God.