Hip hop legend and pioneer Run (Joseph Simmons) of Run DMC has co-written Take Back Your Family, with his wife, Justine Simmons, about their lives on and off their MTV reality show Run’s House. While the book doesn’t carry the same quirky sens
Hip hop legend and pioneer Run (Joseph Simmons) of Run DMC has co-written Take Back Your Family, with his wife, Justine Simmons, about their lives on and off their MTV reality show Run’s House.
While the book doesn’t carry the same quirky sense of humor that Reverend Run has on Run’s House, with his quips about “Kato Mattee” and “whatchugonnadoo?,” this book may remind readers of the text messaging bathtub sessions he has at the end of each show.
Reverend Run (ordained as a minister in Zoe Ministries) makes a concerted effort not to appear preachy, but he doesn’t avoid the topic of religion either, proudly proclaiming that every family member must answer the phone by saying “Praise the Lord” to make it a habit of thanking God everyday for whatever the day holds.
The star of Run’s House is like a hip hop Heathcliff Huxtable from the Cosby Show, with a father who loves rap and encourages his children to listen to the type of music they like (regardless of the obvious change in hip hop’s messages) and is a proud father of his son, Joseph “JoJo”—who wants to be a rapper,too, following in his father’s footsteps.
But JoJo, 19, isn’t the only one who gets recognition in this read. Rev. Run and his wife, Justine, also talk about the entrepreneurship of the rest of their children, with Angela, 21, and Vanessa, 25, being the creators of their ladies gym shoes, Pastry; Daniel “Diggy”, 13, starting his own clothing line, Space Age; and Russell “Russy,” 11, saving money any way he knows how by doing chores and having more money than JoJo and Diggy combined on most days. Justine Simmons is quite the businesswoman herself with a children’s book God, Can You Hear Me? and her own jewelry line, Brown Sugar.
The most difficult part of the read was when the two wanted to have another child and decided to adopt their sixth child, Miley Simmons, after their last birth child, Victoria, developed omphalocele, a condition where abdominal organs grow outside the body, and died a couple of hours after being born. Justine discussed how she mourned and when she decided to bounce back from her miscarriage, and how her family made it so much easier for her to get her life back in order.
Outside of this tribulation and their professions, the Simmons couple talk about the importance of marriage as teamwork and mental and physical compassion (neither holds back on talking about how important lovemaking is in a marriage). The Simmons’ also talk about how they incorporated Angela, Vanessa and JoJo’s biological mother and Run’s ex-wife, Valerie, into Run’s House, and how they view their children when it comes to education, virginity, dating (Angela dated rapper Bow Wow for a while and freaked out on the show when she found out about the chapter on him), drugs, liquor and sibling rivalry.
Take Back Your Family is an excellent read for parents and young adults about a wholesome and professional African American family sidestepping stereotypes.
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