Rev Run on marriage, ministry and “manology”

Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons (pictured, right), co-host of OWN's It's Not You, It's Men, talks to realscreen about his forthcoming male-focused talk show and his unscripted programming career. (Pictured left: series co-host Tyrese Gibson)
January 22, 2016

Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons (pictured, right) rose to prominence in the 1980s as one third of the pioneering rap trio Run-DMC, one of the first hip-hop acts to emerge as a radio-friendly, pop-culture sensation.

Run-DMC cultivated mainstream media success with its 1983 single “It’s Like That.” The trio’s self-titled album would follow a year later, charting at No. 53 on the Billboard charts and would help Run-DMC become the first in the genre to be certified gold.

In 1986, the group released its third studio album, Raising Hell, breaking barriers in the process. The seminal record would go on to achieve triple platinum status due in large part to a collaboration with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry on the hip-hop infused cover of Aerosmith’s hit “Walk This Way,” which cracked the top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Though Rev Run has semi-retired from lighting up stages across the globe, his media empire has since grown to encompass unscripted TV, having starred alongside his family on such series as MTV’s Run’s House, The Cooking Channel’s Rev Fun’s Sunday Suppers and Travel Channel’s Rev Run’s Around the World.

Having previously co-authored Manology: Secrets of Your Man’s Mind Revealed, Simmons and R&B singer-turned-actor Tyrese Gibson (left) will once again team up on U.S. net OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s It’s Not You, It’s Men. Premiering on January 23, the relationship-focused primetime talk show will take the public to “man school” through unique viewpoints on such topics as “men-ogamy,” modern-day romance, cheating, sex, marriage and dating. In between working on his multiple scripted projects, the good Reverend took time out for an email interview.

How did It’s Not You, It’s Men come to be?

Tyrese was on Arsenio Hall’s show and made contact with the producer [showrunner Eric Pankowski] and they asked Tyrese [if he] would be interested in doing a show. Tyrese suggested he and I create a talk show together.

The network has said that the series will dish on “everything viewers need to know about men and love.” What do we need to know about men and love?

There’s two points of view on the show: Coming from a very married man, myself, and a very single man, Tyrese. You want to be sure to watch.

Can you reveal some of the celebrity guests and how you went about selecting them?

You’ll see Vin Diesel, Marlon Wayans, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Amber Rose and many others. Some are friends and others requested to be on the show.

In addition to music, fashion, publishing books and being ordained, you currently have three series on air. How do you find time to continue working on new projects? Do you have any new reality TV projects in 2016?

I’m very busy now and happy to work on these shows so that makes it easy!

You’ve been with your wife Justine for 21 years. What’s the secret to a successful marriage? What would your wife say it is?

Be a professional forgiver. It’s all about compromise and communication in a marriage.

Your family has previously featured prominently in several of your series. What made you decide to expose your family to a very public life?

My shows are all ministry to me.

  • This interview first appeared in the January/February issue of realscreen magazine, which is out now. Not a subscriber? Click here for more information.
About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.