Rev Run’s infectious positivity is what we need for 2017

Rev Run wants you to ring in the New Year in style at the SLS South Beach. Handout

For anyone who thinks that 2016 was an awful year, Joseph Simmons, aka Rev Run, one-third of the legendary hip-hop group Run-D.M.C., should be your refuge. A brief scroll through his Twitter and Instagram feeds offers a reset for the cynical soul. The rapper turned Pentecostal preacher turned reality TV star drops internet gems like these daily:

Preach, Rev!

The reason he sends out these daily messages to his 4.5 million Twitter followers is very personal: “A lot of preachers might tell you this, but we are actually preaching to ourselves, and then most people are usually dealing with some of the same issues. So if I wake up and I am having an issue where I can’t get over a hump or close a certain deal or issues with family, I’ll write something like ‘Do your best and forget the rest,’ to encourage myself. And I say OK that helps me get through my morning so I can start my day. That word of wisdom is my cup of coffee, so let me give it to the world.” 

Simmons brought his infectious positivity to Miami, just in time for us to kick 2016 to the curb, as the host of the New Year’s Eve festivities at the SLS Hotel on South Beach along with DJ Ruckus. Given the number of beloved icons we’ve lost in 2016, we’ll take all the help we can get. Of course, the Reverend knows loss. In 2002 he lost his long time friend and Run-D.M.C. collaborator Jam Master J. And the tragic death of his infant daughter in 2006, who was born with a fatal birth defect, was widely known because it occurred during the production of his reality show “Run’s House.” About loss, he has this advice: “For me, as far as losing celebrities and family members and loved ones, the best you can do is pray for everyone. Often times we don’t have answers. We put it in the ‘I don’t understand’ file so you are not subject to questioning God too much. Because God is good anyway. You just gotta keep it moving and pray for strength and courage to go forward.”

One thing Simmons wants you to focus on for 2017 is staying healthy. “I always tell people that health is the first wealth,” he explains. He and wife Justine are both advocates for diabetes awareness, encouraging people, particularly African Americans over age 45, to get screened and to make healthy diet and exercise choices. “I’m a very healthy person right now. This morning I did egg whites instead of regular eggs. I had salmon two nights in a row. It was so good, I’ll probably have it a third night. I’m on a bit of a fish roll.” 

When it comes to relationship goals, Simmons can also lead you in the right direction. He and his wife Justine, have maintained a stable partnership for 22 years because of Simmons’ positivity. “I was just telling a friend that the main thing that keeps relationships going is hope. My honeymoon was a time of great excitement, travel, hope and love. I continue to duplicate that day over and over with my wife. That kind of hope for romantic days, hope for anniversaries, hope for travel, hope for everything that we had on our mind the day we got married.” 

For 2017, Simmons has a positive outlook, obviously. He has a television show with ABC in the works, a multi-cam family comedy starring him and his wife, plus a touring schedule with DJ Ruckus. He might get back on stage with his old partner Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels, which usually happens once or twice a year and is always a pleasure, he says. (“It’s like riding a bike.”) And his family is expanding; his daughter Angela Simmons had her first child, which has him excited with his new title. “You become grand,” he explains. “It’s like I’m at the next level of parenting.”