Darryl "DMC" McDaniels speaks on music career, men's mental health, and his new children's book
Short N Sweet Ent
For the conclusion of Black History Music Month, Arnold NY presented its second installment of the Listening Lounge and honored Darryl “DMC” McDaniels – co-founder of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Run DMC. Hosted by Damien Escobar, McDaniels spoke to a small and intimate crowd to discuss his iconic journey in the music industry, how his childhood impacted his life, men’s mental health, and the release of his new children’s book, “Darry’s Dream”.
Before the dialogue dove straight into “Darryl’s Dream”, Escobar and McDaniels had an open and honest conversation about Men’s Mental Health and the importance it has in our community. As a mental health advocate, McDaniels explained “one of the things that allow stigma to exist especially in the black community, is the celebration of harmful self distributive behavior”. He voiced that it is a big problem and from his experience, nobody simply stops to figure out why the person is leading them down this journey. During the conversation, McDaniels expressed that he was addicted to alcohol and when he found out that he was adopted at the age of 35, he learned that life was hard and he wanted to find a way to suppress those emotions.
“The key to mental health is putting yourself first. If you could remove guilt and shame, you can remove the pain. Your truth is your truth no matter how bad it is and I choose truth”. – Darryl “DMC” McDaniels
Over the last few years, the black community has accepted therapy as a tool to get through the pain. Within our culture, we still have room to grow but taking it one step at a time is part of the solution. After realizing how important therapy is to McDaniels he stated how it saved his life and what he can do to help others who too have been in his shoes.
Too often we are told no, that we can’t do it, or that our dreams don’t matter but that certainly that is not the case. Darryl’s Dream is a story about creativity, confidence, and finding your voice. In the book, Darryl was getting picked on at school for having weird glasses and for being smart. The children laughed at him and that did not make him feel good. In the book, Darryl’s mom told him, “what’s important is that you like yourself and you stay true to who you are.” This statement resonates with so many children today and the things that they struggle with on an everyday basis. As a young child, it is extremely important to get through those obstacles and dream big because with hard work those dreams will come true.
In an exclusive interview, McDaniels spoke with us about his decision to write his first children’s book, how representation matters, and what he has coming up next.
Short N Sweet Ent: Tell us more about Darryl’s Dream and how the process started for you?
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels: There was a process for me to get to point A to point B so musically and artistically I don’t do anything unless it has a purpose, which is to inspire, motivate, and educate while I entertain. I’ve been making music for about 40 years and people say Run DMC taught me so much and y’all inspired us. I realized in this day in age that we live in everything that we are up against as adults: stress, mental health issues, obstacles, and adversities that exist in our world, our home world, family world, or work environment. It’s the same for children, for their environments, it’s their households, their backyards, their neighborhoods, their classrooms, and their schoolyards. So I was like okay if I was able to give the world Darryl McDaniels from 12th grade to now I can go back to kindergarten, where this journey for me started especially since children are going through bullying and self-esteem issues like me. So I hooked up with Nickelodeon, which has been experts at communicating with our little kids, but I’m thinking about how can I creatively and artistically make learning experiences fun. So I said okay. I have made all these records and videos but apparently, this DMC guy was Darryl in 3rd grade. So oh that’s it! I’ll put myself in 3rd grade to do two things for the children. Show them they are perfect just the way they are, the color of your skin, your hair, the funny things, the food that they like are important and because you are who you are those characteristics of you at that point in your life, you may not see it nut later on those characteristics of you being perfect just the way you are will allow you to succeed. I want them to read Darryl’s Dream and know that dreams do come true.
We are sending a special thank you to McDaniels for taking the time to speak to us. Click here to watch the full interview.
Darryl’s Dream is out now and don't forget to get your copy!
Until next post... Coach Tay