Rev. Run is a bit of a ham. Not only is he a music icon (as one-third of the legendary Run-DMC) and a global fashion influencer (with his trademark Adidas sneakers, black track suits and fat gold chains), he’s also a reverend. But since the 2005 debut of MTV’s Run’s House, Rev. and his family—wife Justine, and kids Vanessa, Angela, JoJo, Diggy, Russy and Miley—have been quite the charismatic crew. The Simmons family delivered family-friendly laughs and love as they let us into their home and offered up another side of Joseph Simmons: the husband, dad, and reality TV star. ‘Sunday Suppers’ [INTERVIEW]
After six seasons on the hit show, the family came back recently with Rev. Run’s Renovation (on the DIY and HGTV Networks), which follows the couple and their three youngest children as they roll up their sleeves to give their six-bedroom, eight-bath home a total facelift from the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms to the great room and garage.
Last night, the Rev. and family came back to serve up a brand new show: Rev Run’s Sunday Suppers on The Cooking Channel. We get to witness fun, food and family at Rev’s house from Sunday to Sunday: including breakfast for dinner with chicken and waffles, a Sunday vegetarian sit-down with veggie tacos, and a visit from the Simmons’ family food police!
Run sat down with EBONY.com to chop it up about his latest endeavor and his all-time favorite meal.
EBONY: This is your third reality show. What do you think it is about your family that people are so drawn to?
Rev. Run: Just the love. I think mostly, out of all things, they love to see a family being together more than anything else. I think that’s what people tune in for.
EBONY: You seem very comfortable with a camera around; the jokes and one-liners don’t stop. What do you love about being on reality shows?
RR: For me, it’s just fun. I can be creative without having a script, number one. Number two, I love being with my family, so doing a show together actually pulls us closer together. And it’s just fun. There’s a subtle teaching going on without me having to scream, “Be with your family!” You can look at it and see it and people are inspired by it. I run into people who are like, “I spend more time with my family after I watch you,” and my pulpit is actually reality television.
EBONY: We got a sneak peek at the first episode when your wife Justine lets you have a “cheat day.” What else can we expect?
RR: There’s a lot that goes on. Justine’s sister comes over and cooks her famous mac and cheese. Perry, who’s worked with me for many years as road management/security throughout my Run-DMC career, is now with Diggy, which is actually pretty cool. He told me over the phone one day that he can cook. And if you see this brother Perry, you’d never think that he can cook. He told me he could cook turkey wings and I laughed at him, and then he sent me a picture of a Sunday that he had cooked them. So on the show he wanted to show me how he could cook turkey wings, and he did it! That episode is hilarious.
EBONY: So it won’t always be a recipe from Justine…
RR: There will be a lot of Justine recipes, but then Angela comes over and cooks a vegetarian meal because she’s a vegetarian; that’s pretty funny. I don’t want to give it all away, but I’m in the backyard hiding and grilling a steak, and when the steak comes on the table, Angela says, “Dad, you didn’t have to hide it from me.” I was cooking out on the grill in the middle of winter… it was snowing! She’s inside thinking I’m happy—and I was happy—but I wasn’t going to trust her with my whole beautiful Sunday dinner.
EBONY: Will you ever get the kitchen?
RR: Yes. When Perry is doing his turkey wings, Diggy doesn’t trust it, so I’m in there making bison burgers. I’m trying to give Diggy a healthy meal because he says the bison has less fat, so then the joke becomes, Perry says: “That bison is looking dry, son.” So we’re going back and forth cracking jokes. I call his wings “pterodactyl turkey wings” because they’re the size of my head. “They’re so big, where are they from? Brooklyn?” So that episode is probably called “Perry’s Pterodactyl Turkey Wings.”
EBONY: Sunday dinners are so traditional and important, especially in Black culture. Were they always a tradition in your home?
RR: Yes, Sunday is the day when we sit down and have the biggest meal. You know, you don’t usually cook a ham on a Monday or Tuesday, but on Sunday, there might be a ham or a Cornish hen… There’s always a little special something that happens on Sunday, and a spiritual feeling because it’s God’s day. So Sunday is probably the meal where mom throws down. And it’s close to a Thanksgiving or Christmas on Sundays. It’s definitely not a microwave dinner on Sunday.
EBONY: Is the food secretly a lure to get everyone together, especially since the kids are growing up and busy?
RR: Everybody is gone except me, my wife, Russy and Miley. Diggy’s there, but he’s always on tour. Vanessa moved to L.A., Angela’s in the city, JoJo moved out. So my thing is, there’s almost like an empty nest type of thing where I’m craving Run’s House.
EBONY: I think everybody is.
RR: I pull Diggy in [to the show] and he’s a health nut, so he brings home his trainer—who makes cardboard, basically, but it ended up tasting good. Diggy says I’m not eating unless I can have the stuff that is extremely healthy, organic. But yes, it’s all about me trying to lure in the old days; it’s reminiscing about the old times with Run’s House when we were all together.
EBONY: What’s something you just don’t like to eat?
RR: Vegetables. I’m the pizza kid. I don’t eat collard greens, I don’t eat spinach. But actually, I’ll eat spinach if it’s raw these days, in a salad.
EBONY: Besides Justine’s lasagna that she makes in the first episode, what’s an all-time favorite meal of yours?
RR: Pizza! It’s what I would eat if I was stuck on a desert island for three days. Just leave me a couple of pizzas and an oven and I’m good. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
EBONY: Is there a place you’d get it?
RR: New York pizza.
EBONY: What are some of your favorite summer meals?
RR: Barbeque, hot dogs, hamburgers. These days it’ll be a turkey hot dog or burger. I love the smell of barbeque, and there would be a lot of sunshine and music, of course.
EBONY: You’ve been watching your weight and eating healthier. What’s a typical daily menu for you at home?
RR: I’ll wake up and have egg whites and a piece of wheat toast. I’ll go from there for lunch and have a turkey burger on a wheat wrap with pickles. For dinner, I’ll have grilled shrimp with some brown rice and maybe a Caesar salad and a Weight Watchers snack. Or a little bit of pineapple or watermelon.
EBONY: What’s one of the best meals you’ve had?
RR: Pizza, I need to stop telling you this. I feel bad, but pizza is my top meal. I don’t know why, but I’ve been stuck there ever since I was little. I love the lasagna, but I can’t put that over pizza. I can’t have it all the time, but I love it.