By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Rev. Run (aka Joseph Simmons) is a founding member of hip-hop legend Run-D.M.C., and his new disc, Distortion--a collection of rap-rock hybrids not unlike the vintage tracks he created with his former group--was released on October 18. Additionally, Run now stars in a "reality-based" TV series (co-produced by his brother Russell Simmons and Puff Daddy...or P. Diddy or Diddy or maybe it's just Did now) about his solo career and family life titled Run's House, and yes, this is probably MTV's replacement for The Osbournes.
Old rapper tries to revitalize his career? Big deal. However, my curiosity is piqued by that "Rev." before the "Run" and by the quasi-priest look (all black with a white clerical collar) that he sports when he's taped chilling in the respective office suites of Diddy and Simmons. So I conducted my own investigation and discovered that Run earned his title after joining New York's Zoe Ministries--a multimedia, multimillion-dollar "prophetic church" founded by one Bishop E. Bernard Jordan. When Jordan started his church in '83, he designed a pyramid of ranks, which his followers climb through service to the ministries. In the late '80s, when Run's career tanked, he turned to Jordan for spiritual and financialguidance. The bishop started him off as a lowly usher, a totally humbling experience for the struggling pop star.
This linking of Run's spiritual being to his financial health is the foundation of the gospel Jordan preaches. In his book, Cosmic Economics (which can be ordered on the Zoe Ministries Web site for the "suggested donation" of $49.95), the bishop writes, "True wealth is not determined by the amount of money a man has in his hands, but it is measured by his ability to create more substance...money is within. Money is a state of consciousness, for consciousness is the only currency, and currency is only consciousness."
Thus, Jordan is a Christian-based self-empowerment guru à la Tony Robbins, and he apparently possesses occult powers like clairvoyance. For the "suggested donation" of $20.20, "Bishop Jordan will prophesy on cassette tape for you for vision and clarity in a situation." And, according to Run (whom I interviewed one recent morning), Jordan once prophesied to him that Diddy would, in the near future, approach him about an important business deal. Two weeks later, Diddy phoned and pitched Run's House.
So, is this all a crock of shit? At the least, it's a total showbiz put-on. However, after watching the second episode of Run's House wherein Run thoughtfully and honestly examines the ways in which he mishandled his "birds 'n' the bees" discussion with his son Diggy, I'd say this reverend has more of a right to wear his rather absurd costume than all the child molesters hiding in the Vatican.