Former MTV star and rapper brings unique story to Washburn

Anjelica Willis

It isn’t often 800 people find their way into the Washburn Room in the Memorial Union simultaneously.

Name recognition can have that effect.

Washburn Student Government Association co-sponsored with the Washburn Black Student Union to present Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons as a speaker at Washburn University on Dec. 2.

The program was presented as a question and answer series that included a student panel featuring Michael Wilhoite, a mass media senior and Nikki Scott, the president of Washburn Black Student Union.

“Every year we have a lecture series and we go into the cost, quality of the speaker and funding,” said Caley Onek president of WSGA. “I believe we got to have Rev. Run for a good price, we haven’t had a speaker like Rev. Run. We want the students to have memories to take for the rest of their life.”

Simmons started his presentation off with a prayer for the audience and himself. Throughout the presentations, he kept the crowd going with some of his rap beats, and then talked about his transformation from being a member of the iconic rap group, Run-D.M.C. to being Rev. Run.

Simmons discussed the problems with balancing family and his lifestyle.

“For me, I prioritize,” said Simmons. “I have six kids and a sneaker company.”

Simmons also discussed how he didn’t think his show, which ran on MTV for eight seasons, was going to be a success.

“I used MTV to speak a positive energy, and not just the rock star lifestyle that is seen sometimes,” said Simmons. “People can see realness and fakeness; it will stand out.”

The main focus of his visit to Washburn was to remind college students that they are not alone, stress will occur but putting family first is important.

He also talked about the importance of getting a good education, rather than, as Simmons termed, “being stupid.”

“Try to become irreplaceable, that way people will want to even pay to see,” said Simmons.