On the surface, Tyrese and Rev. Run may seem like something of an odd couple. The veteran rap star-turned-pastor and the R&B singer-actor seem to be worlds apart on the surface — and if you know even a little about their personalities, it only adds to what would appear to be a wide disparity in their perspectives. Your assumptions would largely be correct; these are two very different men with two very different mindsets. But those differences forged a friendship that has lasted for years, and the bond that these two have has been the catalyst for an ongoing conversation that they’ve decided to share with the world; first as co-authors of the relationship book Man-Ology and now with their new OWN series, “It’s Not You, It’s Men.”
“I’m a very married man; he’s a very single man,” explains Run. “And that will help ladies and gentlemen understand two perspectives on relationships. Why isn’t he married? He’ll tell you many reasons and things that women do that don’t work for him. He’s like, ‘Everybody’s not your wife, Justine. I didn’t run into a Justine-type of person. So I understand you being happily married, but here are my thoughts.’ He’ll probably be telling women how he’s dissatisfied with them, and I’ll be sharing my perspective on marriage, weddings, jealousy and cheating. The show is two men telling you how they feel about relationships in 2016.”
Run’s relationship advice is peppered with familiar terms like “compromise” and “selflessness.” As for Tyrese, his opinions tend to be far less accommodating to women and he proudly declares that “we’ve had enough man-bashing” while promising that “It’s Not You, It’s Men” will “piss women off.”
“Women don’t understand how they could force a man to go look into other options,” he explains. “In your mind there’s nothing [you] could say or do to make me want to put my penis in another woman’s vagina outside of [yours?] You’re actually wrong. If a man is thirsty, he’s going to find a drink. The question is; are you using your sex as a weapon like we’re some little kids who say ‘if you don’t this and do that, you can’t get this?’ I’m grown with facial hairs. Don’t play with me. If I don’t get it here, you’re going to force me to look into other situations.”
Tyrese acknowledges the famous bond that Rev. Run and Justine share, but he also challenges his friend — because Tyrese believes that Run’s relationship was forged in the long, long ago — aka the 1990s — before social media made us all less patient and more craven.
“He never got a direct message on Instagram from Miss Justine!” Tyrese says. “This was prior to Facebook and Instagram and this social media, which is [ruining] all human contact and connectivity. You actually went on a date and fell in love and got to know the woman you were dating instead of it [being] built on text messaging.”
Tyrese seems preoccupied with sex and infidelity, but Run believes that dropping the hostility and the desire to “win” would help a lot of people through rough patches in their relationships.
“It’s about removing ego and edging everything out that would ruin your relationship,” Run advises. “You need to push things out of your way in order to maintain your relationship, and ego is in the way of today’s relationships. Not only is ego in the way, but so is selfishness. You have to be selfless, not selfish.
“Listen to the whispers so you do not have to hear the screams. Many times your mate is whispering — sometimes not even words, it’s actions — and you’ll still be hearing screams later because you didn’t take the first [hints]. I heard some screams and I didn’t know it was coming but there probably were a bunch of whispers around. She’s a forgiving woman who let it go quickly, but it was heated for a moment in my home.”
Rev. Run has a lot to smile about. He has two shows on the air, a famously healthy marriage and successful kids. And his legendary group, Run-D.M.C. was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 58th annual Grammys Awards, which, incidentally was hosted by one of his peers and friends, LL Cool J. The trio is the first hip-hop act to get the Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and Run was floored by the news.
“I’m very grateful. I’m very shocked,” Run says. “I was shocked when I got the phone call from the Academy. I’m very proud. This is big for me. Shout-out to DMC. JMJ forever — know he’s somewhere smiling. We created a body of work that they felt [deserves] a Grammy. I’m so blown away by this honor.”
But even with such an honor being bestowed on Run-D.M.C., the Grammys have gotten much-deserved criticism for the way Black music is often marginalized during the show. There is much conversation swirling around the Oscars currently, but the Grammys have come under fire in recent years as well. White artists have consistently taken home the biggest awards come Grammy night — even in genres often dominated by Black people.
“I said this to the president of the Grammys,” recalls Tyrese. “[I said] ‘Neil, I love you. I love that you come from music. You have a lot of hits under your belt and you worked heavily with Clive Davis. You’re a great man. You’re a musician. I love your heart and I know who you are. But things are changing.’
“When Steve Stoute wrote his letter, he said that they’re using all of the most popular artists to promote and market the Grammys — bus benches, billboards, TV shows — and then when you tune in, they’re handing out awards to a bunch of people that they never promoted to get people to tune in and watch the Grammys. And they have close-ups of us reacting — because you’ve got me on 4,000 billboards promoting it! ‘Tune in to the Grammys!’ And then you’re handing it out to a bunch of people that you never promoted.”
Tyrese was among the celebrities calling for Oscars host Chris Rock to step down in protest following the announcement of the 2016 Academy Award nominees. For the second year in a row, the nominees were all White, and individuals such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have made it clear that they won’t be attending the show. Tyrese echoes their frustrations.
“As far as the Oscars, I think there are a lot of people being very vocal,” Tyrese says. “But I think the days of using Black people for your dog-and-pony show are over. Don’t have us sitting in the audience just to say ‘Oh, we do love Black people!’ Jennifer Hudson is there every year, presenting and sitting in the audience. Denzel. Chris Rock hosting this year. Reginald Hudlin producing the Oscars. And yet, nobody who is African American was nominated.
“I know more White people than most people. So I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I get along with everybody. I love everybody. I wouldn’t be in movies like The Fast and the Furious if I was only about the Black movement. I’m about the movement of all. That’s who I am. But at the end of the day, they have 20 African American significant people who are now registered and a part of the voting committee — including Ava [DuVernay], who directed Selma. And they will tell you that ‘We came here to be a voice but after we got here, we realized we have no voice.’ And I think this year’s nominations reflect just that. So I believe a change will come.”
Story by Stereo Williams
Images by Jason Beaucourt