Music Legend Rev. Run and his wife Justine Simmons appeared on the AT&T stage to give positivity and talk about Inspired Mobility during Essence Fest 2017. Inspired Mobility is AT&T’s facilitated conversation about how people use mobile technology to inspire others and stay connected to their faith. Actress Holly Robinson Peete moderated the discussion as Rev. Run and Justine talked about “Life as Entertainment,” which was about them inspiring millions by living real life on camera. Rolling out had the opportunity to sit down and talk with the inspiring couple to understand how they use TV, technology, and social media to #BeTheGlow and spread the love.
How do AT&T and Inspired Mobility align with your personal beliefs and morals?
Rev. Run: It is everything. Inspired Mobility was made for me and I was made for it. I was one of the first people to get on social media and give out words of wisdom. As a fact of fact, when you put out words of wisdom, people say “oh you’re on your Rev. Run stuff.” So for me, when I was approached by AT&T, I thought this was perfect. So we’ve been in business for a couple of years and it’s been fabulous because it’s a natural thing for me. I’m going to do send out positivity anyway. But to have AT&T behind it all and putting #BeTheGlow and #InspiredMobility [out there, adds] a whole other level of power behind these words. I’ve been on TV shows, and I’ve done it well within social media but once AT&T, whose global and powerful, gets involved I’m [suddenly] on this channel and that channel. I was just on the “Breakfast Club” with Charlamagne Tha God and all of these different media outlets talking about it. People knew about it, it was very big, but when you start talking about it on TV about tweets and Instagram posts, it’s another level.
So why is it important to use social media platforms to inspire people and be positive?
Rev. Run: In this dark world, the stuff that’s been going on, the hate, the jealousy and bullying, is all on social media. So we need this now more than ever. We needed it when I first started but it’s getting worse. You’ll look on Kim Kardashian’s page and every time she posts something, people talk so recklessly. [Social media’s] a place where we need balance. Jay-Z just put out a great album. It’s so positive. We need that. I’ve been able to do it but with AT&T behind me, with Jay-Z putting out an album like that, with Kendrick Lamar and his lyrics promoting positivity, it helps push the culture forward and it helps ease the pain of the hatred and the bullying that’s on social media. I’m glad to be involved and tell people to “Be The Glow.” Be that one. We also tell people “Entertainment Your Way.” Entertainment Your Way is basically saying you can go and catch my show even if you’re not in the house. You can pull out your tablet or cellphone. You could be riding on a train or in the park and actually watch the cooking show. We have a very positive cooking show called “Rev. Run’s Sunday Suppers” with my wife. So you can just watch that right on your phone because AT&T has Direct TV.
So speaking of the show, how exactly do you use cooking to push forward positivity?
Justine: For us, we do it to try to have your family come together. Now that our kids are getting older, they don’t want to be home. They want to eat here and eat there. But we’re like, okay, this one day let’s come together. And we’re hoping other people will do the same. When you’re younger, you have no choice. All of our kids are older, except for Miley, so we just want to bring our family together. That’s why all of our shows really fit with what AT&T is doing out there.
Why is it important to reinvent yourself and use social media platforms for good?
Rev. Run: Well that’s what we do with our “brand.”There are plenty of reality shows out there. If you remember Run’s House, we [were] the show you would go to and you know you’re just going to watch a happy family having fun. We have some issues just like the rest of the world, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see a normal family doing what normal people do. People related to the show. Yeah, it’s a big house and all, but that’s not what attracted people to the show. If you want to see a big house, you can go to all types of shows for that. What they were attracted to was the love. They wanted to see Russy and Diggy playing with each other and my wife and I running down the block and doing things. It’s important that we because we have a husband and wife ministry, push love and positivity. The branding of it all is to make people feel good. You want people to scroll through a page and see posts about love and God. Social media has been A1 in helping us push the message of inspired mobility and #BeTheGlow. It’s a call to action and we want everyone to do it. My wife and I put up posts all the time about love, marriage, and being good to each other. Other people can do that too! You may not have a TV show, but you can create a page and put up positive things about your life. With so much craziness going on in the world, people need to Be The Glow. Go forward and shine in the midst of the darkness.
You both have been in the entertainment industry for so long, what is the key factor that helps you both Be The Glow in such a dark industry?
Justine: My husband and I talk to each other a lot. We communicate. We don’t let things just go without saying. We discuss things right then. People don’t realize, but before “Run’s House,” this was the life we were trying to live. We wanted to make things positive for our family. Especially, since we have a blended family, you definitely want to have those sit-down meetings and talk. It really is our life and not just a show. We try hard. It’s a concentrated effort. I’m trying to make him [Rev. Run] happy just as much as he is trying to make me happy. We were out the other day and he was trying to hold my bag so I didn’t have to carry it. And I’m arguing that I want to hold my bag and he’s saying no, he can hold it. We were literally getting ready to argue because he wanted to make me comfortable and I wanted to hold my bag. Good or bad, we communicate.
For someone who may be in that darkness and wants to start that journey to Be The Glow, what are three things you would recommend for them to do to spark that glow?
Rev. Run: If you want to spark that glow, go on social media, and put up a picture of you doing something positive. Write Inspired Mobility. Find yourself a nice meme — something about God or spirituality — and tag it #InspiredMobility and #BeTheGlow. Get out there on this big forum. You are now your own magazine. You can go and create your own blog. Those are the ways to get yourself out there — through social media. Get yourself on there and promote positivity.
Justine: And If you’re going through that darkness, don’t keep looking at dark things. A lot of times people don’t realize he [Rev. Run] puts up things because they inspire him. Some song or some image of water, it inspires him and it gets him in a different mood. It works just the same.