Rev Run now rapping about the importance of diabetes screening
Rev Run (aka Joseph Simmons), formerly known as Run from the seminal rap group Run-D.M.C., was the star of the reality show "Run's House" on MTV and is now a 48-year-old Pentecostal minister known for his inspirational Twitter snippets.. He recently partnered with Novo Nordisk, insulin manufacturers, to promote screening for diabetes and the Novo Nordisk website devoted to diabetes, askscreenknow.com. Rev Run lives with his wife, Justine, and six kids in Saddle River, N.J.
Q. Do you get paid by Novo Nordisk to encourage people to get screened for diabetes?
A. I do get a fee, but beyond the fee, as a reverend, it's a big deal for me: I was praying about it and this is my calling. My new message is health is the first wealth. I'm telling people to ask their health care providers to screen them for diabetes and to ask specifically -- you often don't know what you're being screened for! African Americans my age are double the risk of everyone else, and African American men especially.
Q. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. How much did you grease on Thanksgiving?
A. I had a lot more string beans than gravy! I've lost 23 pounds in the last four or five months. Now that it's getting cold, I don't get outside much, so I have a treadmill in the house. When you get older, you realize your metabolism isn't the same. You can't have the same food you like all the time. The more I tell my body 'no,' the less it asks.
Q. Your dad had diabetes, didn't he?
A. Yes. He's passed now, but not from diabetes. I realized I'm at risk and then my friends got diagnosed -- like (the actor) Anthony Anderson. It hits close to home for me and people look to me for wisdom. I have 4 million followers on Twitter. I'm expected to help people and I believe I've been called at this season in my life to talk about health. I'm supposed to be speaking about this now.
Q. You are! You are! Do you have a church and congregation?
A. For years, I was on MTV. I don't have a church home, but I'm with Zoe Ministries. I go to multiple churches (and preach). I was very blessed to go to Ed Young's Fellowship church (in Grapevine, Texas, outside Dallas).
Q. Has your brother, Russell Simmons, been screened for diabetes?
A. My brother Russell is a complete yoga fanatic. He's beyond tested! But just because you're in great health doesn't mean you can't get diabetes. You have to make sure you're proactive instead of reactive. When you're proactive, life is better.
Q. There are so many campaigns to get people screened for cancer and diabetes, but such a shortage of care for people who can't afford treatment. Why isn't there greater emphasis on getting people affordable health care for conditions they may already know they have?
A. There are definitely federally funded clinics. Obamacare helps a lot. Care is available. Once you've been diagnosed, you can go to the federally funded clinics.
Q. You seem self-employed. Where do you get your health insurance from?
A. Through my brother's company!