STEREOGUM: Sarah McLachlan Song Saved D.M.C. From Suicide

By Collin Robinson
Photo Credit:Duane Prokop

Daryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels of pioneering rap duo Run D.M.C. struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts in the late ’90s, and he opens up about his mental health in a new memoir entitled Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide. McDaniels had been sober for years after struggling with alcohol addiction. But he lost his voice due to the throat condition spasmodic dysphonia, and was having a tough time without a creative outlet. In an excerpt from the book via People, McDaniels reveals that he had a go-to song when he was most at risk of taking his own life. Though you may think it would be a rock ballad since he nicknamed himself the “King of Rock” and is rarely seen without a classic rock T-shirt on, it was a tender Sarah McLachlan song:
I was probably at my suicidal worst in 1997 during a two-week-long tour in Japan. The only song I listened to then was a soft-pop ballad by Sarah McLachlan called “Angel.” I cannot overemphasize how important that song was to me in the midst of my depression. “Angel” kept me serene even when every fiber of my person was screaming for me to lose it [and] made me believe that I could soldier through.

I thought long and hard about killing myself every day in Japan. I tricked myself into thinking that my family might be better off without me. I considered jumping out of a window. I thought about going to a hardware store to buy poison to ingest. I thought about putting a gun to my temple. Whenever I’d listen to “Angel” though, I always managed to make my way back from the brink.

It would be too simple to say that song got rid of all my negative feelings. it couldn’t rid me of the wounds. [But] “Angel” was like a life preserver tossed to me during a storm. It didn’t pull me out of the water, but it did help me stay afloat until other help came along.

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Amsterdam News: A hero like me—Darryl “DMC” McDaniel

by Jasmine T. Murray

Whereas some children look for leaders on television and media, others in the New York City area are looking towards their communities. On June 22, 2016, at NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies in Manhattan, the NYC Department of Youth and Communities Development and well-known hip-hop enthusiast and publisher and founder of Darryl Makes Comics, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, came together to present the “DYCD Heroes Project” comic showcase. More than 100 middle school children from 25 DYCD-funded after-school programs and community centers were invited to the event to showcase original comic books with their unique heroes. For the project, Darryl Makes Comics and the Comics Book Project teamed up to encourage young students in NYC to appreciate local heroes in their communities.

Filled with dozens of middle school students, the NYC Lab High School cafeteria erupted with loud noise and laughter as the students anticipated the fun-filled event.

Darryl Rattray, associate commissioner of Community Centers and Strategic Partnerships for the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, had time to talk about the beginnings of the comics program.

“We’re always looking for ways to enhance the work that our nonprofits do,” Rattray stated. “This was a perfect intersection of events. One, we were trying to figure out what do around art. Two, we knew we wanted to do something around comic books. And three, one of our associates ran into DMC and in a meeting we were like, ‘Wow, let’s pull all three together and come up with this comic book project — DYCD Heroes.”

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5 weekend things to do in Marshfield

3. Free Vox Concert, Columbia Park, Saturday

The Vox Concert Series welcomes Laura Reed for an evening of music outdoors at 6 p.m. Saturday at Columbia Park, 201 W. Arnold St.

Admission is free to all Columbia Park events, but a suggested donation of $10 per person is encouraged toward helping the Vox Concert Series secure and offset costs of a downtown location.

Those planning to attend are can bring a basket of their favorite snacks and beverages to enjoy during the concert. Concessions will be available as well for guests. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs if they choose to not use the park benches.

Article Source

Harlem World Pick: Harlem Fave Darryl “DMC” McDaniels Gets Comical

Posted on 06/21/2016 by Harlem World Magazine

On June 22, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will hold the “DYCD Heroes Project” comic book showcase with hip-hop legend and Darryl Makes Comics Publisher and Founder Darryl “DMC” McDaniels.

The winning teams selected in April to work with professional comic book artists from Darryl Makes Comics will dress up as their favorite superheroes and display their professionally printed comic book featuring their original characters and stories. At the event, middle schoolers from 25 DYCD-funded afterschool programs and community centers who took part in the initiative will also showcase their original work.

In collaboration with Darryl Makes Comics and The Comic Book Project, the literacy-focused comic book initiative challenges middle school students in all five boroughs to develop stories about heroes—real or imagined—in their own communities.

Hip-Hop Legend Darryl “DMC” McDaniels
More than 100 middle school participants
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief of Darryl Makes Comics
Michael Bitz, Founder of The Comic Book Project
Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Hudson Guild Beacon Center, NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies, 333 W. 17th Street, New York NY 10011,

Photo credit: WATERBURY, CONNECTICUT- January 8, 2011: Hip-Hop icon Darryl McDaniels a.k.a. D.M.C. formerly of the legendary rap group Run-DMC photographed on the motion picture set of Hard Luck. (Photo by Robert Falcetti)

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NBC NEWS: Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels: Commissioner Bratton Should Apologize to Rappers


Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and hip-hop icon Darryl “DMC” McDaniels says the New York police commissioner’s recent comments — where he labeled rappers as thugs following a shooting at a hip-hop concert — are disrespectful and that the commissioner should apologize to rappers like Chuck D, Will Smith and Kendrick Lamar — performers whose songs do not promote violence and negative images.

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run DMC in 2014. Scott Roth/Invision/AP
Police commissioner William Bratton’s comments came Thursday after four people were shot at a Manhattan concert hall where rapper T.I. was scheduled to perform on Wednesday night. Bratton blamed the shootings on “the crazy world of the so-called rap artists who are basically thugs that basically celebrate the violence that they live all their lives.”

McDaniels, one of the founding members of the pioneering rap group Run-DMC, said the shooting is not a “hip-hop problem” and that Bratton’s statement was unfair to rappers like LL Cool J, De La Soul, J. Cole and many others.

“He needs to apologize to all the rappers who have come from (the) streets but have never put out anything negative (and) disrespectful to break down … and destroy their community,” McDaniels, 51, told the Associated Press on Friday.

“(Bratton) was upset and pointing a finger and getting to the root and not thinking about the people he would hurt by saying what he said,” McDaniels continued. “Him as the commissioner saying it did so much damage (and) pushes hip-hop back — that’s why he should apologize.”

Bratton told the AP Friday night that, “I meant what I said about the thugs who call themselves rap artists, and shoot up crowded clubs, and in this case, kill and wound people.”

But he said in a statement emailed by his spokesman that he understands rap has become “an important vehicle for storytelling in urban America” and that there’s a segment of “gangster rap” that often overshadows rap’s most important messages.

The rap group Run DMC in 1988. From left, Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Jason Mizell “Jam Master Jay.” AP
Bratton said his comments about the shootings were “misread as a reference to all of rap and hip hop, which it was not.” He said he’s concerned about the “subset that not only glamorize violence but some who employ violence like a prop for ‘street cred.'”

Police are investigating the deadly shooting at Irving Plaza, where one person died. Rapper Roland Collins, whose stage name is Troy Ave, will face attempted murder and weapons charges. He was also shot in the leg. Ronald McPhatter, who died, was a member of Collins’ entourage and had been there to provide security, according to his family.

In an interview with WCBS radio, Bratton said rap music “oftentimes celebrates violence, celebrates degradation of women, celebrates the drug culture.”

“It’s unfortunate that as they get fame and fortune that some of them are just not able to get out of the life, if you will,” he said.

McDaniels said his words are “totally, totally, totally unacceptable and false.”

“There’s a million rappers who come from the hood who do not portray, promote or produce products that celebrate or legitimizes any forms of negativity,” he said. “The commissioner, he knew better than that. I respect his job, I know it’s hard and all of that, but he should have known better.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he thought Bratton was “talking out of frustration.”


Article Source: NBC NEWS

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC condemns NYPD top cop Bill Bratton for saying rappers are ‘basically thugs’

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, May 26, 2016, 10:16 PM

Hip hop icon Darryl (DMC) McDaniels has as much love for New York’s top cop as he does for Sucker M.C.’s.

The “Run-DMC” legend struck back at Bill Bratton Thursday after the police commissioner said rappers were “basically thugs” following a deadly shooting the day before at a rap concert inside a Manhattan nightspot.

“He should have known better,” the Queens rapper told the Daily News.

“He should have kept it specific to what happened. All rappers ain’t gangsters. I went to St. John’s University, so I took it personally.

“LL Cool J isn’t a thug. Will Smith is a rapper. He’s not a thug. Nobody knows that Chuck D was a graphic arts major.”

In an interview, Bratton slammed the rap culture for glamorizing the gangster lifestyle and promoting violence in their songs and on stage.

“The crazy world of these so-called rap artists who are basically thugs, that basically celebrate violence they did all their lives, and unfortunately that violence oftentimes manifests itself during their performances,” Bratton said on The Len Berman and Todd Schnitt show on 710 WOR radio.

But McDaniels said hip hop music has gotten a bad rap, and said someone like Bratton should be able to tune out all the noise.

“He doesn’t know any better because he’s not being shown any better,” McDaniels said. “When you turn on Hot97 or MTV, you only see the dark stupid ignorant side of us. It’s not the generation. It’s the people who control the images in our generation.”

But the man who rapped with Joseph (Run) Simmons on such classics as “Sucker M.C.’s,” “It’s Tricky” and “My Adidas” admitted that some rappers have to take responsibility for the backlash.

“When we see the violence in our community, we’ve got to keep saying it’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong,” said McDaniels, whose new record “Flames,” with singer Myles Kennedy and bassist John Moyer, addresses gun violence.

“We don’t want our young people naming ourselves after John Gotti and them. Why do you feel pride after naming yourself after Scarface and Noriega?”

McDaniels was personally touched by the gun violence he denounced.

In 2002, his friend Jason Mizell, better known as Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed execution-style in a Queens music studio.

The murder remains unsolved.

“We don’t want our young people naming ourselves after John Gotti and them. Why do you feel pride after naming yourself after Scarface and Noriega?”

McDaniels was personally touched by the gun violence he denounced.

In 2002, his friend Jason Mizell, better known as Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay, was shot and killed execution-style in a Queens music studio.

The murder remains unsolved.

Article Source: New York Daily News

Complex: Run-DMC’s Darryl McDaniels Reflects on ‘Raising Hell’ and Intimidating Music Buyers in ’86


This week, Run-DMC​’s groundbreaking classic album Raising Hell turns 30. An important moment for everyone with even a passing interest in hip-hop, it’s a milestone DMC himself nearly forgot about. It’s understandable, since he’s having a busy 2016. He’ll be releasing a new book, Ten Ways to Not Commit Suicide; a new comic book from his Darryl Makes Comics imprint; a new single entitled “Flames” with Myles Kennedy and Disturbed’s John Moyer; and somehow making time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Felix Organization, a non-profit he co-founded that helps send foster children to the arts-inclusive Camp Felix.

Still, the Devastating Mic Controller found time to speak with Complex about Raising Hell’s legacy.

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It’s hard to underestimate the way Raising Hell influenced hip-hop since its release in 1986. But most visible is the crossover success of “Walk This Way.” Were there any other potential unexpected reinterpretations on the table?
It was Rick Rubin’s suggestion to do “Walk This Way” as the version that y’all hear on the record. Me and Run’s version of “Walk This Way” would have been with a typical hip-hop sample and talk about how good we were. We didn’t even know the song was called “Walk This Way.” We would say, “Pull out Toys in the Attic and play four.” Rick walked in the studio while we were already sampling it during an early session at Chung King Studios, and he suggested it might be cool if [we] did the record over as is. Me and Run hated the idea. Jay, rest in peace, said it might be dope. It was hillbilly gibberish country bumpkin rap, and so far from us even to understand it would work for MCs. Me and Run were crying, “Y’all are taking this rap-rock shit too far.” But it was Jay who said, “Slow down, don’t perform these lyrics the way Steven Tyler performed them. If y’all do those lyrics the way Run-DMC would do them with the signature switch-off/emphasis/overdub thing that you do.” Me and Run did it that way and it worked.

Remember, on Raising Hell, we had a rock song called “Raising Hell.” That was supposed to be the one following in the steps of “Rock Box” and “King of Rock.” I never wanted the b-boy thing to die. Remember, before “Rappers Delight,” before Sugar Hill and Enjoy Records, the only thing in existence were the live tapes of Grandmaster Flash, Treacherous Three, Lovebug and the Crash Crew. Those were the only thing in existence and “Funky Drummer,” “Apache,” “Good Times,” “Heartbeat”—these were the jams the DJs were playing while the MCs were running their mouths using the echo-chamber. You can go to YouTube right now and find Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, and Scorpio killing it in 1978, rapping over “Walk This Way” while Grandmaster Flash mixes it. When we were doing Raising Hell, the same way we did “Live at the Funhouse,” we knew we needed to have a routine with Jay spinning a beat and Run and D spitting like we would spit at the park. Jay was like, “We got to keep it b-boy. We need to make a record using one of the beats you like to run your mouths over.”[[

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NY Daily News: NYC rap legend, Mets star call for Hometown Heroes in Education nominations

Local luminaries from the worlds of music, sports and television news are calling on New Yorkers to nominate top teachers, principals and other special school staffers for the Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education awards.The annual contest shines a light on the extraordinary people who work with the city’s 1.1 million school students but rarely receive recognition for their efforts.“Our teachers are often overlooked in their importance to society and the nurturing of our children,” said Darryl McDaniels, DMC of the legendary hip-hop pioneers Run-DMC, who grew up in Queens.“Teachers and educators need to be celebrated and honored and treated like one of the most vital components of our communities,” said McDaniels, a longtime supporter of the Hometown Heroes awards. “Teachers are true MVPs (Most Valuable People) and champions and all stars!”

New York Daily News ‘Hometown Heroes in Education’ rules

The contest is open to employees at New York City public, private and parochial schools. Nominations can be sent by email, mail or fax.

A panel of judges will select the winners, who will be honored at a breakfast in October.

New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker said teachers are vital role models for kids.

New York Mets' Neil Walker notes that a teacher's "positive influence" can help kids beyond the classroom.

New York Mets’ Neil Walker notes that a teacher’s “positive influence” can help kids beyond the classroom.


“Good teachers can help create good morals and values for kids in the classroom,” said Walker, whose mother once worked as a teacher. “Their positive influence not only works in the classroom, but can be applied in everyday life.”

The News is organizing the awards with the help of the city Department of Education, the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

Some nominees will be profiled in the pages of The News in the coming weeks.

“One thing that we look for as judges is teachers who recreate the magic year after year,” said NY1 anchor Pat Kiernan, a judge and host of the awards ceremony. “This may be the 10th year they’ve done something. But to the students, it’s the first time.”

Daily News searches for 2016’s Hometown Heroes in Education

“It’s also exciting to see nominations from people who aren’t a typical classroom teacher,” Kiernan added. “Sometimes it’s someone on the support staff who makes a huge difference for students. They create the environment that invites learning.”

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CNN: DMC tackles black-on-black crime and police brutality in new song

Story by Deena Zaru and Video by Alex Lee, CNN


New York (CNN)Rapper Darryl McDaniels — known as DMC — says gun violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

The artist told CNN in an interview that partisan “arguing” over gun control needs to stop and called on politicians to find “sensible and safe” solutions to the problem of gun violence.
“I don’t look at things from a Democratic or Republican position because as soon as you say, ‘I’m a Democrat and you’re a Republican’ there’s a beef right then and there,” DMC told CNN.
While many Democrats say limiting access to firearms and high-volume ammunition clips is the best way to curb gun violence, many Republicans maintain that imrproving mental health care is the most effective approach to the problem. And as Black Lives Matter activists urge action over alleged cases of police brutality, others believe that street and gang violence in cities like Chicago are the problem.
“Whether it’s a cop shooting a kid or a kid shooting a kid, we gotta look at the totality of the senseless, ridiculous, foolish violence that is polluting all of our communities,” DMC said. “So I decided to be the rock ‘n’ roll hip hop guy that wouldn’t be afraid to make a song about it because it isn’t all good in the ‘hood.”
DMC, who rose to fame in the 1980s as part of the legendary rap group RUN-DMC, teamed up with Disturbed bassist John Moyer and rock front man Myles Kennedy to release “Flames” — a song that addresses issues within the black community, including police brutality and street violence. The song fuses rap and rock elements and asks, “Why does the answer always gotta be a gun?”
DMC slammed cops who “bring a gun to a knife fight” and said that police officers “could have caught these young men” or “corralled” them “without having to pull out guns and kill people.”
But he also lamented all of the gang violence in cities like Chicago and criticized politicians for not stopping the flow of illegal weapons coming into the cities.
“What I’m saying is not anti-police and it’s not … against my community. It’s about using common sense to alleviate all the problems,” DMC said.
RUN-DMC just received rap’s first Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and along with Rev. Run (Joseph Simmons) and Jam Master Jay, who was shot and killed in 2002, McDaniels has been making politically and socially conscious hip-hop music since the 1980s.
DMC said that when RUN-DMC and artists like Public Enemy, KRS-One, Grand Master Flash and Melle Mel made socially conscious records during the Reagan era like “The Message,” “Hard Times” and RUN-DMC’s “It’s LIke That,” “gang banging and drug dealing and teenage pregnancies and drug selling” were “running rampant” in the streets.
“But because the MC’s were addressing the issues weekly, on radio, the people listening to us were getting ideas,” DMC said, lamenting the “negativity” in current hip-hop radio.
DMC said that songs like the group’s 1983 hit “It’s Like That,” helped some kids stay out of gangs.
During that time poverty plagued the inner cities and there was a major crack cocaine epidemic in places like New York.
In October 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared the use of illicit drugs a national security threat and between 1980 and 1989, drugs arrests were up by 89%, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report.
In songs like their 1986 hit “It’s Tricky,” RUN-DMC address the drug epidemic: “We are not thugs (we don’t use drugs) but you assume (on your own)/ They offer coke (and lots of dope) but we just leave it alone.”
And now, as criminal justice reform is stalled in Congress, DMC, who backed Hillary Clinton in 2008, said he commends President Barack Obama’s efforts to address the issue by raising awareness and taking executives actions like commuting the sentences of drug offenders.
“I think Obama is trying to do on his way out what he wants people to do on their way in at the beginning,” DMC said. “He’s trying to set an example … he’s doing what he can and for that should be commended.”

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(New York City, NY May 14, 2016)  Legendary rap icon, 2009 Rock-N-Roll Hall Of Famer and recent 2016 Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels has often said his groundbreaking reign with RUN-DMC broke the rap/rock barrier in hopes of broadening ‘the possibilities of universal communication’; A respected cultural icon among hip hop and rock’s new vanguard, (as well as a longtime advocate for social change and meaningful community outreach), the inspiring rapper is once again deepening the national conversation.

DMC has joined forces with Disturbed bassist John Moyer and rock front man Myles Kennedy to release a probing new single “Flames,” which addresses the issue between the black community, gun violence and police shootings.  The new lyric video along with in depth DMC interview will première on’s

“Get Political” on Monday, May 16th.

But as the potent lyric video released with the single also boldly illustrates, DMC also takes on the issue of black on black crime head-on in the new song.  “For me, the totality of all these issues comes down to two words: unnecessary bullets,” says DMC.  “We stress that in the first line of the song.  ‘Unnecessary bullets, unnecessary bullets.  Get your finger off the trigger there is no need to pull it.’  The most powerful statement of this record, whether we’re talking about police shooting young men in the community, or people in the community shooting each other, the profound statement of this record is all the bullets were unnecessary. Every situation that became front page news as far as the police are concerned, the factor of pulling guns out of the holsters, could have been prevented if the cops don’t pull those guns.  A bad decision is only a shot away.  Same thing goes for the hood, a young man killing another young man in our community by pulling a trigger.  This record isn’t about taking sides. It’s about us looking to change that mindset that begins and ends with guns blazing. What we’re trying to say with ‘Flames’ is turn that rage into something that ignites a dialogue.  That’s why I do not call this a protest song.  We’ve had the protests – this is an ‘awareness’ record; time to sit around a table and hear everybody’s point of view.”

The theme of inclusiveness was a cornerstone of the song from the start, with bassist for the nu metal band Disturbed sending DMC a music track after a phone conversation between the two spawned the idea of joining forces to make a musical difference.  Moyer produced “Flames,” with renowned rock vocalist Myles Kennedy lending his voice, as well. John Gomez, Artist Manager with UEG and longtime friend of Moyer’s introduced the two and arranged the collaboration between Moyer, Myles and DMC”.

“John (Moyer) wanted to do a record that wasn’t just anti-police,” says DMC, “but would shed light on broader issues, too.  I had been waiting to write something like that so he sent me the track, and I began writing within twenty minutes.  I spit some verses to him over the phone the next day, and by the next week I flew to Austin to record the song.  John is a great bassist and I think that adds to his talent and vision as a producer.”

“I had wanted to make a record with a message that mattered and that covered the multiple sides of the violence issues that are dividing us,” adds Moyer, “and once I met DMC it just came together.”

DMC says he was also inspired by the song’s scalding rock threads, the sessions even reminding him of some of his first experiences with RUN-DMC and their original producer Larry Smith, who passed away in 2014.  “This was well before our association with Rick Rubin.  Larry was a great bassist also, and people forget how vital he was to RUN-DMC. He was always able to bring out the best in me and John does that here.   It was Larry’s idea to do a ‘Rock Box,’ and ‘King Of Rock’ way before we ever did a ‘Walk This Way.’  The difference with ‘Flames,’ even though I’m rapping, is that this is a rock track I’m ‘rocking’ on while rapping.”

DMC is also wise to the notion that melding rock and rap is easier than uniting factions so divisively split by the issue of police-involved shootings of young African Americans which many attribute to racialized policing.  “I know it’s complicated,” he says.  “And I’ve been asked what I call the ‘Black Lives Matter’ question.  This song doesn’t disrespect that viewpoint, it doesn’t disrespect the police, either.  I like to say you get things done when ‘real recognizes real.’  That’s what we’ve got to do here.  A community cannot be completely against the people who are there to protect you.  I’m talking brothers, sisters, friends, who are policemen, participants in the community, who have a stake in resolving these issues too.  And I understand people’s rage when nothing gets resolved and the same incidents happen over and over.  What “Flames” proposes is to turn this frustration into a dialogue.  It’s time to pull everyone from their corners and get down to solutions.  It’s about getting in a room and putting all viewpoints on display, checking off every issue, police-involved fatalities and black-on-black shootings, hearing all the perspectives and saying ‘OK, is there anymore – let’s get started.’  What I’m fed up with, and I know others are too, is the cycle repeating and no one accomplishing anything.”

The song is also the first offering from an upcoming album by DMC that further explores his rock leanings. “I’ve always admired rockers like John Lennon, Neil Young, John Fogerty, so many others who used that powerful voice they had for change,” he says. “Even back in the day when RUN-DMC was active you had in-your-face artists like Public Enemy and X Clan addressing real issues that affected people in the community every day.  We did it with ‘It’s Like That.’  I like the bluntness of it.  “Flames” has that.  Not so much controversial but telling the truth.”

DMC says his own legacy of keeping it real has even extended to his comic book empire, filling a creative void just like he did as an inspiring hip hop pioneer with his one-of-a-kind superhero arsenal, which most recently included the launch of DMC #2!  He expanded the Darryl Makes Comics universe with the imprint’s second full length graphic novel, an irreverent, positively-penned street-powered super hero that in a unique way, shares some of the DNA of “Flames.”  “In the comic book, the DMC character is the only super hero that’s for all people and he doesn’t want anything for it because he knows he was given this gift for that very reason.  So I’m not even taking sides as a super hero,” he laughs.  “It’s about saying what’s right, what’s true, and doing what’s right.  When hip hop first came out it shocked the world for one reason: It was the truth.”

For more information please contact: Tracey Miller /TMA, 609-383-2323/




Grammy Winning Artist Works For

Wellness, Purpose, And Positive Change In The Social Consciousness Movement

(New York, New York, May 08, 2016) The captivating sessions that Oprah Winfrey heralds as “Life-Transforming Talks from Spiritual Thought Leaders, Change Makers and Wisdom Teachers” will feature award winning artist India.Arie  alongside Oprah, Kerry Washington, and others Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 8, in a provocative two-part conversation covering diverse inspirational ground . The show will be airing on OWN at 11amEST/ 10amCT & again at 7pmEST/6c, featuring a segment from India’s conversation. Her full episode will be also available for viewing on

Super Soul Sessions is a natural fit for India.Arie, whose music helped usher in a new sound that combined folk, R&B and soul with an unwavering social conscious.  India has expanded her creative pursuits to further express her true authentic self and engage wellness seekers, helping others to achieve personal empowerment through a mindful expansion of spiritual ideals, self-love, and a more purposeful life.

India.Arie has long played a leadership role for women in regard to the issue of self-love, ever since her 2001 song “Video,” became a self-acceptance anthem.  Her personal philosophy and music has influenced an entirely new generation of artists, including Jonathan McReynolds, Tori Kelly and Ariana Grande, who frequently covers Arie songs and posts them online.

India started her own company, SoulBird, in 2011, as a lifestyle brand built to expand the ways she accomplishes her personal mission to spread love, healing, peace and joy to include music, books, merchandise, jewelry, apparel and live events. Bursting on the music scene at Lilith Fair in 1998, Arie was quickly signed and made her Motown debut with “Acoustic Soul” in 2001. In the 15 years that has followed, Arie has transitioned into one of the worlds’ highly acclaimed songwriters and sought after inspirational speakers, gracing the covers of Entertainment Weekly, Essence, Yoga Journal and Ebony  to name a few.  She has performed for 3 US Presidents, with President Clinton calling her ‘a great communicator’ and President Obama most recently commenting “One of my favorites is India.Arie. I love India.” She has had the privilege of working alongside her mentor Stevie Wonder, including sharing the stage in his history-making Songs In The Key Of Life Tour in 2015, as well as meeting with the Dalai Lama and touring the National Civil Rights Museum with him in Memphis, TN.  In 2009 she was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the list goes on…

After 10 world tours, millions of records sold, numerous Image Awards, BET Awards, MTV Awards and Grammy Awards, Arie stepped away from the business to explore how to have a sustainable music career that she would enjoy.  “I was open to the idea of music not being my path, says India, “but I learned it is my path IF I do it in a way aligned with my nature. Sometimes you have to step back to move forward. Coming to that realization – let alone taking that crucial first step—can be a daunting endeavor.”

With the willingness to let it all go, she returned after a 5 year hiatus with the 2013 album, SongVersation, expressing a more authentic self. She released a 5 part Essay/Book SongVersation – I Am Light, a vehicle launched to grow her message and mission, appearing on multiple television shows including a 2 part in depth interview with Oprah on her OWN’s Super Soul Sunday televising show.

She has also worked closely with Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and Gabriel Bernstein to help develop a global narrative for peace and healing through the Global Meditation for Peace event in 2014.  Dr. Wayne Dyer, the internationally renowned NY Times bestselling author and speaker in the fields of self-development and spiritual growth who recently passed,  had created a lecture series and was writing a book called I AM LIGHT – telling audiences he was inspired by Arie’s song of the same name. His daughter sang the song at his events and he told audiences that after hearing the song in Hawaii he realized this was his next body of work.

India.Arie has continued to expand her SongVersation format, a unique performance paradigm designed as a combination of song and conversation that she shares with her audiences worldwide through her live SongVersation performances. Arie also created an online SongVersation, which is a combination of 6 part essay series, acoustic performance videos and dialogue with her “soulbirds” through her newsletter, her website  and her app Soulbird. 

India’s mission “to spread love, healing, peace and joy through the power of words and music” continues to motivate and inspire, and Super Soul Sessions is a perfect vehicle to elevate that message!  Be sure to watch as India.Arie shares never before-heard stories, including the inspiring story of how she turned the pain of her “traumatic childhood” into a WORTHY life – her talk is titled  SongVersation: WORTHY.

For more information contact: 

Tracey Miller, TMA, , 609-383-2323

Exclusive Interview with Laura Reed

How did you discover the bluesharp?
~ Someone gave me one in passing, I can’t recall the occasion but I was immediately drawn to it. A few days later I went on a camping trip to a bioluminescent island off the coast of NC and brough it with me. It was a full moon, I went out to the edge of the beach from my camp and decided to play around with it, still not aware of how to make any real melody or have any control of sound. Eventually the tide came in and I was separated from my camp by a long river of water. It was night time and I suddenly felt scared to cross the dark water. I had the harmonica in my hand still and in that moment it felt like a saving grace. I stood on the edge of the water breathing in and out of the harp and started slowly entering the water. In some way it felt that I was safe as long as I was playing the harmonica but as soon as I stopped I’d be swallowed whole by the ocean and this river of water cutting across the island. By the time I reached the other side and my camp, the harmonica had become an extension of my breath. Something had clicked and I was playing as I play today. It was as if I downloaded the understanding of the instrument crossing the water, and from that day it has been my go to instrument.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Little Milton.


What is your favorite bluesharp brand / type and tell us why?
~ My favorite is Lee Oskar Harmonicas. They always have been, I always loved the tone and how rich the sound was when you bent the notes and really dug in. I love that you can replace parts and that it feels like a real instrument, not a cheap toy as so many of them do. I also love that there are options available that really lend themselves to exploring the harmonica as a “melody maker” and can evoke sounds that are more reminiscent of a saxophone or flute then the typical blues sound. I always played a Lee Oskar but now that I am a featured artist with them, I love them even more since I know their story and the people behind them.

What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ Don’t over think it. It is an extension of your breath. It’s a percussion instrument. Start there and the melodies and control will come.

Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I would have to say tongue blocking because I can get deeper drawn out tones.

How do you clean your harps?
~ With Q-tips and alcohol and I take them apart if needed. I honestly am not over zealous with cleaning them as I feel some of the accumulated grime gives character to the tone (within hygienic reason of course! ;-).


Read entire interview here