Celebrate Black History Month: Darryl “DMC” MCDaniels

In honor of Black History Month, we spoke to cultural pioneers in the Equinox community about what this month means to them. This week, we talked to hip-hop icon Darryl McDaniels (aka DMC), an original member of Run-DMC, author, and co-founder of The Felix Organization. 

What does Black History Month mean to you?

It’s a celebration and recognition of Black people’s contribution—we did have something to do with the creation of this great nation. And that’s a rap! It’s an acknowledgement of pioneers, thinkers, creators, leaders, and visionaries.

How will you celebrate this month?

It’s a month of discovery and education. I celebrate it by being educated, like I’m in school once again. 


Which Black icons inspire you?

Muhammad Ali. He said that if he had the opportunity to make something better that should be better, then that’s what he had to do. A lot of people don’t live up to the responsibilities of the positions that they’re put in. The way he expressed it was so sincere. 

How will this month dictate the rest of your year?

What I’m trying to do now, especially because I’m older and more grown-up, is utilize the discoveries that I make during Black History Month in my everyday life.  I don’t want people to treat Black History Month like they treat holidays. Like how Christmas comes and then you go back to living your life the same way until next Christmas. Things that inspire, motivate, and educate us—we need to utilize those in all aspects of our lives.


You made history in music and culture. Can you talk about that?

We were the first non-athletic entity to receive a major endorsement from a sports apparel company. It symbolizes the power of people who feel oppressed or downtrodden or that their rights are not being respected. Run-DMC’s standpoint was from young people on the street. When hip-hop came along, it was these young boys and girls who had nothing—the Bronx was burning, New York City wasn’t like it is now—but we were able to look inside of us and pull out art, and language, and music, and style. We were able to paint beautiful pictures that every other nation and race could relate to. People still say to me that when Steven Tyler took that mic stand in Walk This Way and knocked down the wall that was separating us, it didn’t just happen in the video, it happened in the world. I’m a reflection of everybody before me to be an inspiration and motivation to everybody after me. I think it’s beautiful that we were able to take this artistic form and change the world.