By Christina Wells
After learning at the age of 35 that he had been adopted, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels contemplated the many ways in which his life would be forever changed. In early 2006, Darryl decided to embark on the ultimate journey of self-discovery. Along with MTV Networks and VH1’s Rock Doc series, a documentary was created to capture the essence of a child searching for his mother. With cameras following his every move in his attempt to rediscover his past and the woman who gave birth to him, DMC executes this personal journey like he spits on the mic, with the same raw passion and intensity. It is thus a great honor and privilege to announce that “DMC: My Adoption Journey” has been nominated for the 28th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards, in the category of Outstanding Arts & Culture Programming. The nominations were announced on July 18th and the winners will be revealed during a ceremony which will be held in NYC on Monday, September 24, 2007. The awards are presented by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). NATAS is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry.
When asked how it felt to have his very personal journey nominated for such a coveted award D said that he felt like he had been “knocked out like a fighter that didn’t see the punch coming. This wasn’t even a thought and was totally unexpected.” Feeling as if this nomination validates his adoption mission, D agreed that the purpose of the documentary for both him and the viewers had been fulfilled. “It touched peoples’ lives and also helped a multitude of people. This nomination means I am on the right track and this is just the beginning of my journey. Its confirmation of purpose and destiny, not only for me, but for all those who view it.”
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, one-third of the legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC is no stranger to the entertainment industry. As a member of this group, he helped pioneer a sound and image that to this day is referenced as anything and everything hip-hop. Having sold over 30 million singles and albums as part of Run-DMC, Darryl’s name and image became synonymous with rap and popular culture. Among the many ground-breaking achievements he has been a part of are receiving recognition of gold, platinum and multi-platinum records sales, the first hip-hop act to be awarded such status, as well as landing the first covers to feature hip-hop or rap related groups on Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. Segueing into a slew of individual projects, which include his solo debut Checks, Thugs, Rock-N-Roll, along with a book entitled King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility, and My Life with Run-DMC, DMC’s achievements, both collectively and individually are impressive and noteworthy. However, beyond the charts and figures lies a very deep, passionate individual with more than music impacting his life.
While on tour in Europe during the late 1990’s, there came a point in DMC’s life where he wondered if this whole Run-DMC thing was it for him? Was this all he was destined to do and be? And if it was then he wanted out. He was done, had enough of the fame and the money. With thoughts of suicide lingering in his mind, D began wondering what the point of living would be if he was no more than the famous b-boy on the mic. Ultimately, the question became, who is the man behind DMC? Who is Darryl McDaniels? Upon returning to the states, Darryl turned on the radio to hear Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” a song that he admittedly reveres as life-changing. Each lyric of that song offered more reasons why life was truly worth living and that the life he had now chosen to continue would prove to be about more than his music iconism. A few years later, in 2000, Darryl was ready for some answers, some validation of a life worth more than the image on TV. With a book in the works D began his first chapter, realizing that he didn’t know much about his birth, the numbers, the raw facts. So, as any other man would do in this situation, he called his mother for answers. Upon receiving information on his weight and height at birth, D thanked his mom, told her he loved her and hung up the phone to begin writing. Not an hour later, the phone rang and it was his mother and father calling to offer more information, news that had never been revealed before this point. Darryl was adopted.
Instead of allowing depression to take hold of him completely, a decision was made that in order to cope and come to some understanding of this adoption shock, there would have to be a search for answers. Thus, VH1’s RockDoc “DMC’s My Adoption Journey” was made. The documentary follows Darryl through a journey of discovery. In search of his birth mother, we watch as Darryl interacts with a therapist, an adoption specialist and other adoptees seeking information, guidance and refuge in this highly emotional journey. With the support of his colleagues, childhood friends, wife and son, Darryl begins his search step by step, acquiring the pieces to the puzzle of his life. As more information is revealed and as he comes closer to finding the truth, finding his birth mother, one cannot help but be on the edge of their seat, cheering him on, offering as much encouragement as one would expect at a time like this, crossing our fingers that everything works out in the end.
It’s not often that we consider celebrities being alone in the world; we see them as something bigger than ourselves, larger than life, but not Darryl McDaniels. Completely vulnerable and utterly sensitive, this man allows the cameras to follow him on this very personal journey. In hopes of offering more information not only about the man he is, the man he was born to be, Darryl uses his journey to unify others who have similar life experiences. “I am going to remove guilt and shame and by doing so, I will remove the pain and bring understanding.” After completion of the documentary, Darryl’s adoption journey continues as he takes his experiences to the streets, creating and participating in charity and adoption organization events and initiatives. “My next step in this journey is to deliver my children, all those boys and girls in the foster care system who are awaiting the opportunities to fulfill their purpose and destiny.” D’s next project will thus be titled “DMC, Deliver My Children (The Next Level).” He promises that this will be just as emotive as his previous work, “so if you aint for truth and love… watch out! It’s on!” Ultimately, every step of this journey has solidified Darryl’s belief that we are all a part of something bigger, that we ultimately all belong to the same family. “All children, in orphanages, in foster-care and adopted need to know regardless of our situation...we are already great! We are the kings and queens of the universe.” We wish VH1, Darryl and all of those involved in the making of this documentary the best luck and commend them on their work.
Go to VH1's site for information on DMC's documentary.