WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — He may be one of the original pioneers of rap, but Darryl McDaniels is also a children’s book author.
These days, he is bringing his anti-bullying message to schools across the country, including Bailey Middle School in West Haven.
“I’m not smarter than you, I’m not even more talented than you,” McDaniels told a crowd of eighth graders in the auditorium.
McDaniels is more famous than anyone in Bailey Middle School, even if most students had to Google who he is.
“A lot of them don’t understand that the music they listen to today stems directly from them,” said English teacher Jennifer Lynch. “They were pioneers.”
“They” were Run-DMC, one of the original rap groups of the 1980s. McDaniels’ name is actually the “DMC” part of the group’s name.
Back in 1987, they were famously mobbed by fans at a mall in Bridgeport.
These days, DMC is known for writing as much as rapping. He wrote a children’s book called ‘Darryl’s Dream‘, which is about a smart young man with glasses who gets bullied, just like McDaniels did once upon a time.
“I got teased, bullied, and picked on,” McDaniels explained. “Hey four eyes, hey binoculars, hey Mr. Know-it-all. Hey, smartypants.”
In the end, he rose above it and turned the tables, just like the Darryl character in his book. Bailey students read the book before McDaniels’ visit.
“It made me feel better about myself, I guess, because it kind of said be true to yourself,” said eighth grader Rafael Treat.
Students also wrote stories and poems about their favorite shoes in their own tribute to the Run-DMC hit “My Adidas“.
“That whole song about how your shoes take a journey with you each day,” Lynch said. “They feel what you feel, they get tired, they get energized when they go running up and down a court.”
“Everyone in this room is awesome, incredible, special,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels did not do much rapping, but he did do a lot of inspiring, telling students that there will be obstacles ahead in life.
“But you all are young, you’re smart,” McDaniels said. “If you educate yourself and be enthusiastic about learning, everything that comes at you, you can solve.”