Who: Run-DMC front man DJ/Reverend Run
Why We Watched: An intimate look inside the good reverend’s household and how he runs (no pun intended) his family. Cameras followed the family through a pretty normal existence. Instead of the usual scripted drama there were regular moments of sibling rivalry and lots of love. We followed the two oldest daughters as they started their own business “Pastry” and eventually moved out of the house, eldest son Jo Jo as he tried to pursue his own rap career, Diggy emerge from a fashion jet-setter to unexpected arrival (pun intended) Run was preachy without being corny.
Impact: The granddaddy of the fatherhood shows. Run opened his home to camera crews and revealed a normal family. There were no scripted disagreements or manufactured story lines, just people who genuinely love to be around each other. It helped that all the kids have inherited their father’s sense of humor, so even when the tone got serious (Jo Jo’s marijuana bust), it never feels like the Rev is looking into the camera and wagging his finger at us common folk. The theme of each episode seems to evolve naturally over the course of the hour ending with Run’s signature bathtub words of wisdom.
Aftermath: Run’s House opened the floodgates for rapper dads to show off their paternal skills in front of the camera.
Trivia: All three of Run’s sons are named after him (Jo Jo) and his older brothers Russell (Russy) and Daniel Simmons (Diggy).
Name of Show: Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood
Who: Snoop Dogg
When: 2007 – 2010
Network: E! Entertainment Television
Why We Watched: When you think of sensitive family man Snoop Dogg is not a name that immediately comes to mind. Building an image based on misogynistic raps and marijuana smoke, the Doggfather as Daddy Daycare was a bit farfetched. On the contrary, the adventures of Snoop, his wife Shante, and his three kids showed a funny, vulnerable Snoop, a drastic and refreshing departure from his gangster rap persona.
Impact: The kinder, gentler Snoop Dogg successfully changed a lot of perceptions about him made by corporate America. Besides continuing his prolific output of new music, he appeared in commercials with billionaire Warren Buffet, Elton John, covered magazines that had nothing to do with Hip Hop, and became a worldwide phenomenon culminating in a BMI Icon Award presented to him by Dr. Dre.
Aftermath: Snoop has become a multi-faceted enterprise all his own. He does not have to depend on music sales to keep his career afloat as he joins artists like Jay-Z as rappers who transcend Hip Hop. Although his show was cancelled, Snoop continues to be a father figure to little kids via his Snoop Youth Football League. He has since teamed up with Wiz Khalifa (arguably a younger version of himself) in the new film Mack and Devin Go To High School.
Name of Show: Luke’s Parental Advisory
Who: Luke Campbell (Uncle Luke)
Why We Watched: Really? The pioneer of booty shaking music, who took on Congress in an effort to exercise his right to rap about the joys of the female anatomy, the king of crude, lucrative lyrics was actually going to show that he was a monogamous family man. At the time this was like Lindsey Lohan staying in rehab: we knew it wouldn’t last long. Curiosity got the better of us.
Impact: Uncle Luke integrated his controversial career into the show’s title and subject matter. Viewers quickly discovered that Luke was still knee deep in the skin game managing from the outside. What many wondered is how his young, educated, wife, a lawyer, was willing to put up with his lifestyle.
Aftermath: The show did not last long, however Luke did not stop hustling. He actually attempted to run for Mayor of Dade County in 2011 finishing fourth in a field of eleven candidates, and criticized a few transplanted rappers (Lil’ Wayne, Diddy) for co-opting the Miami lifestyle. Unfortunately his daughter blasted him as a “deadbeat dad” and “woman beater” which is more in line with the perception many had of Luke before the show aired. Ouch.
Who: Hip Hop artist T.I. and his wife former Xscape member Tiny
When: 2011 – present
Why We Watched: After two stints in prison in the past three years T.I. finally gets a do over at being a family man. Ladies wanted to see Tip and were secretly fascinated with how he could love someone like Tiny and not them.
Impact: Like Snoop Dogg, The Family Hustle showed the softer side of T.I. and softened his bad rep from his gun and drug charges.
Aftermath: The jury is still out on this one. There isn’t really a lot of drama or storyline to keep the show interesting. Like Reverend Run, T.I. has a rapping progeny in Domani. We’ll wait to see if he is as good as Diggy.
Tami Talks: I love all of them especially Run’s House. It gave us an in-depth look at him and his family and his wife, who I absolutely love. As African-Americans we don’t get to see ourselves in that light. It was important for me to see a solid relationship, raising their kids having the same issues that I’ve had.
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