In 1997, hip hop legend Darryl McDaniels should have been riding high. Run-DMC was touring Europe after a remix put them back atop the charts, and money was rolling in. Instead DMC found himself alone in a hotel room, contemplating suicide. Coping...... Read Full Episode Summary »
"Walk This Way" with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC as he retraces the steps taken to find his birth parents.
In 1997, hip hop legend Darryl McDaniels should have been riding high. Run-DMC was touring Europe after a remix put them back atop the charts, and money was rolling in. Instead DMC found himself alone in a hotel room, contemplating suicide. Coping with vocal troubles and creative differences with his group, he found no joy in the spoils of the rap game. Poison, a bullet, a giant leap were all options he considered. As he now recalls it, it was a song by Sarah McLachlan, "Angel," that brought him back from the edge. "Fly away from here, from this cold hotel room," she sang. "There's vultures and thieves at your back and the storm keeps on twisting." The sadness in her voice captured an emptiness D felt but could not explain - until a few years later. In gathering information for his autobiography in 2000, 35-year-old D got a bombshell from the only mother he's ever known - she told him he was adopted. The revelation left him stunned and confused. Amid that emotional turmoil one thing became clear: Darryl wanted answers about his true history. Beginning in October, VH1 documented D's search for his biological roots, as well as his spiritual journey of self-discovery. At the start of taping, all D knew was that, according to the parents who raised him, a 16-year-old named Bernada Lovelace, who hailed from the Dominican Republic, gave him up for adoption in 1964. Video tape rolled as D consulted with experts, researched old archives, and followed the winding trail wherever it led. D's quest is not portrayed in a vacuum, but in the context of his larger journey towards enlightenment. This includes a storied career in which D put hip hop on the map as part of Run-DMC, and -- just as important to him -- eventually transitioned from "B-boy to B-man." This growth is reflected in his forthcoming album, Checks, Thugs and Rock n Roll. D focuses on emotional struggles, political stands, and a heartfelt goodbye to Jam Master Jay. The album pays tribute to the musical influences of DMC's youth, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Harry Chapin. After learning he was adopted, D approached Sarah McLachlan about collaborating on Chapin's classic, "Cats in the Cradle." Not only did she agree but D's musical `hero' let him in on a secret that would further cement their connection: she, too, was adopted. D's interpretation of Cats takes song about regret and flips it into a positive message to adopted children everywhere- you're not alone. (The program features elements of the making of the album and videos for Cats in the Cradle). Using home movies and old photographs in a first person this-is-my life format, the doc intersperses background informing viewers of D's model upbringing in Hollis, Queens, and his triumph as the King of Rock. The search itself takes shape as D hooks up with Wendy Freund, a psychotherapist and licensed social worker at New York Foundling, a social service agency that helps adoptees. Wendy leads DMC to Pamela Slaton, adoption search specialist, whose company specializes in tracing birth parents. An adoptee herself, Pam helps guide Darryl through the emotional tumult as well as the bureaucratic maze he faces. Visits to the New York Public Library, the Office of Vital Records, and the hospital where he was born begin yielding clues, bringing him closer to the truth. Ultimately this special presentation answers the question, what happens when a key aspect of your history is turned on its head? What happens when the truth is revealed? Part detective story, part existential journey, all compelling drama. D's new life is about to begin.