Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

McDaniels — AKA DMC — is Commencement Speaker

Greens Farms Academy, a PreK - 12 independent school in Westport, announced today that Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, musician and author of Run-DMC fame will deliver the commencement address to the class of 2022 on Thursday, June 9.

As an innovator, motivator, philanthropist, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels changed music and made history when he broke down cultural barriers with his legendary band Run-DMC. The first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and the first to appear on MTV, Grammy nominated Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language, and made American history. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. 

In 2014, Darryl launched a comic book company called Darryl Makes Comics. In addition to his new children’s book Darryl’s Dream, he is the co-author of two critically acclaimed books: his recent memoir entitled, Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide, and a past autobiography King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC.

“The opportunity to have Darryl as GFA’s commencement speaker is a multi-generational gift. Many parents of graduating seniors are very familiar with him as a member of Run DMC, and his ground-breaking career that featured multiple firsts and countless hits. At the same time, “It’s Tricky” is a familiar TikTok staple for today’s youth. Most importantly, McDaniels' message in his book Darryl’s Dream about authenticity is timeless and a perfect message for  our graduates, said Bob Whelan GFA’s Head of School.

In addition to the positive messages McDaniels spreads through his books and speaking engagements, his philanthropic work sets an important example for GFA’s graduating class. In 2006 McDaniels co-founded the Felix Organization with Sheila Jaffe, a nonprofit that works to provide inspiring opportunities and new experiences for children in the foster care system. He regularly talks with kids across the country about respect, responsibility and self-awareness and has appeared before Congress and various state legislatures in support of adoptees and foster children. Pres. Barack Obama invited him to speak at the White House to a group of young men about fatherhood. He also worked with First Lady Michelle Obama on part of her Get Fit campaign. McDaniels is the recipient of the Hard Rock’s Love All Serve All Awardthe Doing Art Together (DAT) Honoree Award, and the coveted Children's Rights Champion for his numerous philanthropic endeavors. 

“Our school’s mission describes preparing young people for lives of purpose, and Darryl’s life story is one that highlights the importance of becoming the most authentic versions of ourselves,” said Whelan. “He also speaks openly about the obstacles and challenges one faces along the journey — as someone who struggled with depression and has gone on to become a mental health advocate. He reminds young people that they can do hard things.”

In 2021, DMC partnered with Nickelodeon on a cross-category licensing program that includes apparel and a publishing deal with Random House Children’s Books. In January 2022, he released Darryl’s Dream, a picture book about creativity, confidence and finding your voice. He also collaborated with Noggin, Nickelodeon’s interactive learning platform for kids ages 2 to 7, for What’s the Word?, an original short-form music series available on all major streaming platforms.

GFA will graduate 90 seniors this year in its 97th year as an institution. Commencement will be held on the front lawn of the historical property in Greens Farms.