Connie Mizell told a crowd in Hollis that she remembers like yesterday when her son Jason and his two friends practiced their music in her living room just a few blocks away.
Starting out in Hollis, her late son, known now as Jam Master Jay and his friends, Joseph Simmons (Rev. Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC), would form Run-DMC, and they would largely be credited with pushing hip hop into mainstream popular music.
In their honor, the corner of Hollis Avenue and 205th Street was officially renamed “Run DMC JMJ Way” on August 30.
“This is a proud day for my whole family,” Mizell said. “And now future generations will see this street and be inspired by what they accomplished.”
The late Jam Master Jay family members were joined by Rev. Run, DMC and hundreds of southeast Queens residents for the unveiling.
“What this sign says to me is that you can be anything you want,” DMC said. “Because of hip hop, I became one of the greatest lyricists of all time. And I did it without using profanity or disrespecting our beautiful Black women. Hip hop is about us doing the best with what we have to make it better for all the people after us. We are who we are because of you people.”
Some of their accomplishments include being the first rap act to have a No. 1 R&B charting rap album, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, receiving a Grammy Award nomination, and making a video appearance on MTV.
“Given their historic accomplishments, Run-DMC is a tremendous source of pride for the Hollis community I represent. The group’s dedication and hard work has inspired countless others and they have given back generously to this community,” Councilmember Leroy Comrie said.
Comrie hosted the official renaming ceremony on Sunday, August 30 with Hollis native and Power 105 radio personality Ed Lover and WBLS radio personality Dr. Bob Lee.
He said the City Council unanimously passed the legislation to rename the street. The location was chosen because it was near the Hollis Hip Hop Museum, located in the Hollis Famous Burger restaurant and the site of a famous mural of Run- DMC’s late deejay, Jam Master Jay.
“It is my sincere hope that this street renaming, combined with the museum, will help to economically revitalize this particular neighborhood as a potential tourism attraction,” Comrie said.
The official ceremony took place near the museum. The day started with a short parade that began at museum and it was led by the Elite Marching Band, Comrie, and Jam Master Jay’s family members. They joined Rev. Run and DMC on stage where a number of their hit songs were played.
“This thing is bigger than me and D. This thing is about God giving us an opportunity to express ourselves through hip hop,” Rev. Run said.