Charlamagne Tha God - Finding Success in "Black Privilege"

April 25, 2017 - Charlamagne Tha God 04/25/2017 Views: 14,243

"Black Privilege" author and radio host Charlamagne Tha God talks about having pride in the African-American community and explains how he measures success. (6:18)

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Please welcomeCharlamagne tha God.

(cheers and applause)


What's happening?


-Trevor, my friend.-Welcome back to the show.

-Are you good?-Yes, man.

Good to have you here, man.

-Welcome to the show.-Thank you, man.

-Uh, so now you arewriting books? -Yeah.

Actually writing, too.

Like, you know, a lot of timesyou sit down with somebody,

-and you just record your voiceinto something, -Yeah.

and you tell your stories.

But I wasn't feeling the way itwas transcribed,

so I actually would get upon Saturday mornings

and write it myself.

You-you can feel a lotof Charlamagne

-coming through in the book.-'Cause I wrote it.

Uh, before we get intothe title--

Oh, that-that makes sense,but, I mean,

some people change when theywrite. They're like,

"And hitherto Charlamagne wouldembark on a journey."

-You know what I mean.-(laughter)

Um, let's-- before we get intothe title of the book,

which is Black Privilege,

let's talk about someof the stories in the book.

For instance, one of my favoriteis you talk about

how you used to like getting inpeople's faces causing trouble,

-and there was a guy who almostchoked you to death. -Oh, yeah.

And then, a few years later,you found out he was in jail

-for choking someone to death.-Yeah.

I mean, I'm from a small towncalled Moncks Corner,

and, you know,that actually happened.

Like, he beat me up really bad.

Like, this scar right here isfrom that

'cause it was like, some scartissue or something,

that wouldn't go away, so I hadto get it cut off.

And, uh, yeah.He-He had me in a chokehold

and I thought that was it, man.

I thought that I was about to goto that upper room.

And yet it would seemthat you haven't learned.

You have some very controversialviews in your book.

One of my favorite passages,you write about in the book,

you talk about the white devil.

And you say not all white peopleare the devil.

Could you put thatin some context

for the white people in theaudience watching?

Why don't,why don't you put that...

Why don't you put that in,'cause--

Why don't you put that incontext, then.

-Put it in context. -Well,I talk about how I studied

-the Five Percent teachings ofIslam when I was younger. -Yes.

And one of the teachings

-is that the white manis the devil. -Uh-huh.

And I say that'sone of the things

I couldn't quite get withbecause I just don't feel like

-everybody is borninherently evil. -Okay.

But, then I say

I don't think 100% ofwhite people are the devil,

-just about 80%.-Oh, that's nice.

-Yes. And I say that...-That's nice.

-You see how you won thewhite people over now? -Yeah.

-And so when you...-(laughing)

When you work with black people,

you should make themfeel comfortable, and sometimes

you should walk up to themand say,

"Hey. My name is Andyand I'm not a white devil."

But, if that doesn't work foryou, you can just treat people

the way that you would liketo be treated, that's all.

Just walk up and say, "Hi, I'mAndy, and I'm not a white..."

Can I tell you something? Ifa white person walked up to me,

ran into me on the streetand said, "Hi, I'm Andy,

-I'm not a white devil,"I'd be like, -You would think

-"Oh, you're the devil."-they were the devil, yeah.

I'd be like, "You're the devil.

You are most definitelythe devil."

All right, let's talk aboutthe title of the book.

-Black Privilege. -Mm-hmm.

You cannot truly believe that.That-that... that's like...

that's clickbait--it's a great title for a book,

I would buy the bookbecause of that name.

But you can't truly believein black privilege.

Why not?

-Because words mean something,Trevor. -Uh-huh.

So when you lookat the word "privilege,"

uh, the word "privilege"has more than one meaning.

When you look at privilege,of course, we know that it means

that certain advantages aregranted to a certain group

of people, but the word"privilege" also means

that it's a honor to be.

I feel likeit's a honor to be black.

Oh, I see. So you-you'reusing it in a different context.

-Oh, absolutely. -But you-youknow what people think

when they see it.They go, like, "Charlamagne,

you can't say..."Because, I mean, white privilege

is something that peopleare fighting and dealing with.

-It's very real, absolutely.-Yes.

And guess what, I canfight against white privilege,

I can fight againstsystemic oppression,

I can fight against, you know,institutionalized racism

as well as celebrate myself

and say that I feel likeit's a privilege to be black.

Okay, no, no, no, I mean, thatadds, uh, some context to it.

And you do add... you do haveadvice in the book, you know?

You-you talk a lotabout black people, uh,

getting up and doing things forthemselves. There were a few...

Hold on, now, that sounds likerespectability politics.

-I don't quite...-No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

What I-what I wantedto talk about in the book

was just going,"How... how did-how did you

find the journey," you know?Being in a place where you go,

-"I understand there areobstacles in my life... -Yeah.

but at the same timeI also have to work hard."

The two things can coexist.

How did youfind your path in life?

Yeah. I mean, my father used togive me some of the best advice.

And it was real simple.He would say, "If you don't

change your lifestyle,you're gonna end up in jail,

dead, or broke,sitting under a tree somewhere."

So when I actually didstart going to jail

and started seeing peoplearound me go to jail and prison,

and people around meactually dying

and people that I lovedand grew up with

actually sitting under the treebeing broke,

doing nothing with their life,

I was, like,"Whoa, this is real."

And, you know, smart peoplelearn from their own mistakes,

wise people learn from themistakes of others, so I just

figured I had to do somethingpositive in my life, and...

I didn't have a plan B,'cause I didn't go to college

or anything like that.So I just simply had to work.

And that's what I did.I picked up a bunch of odd jobs.

You know, like, I workedat Taco Bell, I worked at

a clothing store in the mallcalled d.e.m.o.,

I worked at a warehouse,and then I...

Like a lot of kids, I wanted torap. And it wasn't a bad thing,

because I was ina recording studio one night

and I met a guy who's namewas, uh, Willy Will,

he was a local radio personalityin Charleston, South Carolina

and I simply asked himhow did he get into radio.

And he was like, "I went downthere and got an internship."

And I was like, "It's thateasy?" And he was like, "Yeah."

So that's whatI went down there and did.

So that was kind of like...Like, you know, I-I...

-I watched Back to the Future a bunch of times. -Right.

So that was like one of thosemoments that altered my future.

-I hear you. -Yeah, I was...I was fading out of the picture

until I went down thereand got that internship

-at the radio station.-I-I feel... I feel you there.

I feel you there.That makes...

-(cheering, applause) -thatmakes a lot of sense. Um...

What I've always enjoyed aboutyou is you are an honest person.

Many people thinkyou're controversial,

but you do speak your truth,

you stickto-to what you believe in.

If someone's gonna buy the book,what's the one thing

you want themto take away from it,

beyond just the controversyof the title

or whatever they feelthey may know about you?

I want them just to feelempowered and feel enlightened.

Like, I mean, it's trulya come-up story.

But I also want them to knowthat success is subjective.

Like, this is the paththat I chose in life.

I chose to be a radiopersonality, but I just want

people to findwhatever their purpose is

and whatever their passion isand work towards it.

And when I-when I saysuccess is subjective,

what I mean by that isthere's a guy right now

watching this,he's in Columbia, South Carolina

or Charlotte,North Carolina somewhere,

making 50, $60,000 a year,his-his wife is good,

his kids are good, he's gota nice place to stay, a car,

-and he's happy. That's success.-Yeah.

In America, a lot of times,we equate success

to celebrity,and that's not the case.

There's plenty more,uh, regular successful people

than there's "famous"successful people out there.

So I just want peopleto feel empowered

-and enlightened by the book.-(cheering, applause)

I will tell you this:I was entertained by the book.

I love hearing your voice, man.

-Thank you so much fordoing the show again. -Trevor,

-thank you, sir. -Black Privilege is available now.

Charlamagne tha God, everybody.

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