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Lenard "Charlamagne" McKelvey
Born and raised as Lenard (Larry) McKelvey in Moncks Corner, SC, Charlamagne started his journey to becoming a world-renowned media personality when he worked as a radio intern while attending night school. After various stints on-air in South Carolina, he landed a life-changing opportunity to become second mic to legendary radio icon Wendy Williams. In 2010, Charlamagne helped establish "The Breakfast Club," the most successful hip-hop show in radio history recently inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Universally recognized as the key driver behind the morning show, alongside co-hosts Angela Yee and DJ Envy, Charlamagne's relentless effort to unveil truth by asking the uninhibited questions audiences most wanted to hear helped propel "The Breakfast Club"'s meteoric rise to success.
A groundbreaking philanthropist, Radio Hall of Fame inductee, bestselling author and highly sought-after cultural architect, Charlamagne is committed to building an inclusive empire designed to inspire, empower, and elevate the next generation of culture-shifting Black creatives. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller "Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It" -- which was also Audible.com's best-selling book of the year --and the globally embraced "Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me," which helped Charlamagne become one of the world's leading voices in the mental health discussion. With a deeply personal vision to help address the unmet and underserved emotional needs of Black people worldwide, Charlamagne founded the Mental Wealth Alliance (MWA), which supports state-of-the-art mental health services for Black people in need while building a long-term system of generational support for Black communities.
In November 2020, Charlamagne announced the launch of Black Privilege Publishing, his new partnership with Atria Books at Simon & Schuster. In October 2020, Charlamagne announced his partnership with comedian, actor and writer Kevin Hart and Audible Inc., igniting a global multiyear, multi-project development, production and audio licensing deal. In September 2020, Charlamagne and iHeartMedia announced the establishment of the Black Effect Podcast Network, a historic first-of-its-kind joint podcast publishing venture developed to amplify Black voices, celebrate Black creators and invest in the Black community, with culturally relevant content across a variety of genres.
As a keynote speaker and humanitarian, Charlamagne presented a $250,000 scholarship award to the South Carolina State University Alumni Association for student scholarships that will provide funds for African-American women who major in English or communications. The university conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters upon Charlamagne at its Spring Commencement ceremony in May 2021.