Charlamagne Tha God, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Pissing People Off,” co-host of Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” and “hip-hop’s Howard Stern,” opens up to share his unlikely success story as well as how he says embracing one’s truths is a fundamental key to success and happiness.
In his new book, “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It,” Charlamagne presents his comical, often controversial and always brutally honest insights on how living an authentic life is the quickest path to success, according to a spokesperson at the publishing house Simon & Schuster.
He’s scheduled to appear 7 p.m. May 4 at The Event Space in Northwest where he’ll sign books and join a conversation with attorney and political strategist Angela Rye.
Beginning with his journey from the small town of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, to his headline-grabbing interviews with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Hillary Clinton, Charlamagne writes how he turned his troubled early life around by owning his many mistakes and refusing to give up on his dreams, even after his controversial opinions got him fired from several on-air jobs.
Combining his own story with bold advice and his signature commitment to honesty at all costs, Charlamagne said he hopes this book will give others the confidence to live their own truths.
“Throughout the ‘hood, everybody would come to me with their problems,” Charlamagne told The New York Times. “Self-help is something that I’ve always been into. I thought I was going to be a psychiatrist.”
Now, the popular personality fills that role. The book serves as a real-talk, self-help guide and outlet to empower others, especially in the black community, he said.
Readers can achieve their life goals through eight principles that the South Carolina native learned throughout his life.
“I wrote this for the dreamers, for the optimists; this book isn’t for pessimists,” Charlamagne said in an earlier published interview. “This book is about embracing who and what you are regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and class. God gave you the privilege of this thing called life, so regardless of what this society tells you that you can’t do and what you don’t have, [it’s important] to understand you lack nothing. God gave you everything you need to succeed.”
Growing up as Lenard McKelvey, Charlamagne said he was just another kid dreaming of a better life, yet inevitably falling prey to the allure of the streets.
He stumbled upon his calling in the late ’90s and within five years became one of the best-known voices in South Carolina. While on the air in Columbia, he drew attention to the local show he hosted on Hot 103.9 (WHXT-FM) by distributing his controversial interviews and skits online.
His irreverent interview style got the attention of Wendy Williams, who rebroadcasted his interviews on her popular syndicated radio show, “The Wendy Williams Experience,” according to his bio.
Working with Williams not only introduced Charlamagne to a new audience, it strengthened the voice that has defined his career — a voice he now uses to reach audiences in print, television and radio.
Today, he’s a personality on MTV and MTV2 and, alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee, Charlamagne hosts “The Breakfast Club,” known as “The World’s Most Dangerous Morning Show.”
In the book, he details his first interview with Kanye West while the star was promoting his “Yeezus” album.
“Kanye had been delivering long rants about how the fashion industry wasn’t giving him a fair shot, how he was a genius but no one in power in the industry understood his vision,” Charlamagne said. “How he felt like a slave to major corporations. In my eyes, instead of trying to keep up with the Kardashians and worrying about whether an editor at Vogue liked his blouses, Kanye should have just focused on what made us love him in the first place: compelling, heartfelt music.”
Charlamagne said he knew that as long as West connected to his audience via his music, all of his dreams and aspirations would fall into place.
“In order to get him back on track, I started calling him Kanye Kardashian to poke fun at his new image,” Charlamagne said, admitting that, “at the end of the day, I am a Kanye fan and want him to succeed.”
“Black Privilege” can be purchased at book stores everywhere, including online at Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com.