Charlamagne Tha God opens up about the impact of The Breakfast Club in popular culture, never biting his tongue, politicians’ Black agenda and how therapy helped him become the person he is today.
Charlamagne sat down for an interview with Stephen Colbert for Interview Magazine and first discussed his role in helping popularize the top-rated radio show The Breakfast Club. “I always say it’s the world’s most dangerous morning show, because when we started, there were moments that people would deem controversial, whether it was rappers coming in yelling and screaming, or guests being asked questions that they wouldn’t be asked anywhere else. And it’s still that way, but I don’t know if ‘dangerous’ is the mission statement. I want to have a show that entertains, educates, inspires, and enlightens,” said Charlamagne.
Charlamagne is somewhat famous for being infamous. He is known for never holding back anything he has to say and he prides himself on being that person who sometimes is subject to a learning curve on specific topics. “You famously will ask anybody anything, and you’ve said that the Biggie Smalls lyric ‘Bite my tongue for no one’ is a mantra for you. Have you ever held your tongue because you weren’t sure whether it was appropriate?” Colbert questioned.
“That’s changed a lot for me over the years, simply as a result of being in therapy,” said Charlamagne. “It pains me when I see people having to go through their healing process in real-time. Sometimes, you don’t owe anybody explanations until you’re ready to give them. At times, it feels like I’m intruding on somebody’s healing process, so in moments where I feel empathy, I won’t ask the question. Or if I do, I’ll ease into it.”
Charlamagne then touched on his thoughts about the Black Lives Matter movement, and how as long as he’s alive be believes there’s hope. “As long as I’m alive, I have to hope. I’ve been thinking about that lately, because I’ve been having conversations with people from the other side—ancestors, family members, people I’ve lost recently. When Chadwick Boseman passed away, someone said, ‘Chadwick is going to be an ancestor now.’ And it got me thinking that maybe some people can do greater work on the other side by empowering us.
“You talked to Joe Biden a couple of months ago, and you said that you thought he should pick a progressive Black woman as his running mate. Are you happy with Kamala Harris as that choice?” asked Colbert.
“Absolutely. That’s who I wanted. I went to five of her campaign stops. She’s a political change agent. Back in 2015, when I was looking to see who was going to be next after President Obama, I said that the Democratic Party was going to have to get Blacker, Browner, younger, and more diverse in gender, and then I came across her. I was intrigued by what she was doing as a prosecutor. She was doing a lot of progressive things. When everybody was questioning her record as a prosecutor, I was confused, because I liked her for the exact opposite reason,” said Charlamagne.
Lastly: Charlamagne discussed his media company, the Black Effect Podcast and Charla’s upcoming talk show on Comedy Central. Colbert said, “Tell me about the Black Effect Podcast Network. What do you want that to be?”
“I want it to be to the audio business what BET was to the television business in the ’90s. There’s a reason people still reference BET in regards to Blackness. When it started, it featured so much diverse Black thought. It’s where I first saw Ed Gordon, where I first saw Jacque Reid, where I first saw Ananda Lewis. They were talking about issues that were directly impacting our community, from politics to social justice. BET also had Rap City, so I could see my favorite hip-hop artists who weren’t getting the shine on major networks. That’s what I want the Black Effect Podcast Network to represent, because Black people are not monolithic.”