Charlamagne Tha God has made a name for himself with his “tell it like it is” style. As one-third of one of the hottest morning radio shows in the country, The Breakfast Club, alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee, he’s come a long way from humble beginnings in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
In a recent GrioLive interview with theGrio’s Deputy Editor Natasha Alford, Charlamagne opened up about his New York Times bestselling book, Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It and the one radio interview he has regrets around.
“I wish I would have edited the conversation we had with Lil Duval about the transgender community,” said Charlamagne, referencing a July interview in which Lil Duval made transphobic comments that outraged many in the LGBTQ community and beyond.
(Charlamagne Tha God talks with theGrio’s Natasha Alford about the Lil Duval interview that stirred controversy)
Lil Duval joked that if he found out he was with a trans woman who hadn’t disclosed herself as trans, “she dying.” Some listeners and viewers felt Charlamagne did not condemn Lil Duval’s words strongly enough; leading a group of protestors to demand a boycott of the show:
“In hindsight it wasn’t productive. I don’t mind having an uncomfortable conversation if those uncomfortable conversations lead to a bigger dialogue and help us get to a better understanding of whatever it is we are discussing. In that case, it wasn’t beneficial to anybody. I am not here for anybody being oppressed at all.”
Charlamagne also said he had not spoken to trans activist and author Janet Mock since their interview on The Breakfast Club, which prompted the conversation with Lil Duval, but wishes he handled speaking up differently:
“It’s a lot of information I didn’t know. At the time, I think it was 14 transgender people that were killed this year. I didn’t know that. I just knew when I heard my man say that, I was like ‘that’s not right, you can’t just go around saying you want to do stuff like that.’ That’s just not right. If I knew more about that community or if I was a member of that community, I definitely would’ve pushed back harder.”
Charlamagne also addressed the heat he got after tweeting about now-fired host at The Blaze, Tomi Lahren:
Would be dope if a young black or Hispanic "WOKE" woman used social media to create a Platform to be a voice like Tomi Lahren did.
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) December 7, 2016
“I don’t want any of my sisters to be like Tomi Lahren,” Charlamagne said in his interview with theGrio. “You all are smarter, sharper, more articulate, brilliant so why would I want ya’ll to be like her?” said the radio host.
Despite the backlash, the host says he doesn’t regret the tweet because it was a learning opportunity that led to meeting a black woman he now admires deeply: Angela Rye.
“That’s family. That’s just one of those people I wish I knew my whole life. For me [and] my wife, that’s our sister. She’s absolutely [an example]. I got two daughters.”
Charlamagne also talked about choosing the title Black Privilege for his book at a time when discussions about racial oppression and white privilege are at a climax:
“We are not denying White privilege at all. We know White privilege is very real. I think that White privilege is systemic. When you talk about Black privilege we are talking about something spiritual. I feel we have access to a divine system that helps us to prosper in this country in spite of everything we have been through. We are still here thriving in this country.
For me, I look at what God made me: a Black man. I don’t feel like he made any mistakes so I gotta look in the mirror and tell my creator thank you. I feel it is a privilege to be who and what I am.”
Watch the full interview below.