New York Times bestselling author and radio personality, Charlamagne Tha God, is one of the many people in the Black community using his platform to shift the mental health conversation. His latest book, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks On Me, has received many praises from his fans and readers; it inspired and helped many become comfortable with openly discussing their struggles with mental health and therapy– especially Black men and even someone close to him…his father.
If you read Black Privilege, you know that Charlamagne did not hold anything back. He shared many memories about his dad and it was clear they had a complicated relationship. But throughout all these years, he never knew his father was battling with mental health issues. The loss of Charlemagne’s 26-year-old cousin (who was always hanging with his dad) revealed his truth.
“My father was like I was reading your book and you know I suffered from mental health issues,” Charlamagne shares to Natasha Alford of theGrio. “My father was going to a therapist two or three times a week. He was dealing with depression back in the day and wanted to kill himself; he was on 10-12 medications; he was getting a check for mental disability [and] who knew? He never told [anybody].”
“It’s something he told me this weekend based off reading what I was going through in my book and my little cousin committing suicide,” says the author. “It was like a trigger for him; he was finally just free with it and that made me feel better and worse in a way. It made me feel worse because just like therapy, you’re unpacking all of these different things that are going on in your life and you really don’t know who you are anymore. And that’s a beautiful thing, I’ve never been afraid to unlearn anything that I’ve learned but you’re already dealing with the complications and sort of confusion with that and now you put this on top of that and it’s like man, what has my life been all of these years.”
After his dad revealed his story, it put things in perspective for the bestselling author.
“It made me have a different respect for him because I view him through a different lens now. I can’t be too hard on him now or things that he did when he was younger or things I didn’t agree with.”
The growth of the outspoken radio host has also allowed people to look at him through a different lens. As he continues to evolve, he doesn’t shy away from his actions. When asked about his growth from his misogynist ways, he shares it was a matter of intention and credits those closest to him for checking him for his actions.
“We can get caught up in being caricatures of ourselves and I think that I definitely got caught up in being a caricature of myself without even intentionally doing it,” says Charlamagne.
“I think one thing that you may not realize is that when you’re in this position and you start to read stuff about yourself in magazines or see stuff about you on Youtube and you start seeing people’s perception of you or their image of you and they may say things like, ‘Oh, Charlamagne Tha God is the Hip-Hop Howard Stern’ it’s like oh, that’s how you see me and this is what yall want.”
“So you find yourself doing more of that subconsciously: talking reckless to women in interviews, being over sexual with women in interviews. You’re not even doing it on purpose, you’re doing it because that’s entertaining. But then you get older and you have people checking you and you look at things that you were doing four or five years ago and you feel uncomfortable about it. You start thinking about what would your daughters think if they saw this in the future.”