Famed Dallas Cowboys fan and radio personality, Charlamagne Tha God blessed supporters with his presence. The Moncks Corner, South Carolina native visited the Lone Star State to promote his sophomore book, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks On Me. The D-town stop was apart of his promotional tour making the rounds, signing copies of his published bouts with Mental Health, and nervous disorders. On one particular Sunday, he was interviewed by Kenny Reeves, co-host of the Hip-Hop Book Club live events and the Good Culture Podcast, at the HBCU, Paul Quinn College in Dallas. In attendance were several students, Breakfast Club listeners/watchers, Mental Health advocates, and myself, a self-proclaimed hypocrite.
This summer, Charlamagne addressed allegations of him raping his wife the first time they had sex. A clip from a past episode of his Brilliant Idiots podcast resurfaced on several social media feeds as he recounted the time he bought Spanish Fly and put it in his drink and in the drink of a young woman. The woman was his wife and she assured listeners that she was not a victim, she was a consenting participant that was with him as he procured the aphrodisiac. Also around this time, there was a VladTV interview from 5 years ago where the former Wendy Williams Show co-host related his story of physical abuse to his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 16 to Chris Brown and Rihanna’s violent relationship. “We all put our hands on our girl at one point” was a direct quote. Finally, Jessica Reid, who accused Charlamagne of rape at 15 when he was 20, appeared on Star’s YouTube show, The Star Report, and refuted everything the Black Privilege author retold about the night where a house party got out of control and Lenard McKelvey was arrested. All of these violent acts against women and I bought a ticket to see him without even thinking immediately. My main thought was not cancelling another problematic celebrity, I only wondered if my Mother could send my old Ozone magazines featuring the Uncommon Sense host’s contributions to me in time for the event.
After Mrs McKelvey (Mrs. Tha God?) appeared on-air to clarify the actions of her husband in one of the situations, I fell back from anything involving Tha God, but I wasn’t ready to throw him away like I have Kanye West and Louis C.K. in the last year. My daily episodes of The Breakfast Club from podparadise.com stopped residing on my phone during work hours. I unsubscribed from their YouTube channel and didn’t think about Angela Yee, DJ Envy, & Charlamagne Tha God (Honestly, his melanin-deficient co-mic, Andrew Schultz, has kept me away from streaming Brilliant Idiots, for years so no change there). The Bossman, B-Easy, and I have discussions about the latest fascination with “Cancel Culture”. Somebody does something terrible then they do not deserve to be in the spotlight is my understanding. Mr. Carter wonders how long should a person be cancelled and if the repercussions fit the situation for every individual that pisses off and enrages the public, not just the non-personal favorite public figures.
An idle mind and vulnerable situation could be the culprit for the resurrection of my support for the father of 3 daughters. Instead of going to my scheduled therapy session, a rainy morning turned into a home session of self-reflection. My therapist sent an email cancelling my appointment due to his health and precaution of being contagious. I filled my IG story with mentions and updates promoting therapy and sharing my Mental Health status/struggles and then it appeared. GoodCulture posted a flyer for “A Conversation With Charlamagne Tha God” on their Instagram Stories. No rape allegations, physical abuse, or drugging thoughts came to mind when I hit EventBrite and bought a $25 ticket to the show and a copy of his latest book. “Every single person has character flaws” was the response I received from community activist, Jeannee Aenise of the non-profit organization, JAH’s Heart. The New Orleans native was heavily promoting the VH1 special, In Session Live with Dr Jess, where the Shook One author was the first patient of the first ever live broadcasted therapy session. Ms. Aenise and I both agreed that his message is justified; Black people need to strengthen their Mental Health and acknowledge mental disorders. My main issue is the messenger is flawed and I just want him to acknowledge, rectify, and learn from his past mistakes. Replying list of demands that to her made me reflect back to the text convo with B-Easy, society cancels people, but we never renew them for a second chance.
If I had to guess, I thought that particular night was just another day at Paul Quinn with young Black people on campus. I had a feeling like I was at church. I spoke to most of the people I walked by and friendly acknowledgements were returned. The event did not start on time. The only difference between this Sunday Night Service and my usual Sunday Morning Service was that I didn’t read my book while waiting for the main act to appear in front of the congregation. I talked to a young lady that seemed like the only white person in attendance. We talked about her Mental Health and support of anything that discusses the topic, and how awkward it was for DJ Nitecrawler to add Kanye West to the mix in light of his recent mental outbursts and relationship with Charlamagne.
If I had to review the discussion, I’d give it a 4 out of 5. I always get a full circle moment when I see someone in person that I’ve been supporting for years. It was a good talk. Kanye was addressed and he explained that he believes that Kanye could have been a great advocate for Mental Health if he actually dealed with his issues. He spoke about his frustrations with what gets the most attention; specifically, how The Breakfast Club raised money for the Change For Change campaign, but none of that work was promoted or reported, but Desiigner threatening him and DJ Envy got all the press. Black-American Culture and its effects from police, politics, and our peers was highlighted.
Two questions were asked before the night was over. A young man asked how the guest were chosen for the Power 105 morning show. There’s a reason why Angela Rye is on every month, they believe in putting medicine in the candy by having a consistent rotation of guests that are not only entertainers. The second audience member read from her phone a well-crafted question about the opioid crisis, pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive pill push, and Black people’s mistrust of false diagnosis. “People should use medication when they need it… Self-medication is not healthy. Find a therapist that you can trust.” There was a funny story that I believe is in the book about his initial intentions were to find an Asian woman therapist instead of the Black woman therapist he has now. He wanted someone neutral. I as well have a white man as my therapist, I didn’t want my counselor to sympathize with me based solely on the fact they were are both Black.
After conversing with a few fellow Mental Health advocates and sharing a “Job Well Done” with the moderator, Kenny Reeves, I departed into the cold Dallas night with many thoughts riding beside me down I-20. The first thought was “It was 7:41 PM when I exited past the gates of Paul Quinn, why did my ticket say 6 PM – 9 PM?”; I had it in my head that I was going to get up there and ask “With the allegations and controversy over the past few months, do you find it a blessing to be able to look back and show growth from your past mistakes or is it a burden to be shackled to your past no matter how far you go?” I know, it’s a great question. I repeated that question and different variations all throughout that day. Ultimately, I wanted other people to ask questions and keep the focus on the silent killers: Mental Health disorders. Before the discussion was started, the audience was lead into a deep breath and short meditation session by Taylor Toynes, founder of ForOakCliff, We’re on the wave or trend of better and more healthy decisions. Decisions like looking past stories on the internet.
We make excuses for people we like when we can. Eight years ago, I was defending my reasoning of how/why I find the dude with the dark patches funny on that morning show. Just last year, I was recommending Black Privilege to anyone that had doubts about a book with a positive message from the guy that made Lil Mama cry that one time. As I write this, I’m really thinking about what I’m caping for more than whom. I want to see the success of Black people focusing on their well-being. I’m not standing up for a celebrity because I want to see their new movie/show, listen to their new music, or have hope that they are going to buy NBC. I am biased in my own definition because of how much I’ve enjoyed his commentary and opinions since I was in high school and now those thoughts have matured and become actions to push an agenda I strongly advocate for and support.