As a co-host of the nationally syndicated show The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God interviews the music industry’s biggest stars on a regular basis. He has sat down with Jay Z, Kanye West and even Ed Sheeran since his show began in 2010.
His knowledge of music and pop culture has made him one of the most popular radio personalities in the world. What separates Charlamagne from other radio hosts is his admiration for seeking and telling the truth on all topics — including sports.
MORE: Charlamagne Tha God is done with ‘clown’ Jason Whitlock
Currently on tour for his first book, “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It,” Charlamagne spoke exclusively with Sporting News prior to his May 31 event at Concord Mills Mall in Concord, N.C., outside Charlotte.
He shared thoughts on, among other things, his issues with people not supporting former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and why he respects LaVar Ball.
SPORTING NEWS: Why do you take the position on Colin Kaepernick that you do?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Because I don’t feel like somebody should be punished for doing the right thing. It bums me out that everybody is so up in arms about him not standing for the flag but this guy is standing up for oppressed and marginalized people. He is standing up and speaking out for people who want to be heard but can’t be heard. There is no way you can call yourself an American, see what happens in a lot of situations with police and unarmed citizens of America — particularly unarmed citizens of color in America — and not want to say something. I constantly ask people if you saw the American flag on fire in the street and a black person on fire in the street and you had a fire extinguisher, which one would you put out first? If your answer ain’t human life, then your issues are way bigger than the flag. Someone should not be punished for doing the right thing. He did the right thing.
SN: Does it bother you when members of the media — specifically black media members — bash Kaepernick on their airwaves?
CTG: Absolutely. It bothers me when anybody is against Kaepernick specifically because you are telling me that standing up for a flag is more important than standing up for other human beings. It especially bothers me when it’s (a) black media personality because they are supposed to understand, because the Stephen A. Smiths and Jason Whitlocks of the world are supposed to understand moreso than anybody.
SN: You’ve been publicly supportive of LaVar Ball and his vision. Why do you see so eye-to-eye with LaVar?
CTG: There are two reasons. No. 1, we always have these false narratives that the black man isn’t in the home, that the black man is never there for his family. Now we have a black man who is not only there for his family but has three sons, a wife who played college ball, and he has all three of his sons doing what he and his wife love to do. It bothers me when I see people telling (LaVar’s) sons to rebel against his father. That is what we are doing. We are telling them not to listen to their father, who has gotten them to this point, and now all of a sudden we are telling them not to listen to him. So why are we telling kids to rebel against their pops? That is just dumb to me. The second reason is that I like his spirit of entrepreneurship. He is saying you cannot own my kids. I don’t want my kids to have an endorsement deal. I want my kids to have a partnership with the shoe company. I think that is dope. Why aren’t we encouraging more black and brown people to be owners? Why do we always have to be endorsers or workers? This man is trying to change the status quo. And if he is successful, he will change the dynamic between players and shoe companies forever. I don’t agree with everything he does but I don’t understand why people are so hell-bent on seeing him fail.
SN: What are things you learned during the writing process of your new book, “Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It”?
CTG: The greatest thing I learned from came from something I did not know, when I was sitting down and trying to explain parents’ relationship before us, meaning the kids. A lot of times we don’t realize that our parents had lives before they were our parents. So it hit me that I didn’t really know much about how they met or anything like that. That made me want to be a better father as far as letting my daughter know what we were doing before we were her parents.
SN: How has the book tour been and why are you excited to come to the Carolinas?
CTG: I am always excited to come to the Carolinas. The Carolinas are like home. I am South Carolina all day but I love Charlotte. That is a place I’d always go and visit on weekends. I’ve been to a bunch of concerts in Charlotte and have a lot of friends there. Charlotte has been very active as far as receiving the book. I get so many tweets from Charlotte asking me when I’m going to come there. So Concord is close enough and we’ll be there.