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After reading a numerous amount of self-help books, I told myself that the next book I read would have to be nothing short of amazing. I read countless book reviews to see which books would give me my money’s worth. I noticed that a lot of these reviews had 4.5/5 stars. However, on the sidebar of Amazon, there was a book recommendation with a five-star rating from Charlamagne Tha God, Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes To Those Who Create It. Now, I fully understand why this book received all the accolades it did and why I feel that I’ve grown as a person after reading it.
Prior to reading this book, I was aware that he put things into perspective for those receptive to it. I tried to go in as unbiased as possible because Lenard McKelvey is someone who I’ve looked up to throughout my career. From listening to his monumental interviews, and watching his work for MTV, Charlamagne made it easy to admire a black man in media. He is continuously making a statement in the industry for a journalist like myself. I always tell my friends, “Look, if there’s one radio/media personality I could have as a mentor, it would be Charlamagne Tha God. With his advice and being under his wing, you can’t fail.”
While reading any book, I love to use a highlighter to help signify what aspects resonate with me the most. No exaggeration, I ended up highlighting a lot of pages in my book. Charlamagne gives his readers eight principles that are essential for life. These aren’t newfound principles (and if they are, thank God you have this book to play catch up). However, Charlamagne states these principles and provides support from his personal experiences. It’s written in his very sarcastic, witty, funny, and knowledgeable voice that he so often uses on his morning show for Power 105.1, The Breakfast Club.
“It’s all about discipline. That’s the biggest part of any process— patience and discipline.” – Charlamagne Tha God
I’m not going to waste anyone’s time by going through all of the principles because then my readers would feel like there’s no point in buying this book. However, I will talk about one principle from Charlamagne’s point of view and mine. When I read his fifth principle, Put The Weed In The Bag, I wondered what The Uncommon Sense personality was conveying to his readers. He proceeded by explaining that when starting out in a career, it’s important to absorb as much information as possible before worrying about how much money is deserved. He states, “We get caught up sweating the results instead of embracing the process. Even though embracing the process is the only way you’re ever going to get what you want out of life.”
He teaches the importance of “never let wanting to get paid, get in the way of a good opportunity” and “get your foot in the door by any means possible.” He gave countless examples of how doing free labor as Wendy William’s co-host is an example of putting weed in the bag because he realized the bigger reward in the end.
I respect Charlamagne a lot after reading Black Privilege mainly because of his ability to keep thriving despite getting fired four times (let’s face it, we’ve seen some people use that as an excuse to give up forever) and the respect he holds for everyone he encounters. Even though Charlamagne and Wendy Williams don’t exchange words now, he made sure to give credit in a notable way for everything she has done for him. That might also be a Cancer thing since Charlamagne and I are both June cancers.
“Everything I’ve gotten my hands on, I’ve grabbed… Put yourself on. By that I mean don’t wait for someone to give you a deal. If you do, you’ll be waiting for a very long time.” Charlamagne Tha God
I felt a sense of validation that I was on the right track in my career as I was reading. When I was a sophomore in college, I was struggling to find an internship. I took the initiative to create this website, which you’re reading this article on, to give myself an opportunity. This website has allowed me to share my story and interview countless talent. The fifth principle hits a special place in my heart. I want to be an on-air host. I didn’t have a video reel, so I recorded myself reciting a script I wrote on my iPhone. For an entire year, once every week, I emailed BET’s Executive Producer my video link in hopes that she was looking for new talent. It was for a segment called BET Breaks. I did a lot of online research to find her email. After a year with no response, most people would take that as a no. However, she finally wrote me back asking if I could come to Viacom for a screen test. (YES!!!)
With no hesitation, I booked my flight. I hoped that if given the opportunity, I would be able to relocate from Atlanta to New York. After completing my screen test, she expressed how well I did and how much talent she saw considering this was my first time reading from a teleprompter. Every week, I was told to keep patient because BET has a lot going on. My family wanted me to stop thinking about BET. But they didn’t understand the importance of my persistence and patience. Currently, the Executive Producer and I share a great relationship where we casually check on each other’s well being. I may or may not get that spot on BET Breaks. But guess what? The Executive Producer is aware of my work ethic and determination. That’s the validation and motivation I received from Charlamagne when he explained what it means to create an opportunity for yourself.
If you’re contemplating whether you should read the book, just do it. I’ve talked about this book so much that my brother and sister are now debating who will get first dibs on my copy. Spread the knowledge. Brand yourself. Live your truth. It felt like a privilege to read this book. Thanks, Charlamagne.