Charlamagne Tha God knew his book was going to spark controversy with a title like Black Privilege, but he is no stranger to pushing buttons. However, he is quick to dismiss the accusations that he is eclipsing the reality of racism in America. In fact, the two have little to do with each other.
“God created me exactly how he wanted me to be and who he wanted me to be.” He writes, “I believe I’m just as privileged—if not more—as any white person out there. I have to believe that. Otherwise, I’d never have transcended the circumstances I was born into.”
Live your truth
From growing up in rural South Carolina to his rise to fame on the radio, Charlamagne Tha God uses his own personal history to frame the lessons he’s learned over his life in his half-memoir, half-self-help book. Instead of time periods, the eight chapters are separated by principles he lives by that helped him get to where he is today.
With the same raw language he uses on his radio show The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God reaches out to America’s young people and encourages them to “live their truth,” or accept their reality for what it is rather than try to hide or be ashamed of it. He uses his own appearance as an example, laughing at his large nose and “Ninja Turtle head,” as a way of stealing power from those who would exploit his insecurities as a weakness. Despite any obstacles an individual may have—their hometown, the way they look, the people in their lives—anyone, he emphasizes, is capable of success if they’re willing to be honest with themselves.
Never give up on your dreams
Part of this truth often comes in the form of brutally honest advice, such as “giving people the credit they deserve for being stupid,” or holding people accountable for unsavory behavior, including yourself. Keeping an open mind is the only way to foster personal progress, he explains. To change your life, you must be willing to make changes in your life.
Charlamagne Tha God also encourages people never to give up on their dreams. Though his third principle is titled “F*ck your dreams,” it isn’t your own dreams you’re discarding, but the dreams society expects of you. “Too many times the dreams you think are yours are actually someone else’s,” he explains, “you’re only chasing them because you’ve seen them working for others.” Chasing these false dreams will only lead to more misery. Rather, focus on what you want to do, not what the world wants you to do.
With his controversial title, Charlamagne Tha God teaches us not to judge a book by its cover. He also sneaks in some powerful life advice to his readers: Live authentically and honestly. Work hard and be relentless in your desires. And remember how privileged you are to be yourself, exactly as you are.