Charlamagne Tha God Won’t Take Sides

Charlamagne Tha God calls himself an entertainer. He’s a comedian, a media personality and an author. (He has written two best sellers about his life and struggles with anxiety. This month he is publishing a new book, “Get Honest or Die Lying: Why Small Talk Sucks.”) But it’s as the co-host of the wildly popular hip-hop morning radio show “The Breakfast Club” that Charlamagne — born Lenard McKelvey — has become more than a performer: He’s a political force.

Listen to the Conversation With Charlamagne Tha God

The radio host talks to Lulu Garcia-Navarro about how he plans to wield his considerable political influence.

“The Breakfast Club” reaches nearly six million people every month on the radio. Then there’s the YouTube channel, the podcast and the clips from interviews on the show that regularly go viral. While the show often hosts rappers and other celebrities on its four-hour chat-fest, it has also become an important stop for politicians who want to reach Charlamagne’s largely Black audience. Even if you’re not a regular listener, you probably know about some of the more memorable episodes, like when Hillary Clinton went on “The Breakfast Club” during the 2016 presidential campaign and said she carried hot sauce around in her bag. Or in 2020, when Joe Biden, then a candidate, told Charlamagne’s listeners, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”

Biden got a fair amount of blowback for that comment, but Charlamagne endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket anyway. Now, four years later, things have changed for the host, and perhaps for some of his listeners. Polling shows declining support for the Democratic Party among Black men. And this time around Charlamagne has said he won’t endorse anyone and has been outspoken in his criticism of Biden and the Democrats, leading to questions about where he stands politically and what he wants to do with his significant platform. (Also inspiring those questions: His recent friendly interview with the right-wing personality Candace Owens.)

When we spoke last month, we talked about his personal politics and whether Black men will really move toward Trump (he’s not buying it). But we began the first of our two conversations discussing his recent stint guest-hosting “The Daily Show,” on which he used one of his monologues to blast corporate diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and got a lot of love from conservative media for it.

Your new book is about small talk and how you think it’s bad. So I want to start with some big issues. Let’s get right to it.

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