Charlamagne Tha God – Combatting the Stigma Around Mental Health in “Shook One” | The Daily Show


Welcome back to the show,
my friend. -Oh, thank you for having me
again. -Good to see you. The last time I saw you
was in South Africa. -Yes, Johannesburg. -Was that
your first time out there? That was my first time
in South Africa. -First time on that continent,
period. -Are you serious? -Absolutely. -Did you kiss the
ground and be like, “I’m home.”? -Um, no, but I-I felt that way.
-Yeah. You know, I felt the connection.
You know what I mean? I felt like, uh, I was in…
I was in the right body, -so to speak.
-You know what’s…? You know what’s interesting is,
I took that for granted until I lived in the U.S.
for, like, three years. -And then, when I went home
now… -Uh-huh. …I was like, “Oh, now
I-I see what that feeling is.” ‘Cause black Americans
used to tell me that when they’d come
to South Africa, and I’d be like, “Really?” -Nah, I felt it…
-But, no. You-you… There is a special feeling.
Like, you-you had that, as well? Yeah, and I think it…
I think it’s two ways to feel, um, ’cause my wife was
telling me how she kind of felt like a disconnect
only because it’s a… It’s a whole bunch of people
that look like us, but they know their culture. -They’re speaking
a different language. -Wow. She felt like
she had been robbed. And I was like,
“Baby, you were.” Okay? We… -We all were.
-Right, right. You know, so,
it’s-it’s a dual feeling. Some people feel disconnected, and then, some of us feel
like we’re at home. But the beauty of it is
you can always learn, right? -Yeah. -You can learn
what tribe you’re from. You can learn your culture, you can learn
your original language. -You can, man.
-Yeah. You’re someone who’s on a
journey of learning right now. -Yes. -Charlamagne is somebody
many people may know as, you know,
a face of hip-hop, a face of, you know, like,
entertainment and what’s happening
in the world. But I feel like,
over the past few years, you’ve been on a journey of, like, evolving yourself
as a human being, and that’s what this book
feels like– Shook One:
Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me. This is a book
about mental health. Yes, and it didn’t, uh… Uh, I didn’t intend for it to be
a book about mental health. Like, you know, I was literally
just keeping a journal of all my therapy sessions. So I was keeping a journal
of things that, you know,
give me anxiety now… -Right. -things that have
historically given me anxiety. And then, you know,
when you’re sitting in therapy, you just start unpacking
all kinds of stuff. So it just became
the pages in this book. But sitting in therapy
is not something that many black men would
A: admit to, and B: want to be involved in. That’s-that’s-that’s…
that’s a movement that you’ve really been,
you know, at the forefront of. -Yes. -There’s many…
there’s many black men who’ve said in America,
“Yo, I go to therapy now -because of Charlamagne.”
-Absolutely. Because you’re in a community
where, for a long time was like, “Yo, you do what?
You go to therapy?” And that’s why I always say,
you know, sometimes God allows things to happen to you
so he can work through you. And that’s why I think
it’s very important -for us to always share
our experiences. -Right. Because it can help
the next person. Like, for example,
you know, my father– which I just found out
over Thanksgiving– my father had been going
to therapy two and three times a week. -He tried to kill himself
30 years ago. -Wow. He, uh, has been on ten to 12
different medications -for his… -And you never…
you never knew this? Never knew it. But he read my
book, and that’s when he decided to come have the conversation
with me about it. So if he’d have told me
about this years ago, then I would have known that
there was tools and resources out there that
could have helped me combat what I’ve been dealing with
my whole life. Do you think that,
fundamentally, hip-hop and its culture
goes against ideas of, like, getting help and therapy,
and, like… Like, do you think there’s
a part of the culture itself that-that doesn’t,
you know, speak to that? Or, you know, it’s, like,
frowned upon in a way. Um, that’s a good question. I think that we lean
on the wrong things. Like, there’s a lot
of self-medication. That’s where the weed
and the pills and the alcohol are involved. Or a lot of times,
just as a black person, we think that, like,
pain is normal, you know? Like, growing up in America,
you think that a lot of things that we go through–
the trauma, the pain– like, we’re supposed to be
going through that, but then when you kind of, like,
transcend those circumstances, and you’re on the outside
looking in, you’re like: ah, a lot of things
that we used to normalize, or a lot of things
that we used to go through, -aren’t-aren’t exactly normal.
-Right. It’s interesting, in the book, like,
you’ve broken down into different chapters
that tackle specific issues. You know?
Things like “Forget the FOMO.” “Being blackanoid is a reality.” “Therapy is not embarrassing.” “Getting help is your right.”
“Be confident in your own skin.” And I was struck
by a few things. I’ve always known
Charlamagne as, like, one of the most
confident people out here. You say things that have half of
the Internet coming after you. Like, every time I see you say
something, I’m just like, “Wow.” That don’t mean I’m confident.
I could just be stupid. Yeah, I mean… But stupidly
confident sometimes, -is what I feel.
-Yeah. True. You’ll say things,
and literally, I’ve seen half the Internet
come after you. But in the book,
you talk about how much anxiety that has created in your life. I never thought that that was
an issue that you faced. And a lot of people get anxiety
from the Internet. Have you found tools that
help people overcome that? I mean, you talk about it
in the book, but what have you
really found that works? Well, uh, therapy,
number one, you know? And number two, honestly, just,
um, thinking a little bit more before you tweet things out. -(laughing)
-You know what I’m saying? Some things…
some things can be avoided -if you just ask your circle
first of all. -Right. Like, I think
our first instinct– sometimes we
don’t understand something– is just to run
to the Internet with it. Let me ask a couple of people
that I trust first of all, you know,
what they think about this, and then I’ll give my opinion
on it… on it later. It’s interesting,
because you are a… a friend and someone who
has interviewed Kanye West. -Right?
-Yeah. And what’s been interesting
this year is the journey that Kanye West has been on. We saw Kanye West come out,
and, you know, some people said he had stopped medication
to start making music again. -Yeah. He said that.
-He was in the studio. Right. And then…
and then we started seeing Kanye the MAGA hat wearer, Kanye, like, you know,
coming out and saying things about the world, you know,
and-and everyone was like, “Oh, man, he’s crazy,”
and made the jokes. And then Kanye came out
and said, “No, no, no. -I have mental health issues.”
-Yeah. And then everyone was like,
“Oh. We-we can’t make jokes.” Then he sat down
with President Trump, and he was like,
“Oh, I was misdiagnosed.” “I was misdiagnosed,
I don’t have bipolar, -it was sleep deprivation.”
-“I don’t have it. It’s just sleep deprivation.”
That’s like, “Wait, so we can make the jokes?”
And then the other day on Twitter, I saw, like, Ariana
Grande went and said something, and then he’s like,
“I have mental health issues.” -Yeah. -But, like,
there’s an interesting world– I mean, maybe you
can speak on it– where it feels like someone
is using “mental health” as, like, a buffer,
like, they go like, “I can do crazy things, and
then if someone calls me out, I’ll be like: Oh, no, no, no,
I’ve got mental health, so you can’t say anything
about that. Yeah, I mean this
in the most brotherly, uh, you know, black man to black man
way possible. Kanye West is full of shit,
right? -And… And…
-(laughter) And-and what I mean by that
is exactly what you just said. You sat in the White House
with Donald Trump -and you said you didn’t have
bipolar. -Right. You were misdiagnosed;
it was sleep deprivation. You’re off your medication and
you create better without it. But when you get into
a rap feud with Drake, the only way you can
combat Drake in any way, shape or form is to weaponize
mental health, and say that Drake bullies people
with mental health issues based off, you know,
a couple of bars that Drake gave Kid Cudi
who suffers from mental health, and now Drake, you know,
coming at Kanye West. But, to me, man, it has nothing
to do with mental health. This is about sneakers. It’s the fact that Drake is
effecting your sneaker sales, because– No. Because in the
biggest song of the year… (laughter and applause) In the biggest song of the year,
which is “Sicko Mode,” you know, with Drake
and Travis Scott, -Drake says, uh,
“checks over stripes.” -Right. And then in another record
with French Montana called “No Stylist,” he said,
“Don’t wear no 350s around me,” -which is, uh, one of
Kanye West’s sneakers. -Right. Kanye West’s last couple
of sneakers haven’t really sold extremely
well. Now, I can’t chalk that all up
to Drake. I’m gonna chalk that up to some
of the MAGA hat, too, but the-the only way you can
think to combat Drake is to weaponize
mental health issues? That’s whack, my brother.
That’s lame. What would you hope that-that
you could change in somebody’s mind
when they read the book? I mean, because here’s what’s
interesting about this book, is that I like
that you haven’t tried to present yourself
as an expert. -I’m not an expert at anything.
-Right. You-you-you write– No, but you write about
your experiences, and then you have a therapist
who actually, like, -basically has an addendum
after each chapter -Dr. Ish. that breaks it down like a real
medical professional. So what would you hope that somebody takes away
from reading this book? Especially people who see
mental health as like, “Oh, man, you crazy.” Like, what would you, what would
you hope that they take away? I would hope that they take away the fact that it’s okay
to get help. It’s okay to not be okay. I look at mental health the same
say I look at physical health. You know, like,
if you get a little chubby around the middle, which we all
do during the winter, you’re gonna go work it out,
you’re gonna go eat right. I think it’s the same thing
with your brain, you know what I’m saying?
Like, you have to watch what you put into your brain. You have therapists
and psychiatrists that you can sit down and talk
to and figure things out, and work through these issues. So it’s just okay
to-to not be okay. And it’s okay to say
you’re not okay. And if people think
you’re crazy, so what? You know what I’m saying?
You know what’s crazy? Not going to get help for it. Thank you so much for being
on the show, my brother. -Yeah, man. Thanks.
-Great having you back. Shook One– Really different
and interesting look at Charlamagne Tha God–
is available now.

Daniel Yohans

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