What a name, right? When I intially read this title I thought to myself, “There’s no way there’s any truth to this statement!” Then I began to read and was quickly proven wrong.
If you’re familar with comedian, brash in-your-face radio personality Charlamagne, you already know he speaks authentically about what’s on his mind, telling his audience not what they want to hear but what he believes to be true — period! In this book he stays true to his personality and this principle.
This is easily one of the most honest memoirs I’ve ever read. Charlamagne is not afraid to reveal his many insecurities, criticisms from the media and other prominent people he’s faced, and the most difficult and darkest times he encountered on his way to stardom and national fame. Black Privilege is not what you might think it means: it is not asserting that black people have an inherent privilage in society that is not available for non-black people. Instead, he espouses the notion that regardless of who you are — black, gay, disabled, etc. — you must first own who you are and, in spite of it, become a “privileged” person by pressing forward to evolve into the best version of yourself you can be. He illustrates the importance of not allowing whatever your insecurities or shortcomings are to inhibit your potential and success is. He conveys this strong message through his own story of triumph.
Charlamagne delivers his usual comedy that is so unfiltered and politically incorrect that you’re almost afraid to laugh out loud. He reveals the names of his rivals and provides insights into some of his most infamous moments and feuds with celebrities in the music industry; he simply doesn’t care. He tells his audience how he feels about those confrontations and why he’s grateful for having faced them throughout his career. Although he uses this platform to air his frustrations with people he’s encountered along the way, he’s not merely gossiping to sell books — there’s an underlying principle, life lesson in them.
The entire time I read this book, I felt as though he was not the celebrity that has become a household name, but rather a guy I could have easily known and hung out with in my neighborhood growing up. He speaks honestly and candidly about the hardships he encountered growing up, encouraging his readers to not allow their difficult circumstances to suppress their self-confidence and ultimately the pursuit of their goals.
What is especially easy to relate to and grab ahold of in Charlamagne’s story are the nuggets of wisdom that he offers in the form of colorful language. Again, staying true to his comedic roots, he touts principles to live by with semi-humorous yet keenly astute phrases that he has relied on to overcome his circumstances and attain impressive success. If you’re one of those who appreciates quotes to live by, you certainly will not be disappointed with this book.
Black Privilege is inspirational, refreshingly honest, very easy and entertaining to read, and well written. It speaks to the kid who grew up in rural South Carolina and the kid who hailed from the metropolis of New York City. I found myself laughing out loud at times, while, surprisingly, feeling very sympathetic at other times. This book resonated with me because it could have been my story or anyone else’s I know. I firmly believe you will come away feeling the same after you’ve read it.