Charlamagne tha God Shares His Thoughts on What MLK Means to Him

In an interview with Finish Line, Charlamagne tha God talked about the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on him, and also what MLK's legacy means in 2021.

Charlamagne tha God

Image via Getty/Kevin Winter

Charlamagne tha God

To discuss a topic that lines up perfectly and intentionally with the day, Charlamagne tha God was on Finish Line's Community Voices series to talk with Omarr Henry about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.

To start, Charlamagne called King "The greatest political revolutionary to ever walk the face of the Earth." He immediately followed up with his argument for why he believes that's the case.

"When it comes to actual policy and radical change he got things done," Charlamagne said. "Whether it was voting rights, civil rights, MLK actually got the government to move on radical change that ultimately enables us to celebrate the things that we celebrate now. There is no Kamala Harris being Vice President, or Barack Obama being President, if Dr. King didn't push the racial equality the way that he did back then."  

From there he continued by saying that King got change enacted quickly, and then pointed to modern America to provide an example of the school-zone-esque pace that often accompanies government adjusting to shifting social attitudes (in this case, specifically citing the long time it's taken to get marijuana decriminalized).

"Think about everything that the social justice and civil rights activists are trying to get pushed now," he said. "With the police, prison reform, getting the right resources allocated to the Black community to improve our schools, or just provide opportunities for us, period. Think about how hard it is to get the government, state or local, to act on that. Think about how long the fight has been just to get weed decriminalized. Not even get weed legalized, federally. Just decriminalized (...) MLK and his crew, they got radical policies implemented a couple of times."

After sharing his thoughts on MLK's impact, he was asked "what steps the country needs to take to continue the work Dr. King has done."

Charlamagne said he doesn't know "all the steps," but stated his belief that the "answer lies" in economics. He said that "economic empowerment" and "financial freedom" for Black and poor people are necessary for "real change." 

"The only thing that is going to make real change in this society is economic empowerment," he said. "Black people and poor people in general need to be afforded the same opportunities to live and thrive in this country as others. Poverty is what leads to crime, poverty is what leads to mental health issues. That's why the pivot Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was making from civil rights to fighting against income equality scared the hell out of America. Because it's too easy to control the people who are poor and disenfranchised. It's almost impossible to control the people who are rich and potent. And listen, I know everybody can't be rich. But everybody should have a fair shake to put food on their kids' table, to have a roof over their heads. So when you ask me what the necessary change we need right now, it's income, it's fighting against income inequality."

Other topics involved the Capitol riot, reparations, and mental health.

Provided you have the time, it's better to watch the person actually making the statements than to read quotes pulled by some guy. That said, you can see the whole interview below:

Through its Community Voices series, Finish Line has donated over $600K to various charities and foundations supporting Black and brown communities.

Latest in Pop Culture