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Charlamagne tha God

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Charlamagne tha God
McKelvey at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival
Lenard Larry McKelvey

(1978-06-29) June 29, 1978 (age 45)
Occupation(s)Radio host, television personality, and comedian
RelativesChloe Bailey (cousin)
Halle Bailey (cousin)
ShowHell of A Week with Charlamagne tha God
The Breakfast Club (co-host)
StationPower 105.1
Time slot6–10 a.m.
CountryUnited States

Lenard Larry McKelvey /ləˈnɑːrd məˈkɛlvi/[1] (born June 29, 1978), known professionally as Charlamagne tha God or simply Charlamagne, is an American radio host, television personality and comedian. He is a co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club along with DJ Envy, with whom he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020 for their work on the show. He also hosts the late-night talk show Hell of a Week with Charlamagne tha God on Comedy Central.

Prior to his work on The Breakfast Club, he worked as a radio personality for several radio stations and also spent time as second mic on The Wendy Williams Experience with Wendy Williams on VH1. He is the founder of the Black Effect Podcast Network,[2] and was featured on Guy Code, Guy Court and Girl Code. He was also a VJ for The Week in Jams with DJ Envy and Sofi Green. In 2015, McKelvey began hosting the MTV2 show Uncommon Sense.

In the shock jock tradition, one of McKelvey's personal mantras is "bite my tongue for no one";[3] he was called "hip-hop's Howard Stern" by Rolling Stone magazine.[4]

Early life

McKelvey was born to Larry Thomas McKelvey, a Jehovah's Witness-turned-Muslim,[5] and his wife, an English teacher and Jehovah's Witness,[4][5][6] on June 29, 1978.[7] He grew up in Moncks Corner, South Carolina[8] where as a teenager he was arrested twice for "possession with intent to distribute" marijuana and cocaine.[9]

When McKelvey was arrested a third time, after being near a (non-fatal) shooting, his father refused to pay his bail money. After 41 days in jail, he asked his mother to pay for bail, at which point his father decided to "give him another chance".[9] After his release, McKelvey began attending night school[9] and graduated from Berkeley High School (in Moncks Corner).[10]

In 2001, McKelvey was accused of sexual assault after a party. He denied having sexual relations with the accuser and cooperated with the authorities, providing DNA evidence which failed to support the claim that he had had sex with the victim.[11] The sexual assault charges were dropped and he later pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, for which he received three years probation.[12][13]


Early career in radio

McKelvey started his career in radio as an intern for Z93 Jamz in Charleston. He also spent time in Columbia with WHXT.[10] He left South Carolina in 2006 to become second mic to radio host Wendy Williams.[10] He devised the stage name of "Charlamagne", derived from his street name as a drug dealer, "Charles," and developed a new persona based on Charlemagne (aka Charles the Great), who ruled much of Western Europe circa 800 A.D.[4] He added "Tha God" because it "sounded cool."[9]

His forward questioning and interviews of hip hop and R&B artists on radio raised his public profile, but also caused rifts between himself and the guests of the show. The show was taken off the air in 2008 and he was laid off.[9]

In 2008 he began hosting the morning show for 100.3 The Beat in Philadelphia. He was fired by the station in 2009, a few days after airing an interview with Beanie Sigel, who had released a track about Jay-Z, both of whom were former rappers for Roc-A-Fella Records. Speculation in the media was that Jay-Z was behind the firing of McKelvey due to the interview.[14] He returned to Moncks Corner to live with his mother for about a year prior to being offered a position with WWPR-FM to co-host The Breakfast Club.[15]

2010–2016: The Breakfast Club and television

In 2010, McKelvey became a co-host on The Breakfast Club, alongside DJ Envy and Angela Yee on WWPR-FM in New York City, along with its national television simulcast on Revolt.[4] The show was started by Power 105.1 to compete with Hot 97, one of the most popular hip-hop morning shows in New York. He was brought in as a co-host due to his radio experience and knowing "how to get to the edge and not go over it."[15] Once part of the show, he gave himself the title "Prime Minister of Pissing People Off, the Architect of Aggravation, and the Ruler of Rubbing People the Wrong Way."[16]

In 2011, McKelvey began serving as a cast member of Guy Code, a comedy television show on MTV2 that talks about a special code of conduct just for men. The show ended in March 2015. He also starred on the MTV2 show Charlamagne & Friends.[4] He co-hosted MTV New Year's live from Times Square in both 2013 and 2014, and in 2015 he was a correspondent for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show.[17][18][19]

In 2014, he was dubbed "hip-hop's Howard Stern" by Rolling Stone magazine.[4] The following year, he began hosting Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne tha God on MTV2.[20][21]

2017–present: Book writing, podcast, and Radio Hall of Fame

In 2017, his book Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It, which he called "a self-help guide for the hood,"[3] was published by the Simon & Schuster imprint Touchstone. Steven Kurutz of The New York Times gave the book a mostly positive review, describing Black Privilege as "a street-smart self-help guide" with typically blunt advice offered in eight different principles.[22] The book was ranked sixth in the May 7, 2017, New York Times list of best-selling hardback non-fiction.[23] McKelvey's second book, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me was released on October 23, 2018.[24]

In 2019, he became the host of Emerging Hollywood, a YouTube series from The Hollywood Reporter. On this show, he speaks with Hollywood professionals to discuss various political topics. His past guests on the show include Trevor Noah and Jameela Jamil.[25]

In 2020, McKelvey founded the Black Effect Podcast Network in partnership with iHeartMedia.[2] In August 2020, he and his Breakfast Club co-hosts, Angela Yee and DJ Envy, were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.[26] With fellow MTV2 personality Andrew Schulz, he hosts The Brilliant Idiots podcast on Combat Jack's Loud Speakers Network.[27][28]

McKelvey became the host of the late-night talk show Tha God's Honest Truth in 2021.[29]

In 2024, he released the book Get Honest or Die Lying: Why Small Talk Sucks.

Personal life

He is married to his high school sweetheart, Jessica Gadsden. They have four daughters. She is a fitness coach and personal trainer who supported him financially when he struggled to maintain a job in radio. "Literally, the first time I ever went to a radio station to fill out an application for an internship, my wife drove me because my license was suspended, he said.”[30][31]


  • South Crack: The Album (2008)



Year Title Role Notes
2011 This Thing of Ours Shottah Short
2017 Grow House Black Jesus
Bodied Hunnid Gramz
2018 Canal Street Himself
The After Party Himself
2021 Boogie Patrick


Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Wendy Williams Experience Himself/Co-Host Main Co-Host
2011-15 Guy Code Himself/Co-Host Main Co-Host
2012 MTV's Hip Hop POV Himself/Co-Host Main Co-Host
2012-13 The Week in Jams Himself/Co-Host Main Co-Host
2014 Charlamagne & Friends Himself/Host Main Host
Bethenny Himself/Panelist Episode: "Episode #2.125"
The Challenge: After Show Himself Episode: "ChallengeMania: Superfan Edition"
Landing in Mumbai Spirit Guide Recurring Cast: Season 3
2015 Catfish: The TV Show Himself Episode: "Miracle & Javonni"
2015-16 The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Himself/Panelist Episode: "Episode #1.150" & "#2.79"
Uncommon Sense with Charlamagne Himself/Host Main Host
2015-19 Empire Himself Guest Cast: Season 2-3 & 6
2017 The Breaks Himself Episode: "Blind Alley"
Ridiculousness Himself Episode: "Charlamagne tha God"
SafeWord Himself Episode: "Charlamagne tha God vs. Amber Rose"
2018 Uncensored Himself Episode: "Charlamagne tha God"
Hip Hop Squares Himself/Panelist Recurring Panelist: Season 5
Catfish: Trolls Himself/Host Main Host
The Talk Himself/Guest Co-Host Episode: "Episode #8.182"
Queen Sugar Himself Episode: "Delicate and Strangely Made"
2019 Surviving R. Kelly Himself Episode: "Black Girls Matter"
Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men Himself Episode: "101"
The Next Big Thing Himself/Judge Episode: "Episode #1.1"
Growing Up Hip Hop: New York Himself Episode: "Face the Fyre"
Untold Stories of Hip Hop Himself Recurring Guest
First Wives Club Himself Episode: "One Night Only"
2020 Tooning Out the News Himself Episode: "Episode #1.32"
Dave Himself Recurring Cast: Season 1
2021 Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union Himself Episode: "Episode #1.2"
Queens Himself (voice) Episode: "Behind the Throne"
2021-22 Hell of a Week with Charlamagne tha God Himself/Host Main Host
2022 That Damn Michael Che Himself Episode: "Black Mediocrity"
Murder Inc Records Docu-series Himself Main Guest
Celebrity Game Face Himself/Contestant Episode: "Saweetie Gets Spicy"
2023 Soul of a Nation Himself Episode: "Hip Hop @ 50: Rhythms, Rhymes & Reflections"
Black Pop: Celebrating the Power of Black Culture Himself Episode: "Music" & "Film"
Welcome to Rap City Himself Recurring Guest
The Daily Show Himself/Host Recurring Host: Season 28
Bupkis Priest Episode: "Show Me the Way"
The Muppets Mayhem Himself Episode: "Track 9: Drift Away"


Year Title
2009 Kiss & Tail: The Hollywood Jumpoff
2014 Knifed Up
2018 Black, White & Blue

Music Videos

Year Song Artist
2014 "Choices (Yup)" E-40


  1. ^ McKelvey, Lenard (January 12, 2024). Charlamagne Tha God: 'I may talk about Biden's shortcomings, but Trump is the end of democracy'. Interviewed by Joy Reid. New York: MSNBC. Event occurs at 2:19. Retrieved January 12, 2024 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (September 9, 2020). "Charlamagne tha God Launches Black Effect Podcast Network With iHeartMedia". Variety. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Charlamagne Tha God Calls New Book, Black Privilege, a 'Self-Help Guide for the Hood'". People.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Vozick-Levinson, Simon (February 5, 2014). "Meet Hip-Hop's Howard Stern: Charlamagne tha God". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD". January 1, 2018.
  6. ^ "Charlamagne tha God has book coming next spring". AP NEWS. November 1, 2016.
  7. ^ "Five Things You Didn't Know About Charlamagne tha God". TVOvermind. March 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Lehrman, Jessica (May 3, 2016). "Tha God of Radio". Vulture. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Jacob (December 11, 2013). "Charlamagne Tha God: Keeping a Hot Seat Warm". The New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Schechter, Maayan (June 13, 2019). "SC native Charlamagne is changing the 2020 conversation one candidate at a time". The State. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "'I Never Sexually Assaulted Anyone' ... DNA Tests Proved It". TMZ. July 12, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  12. ^ Zimmerman, Amy (July 26, 2018). "Inside the Disturbing Rape Allegations Against Charlamagne Tha God, Hip-Hop Radio's Biggest Voice". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  13. ^ Shilliday, Sarah Jones, Beth (July 12, 2018). "Charlamagne Tha God Raped Me When I Was 15, Alleges Jessica Reid — Now I Demand Justice". Hollywood Life. Retrieved July 17, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Alexis, Diamond (March 20, 2018). "That Time Jay-Z (Allegedly) Got Charlamagne Tha God Fired". BET. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Jacobson, Mark (May 2, 2016). "The God of Radio". Vulture (New York Magazine). Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Charlamagne Tha God, 1980- (April 18, 2017). Black privilege : opportunity comes to those who create it (First Touchstone hardcover ed.). New York. p. 219. ISBN 9781501145308. OCLC 958459919.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "MTV Is Ringing in 2014 with the "Girl Code Presents: New Year's Code" Special Starting December 31 at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT". The Futon Critic. December 11, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  18. ^ "Ring in 2015 with 'MTV's New Year's Eve 2015' Hosted by Victoria Justice & Charlamagne". TV by the Numbers. December 11, 2014. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  19. ^ "Music: Listen to Free Music, Watch New Music Videos | MTV Asia". Music.mtvasia.com. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  20. ^ "The Breakfast Club Host Charlamagne tha God and Tyga Land Their Own Shows on MTV2". Music Times. April 17, 2015. Archived from the original on August 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "Charlamagne puts his 'Uncommon Sense' to good use on TV and social media". Cynopsis Media. July 5, 2015.
  22. ^ Kurutz, Steven (April 17, 2017). "Charlamagne Tha God Puts His Straight Talk in a Book". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers". The New York Times. May 7, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Charlamagne tha God (2018). Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me. Atria Books. ISBN 978-1501193255.
  25. ^ "Charlamagne Tha God & Trevor Noah Explore Racial Diversity In Hollywood & Beyond". HipHopDX. May 3, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  26. ^ Saint-Vil, Sweenie (August 17, 2020). ""The Breakfast Club" inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame". Revolt. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  27. ^ Ng, Philiana (December 4, 2013). "MTV2 Renews 'Charlamagne & Friends' for Season 2 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  28. ^ Robertson, Iyana (February 5, 2015). "Let Charlamagne tha God and Andrew Schulz Sort Through Your Issues of Race in Hip-Hop". Vibe. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  29. ^ Thornton, Cedric (November 11, 2021). "Charlamagne Tha God's Honest Truth On Living Out His Dreams to Become a Major Player In Mainstream Media". Black Enterprise. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  30. ^ "Charlamagne Tha God Explains Why A Prenup Was Off The Table When He Married His Highschool Sweetheart". BET. December 22, 2021. Retrieved May 24, 2024.
  31. ^ Hynes, Hayley (February 28, 2024). "Who is Charlamagne Tha God's Wife? From High School Sweethearts to Power Couple". 21Ninety. Retrieved May 24, 2024.

External links