Diego Segura

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Articles I’ve written about life, work, and play.

8 Principles from Charlamagne (Yes, He Spelled It Wrong)

Though I've already written a post inspired by Charlamagne Tha God's book *Black Privilege*, I am trying to make a habit of summarizing every book I read in a blog post and putting it on my site. There are many books I wish I would've outlined in the past, so I'll make sure to do it this time.

*Black Privilege* is organized into different chapters by the principles that Charlamagne represents. Each of the headings below is for a different principle in the book.

If you don't know who Charlamagne is, click here.

(None of these are Charlamagne's words. This may or may not even be what he wanted to convey with his book. These are the things I learned, so take them with a grain of salt.)

Small ponds are not excuses.

Charlamagne grew up in a tiny town of a few thousand people in South Carolina—the definition of a small pond. While the young men growing up in NYC or LA in the 90s were closer to the top of hip-hop culture, Charlamagne didn't make that an excuse not to chase his dreams.

Without spoiling too much of the book, the town Charlamagne grew up in sounds wack. I don't think it's my next vacation spot, but at the same time, if I grew up there, I would hope to achieve the same things I can accomplish being from Austin. Or, find a way to make sure I can get to the big cities to find the opportunity.

In one sentence: Don't use where you're from to dictate what you're going.

Passion, poison, or procrastination?

According to Charlamagne, these are the three things you are choosing from at any given moment. If I stop writing this article, I select procrastination. If I write this article, I choose passion. If I stop writing this article and start selling/doing drugs, I pick poison.

The choice is obvious.

Your dreams must be killed.

Though you may think you can be a rapper, the most valuable words you could ever hear are, "F*** your dreams."

You might have a passion for hip-hop, love the culture, and obsess over rap music, but if you can't flow, you're never going to make it.

This is what happened with Charlamagne. If you're reading this @cthagod, I heard you were *wack*. (Fun fact, I heard that from him.)

Luckily, someone told him the truth and allowed him to focus on what he was good at—radio. The rest is history.

Take losses as lessons.

After being fired several times in radio, Charlamagne knows that "losses" can lead to amazing wins later on. It's all a matter of perception. If you get fired and have to relocate to a new city, it happened for a reason. You might not even believe in a higher power who made it happen—but you have to believe there is something to be gained from the loss. If not, you'll wallow in your misery because things didn't go according to plan.

Put the weed in the bag.

I wrote an entire article about this, so check that out here.

Live your truth.

We all have plenty of flaws. We have defects. Some of us have big noses (yours truly), and some of us have receding hairlines. Everyone will age, and though some may do it gracefully, most will be afraid of it.

Living your truth means accepting these occurrences as reality and embracing them. Rather than hide your flaws (which reveals insecurity), bring them out into the open so nobody can call you out for them. You've already put it out there. You already know. 

Don't let anything like the color of your skin or the shape of your face control you.

Stupid people deserve credit, too.

Honesty and transparency seem to be core values of some of the best entertainers. I'm about to put Charlamagne in the same sentence as Patrice O'Neal because they both believed in the same form of raw, unfiltered reality.

When people are stupid, give them credit. If you're like Charlamagne, that might mean calling them out on the radio. It'll get you into some trouble, but it's real. And it keeps everyone else real, too.

You're privileged.

No matter who you are—man or woman, black or white and everything in between—you've got some privilege. Black privilege is even a thing. 

(There's an awesome Patrice O'Neal clip where he talks about the one "reparation" that black people got after slavery: language. You can click here to check out that clip of the greatest comedian to ever live.)

If you're poor, you have the freedom of having nothing to lose. If you're rich, you have the privilege of having money. If you have a small army, you have the power of mobility. If you have a big army, you have the power of numbers.

Every situation has power or privilege with it—it's up to you to leverage and take advantage of it.

Diego Segura