Charlamagne The God opened up recently about some of the identity struggles that come with a stage name and how sometimes he feels like he over compensated for his persona. The radio shock jock has been knowing for his large personality behind the mic. However, he says he is very proud of his real name, so much so that he hopes his daughters keep it if they ever get married.
Charlamagne was born Lenard Larry McKelvey. While growing up, he was given the nickname Charles on the streets. Eventually he developed a personal around Charles the Great aka Charlamagne who ruled much of Western Europe circa 800 A.D. During a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Charlamagne opened up about the duality of his two names and what it means when he hears people use his birth name Lenard.
The discuss began while talking about his show “Tha God’s Honest Truth”. I an image of the shows logo, Stephen points out that it says underneath “Charlamagne Tha God aka Lenard Mckelvey”. “It should be the other way around” says Charlamagne. “Why is it important for you to be Lenard Mckelvey, putting that back out there again, the name you grew up with” asked Stephen Colbert.
“Well for me, it’s something that grounds me. I go to my therapist a lot and I talk to her about getting caught up the caricature of yourself. And is like for me the name Lenard Mckelvey grounds me. Nobody calls me Charlemagne at the house.” He goes on to say that when he hears it he hears his grandmother and mother, he hears his wife.
Charlamagne Tha God goes on to say that during a visit to the Breakfast Club, Will Smith opened up about reading his book and seeing “the real” him poke out. “You don’t have to wear the mask anymore, you are enough” Smith told him. According to Charlamagne, those words deeply impacted him as it was something he was insecure about. “I feel like that was god talking through him in that moment to let me know ‘you know what, you’re on the right path.” He feels empowered knowing he does not always have to be Charlamagne the God and that he can also be Lenard McKelvey.
Back on the Breakfast Club, he dissected this with Angela Yee and DJ Envy. He went on to say that he is very proud of his growth and his name and expresses that he hopes his daughters keep the last name when they marry. “Also for legacy, cause I got four daughters. I want all of them to keep our last name when they get older. If they get married, you know, do the hyphen thing. Keep the legacy going. I’m not out here breaking generation curses for nothing.”