After nearly a week of backlash, Charlamagne Tha God finally addressed the blatant display of transphobia during an interview with Lil Duval on a recent episode of”The Breakfast Club.” On Thursday afternoon, PAPER published an update featuring a statement from Charlamagne.
“We don’t condone those kind of hate crimes at all,” the statement reads. “Not even a little bit. And one thing… another thing I learned this week is that fifteen transgender women in 2017 and thirteen of them have been women of color, that that number could be higher, but I do know the majority of them have been women of color. Like I think one, a transgender woman got killed this week in Atlanta, if I’m not mistaken, so, you know, rest in peace to her, so, The Breakfast Club will continue to do what it always does and that provides a platform for the voiceless.”
So, was that supposed to be an apology? Because the only thing that jumps out as “sorry” to me is that statement. (TeeTee Dangerfield is actually the sixteenth transgender woman to be murdered, by the way.)
Charlamagne has done nothing to address the actual issue at hand, one he directly played a part in perpetuating, namely, violence against trans* people. When Ashlee Marie Preston, Blossom Brown and Patrisse Cullors interrupted him at Politicon 2017, he gaped like he was frightened. The radio personality who is seemingly never at a loss for words had little to say besides an attempt to invite the women on his show.
When Black cisgender men die at the hands of white racist vigilantes or law enforcement, Black trans women don’t offer half-hearted statements. They march. They protest. They disrupt. They speak the names of those who have been killed. And they work tirelessly to put an end to cycles of death-dealing, anti-black violence.
Being a true ally means knowing when to admit fault and being willing to learn from one’s mistakes. It’s cute to offer stats you might have googled, but you have to be willing to put in work if you want to make a real impact.
Charlamagne gets dap for speaking up. But the hard work of solidarity with trans* people has just begun. Bruh, we need you to do some more digging. Dig deep and confront your biases. Use your platform to educate other cis het Black folks on the issues impacting Black trans people. Offer your platform to Black trans people so they can get their messages out on their own terms. Don’t attempt to question or lecture them about their lived realities and experiences.
Charlamagne, you’re a thought-leader, a culture creator, and a respected figure, but you also perpetuate violence targeting women, and queer and trans people. We’re asking you to do better—not just for your own sake, but for the sake of our community.