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Charlamagne Nixed That Talk with Kanye West Due to the White House Shitshow

"I just didn't think it would be a good conversation. It would be a distraction," the radio host told Stephen Colbert.

by Kristin Corry
Oct 24 2018, 3:03pm

Charlamagne: Screenshot from Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Kanye West: Oliver Contreras - Pool/Getty Images

Earlier this month, radio host Charlamagne tha God and Kanye West were scheduled for a New York Times Talk to discuss their battles with mental health. The talk, which was promoting Charlamagne's new book, Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me, was canceled shortly after West's last visit to the White House. Last night, the radio host stopped by the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and shared that it didn't seem like the right time for West to speak on his experience with mental health.

"When I saw him in the White House he said he wasn't on his meds, he got misdiagnosed, and it was sleep deprivation. So I was just like, 'I think he needed to figure that out,'" the radio host said. "I just didn't think it would be a good conversation. It would be a distraction."

Charlamagne says he initially decided to have West as a co-host because of his candidness about being bipolar in interviews—including one with Charlamagne himself —earlier this year. "I felt like everyone was kind of bypassing that conversation. Even when he sat down with TMZ and Harvey Levin. He talked about not being on his meds and Harvey just kind of breezed past it... There was nothing else to talk about after that. Let's have a conversation about that. Why are you not on your medication?"

After watching West's visit at the White House following the signing of the Music Modernization Act, Charlamagne waited a day to avoid what he calls a "knee-jerk reaction." "I waited a day to reach out to his team and they were all kind of relieved... They just felt like that was the best thing." There was one caveat: Charlamagne had to break the news to him during his trip to Uganda. "I'm like, What's the problem with telling another grown man, 'Hey, I don't think this is the best thing right now.'"

The announcement of the talk sparked backlash due to the $100 tickets and the looming question of whether or not West was the right person to deliver the message. The whole ordeal seems to still vex Charlamagne, as he didn't give his stress ball a break while he recalled the events.

Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.