On Sunday, May 13 at 8 pm, four-time Grammy Award nominee and R&B icon Charlie Wilson and Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum selling recording artist Fantasia Barrino will perform a special Mother’s Day concert at The Paradise Theater in the Bronx, NY. Joonbug had the chance to catch up with Uncle Charlie and find out why he got involved in this event and what his future plans are!
How did you get involved in this event and what made you want to be a part of it?
I've performed at the Paradise Theatre before and just love the venue. Mother's Day is a special day for women and it's important or me to be a part of events that celebrate women for the very special people they are. Fantasia and I have worked together on numerous times and trust me the audience is in for a great evening. We both come and bring our "A" game and make sure our audience leaves having had a great time.
You started off as a member of The Gap Band with your brothers. How has the segway been from a group to a solo artist?
It wasn't easy when I initially began performing as a solo artist. I was used to looking to my left and my right and seeing my brothers. However, they were both so supportive of me doing my own thing and that made it easier. Now I have an incredible band and dancers and going out to perform is a party every night.
You have collaborated with a number of other big name performers, including Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj. Is/are there any other artist(s) you are dying to work with?
There are lots of people I'd like to work with so the door is always open. It depends on the music, the vibe we have and our ability to make magic in the studio.
You are an active philanthropist. Why do you think it's important to be involved in charity work? Do you feel it is more important for celebrities to be involved in activism?
I believe that if an artist or celebrity has the opportunity to use their "stage" to help shine a light on a disease or cause, that it's important to do that. I am a prostate cancer survivor and because of the blessing I received to have gotten an early diagnosis, it allowed me to be treated and I am now cancer free. I have now teamed up with Janssen Biotech and their awareness campaign, M.A.P. (Making Awareness A Priority) to help educate the African American community about this disease. African American men are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than other ethnicities. So, yes, I do believe those of us who can reach the public through our "celebrity" status would be remiss if we didn't take advantage of that. In fact we're doing an event at the Abyssinian Baptist church in Harlem on May 19th as part of this awareness program. It's free and people can go to www.myprostatecancerroadmap.com to register and get more information.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
I'm on the road all summer so you can check my website, www.unclecharliewilson.com, for future dates. I am performing at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Friday, July 6th and at Steve Harvey's Hoodie Awards in Las Vegas on Friday, August 3rd. The M.A.P. program will be held in Chicago on Saturday, July 28th where we will continue to make people aware of prostate cancer. I recently launched a hat line, Uncle Charlie Hats by Charlie Wilson which includes hats for both men and women. You can check them out on my website. I am also in the studio working on a new album, so stay tuned for some great new music.