Rev. Al Sharpton and his selfie-taking self stopped by The Breakfast Club Wednesday morning (Aug. 23) equipped with an iPhone full of memory and perfect lighting to take as many pics as his tireless activist heart desired. The Power 105.1 talking heads kicked off the 30-minute conversation by asking Sharpton how he felt about JAY-Z’s light jab on “Family Feud,” from his latest album, 4:44. Taking a cue from Hov himself, the reverend dusted the remark off his shoulder.
“He shouldn’t be jealous. For me, at 62 years old, to show I can work out and be in shape, you know, I mean, c’mon. JAY-Z’s almost 50? He better get with it. I ain’t mad at him,” Sharpton said. “JAY-Z’s had me in a few songs; every time he does, that’s cool. I’ll slip in a sermon or two, and we keep it even.”
Charlamagne tha God asked Sharpton if it hurts him to know that many people still question exactly how he’s helping the fight for equality, to which Sharpton basically responded he isn’t new to this.
“I’ve never seen a leader, whether it was in our tradition—whether it was Dr. King, Andy Young, Jesse Jackson, who I grew up under—or in other traditions, Minister Farrakhan; I’ve never seen Malcolm, I’ve never seen a leader they didn’t think did enough until they died. You never get credit,” Sharpton responded.
The Power 105.1 hosts covered a lot of ground during the sit-down, but it was only when Angela Yee asked about the recent removal of Confederate monuments that viewers learned Sharpton has a personal stake in one of them. About six or seven years ago, the New York Daily News did an investigative piece on South Carolina Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond, and, while tracing the lineage, learned that Thurmond, a proponent for segregation, owned Sharpton’s great-grandfather.
“I never knew it until they came out with: My great-grandfather was named Coleman Sharpton, who was a slave at the plantation of Alexander Sharpton, who married Anna Thurmond, who was with Strom Thurmond. So this is personal to me—so I’ve got a problem with any tax dollars I’m spending paying for a memorial for any slaveholder.”
The conversation then turned to the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, with Sharpton saying he wasn’t shocked that KKK members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were marching to preserve their confederate history.
However, he says, “I was shocked that they were so vicious that they killed a young white woman and not even care, and what was so shocking … was the president of the United States would stand up there and say there were ‘fine people on both sides.'”
It was a rich conversation indeed. Check out the full interview below.