Share Your World - Mo'Kelly
For this "Share Your World" offering we go back to Cali with media personality Mo'Kelly, host of The Mo'Kelly Show and co-host of the Nerd-O-Rama podcast along with Tawala Sharp.
Wait, let me add a layer of texture here.
When I first learned how to play chess, the guy who taught me said, "Always try to play against those who are better than you. It brings your game up." So, a while back, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Nerd-O-Rama podcast. This was back during the WandaVision run. Now, peeps that know me know comics, superheroes, and animation run right up my alley. But let me tell you, these cats put out more than just a podcast, they put on a clinic. They ran up the alley, down the street, around the block, crossed the railroad tracks, then had the nerve to run it back. The depth of their comic book and movie knowledge gave me a taste of how much I did not know, and I was wiser for it! That podcast experience brought my comic book game up.
Mo'Kelly is a presence in the world of radio, politics, entertainment, and the Black culture experience. FYI, I'm sticking with his media persona here.
Okay, what say we get down to the meat and potatoes?
KD: So first, and this is always my intro, give us an overall scope of what makes you...well...Mo'Kelly.
Mo'Kelly: Passionate about everything I do. I'm supremely aware of my mortality and limited window within it to do everything I'd like to do in life; be it personally, professionally, romantically...all of that. I want to leave nothing on the table. I think the worst feeling in life is regret. And by regret, I don't mean trying and failing, I mean wondering "what if?" I have zero fear of failure. I greatly fear feeling as if I've wasted a gift I was given, or talent I was blessed with when all is said and done. I know I can do more and am capable of more. My job is convincing the rest of the world of what I see. My life has yet to exceed my dreams, so I know there is more I can do.
KD: I kinda got that impression not just from your tweets, but from your podcast and various interviews. What do you do for relaxation?
Mo'Kelly: Martial arts and by extension, meditation. Music is also a big part of it. I can always lose myself in some decade of music, which takes me back to wherever I was at that time in life. I can remember the feelings of whomever I was dating, the cool moments, even the associated smells. People say you can't ever go back in life. But music is the closest thing we have to a time machine. It is a pleasant reminder that I've lived and lived tremendously. Not only do I stop to smell the roses, I go back and smell them again later in life.
KD: I feel the same way about music. Well, except for one decade in particular. That decade, well, I'll leave that alone. Anyway, give a shout-out to your corner of the world by telling me the best thing about your neck of the woods.
Mo'Kelly: I've lived a number of places in and around the city of Los Angeles, so all things "L.A." are my "neck of the woods." I think it is the greatest place on Earth and I'm always so thankful to have called this place home. Where else could you conceivably go skiing, surfing, to Disneyland, and to any professional sports game you can imagine...all in the same day? I say "conceivably" because the traffic wouldn't allow you. But if you had your own helicopter, you could absolutely do it and not break a sweat. I dig its urban energy, tolerate its traffic, but love it unconditionally.
KD: Okay, if I ever make it big, I'm renting a helicopter and putting all that to the test! Okay, one sentence parenting advice. Have at it.
Mo'Kelly: Give children the advice to draw upon before and after making the mistakes they'll inevitably make and be mature enough to remember that you made most of the same ones.
KD: Gotta say, I love all the "one sentence parenting advice" that's been given during this "Share Your World" series. So, between The Mo'Kelly Show, Nerd-O-Rama, interviews you agree to, and various responsibilities, I would imagine time management to be an essential part of your day-to-day. That said, do you sometimes find it difficult to carve time out for you?
Mo'Kelly: Absolutely. And for that I work a 24-hour cycle. Not that I work 24 hours OF the day, just that any of the 24 hours IN the day may be used in order to complete a task. I may be prepping for an interview at 2am. I may be granting an interview to the BBC at 2:30am for a morning show which is 8 hours ahead of Los Angeles time or I am working non-stop from 8am to 8pm to make time for my wife and give her my undivided attention. It's a constant process and organizational skills are supremely important. Whenever a task or responsibility is given to me or appointment made; it is immediately put on my calendar. There is nothing worse than uncompleted tasks or missed responsibilities and by extension missed opportunities.
KD: Wow! Time management indeed! So this one is a three-parter. What genre of music/movies & shows/reading do you listen to/watch/read more than others?
Mo'Kelly: Movies - Action. Always action. I need that fantasy escape. Shows - It runs the gamut from sci-fi to comedy to procedural dramas. All have to be exceptional in the sense of being unpredictable or sophisticated/complicated. Reading - Mostly audio books, because it allows me to multitask. And it's usually biographies or political history-related books.
KD: Coffee, tea, or...?
Mo'Kelly: Neither for the most part. I don't drink coffee and caffeine bothers my heart and negatively impacts my blood pressure. The only time I drink tea is if my voice is really fatigued and I need to soften the edge with tea and honey.
KD: Prior to this interview I would have bet good money on coffee for you. Thanks to this interview I can totally see why not. How would you describe yourself as far as personality and character?
Mo'Kelly: Someone who is always looking for that which makes me think, makes me laugh or makes me question my own beliefs. Some people like to be right all the time. I'd like to think I'm someone seeking to be a bit more righteous in his living. "Self-righteous" is someone (to me) who thinks they are somehow better than others. Not me. I struggle with just about the same things as everyone else. I'm very self-aware. On Twitter, I definitely play a personality, a character. But it's not who I am. I play a personality on the radio, but it's not who I am. That's a job. My job is to be interesting and entertain others. But when I'm off the air and not on social media, I'm "me." I don't talk about what I do, I don't talk about the news and I don't engage people on those subjects.
KD: I can so understand about being different on Twitter as opposed to real life. For me, it's the difference between KD the Writer and KD the Person. And how do you feel your friends would describe you?
Mo'Kelly: Hopefully they would describe me as someone who tries to be sincere, but holds grudges for life. Has a propensity to be an asshole at times. Intensely loyal to a small circle of friends but quick to dismiss others for life. That's what I've been told on a few occasions.
KD: Guess that's...uh...as real life as it gets, huh? Where do you land on the introvert - extrovert scale?
Mo'Kelly: I'm an extrovert through and through but am supremely conscious of making time for my introvert side. I love being part of big crowds and big events, but when I want to unwind I want nobody around and wish to talk to nobody. I've taken a cruise by myself. I usually go to the movies by myself and can entertain myself with no help from others. I can say I'm completely comfortable in my skin but didn't really get there until my 30s. I'm ready to speak to a crowd of 10,000 or nobody. Most people don't get it and it's cool. But I describe it as being like Aquaman. Put me in the water or on dry land, I'm fine.
KD: Speaking of comic book characters, I wanna holla at the nerd in you for this one: Hulk (comic book green "angrier he gets...") versus Doomsday (original comic book "death of Superman...").
Mo'Kelly: There was a comic book in which Marvel versus DC squared off and they pitted Hulk against Superman. Superman waxed Hulk's ass relatively easily. So that's the comparable opponent. Doomsday has beaten Superman, Hulk can't get close to beating Superman. And Superman has laser eyes, frost breath...he doesn't need to go mano a mano. And...and...I know this isn't comic book canon, but it's worth referencing; Hulk got his ass handed to him by Thanos. Thanos is comparable to Darkseid (kinda) and Superman can tussle with Darkseid. That's a long, roundabout way of saying I'm picking Doomsday.
KD: Now see, I'd have to go with Hulk, but I'll save the reasons for one of our podcasts...lol. So how active are...wait, I gotta get one more in. Marvel agrees to an X-Men TV series in the style of Netflix's Daredevil, Luke Cage, etc. Which five X-Men do you think could carry the show?
Mo'Kelly: Well, it would be a TV show, so that says to me you would NOT have five major X-Men characters in such a show. Even on Disney Plus, you did NOT have an Iron Man or Captain America or Thor TV series. So it would likely be B-level characters. So many to choose from but I will always want to see more of characters like Nightcrawler (teleportation is always a draw for me), there's gotta be a psychic mutant (there always is, as some proxy for or antagonist to Professor X), so maybe Emma Frost but just a better one than in X-Men: First Class (I know you said "X-Men" but an X-Men show is only as good as the villains also present, so I'm giving you a mix. There need to be good foils.) I LOVE Havok, his on-screen and comic portrayals, moreso than even Cyclops. How many is that? 3? Apocalypse...a REAL accurate Apocalypse, not that BS Oscar Isaac adaptation. And Iceman, because he's always been...well I can't say "cool"...but he's always been a "mid-major" character who is useful in so many situations that would work in a TV, smaller-screen world.
KD: I love me some Oscar Isaac, but yeah, his portrayal of En Sabah Nur...ugh. Okay, how active are you on social media?
Mo'Kelly: Very active and not active at all. Meaning, I'm very active on Twitter because I like sparring with people and it's a good way to get directly to would-be guests. I'm not active at all in the sense of, not on Tik-Tok and I don't use my personality FB page for much other than posting my shows. I hate social media and it appeals to the worst inclinations of people. I don't tolerate people who are cowards, who hide behind private profiles (like on Instagram) or troll aliases with fake pictures to serve up inappropriate behavior under the cloak of anonymity. Can't stand it. Be an adult and conduct yourself accordingly, WITH your real photo. Be accountable for what you say on social media. If not, I just won't engage with you. There's nothing in it for me.
KD: I can attest to that, as I've witnessed it first hand. What, to you, is the greatest aspect of America?
Mo'Kelly: Potential. But most of it is unrealized.
KD: And what do you feel is the greatest issue facing America today?
Mo'Kelly: We are the most selfish, immature and willfully ignorant group of people on the face of this Earth and it's not close. For example, most of the world would give anything to have the amount of access to COVID vaccines that we have and millions of people are marching and protesting for the "right" to be able to go to bars without masks and not take the vaccine while not being inconvenienced in any way. As if the 850k other Americans who already died didn't/don't matter. Freedom and stupidity have been confused as synonyms. They're not.
KD: Name something you wish you would have known or learned way earlier than you did?
Mo'Kelly: Financial literacy. Emotional maturity. Patience.
KD: Pet peeves?
Mo'Kelly: Too many to list. But lack of spelling ability or linguistic proficiency in your birth language of English is a big one. How can you be a horrible speller in a world that communicates 99 percent by text and with spell check built in everywhere? That just means you're lazy. We ALL make mistakes but I'm talking about the people who clearly don't know and don't care but simultaneously want their opinions on sophisticated subjects (like politics or COVID) taken seriously. No, I will not.
KD: As evidenced by way too many tweets out there. What was your biggest accomplishment of 2021? What's a goal you have for 2022?
Mo'Kelly: This is going to sound weird, but I don't think of accomplishments in an award or plateau sense. I would say my biggest accomplishment would be knowing that I've improved DRAMATICALLY in all areas of my life - from time-management to personal growth, to keeping my life in order. Being kinder, being more patient. Being more disciplined all-around. That was my goal for 2021 and I feel I met and surpassed that. I lost more than 30 lbs. and improved my diet and exercise regimen. That meant more to me than any singular award or itemized goal. It will be the same for 2022. That makes me feel more fulfilled than anything, feeling as if I'm actually getting better at "life" and not just getting older.
KD: I can understand and respect that. Especially the fitness aspect. Okay, so what's an unpopular opinion you stand by?
Mo'Kelly: I think (the organization) of BLM has done Black people a tremendous disservice, big picture. It did not ever help propose, apply pressure to pass ANY legislation and fundraised extensively off the backs of grieving families and emotionally damaged communities. Thanks for the slogan, but not much else. The organization turned itself into an easy talking point to dismiss all of the really meaningful and serious issues which need to be addressed (including police brutality). I didn't/we didn't need the organization of BLM to know or reaffirm that Black Lives Matter. Now its leadership has all gone on to other things, literally cashing out; while the struggle continues. I hate hashtag activism.
KD: I agree with that assessment. What are things that you wouldn't mind others knowing about you and your world?
Mo'Kelly: People assume (wrongly) every single day they know "me," or my politics or positions without ever even asking me. I am, like everyone else, complex. But far too often, people hear and see a Black man in media and I get boiled down to the smallest, stereotypical components. Even in my TV work, I'm almost always pitted against the super-rightwing commentator, as if that means I must be super-Left. It's not true, but unless you're a Trump supporter, you must be "Far-Left." It's annoying.
KD: If people wanted to reach out to you, what would be your preferred method?
Mo'Kelly: People can always reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm the only one who answers the email and I only ask that you address me as you would in person. And we go from there. Respect begets respect, foolishness gets blocked. Choose wisely. I'm not an avenue for personal disrespect, or an avenue for all the things you may dislike about Black people. Outside of that, let's talk and grow together.
KD: Respect, as it should be. Any business or website you'd like to promote?
Mo'Kelly: For all things 'Mo'Kelly' check out http://mrmokelly.com.
KD: Thank you for being a part of my "Share Your World" series. I was literally geeking out as I was reading your responses! I'll see ya around Twitter.
My thanks to Mo'Kelly for sharing his world with me...with us. As for you, the reader, I can't thank you enough for engaging in this series!
I dunno, I guess my thing is this - with so much division in this world, maybe the key to at least some semblance of unity is to try to understand each other. Learn a bit more about each other. Perhaps that starts with sharing just a bit of our world with each other? Maybe, maybe not. But let's at least give it a shot, shall we?