As the self-proclaimed “Carolina King,” DJ Chuck T has made a name for himself as a media personality, entrepreneur and critically acclaimed music professional. The go-getter began fostering his skills nearly a decade ago on radio in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. He has since played an integral part in helping to build artists’ careers through his award-winning mixtape empire, and often shares his knowledge through speaking engagements and writing columns for various media outlets.
We called Chuck T into the UrbLife.com Parent Trap to discuss the trials and tribulations of single fatherhood, even touching on more sensitive issues like custody and discipline. Who needs to be held accountable for what reaches the ears of children? Chuck T has some ideas! Read on…
How old are your children, and how many do you have?
Chuck T: I have two boys. One is 7 and one is almost 2-years-old. Those are the only two I plan on having. [laughs]I prayed for two boys, and God answered my prayers.
Before you ever thought of having kids, were you ever worried specifically about raising daughters?
Chuck T: Not really. I didn’t want any girls because of any real reason in particular, I just wanted two boys to carry on my family name and really do a lot son/father things with them. If I had a girl it really wouldn’t have made me upset, and I wouldn’t have loved her any less, I just wanted two boys.
Do you read to your kids often? Have you rediscovered any books from your own childhood that you have enjoyed sharing with them?
Chuck T: As far as my 1-year-old goes, I dont have him very often at all. Im going thru a bitter custody battle with his mother due to the fact she wont let me see him as often as I’d like to. Buy when I get him, I can assure you I will. My 7-year-old son lives with me full time and we read a lot. He actually was just recognized by his school for earning a high score in the accelerated reader program.
I’m trying to get him to look at reading as less of a punishment and more of a form of entertainment. He has every game system you can think of and he loves his PSP, so like most kids, he’d rather play them than read. But as a parents we should know what’s best for kids and know when too much TV and game systems is a bad thing.
Given that you’re a DJ and attend a lot of nightlife events, do you ever see things that make you paranoid about your own kids going out when they get old enough?
Chuck T: I always see things that make me paranoid. Kids are getting wilder than ever and have less respect for rules and authority figures nowadays. It’s to the point they’ll fight and shoot right in front of the police, and have no regard for the consequences. That’s makes me very paranoid about what’s going to come about when my boys get older.
But one thing that makes me feel a little better is that most of the parents my age are starting to play a more important role in their kids lives, especially men. Parents my age are teaching our kids about respect, and we pay more attention to our kids’ behavior and discipline them accordingly.
What are key pieces of advice that you plan on giving your kids about dating? Will you institute age restrictions on first dates?
Chuck T: You can tell a child everything he/she needs to know but there’s no way to really make sure they do it. The only thing I’ll really stress to my boys is always wear a condom and never take it off under any circumstances, and be careful how much time and how much money you spend on a female until you really know her family and her background.
You’ve mentioned the issue of censorship for children on your Twitter page. What is your take on mainstream television and radio programming? Do you feel too much adult content is accessible to children?
Chuck T: I personally feel too much adult content is on TV and played on radio stations, and the TV networks and radio stations know the programs appeal to kids. I have the biggest problem with Adult Swim. They put adult content into cartoons, and they know kids naturally gravitate to cartoons. Now, some may argue that kids shouldn’t be up past 9:00 or 10:00 pm, but if your kids are out of school for the summer and have absolutely no morning obligations, then why make them go to bed early?
The radio edits music for cursing but not for content and songs like “Becky” [Plies] and “I Invented Sex” [Trey Songz] should be edited a whole lot more. Most kids know what curse words are and know not to repeat them, but it’s hard for kids to understand what the content means because Hip Hop has so much word play. So they repeat the most vulgar parts of the songs, not knowing what they mean. The FCC needs to do better… period!
Do you intend on monitoring your kids’ internet time?
Chuck T: Yes! My 7-year-old is already on the net and I have to monitor him constantly. Especially on YouTube. He may start off watching clip of Moose A. Moose from the Noggin channel, and because of all the video suggestions on the side of the screen, he may end up watching the video for “Tip Drill” by Nelly. The Internet can be very dangerous.
Do you feel that having kids has strengthened your bonds with other family members? Do you feel like your friendships changed at all?
Chuck T: Having kids has made me a better person altogether, and made me think harder about my life decisions and the people I associate myself with. I’ve had to sever ties with a lot of people, and I’ve also grown closer to a lot of people. Not just friends, but people in my family also. It all depends on which friend of family member we’re talking about, and that could take forever… [laughs]
What is your definition of a perfect day with your children?
Chuck T: I can’t wait to have both of my boys and take them to the pool during the summer and then go bike riding. I do that with my 7-year-old a lot, and we both wish my younger son could be with us. I’m hoping the court system really makes sure justice is served and I can see my son and be a father to him, rather than just an occasional babysitter.
What is the best piece of advice you can give a new father?
Chuck T: Don’t let your friends or family members scare you into thinking your life is over. If you have a wife or a baby mama who’s understanding and respects you and your duties as a man and a father, you’ll be fine. Sure, money’s going to be tight at times, but it’s like that even without kids. You may have to cut out some partying here and there, and watch the things you say and do more, but those are things you should do anyway.
To me, being a father came naturally. There were very few things I had to learn or be taught. I know it’s not like that with most men, but that’s because people make them panic into thinking fatherhood is stressful and such a monstrous task, and it’s really not.