Fun facts about Charlie Wilson (Source: Simon & Shuster)
Charlie Wilson is one of the most celebrated soul music talents of his generation, recognized not only for his iconic voice and timeless R&B hits spanning a career of nearly a half century, but for his extraordinary rise from the unimaginable depths of addiction, homelessness and cancer to becoming a modern-day chart-topping success with all-new music and a new generation of fans. This is his never-before-told story.
Wilson's memoir transcends his success in the world of soul, funk and Hip Hop music to recount his devastating split with his brothers and crooked manager, and his subsequent downfall into abject poverty as a homeless, crack-addicted alcoholic who stood at death's door, even as he continued to be celebrated as one of his genre's biggest stars. Wilson's journey takes him from the brightest spotlights on the world's stage to the seedy underbelly of Hollywood's darkest corners, where drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes and addicts cloaked the superstar in their care, even as they helped drag him to his lowest moments. His testimony of sleeping beneath the cabs of abandoned trucks, going on a 16-day drug binge sans sleep and food, ignoring pleas from celeb friends like Stevie Wonder and Rick James to "just go home," and getting dragged before countless judges to answer for his abuse is harrowing.
But there is victory in Wilson's story—in spades. It came not at the behest of his celebrity friends, the members of The Gap Band or even his beloved family, but in the halls of a drug rehab center, where a program director, Mahin, overwhelmed him with some old fashioned, no-holds-barred, tough love. Wilson left that program with more than sobriety; he found romance with Mahin and a new lease on life—both personally and professionally. New management, a new recording deal and a new career as a celebrated solo artist, buoyed by a bit of musical prowess from Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly, quickly followed suit. In the midst of it all, Wilson also successfully fought prostate cancer, becoming a proud, knowledgeable voice for men facing the disease and making his meteoric rise all the more inspiring.
Charlie Wilson's story is one of triumph over adversity, courage in the face of extreme hardship and love when all was lost—a tale that intersects with countless social and pop cultural turning points spanning the last sixty years. It's a story that no one interested in Charlie's legacy can afford to miss.
Charlie will be signing copies of his new book from 7:00pm to 9:00pm Tuesday night, June 30th at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove.
Follow Charlie Wilson on Twitter: @IAmCharlieWilson