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Interview with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD); Interview with Sister of Nicole Brown Simpson Denise Brown; Interview with Sister of Nicole Brown Simpson Tanya Brown; Interview with Sister of Nicole Brown Simpson Dominique Brown; Interview with "Get Honest or Die Lying: Why Small Talks Sucks" Author and iHeartRadio The Breakfast Club Co-Host Charlamagne tha God. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: We don't want to see a major ground operation. We haven't seen that at this point.


AMANPOUR: Walking back another U.S. red line? We get the latest on the devastation in Gaza. And we ask Senator Van Hollen whether there is a way


Then --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one thing I could not protect her from was the monster she was married to.


AMANPOUR: -- "The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson." Thirty years later, the documentary that focuses on her story. Three sisters share their

grief and the importance of recognizing domestic violence.

Also, ahead --



the truth when the lie is more entertaining.


AMANPOUR: "Get Honest or Die Lying," radio host Charlemagne tha God talks to Michel Martin about his new book. And why more of our conversations need

to be deep and nuanced.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Israel's assault on Rafah is intensifying, but the U.S. president, Joe

Biden, is not changing tack. The White House asserts it hasn't yet seen a major ground operation there. But that's done nothing to temper global

outrage after an Israeli airstrike killed more than 45 people in a displacement camp in Southern Gaza on Sunday.

A CNN analysis has found that U.S.-made munitions were used in that attack. And now, the head of Israel's National Security Council says he expects

another seven months of war in Gaza.

Meanwhile, as humanitarian concerns abound, satellite images show a much- touted U.S. peer intended to deliver aid has been almost completely broken up in rough seas over the weekend.

Now, as pressure mounts on Israel to halt its attacks on Rafah, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in Israel today told Prime Minister Netanyahu that

his country will never have to worry about American support.

Here to discuss is Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He's been a vocal critic of Israel's conduct

in Gaza, repeatedly calling for more humanitarian aid to get in Senator Van Hollen, welcome to the program.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Christiane, it's good to be with you.

AMANPOUR: So, can we just start with trying to figure out where the U.S. stands? Are you satisfied with the administration description of this not

violating their red lines? I mean, you know, recently to CNN, President Biden said, if there is an attack inside Rafah, then he won't provide any

more of these weapons. And now, they're saying, well, no, it doesn't measure up to our -- you know, our red line, so to speak. What do you


VAN HOLLEN: Well, President Biden issued that red line for a couple of reasons. Number one, he knew if we saw a major military operation Gaza,

we'd see a dramatic reduction in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. And that's what we've seen. He knew we'd see a big spike in civilian

casualties. And that's what we've seen. And he knew it would make it harder to get the hostages back safely. And that is also true.

So, all the things that President Biden was worried about have come to pass. So, you know, it's my view, Christiane, that the United States needs

to get a full and clear commitment from the Netanyahu government on their plans going forward before we continue to shovel more offensive military

assistance to the Netanyahu government. And we need to use other levers of our influence to support a partner but make sure it's a two-way street when

we do that.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's a question then. Does the United States have leverage? I mean, it does, but is it prepared to use it? It appears -- I

mean, again, this is, you know, the impression we get that all the admonitions and recommendations from Israel's biggest backer, i.e., the

United States, the president of the United States, don't seem to have affected action on the ground, and we keep seeing civilian casualties.

Prime Minister himself, Netanyahu, called it a tragic mistake the other day that would be investigated.

Are you confident that the United States is able to use its leverage or should be using more leverage?


VAN HOLLEN: Oh, Christiane, I think we should and can be using more leverage in order to pursue our interests, which I believe are also in the

best interests of Israel, both in terms of the Rafah operation, but also what's next.

I mean, after all, Benny Gantz said he's going to leave the war cabinet shortly if he doesn't see a post-war plan for governing Gaza. So, you would

think that the United States could take the position that, you know, we're not going to continue to provide a blank check until we see a post-war plan

that meets our concerns and meets the interests that the president has announced.

Instead, we see Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly and repeatedly rebuffing the president of the United States, whether it's on having the P.A. having

a governance role in Gaza, whether it's for a two-state solution, to provide some light at the end of the tunnel as part of the normalization

agreement with Saudi Arabia and others. Time and again, we see Prime Minister Netanyahu rebuffing the position and requests of the United

States. And so, yes, we should be doing more to exercise our influence.

AMANPOUR: Senator, I mean, you know, and I just made reference to it in the introduction, that far from doing what you're suggesting right now and

what the president has suggested and actually all -- most of Israel's allies have suggested.

In fact, the national security adviser has come out and said that he expects this war to go on for the next seven months to the end of this

year. I mean, that's in direct opposition to what you just said.

VAN HOLLEN: It is in direct opposition. And look, the United States has a number of levers that it can use. For example, we should not continue just

to send offensive weapons, you know, without any understanding of what the future looks like. We should make sure that when we take action at the U.N.

Security Council, it aligns with U.S. interests. The U.S. will shortly be facing another resolution, I believe, Algeria plans to bring with respect

to the Rafah situation.

So, the United States can no longer just be a blank check for the Netanyahu government. The United States has to make sure that our interests and our

values are reflected in these decisions. After all United States taxpayers have funded. Billions of dollars in weapons that have gone to the Netanyahu


So, it is time for the Biden administration to exercise more leverage to achieve the president's own stated goals.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also, because we also said that your colleague, Senator -- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is in Israel. He

told Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I'll quote it again, "that Israel will never have to worry about America's support."

I mean, yes. But can two things exist at the same time? America continues its historic support for Israel while also using the kind of leverage

you've just described to stop the killing, which obviously is in retaliation for the slaughter of October 7th, but also to stop what Senator

Schumer has said, a real risk that Israel finds itself less and less secure in the world because it becomes more and more isolated?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, that's right. Look, of course, the United States continues to support Israel's right to self-defense. Our priority, it seems

even more than Prime Minister Netanyahu's priority, has been to get all the hostages home, including some U.S. citizens.

So, what we're witnessing right now is Prime Minister Netanyahu putting his own political ambition, his own political interests over the best interests

of the State of Israel. This is what a lot of, you know, people within Israel are saying. And the United States cannot simply just attach itself

to Netanyahu and this extreme government.

So, you know, during the period of time the war has been going on in Gaza, we've also seen the biggest land grab ever in the West Bank with, you know

Finance Minister Smotrich, but he's -- he did it with the acquiescence of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

We see continuing extremist violence. We see a government and a coalition that was the most extreme government in the history of Israel essentially

now taking actions that serve their own continuity in government rather than the interests of Israel and certainly contrary to the interests of the

United States.


AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because we broke the story more than a week ago, and we had an exclusive interview with the chief prosecutor at the ICC,

Karim Khan, where he announced that he was looking for arrest warrants from both the Israeli and Hamas leadership. What is your reaction to that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, my view, Christiane, is that the way it was packaged with the warrants being issued, both for Hamas leaders and Israeli leaders

created the false impression of equivalence. But if you look at the prosecutor's own statements, he drew no equivalence between the awful

October 7th attacks on Israel and the wanted murder and sexual violence. And his charges with respect to Prime Minister Netanyahu restricting the

delivery of essential humanitarian assistance.

So, I think the bigger point right now is whether people agree or disagree with the actions of the prosecutor. We should not -- we the United States

should not be suggesting or taking action to sanction the officers of the court, of the ICC. That would undercut, in my view, our overall standing

and would send a very, very bad message.

In other words, people can disagree with the charges and the approach, but we should not be in the business of going about sanctioning members of the


AMANPOUR: Senator, as you know, and I just have to say it because Karim Khan said to me that the equivalence is about the victims, the horror

that's been perpetrated on the victims, rather than the equivalence amongst alleged perpetrators.

But be that as it may, what I would like to ask you also, is it right and proper that a group of Republican senators, actually before even this

happened, sent this letter to Karim Khan, which was a warning and he read it as a threat, "Target Israel and we will target you. If you move forward

with the measures indicated in the report, we will move to end all American support for the ICC, sanction your employees and associates, and bar you

and your families from the United States. You have been warned."

Do you -- what's your reaction to that?

VAN HOLLEN: That is totally inappropriate. That is thuggish behavior, more befitting the mafia than United States senators to threaten the prosecutor,

his staff, and even family members. And so, this is what I meant, Christiane, by saying you can disagree with the decision of the prosecutor

to bring charges, but to personally threaten the prosecutor and even members of a family, his family, is totally, totally inappropriate.

AMANPOUR: I wonder if you have any reaction. We have not been able to get confirmation of this, but "The Guardian" newspaper and a very, you know,

reputable and investigative operation in Israel, 972, found that the former head of Mossad threatened then-ICC prosecutor chief Fatou Bensouda. They

wanted then to get her to drop investigations that were potentially underway then.

And we know that President Trump actually did sanction Fatou Bensouda, which then President Biden rescinded. But I mean, this seems to be par for

the course. What is going on? Israel's a democracy. The U.S. is a democracy. What's happening? Do you believe in accountability?

VAN HOLLEN: I saw those reports, Christiane, and if they are in fact true, they're also outrageous and troubling to go about threatening officers of a

judicial body if they take actions that you may disagree with or make findings that you disagree with.

You know, this is why the United States is at great risk of isolating ourselves in the International Community, by playing a double standard

here. We need to apply the same rules to our friends and partners as we do to our foes and adversaries. If we're going to have a values-based,

credible foreign policy, so long as that is the center of our policy and that's what President Biden himself has said, then we risk jeopardizing all

of that if we go around threatening the courts and international bodies with retribution, personal retribution against, you know, members of the

courts and their family members.

And by the way, that simply serves the interests of people like Putin and Xi, right? It serves the interests of Russia in China. After all, we

embrace the ICC decision with respect to charges against Putin. So, when he sees us attacking the ICC, he just says, you see, I told you so.


AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed. Senator Chris Van Hollen, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

Now, 30 years ago, the world was shocked by the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. Her abusive ex-husband, O.J. Simpson,

was put on trial for the murders, but in a verdict which alternately shocked and thrilled, he was found not guilty. He was later found liable

for both deaths in a civil suit.

Amid the media frenzy back then, Nicole herself was often forgotten. Now, a new documentary series, "The Life and Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson,"

hopes to correct that. And here's a clip from the trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is Nicole? Who is she? Because she got lost in this whole thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wasn't a headline of a tragedy. She was so much more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her children missed out. Her family missed out on the woman that she was becoming.


AMANPOUR: At the center of the series are those who knew her best, Nicole's sisters, Denise, Dominique, and Tanya. And I've been speaking to

them about how they've come to terms with their loss and their message about misogyny and abuse that their sister experienced.


AMANPOUR: Denise, Tanya, and Dominique, welcome to our program.




AMANPOUR: So, there you are in New York. It is 30 years since the tragic murder of your sister and her friend. And I was struck, Denise, by how this

documentary started with you. Absolutely point-blank refusing to say the name of the man she was married to. What is it that you decided had to be

the focus of this documentary series?

DENISE BROWN: I wanted to humanize Nicole. I wanted to focus on Nicole and not -- you know, because there's been so many documentaries that have been

done about him, about the trial, about everything else. People would ask us to do documentaries or to do things for regarding Nicole, about Nicole, and

it would always turn into a negative.

So, when I was asked, gosh, it was about 10 years ago when we started thinking about doing something like this at the 20-year mark, and I

thought, no, this doesn't feel right. Then the 25-year mark. No, it doesn't feel right. But then the 30th, we just sat down and we said, you know what?

Should we do it? Let's do it. Let's humanize Nicole. Let's get her voice out there. Let's let people know. Let's let the world know who Nicole

really was.

AMANPOUR: You want to put Nicole, your sister, front and center of this narrative. It does also happen to come just after the death of O.J. And I

wonder how you internalize that, whether you -- whether it was another triggering moment.

T. BROWN: Absolutely. I got a call from a network and they said, it's -- you know, O.J. died. And I went -- I called my sister Dominique and she

turned on the TV. I had just moved, didn't have a TV. She goes, oh, my God, it's true. And then, together, we started to cry. And it was sad. It was

like a chapter, a journey of our lives over 50 years was like over.

But this documentary is bringing Nicole to life. We just spoke to somebody. She said it absolutely perfectly. She says, this is a love letter to the

world. This is letting people know, hello, my name is Nicole, and this is my story.

AMANPOUR: So, as you say, it's really timely that you're doing this. So, Dominique, I want to turn to you because we're going to play the first clip

of this interview. And it is about you. You're talking about the early days. You wanted, you know, everybody to see the Nicole that you three knew

personally. Let's just play this clip.


DOMINIQUE BROWN: I feel like I've kept my Nicole really private for so long. She was very, very stubborn. She was very, very determined to a point

where she was going to do what she wanted to do no matter what. My mom called her hardheaded. You know, maybe it's time to rekindle the flame of



AMANPOUR: Dominique, tell us what you'd like to rekindle about Nicole.

DOMINIQUE BROWN: Well, Nicole was a beach girl originally. She was a beach girl, her -- but her life at 18, she had to be an adult. She was -- she got

married. She lost a lot of her 20s and 30s. She didn't have a freedom to experience. She didn't have that kind of a life to experience. And I'd like

to rekindle the Nicole that we knew, a freedom about her, an ease about her, her ability as a mother, her loving nature.


She was just so hospitable and warm and caring. And I think it shows in this documentary. I think it shows in the video clips that we've had that

she took, that our father took, that other people took. And all of these that are compiled together show what a beautiful mother and a beautiful

soul Nicole really was.

AMANPOUR: And, Denise, I was really taken by the fact that, if I'm not mistaken, you and Nicole were the closest in age. And your mother was



AMANPOUR: And you both were born in Germany. I think your father was stationed there for the military, if I'm not mistaken, and you learned

German, which was kind of your code language as you were growing up.

DENISE BROWN: It was. It was our secret little language. Nicole and I, we were both born in Frankfurt. And it was -- my mom always told me, she says

to me, she was so protective of Nicole. And, you know, when we were walking Nicole in a baby carriage, people wanted to come over and see her. And I

just said, no, don't get close, don't get close.

But -- so, I felt like, OK. I took on that protective role when I was all of, what, two years old. But, you know, and that's something that I wanted

to do throughout all of this, after her murder, I wanted to still protect her because people were just -- they were so nasty and so hurtful and

saying so many hurtful things that I felt like I had to keep that role and keep, you know, protecting my sister, protecting my family.

I mean, you know, the media can be very cruel. And they were. And so, oftentimes I just figured, you know what? Somebody's got to be out there

taking the blows. And I was OK with that because back in the day when I was modeling, I would -- you know, they would put -- rip me apart and put me

back together again. And it was OK because it was like good criticism. And I was OK with that.

So, I felt like, OK. I can protect my family of all the good, the bad, and the ugly that are out there. And, you know, play -- keep playing that role

as a protective sister.

AMANPOUR: I want to pick up on that because I wonder whether Dominique and Tanya have thought about this over the years. Why do you think your sister

-- she's the one who was murdered along with her friend, why was she the target of a smear campaign?

DENISE BROWN: I think it was the only way to win.

T. BROWN: Yes, I think that's what you're saying.

DOMINIQUE BROWN: I think it was part of the side of the trial to make her look unimportant. That she was worth getting rid of or something. Just

demeaning her. It was ugly. It was horrible. And it was very hard to watch and to listen to.

T. BROWN: Yes. She turned into a commodity.

AMANPOUR: And, Tanya, you know, the first episode of the series actually shows her as a loving and besotted wife. I mean, she was all in in her

marriage. She loved her husband. She loved her children. We'll get to some of the hidden darkness in a moment. When you were you all --- were you all

in the court when the verdict came down in 1995? Were you there, Tanya?

T. BROWN: Yes. Yes, I was. And it was -- I'll never forget that day. The way I describe it's like you're going up a hill of a rollercoaster. You're

clenching on to. I remember I was just clenching on to the bench. And I felt like I was going up the biggest hill of a rollercoaster and I just

wanted it to come down. And when it -- it's like that anticipation in your gut. You know that the drop is going to be scary no matter which way it's

going to be.

And when that verdict was read and that roller coaster cart came crashing down, I just remember I looked to the bailiff to my left and I said, I need

to go. And she goes, I can't let you go. And I just remember I wanted to get outside. I needed to breathe. I wanted like -- my brother, our brother,

Rolf, turns to me. He goes, can we go? And I said, we can't go. They wouldn't let us out of the courtroom. And I just felt like I needed air.

It was -- you know, whether it was going to be a guilty verdict or an innocent verdict or not guilty, it just -- either way, it -- it's -- it

wouldn't -- it's just hard.

DENISE BROWN: I think we were all in shock. I think I was definitely in shock and I couldn't cry. I couldn't -- I had like zero feeling. It was

like, wow, the floor was just ripped open, you know, we just fell into a hole.

But yes. No, it was a tough day. Definitely a tough day. And the only thing that I remember is my mother saying, we have to get home for the kids.


And so, that's exactly what we did. There was a press conference afterwards and we said, forget it. We're going home for the children.

AMANPOUR: Well, let us talk about the children for a moment then, because for obvious reasons, you haven't wanted to put them into the spotlight.

You've all tried to protect them. O.J. was still allowed to see them even after their mother was killed, even after the trial.

And, Dominique, you are -- he got custody obviously after her death. But Dominique, you are the godmother of Sydney, the daughter. Now, they're

fully grown.


AMANPOUR: Have they -- have you had conversations with them? Have you all as a family, I don't know, resolve this within you, or do you still try to

protect them and not talk about them? What do they think about this documentary series, for instance?

DOMINIQUE BROWN: You know, it's funny that you ask because we still refer to them as the kids. And I think that I continued to be protective of them.

I didn't go on TV. I didn't go out and speak. I kept a relationship with them and I think that was a part of it, is that I just didn't want to

become controversial.

And something that I had kind of vowed to myself and vowed to Nicole and helping my parents and helping my mother when the children were very

little. We lived in a community that was very protected. We had a guard at the front. And even though that people could come within a distance, the

media and so forth, we maintained that protective barrier for them.

We did normal things. We played with them. We ate dinner together. We communed at the coffee table. We --

DENISE BROWN: Played basketball.

DOMINIQUE BROWN: We played basketball and we went to sporting events. We all moved into the big house and had different portions of it. I remember

sleeping in my room with all of the children, Denise's son, my son, Aaron, Sydney, Justin, whoever friends came over and myself, and we would all

sleep together in a room because that's what we did. It was like -- it was just to find normalcy.

And I think that I've continued that protective nature throughout it. I don't state whether I think he was guilty or not guilty, and I won't. I

think that's probably my way of still being protective of the children. And on the same side, they do know about the special. They do know that there

are very many dynamics, that there are happy times, that there are video clips, that it shows Nicole as a mother and her nature as a mother and a

wife and a family person, but that it also -- they also are aware of the fact that there is domestic violence and that it's a very dynamic special.

And knowing whether they'll watch it or not is another question. But we've left everything transparent, and I think that's what's very important.

AMANPOUR: And obviously, the heart of this is domestic violence, domestic abuse, what they call now intimate partner violence, and it's become an

issue today. I'm going to get to that in a moment.

Because we're talking about custody, Denise, I want to play this clip from the series. As we said, after the acquittal, your family lost custody of

the children. And I want to play this clip of you discussing that painful moment, Denise. We're going to play this.


DENISE BROWN: We had Christmas Eve with them. And on Christmas Day, he came to pick them up. And it was my mom and I, we were standing out on the

driveway. Oh, God. I'm going to cry again.

So, Justin went up to my mom and he handed her a piece of chocolate. He said, Dita (ph), it's going to be OK. We started walking into the house

together, and I just thought that's the nastiest thing anybody could ever do. Couldn't you just wait until after Christmas? Why couldn't you wait

another day? It was just awful. It was just to hurt my mom.


AMANPOUR: Gosh, Denise, I can see you getting emotional. Just all of you.

DENISE BROWN: Yes. No, that was the hardest day. It was really so, so hard and heartbreaking. And you see this little boy just looking up at her and,

Dita (ph), everything is going to be OK. And handing her a piece of chocolate, because he knew how much she loved chocolate. And it just -- oh,

my God. My mom, my mom and I, we tried to keep a straight face at that point.

And then all of a sudden, we turned around after they turned the corner, we were waving. After they turned the corner, we turned around and just broke

down in tears. I mean, that was the hardest day. I mean, just the hardest day ever.


It was so sad. It just breaks my heart to even think about it and it just - - well --

AMANPOUR: I can see it. I can see it. Obviously, I can see it all of you reacting. And particularly since you knew about the violence that she had

endured, and that, you know, she had told a few people, not many people.

And, Denise, you testified about that, what you'd witnessed, but Gwen Wright from the New York Prevention of Domestic Violence says in your doc,

in this series, the average juror on the trial did not understand the complexity of domestic violence at the time.

So, Tanya, I want to ask you about this big overarching crisis, this crime of domestic violence that apparently people didn't, you know, take into

account back then. Now, much more so, but back then, no.

T. BROWN: Exactly. Yes. Back then, you know, we're -- again, this is 30 years ago. Today, I think it's perfect timing that this docuseries is

coming out because we live in an era where there is social media. We are talking about social injustices. We are talking about domestic abuse,

mental health issues, substance use, suicide, et cetera.

So, I think this is really just a perfect time to really spread and advocate again for Nicole, for the women and children out there who don't

have a voice. It can happen to anybody.

DENISE BROWN: Violence doesn't discriminate, and we know that. And so, the domestic violence side of this is, you know, to keep Nicole's legacy alive.

I mean, she did a lot of change. A lot of change happened after Nicole's murder, but people were running to their legislators. The Violence Against

Women Act was passed. I ended up going to Washington, D.C.

Joe Biden and Orrin Hatch co-authored the first Violence Against Women Act, and they asked me to come and talk about it in Congress. And, you know, we

were able to raise a substantial amount of money, which was really, really important.

Through Nicole's murder, the National 24 Domestic Violence Hotline was formed. The VINE system was formed. Victim Information Notification Every

Day. I mean, there were so many wonderful programs that came into place after Nicole's murder.

But, you know, the saddest part for me is that it had to take my sister's life, because they had been working on domestic violence and passing the

Violence Against Women Act probably 10 years prior to Nicole's murder and people were working on that.

And so, for me, it took Nicole's life in order to make that happen. Bittersweet. I just wish it would have happened before and maybe possibly

saved Nicole's life as well.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask the other two of you sisters, just to sum up then. Tanya, you said towards the beginning that in the court you couldn't

breathe. I wonder whether you can breathe now, and particularly with this series coming out and her story, Nicole's story, being told?

T. BROWN: You know, absolutely. I mean, again, it's been 30 years. There's been a lot of therapy over the past 30 years. Watching the documentary, I

was very shocked. I was -- I became very angry. And only because it's a beautiful, beautiful docuseries. But I walked away very angry because of

the abuse that he inflicted on her.

And -- but I can -- I've been breathing for a long time. I've done a lot of healing. I've gone through a lot of trauma, not just Nicole, but I think

for once I can honestly say authentically I'm in a good place in my life.

AMANPOUR: And, Dominique, what would you like to say, I guess on behalf of you the sisters, to other families who are experiencing this kind of

violence, this kind of living in the shadows of not wanting to talk about, people who may be in danger right now?

DOMINIQUE BROWN: Oh, my goodness. I mean, I -- there's so much that I have learned from this docuseries about domestic violence. And there's so much

that I've learned over the course of the years that, in retrospect, we could have probably have seen the signs, the honeymoon phase, the fights,

the insinuations, the things that had happened that we were not aware educated enough to notice or to know because we didn't know.

I think Denise states it very well when she says that the best thing that families and loved ones can do is to educate themselves so they don't ask,

why don't you just leave or why are you staying with them? Because that is ineffective when it comes to this kind of a situation. It's very tender.

T. BROWN: And scary.


DENISE BROWN: And you know, Christiane, that's exactly what I did, is I asked her, well, why are you staying with them? Why are you -- why don't

you just leave? And I said all the wrong things. Until we got educated on domestic violence, I did not know how to speak to a victim of domestic


There were so many signs looking back, you fat pig, when she was pregnant. You know, there was just so much verbal abuse. And then, you know, locking

her up in a wine closet, beating her, and going back and watching TV. Going back, I mean, for hours, six, eight hours, she was locked in a wine closet.

You know, so the abuse that she endured was significant. Nicole lived in hell. Finding out that all of the things that happened even after her

murder and the controlling behavior of this guy, it just -- it's this -- people need to do not ask the why question, but they need to be supportive

and learn everything they can because victims of domestic violence are usually ashamed of coming forward and talking about it.

And a friend of ours, Ron Hardy, put it the best. He says, Nicole didn't let us know because she wanted to protect her family and her friends. And

that made all the sense in the world to me.

AMANPOUR: Well, to you all, Denise, Dominique, and Tanya Brown, in memory of your sister, this documentary series is sure to give a huge amount of

focus on her, on the issue, and hopefully to help, you know, others as well, educational as well. So, thank you very much.

DOMINIQUE BROWN: Yes, we hope so.

T. BROWN: That's the goal.

DOMINIQUE BROWN: Thank you very much.

T. BROWN: That's the goal.

DENISE BROWN: Thank you.

T. BROWN: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: So, it's out this weekend. And it took the very public murder of Nicole Brown Simpson to finally pass the Violence Against Women Act in the

U.S. back in 1994. And not long after, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received its first call.

If you've been affected by any of these issues, that number is now on screen.

And our next guest is using his platform to advocate for greater awareness of domestic violence, following the shocking video of rapper Sean Diddy

Coombs assaulting his then girlfriend, Cassie Ventura. Charlamagne tha God is a television host, author and co-host of the influential radio show,

"The Breakfast Club."

He's famed for his candid and often provocative interviews with celebrities and politicians and cultural figures. His new book is "Get Honest or Die

Lying: Why Small Talk Sucks." And Charlemagne joins Michel Martin to explain why he's encouraging the world to embrace more meaningful



MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Charlemagne tha God, thank you so much for joining us once again.


me. How are you?

MARTIN: I'm good. So, look, most people know you as the co-host of "The Breakfast Club," super-popular radio show. You've become an important voice

as a political commentator. You've already written a couple of books, but this one is different.

As you say in the book, your previous books were about yourself. But this one is about us, or the audience, as I guess I would put it. Why the

change? What did you think was missing? What are you trying to say?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Well, you know, my first books were very personal to me. You know, myself -- the books that I like to read a lot of times are

usually in the self-help game. And, you know, they're the Robert Greenes, the Malcolm Gladwells, you know, the Ryan Holidays. But, you know, those

individuals, they use a lot of historical context to back up a lot of their, you know beliefs or laws. You know, in the case of Robert Greene,

I'm not that smart. So, you know, my historical context comes from me and, you know, my life.

But with this book, it was more so -- not just things about me, but more so observations about the world at large, observations about, you know,

society, you know, whether it's, you know, mental health, which I'm a big mental health advocate or, you know, politics or social media, just all of

these things that I feel like are ruining our critical thinking skills and causing us to make a lot of micros macros. And I don't know how sustainable

that is for us.

MARTIN: I just wondered, was there some sort of a triggering event that said to you, like, I really need to speak on this?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I think just observing the world for the last six years, you know, and then observing the world with a lot more clarity, you

know, because of therapy, because of things like meditation, because of, you know, plant-based medicine, just observing the world with a lot more


And disconnecting, right? Like, when you're disconnected from something, when you choose to make the conscious decision to say, man, I see where

this social media stuff is taking us, and I don't really want to be a part of it like that. So, I'm not -- I haven't been on Twitter since 2018. You

go on my Twitter, it's just a bunch of promo stuff, you know, I don't go on TikTok.


So, for me, it was just watching how social media was literally taking over people's minds, their brains. Like I was watching people get online and not

even know what to think or feel about something until they saw whatever the mass consensus was on social media. And that was scary to me.

So, you know, it's kind of like when I named the book "Get Honest or Die Lying," of course, that's the play of, you know, one of the greatest hip

hop albums of all time, you know, 50 Cent. But it was also, I went away on this spiritual retreat earlier this year. And one of the things that came

up for me was stop lying to yourself and stop volunteering those lies to other people.

And when I look at social media now, I see so many people lying to themselves, and they're lying to themselves, and they're volunteering these

lies to others. They're voluntarily -- they're willingly just projecting all of these lies onto other people. And, once again, I just don't know how

sustainable that is, if, if it's sustainable at all, and it's scary.

MARTIN: One of the things that you've complained about is that the nuance of what you're trying to say is lost, right? Is that people feel, I assume,

because you're an African-American man, that you lean left. But if you say something that leans right, or that seems to lean right, the conservative

media eats it up. But if you say something that they don't agree with, then they're not interested.

But one of the things that you've said in this election cycle is you don't want to endorse anybody. You're saying you're going to vote, but you're not

going to endorse anybody. And that's been -- caused a lot of hubbub. I'm just not sure, how do you recapture the nuance? How do you recapture the

nuance of what you're trying to say and to be heard in your totality?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Being out on this book tour the past week and, you know, doing a lot of the different press that I do, everybody has

narratives that they want to push. I feel like some just do it better than others. I feel like the rights has a narrative that they stick to and they

don't care about anything else you're talking about.

If they can get one thing that, you know helps push whatever narrative it is, and right now, you know, for the last few months, it's been black

people are not really in love with President Biden, you know, the numbers for Donald Trump are starting to rise in regard to the black voter, which I

think is a little bit overstated, but anything that can help with that narrative, they'll go on with.

So, if Charlamagne says, Joe Biden is uninspiring candidate with no main character energy, that's the headline. Forget you all saying Donald Trump

is a threat to democracy, or Donald Trump tried to -- you know, he said we should suspend the constitution, or, you know, overthrow the results of an

election, forget all of that. We're going to stick to our narrative. That's what, you know, the right does.

The left, all they do is pay attention to the narrative that the right puts out there. So, they never ever create their own narrative. So, like, you

know, I can go on a show like the view and they'll ask me why I don't want to endorse. And I can say all of these things about Trump and literally

say, there's only two choices. So, I'm clearly going to vote for the person who I think can preserve democracy.

Instead of them simply saying, who that individual is, it'll just keep pushing me, pushing me, pushing me to say it myself. And I just think

that's very strange. But what gives me hope is the people over this past week, I've done all of this diverse press, but I've also been at these book

signings, talking to people. And that's who I always get my information from.

My information only comes from the people. The people who call into the radio station every morning. The people who I, you know, meet in the

street, from South Carolina to New Jersey to L.A., I talk to, people. And when people tell me, they understand exactly what I'm saying. And not only

do they understand, they feel what I'm saying, because if you look at the polls, it's a quarter of the country feel the way that I do. They have

unfavorable views about both candidates.

So, when I meet these people who absolutely understand what it is that I'm saying, and they understand why I'm saying it, that's what gives me hope.

But I have zero faith in media.

MARTIN: You write that everybody is a social media influencer. And there's not a day that goes by where they don't feel like they have to share their

thoughts with the world. The result is that we're being besieged by a never-ending cascade of thoughts, opinions, rants, lectures, and reads.

Say more about that. I mean, you know, as a person, you know, you're a discussant yourself. You're a person who kind of gets into the daily flow

of conversation. So, say more about that. What is it that troubles you?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: It's not thoughtful, that it's not sincere, that it's a job for me. It's something they feel they have to do just because they've

created the space to do it. There's a lot of monetization involved with it. You know, once you start your YouTube page, you know, once you start your

social media platform, like you constantly want that engagement.


So, yes, for me, it's just that it's not -- it's not thoughtful. It's not coming from a good place. It's not like an editorial that you would read

back in the day, you know, in a magazine, you know, or, you know, in a newspaper like where there was actual stakes, like there was consequences

to reporting the wrong thing. There was consequences to, you know, reporting false information. Nowadays, people are just making things up for

clicks. And you know, nobody cares about the truth when the lie is more entertaining.

And like, so now, it's just like, yes, people are just doing anything, saying anything, writing anything, you know, just for the algorithm. And I

don't like that. I think that's very dangerous. And it's the old school part of me that wants people to have to deal with the consequences of their

words, the same way I had to deal with the consequences of mine. And still have to deal with the consequences of mine now.

And that's everything from, you know, you can get sued, you can get a punch in the face, you can get fined by the FCC. You can get fired. Like there's

all of these different things that I had to deal with that makes me understand, you know, free speech ain't free. And so, like, that's why I

want, you know, a lot of this generation to have to deal with that as well.

MARTIN: How do you, though, balance that with the fact that people still want to hear you talk nonsense about celebrities? I mean, they do. It's

entertaining for people. And also, sometimes people, it's a distraction from the heaviness of the rest of their lives. I mean, so how do you

balance that out?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I mean, it's going to happen. It's not like in the book, I'm saying, like, let's cut all the small talk. I'm just saying,

like, let's minimize it, right? But also, one thing I've always tried to do, even when it comes to celebrities, I want to take it out of the

individual and actually talk about the issue. Like, what is the broader issue that we can discuss?

I feel like that's usually the case with any celebrity story. Like, you can focus on the individual if you want. But there's always an issue that I

started to say underlined, but really, it's not underlined. Like right now, when you look at a situation like, well, what's happening with the Diddy

and Cassie? Everybody wants to focus on the celebrity of it all and, you know, talk about, you know, who's going to still be playing Diddy's music

and what company is not working with Diddy no more.

But the issue should be domestic violence. The issue should be, you know, men really doing that real internal work on themselves so they deal with

whatever hurt and pain and trauma they got in them and stop projecting that onto our women. The issue should be talking about the patriarchy. Because

as long as men are in these positions where they're at the top and women are supposedly underneath them, you're going to always have these

situations where men, you know, like I said, project that pain and hurt on something they think they own, but they don't.

But those are the conversations we should be having because long after Diddy and Cassidy is no longer in the news cycle, there's going to be women

all over this world, you know, being victims of the patriarchy. There's going to be women all over this world being victims of some man who ain't

dealt with his hurt, and he's projecting that onto somebody else.

So, to me, that should be the conversation. Like, what was always the bigger issue? That's what I'm -- that's why I named the book "Why Small

Talk Sucks," because we don't focus on the macros the way we should.

MARTIN: And that speaks to sort of looping back to politics, because one of the things that you've said is one of the reasons that you don't want to

endorse this year is that you want people to start focusing on the issues as opposed to the personalities.

There are those who argue that people who are sort of on the progressive left, or who just, let's just say aren't conservative, find it easier to be

tougher on the Democrats because they'll take it. You know, the Republicans will get up and walk out, or they'll make you the issue, right, or they'll

get on your -- a show so that they can joust with you, so that they can start, you know, a Twitter fight or whatever, an ex-fight. What do you say

to that?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I don't know if it's that they would tolerate it, it's just that that is the party that I voted in. If you're a progressive,

nine times out of 10 -- I know nine times out of 10, if you're a progressive, you voted in.

So, if you see these people in -- you know, if you put these people in a position of power and they're not doing what they said they were going to

do, you're going to raise holy hell with them, as you should. Just like conservatives do with other conservatives.

If there's a conservative that isn't falling in line with what they want, they're going to shake them up. Like Donald Trump will have a million

nicknames for that person by tonight if they don't fall in line with what other Republicans want to do or if they are a conservative who goes against

the grain, they get chastised, like they get almost exiled off the island.


Like, I don't have a problem with progressives, you know, challenging Democrats and liberals because, yes, I'd probably be -- I'm more pissed off

at them than I am conservative because I voted you in. I voted you in because you said you were going to do these things. And if these things

aren't being done, I got to hold your feet to the fire. I don't have a problem with that.

MARTIN: Why do you think it is? You've said repeatedly that the Democrats are just doing a very poor job of communicating. Why do you think that is?

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I just -- I honestly think because they're still moving like politicians and conservatives are moving just like regular

everyday people. Conservatives have realized that really, truly nothing is a deal breaker anymore.

You know, I remember Donald Trump said that during his first campaign, he's like, I can go walk out. I think it was in the middle of the street and

shoot somebody in the head and nobody would care. And everybody was like, oh, my God.

See, the problem is everybody was too busy focused on what he actually said, and they were taking it literal as opposed to the -- to what he was

trying to say overall, the metaphor he was using, so to speak, was that ain't nobody tripping off none of that no more, you know. So, if you've

ever seen a great movie, which I love, "Bulworth," starring Warren Beatty, that's -- Democrats need a Bulworth. Conservatives have their Bulworth in

the name of Donald J. Trump.

The difference with the conservatives and liberals is conservatives are more sincere about their lives and Democrats are about their truth.

Democrats have truth that they could tell. They have real wins that, you know, they've put on the board over the last four years, but they're just

not able to communicate them. And when they do, they do it with their voice shaking. So, don't nobody even really believe them.

Meanwhile, you got these people over here lying through their teeth with conviction. So, folks believe it. And that's why I watch both -- I like to

look at both sides. I'm going to watch Fox, I'm going to watch CNN, I'm going to watch MSNBC, because I love, especially when they're all talking

about one thing, but I love to see the different angles that they approach it from.

MARTIN: Before we let you go, how are you? I mean, you have been really open and very honest about your struggles with, you know, panic attacks and

anxiety, and that's why you've become a mental health advocate, as you say. You're very open about your commitment to therapy and self-work. How are


CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Thank you for asking. This weekend was rough. I was having like some really, really, really bad panic attacks this weekend.

Really, really bad, you know, bouts of depression this weekend.

MARTIN: I'm sorry.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes. It was one of those times. I had to have an emergency. I had to call my therapist on Sunday morning. Because it started

hitting me Saturday night and I had to call my therapist Sunday morning to like really, you know, get some clarity about some things.

And, you know, I actually wrote it down. That's crazy you asked me that. But I wrote it down. And one of the things he said to me was anxiety comes

with doing new things. It's unhuman for it not to be. Anytime you put out a book. it's like kind of like revealing a piece of flesh. Like it's kind of

like it's a new piece of yourself.

So, every book is different and every book is unique, but you're sharing things with people. And I don't know why, man, it just all hit me sad. It's

like, oh, my God, oh, my God, there's a bunch of people reading my book right now. There's a bunch of people reading my book. It's almost like they

-- they're peeking into your house, so to speak.

And even though I've put out two private books before, "New York Times," bestsellers, national bestsellers, all of that, I don't know why this one

just hit me a little bit different. And I feel like, you know, there's probably a lot of new eyeballs on me as well.

And the thing about imposter syndrome, it waits for those moments when that anxiety really is kicking in. And that little bit of depression pops in, a

little bit of doubt. Soon as that little bit of doubt pops in, here comes the Mr. Imposter Syndrome, like, yes, yes, I'm waiting on you, big shot,

you know? Oh, you thought you was popping. You thought you -- like -- and it's just like you start going -- your mind starts going all over the


So, to answer your question, I'm doing a lot better right now in this moment than I was this weekend, but it's still like -- it's still lingering

a little bit.

MARTIN: Well, thank you for sharing that. I mean, I think every time you kind of open the door to your own life, I think you create space for other

people to do the same. Well, Charlemagne tha God, thank you so much for talking with us once again.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Thank you for having me. Appreciate you.


AMANPOUR: Indeed, our guests tonight have really created space for people to open up about what's concerning them, and hopefully to tell everybody

that it's OK to open up.

Finally, tonight, it's the solar spectacle that sends people flocking to the streets of New York City, all in the name of a good photo op.


Lucky New Yorkers were treated to the unique urban phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan's streets and

canyons to provide one of the world's most photographed sunsets. Lasting only a few minutes, rays of golden light shoot down the long, straight

roads framed by skyscrapers. And for anyone who missed it, there is another opportunity to catch it tonight.

That's it for now. If ever you miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.