On this episode of People’s Party, Talib Kweli and Jasmin Leigh sit down with former NBA star, talk show host, actor, vegan activist, and all-around renaissance man John Salley. With a resume as long as John’s, the crew has plenty to discuss. The conversion jumps off with Talib mentioning his first performance on TV being on BET Live — with John as the host. They talk about basketball not being Salley’s first career choice and his ambitions in the arts. He also details being the first to sign Slum Village and J-Dilla to a record deal, the current battle rap scene, and playing on the Detroit Pistons during their ‘Bad Boys’ years. Fan’s of “The Last Dance” will be glad to see Salley dispute the fact that Michael Jordan hated the Pistons.
Later, Salley goes on to talk about his friendship with Eddie Murphy, studying the genius of Richard Pryor, and some of his cameos in music videos. The trio also discusses the importance of black-owned businesses, pro-black vs. anti-white, John and his daughter’s cannabis company ‘Deuces22’, and black superstars who transcended race. They go on to debate reality television and its perceived corrosive effects on society.
Deep into the episode, John speaks on growing up in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and then moving to the overwhelmingly Jewish neighborhood of Canarsie. They talk about censorship, and Talib brings up RZA’s creative use of sound effects to mask curse words. John also talks extensively about his veganism and why he chose to commit to the lifestyle so fully. He also speaks on the all-vegan restaurant he opened on Compton Blvd in LA, ‘Planet Health Compton’, and how he was inspired by Nipsey Hussle. John outlines his love for the hip-hop group The Lox, discusses the history of Bad Boy Records, shares stories from his friendships with Diddy and Will Smith, and talks about starring in the film “Black Dynamite.” In closing, John shares his upcoming plans for a move to Africa for six months on a mission to explore his ancestral heritage.
It’s a riveting conversation with an NBA legend and deeply curious human. Check it!