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Charlie Wilson remembers how he overcame being homeless: “I asked God not to let the dark side kill me”


Emma McIntyre/Getty ImagesAfter 44 years as a recording artist and numerous honors including a BET Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Soul Train Icon Award, Charlie Wilson is a living legend. He counts his blessings, because after going from “rags to riches,” he went from “riches to rags,” and was homeless in the 90s living in Los Angeles.

“I left with nothing in my hands,” Wilson tells the Los Angeles Sentinel. “I was on the streets for about three years.”

The former lead singer of The Gap Band remembers his spirituality was the key to his survival.

“I prayed every single day. I asked God not to let the dark side kill me when I was in the streets,” Wilson recalls. “If you are the same God that my father has preached to all these years, please take these drugs away from me.”

Wilson says the drug abuse left him emaciated.

“At that time I let somebody dye my hair blonde,” he recalls. “I looked like a matchstick. I was so skinny!” 

The veteran singer remembers he was saved by a counselor at a drug rehab center.

“Her name is Mahin, and she helped me find a place,” Wilson says. “She paid for it and put furniture in the house. That was twenty-three years ago. I ended up marrying her that year. She is now my wife.”

Now at age 65, when many people are considering retirement, Wilson is determined to keep performing.

“My father would prophesize over me saying that I had something big coming. I would fight back and say, ‘Well people say I’m too old,’ and he would say, ‘Don’t listen to them,’” Wilson explains.  “He said. ‘God showed it to me.’ He said, ‘Keep the faith,’ and it has been happening ever since.”

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