Charlie Wilson Says Snoop Dogg Was ‘Instrumental’ in His Comeback After Homelessness and Addiction

Snoop Dogg attends the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony for Charlie Wilson on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (Credit: YouTube/Walk of Fame)

Charlie Wilson sang, shared stories about overcoming addiction, and celebrated being “alive and well” on Monday, as his star was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The R&B icon — also known as Uncle Charlie — was honored with the 2,770th star on the Los Angeles landmark.

The ceremony was even more special, because it took place on Wilson’s 71st birthday.

The Gap Band co-founder and successful solo artist was joined by fellow music legends James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, frequent collaborator Snoop Dogg, and Wilson’s production partner Michael Paran.

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Charlie Wilson was honored by Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Jam, BabyFace at his star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (Credit: YouTube/Walk of Fame)
Charlie Wilson was honored by his friends and family on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Credit: YouTube/Walk of Fame)

Jimmy Jam emceed the event.

Babyface recalled watching the Gap Band perform live in 1981 and said it “changed my life.”

Snoop Dogg said Wilson taught him the importance of discipline and showmanship.

“When I was a young puppy going on the Lollapalooza tour, I didn’t understand about having a band and performing, I was just trying to be gangsta, but Charlie put a band together for me,” Snoop said.

The rapper added that Wilson barred the band members from getting drunk and encouraged them to take their jobs seriously.

“The things that you taught me — showmanship, business, family, that’s a treasure to me,” Snoop added. “We love your music so much. We love what you stand for. This is so overdue, you deserve this star… ain’t no way in the world I was supposed to get mine before you.”

Related StoryCharlie Wilson Takes Walk Down Memory Lane on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk’ Concert (Video)

Kanye West attends the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony for Charlie Wilson on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (Credit: YouTube/Walk of Fame)
Ye and Charlie Wilson (Credit: YouTube/Walk of Fame)

Other guests seated in the audience included Tyler, the Creator; Johnny Gill; Tank; and Wilson’s family. A face mask-wearing Kanye West — now known as Ye — made a surprise appearance.

Once Wilson stood at the microphone, he broke into song and urged the massive crowd of friends and fans to “stop interrupting” his speech with applause.

The music legend got emotional as he talked about the challenges he faced over the years.

“After the success of The Gap Band, I found myself homeless on the streets of Hollywood,” he shared.

Wilson recalled sleeping on “side streets” just a few feet from the ceremony, battling back from alcoholism and addiction, and meeting his wife Mahin Tat, who was a social worker at the rehab facility where he underwent treatment. The singer said he’s been sober for 29 years, thanks in large part to support from his wife.

As he worked on his comeback, Wilson said Snoop Dogg sent opportunities his way.

“You are a man of your word, and have been instrumental to my comeback in music,” Wilson said. “You have always done everything you can do to elevate me and put me on with you.”

At 71, Wilson walked down the stairs from the podium unassisted. Although he said his knees wouldn’t cooperate when he attempted to kneel on his star for the obligatory pose. He decided to stand instead.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Wilson grew up singing with his brothers in the church where their father was a minister and their mother played the piano.

The brothers — Charlie, Robert and Ronnie, later created the Gap Band and released their debut album in 1974.

The chart-topping band is best known for hits including “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” “Oops Upside Your Head,” and “Yearning for Your Love.” They disbanded in 2010.

As a solo artist, Wilson has topped the R&B charts with 13 number one singles and 13 Grammy nominations. He’s been awarded a BET Lifetime Achievement Award, a Soul Train Icon Award, a Soul Train Certified Soul Award, and a NAACP Music Makes a Difference Award.

He also penned a best-selling memoir titled I Am Charlie Wilson and last year performed an NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” — that’s been viewed millions of times on YouTube.

Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, but thanks to early detection, he has been cancer-free for 16 years. He is now a spokesperson for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and works to encourage Black men to get tested for the disease.

Charlie Wilson’s star is located at 6201 Hollywood Blvd.