tv Charlie Rose PBS September 23, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with mike allen and a look at the week in politics. >> the amazing thing about this is, charlie, that republican leaders once again got themselves out on this limb. like, i don't know how many times republican leaders need to put their hand on the healthcare stove to learn this is not going to have a happy ending for them. so senator rand paul of kentucky, a hard no. senator sno john mccain a hard . susan collins of maine saying likely no, and that's enough to kill it. the other vote that was in doubt as you know senator lisa murkowski of alaska. look at the fact checks of the bill, dig into the policy of this bill. this was going to be, of all the different versions that have come up, this was going to be
one of the hardest on end users. >> rose: continue with pharrell williams and dave matthews. sunday, they will perform a concert for charlottesville, an evening of music and unity. >> the term "musician" comes from one who listens and is inspired by the music. so we're musicians, we're interpreting. we're bringing in the messages from the beyond from the unseen to do, like, the good work, to do the good will. that's what we're trying to do. >> i want to be hopeful all the time because without hope what is the point? but we have to always remind ourselves to dance in that beautiful part of humanity, the thing that -- the pain that is common pain has beauty. the pain that separates us, that makes us divided is ugly, and that's -- that's what i want. but i would love this to be something that we come together every year and celebrate what it
is to be human today. >> rose: politics and the concert for charlottesville when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this week in washington. president trump and republican senate leaders are engaged in a search for votes in a last-ditch
effort to repeal and replace obamacare. senate leader mitch mcconnell announced he will bring the graham-cassidy bill up for a vote before next friday, perhaps wednesday. joining me is mike allen, make john boehner and editor of the axios newsletter. let me begin with what we heard, john mccain announced he will vote no. what are the implications of that for the graham-cassidy bill? >> this is a very traumatic moment. almost certainly kills the graham-cassidy bill named in part for senator mccain's close friend lindsey graham of south carolina. the bill could not lose another vote and this means it likely will go down. the amazing thing about this is, charlie, that republican leaders once again got themselves out on this limb. like, i don't know how many times republican leaders need to put their hand on the healthcare stove to learn that this is not
going to have a happy ending for them. so senator rand paul of kentucky a hard no, senator john mccain a hard no, senator susan collins of maine saying likely no and that's enough to kill it. the other vote that was in doubt, as you know, senator lisa murkowski of alaska. but, charlie, you look at any of the fact checks about this bill, dig into the policy of this bill, and this was going to be, of all the different versions that have come up, this was going to be one of the hardest on end users. it was arguably rewarding blue states -- rewarding red states at the expense of blue states, and, so, the policy in it was always problematic, and now we see with senator mccain the politics also problematic. in senator mccain's statement saying he was voting no and saying he did this with no joy, but the line in there that was
so memorable and that's going to provoke a lot of conversation here in washington is very consequential for where our country is right now is he said that he thought something this big needed to be done in a bipartisan way, needed to include both parties, here's the key line in senator mccain's statement -- he said that wasn't really tried. so the fact that republicans are going to once again try to pass something by themselves, that's what he hung his hat on. charlie, there was another huge issue here, and something that -- a hole that i don't think republicans were going to dig themselves out of and that was the jimmy kimmel factor, the abc late night host who in the most personal of terms talking about his own child and what his child had fought, had said that this bill broke a promise to him by republican senators that they were going to continue to cover
pre-existing conditions even for people whose last name isn't kimmel, even for people who can't afford the millions it might cost to have some of these surgeries. three nights in a row, charlie, he talked about how senate republicans were trying to hurt the american people saying they've not been honest about what was in the bill. and this might be the first, charlie, on a late night comedy show putting up a screen showing the telephone office numbers of on the fence senators, republicans didn't have a good answer, all the fact check said that jimmy kimmel was right, that is a tough thing to overcome. >> rose: saying this bill, if it shifted to the states, would not necessarily guarantee pre-existing conditions would be covered, if so the premiums would be so high no one could afford them. >> exactly. you might hit your cap and then you would have to pay out of your pocket to potentially for some children including someone who had some of the treatments that the young kimmel did, that
it would be unaffordable for anybody who doesn't have a late-night comedy show on abc. >> rose: exactly. so what does this mean for obamacare? >> well, charlie, it remains the law of the land. i think there will continue to be small efforts to fix it, but republicans, there's no way republicans are going to be able to say they repealed it. republicans, whatever they're doing, whatever they do in the future, they will do it from the back foot, as our british friends would say, and are going to have to involve democrats, and i think this is a trend that we're going to see, charlie, that one of the arguments for why president trump started doing some of the democratic deals, started doing his deals with chuck and nancy, as he calls the senate and house democratic leaders, is because he has to. the math just doesn't work without them. there are a couple more bills where there was the possibility
of using the, as they call it, reconciliation, the mechanism that will allow you to do it with only republican votes, that's running out. the president has no choice but to involve democrats, and, so, that's what we're going to see for anything still coming up. >> rose: if tax reform is the next order of the day and the president decides to cooperate and negotiate with schumer and pelosi, is there a tax reform bill possible? >> yes and yes. the big question is whether or not it will include democrats. it is possible to do it with only republican votes. such a treacherous path and the white house is very optimistic about getting some democratic senators who are up for reelection in trump state to join with them and that would give them the margin of victory but also allow them to say this
was not a republican-only bill. charlie, i've been a bear about the idea that anything was really going to happen substantially on tax reform. it is now looking more likely than it was, charlie. some sources on the hill will tell you still less than 50/50 but more likely than it was before, and if we have something, charlie, the most likely package is three-pronged. one, there will be cut in corporate rates. second, there will be a cut for small businesses that basically files individuals as a pass thru. third, there will probably be a tax cut for individuals who make $150,000 or less. so the president making sure that there's a notable, substantial measurable tax cut for trump voters, and he'll do something for corporations, not as much as he planned to from the beginning. so what we're down to is a package of pretty cut and dried tax cuts.
none of the systemic reform that so many economists argue this country needs to be competitive in the new world. no tax reform since the reagan years. there's not a single thing about our company that hasn't changed since then except the tax code, so, once again, washington failing to do its job and failing to take advantage of some of the opportunities available in the global economy. >> rose: and the president believes he desperately needs a legislative victory which he has not had except for the confirmation of the supreme court justice. >> that's right, and it's not just the president needing it. as you well know, house republicans going out for reelection in 2018, they need something to hang their hat on, and they don't have much of a story to tell at this point. so if you're a third of the senate being up in 2018, every house member up in 2018, they really need this for that reason, not only the ability to
say washington isn't completely broken under the leadership of all republicans at both ends of pennsylvania avenue, but, also, charlie, very quickly this will kick in and have effects both psychological and real on the economy. that, of course, will help the governing party and that by itself could be a huge help towards theup's reelection. that's why so many republicans told you they wish they had done infrastructure, tax reform earlier, get the boost from the economy. the economy's had a psychological spring in its step from what it thinks it's coming as regulations and tax reform, but under tax reform you have real benefits to the economy and no single better predictor of who will win the upcoming elections. >> rose: the president has not been in washington this week, he's been in new york. >> and living in trump tower, back home, his own bed is that and playing havoc with the traffic as always during the
general assembly but also more so if the president is here. so what's the overall judgment about the president's very tough speech to the u.n. general assembly especially as it has to do with north korea, iran and venezuela? >> yeah, charlie, so the president, in very harsh terms, calling out those three governments as rogue governments, calling them out in terms that were never used during the obama administration. so you're right about calling it a tough speech. conservatives liked this speech, israel liked this speech. there were some trumpian touches in the speech that caused a lot of people to look askance, and there were some pictures of the white house chief of staff general john kelly with his head in his hands. the photographers tried to match up the time stamp on the photos with what the president was saying at that time, and one of
the photos supposedly the president, of course, called the north korean leader "rocket man," but he also called the north koreans "a band of outlaws," and one of the associated press' time stamps on the photos of general kelly going like this as if he were a kid -- as if he were watching his kid strike out in little league is when the president described the north koreans as a band of outlaws. so the trumpian touches is what he wants to do, but the meat of the speech is what many republicans would like to hear, what his staff generally liked and, charlie, the gossip around the u.n., around new york, and i was up for the bloomberg global business forum, the conversations you heard there from chiefs of staff and heads of state-wise that they're starting to get used to the president, that trump who was regarded as such an alien figure now less so now that he's been to some summits with these cop
officials and it's a mix of they're just getting used to him and it's a mix of when it comes to what he actually does in foreign policy and national security policy, it's very much within the 40-yard lines of what you would expect a president jeb bush or president marco rubio to do. >> rose: in fact, there has been an uptick in his ratings as well. >> notably so, partly because to have the handling of the hurricane, i think probably because of some of the publicity they got because of the deals with democrats. and, so, the president, we're told by the people who are with him all day, like, is in a great mood. like, he loves all the leaders that are at the u.n. suck up to him as the host when he's there and he likes the great publicity he's getting and he loves the print covers, the tv, he soaks it all in. this great moment reported by the "new york times" where the president called the senate
democratic leader chuck schumer and said, are you watching tv? he said, on fox news they're praising you and on your channels, apparently referring to cnn, on your channels they're praising me. like there is nothing that makes this president more excited. >> rose: well, he can't be excited hen he goes back to washington and finds out robart robarrobertmueller and the tents and closer focus on paul manafort who used to be his campaign manager and evidently the effort to reach inside the white house with respect to conversations the president had with the russian foreign minister and others. >> no, you're right, charlie. this is a dark cloud. a fascinating quote that appeared in "the washington post" this week quoted a government official as saying that there is now an era of inevitability about the mueller prosecution, and it's not
inevitability of any certain outcome, but it is that it is going to be full court press until the end, that the prosecutor is taking a more expansive view of his role than anybody knew, as you point out, including his investigation, those oval office conversations and the way we know this is they're based on requests for documents and interviews to the white house -- the special prosecutor shows his hand a little bit by saying i want to talk to these six current and former aides including the former chief of staff reince priebus, including sean spicer. >> rose: apparently they also have wiretaps of paul manafort even after he left the trump campaign, apparently, from some reports and, secondly, the request for documents seem to look deeper into the president's financial background even before he became president.
>> no, charlie, that's exactly right, and the water gate aura around this probe became even more acute because now we know that there are months, perhaps years of tapes that the prosecutors in this goes back to when -- to before bob mueller buzz wawas in charge of the investigation. they got a f.i.s.a. warrant that was difficult to get to record phone conversations by paul manafort and it's possible the president's voice son the tapes. there was no wiretapping directly of the president in trump tower so there is no particularly vindication of the tweet by him, but the fact that paul manafort was recorded at the time that he was running the trump campaign, it makes it possible and i would guess even likely -- >> rose: i would, too. -- that the president son those tapes. >> rose: let me turn to one last issue which is the whole
notion that the five of the biggest corporations in america are tech companies out of silicon valley, certainly includes apple, amazon, google, and these companies are under increasing scrutiny because to have the centrality of their business into our lives, as well as their huge resources. >> charlie, that's so right. an here -- and here in washington, there has been a wind sheer in the sentiment about these companies. until very recently, such a romantic view of these companies. they make so many amazing things possible, but now you have the extremely unusual situation of republicans and democrats agreeing on something. charlie, i'm told both republicans and democrats looking to ways that they can use legislation to rein in these companies. on the republican side, they are going to emphasize the national security and the homeland security elements of the data
that's out there and the efforts by foreign governments to use platforms that include facebook to influence elections. democrats more concerned about ththe monopolistic elements of . republicans very unhappy with these companies because of the cultural differences. they see them as being for open borders and for liberal social policies, but, charlie, of course, you recognize the great irony of this on two fronts. one, the president himself said he might not be president without twitter, that the connection he had with voters was very important. second, more and more evidence all the time including now facebook saying it's going to turn over ads that were purchased by russian operatives, that maybe facebook helped the president. so irony one there, republicans mad at the companies that helped trump become president, but second what these groups and lawmakers who are pushing this
have spent their careers and raised a lot of money being against government, but they are for reining in these companies. democrats, the first specific move that's been taken on capitol hill buzz by senator mark warner of virginia and amy kobe share of minnesota who on thursday sent around a two-page dear colleague letter looking for co-sponsors for a bill that would codify some of the promises facebook made about increased transparency and regulation of political advertising. so this is a big fight. you and i were talking before we went on the air about the david brooks column this week saying this could be a defining issue in american politics, that we have a war on business coming that is a sign, david brooks pointed out that trump is not necessarily a one off, that the stream of republican sentiment behind trump could fuel this
continued effort to rein in these big companies. so, charlie, i know you have lots of conversations with silicon valley as i do, and this has been eye opening for the leaders out there, but they know that they are now in the barrel. >> rose: david brooks column also suggests that the populism we saw in brexit and the election of donald trump began some time ago and what has emerged is, in a sense, it is a conflict between elites, as we say, on both coasts, as we say, but elites are everywhere, and average working men and women in america, and this has been a forward progression of a big idea that's come to fruition with the trump election and might very well extend beyond donald trump and the central focus of it will be anti-business. >> no, that's right, because, charlie, this brings together so many issues that fueled the trump phenomenon. so if you look at income inequality, the great wealth that's been amassed in certain places, the huge amounts of data
these companies have amassed about us, the ability of foreign governments to interfere in our elections, so you have the perfect storm of fake news, trump, mueller, hillary clinton, because we learned a hot focus as the bloomberg story put it of mueller's investigation is how these social platforms were used in the election. so the parties are coming together, the great stories of the year are coming together with the tech companies focus, that ain't where you wanna be. >> rose: mike, thank you so much. >> charlie, happy weekend. thanks for having me. >> rose: mike allen from washington. we'll be right back, stay with us. >> rose: pharrell williams and dave matthews is here. one is a ten-time grammy award winning producer, song writer, fashion icon and artist. the other sold more than 35 million albums and front man of a group to have six
consecutive albums debut at number one. sunday they join forces to raise money and awareness in the wake of the violence in charlottesville. it's called concert for charlottesville, an evening of music and unity. i am pleased to have both of them at this table, welcome. how did this concert come about? this is your hometown. >> yeah, traveled and lived in a lot of places in my life, but most of the band is born and raised in charlottesville, and i love that town. it's more home than anywhere in the world for me, and my family being -- if the band is my family, which they are, that is where my family's from, in a sense. and when this happened, when this happened, that terrible day happened in charlottesville, the immediate response is horror, but then after that you think
what can we do? how can, when we've -- we've, as a country, we've sort of pretended to acknowledge, or in ways we have been faced with our history and the horrors of our past, of slavery and the struggle for civil rights, we faced that and we have this pretense that we've tell with -- dealt with it, you know. >> rose: charlottesville showed otherwise. >> charlottesville showed us that that ungrounded hatred that's born out ofi of ignorancd out of a history that can be picked apart and rearranged, it twisted the truth to a point where there was violence, unjustifiable violence, rage and hatred unfounded, because racism
and hatred in that sense is only -- only comes out of ignorance and a denial of the truth and murder, and that's a terrible way for the world -- i knew we had to do something because charlottesville -- i would go a year ago and someone -- anywhere in the world or even in the u.s. and people would say y'all are from charlotte, west virginia, where? now people in cape town, nairobi know where charlottesville is, they know it and know it's where nazis are. that's not my town. that's part, but it's not my town. >> rose: so the decision came, let's do a concert. >> yeah, and i called on another virginian. >> rose: from virginia beach. yes, sir. >> rose: here people are coming together for a concert, in a sense, to reflect what? >> i think -- i just think that we just -- as a country, we need to open our eyes, and there are people who say, what?
and, oh, why are you making such a big deal? well, it's like, you know, if you're not african-american, you don't understand what it's like to be african-american in this country. i may look like i am successful, it may seem like i am successful, but if i am only enjoying it, and there is millions and millions upon millions that are not, then i'm not successful. i'm successful when we're all successful, and, you know, being from virginia, i know there is systemic racism. i've seen it growing up, and we just, you know, when dave -- when dave reached out, i thought it was a good opportunity to sort of turn on a light, you know, to get people to understand, like, this is a very real thing. and you feel like you can relate, but, you know what? when you go to bed, we're still
black. we're still dealing with this. i'm african-american. that means africa -- africa is in me, but american means this is where i am. this is what i'm subject to. so when we say the pledge of allegiance, we're saying the pledge of allegiance to the progression, to some of the progression that's happened in this country, but it's mostly for the potential. it's mostly for the potential of what this country could be if enough of the logical minds get together and reasonable minds get together to make fair and just laws and have people to uphold them. right now, like, you know, we're having unarmed motorists murdered, and we're having officers who are suppose to uphold the law, we're having them be acquitted left and right. what kind of message does that send to a child?
it's steps like this with what dave and i are trying to do, it's just like bringing the culture together so that we can talk and be realistic about these issues. you know, when you have a president that says these beloved statutes, well these statutes represent a time when people talk about heritage, a heheritage of what? of people who wanted to fight to keep slavery. you have people complaining left and right about taking a knee during the national anthem. people say there is a time and place for everything. well, you're right. the time is right now, the place is right here. >> rose: the point of this is to do what? is to open a conversation about america today? because what happened in charlottesville, in part, was the unmasking of white
supremacy. >> i was talking to pharrell earlier and talking about, listening to you, too, about what this could be and that this should be not one event that says, hey, you know, there's -- let's shine a light on what's possible and the truth of a future that incorporates more honestly everybody, and let's also acknowledge the terrible racism and bigotry that exists in this country and the true history of this country, but also that this should be something that goes on, that we should be doing -- we should be acknowledging and celebrating this into the future because the only way we can change the way that this creeping, fearful, hateful racism, the only way we can stop it from continuing to grow or continuing to exist and continuing to murder people,
innocent people and keep people from being able to do what they want to do in their lives or having the advantage of what they want to do in their lives, we have to shine a light on it and we have to shine a light on bigotry honestly. we have to say what is our past? what is slavery? who built harvard? who built the white house? who built uva? was it thomas jefferson? i mean, he had a pencil, but what brilliant crafts people, what amazing people, talented people did that? where are their names listed, you know? and we need to look at our past and see that not only was slavery the subjugation of an entire people, a people whose cultures were stolen from them, but also -- and this is my humble opinion -- but, also, it was a lie that we tell ourselves that the people that were
running this country were somehow supermen who built the economy by themselves. they didn't build the economy that allowed it to be what it is without being on the backs of thousands of people who did not get acknowledged. >> rose: what was your reaction when you heard the president's first response to this? >> several things. i was appalled that someone that holds the highest office would have that kind of tone deaf reaction. >> rose: suggesting there was fault on all sides, he said. >> right, until your people have done to you what's been done to us for over 400 years, in layers, though. in layers. in layers. and i also wasn't surprised, you know. i also wasn't surprised. like, no one listened to me when
i said, hey, man, pay attention to this guy. >> rose: because? hi knows what he's doing, and he's supported from so many different angles. >> rose: you think those white supremacists and neo-nazis were given -- >> they are being used, just so you know, they are being used. okay? when they look up and realize that their grandparents are no longer eligible for -- medicaid is going to be gone, the health care is going to implode the way it is, insurance is going to go up. when they recognized how they're being used, you know, it's going to be very interesting when they realize how they're being used because it really, at the end of the day, you just go with the flow. if you're trying to use a system and not have a system use you, you figure out the way the current is going. so if you see that racism is a very easy wave to ride, you ride
that. it's really what it's about for you classism. >> rose: economic classism. of course, at the end of the day, that's what this is about. the tax structure tells you everything you need to know because if you have enough money, doesn't matter what color you are, if the taxes make sense for you. so it's not -- is it really? like, you use racism because you know racism is the easiest thing to keep people at each other's necks, especially when you compartmentalize cultures. >> rose: so what do you think, pharrell, is going to be necessary for the country to change, especially on the question of race? >> before you can ever get to any kind of appreciation, you have to have empathy. everybody has to be willing to open their eyes and step outside their comfortable box of understanding and put yourself in another person's shoes. and there is just not many people willing to do that. there's just -- i wish, i hope and i pray, but empathy is the only way, only until you have to
subject your son or daughter, which i have three sons and a daughter now, only until your children are -- get in a position where they're susceptible to this kind of treatment is when you start thinking about these things. the opioid is an issue now. before, they were locking up blacks and hispanics. now, it's let's don't lock them up, let's get them treatment, because it spread. and that is the way these things work. that is what the supremacists should all understand, you know what, it's all good now, but, historically, it wasn't just the jewish community or the africans or hispanics or latinos, it wasn't just them. it got to a point where they started being prejudiced against facial features, eye color and
hair color. that did happen, and it can happen in this country, too. >> and height. i mean, there was that -- not long ago, you know, how do we choose the right size of person, what's the best -- that was a real thing, and that's all that happens. if you succeed in separating, oh, this is the group that we want ideally, if you start like that, then soon enough that's going to get chopped in half. you will just keep going down it. what we need -- the word "empathy" is the perfect word. it's also to understand that we are together or to gain understanding, that the only way we can truly move forward is to realize we're in the same boat. >> rose: yes. and the boat -- i mean, it's because we don't realize that that black men are being -- unarmed black men are being shot and the people that shoot them
are being led off. >> rose: by juries. by juries and judges. that is -- that we can't see that it's happening so frequently that -- and all you have to do to understand how crazy it is is imagine a white kid or a white young man in a car unarmed being shot five times by a police officer. can you imagine the outrage? murdered and then -- >> rose: or somebody taking a car and driving it into a crowd to kill somebody. >> or all of it is -- it is so confusing. but if we understand that, in truth, if we begin to move forward to the idea that we're in the same boat, you realize that my poverty and your poverty together have more power to find a solution than my poverty against your poverty. because my poverty against your poverty feeds the roof. if we don't realize that -- and i don't care if somebody thinks
its socialist. if we realize the government needs to serve the people who have the least, not the people who have the most. the people who have the most have the most. why? >> you pointed out, you said if it were a white male with five gunshots, right, you're right, because if it were white women, it still wouldn't be a big deal because there is a gender inequality in this country, too. when it comes to women, they don't care, even when it's their own, they don't care. but you also can't leave out the gay, lesbian, queer, transgender, you can't -- >> rose: but what's the role of music, the power of music here? >> music is the one thing that can enter a room and not get in anyone's way but touch everyone. it's that one -- it's the one thing. so as musicians, right, the term musician comes from one who
listens or is inspired by the muses, all right, so we're musicians, we're interpreting, we're bringing in these messages from the beyond, from the unseen to do, like, the good work, to do the good will. that's what we're trying to do. when this guy's camp reached out -- i'm from virginia, as is chris brown, as is missy elliott timberland, the clips, deangelo, so many, all of us are just, like, man, what can we do? >> i think, also, that this is the beginning of something that what it should hopefully do is be the beginning of something -- we were talking about this earlier -- >> yeah. but i want -- you know, if possible -- to be the birth of
maybe or at least part of an effort to influence the syllabus of what our children learn in school. i mean, because an interesting statistic is that most of the sort of this white supremacist movement, those decisions, in middle school, it may be around you, you may be thinking about it, but the decision where you sort of identify, i uh apparently, from what i understand, a lot of that decision, well, i am a white supremacist or i am a white nationalist, well, i am -- a lot of those decisions that you sort of stake as a part of your personality happens in high school, and i feel as though not that this concert is the single thing, but that it should contribute in an ongoing way to inspire a sell bus that will -- a syllabus that will change the way we teach our history so that people can acknowledge we all
got here in different ways, but we are all here, and but, we need to know how we all got here, so we can understand how we relate to each other here. >> rose: know the history? yes, truly know the history. the way we teach history whether the genocide of nativity americans, slavery, women's rights, we tend, because it's written by the people in charge generally, we tend to gloss over the mistakes or injustices or crimes against humanity. america doesn't think -- well, we don't teach our children that what happened to native manners was a crime against humanity or it continues to happen. >> that's oppression. we haven't acknowledged what happened to the african-american culture in this country is a crime against humanity and apologize as a nation for this
crime, this hundreds of year crime. >> rose: that's what you would hope it would become, a moment in time in which a nation learned something. >> absolutely. >> rose: notwithstanding how much progress it had made but the long road ahead. >> yes, the crazy thing is a lot of the millennials, a large portion of the millennials are not into this, they're not into the racism, they don't relate to it, they don't see it that way. a large portion of them. some of them, their minds were poisoned by their parents, whatever environment they were in, but it's really just older folks, at the end of the day. not all of them, just some of them. and if we could just bring everyone together to go back to what you were saying earlier today, i mean earlier in the conversations which is what can we do? well, we've got some answers for that, but i think the bigger question and real question is what will you do, what are you willing to do? because -- >> rose: so what would you
like for people to be willing to do? >> empathize. if there was a course that we could send -- a very easy course that someone could learn in 15 minutes but empathy is not that easy to learn -- >> rose: why don't you put this in a song? it's different than happy. >> at the end of the day, for me, i'm not a politician, but -- >> rose: you're not a politician but you are a leader and you are a role model and you are someone millions of people listen to, listen to you with your music, they listen to you in your performance, they listen to you on social media. >> there is nothing more annoying -- >> rose: you have a powerful voice. >> i appreciate your opinion and your compliment, but there's nothing more annoying than someone preaching to you. there's nothing more annoying than someone stumping. what i try to do is i try to hide it in the gear that i make. i try to hide it in the songs that i make. i try to hide it in any kind of collaboration. >> rose: whether the music or fangs. >> i just try to hide it because
the greatest messages are the ones that you discover for yourself. >> i think a song like "happy" changes the world, and -- because i don't believe -- i don't believe that sadness accomplishes anything. you see something tragic somewhere, you can feel sadness, but if you do nothing, if you don't even turn to the person next to you and say, that's tragic, can i do anything about that? how can we stop that from happening? sadness doesn't serve a purpose, but i do teink that the music, as an example -- because it came up in the conversation -- that song "happy" made the world a better place, and i don't mean that lightly. i mean i truly, truly think the world was improved and even as that song came on, for me. >> rose: do you appreciate that? >> i'm grateful for it and i'm grateful to hear it, but i do
have to say i was more so a vessel for that song. so i was charged to do something for a pivotal scene in a film and had no idea what it could actually mean outside of the context of the film. so i can't really take credit for a task that i was given. i had no idea what it would turn into. i never know. >> rose: what has it turned into, in your judgment? >> to things that leads -- you guys say nice things like you go. just so you know, i'm the mr. mctaboo of music. i -- i'm mr. magoo of music. >> rose: you're a catalyst. i'm a vessel and honored to be used. is that so people will see this concert, will attend this concert. it's in a stadium -- the virginia stadium, right? >> yeah. immediately, i hope people will see this and go, you know, it's
not alpeople is aing that -- it's not all people saying we want to kill jews or -- you know, there is hope in the world. it's not all war. just the feeling of, ah -- >> rose: there is more of that there than by far the evil. >> i want to be hopeful all the time because, without hope, what's the point? we have to always remind ourselves to dance in that beautiful part of humanity, the thing that -- the pain that is common pane has beauty. the pain that separates us, that makes us divided is ugly, and that's -- that's what i want. but i would love this to be something that we come together every year and celebrate what it is to be human too and what that means for the future and how to look at our past and not be,
like, look at the history of america and say, oh, we should be ashamed. no, but look at the history of america and say what is the truth about our history? and not wear it like, oh, i've got to walk around like this, it is what is true, who died? who suffered? who was sub je subjugated and t? who brought us to this? with that knowledge we can be wiser. but if we go forward thinking -- i don't know, i get so tired of the denial of the enormous problems that face this country that have to do with race or gender. >> rose: economic inequality. yeah. >> rose: economic in inequality. nick inequality which makes me crazy how we defend the
rights of the wealthy. >> economic slavery, how about that? >> if you have to choose between feeding your kids or fixing your head light and you get pulled over by the cops and then you -- you know, life, that person is an oppressed person because they cannot escape poverty. this country should not be doing the utmost it can for the wealthiest classes. it should not be is that when you took the time away from touring, was it an introspective period for you or are you just resting? >> i'm hyper and i was writing and spending time with my kids and i traveled, i got to go back to south africa again and visit with family and friends there, and i took a trip to nairobi, and i hope that i'm always
thinking about -- i think there's always music. i was writing -- i hope -- i feel like it made me love my band more. it made me miss them. it made me want to do more things in music. it makes me look at my kids and think that, if the future -- if we manage to survive ourselves, if they can survive us that the future is going to be okay. but, you know, i just -- i don't know. it's hard to take time off of your own brain, but it was a time for me to, i guess, reflect a little bit on my good fortune and see out of the -- you know, you get in the own spiral of your world and it's hard to see the problems with a lot of things, it's hard to see outside of yourself. >> rose: where are you in your own life and in your sense of, with all the good things that happened to you, at the same time as you said in the beginning, you are a black man
in america. >> mm-hmm. >> ro: yet life has been very good for you at the same time. i hear you saying i can never be complete until we have some sense of empathy for people who have not had it. >> that's right. everybody deserves a shot and that's what the american dream promises. it just doesn't really hold up when it comes to us. by the way, i really -- there are more white folks in america on section 8 than there is blacks. >> this is interesting. this is something that, you know, it resonates in my mind because when i left the u.s., i grew up as a kid here, and then i went to south africa and, at that point, apartheid was still -- you know, it was on its last legs but it was still the system, people were still being
murdered to try and maintain it, and then i moved back. when i finished high school, i still talked like an american, i wanted to come back to america and i wanted to play music. i didn't know what i wanted to do, but i didn't want to go to the military. i got my papers in south africa and i didn't want to go there so i came back to america. one thing that struck me, doesn't surprise me now, but in the newspapers, very rarely did they sort of talk about -- draw the economic line, you know, 50% of people below this income are inclined to, you know, have domestic violence, and it goes less as you go up the scale. i was surprised by how often random -- different sort of what i saw as economic reflections were divided into race, instead. and i thought that was just
strange. it surprised me because i guess i was young and i was ignorant to a great deal of the racism that was so alive in america. i think quite often we draw that line. when you said that, it made me think of that. the truth is that there is more -- you know, white people in poverty, quite a lot more white people in poverty than there are black people in poverty, but it's not proportional, but that is easy to identify because you look at our history and the distance that people have to -- the distance that people have had to travel. i do think it's interesting that -- in the conversations, very often we draw the race line, but we don't draw it when we're really looking at our history. that's when we don't -- why are things like this? and that's why we don't draw it.
>> they're like this because they're designed to be this way. that's all. and i just think that, you know, if this concert could bring people together to have them, like, start real, true realistic conversations, like you said, about history and the way things are set up to effectuate change, we can get to a good place where we can actually, like, begin to feel good about what we have here. it's tough, it's tough to feel good about anything when it's only set up for the few. it's only set up for the few. like you said, you know, the african-americans on wellfare, we don't want any of our people there. our culture's done too much for this country, way too much for this country and now you're saying i'm going to go left on the latino population and all of that culture has done for this country. it's like this needs to change.
>> yeah. i'm not a politician. i'm looking in the cameras, y'all shouldn't get used to this, i'm not doing this a million times, this is where i am right now. i'd rather to put it into music, i'd rather to put it into shows. but to debate, we didn't have a debate, but there are people who love doing that. i don't love doing that. i'm a musician, that's what i love being, and i try my hardest to put it back in the culture as much as we can, as much as i can do to bring the corporations to understand the things they can be doing to help us in these communities, the collaborations with other musicians and other people who have some light, that's my job, to organize. >> i feel like, and i think you do it and i hope i do it, it's a -- we don't have to -- we can -- i think we can serve our society and our community best doing what we do, you know.
i think we need politicians that listen to us, honestly, and we need -- well, we need leaders that will listen. but i think, if we all -- if we initiate conversations, honestly conversations about our past and about the possibility of the future and about empathy and i think there is hope, and that's what i feel, if i have any job, that's it and that's to sing about it. or not to sing about et but to sing in a way that units people rather than -- that's what i think the political power or social power of a song like happy is because, mmm, made me feel like i could take on the world when that song comes on, still does to me. >> rose: thank you, great to have you here. good to see you again. thank you for coming back to the table. >> thank you for letting me make cartoon noises. >> rose: pharrell. yes, sir. >> rose: a concert for charlottesville, music of music
and unity, streams live to a global audience sunday on several platforms including youtube and facebook. thank you for watching. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
hello and welcome to kqed newsroom. i'm thuy vu. coming up on our show, the latest push by senate republicans to repeal obamacare is now in jeopardy. and it was just 30 years ago that women were finally allowed to be firefighters in san francisco. we'll talk with two of the department's early trail blazers. plus in our ongoing series of interview with gubernatorial candidates, meet john chiang, the state treasurer who is aiming for california's top job. but first it was billed as free speech week, a series of talks to start this sunday at uc berkeley including milo yiannopoulos. earlier this week, the conservative student group organizing the event insisted the event would go on as scheduled despite missing