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June 18, 2024 26 mins

Two-time Emmy and Three-time NAACP Image Award-winning, television Executive Producer Rushion McDonald, interview Kier Spates. He is a Sickle Cell Warrior, and when he was diagnosed, he was told he would not live past 11 years. Today, he is a sickle cell survivor, Hollywood television writer, co-hosts the popular Steve Harvey Morning Show, hosts his radio show every Saturday in Atlanta, and is a touring stand-up comedian. He started his foundation called Kier's Hope for Sickle Cell survivors and hosts his motivational podcast, Living Your Life. Each week, join him and his board-certified medical co-host, Dr. Corey Hebert, as we meet incredible people who refuse to let a life-threatening illness hold them back from success. Plus, he talks with today's top medical, community, and entertainment influencers! 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Welcome to Money Making Conversations. It's the show that she
is the secrets of success experience firsthand by marketing and
Brandon expert Rashan McDonald. I will know he's giving me
advice on many occasions. And in case you didn't notice,
I'm not broke. You know he'll be interviewing celebrity CEOs,
entrepreneurs and industry decision makers.

Speaker 2 (00:21):
It's what he likes to do, it's what he likes
to share.

Speaker 1 (00:24):
Now it's time to hear from my man, Rashan McDonald
money Making Conversations.

Speaker 2 (00:29):
Here we go.

Speaker 3 (00:35):
Hello, I'm Rashan McDonald's hosts a weekly money making conversation
masterclass show. The interviews and information that this show provides
off for everyone. It's time to stop reading other people's
success stories and really started living your own. My next
guest is here Spate. He is a sickle cell warrior
and when he was diagnosed, he was told he would
not live past eleven years old. Today is a circle

sell survivor. Hollywood television writer co host popular Steve Harvey
Morning Show hosts his own show in Atlanta every Saturday,
and it's a touring stand up comedian. He started his
foundation called Keere's Hope for Sickle Seales survivors and hosts
his motivational podcasts Living Your Life. Success is part of
his future. Please welcome the Money Making Compensations masterclass here space.

How you doing care?

Speaker 2 (01:20):
Hey, mag how you doing rather well? Carry?

Speaker 3 (01:22):
You know it's gonna be a journey, because I want
to make sure people who walk away with this interview
understand that people can tell you expectations, people can try
to predict your future, but it's really balls down to
the people around you and also what you want to
get out of life over the effort that you want
to put into your dreams. Start me off with being

told of being aware that you wouldn't live past eleven
years of age.

Speaker 2 (01:50):
You know, when I go back to that part of
my life, MAC is always a difficult thing because my
parents are young. They were young parents. They're twenty years old,
and here they are at thirty one. And then a
doctor had the nerve to tell them that, hey, listen,
don't plan a future for them. I mean literally, don't
plan a future. He's not gonna make it past eleven.

Now I'm seven at this time, you know, I'm seven
years old, So he's thirty seven years old. So now
they think about the next four years, we're gonna start
planning the funeral. And at that time, they didn't really
know what civil cell was. They had no idea about
what it is to be a parent having a child
with SIVI sell and for them it was devastating. For

me as a child, not knowing what death meant, it
was just for me, it was like another day. They
told me, listen, we're gonna have to make some changes
according to your life. And then when I passed eleven
and I made to fifteen, I'm scared at this point
because I'm supposed to be out of here, and then
now you look at me today, I'm still here. So

I never believed in the mantra of hey, this is
it for you, And I didn't know at eleven years
old that was going to be a definition for my life,
like hey, you'll never make it. It really didn't have
an effect. All I had is chance. That's all everything
I did was based upon chance. I'm gonna take the
chance because you already told me that I wasn't gonna

make it past eleven. Now here I am at thirty nine.
I have a career, I'm doing this. But I also
realized one thing, Mac, there's somebody coming behind me. They
gonna tell the same thing too.

Speaker 3 (03:31):
Talk to me about that. Because you're sickle cell, you
have sickle cell disease, a lot of other people out
there would come people who may see the disease, that
might illnesses that might be terminal, and they might go, hey, man,
I'm looking for the exit plan. I don't have a
future now. They're different stuff. You went past elevel and

you was fifteen. Did you play sports in high school?
Was you a social high school? How was you and
how truly?

Speaker 2 (04:00):
I was playing sports and my dream was to play
in the NFL. That was my dream. And I was
a running back out of Texas. I was ranked and
I was this, it's really good at football. I loved it.
I love the strategy of football. Loved the game of football.
And when I was playing that doctor told my mother
when I was eleven, and my number in high school

was number eleven because I wore it with passion. Everything
I did was based upon the number eleven because that's
the number. Y'all told me. So we needed eleven yards.
I'm finna get these eleven yards, right, Everything didn't matter.
But did I just say? Well, I got kicked off
the team in high school my senior year, the year
I had the scholarships that were up for me to

go play collegeball, and they took it from me. And
the thing about that was it hurt me so hard.
I cried. I cussed the whole coaching staff off because
I've been in this one program. And then one player
comes in and tells the team doctor that I have
six sell and they snatched me off of it. So
now they didn't just take me off because I had

sickle cell. They took my future too. That's how I felt.
They took my future. And the thing about it was,
I made a decision at that moment in my own
mind that I would never let single cell take another
thing from me. Nothing will ever be taken from me
based upon my habit of having sickle sell. The team

doctor told my mother, he said, well, we're only doing
this out of side of cautions. My mother stood in
there and my father was sitting there, and my mother said,
why would you take something from somebody You wouldn't want
to take it from your children. It's my child. He said, well,
he could possibly die. Mother said this, and this is
why I take the chances that I take and the
things that I do, and how I respond. She said,
if he does die, he died doing something that he loved.

Speaker 3 (05:48):

Speaker 2 (05:49):
That was so important to me, which propelled me to
the next point of my life because I started doing
stand up at.

Speaker 3 (05:56):
Nineteen, right, nineteen years old years old, nineteen ninety nine.
Who inspired you as a stand up? Who inspired you?

Speaker 2 (06:04):
It was so many man at that time. Man, you
got to think about what was happening. Death, comedy, jam
was happening. See, my parents were the parents that let
me do what I wanted to do because I had
sils some time. But I was watching death Jam, I
was watching everything. I was watching Marden, I was watching
Eddie Murphy. I saw Richard Pryor with my grandmother when
I was ten, so I knew it was always in

my future, you know. I saw Steve Harvey, I saw
Bill Bellamy, I saw Martin Lawrence, I saw a Lavelle Crawford,
I saw Sheryl Underwood. I was going back to high
school doing their sets in the comments before we had
started class. Did y'all see what this fool said? And

that was my thing? And so it was always interwoven
into my car. I pretty much knew about fourteen, this
is what I was gonna be doing, right, because it
was in me too hard. It was just in my
character too hard. I was always doing the church plays.
I was not only doing the church play. I was
five characters in the church play because there was nobody

more talented than me. So I was Lazarus was I was.
I was the wise man. I was everybody. I was
punch as pilot. I was everybody in the church play
because I would go back there change. I was the
only person in the church with a quick change booth.
I go change, come back out our demonic man. I

was everybody in the church play. It's like what talented
he could play all these characters at one time.

Speaker 3 (07:37):
Now in the past stand up comedy. That's an extreme
from your lifestyle. You know, as a person who has
sickle cell. You know sickle cell. If you watch the
commercials on TV, they always talk about the pain, They
always talk about the struggle, They always talk about the
time limit. You know, it's that old number one hundred
thousand people. It's been around for fifteen years. One hundred

thousand people out sickle cell we all know that's not true,
and we want to make those changes. But as you
start going off that stand up comedy ladder start, people
start looking at you different, your parents start looking at
you different. How did you start to feel when you
start making people laugh? And then it started inspiring you
to say I can.

Speaker 2 (08:18):
Do this too.

Speaker 3 (08:19):

Speaker 2 (08:20):
Yes it was, you know, going up to stand up
ladder was for me with nothing but another challenge is
what it was. But it was something that I knew
at the point I had the gift to do the
challenges that I was facing at that point in time

in nineteen wasn't good. At nineteen, I just had about
three or four jokes. That's it. That's all I could do.
But I worked at it. The first time I got booed,
I knew then it didn't deter me. I just went
home and started trying to be better. I started watching
other professionals do it. I said, okay, cool. Then I

started getting to know these guys. I started to hang around,
and then I started learning, and then I was started
letting my pen write, and then I started learning how
the things that I need to talk about are not
the things that other people want to hear. You just
start telling your story, right, and so then you started
thinking about You know, Mac, when when when I first

met you and we were doing the auditions for Comic View,
crazy situation in the world because you were selecting talent
back then, were talking about in two thousand and one, right, yes, yeah,
I'm telling you. I'm sitting there and then I'm sitting
here and a lady comes up to me and she

started talking to me, and you already told me just
sit down, shut up, cause I tried to introduce myself
to you. Sit right, hey, man, I know who you are.
Sit down right here. You may be sitting next to you.
Then ladies are talking to me. I didn't say nothing.
The lady starts talking. I said, ma'am, you need to
go away, and you trust me out. Would you like
somebody talking? When you all stayed and I didn't even
do nothing because you were specifically there to see talent, right,

and then I was going through this ladder. So then
you gave me the opportunity that was the year on
Comic View. I gotta stand in ovation on Comic View
for the jokes I was doing. And Mac, you didn't
even stay around. You had left. You was done you are,
knew what we had put together, and so then I knew.
Then I said I can really do this. Nobody had

to applaud me. I was looking for the applause. I
looked for the pat on the back. No, you really
could do this. Y'all left me in that moment. Let
me have that moment and said, no, what you have it?
You can really do this. And that's when I knew.
At that point in time, at twenty three years old,
so know what I was going to be faced with.
Just like everything else I was doing, there are challenges

you can always overcome with the right support of people.

Speaker 3 (11:00):
Did you position yourself to be two thousand and two?
You know you met me? It was a comedy comic
view edition and then you're on tour. What just people
listening watching the show, listening to the show. What did
you put in place? What did you how did you?
How did you make that happen?

Speaker 2 (11:18):
First of all, I was long enough to listen, m h.
First thing I had to do was listen understanding that
I didn't get in the way. I never I knew
I was talented. I never let it get in front
of what I was. My end goal was and I'm
still the same way today. I was able to listen
to the people who are already there. They're already in

the position that you're trying to get to. So I
remember when y'all had the UH, when y'all had the
New opp, y'all had New opp, y'all had the exhibition
for all the networks, and y'all brought us down there
to do right right, I wasn't even yeah, I wasn't
even doing comedy. I was just acting right now. I
remember mister Harvey sitting in there in audition one day

when we were rehearsing, and he said, hey man, good job.
He said, I don't know you, brother, he said, but
I'm gonna see you again. I'll never forget when he
said that. He said, it's not me to make you nervous.
It's that red light on that camera. It's gonna make
it nervous. If you can overcome that, you'll be fine. Now.
Ten years later, you hired me on this show. See see,

he said, I don't know. See I went out before
he hired me on the show. I remember James Thomas
called me and said.

Speaker 3 (12:32):
Hey man, barber James Thomas his barber.

Speaker 2 (12:35):
Yeah, his barber. Jay Thomas said, hey, man, miss, I
want to know you want to come on the road
and open up for him. And I'm thinking at this time,
I'm nobody. Do you know how many people you got
to go through to get to me? Right, it's a
list of people, MH. That you got to talk to
before you even get to my name.

Speaker 3 (12:52):

Speaker 2 (12:53):
But the fact he saw something I just remember two
thousand and two. Now we're in two thousand and nine now,
and then I go to Miami and I opened up
for him, and mister Harvey came out and he said, brother,
great job. That's what I'm looking for. I need that
young energy.

Speaker 3 (13:09):
Mm hmm.

Speaker 2 (13:09):
I remember Max, you called me and said, mister Harvey
want to hire you on this morning show, m H.
And I'm sitting there.

Speaker 3 (13:15):
Steve har Steve Harry Morning, National Platform, National Prep Dog.

Speaker 2 (13:20):
Is that Is that a big enough red light for you? Okay,
you talked about that a big enough red light for you? Hey, man,
I just remember what I was doing, man, I was
watching college football, right, and you asked me, hey, mister
Harry Wondo, can you come meet him at his ranch tomorrow?
So I turned that TV off, started packing bags. I
would get Saturday. I just had directions to the ranch,

right and then he told me what the mission was.
And then that's when the journey really started. See everything
else was just prep Right now I'm actually on the
mission and the journey and my career just catapulted.

Speaker 4 (13:57):
Please don't go anywhere. We'll be right back with more
Money Making Conversations Masterclass. Welcome back to the Money Making
Conversations Masterclass, hosted by Rashan McDonald.

Speaker 3 (14:08):
From that one that one moment, you know, when I
think about this and think about the journey of what
you're dealing with and overcoming the odds, you know people,
but then meeting people who can care less about sickle sale,
you know that wouldn't That wasn't introduct you into the
conversation about are you sick? Are you healthy? Do you

you know, It's like if you allow that to be
your calling card, if you allow that to be your
opening statement, if you said something like, hey, I want
you know, if you said I want you to do
I want you to do the comedy tool, you didn't say, Hey,
by the way, I got sickle sale. You know what
I'm saying. That was, you know, and that's what a
lot of people will tend to do. They want to

put a roadblock in front of their dreams. Unnecessarily, some
information should not be shared.

Speaker 2 (14:57):
Correct, correct, It does not even have to be shared
because I made it a point, because I wanted to
leave with me right, not what I have. My introductory
will always be me. See, I don't need the pity party.
You give me a microphone, you put me on a

state with anybody. I go toe to toe with anybody.
I don't care who it.

Speaker 3 (15:20):
Is, right right, right, right, right, dude.

Speaker 2 (15:22):
I've never ever thought that I can never be the
funniest person in the room. I never thought that I
never operate like that. Now has that gotten me in
trouble sometimes? Yes, because people fear your talents. That's just
what it is. See, I never take a day off
from my talents. My goal is I don't care who

the headline is. Did you see me? I've never said
did you see me? Because I have civil sale.

Speaker 3 (15:50):
As we go through the process of developing your career,
you came in as an actor where you're nineteen, you
want to be a stand up comedian, then acting to go, well,
you I don't want to say what we're acting? Where
you know we're doing road plays or what were you
doing out there?

Speaker 2 (16:08):

Speaker 3 (16:08):
Get to build your acting career.

Speaker 2 (16:11):
Yeah, I did. About about five years of my career
was doing stage plays.

Speaker 3 (16:16):
Uh huh.

Speaker 5 (16:17):
And uh you know who jack with the names we know,
Gerald of Vert, I mean, I mean Essence Atkins, Miguel Nunez,
Carl Payne, Patrese Lovely.

Speaker 2 (16:32):
I mean, it's so many of us, man, it was
so many of them. I met him, Robin Gibbings, there
were will be on the road for nine months, you know, right,
and so Essence like you see these people, man, and
these are people that you developed friendships with, right, you know?
And I mean it was it was a different life

for me because in the plays I got to do
standing my character with a set in the place. Always
was a want to be I don't care you could
tell me. I was a ups driver, but his dream
was to be a stamp and and then man on
the road. When I was doing these plays, man, I

had to earn everything. Man. I was not only just
doing the plays. I was driving the cast to the show,
taking them back to the hotel. I was selling the
programs and intermission. I was acting in the play. I
was doing the introductory. I was doing everything, man, and
I wasn't making but eight hundred dollars a week.

Speaker 3 (17:34):
That's a nice amount of money now a week.

Speaker 2 (17:37):
What what? Well?

Speaker 3 (17:38):
You know we we were putting you up right, they
were putting you in the hotel, right.

Speaker 2 (17:42):
Yeah, we're in the hotel man.

Speaker 3 (17:44):
No no, no, no, came.

Speaker 2 (17:47):
Out to eight hundred. He we all, we all brought
a lot of buffets. These black people, don't I wasn't
the Hall of Renaissance to know, right right right right,
right right right right? How do what's see? At the

same time, it came to challenge because they said I couldn't.

Speaker 3 (18:11):
Do Let me ask you this because now you're really
speaking a conversation that because we're about to go to
another conversation regards to you being the brand ambassador for
UH and Dory. You know, but before that, Junior, I
did Steve Hardy Morning Show. I was there on tour.

I saw you, I saw you do Betes coming for you.
Where was the circle sell disease? What was all these
these these these prices that.

Speaker 2 (18:42):
Pop up, Max? Why am I seeing this? There was
one time you saw you just didn't know it. I
didn't tell you mm hm. Like I said, I always
introduced myself first, and didn't when we the next year
when we did come to view in l A and
they didn't air that one, but I was on stage.
I was in crisis. D I came up after Mark

Curry and I was on that show. I was in
a full fledged sickle cell crisis, and I still tried
to go do it. You walked by me, you said,
you can't go out there with that man. You can't
do that. And at this point in time, you got
to stand now. I have no insurance. So I spent

a majority of my twenties and early thirties chasing my
dream with no insurance, and that crisis was happening. And
yet I still told you in the beginning, I would
never let sickle cell take nothing from me. Good dad
is in different I meant that it already happened to me.

I was not gonna let it happen at a moment
in my life. Well, this could change my life. It
didn't work out at that point in time, but the
crisis was happening. But I never showed anybody when I
was going through it. I was a shamed to talk
about it myself because I didn't think people would understand.
Everybody would look at me like, oh, he just weak.

He's just weak, man, don't look at That's why the
challenges that I'm faced with, I have to take them
as they come because I'm not weak. I'm not that
I am talented. But society wants to tell you, because
you have sickle cell, we have to keep we have
we have to treat you with kids, gloves, have we
got to you know, we have to take care of you.

Speaker 3 (20:28):
So now you're gaining popularity. You know, I'm sure you
can tour by yourself, filling up comedy clubs and still
become being a powerful ambacheldor or advocate for people with
sickle cell. Because you have sickle cell? How did you
become an ambassador for Indari? And what is in dorry?

First of all?

Speaker 2 (20:51):
And dirry is a medication. It's a powder that I
take every morning and it's like, uh, giving you a
boost of art to feeling normal. H You know I
have I have not had the issues I have with
my sickle cell because of in Dari. I just lived
my life. Now now I feel like I really have

a shot at just feeling normal, right, you know, because
I do have the chronic pains, the chronic fatigue. I
do have that. I struggle that and I keep a
heavy schedule. But in Dari will give you a boost
to feeling like, hey man, he's you feel normal. You
feel like this is this what normal people walk around

feel like all the time, Like you just got to
the party. That's when I darted. So I had met
doctor Abart. He came on the morning show to promote
in Dark and he said, hey man, I want to
get you on this drug, and I did so. Then
after that they saw the benefit for me having sickle cell,
being on the platform that I have, and then they say,

hey man, we want to get this drug out here
and we want to help other people like you have
the success that you're having on the drug. I said,
I would love to, and it growing to a really
great business deal for both sides to actually change the
world in what we're doing. And I didn't want to

take the deal because you're gonna pay me some money
to just say all taken Dark. No, No, I didn't
want that. What I wanted them to do was if
I do this, then you have to commit to giving
me this. You have to give me y'all as a
business to help me, help y'all get this out here,
because we have to go out here as a unit.

And they believed in it. They believe in their drug.
And doctor Nahara said, Yes. I love his passion, I
love his testimony. I love the way he talks about it.
I love the way he represents the success. I love
the way he talks about how he wants to succeed
and how he wanted to bring others along. That's what
made the deal good for us, right, and then so

we started living your life. So when I started doing
living your life, that became because they sickle cell community
didn't have that. There's no way. See. I started thinking about,
when I'm no longer here, can a kid with sickle
cell turn this own look at it and they have
a road map to success for their own life. That's

what I was thinking when I started living your life.

Speaker 3 (23:27):
Junior here, Junior space here, Space straight out of Houston, Texas,
Traveler of the World, based in Atlanta, Georgia, going on
one year married to your beautiful wife, living.

Speaker 2 (23:39):
The life, living your life.

Speaker 3 (23:41):
I live my life, living your life. But more important,
I just wanted to down man and I felt that
your story is motivational and I wanted to share with
my money Making Conversations Master Class audience because a story
has been told that when people tell you you're not
supposed to do it, don't do it. You've been told
all of your life not supposed to do that, and
you've been doing it and you've been very successful and

you continue.

Speaker 2 (24:04):
So it's the future.

Speaker 3 (24:05):
I got the Award Show, I got the Steve Hard
Morning Show, I got is it acting?

Speaker 2 (24:10):
Yeah? Yeah, yeah, man, you know, like you know, I'm
in the process beyond switch. I'm in the process of
planning my comedy special. Uh same time. Yes, I want
my own sitcom because I want to. I want to
showcase that part. You look like you're twenty two.

Speaker 3 (24:28):
I'm just telling you're younger looking.

Speaker 2 (24:29):
Do you can throw out that for it if you
want to.

Speaker 3 (24:31):
But you're a young looking dude.

Speaker 2 (24:33):
Man, I ain't be good to you.

Speaker 3 (24:36):
Sickle Seal will be good to you.

Speaker 2 (24:37):
Okay, man, God, I've been way better. Man. Yeah, man,
I want to. I want to do allose things, man,
Like you know, I'm in the process right in the
sitcom man, I have so many aspirations on that endeavor,
you know, and you know, I really want to show
people with single cells say, hey, man, you can be

successful as I am, not maybe in my field, but
in whatever fill you in and that's the goal. That's
what we're reaching for. We'm driving for and ma'amo tells
some man until there's no more breadth than my bike.
I have done everything that I said I was going
to do.

Speaker 3 (25:16):
Thank you for coming on Money Making Conversation Magical Class, and.

Speaker 2 (25:18):
Man, thank you for having me. Matt, I appreciate your brother.

Speaker 4 (25:23):
Thank you for joining us for this edition of Money
Making Conversations Masterclass. Money Making Conversations Masterclass with rough Shan
McDonald is produced by thirty eight fifteen Media Inc. More
information about thirty eight fifteen Media Inc. Is available at
thirty eight to fifteen media dot com. And always remember
to lead with your gifts.

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