Okay, this is the interview of interviews, probably one of the most enlightening, awesome interviews I’ve done. It’s no secret I’m a huge admirer of John and what he stands for, and he’s someone I respect so much. I’m so thrilled to share this interview today. We talk about everything, from the tumultuous past election to the #MeToo movement to how his own family navigates the changing landscape of Hollywood. And those are just some of the topics we cover. So, let’s dive right in!
2017 has been a tough year, for a lot of people. So let me ask you, as someone who is so sensitive to energy and always promotes healthy and good light energy…going forward, what can we do to protect ourselves, renew our energy and find that light so 2018 can be a better year?
I’m going to give you one word, and I’ll be saying it all my events the entire year, and the word is ‘listen’. I think it’s important for people to be able to listen to opposing thoughts. I think it’s important for people to listen to what other people are saying,. Because we’ve got in such a place of division; where it’s so ‘my side against your side’, in so many areas and all we’re doing is shouting or arguing or shaming. There’s no discussion, there’s no choosing to see another point of view, and I go back to when people would do articles and tv interviews on me, and I would know within two seconds, not because I’m psychic, just because of the way they asked me the questions, if this was gonna be like a negative hit piece, or an exploration. Because, a lot of times, they would pre-produce their segments, and they just needed the soundbite from me, so they could drop it in, so, I kinda think that people are becoming like that. Where they have their argument, they have what they know, and they’re not gonna choose to look at it any differently. So, I think, when we stop and say, ‘I don’t agree with you, but I’m willing to listen to why you feel the way you feel.’, it no longer has to become an argument. And we no longer have to be divided, because you’re gonna validate whatever somebody’s opposing view is. So I think it’s being able to have an opposing view, and to share it. And I say that because I have been an opposing view for so many years. I have been on the receiving end of attacks, repetitively, still. I don’t get upset, I just understand that I have an opposing view to the life that they’re living, and now that I’m asking them to confront that, it may be a little uncomfortable for most people.
Awesome answer. Okay, we just celebrated MLK day not too long ago, and one of my favorite quotes of his, and I feel like it falls in line very well with what you’re saying, is ‘Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it.’ And I think that really falls in line with what you do. I know in interviews a couple years ago, you talked about an energetic river; how we all kind of operate with one, and it’s important to have it as free flowing as it can be. And while life can get in the way of that, it’s important not to throw in our own boulders in and let others throw in theirs as well. What can we do to make sure our energetic rivers stay open? What can we do to toss out the rubble from there, and to prevent people from throwing it in, as well?
I honestly think meditation and reading. I think reading is so important, and when I say ‘reading’, I mean reading what people say, so like, we’ll just jump in and talk about news and politics, in some way. If you’re gonna watch MSNBC, then you should watch, Fox. If you’re gonna watch Fox, then you should watch CNN, as well. And then you should also be aware of what’s real news and what’s opinion. So I think reading and understanding – I am not a fan of someone trying to tell me what I should be feeling. I am just not a fan. I am of the school of thought, ’Provide me with the information, and let me discover how I feel about it.’
It goes back to what you say about your dad. He was a lifelong police officer; military man. So I think he instilled in you a lot of that really good ‘Be skeptical, be smart’ and let your power be your own opinion.
Yeah, I’m gonna tell you that I think, even when it comes to movies, like if I’m watching a movie, and that movie is setting you up to feel a certain way, I don’t like it. Like, a big popular tv show right now is This is Us. And even though This is Us takes us down the journey of feeling and being emotional, they’re not manipulating you when they’re doing it, and they’re not telling you how to feel. They’re allowing you to feel how you wanna feel about their story and identify with it. As opposed to other shows and movies that are literally written and scripted in a way that kind of has a mechanical vibe. And I feel like it’s kinda like going to one of my events. I always ask the people that I’m traveling with, when I’m done, ‘Hey, what was your favorite reading?’ And if I’ve got three people traveling with me, I’ll get three different answers. So, I find that fascinating, I wanna know what they’re thinking; I wanna know what they’re feeling, why that reading is the one that resonated with them, and then I wanna explore beyond that. My brain’s always thinking about ‘Okay, so what am I supposed to learn from this? What am I supposed to feel from this? What is the message in this? Why is this happening?’ And a lot of times, people don’t do that.
Well, I think it’s takes a certain amount of self examination and self awareness, I think. And that touches on something I want to talk about. You’ve said previously that yo don’t like calling what you do, your abilities, a gift. You say it’s actually something we can all tap into, that intuition or gut instinct or whatever someone chooses to call it. But I’ve always wondered, how can you differentiate those feelings from fear? For instance, let’s say you want to do something new, and a part of you is telling you to do it, but another part of you is telling you not to. And each side has tons of reasons why you should and shouldn’t go for it. So how do you parse through that? How do you know when it’s true intuition telling you what to do or something like self-sabotage or self-doubt?
Well I think you have to be really honest with yourself. So many people who are saboteurs in their own lives, they know what they’re doing. They know exactly what they’re doing, and if they get called on it, they’ll come clean and say that they know what they’re doing. The problem is, they want to do that, and want to live on the needle of negativity.So I think that, when people get addicted to that position, and they get addicted to that feeling, when they get used to being sad, depressed, lonely, in that spot, any shift from that becomes new and adversarial. But when you’re in that place of ‘I’m miserable’, well you’re comfortable being miserable, so you stay there. And when there’s a chance to find happiness, that’s new and uncomfortable, and a stretch, to maybe have success, or balance, that puts them in a position that now feels out of control, so they sabotage to put them back in that place, and then blame everything else but themselves and their choices.
That’s a great answer. That needs to be a poster of some sort. I agree with you one hundred percent. I love that answer. Alright, I want to shift gears a little bit and congratulate your daughter on all of her success. I’m seeing her blowing up on Twitter, getting shout outs from Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald!
Olivia is a very special young lady, and I’m very proud of her, and who she is, and who she’s growing into. The focus she puts into her craft, of acting, singing, and dancing…she had a great experience on the show Better Things. For me, last season she did an episode called ‘Light Rock’, which was so amazing. And her character got a chance to straddle the line between the spirit world, grief, death, life and choice and meaning, and it was like, it was just perfect.
It was. She was great. And you know, she’s part of an industry that is going through a lot of upheaval right now, and you’ve been in this industry, not as an actor per se, but you have touched that industry for many years. Three decades and going. What do you think about all this, how are you preparing her, and what advice would you give to parents?
You know, I don’t just look at it as being in the entertainment industry. I look at it as human nature. Where there’s power, there’s people that abuse that power. You and I have spoken before about superheroes, and we’ve talked about Spiderman, and ‘Where there’s great power, comes great responsibility’, and that is a really true statement. But also with great power, comes great assholes. Most people use and abuse that power, mostly just because they can. They take advantage of that, and that goes down to understanding, for me, human nature, people, and energy. So I don’t just assume that people are going to be amazing and great. I just look at human nature and the potential for things to go wrong. And that’s how I raise my kids, in every aspect, whether in the industry, or not.
It’s always exploring and balance, and sometimes in order to appreciate that good, you have to understand the bad. And villainize is not something like I like to do. So in Olivia’s case, Olivia is on a show called ‘Better Things’, and the executive producer is Louis C.K, and Louis C.K. was a part of all of this stuff. So I had to look for what the lesson in all this was. Pamela Aldon, who’s the writer and executive producer, she was concerned too. She’s got three young girls working on the show and I’m sure she was concerned about Olivia. But Olivia is for me and my wife to worry about. So the way I handled it was with honesty. I sat her down and I said, ‘here’s what taking place, not just your industry, but just in general, and here’s how this works’.
It’s less about what would be considered the sexuality about it, but raising awareness of people in positions of power, and how that manifest in a one on one relationship. That may manifest with your boss, that may manifest with any relationship. I can personally say that there have been only positive things around Olivia, in every way shape or form.
My takeaway from the whole thing was, out of all the people that have come forward, and I don’t wanna rehabilitate Louis C.K., I’ve never even had a conversation with the guy, but he owned his stuff. He didn’t deny. He owned and moved on. Which I think, was a great lesson for me as a parent, to be like ,here’s somebody that did something incorrect, slightly different than the iterations that came out afterward, if not before, and I can be like, here is a person that made a mistake, and is owning that. For me, as a parent, that was a highlight. Here’s somebody who made a mistake, but they’re working on owning that. And a lot of the people that have subsequently gotten attacked didn’t own anything. It was deny, deny, deny, deny. So I don’t think in any field you won’t come across some level of people in the position of power.
For me, whether it’s warning my son who’s fifteen or warning my daughter who’s eleven, about respecting people in positions of authority while also recognizing that power doesn’t give them power over you. You have to be the master of your own choices. And I’ve been in those positions where people tried to bully me into doing things, where an executive literally tried to bully me into doing something I wasn’t gonna do on Crossing Over, and I walked off the show. And when that happened, they were like ‘You have all these things you need to do.’ So I said, ‘What did you then really learn?’ and they were like ‘What?’ and I go ‘What did you really learn?’ And they said ‘What do you mean?’ And I go ‘Who’s really in charge here? Who’s really in power?’ And she goes ‘You’. And I go ‘So?’ And they apologized. So to me I think owning your power is really important to do, and that, to me, is what the lesson is. I love the fact that the #MeToo movement is shining a light on something that needed to be exposed. Every time I see Rose McGowan tweet, I wanna hug her. To know that this woman has gone through what she’s gone through, and has had to live with this…I hope her book hits number one and stays there, and helps her kinda feel validated by what she’s experienced.
I hope so too, I really like her. And I’m just really thankful that you’re even willing to talk about these kind of subjects. Because I know some people, this is something that they don’t talk about, and you have a great platform, and you’re not afraid to use it and shine lights on things that you really believe in. But do you ever have any hesitation to do that though?
If I’m thinking it or feeling it, I’ll say it, and I don’t really care. I know that there have been moments where I’ve said stuff on social media, and I’m Twitter botted to holy heaven. But then I just block, block, block and then it’ll move on to something else. But I think there’s such a hot topic in empowerment, and when somebody says something that’s slightly.. not an opposing view, but like ‘hey, what about this?’ they get slammed.
It can get vicious with you! Bot attacks for sure! But you handle it very well. Is that something you’ve always done; let the criticism and mean comments roll off your back? Or did you have to come into that through your journey?
No, I had to come into that. I had to literally come into that. I remember, I was the kid in school who didn’t wanna be picked on for a question. I didn’t wanna attract that kind of attention. I’m not that attention grabber. Attention makes me uncomfortable. And I remember doing Crossing Over and the New York post did an article and the words in the article were fine. They were absolutely fine, but the art director took a press photo of me and they painted horns, they gave me a devil’s pitchfork and a devil’s tail. Then they titled the article ‘Is This Man Sane?’. I remember sitting across the street, there’s a restaurant called ‘Route 66’ , and I will never forget this, I was sitting with Paul Shavelson, the executive producer of Crossing Over and we were getting a bite before we went to go tape, and I saw his face like he just got paralyzed for a second. I go ‘Are you okay?’, like ‘What’s the matter?’ and then I turned to see what he was looking at, and the tables and booths are very close, and there’s a guy reading the New York post, and it was all right there. And I looked at it, and I just went Oh my God. So that was definitely a moment that I went from being in the paper, to now being depicted in the paper in a certain way. And I’m just thinking ‘This could get me killed.’ Because somebody who’s like a crazy religious village, could think I’m insane, and really come at me.
Oh my god. That’s crazy!
And it happened, by the way. It definitely was a big deal.
Wow. Did you write into the paper and say. “You know…” I know, you should never write to your critics. You never respond to reviews. But, wow. That’s shocking. I can’t believe they did that.
But what was really weird was that I read online version of it, and it was fine. It was written really well. It showed opposing opinions and views and beliefs; there was nothing wrong with the article, it was a great article. It was the art director’s spin on it that cast a shadow. Then it became a thing and then Extra picked it up, and they were gonna make it their lead story for the weekend. And I’m just like ‘This is really really bad.’ because I was already dealing with death threats and stuff, at the time, in a dangerous kind of way. So, I was a little bit alarmed, but I was able to speak to the producers of certain shows and ask them. And one of the hosts of one of the shows stepped up and killed the piece. For which I am forever and will be eternally grateful.
I had no idea about that. Has that lessened over time, that cynicism and anger towards you? I feel like everyone has seen the proof that you’re not some circus act.
What’s ironic is, I wanna say that yes it’s lessened to a certain degree, and it comes around and comes back again. And it seems like it comes around when new people in the field start to become known. I feel like the old dog gets kicked, and then they talk about the new puppy. I see that a lot. And I’m like ‘What the hell? I’m not even on TV, go talk about them. Leave me alone.’
Well you were a trailblazer, you really opened the door. Your tv show was groundbreaking, what you were doing, and you brought that to a mass audience, and that wasn’t done. My mom was and is a huge fan of yours.
Aw that’s cool.
Yeah, she is. And she’s super intuitive too. That’s why I always like hearing about energy because we can all tap into it. She and you just seem to be really, really good at it.
That’s cool, thank you.
So before I let you go..You are going on a pretty massive tour, I think it takes you all the way through the September. And you just got back from Australia, then you’re going stateside, and then going back to the UK. I know I’ve asked you city by city if energy feels different, but how do you feel going through different countries? Do you feel like America is having a shift in its energy, or do you feel like every country has its own special energy?
Every country has its own special energy. I’ve gotta say no country has the energy of Australia for me. Australia is a special, special place. Something is just, vibrational, for me, there. So I don’t know if it’s just me and my energy there, or just the country itself, but it’s kind of a magical land, and I wish it wasn’t as far away as it is. I would spend way more time there. I do love Australia. But yeah, the energy in the states right now is not great, and I’m really really hoping that the magical vibrations of the USA will come back. I feel like America’s got a cold, like it caught the flu, it’s kinda sick and it’s like trying to navigate, and the cells in the body are fighting against each other. And so hopefully there’s a healing process that’s gonna take place and I think that healing takes place with finding humanity. That’s the only way it takes place. It doesn’t take place by fighting, it doesn’t take place by yelling, it doesn’t take place by violence. It takes place by peace, and communication, and love, and listening, and compromise, and being willing to do that. But if somebody’s always coming from a place of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong.’ then nothing shifts.
Absolutely. I agree, and I think that’s the perfect place to end it. I love your energy, and there’s so much hope around you, and I feel that even when I see you in person. I feel like you have a very strong vibration around you, and it can be intimidating at first. But then ya know, you unzipped your jacket when I first met you at a live show and I saw the Superman t-shirt, and I thought ‘Oh that’s perfect’. How are you liking the new season of Flash?
I enjoy it! I left Super Girl I enjoy. I like to watch that with my daughter because it shows the empowerment of women, and I like to make sure that she and I watch that, and we talk about how you can vulnerable and strong simultaneously. And that she can be the strongest girl in the world and there are still weaknesses there. And even in her weakness, she still finds her strength. I love that. I’ve really loved Legends of Tomorrow, because of the history that they’re teaching inside the episodes. So I like that, and I like that they’re changing the characters up too. It’s fun to see new people coming on and new legends, so that’s pretty cool. As far as The Flash? I like the Flash, I like the character of the Flash, I like the heart of the Flash. I would have liked to see them bring him back differently, when they first brought him back. It feels like they wrapped it up, way too fast for me. I really liked when they did the crossover episodes. It hearkened back to when I was a kid, with some of my favorite shows. So I like that a lot, the crossovers. Even when it’s not all of them, I love when one or two characters show up on a different show. It kind of helps to braid a tighter knot, inside the community of viewers that watch those shows, and when you see them reference stuff, it’s kind of like a wink and a nod.
Yeah, I like that too. I’m really interested, and I’ve been really liking Black Lightning. And to go back to what you were saying about your daughter and SuperGirl, it’s true, you can’t be something that you never see. And with Black Lightning on CW, and Black Panther coming out this past February, I feel like this is a good start to the year. After crazy 2017, I feel 2018 is maybe starting on a good foot.
I hope so, I really do.
Yeah me too. But thank you so much, again. I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate it.
Thank you, always a pleasure.
Thank you so much, and hopefully I’ll see you at the live event. You have a good one.
Alright, you too.
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*This interview was done via phone call and lightly edited for clarity and length.