DAMIEN KING LEE (3s): Hi, I’m Damien King Lee and this is the fucked up story of my life and the lives of my guests. The series of podcasts, I’ll be speaking to unique and inspiring individuals about their life, their personal stories, struggles, and experiences.
Hi, and welcome back to part two with Mr. Wesley Snipes on Life Is… Who’s in this TikiLive with you. I mean, the guy who’s the muscle and how are you getting it out there? And..
WESLEY SNIPES (43s): Yeah man, we got some great, great partners. I mean, we, we, we are partnering with some of the largest monitor manufacturers in the world. We did some really interesting things with one of the largest chip manufacturers, video chip manufacturers in the world and created a revenue sharing opportunity with them. So now that particular product is embedded in the video chips that are being installed in, you know, 190 million plus television sets and monitors around the world right now.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1m 18s): Yeah. So it’s going to be embedded? Do you mean, you said the, the option is that you are going to be embedded into this hardware. Yeah. Is that what you’re saying?
WESLEY SNIPES (1m 26s): Yeah the actual video chip itself before it’s installed. And so we did two, we did two tiers right. I’m not going to give up the secrets. There are certain countries like in the engineering world, there are certain companies who supply all of the inner guts of televisions at the monitor is, and the LED screens, right. That’s what they do. And then the other big brands put their names on it. They license it. So what are our strategy was to make a deal, let’s do something different with them up front that allows us to embed our service on those chips and in doing so it opens up a broader market because you have different scales of chips, right?
WESLEY SNIPES (2m 20s): So it can be, you know, your small, a quality chip for your budget. As a cell phone, or budget media phone in the country that can’t afford Apple or an I, you know, iOS device at $2,000 smartphone. And then you have the kind of a chips that work in those phones. Right? So if you start with them early, I’m keep buying or give up anyways, long story long. And it gives you, it gives you an early access to the market, right? From the, from the, from the engineering side of it, of the game.
WESLEY SNIPES (2m 58s): Yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (2m 60s): Wow.
WESLEY SNIPES (3m 4s): Instead of going to them and say, hey, will you take our content? No, we say, here’s the service we will share with you if you put it on early. Before you even put it in the TV or in the monitor, you know, embedded. And they say, okay back and we can do a rev share. Right. And then, you know, they take the, the, the, the button and they’d put that on your remote. So you see, you know, our service there TikiLive service on your remote, just like you would, you know, Netflix. So you see Google or Hulu on those buttons. Right. The engineering world does that, not the movie world right? The technology world.
DAMIEN KING LEE (3m 42s): Take control away from the movie world and get it to the technology world. Right.
WESLEY SNIPES (3m 47s): If you’re fortunate enough to know how to make the movies. Yeah. So my, I’m lucky because I know how to make content. Right. And we have a track record of a billion dollar success of making content. But I also understand the technology side of it. So I can talk to the engineers and say, okay, if you’re just putting it in the TV, but that, because we’ll get the content that will make it sticky for the people to come to that, buy that television or a stop and look at that particular TV. And simultaneously look at our product.
DAMIEN KING LEE (4m 26s): So they must be, some people pushing back against your model too, right. Not everybody probably likes what you’re doing it. Right?
WESLEY SNIPES (4m 34s): Look, man. And that’s that, that gave birth to some of these ideas with my partners, right? Because they came up with great ideas. They presented it to the legacy players and saying, Hey let’s can we be down together? And then greed sets in and in the legacy boys and girls want to take everything. Oh, they drag you along and they drag you along and they, you know, they, they, they, they tease you and then they drop you off and say, well, you know, we’re going to go on a different direction. I’m sorry. A different direction, but a wonderful idea. And the next thing you know, you find your shit, being used by those same people, you know?
WESLEY SNIPES (5m 14s): Yeah. You know, these smart guys on our team and these DayWalkers that are down with us, you know, they live in both worlds and they, they are comfortable with, ya know, after being rejected, and kicked off on the horse or walking down the street and brushing off and getting on another horse and ride in another direction. But they take what they know, they take their knowledge with them themselves. And so that’s what we do. To kicked us out, but okay, cool. It was like being kicked out of the club. Right. And you kick me out of the globe. That’s okay. When you don’t know how deep my stack is, cause I’m gonna buy the house across the street and we will put a doughnut factory and a diner in there.
DAMIEN KING LEE (5m 59s): And a barber shop. Yeah. Right, right.
WESLEY SNIPES (6m 2s): Yeah. And in 24 months, I own your club.
DAMIEN KING LEE (6m 6s): Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Right. That’s the Ronson’s philosophy right, that I liked the product’s so much I bought it. I don’t know if you remember that one.
WESLEY SNIPES (6m 15s): So kick me out.
DAMIEN KING LEE (6m 17s): Kick me out, man. So, who, who in your life, you know, you, you’ve done a lot of things over your career, man, and you’re doing a lot of things and you know, TikiLive and all these things, I guarantee you’re the next tech mogul. So this is huge. Right. You know, but who have you considered to be your mentor or has there been a mentor or in your life? I mean, you know, who, who, who you aspire to, and this is your guides, you, you man.
WESLEY SNIPES (6m 43s): Yeah. I got to give a lot of props to my, my mom and the family, of course. And you know, there’ve been some instrumental, fantastic teachers in my life, you know, ms. Pouro, ms. Ruggerio or ms. Parleycloth, you know, hockey, maboti, a grand master, some of them are the two grandmasters of the martial arts. And I’ve been trained with some incredible grand masters, both on the spiritual side, from the Chan Buddhism to the deep sophism to the deep levels of Hindu, to the ayuvedic systems.
WESLEY SNIPES (7m 24s): These people have been my teachers and instructors. Grand master Steve Mohammed was my first, the first person to have introduced mathematical fighting to me and explained how the body works and the physics of the body. You had people who are some of the preachers, some of the street cats, or somebody like my cousin Skipper, he taught me a lot.
DAMIEN KING LEE (7m 57s): Your cousin Skipper?
WESLEY SNIPES (7m 59s): Yeah man. You know, the street game. Yeah. My cousin Skipper. But he taught me, he taught me a lot. Yeah. You know, most of the people that are my mentors and heroes, wouldn’t be people that most would know. you know, they’re not some of the famous names out there, we didn’t grow up in those communities and they weren’t around us, but we had some incredible, incredible people in my neighbourhood and [inaudible], grandmaster Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and these are people who, you know, ate at the same diners and restaurants that my mum would take me to and when we would walk into the streets of, of moving through Harlem, the Apollo and all of these kinds of places.
DAMIEN KING LEE (8m 48s): Yeah. Wow. And would you say, would you describe yourself, I mean more as a, I don’t know, as a spiritual man or a religious man, how, how, how do you…
WESLEY SNIPES (8m 60s): A spiritual being going on an incredible human experience
THE VOICE (9m 5s): <inaudible> And I’m so going to rip that off
DAMIEN KING LEE (9m 11s): Yeah, because…
WESLEY SNIPES (9m 15s): I didn’t call it, it was taught to me and revealed to me that’s what really… That’s what I am. So, you know, try to be a, an uncommon man amongst the common man and do extraordinary things, you know, given the unlimited potential I have you know, pushing the boundaries of my creativity.
DAMIEN KING LEE (9m 39s): Yeah. I love your language and the way you talk and it’s in many ways it’s very philosophical, but it’s very… I know it digs deep, you know, it digs deep and, and resonates in your language and you probably, or maybe you do, but I don’t know if you sort of realize how impactful the way you, you, you talk resonates with, with people. Certainly me and, and I love it. And, and that’s where I was just curious,
WESLEY SNIPES (10m 7s): I hope I’m making some sense [laughs] I don’t understand a word
DAMIEN KING LEE (10m 10s): Well, you do, man <inaudible>
WESLEY SNIPES (10m 21s): What he talking, he making no damn sense
DAMIEN KING LEE (10m 21s): But sometimes no sense is great too, because it confuses us and gets us thinking
WESLEY SNIPES (10m 29s): What, what is that shit? You know?
DAMIEN KING LEE (10m 34s): You know, sometimes I have these feelings of guilt about my own spiritual connect sometimes, you know
WESLEY SNIPES (10m 41s): What’s the guilt for baby, what’s the guilt for?
DAMIEN KING LEE (10m 42s): No, no, no, no I dunno, I think sometimes I carry guilt for this, guilt for that, and I don’t know what it is, but I carry guilt. And I think we all in different levels in a sense carry guilt and sometimes we don’t know we are, but when we dig deep we find it. And, and for me, you know, on my spiritual connectivity. And what… I was brought up, I went to a Catholic school when I was young, you know, I went to a Catholic school and I was shoved religion down my neck. And you know, I had to go to confession every week at school and had to announce my sins and I was thinking every week and I had to go in and do confession, I was thinking, man, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong this week. So I’ll just make sins up to be cleansed right?
WESLEY SNIPES (11m 26s): Yeah, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (11m 28s): I was confused by it. Yeah, and nowadays [laughs] I think about my spirituality and I am a spiritual guy. Absolutely. But I feel guilty from the point of view of sometimes when I connect with my spirituality and I talk to the higher power, whoever that may be. Right. And I talk usually when I’m in a moment of anguish or I’m in a moment of distress and I don’t often talk to this higher power when I’m in a good mood or things are going great and that’s what makes me feel guilty.
DAMIEN KING LEE (12m 11s): I’m thinking, hang on why am I only reaching out when things are going wrong?
WESLEY SNIPES (12m 15s): Oh, man that’s just a conditioning, man, that’s just conditioning this as a conditioned reflex, you know? When you don’t dealt with a lot of challenges and sometimes the body and the subconscious begins to suspect and feed off of the problems and expect conflict and adversity. So it resonates is always looking for, and it scouts it out, it puts a radar up for it, you know to fill that void, you know, you know, that could be that it can be flipped. That can be flipped. And you know what, you changed the, a change to change the, the, the <inaudible> and then change the habit and reprogramme the cells and now they won’t, they won’t look for that.
WESLEY SNIPES (12m 59s): They will, they’ll scout and look for all of the good stuff, the joy, you know, the ecstasy and then you just, you know, shout it out or you just don’t, you find yourself doing it without thinking, you’d be in that frequency. Yeah man, let go of that guilt, man, let go, let go of it.
DAMIEN KING LEE (13m 19s): And that’s right, because guilt, guilt brings illness. It’s a heavy burden to carry and you know, I’m, I’m learning that every day for my journey is a learning curve and a journey for me, you know? But I’m so blessed it in the way I see it in my experience, you know, my fifth cancer, I don’t see it as a burden I see it as a blessing because, you know, I’ve had this experience to give my platform, to be able to do things I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I hadn’t had this illness. And so I see it as a blessing and it’s really empowering for me.
DAMIEN KING LEE (14m 3s): And, and people think, “Oh man, you’re going to go through another chemo today. And you don’t know when your time’s up. And that could be tomorrow. It could be next month.” Every day, I’m feeling pain in my chest and my body, in my bones… The pain of the, the disease, eating me from the inside. And you know, I’m right now, I’m sitting here on painkillers and just dealing with what I have to deal with. But I smile, man, you know, because I get to talk to people like you and hear your story and we all have our journey’s and you know, it’s amazing. And you know, you know, the most powerful thing for me and like you, I’m sure, is you know, our family lives and you know, I haven’t been the greatest dad and husband over the years.
DAMIEN KING LEE (14m 51s): I’m sure like all of us, we think that were great. And I try to do my best like all of us I hope. You know, I’ve been divorced twice, I’m actually engaged for the third now about to get married again.
THE VOICE (15m 2s): Give your money away [laughs]
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 5s): [Laughs] Divorced twice, it’s expensive. You know…
WESLEY SNIPES (15m 8s): Your birthday is when? You born…?
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 10s): My birthday is in three days. September 20, man.
WESLEY SNIPES (15m 13s): September, that makes you a… what?
THE VOICE (15m 17s): A legend.
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 18s): I’m going to be… A legend, you’re a September baby too, you are a Virgo too? I’m going to be, I’m going to be 54.
WESELY SNIPES (15m 28s): You’re a young man, man. Youngster.
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 29s): I’m a baby, I’m a baby. Yeah. But you know what it is for me Wesley? It’s true… It’s about the kids’, you know, and you’ve got what, like five kids?
WESLEY SNIPES (15m 38s): Starting five, right.
DAMIEN KING LEE (15m 40s): Wooo, baby. Wow. Yeah. I’ve got two, I’m just a puppy, right?
WESLEY SNIPES (15m 43s): It’s just joyful. It’s the most fun. Oh my God… You know, when we were doing Blade, Kris Kristofferson came to the set one time. Kris Kristofferson and he brought his family with him. I think he had maybe five or six children as well. And they were all sitting around him on the stairs, you know, the backstage and at first I looked and I was like: “man, that’s a lot of kids” [inaudible] But then, I thought I saw how they interacted with each other and I was like, “Oh, that looks kind of cool.”
WESLEY SNIPES (16m 25s): You know? And now I… With my children, I get a chance to see it up close. You know, they have so much fun with each other, man. And it’s nice that they don’t feel a sense of loneliness. Because they are constantly engaging with one another, they’re all different ages, they have slightly different tastes, sometimes they are [inaudible], sometimes they are against each other, you know, and that being an embodiment and an expression of, you know, two other beings, me and my queen, their mother, man, that’s trippy, it’s so fun.
WESLEY SNIPES (17m 6s): Sometimes we sit and we eat dinner together and I just enjoy it. We don’t even [inaudible] because we [inaudible] it’s just, it was like, it was almost like The Wayans Brother’s family, The Wayans family. Think about how many funny people in The Wayans family, I’m almost there, I ain’t got enough yet, but I’m almost there. So much fun.
THE VOICE (17m 29s): You were an only child weren’t you?
WESLEY SNIPES (17m 32s): No I wasn’t an only child but I grew up with my sister. So I’m the eldest of, four… Let me count again, I mean, each year it’s a little different [laughs]. Seven right? Seven, eight, seven, eight, right… On two sides of the family. Oh, wow.
THE VOICE (17m 53s): So I was a little bit off [laughs]
DAMIEN KING LEE (17m 55s): Yeah, a little bit off, close but not quite there yet.
WESLEY SNIPES (17m 58s): That and… The different lives and their mum had different lives. And then, you know, the combination of them, but the constants is me and my sister between all the minis. Yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (18m 9s): And what’s the spread between your kids? From… What’s the youngest to the eldest?
WESLEY SNIPES (18m 13s): The eldest is 31 and the youngest is 13.
DAMIEN KING LEE (18m 19s): Thirteen? Okay. Okay. I mean, having a dad was like you…
WESLEY SNIPES (18m 24s): All boys, lions.
DAMIEN KING LEE (18m 31s): But I mean, Wesley, having a dad, like you, I mean, how much impact has that had on the kids? I mean, did they aspire to be like you, did they want to be actors, martial artists or…?
WESLEY SNIPES (18m 43s): It’s a cross, you know, they are all great athletes, very good athletes. Only one has ever expressed real interest in being an actor, that’s the youngest one. The others they kind of like it, but not enough to really want to do it. But they are all super, super talented. And then the interesting, I had a conversation with my oldest son once, and he was talking about how, he secretly, had had the passion for going into acting, but given who his father was he felt quite intimidated.
WESLEY SNIPES (19m 26s): And, you know, he shouldn’t even try because he could never be as good as his dad… I was a little disappointed in him. I was appreciative that he told me but I was disappointed that he thought that way, you know, because I would have propped him up [inaudible] yo, if that’s what do you want to do let me give you the skillset, let me show you how it’s done. And then let you go off and do your own thing. Like the Douglas’s of the world, you know, like Michael Douglas and the Kirk Douglas and you know, all of them, but do your thing, man. But yeah, as I said [inaudible] you know when you have… the celebrity. The celebrity is tricky, man, no question. It messes with people’s heads.
DAMIEN KING LEE (20m 7s): Yeah. I bet you, I mean, it’s not always easy for the kids right now.
WESLEY SNIPES (20m 11s): In your own house, yeah. It messes with people’s heads in your own house. Yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (20m 16s): Okay. And you know, I’ve got to ask, I mean, you know, with what’s going on in America today, man, and you know I watch it from afar, but I’ve got a business in America too, you know, with my brands building in America. So we are kind of involved in all of the mayhem in some way, shape and form, but I mean, what’s it like raising kids in America right now? You know, with all these movements and this political divide and part of some politics and you know, it must be a challenge as a parent…
WESLEY SNIPES (20m 48s): No question. But I mean to I mean, let’s put it in perspective, right? There are places that are worse. I mean, you’re not getting bombs dropped on you.
DAMIEN KING LEE (21m 1s): Right.
WESLEY SNIPES (21m 2s): Do you feel me? You’re not… The troops who are not walking on the street right now, knocking on your door, you know, and tagging you, and then they put you on the train and, you know, shipping you off somewhere. We are not at that, we are not living that kind of reality.
THE VOICE (21m 16s): See what happens in November.
WESLEY SNIPES (21m 20s): Right, that’s always possible. Everything has changed, everything is possible [laughs]
DAMIEN KING LEE (21m 23s): Yeah [laughs]
WESLEY SNIPES (21m 25s): I ain’t excluding it out
DAMIEN KING LEE (21m 29s): Give it a month or two. Yeah, yeah.
WESLEY SNIPES (21m 32s): You know, we’re not there yet. And that helps to put it into perspective for those, you know, who are confronted with real world challenges, because sometimes you can think that experience, you going through… You’re the only one who’s going through it at that intensity that has ever gone through it in the world. And it’s not really true, it’s not true. There is a lot of people going through it and not people, not only going through it, have made it through it, come out on the other side. You can use as a reference and an inspiration, you can use as a measure of, you know, your despair and how quickly you fall into despair right?
WESLEY SNIPES (22m 18s): So it’s tough. It’s tough, you know, and there’s a lot of people who are waking up to realities that others knew for decades. There is a waking up to some of their pros and cons of the way they look, the tribe they are associated with, the by-product of that, the benefits that come with that, some of them are handling it better than others. Hey, you know… Even a tree, or a plant that grows into the sunlight it has to break the surface of the ground, and it stayed underground, in the roots, in the dirt, in the muck and mire and the unsung, unclean, awful, unsexy part of the world and it had to fight its way through to the sunlight, you know, and that’s what we going through.
WESLEY SNIPES (23m 8s): It didn’t happen without a little struggle, a little pressure, you know, nothing grows without pressure, nothing moves without a little bit of push.
DAMIEN KING LEE (23m 18s): And a little bit of water…
WESLEY SNIPES (23m 21s): Yeah and a little bit of water. Yeah, man. Indeed.
DAMIEN KING LEE (23m 26s): To keep it alive…
WESLEY SNIPES (23m 27s): That’s right. That’s why we are the DayWalkers, that’s right. See like you…
DAMIEN KING LEE (23m 33s): Tell us more about the DayWalkers, man. Tell us I want to understand Daywalkers, tell us more about DayWalkers…
WESLEY SNIPES (23m 39s): I have been blessed to be in so many different communities, right? And be able to walk in the different [inaudible], different cliques and amongst different societies and levels of wealth. I realized that I have the opportunity to connect people together that have mutual interests and who are vibing on the same frequency, but don’t know the other exists and these people usually are hybrids.
WESLEY SNIPES (24m 21s): Really people who can function along with both the left brain and right brain. Do really great things or known for one really great thing but then when you really check them, there are just as proficient and adept at something that you would never expect them to be adept at, and they are doing it quietly, or they do it for the betterment of humanity. Some of the humanitarian efforts, some of the science and technologies, these what we call [inaudible] of the world who come from tribes that look like us, experiences that we can relate to, or have had and unknown.
WESLEY SNIPES (25m 9s): And have survived, we say who have gone through the fire. So we call these people Daywalkers. These are the people who can walk in the night and walk in the day who’ve been through their fire and we created a global community of these people for two purposes, the social and lifestyle interaction and the sharing of ideas and experiences and interactives, exposure. And then the DayWalker Society which is focused on the humanitarian and the charitable and cultural arts interest on a global scale. So we’re rocking with Microsoft, we rocking with Google, we rocking with the president of Ghana, we rocking with Nigeria, we got things going on in South Korea, we have [inaudible] and, bring all of these different seemingly segregated people in interest together.
WESLEY SNIPES (26m 14s): Introduce them to each other, work together and collaborate, you know, and then we take some of that technology and we use it in film and television, on TV production and expose some of the TV and then the creatives to technologies or frontier technologies that can fuel storylines or plots or drive plots. So, you know, and then we merchandise it or we find ways of monetizing it for the community or for that need, you know?
DAMIEN KING LEE (26m 52s): And is there an element of giving back when you say you monetize it. Do you give back to the community in some shape or form?
WESLEY SNIPES (26m 59s): Yeah, sure. The society is looking at like the [inaudible] on this, you know, the high pressure, enzymatic hydrolysis technologies, which are pulling, you know, amino acid… All the 20 essential amino acids out of meat product. So chickens being thrown to waste through our process, we can actually take that meat and pressurize it and pull… extract the essential amino acids out of it and then redistribute it as a food, as a nutritional food, matter of fact, Damien we were using in this particular product with my father-in-law, who also was in stage 4, and, you know, for three and a half years, he was using the product and it helped to stabilize him and keep him around past the expiration date they gave him, you know.
WESLEY SNIPES (27m 57s): Oh, these are, these are just, you know, the extension of the connections that I have, that I bring together to do the fundamental work build a school, build a legacy, and then hopefully contribute to the better quality of life for humanity. I know you guys as a nuclear physicist working on fusion technology and these cats over here know how to talk to the girls. You don’t know how to talk to the girls, they don’t know nuclear fusion. Okay. Y’all need to meet [laughs]. Meet each other.
DAMIEN KING LEE (28m 30s): Yeah, dude, it sounds like you are the conductor of an awesome foundation. So I mean, how do we get in? I want to bring my organisation into there somehow.
WESLEY SNIPES (28m 40s): The DayWalker family man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (28m 41s): Really?
WESLEY SNIPES (28m 41s): Yes, indeed man. We are doing everything from water to sustainable energy technologies, everything from the data transmission, cloud service, creating platforms for people to create their own applications and most importantly, which is really exciting is the interest in some of the big technology companies have in finding, motivating new talent, educating not only the public, but educating those future engineers and innovators in the tools that are available, that they don’t know about or that they should learn, or they need for the future, the future needs that innovation.
WESLEY SNIPES (29m 29s): They needed that idea. Technology is nothing without the creativity
DAMIEN KING LEE (29m 36s): And the people behind it.
WESLEY SNIPES (29m 37s): And the people behind it, yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (29m 44s): Offline, in another time we going to talk about this because I’ve got some great things going on with my organisations around food and around solving single use plastics…
WESLEY SNIPES (29m 54s): Oh, yeah all that technology, excellent.
DAMIEN KING LEE (29m 57s): Yeah. Yeah. So when we were working on some great stuff, so that would be really cool to chat about this.
WESLEY SNIPES (30m 2s): Hey man, I’m totally with it and check it, what we do is like when you share with us that kind of stuff, we figure out how to put it in the movie, baby! [laughs]
DAMIEN KING LEE (30m 10s): Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I love it
WESLEY SNIPES (30m 16s): Biggest commercial in the world, baby [laughs] The whole city is made of that, that, that new product, that’s how you do it. Chase, chase goals right through it. That’s how you do it…
DAMIEN KING LEE (30m 32s): Yeah, yeah, creative, man.
WESLEY SNIPES (30m 33s): Yeah, man. <inaudible> We doing it for the world, it’s for the world.
DAMIEN KING LEE (30m 42s): We gonna make it a brighter place. Well, listen man, look, I got two more questions for you because… You’ve been amazing and chatting for this long, It was a really good question for you to come on the DayWalker experience, you know, when I, when we were like, okay, As a launch that too, you know, when you come in and we will continue to conversation on my show or you have to set I’m there, they would take a motorcycle, a ride too. So we got a couple of things to do. All right. We are going to do that. And we are going to do that, baby. Yeah. So listen, my two more questions, because as I said, being someone that’s followed your for so long and it’s just two questions that are really, God, I just, I wanted to know about you and you know, I’m of Singaporean-Australian heritage and I grew up in a white Australia at the time in my early days, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (31m 31s): And you know, Australia… people don’t know it, or a lot of people don’t know, but we even had back home in Australia, you know, early on the white Australian policy, I believe it or not that was government policy and the white Australian policy. So they wanted people from England and Europe to immigrate there and they didn’t want people from Asia or Africa or whatever to immigrate, right? So I kind of grew up in an all white school and, you know, around, you know, a white Australian sort of click and had some hard times as a kid, you know, it was like, I was called… You know, my nickname by one particular guy, I’m not going to mention his name, but I still remember you…
DAMIEN KING LEE (32m 11s): Chinaman Bill, you know, that was his nickname for me at school. And one day after years and years of… Each year, you know, you progress, year seven, year eight together, year nine together and eventually when I got to year 10 with him and I’d taken three years of Chinaman Bill from him in the class and all my classmates would laugh and “ha ha” finally, in year 10, I said, man…. I remember clearly it was in the science lab and I thought “I’ve had enough of you. I’ve had enough of you.” And I finally decided to stand up to this bully right? And I walked around to his Bunsen burner in the science lab and I took his Bunsen burner and I picked it up and I put it in his face and I said “Man, you want to fuck with me?”
DAMIEN KING LEE (32m 55s): I said, “let’s bring it on right now.” And it was at the first time, I actually stood up with him in three years and he looked at me and he thought, “really?” It was odd for me coming to him. And then finally, you know, we broke the pattern because we ended up messing up our crocodile suits
WESLEY SNIPES (33m 12s): In the school?
DAMIEN KING LEE (33m 14s): Yeah, and getting dirty. And, but he never picked on me again after that, because I put my heart into the fight and I showed him, man, don’t mess with me.
WESLEY SNIPES (33m 23s): Damn, oh my God [laughs]
DAMIEN KING LEE (33m 24s): Yeah. Yeah. But it was three years but… I needed you by my side. I needed by my side [laughs] But what is it like for you? And I can only imagine what it must have been like in the eighties when your career was kicking out and you know, in black America, what it must have been like. What was it like for you?
WESLEY SNIPES (33m 50s): Yo, man. Put it this way, then, you know, you know, you are in a game where you generate millions and millions of dollars just for showing up, right? And then, then you can walk into a place or a gas station or a walk to a little… a language translation school, a language teaching school and knock on the window and ask, “Hey man, can I use the restroom?” And the white guy turned to you and said, “no, get out, go, go, get out.” And you say, “Hey man, can I use the… Come on, man. What do you gotta do? And you know, what it’s like when we gotta go go, come on man.
WESLEY SNIPES (34m 30s): At that point “come on man give us the restroom there is nobody even in here.” “No, get out of here, get out of here right now.” You know? And this is like, I don’t know, six years ago.
DAMIEN KING LEE (34m 43s): Six years ago?
WESLEY SNIPES (34m 44s): Yeah. This is my experience six years ago.
DAMIEN KING LEE (34m 46s): Wow.
THE VOICE (34m 46s): Six years ago?
DAMIEN KING LEE (34m 46s): With your face?
WESLEY SNIPES (34m 46s): Yea, there’s still some places you can go and I can walk in and because of the chocolate they won’t let him use the restroom.
DAMIEN KING LEE (34m 57s): What?!
WESLEY SNIPES (34m 58s): Yeah. All right. So what you going to do? You’re going to get mad about all that? That’s a [inaudible] that’s their problem you know, there’s ways of dealing with that. Other than that, I’ve dealt with that all of my life, I’m a chocolate guy, chocolicious type of looking cat and during the days when I was growing up, you know, being dark skin, wasn’t the cat’s meow. Nobody was, you know, women wasn’t really into it, the guys was ridiculing it you know, and your family members they didn’t even watch it ’cause you were dark. And then look, what ends up happening? You know what, I ended up being a romantic lead in movies that travel around the world, you know? So if you hold on to all of that…
WESLEY SNIPES (35m 38s): You know and the crazy part is that it can fuel you, right? It fuels you to be better to overcome what they see as your inadequacy or your weakness. You find other ways to engage and activate them, right? So yeah, on the same… On the one tip, he’s dark, but goddamn he’s talented like a motherfucker, you know? So which one you were going to deal with, and then still to this day, I deal with both. Some people recognize the skillset, you know, and some people can get past the colour. It is what it is. Yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (36m 15s): You know, you can answer this or not, but just out of my curiosity, I mean, you know, for your early days in Hollywood, you know and navigating through that world to where that world is today, do you think things have changed in terms of attitudes?
WESLEY SNIPES (36m 33s): Yeah. Oh, yes. And that’S constant. Things will always change and improve and sometimes they roll forward and two steps forward and one step back. Yeah. But I mean, just the quantity of people, those quantity of faces you see now in the film production, in television, is an immeasurable uptake, you know, and improvement from where it was. Some of the characterizations are less stereotypical. I mean, even in the States, you know, you got programs where the LBGTQ communities are highly represented, you know, I mean, I come out of the hip hop culture in the seventies and yo, you would get smacked up.
WESLEY SNIPES (37m 15s): You’ve got records where they use the term fag in it, you know?
DAMIEN KING LEE (37m 20s): Yeah.
WESLEY SNIPES (37m 20s): That was acceptable…
DAMIEN KING LEE (37m 23s): [Inaudible] money for nothing.
WESLEY SNIPES (37m 25s): Right, you know. So, yes, without question there has been improvement, you know, but in certain areas that are behind the wheel and keep the world turning, you know, you still got some keys that are held in the hands of the old guard, and they don’t want to give him up. So, you know, the way we have to… [laughs] if you can’t roll with them, roll around them, you know what I’m saying? Roll over.
DAMIEN KING LEE (37m 51s): Roll over them. Yeah. Yeah.
WESLEY SNIPES (37m 54s): But it’s all good. Our favourite saying is that if they are not down with us, fine. If they don’t want to be our collaborators, they will be our customers.
DAMIEN KING LEE (38m 3s): [Laughs] That’s it, man. So I guess my final question for you, man, is, well, actually, can have two more? I got two more questions. Sorry. One more. I mean, you know, look, everybody, you know, and its been talked about a lot and you know, here is my opportunity to ask you too [laughs] But you know, I know you’ve talked about a lot and of course, but man, you know, you were at one point, you know, flying high in your career of Hollywood and then “boom” something happened that suddenly put a holt to all that. I mean what happened?
WESLEY SNIPES (38m 41s): Yeah. Well, you know, it’s part of… A by-product of being black American and you know, there are forces that come along, that take advantage of that incredible wealth of talent and ability. There are also forces that are concerned with and monitor who has that kind of influence and kind of platform and what side of the track they are on and certain people from certain tribes, having that kind of access, resources and power, make certain people feel uncomfortable. You start asking certain questions, other people get uncomfortable and so forth and so on…
WESLEY SNIPES (39m 25s): You know, they push the button so that when you start to be successful or, or when you finding out or unveiling things, and things are starting to be revealed that you didn’t know that most of the culture and most of the people might not know how the system really works and operates. So those things are, you know, they become concerning for certain people, [inaudible] and some of the activities that I was doing became very concerning. So people, some forces that would… “Look like we need to, we need to check this, we need to…”
DAMIEN KING LEE (40m 4s): Slow him down
WESLEY SNIPES (40m 6s): Wake him up, yeah, wake him up because if he goes the way he’s going, because he doesn’t know… And that’s the other part of it, it’s the crazy part of it, you know, you get involved in a situation based on well intentions, as they say, hell’s paved with plenty pricks of that, and… No one’s there, all that you have… you have people that [inaudible] guiding you. Make no mistake about it, very rarely do you have the altruistic heart and soul a person who says “I’m really down with you and I’m trying to help you for your benefit, for you and your people…”
WESLEY SNIPES (40m 46s): Nah, they got an agenda most of the time, they got an agenda and they are looking to make a name, or fall off the celebrity, looking to make a name off of the controversy. They looking to make a name off of the conflict or the sorrow and make a buck off of all of it. And if you got that kind of access and wealth, I mean, if your pockets are stacked and your chips are high, a lot of people want them chips, chips [laughs]. The ones that ain’t got chips, want the chips. You got someone who ain’t got chips who feel like you shouldn’t even have the chips. How come your American dream came true and mine didn’t? And I’m living in these four square walls, you know, with the bad ions up in here.
WESLEY SNIPES (41m 32s): And I’m like, you know, why? What? And you are living that lifestyle? And you know, I’ve played by the rules and you know, how come you? So when I say, when you asked me what happened, I think that’s what happened and also the knowledge or the lack of knowledge of the value of what I was doing and what I had, and the position I was in at that time. And it was a heck of a wake up call, wake up call. But you know, put it this way, you know, prison or the concept of being locked up in jail, is reality in one point, but it’s also a state of mind.
WESLEY SNIPES (42m 12s): You know, cats who’ve gone through being locked up for going through the fire, they understand that and they recognize, you know. Even soldiers recognize, you know, being captured is sometimes a state of mind and how you think about it. And interestingly enough, my experience revealed a lot more people are locked up and don’t know that they are locked up than I realised. The bars… The question is, on what side of the bar are you? If there are bars. In my case, there weren’t no bars. But going back, the point that I’m trying to illustrate is the person… The bars separate two realities and if the person who’s perceived to be the worst, the person that was in prison, understands that they are in prison, understands that there are rules, limited, that they have obligations, there are ramifications for their actions may be more free than the person on the other side of the bars, who has no knowledge of this whatsoever, squanders their time.
WESLEY SNIPES (43m 19s): No sense of the value, or ramifications or repercussions. Feels like, you know, the fact that they are here is no fault of their own, you know, in life I’m talking about, you know what I say? I didn’t ask to come here. Ok, well, so that now… Because you didn’t ask to come here that means that you can just fuck it up? That’s what you think. My point is that, you know, sometimes the people that are on the other side of the don’t realize that they are in a mental prison. They are in an emotional prison. They may be in an economic pressure but deeper than spiritual prison and don’t know it.
WESLEY SNIPES (44m 4s): Who’s more free?
DAMIEN KING LEE (44m 5s): Yeah, and it can be a far longer sentence.
THE VOICE (44m 11s): One of the things that you really know is happening around that time was… I’ve never seen the IRS and the American government get so much press out of something . It was just a huge propaganda action job. You know, it was hilarious to watch, probably not for you, Wes [laughs]
WESLEY SNIPES (44m 31s): I mean, you know what I mean, what most people don’t realize was that I was the client of the accountant and the attorney’s and they brought me in as a co-conspirator and the attorney’s, so that, that’s very rare, you know, if I’m paying you to guide me, how am I [inaudible] And your mistakes or the fraud if there is a fraud, or how does that work? And a long story long, I came out of it, with, you know, some misdemeanours and no felonies, but a hell of an experience about the understanding of how the system is, system works and the game was played.
WESLEY SNIPES (45m 12s): And most importantly, the value that I am not, you know, I’m not trying to run for nobody’s fella I figured if you make enough money, you have the taxation. That’s not even an issue, you know what I’m saying. You know, if you’ve got people around, scrambling on the streets, doing the note, and sometimes you pay people just to stay away. You pay people just to go away, you know what I’m saying? And just get away, just stay away, just stay away, you know? And if you creative enough and if you’re a visionary enough and you tenacious enough, “Hey, it is what it is.”
WESLEY SNIPES (45m 53s): Let them worry about that you know? Create the environment and opportunities where we don’t matter to you, you know, you’re not struggling with it. It’s not an issue, there are bigger issues, health, your overall health, to your life, you know. I’ve never had an issue with paying taxes, I really didn’t… The only issue that we had it wasn’t about me paying the taxes. I was charged with not filing a form, not evasions, not paying, no… filing the form.
DAMIEN KING LEE (46m 27s): That’s some bad advice, man.
THE VOICE (46m 28s): You pay these guys to do that for you though, right?
WESLEY SNIPES (46m 34s): Yeah, that’s what I thought. But you know, look at the beauty of it, you know, if that was one chapter in the book of my life, oh man that’s like way down, you know, that don’t even fill up the whole book.
DAMIEN KING LEE (46m 47s): Yeah, but that’s part of your journey and it’s beautiful
WESLEY SNIPES (46m 50s): [Inaudible] If I’m living to a hundred and plus, so if I only had two years of that experience, I mean, I can’t even remember some of the two years when I was between 10 and seven, seven and 10
DAMIEN KING LEE (47m 2s): And knock it out of the park, man. I mean, what is your big take away from all of that, that two years? I mean, what did you… Did you grow as a person? Did it define you as man or what, what’s your big take away from that…
WESLEY SNIPES (47m 13s): Yeah. That gave birth to the Daywalker yeah. I realised that, you know, I was gifted in a special and offered an incredible opportunity that I had better understand and be responsible for and realized what it can do for those that you care about, loved ones, love Minnie’s and that your overall moral agenda to help humanity. Okay. Right. But you have to understand what you’ve working with to do that, what tools do you have to do that and where your working and the rules that support your success or undermined your success and that period of meditation and that period of solid to that period of reself-reflection. WESLEY SNIPES (48m 11s): I think all of us should go through that period of quiet or maybe a lot. My skillsets went up on every level. My knowledge of myself in the game went up on every level, my appreciation of quality of life and appreciation for time and the ability to throw away bullshit and, you know, be armoured against all of that trash grew exponentially.
DAMIEN KING LEE (48m 41s): Wow.
WESLEY SNIPES (48m 42s): Much more at peace, comfortable with being different, comfortable with people not agreeing with me, comfortable with having it their way and travelling their journey. But one thing is for sure, for damn sure: I am not wasting time. 3 (49m 4s): You grew from it, you grew from it by the sounds of it
WESLEY SNIPES (49m 8s): I’d better! What a shame if I didn’t
DAMIEN KING LEE (49m 12s): It’s a Shaolin monk experience, temple, you know, experience you went through there, right?
WESLEY SNIPES (49m 16s): Yeah. And it was on a mountain too, which is crazy. I had some of the most lucid dreaming in there, the incredible dreams, you know, of my life. You really… Some crazy counters with some of the elders and some of the grandmasters, and I was even in [inaudible] and the priests there and they took me around to where the arch was at, and then, I mean… It was deep man, the dreams were crazy, so much energy coming off of that mountain. I was doing yoga all the time. You know, almost six, seven times a day and started a yoga class. Would have great competitions with the guys who were the iron pushers, you know, to see those stronger doing certain things, yeah.
DAMIEN KING LEE (49m 58s): Were you ever challenged, come on. I’ve seen all of the movies where the hard guy goes into prison and someone wants to challenge you to say, I’m harder, did that happen to you?
WESLEY SNIPES (50m 10s): Never, never happened, not once. Yeah, no, I was cool with everybody, man. You know, I had to cats from Boston, I had the cats from DC, the cats from Cleveland, the cast from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and, and the cats from Russia and they were segregated. They were segregated, but they all had a film that they liked that I was in. They all had a favourite flick. So I was able to rock an [inaudible] Rice and beans with everybody [laughs]
THE VOICE (50m 51s): I have one last question for you, Wes… Sorry, I don’t know if you can hear me but I have one last question for you and this has been going on for ages and I’m sure we’ll catch up after, but you know, I never asked you this. What is, what’s your favourite movie that you’ve been involved with it? I mean everybody has a favourite movie. When you say, everybody that I’ve ever spoken to has one film that they love of yours over another, but which one’s yours.
WESLEY SNIPES (51m 20s): This is hard, man, because I’ve crossed the genres. So I’ve done the action, the drama, the comedy, romance, superhero…
THE VOICE (51m 26s): Okay so which is your favourite genre
DAMIEN KING LEE (51m 32s): Cross dress too, right?
WESLEY SNIPES (51m 35s): Yeah. The drag queen thing. Yeah. So, but I would, it can’t be one.
DAMIEN KING LEE (51m 44s): Okay, give me a top three.
THE VOICE (51m 47s): Okay. Top three: White men can’t jump, Coming 2 America 2 and… maybe Blade 2. Because see these are the most action oriented one’s right. But, you know, from an artistic, thespian’s point of view, was, was… I mean working with De Niro was great. That was great. Yeah. Yeah. Like with Maya Angelou that we, we produced the great Maya Angelou’s directorial debut, and a piece titled Down in the Delta. Alfre Woodard was also a lead actress in that particular film and that was produced through our company [inaudible] films during the time. And that was a monumental moment for me, having been a student of hers and also heard sound technician when I was in… when she came up to state university of New York to do a speech and do a poetry You were a sound technician?
WESLEY SNIPES (53m 3s): I was the sound tech and that was my student job.
THE VOICE (53m 7s): That’s amazing
WESLEY SNIPES (53m 9s): Yeah. So I reminded her, you know, this story, she didn’t remember it because it was at that time, and I said, you changed my appreciation for words and the literati, all of that, and how you articulated and I was your sound tech then and now I’m your producer in your directorial debut to the world.
THE VOICE (53m 32s): That’s amazing. And you worked with Sean Connery, which over here is kind of a big deal.
DAMIEN KING LEE (53m 37s): Sean Connery, icon.
WESLEY SNIPES (53m 40s): Yeah. Sean Connery, the brother from another mother [laughs] I told Sean and his mom , but he never came into Harlem, though [laughs] 6 (53m 57s): So, when is this latest movie coming out, you know, coming to America.
WESLEY SNIPES (54m 2s): Coming to America, drops in December of 2020.
DAMIEN KING LEE (54m 8s): Can’t wait, man.
WESLEY SNIPES (54m 11s): Yeah. Major cast is back and we have some of the new fantastic new talent. The spectacle, the pomp and circumstance, the production value of this film is extraordinary, you know. And we got a new project that we call Indigo, which is our Foxy Brown coffee, Pam Greer meets Mission impossible project that we really looking for new talent and we going to discover a new female action star, sister of colour, women of colour and a bunch of her girlfriends that go around and do that Le Femme Nikita thing around the world and we style it the way we do our films [inaudible]
THE VOICE (54m 51s): And it’s a show. You’ve got to show to discover this person, right? You’re actually doing it.
WESLEY SNIPES (54m 57s): We actually going to do a global casting, a virtual casting to discover…
DAMIEN KING LEE (55m 1s): Yeah. Was that like Project…? You had Project Action, once upon a time
WESLEY SNIPES (55m 9s): Similar. Yes. But Project Action actually saw it as the platform that we use for the audition and finding the talent and scouting the new talent, that’s a program like a America’s got talent. No, no, more like The Voice and… What was that other one? The first one that came…
DAMIEN KING LEE (55m 33s): X Factor… What have we got?
THE VOICE (55m 35s): American Idol?
WESLEY SNIPES (55m 37s): Yeah, yeah. But for body movement specialist, and then we would take them through a whole training program and all that kind of stuff and bringing grandmasters to the various disciplines, martial arts, dance, cinematography, directing… All of the things that go into making qualities that you need to become an action star or a body movement actor in action content. The project that we use that platform for is titled Indigo and a couple of other action related projects, you know, the stuff… The next blade forward kind of stuff that we didn’t do with Marvel, we do ourselves [laughs].
WESLEY SNIPES (56m 23s): Yeah. So, you know, when we got all of that Blade type of next hybrid type of action content and bringing in some of the top choreography, we’re all in talent.
DAMIEN KING LEE (56m 36s): Well, Mr. Snipes you’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got a lot going on.
WESLEY SNIPES (56m 42s): Hey, man, bushido.
DAMIEN KING LEE (56m 44s): Yes, the warrior spirit. And so finally, I mean, what does the future hold for Mr. Wesley Snipes I mean, what’s next? I mean, you’ve got a lot going on, but what’s next.
WESLEY SNIPES (56m 54s): This is the… The film products are coming out, we are going to do a wonderful thing about the DayWalker Klique and a fan art competition for me to say, thank you for all of the support and some wonderful, incredible art that people have sent me based on characters and a films that we’ve had and some of the new products that the DayWalker family will be releasing in terms of the DayWalker elixir, which are a combination of health products and beverages.
WESLEY SNIPES (57m 35s): What we are doing in expansion of the utility services for communities that are underserved with Wi-Fi and connectivity. And man, very excited about our forays into the AR and VR space in the use of these technologies for gaming and mental health and interactivity immersion. So all of this is the stuff that we were actively engaged in now, and you’ll be hearing more about each one of these projects and the various platforms, and they integrate a community of the DayWalker Klique.
THE VOICE (58m 15s): We are going to have a bunch of links that we’re going to put on… Honestly, the stuff that I’ve seen Wesley is way too modest, it’s pretty remarkable.
DAMIEN KING LEE (58m 30s): Yeah, I know. Look, and seriously, if my business can cross over into some of the great stuff you are doing around the food, you know, we are really close with Wholefoods and companies like that. And in America, I would love to expand these ideas with, you know, Mr. Lee’s Noodles and what are they are doing and who knows what else.
WESLEY SNIPES (58m 48s): Let’s do it, man. Let’s do it.
DAMIEN KING LEE (58m 51s): DayWalker, I’m coming.
WESLEY SNIPES (58m 53s): DayWalker Damien, skill master D [laughs] all of the DayWalkers have to have skill master so you got to figure out what your skill master is going to be. You know, skill master D, skill master noodles. He does noodles style.
DAMIEN KING LEE (59m 17s): Congee is coming
WESLEY SNIPES (59m 20s): Congee skill master.
DAMIEN KING LEE (59m 22s): Your wife is from South Korea isn’t she? Originally?
WESLEY SNIPES (59m 28s): Yes, my wife is South Korean, yes, yes.
DAMIEN KING LEE (59m 31s): She knows congee then, she must know congee.
WESLEY SNIPES (59m 33s): Oh, man, we know all… we know everything about South Korea, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (59m 42s): Tell her I’m going to send her some congee, so she can try my congee out. See what she thinks.
WESLEY SNIPES (59m 48s): Yes, yes, I would like that. We are a very much into the use of healing arts and holistic medicines and that’s how we stay in DayWalker, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 0m 4s): Amazing.
THE VOICE (1h 0m 5s): It’s good hearing your voice.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 0m 6s): You know, the opportunity to sit chit chat a little bit, you know, and meditate on these things and inspire, invigorate, elevate and innovate with our skillsets and our blessing
WESLEY SNIPES (1h 0m 24s): And I think that the ancestors [inaudible], and all of the Angel’s on high, will continue to bless us, open the pathways for us as we do the right work, do the good work, bringing light into the world of darkness. [inaudible]
THE VOICE (1h 0m 49s): Wesley, it’s been absolutely brilliant, absolute… You are just one of the most articulate people I know. And I love it every time I speak to you. So thank you again for joining Damien, it has been terrific.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 1m 5s): It has been an absolute honour, man.
WESLEY SNIPES (1h 1m 9s): Give me the full recopy and then I know that you guys play, edit it down, but I want to have the full copy.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 1m 15s): Yeah, you got it man. It has been an absolute honour, man. Seriously, you are the most wonderful person, you are deep, you are spiritual
WESLEY SNIPES (1h 1m 27s): [Inaudible] [Laughs] Where’s the bag, man?
THE VOICE (1h 1m 33s): You are funny dude, man, <inaudible> they want to assess right.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 1m 56s): Hey, listen, we love you and we will stay in touch, man and DayWalkers unite
WESLEY SNIPES (1h 1m 56s): That’s right, DayWalker Klique.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 1m 57s): All right, baby.
THE VOICE (1h 1m 58s): See ya, Wes. Bye, bye.
WESLEY SNIPES (1h 1m 60s): It was a beautiful thing, man. A good thing, man.
DAMIEN KING LEE (1h 2m 7s): I really hope you enjoy today’s show as much as I did. If so, make sure you come back and join me with next week’s guest, fellow Australian and actress, Claire Holt, where she shares some incredible stories on her life’s journey.