Montel Williams discusses state of Charm City and ponders brighter future

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The longtime TV host and personality came home to Baltimore via Radio Row to talk to Nestor in Miami.


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Montell Williams, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back, wn, st Towson, Baltimore and wn St. dotnet. We are live on radio row in Super Bowl 54 coverage. I don’t know if this guy’s like a raving fan or not. But I know that there are large associations to Baltimore for Montel Williams. Yeah, I saw your name on the on the docket here and I said, now do a Baltimore positive, I’d be fool to not have Montel Williams on here from super well, what’s going on?

Montel Williams  00:25

I was born in Baltimore. I was born in Cherry Hill. So for those who don’t know that I was born in Cherry Hill, and I left in the 20, your two years total in the military. But the Marine Corps in the Navy and I started my show the auto show for 17 years and have had a couple of other 17 year careers in the mix. And I now live in Miami, and for you.

Nestor Aparicio  00:48

I’m staying at your place tonight. There you go. I was looking for places in South Park ticket, the Sleep Number bed over there and like nobody’s sleeping in that tonight. That’s the only bed Miami that’s probably the

Montel Williams  00:57

only one available. They could probably sell that bed that night for about 800 bucks a night.

Nestor Aparicio  01:00

So you know, for you to a military makeover. Some thoughts about that. And obviously, what the Superbowl represents down here in Miami bringing people like you out well,

Montel Williams  01:08

it’s really interesting. And you know, there’s a brand new show, a brand new show for me it shows been on for now. Almost five years I took over his house about a year and a half ago. And what it is it’s called military makeover with Lonzo well we take veterans who own their own homes and deserving veterans that we then make their home over from the ground up. Okay, giving them what would be a forever home and then they just so happens that our next episode that premieres on January 14, this particular family is the Hickson family and a lot of people don’t remember who the Hinkson family is. But here in Miami in South Beach, or South southern Florida, two and a half years ago, two years ago, almost on the 17th we had an incident at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School if you remember the high school shooting, while 17 people gave their lives, 14 of them were students. Three of them were teachers. One of those seizures happened to be Coach Chris Hickson Coach Chris Hickson was the head of the athletic department for Marjory Stoneman Douglas. And when that security guard was cowering behind the tree in a bush collection went running in to save the lives of some of the students. Unfortunately, he gave his life poor, a lot of people don’t know about him is that he was a 27 year veteran in the United States Navy. And sure the tours overseas, came home and he you know, he remembered wholeheartedly his Oath of Office and Office, which was I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support defend the Constitution United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So even

Nestor Aparicio  02:34

this week, by the way, where we’re sitting where we are right now, yes,

Montel Williams  02:37

big words, big words, and, you know, big truths. I mean, we wouldn’t be had the opportunity to be down here celebrating the Superbowl are celebrating an American way of life without the guys who have given so much for us. And you know, he gave his life and left behind a wife and a special needs son, who we then did a makeover of their home for nice. And Debbie Hickson, who’s the surviving wife, you know, would be a gold star wife had he died in combat, but he did die in combat on American soil, protecting our children. So we got to remember that, you know, so you know that a lot of different ways. So we actually did we do what we do, we do a makeover of a home, we take 10 days, we take the family out of their home, put them in a hotel. 10 days later, they come back to a new home and from the ground up, how

Nestor Aparicio  03:23

many people have you done this for?

Montel Williams  03:25

This is the 21st family that the Military Makeover has done. I have been involved in the last six. Okay, and I hope to be involved in the next 26

Nestor Aparicio  03:33

We got a little Baltimore background we call them are positive and we got another Mayor that’s getting indicted. You’re gonna go to prison. We got elections coming up. We got Elijah Cummings, you got the President saying awful things about our city. There’s the wire, there’s right you know, all of that. You do see from afar now, right? You just see it as Baltimore’s a far off place a little bit that you used to know but we’re trying to figure it out. And we

Montel Williams  03:58

get to come back and forth into visit family as my family still there. My father was Herman Williams, who was the first African American Chief of a big city fire department in the country. He was people started to believe he also served in three positions. He was a Commissioner of Public Works Division of Transportation in Baltimore. So he’s retired now me and my dad is still working every day. He’s seen it all at 86 He’s working every day as I start working for the city. Cheese man back in the 50s. So he started he started off in the 50s.

Nestor Aparicio  04:28

Tommy seen hold the all the wind went

Montel Williams  04:30

through Mayor after Mayor after man after Mayor went through a time when you know Baltimore wooden

Nestor Aparicio  04:34

was involved this, you know,

Montel Williams  04:38

yeah, okay. It’s sad. You know, a lot of us who are Baltimore is, you know, think about in some ways, the plight of our city, but we understand that right under the surface, there are hard working people who want to make Baltimore better, better. And you know, what a lot of people don’t understand is Baltimore up until about a year ago, two years ago was the number two most visited place in the country. Because you got the Science Center, you got the National Aquarium you got, you know, Chesapeake Bay, you got Fort McHenry,

Nestor Aparicio  05:03

I lived in Harbor, I see the buses come on, come through, but after the Freddie Gray winter that night, and I tell people this and I, you know, I shared this all the time lately, but this is four and a half years ago, my wife was battling leukemia. She survived. She’s doing great lesson, but the inspiration pardon, you know, stuff that you do. And the Oprah’s in the Netherlands and the people that try to make the world a better place in whatever way they try to do that. I looked out the window and saw the city on fire and you know, sports three decades, right. And like, the next day, I started talking about the Orioles and the NFL Draft, the capitals were doing well, right. And it just got very easy to say, You know what, man, that’s a black problem. It’s a white problem. It’s a race problem. It’s a police problem. It’s a politics problem. It’s a poverty problem. It’s an education problem. It’s a it’s a gun prior to all of that wrapped in that sticky man, I’m gonna stay out of that for now. And then four and a half years later, there’s a mess and I can’t stay out of it. At some point you it’s like Trump at some point. You gotta, you gotta get in. And you gotta, you gotta at least say what you believe and fight for what you believe.

Montel Williams  06:04

If you haven’t. I don’t I don’t think you need to disparage short, when you don’t believe that that’s necessary. You don’t kick anybody when they’re down. And Baltimore might just be down. But Baltimore could spring back. There are a lot of people in that city, man, I have my family. My family lives there. You know, all you have to do is you know what happened to you know, the marriage folks, what happened to the people who literally reached out and said, we can make this a better place. If we do this together?

Nestor Aparicio  06:31

Well think about sports, Montel now now I’m here. It’s my 27th Super Bowl. The Ravens have been in the league almost quarter century, they got the number one

Montel Williams  06:39

star the rare of what happened to them this year. Come on. Now. Here we go. And I can talk some trash about that you can end up giving up when you had an opportunity. So you grew up

Nestor Aparicio  06:47

in a world of boredom or whatever the Colts and they were oriels when the coach took off

Montel Williams  06:51

out of town and night in a bus

Nestor Aparicio  06:53

and what what did we do we brought our sleeves up sleeves All right now because I’m it’s hard, but we rolled our sleeves up, roll your sleeves up. And we went and we got another football team and we built Camden Yards. And we said we think sports report we think it’s gonna bring more people to the aquarium more people to hotels, more people with the one time I ran and you were dinner at the Capitol grow more more, you know, more people into the city and I invested two decades ago, I I live downtown, on the 23rd floor downtown for 17 years, I can’t get my place away right now. Right? Because because of the wire because of the perception because of because of all of it some of realities, some perceptions. But either way, then there has to be department we fix it, we we fix it the way when I go to Cleveland, it’s gotten nicer I go to Nashville, Oakland, it’s a lot of New York, when you were younger, New York was a place you didn’t go and we need to fix it. And I don’t know what the answers are. But I know we’re going to fix it together. Because he outside is not going to come in and help us No way.

Montel Williams  07:47

But at the same time, you know, Baltimore has, you know, a plethora, you got a city that’s that’s filled with young entrepreneurs, with young, vibrant engineers, that we just need somebody to step up to the plate and take over that leadership position and say, if not who, it’s not you, it’s time for you to step back up to the plate. I mean, you know, you’re going to everybody can kick the city when it’s down and say that the city has nothing to offer. But if you are a Baltimorean, you’re part of that city that has nothing to offer. So it’s time for you to step up to the plate and say, Wait a second, we do have something to offer. You know, you go to Dr. Charles Street, you see all those little, little small restaurants that have popped up out there bought up there. It’s great. But yeah, really great. Well, we don’t talk enough about that. We have

Nestor Aparicio  08:34

to do a week last week, so we can talk about that. Montel Williams joining us here. So you know, for you and being in Miami and all being involved in good causes in the military. Sure. You know, that comes from parenting, right? That comes from military service and your mission, this it’s nice to have a mission that works with with what you do publicly, right?

Montel Williams  08:54

Is but it’s also you know, I think you have to start we have to understand and this is as a nation at all. We have to understand that it’s incumbent upon all of us to do something bigger than just ourselves. It’s like not only am I here to talk about, you know, my show, which is military makeover with montone. But you know, right this minute as we we have hawks in Washington, DC circling in the sky, trying to figure out how quickly it can send another person’s child off to die in a another war. We have Americans that are being held in prisons, especially like in Iran, because American has been in prison right now for 558 days for no other reason than the fact that he went to visit a girl that he thought he loved. That’s it. One of the visit, has been tortured, has been beaten has been held. And we don’t talk about it. You know, I work for, you know, almost a full year or half a year to get soldier out of prison that was being held in Mexico. Certain time when we see that I worked for almost a year and a half to help get a pro soldier who was being held in Iran, Amir Hekmati out of prison in Iran and we got him out of prison because finally somebody started talking about it. And right now there’s a gentleman. That’s Michael White, who is in prison in Iran right now, as a president talks all this trash. They do nothing to get this American home. And here’s a guy who served in our military serve as a cook. They have the nerve to have him arrested as a spy. And, you know, the guy was a cook, he was over visit his girlfriend. And you know, they just decided let’s grab one and I grabbed him and he put him in prison. He was a joint Korea that situation was terrific. He just he just gotten over a one bout of cancer. When he went there just finish some chemotherapy still has chemotherapy poor in that the Iranians aren’t cleaning. The guy has had bad teeth right now his mother fears for his life. He’s he could die at any moment. If we don’t just step up to the plate and say, I want to do something bigger than me. So why don’t we do the same thing when it comes out? That’s what I do. I work on on trying to find a way to help the underdog. And right now, in some ways, Baltimore is the underdog. Sure. But we’re all the Baltimorean saying I want to help this underdog step up to the plate start talking about the positive and not just the negative and I think that we could spend ourselves out of his hole.

Nestor Aparicio  11:09

Tell me where to find you and what you’re up to. I will recap again. That the Military Makeover is the best way to find you right

Montel Williams  11:16

so you go to military With my military makeover with the finest get information about the show I’m on every somebody

Nestor Aparicio  11:23

out there knows somebody that may be a word Correct?

Montel Williams  11:25

Okay. Yeah, they can actually recommend one for us. We you know, we take applications and we take a look and and then we pick one so we pick the people that are we may go to the home for based on someone who has actually submitted their name so submit submit a way

Nestor Aparicio  11:41

you know, I know you’re smarter than me because you live down here man. That’s nice down here. It’s beautiful. Down here, bro.

Montel Williams  11:47

It’s nice. The weather’s over the top. Come on Cherry Hill. Ain’t your chair you know, but you know what am I in a different place? Thanks for having my

Nestor Aparicio  11:56

friend Montel Williams joining us here Baltimorean Phil you want your Baltimore new Baltimore for always man for life. All right, just making sure my wife working the ROFO coffee here. He’s caffeinated down here Miami. Simple 54 coverage continues over brought to you by our friends Raskin global as well as our friends at sporting culture. Big thanks for the helmets. We are wn St. dotnet 70 The slip that you’re gonna get Terrell Suggs and Baltimore Zinger. We never stop talking Baltimore sports

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