In the second part of our interview with former 2 Live Crew leader/porn-peddler/family man/Luke’s Parental Advisory star (premiering tonight at 10:30/9:30c on VH1) Luke Campbell, we focus on the family aspect of his life and reality show. (Read Part 1, which focuses on his career and reputation here.) Below, Luke talks about the somewhat shocking contrast between his personal and professional lives, how he felt under the scrutiny of reality TV’s cameras, his love of Top Chef and why this show may provide the poetic justice that his opponents have been waiting for all these years.
Why reality TV?
Most of my friends and people who know me, that’s the first thing they say: “Why don’t you have a reality show?” I always hear that I’m a walking reality show because there’s so much going on in my life all day and everyday. It also gives you the opportunity to show the world who you really are. I’ve always kept my real self somewhat unexposed. The only thing people really know me for is Uncle Luke, or what they read in the paper and magazines. And that only talks about one side of my life: the performance side. Nobody talks about the parenting side, the business side. They just focus on the fun. Not that that’s a problem.
Maybe because of that, it’s weird to watch Luke Campbell espouse somewhat conservative views to his kids. Going by your reputation, I’d expect that Uncle Luke’s family would be a free-for-all.
Oh no. No free-for-all up in there. They wish.
Did having kids affect your world view?
No. It’s always been the same. I come from a very stable family: my father, mother, four brothers who all went to college. I’m the baby, the craziest of all of them. There were politics in the house and growing up, responsibility was important. It was always all about work.
How did your family respond to your notoriety and X-rated musical output?
My mother and father, they understood what was in the world. It wasn’t like I was doing anything so strange. My mother listened to Millie Jackson, Red Foxx and people like that. They had that stuff in the house. What I did wasn’t so far off. They just wanted me to make sure that I was responsible, that kids weren’t getting the music.
On the show, there’s a scene where you talk to your son about porn, and you obviously keep that side of your life away from your kids, but how aware are they of your musical career?
They’re very aware. Ain’t no secret who their dad is. As far as listening to the music, asking certain things about certain songs, one thing I tell them is, “Children are supposed to stay in children’s place.” But my music isn’t their cup of tea, anyway. They like Lil Wayne and people like that.
Obviously your line of business is one world you exist in, and your parenting is another. Is it ever stressful, keeping them separate but balanced?
No. I come from some great parents. They taught all of us a lot, and it’s real easy. There’s work and there’s play and there’s parenting. A lot of things that come out of my mouth as a parent are the same things that came out of my mother’s and father’s mouths. I’m a clone of them when it comes to raising kids. My mother raised us to be respectful. I’m a little more lenient with my kids. Back then, if we got outta hand, we got our ass whooped. We got the belt put on us back then, which was a good thing, and I really believe in it. It helped me and my brothers and didn’t do anything to harm us. But these days, you can’t do that. You go to jail. So now you have to go about things a different way. When I got caught with a Playboy, whoo. I knew I’d get that belt put on my ass. Now, you have to take away PlayStations and ground kids and all that s***. You gotta employ scare tactics. But about keeping things separate, it’s a little different now that my kids are older. They go to parties and they hear music and I’m pretty sure at this point that they’ve gone to a party where they’ve heard the X-rated version of “I Wanna Rock,” or something. But I always taught them that parents should be the kids’ role models and teach them what’s out there. I don’t hold nothing back from my kids. The scene in the show where I talk to my son about having a porno movie, I don’t jump in his chest about having the movie. I talk to him. Right there, it’s time to start teaching. If I start screaming and hollering, my kid’s gonna go and get taught by someone in the street. I don’t want my kids in the street.
How was the actual filming of the reality show? Did the cameras bug you at all?
To a large degree, I’ve been in front of the camera all my life. In the little bit of acting that I did, and music videos. Doing reality was a little different, because you just have to be yourself. But I’m more worried about my kids, what they were saying. I didn’t want them to say the wrong things. I know how cruel the world can be once you say something on tape that you really didn’t mean. But I then got comfortable because I have faith in my kids and my fiancé and myself. I just figured that I needed to let go and let them do what they were going to do and have faith that I raised them properly. It became OK after about a week. At the end of the day, I look at the show as an educational piece for other people. It’s for them to get to know me, get to know my family and get to know how I raise kids. If it can help somebody along the way that may share a similar lifestyle, as far as my business, it’s OK. I know my kids are going to make mistakes.
Was there anything off-limits?
No. On this show, I don’t restrict nothing, and if we get picked up for a second season, we’ll show even more. I let the producers look at one of my peep show tapes. I said, “You wanna see real reality? Take a look at this.” They freaked out. They were like, “Was any of that scripted?” I told them, “No. My life has always been a reality show.” I’ve made so much money on a bus with a camera.
Do you watch a lot of reality TV?
I watch Run’s House and Kimora Lee’s show. Sometimes I turn on Flav to get a laugh but I don’t watch it all the time. But I love that cooking show. Top Chef! I don’t know if I like what’s going on because I was a chef or if I just like looking at the women on that show.
The funniest thing about this show is that for years, you were vilified as a threat to the family, and now we see you dealing with your own.
Yeah. The parents, the people who didn’t like me are going to be sitting there like, “Yeah! Get his ass, kids! Make his life hell.” People are gonna be so happy to see me go through some of the stuff that they went through that they blamed me for.