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Steeve Harvey, during an interview at the Sharjah International Book Fair, Sharjah: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News Image Credit:

Sharjah: America’s celebrated TV host and comedian Steve Harvey wants to launch a show in this region and would like to interview His Highness Shaikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Speaking to Gulf News at the Sharjah International Book Fair, where he was the principal guest of honour on Friday, the Emmy Award-winning entertainer, radio personality and motivational speaker said he was pleasantly surprised about the reception he received in Sharjah.

“When I came here, I was talking to my wife…Maybe I will come here into different regions and do…like…a one-man show.”

He said it would be more of a motivational show that shares inspirational life stories with “lots of graphics” and “not too much” of comedy.

He said he would like to share his experiences with the audience here. “What I have learnt about success and overcoming and winning when you feel like you are losing it.”

Asked for his top picks for interviews, he said he wishes to interview the Sharjah Ruler, who made him feel comfortable when he met him.

“Sitting with him was so powerful for me. He made me so comfortable with who I am and my faith and my way of living.”

Harvey said he would also like to interview someone who is involved in tourism here. “That is important because you have got to exchange the culture.”

He also confirmed that his famous self-titled US show Steve on NBC would not return despite requests from his fans.

“Look, I am more famous globally because of my clips that go viral, not because of my TV shows. So why don’t I do that? Just make something that is viral,” he said, laughing when asked about his future projects.

Journey of struggle, success

From being a homeless person to becoming a household name across the world, the African American entertainer has had an amazing journey of struggle, survival and success.

When asked if African Americans have it easier now compared to his time or if he thinks there is still a need for change socially and politically, Harvey said: “I think they are in a better position because the opportunities are there. I think there are still a lot of things that are very much the same.”

He then compared the situation after President Barrack Obama’s administration. “I think after President Obama left office, we actually took a couple of steps back…I think when President Obama left office, the country [started] suffering. I think it is suffering now.”

“It is going to be more difficult because there seems to be a climate that is brewing…that is making it okay to verbalise your racism and your bigotry about people.”

“Look, we have done crazy stuff since President Obama left office. But in spite of it all, I think young African-Americans are still in a great position to succeed because a lot of them have the right mindset. At the same time there is a lot of work to be done because in our country, we have a lot of problems we still need to resolve.”

However, he said, he will never give up on America because it is his home and it has moulded him into what he is now.

“It is where I was born and grew up. My family is there…my friends are there. The city that made me is there. I was shaped and moulded in all those streets and in its neighbourhoods. I still love it…but I think there is work to be done. I think there has to be some exchange we have to have globally that could brighten everybody.”

Asked if he wants the current administration to do anything specific to make the changes he is looking forward to, he said: “We can’t get our administration to do nothing. No, we can’t. They are on TV all day. All they do is fight. I don’t see this government trying to help anybody except themselves… Nobody is reaching across to us to talk.”

“I just try to encourage people to get themselves together…No matter who is in the White House, you can be okay in your house and that is how I live my life.”