Creflo Dollar - From The Pit To The Palace
Creflo Dollar: Thank you. Our next guest has been from the very bottom, spending years in solitary confinement to the very top as a multi-million-dollar queen of the entertainment industry. By reputation, her family is well respected and feared in the streets of Atlanta. Would you please help me welcome Karen King to "Your World"?
Karen King: Thank you.
Creflo Dollar: God bless you. You can be seated. I am really looking forward to talking to you today. Thousands of people are gonna relate with you, understand. We're gonna answer some questions. We can take your experience to try to help them to avoid experiencing the same things. We're gonna dig a little into your emotions and you're gonna take us into your world. And it is going to be a blessing to people. So let's start this way. Let's go back and let's look at your childhood, how you were raised. Did you have both parents, siblings, some of the things that happened there because sometimes we can find our roots there to try to find out what happened later on. And then take us on this journey of your life.
Karen King: Well, I was raised in a two-parent home. Really, I had a amazing childhood. My father was a postmaster. My mother was a iron...
Creflo Dollar: So did you finish high school?
Karen King: I did.
Creflo Dollar: Did you go on to college?
Karen King: I went to college for business. You know, I've always been business minded. I had a entrepreneurial spirit. So, you know, I wanted a degree in business, you know, organize, be the boss, and all of that, yeah but I didn't...
Creflo Dollar: So with what you're telling us right now, amazing childhood, you were raised by two amazing people, went through high school, got some college education. How do we end up in prison?
Karen King: Bad choices. You know, I wanted to be grown and I wanted success. You know, I had, like, a storybook dream but I didn't fully understand what approach I needed to take to have the dream. So I took the wrong approach and...
Creflo Dollar: So what were the circumstances surrounding the very first time you got arrested and how old were you then?
Karen King: The very first time I got arrested, I believe I was 19 and I didn't really think that I would go to jail because I, in my mind, didn't think I was doing anything wrong. But you have to understand the law. When you reap the benefits of the people who do wrong, it's called conspiracy so you go to jail too.
Creflo Dollar: That's good.
Karen King: Whether you committed the direct crime or not. Sometime, you go to prison longer than the people that did the crime, if you were the mastermind.
Creflo Dollar: That is so important, number one, for I want our audience to understand. And I think she did a great job of articulating it that when you participate with somebody who's doing the crime, you know, you involve yourself in a conspiracy and so was that the circumstances surrounding the first time you got put in jail?
Karen King: No, I knew everything that was going on, you know. I gave direction, you know, from afar. He said, "Do this". So I knew but, to me, and a young mind, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong but I was doing something wrong.
Creflo Dollar: So how many years did you get there for your first time?
Karen King: I got ten years and eight months and in a federal system, whatever your sentence is, it's to the day. You get 45 days a year good time.
Creflo Dollar: So at 19, you were put in jail for ten years. Did you have a kid or...
Karen King: I had one.
Creflo Dollar: Okay, one kid? So how old was...
Karen King: He was a little over four. When I seen him again, well, when I came out, he was 14.
Creflo Dollar: Wow, wow. I can't fathom that. Can't even try to fathom the fact that, you know, there's this baby that you leave and I know that was rough.
Karen King: It was rough.
Creflo Dollar: Yeah, tell me about, you know, being in prison for ten years. You know, did you have people visit you? Did they keep you up on everything that was going on?
Karen King: Well, I did not. My parents, you know, I was, like, the oldest girl and, you know, I was pretty, I was beautiful when I was young and they were embarrassed so they would tell stories like, "Oh, you know, my daughter's in London. She married a wealthy man". Or, "My sister's a model. She's in Paris". So, you know, they didn't visit. They didn't come at all.
Creflo Dollar: I don't need to ask you how that made you feel?
Karen King: Well, you know, I can say this now. I was in survival mode then. But after really understanding my life and everything, I can say when you're in prison and nobody is there for you, you have to become a product of the environment that you're in to make it. Otherwise, you won't.
Creflo Dollar: So you didn't become a victim in prison?
Karen King: No, I was too tough to be a victim.
Creflo Dollar: Well, the reason why I bring that up is that a lot of times, when people go through things, sometimes you can become this victim and you're paralyzed and you can't move forward because you carry a victim mentality, regardless of what goes on. In prison, however, did you ever experience, like, being put in the hole?
Karen King: Well, yeah. See, I wasn't even in six days and, you know, before prison I knew about gay guys. I didn't know any women, you know, that was gay, back then it wasn't so popular stuff so I knew gay guys. They used to do my hair and everything but when I got in prison it was all these people that looked like me and I was, like, oh, this ain't gonna be that bad 'cause, you know, there's some guys here but they weren't guys.
Creflo Dollar: I just got what she said, you know? Forgive me, I was a little slow with that, but, yeah.
Karen King: Well, they weren't guys and it was a girl, she used to pressure me. And it just made me so, like, she's violating me. I gotta do something. So I had to do something which cost me to go to the hole. So out of the ten years, I did six years in solitary confinement.
Creflo Dollar: Six years?
Karen King: Yeah, uh-hm.
Creflo Dollar: Six years out of ten in solitary?
Karen King: Absolutely.
Creflo Dollar: Hoo.
Karen King: So I really damaged her, you know, so the punishment was the six years in the hole.
Creflo Dollar: What does six years... I mean, I can't even think two days or a week in solitary confinement. What does that do to you mentally?
Karen King: Well, probably somebody that God was not holding on to their shoulder and, you know, just getting them through it, I probably wouldn't be here to talk about it. For me, I used everything I had to get whatever I wanted in the hole. And I always had been strong on, you know, running my brothers over and being the boss of them so I wanted to be the boss of everybody in the hole, you know, including the guards, you know? So I knew that I could control the guards, more so with my mind than with my body because I knew what they wanted. And that's what I did. So I started, like, running a operation back there in the hole. And it just went by like that. It was like I was at home. I was getting dressed up in my room and seeing my hair.
Creflo Dollar: I don't know if I'm gonna ever hear this explanation like this again. "The hole, it was kind of like I was home". I hear you, though. You made the adjustments in order to make it through.
Karen King: Even before I came home, I got back out in population and that's when it hit me that I had been locked up in the hole and had to survive and I wanted to go home. I knew, I remembered I gotta, that's when I remembered that I had a child. I didn't even think about my child while I was back there. I couldn't. I had to win. I had to get out. But once I was back in population, then I had to go home and then I thought about my child. And people was, like, "I thought you was a lifer, the way you were acting". No, but I had to survive 'cause I didn't have nobody, you know, nobody from the outside 'cause everybody was ashamed.
Creflo Dollar: I mean, to know that people didn't come and visit you, that you didn't have anybody from the outside and to know that, you know, the shame that they had 'cause that's sad to me, it's like...
Karen King: It's very sad. Unfortunately, I love my family but when I came home it was, "Oh, I missed my sister. I missed". Uh-uh, you didn't miss me. Don't ask me why I'm not coming to the family reunion. Why? I'd been ten calendars behind a wall, you didn't come see me.
Creflo Dollar: So will you admit that you had to deal with some hurt?
Karen King: Oh, I was definitely hurt. But in order to make it I had to compress it because it takes more energy to be angry and negative. You can't even get a blessing in this day.
Creflo Dollar: Yeah, I'm thinking about it and you hit it right on the head, the fact that if you are hurt then, of course, you have to deal not just with the hurt but you gotta deal with the anger as well. Because anger is just an expression of your hurt and so you were still focused on the fact that, yeah, I am hurt, I am angry, but this is not gonna get me where I wanna be. So I've got to deal with it. So were you still prepared to have this family that you wanted?
Karen King: I wanted a family. I still had the vision that I'm gonna get married and, you know, the fence, the pool, the tennis court, we're gonna be wealthy. Because being poor or not being successful was not in my, you know, it wasn't in my thought pattern. And I didn't wanna go back to prison.
Creflo Dollar: Right, and what we're gonna find out, we're gonna take a short break, but she went back to prison and the circumstances that were around that and she did have another son and the circumstances around that, you don't wanna miss this. We'll be right back.
Creflo Dollar: Welcome back. So, Karen, the story so far is just, mentally, I'm trying to go through the journey with you, mentally. And it takes a lot. So you went to prison for ten years and then circumstances showed up where you had to go to prison again.
Karen King: Yeah, well, when I went to prison the first time, I had little other stuff, petty stuff, but, you know, when you get incarcerated they ask you, "Anything else you got, fill out a paper, and they'll take care of it while you in custody and you won't have to deal with it when you get out. So everything go together. Well, all the little stuff that I had, I took care of but I guess something got under the rug or the couch or somewhere and I got out of prison and about maybe, I wanna say, 4 months after I was out, County contacted me, the bail bondsman, and they was, like, "Hey, you know, you've got some down here. Come down here so we can get it off the books". And, you know, in my mind I was not even, it was just no threat. I wasn't thinking about it. I was gonna have this baby and I was gonna get to raise it from a little bitty up. I got a paper in the mail, you know, that said I needed to be at court, you know. I said, "Okay, I'ma go. I'ma take the baby. You know, nothing's gonna happen. They're gonna see that I've been away ten years and bad, you know, a new mom". I went to see the bail bondsman and everything nice that they said, soon as I got there, they put the handcuffs on me. I was, like, "Why are you doing this"? And he was, like, "No, you know, it's no big deal. This is just how we have to walk in the courtroom". And it was like a surrender. They tricked me, you know? It was like they had presented to the judge, like, I had ran away for ten years, that I wasn't in custody or anything. They wanted to come off the bond. They wanted me to be in custody. And so because I was fresh out of prison, immediately that's a parole hold to even get back in custody. So I immediately went back into custody and they, you know, took my baby from me. And I act so bad 'til the jailer said, "No, call somebody to pick her baby up. We're not gonna take the baby into custody". So that's how I ended back up in prison for that charge.
Creflo Dollar: That hurt, huh?
Karen King: That was the worst. That was worse than the ten years 'cause I had a new baby.
Creflo Dollar: Okay, so you've got two sons. You have this experience with prison. Are there any other times where you got locked up or before we start talking about your sons? There you go.
Karen King: Sorry, I'm trying to stay cute, you guys. Gotta be fabulous.
Creflo Dollar: Everybody cries on that couch.
Karen King: Okay, so it's a couple of more times that, you know, I went to prison, I got out, you know. So I went to prison, like I said, with my son. What was worse than that, when I came home I didn't know him. So when I got home and my baby was two and he was real light with all this long hair, I was, like, "Whose child is that"? And, well, my cousin told me, she said, "That's your baby". It was just something inside of me said, "That's it. Nothing, nobody, can ever make me do anything to go back to prison," 'cause...
Creflo Dollar: That was the bottom line?
Karen King: Yeah, that was the bottom line. When a mother don't know their child, it's, like, that's the lowest of low. You know, they say it's instinct to know your kid and when I didn't know my kid, that was, like, all this stuff was out the back window, this and that.
Creflo Dollar: So was it out of the back window or did something else come up even after you had that moment where you decided, "I am not going to go back to jail at all"?
Karen King: Yeah, everything illegal was out the back window but just because you decide it's over, it doesn't always mean it's over once you've been in the system.
Creflo Dollar: Explain it.
Karen King: Because once you go in America and I've been to 27 countries, not doing anything wrong but I know this American law because I've been in the system since 18 and I'm still in it right now. And once you've been in the system, anything you do, say, anything, if somebody else do something in this neighborhood and I live here, like the crime I did ten years ago, they're not looking for them, they're gonna say, "Oh, Karen live over there on 33rd Street. Let's go see what's going on with her". And if I don't got nothing precise to give them, and I may not 'cause I'm not thinking about I got to keep every day of the week on the calendar to tell somebody when they come ask me, I'ma go to jail. I have to prove myself. They say you're innocent 'til proven guilty. That is not the case. You guilty 'til you can prove yourself innocent.
Creflo Dollar: So the burden of proof would always seem to be on you because of your record?
Karen King: Exactly.
Creflo Dollar: Even if you were false accused, you would still have to prove that I didn't have anything to do with this?
Karen King: Exactly. I'm going through it right now. Right now, this second that I'm on this couch, I'm going through it. I have been arrested on set, filming at work, for shoplifting. I don't have to steal but, hey, you know what? Such and such, they say she was here, let's go get her. So it's a big newscast, it's a big everything, and I may not, you know, be in custody because I might have the money to not be physically in custody but I'm still fighting a case and I could still go to prison. And if I don't have the money for good legal defense, I'm gonna go to prison. And I'm not even guilty.
Creflo Dollar: Yeah, yeah. Well, tell us about your sons. I thought this was pretty interesting. How old are they now?
Karen King: I have one son, 44. I don't look like it, do I? I have another son that's 31 and another son, 25.
Creflo Dollar: Okay, tell us about their rise to fame. I think you'd find this very interesting because the story we heard, you're kind of like wondering what's going on with the kids and how did their lives turn out. Give us some insight on that.
Karen King: My younger two children, I also raised my nephew which is now deceased but he was a part of the group. When they were small, I wanted, you know, I wanted us to be rich so I say, "You know, I've gotta figure out something to do where we can be successful". And one day, I was watching MTV, Madonna. Bow Wow was driving Madonna's Cadillac out onstage and I said, "Now, my kids can do that". I said, "My kids can do that". So I went to an intercom and I pushed the button. I said, "Hey, y'all wanna ride"? They was, like, "Yeah". I said, "C'mon down". They came on downstairs. I showed 'em Bow Wow on TV. They was, like, "Yeah, Mom, we wanna do, you know, we wanna". I said, "Okay, baby. Momma gonna make it happen". And I then start, like, you know, calling New York, looking for lawyers, calling L.A. I didn't know what I was doing but I knew they was cute, like Bow Wow. I knew they were cute. And I finally got a lawyer, I said, "Hey, you know, I got three Bow Wows here. They talent". Honey, they didn't have no talent. I said, "They talented". I said, "They talented". You know, and I started doing little steps and rehearsing with 'em. I didn't know back then what a demo was. That's what you really needed to get a record deal with. And this lawyer, she told me, she said, "I'm gonna take you to all of the record labels". She said, "I can't get you the deal, but I can get you in there to see the people. Once you get in there to see the people, you gotta make the deal happen". And I did. The people say, "Do those kids got a demo"? I said, "No. Here, put the tape in. They..".
Creflo Dollar: Right there, huh?
Karen King: Right there. Always had 'em ready. Hey, anybody see you... start dancing.
Creflo Dollar: That's how they used to do it.
Karen King: Yeah. So they got a amazing deal.
Creflo Dollar: That's powerful. That's powerful. That is the grace of God. That is the grace of God. Well, you know, we thank God for your journey because I think that when people, as they hear your journey, they can also hear the hope and the possibilities that Jesus is still able to take a mess and make a masterpiece.
Karen King: It's never over. It's never over until you stop breathing. You don't gotta give up.
Creflo Dollar: You all appreciate our guest today? You know, part of receiving the gift of grace is an understanding of what it means for our lives. That grace is God's unmerited, undeserved favor but it goes much deeper than that. God's grace is realized when you discover a close personal relationship with Jesus.