Ex-royal/Ex-SEAL Remi Adeleke shares an adventurous life spent between two continents and his efforts to end human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting.
What We Discuss with Remi Adeleke:
- How Remi Adeleke’s royal Nigerian family lost everything to the corrupt government when his father passed away.
- What it was like growing up in the Bronx, where drugs and drive-bys were plentiful.
- The unlikely movie that catalyzed Remi’s decision to pursue a career as a US Navy SEAL.
- How Remi managed to pass BUD/S training in spite of entering the program before knowing how to swim.
- The grim realities of human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting — and what Remi is doing to fight back against them.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
How does a deposed Nigerian prince wind up being raised in the Bronx and entering service as a US Navy SEAL? Remi Adeleke knows, because these are just a couple of minor details in his expansive story. His resume also includes stints as an actor, a filmmaker, an athletic consultant, and author of Chameleon: A Black Box Thriller and Transformed: A Navy SEAL’s Unlikely Journey from the Throne of Africa, to the Streets of the Bronx, to Defying All Odds.
On this episode, Remi joins us to discuss a childhood spent between two worlds, the circumstances that led to his royal family losing everything to a corrupt government, the unlikely movie that compelled him to pursue a career in the US Navy SEALs, what happened when he entered the famously grueling BUD/S training in spite of not being able to swim (and how he eventually managed to pass), how life as a SEAL compared with his aspirations, and what he’s done to fight against human trafficking and illegal organ harvesting in the years since. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. We appreciate your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Airbnb: Find out how much your space is worth at airbnb.com/host
- Cometeer: Go to cometeer.com/jordan for a free 8-pack and travel mug when you sign up
- Rocket Money: Cancel unwanted subscriptions and manage expenses at rocketmoney.com/jordan
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- ZipRecruiter: Learn more at ziprecruiter.com/jordan
- A Little Bit Culty: Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts!
- GiveDirectly: Go to givedirectly.org/jordan to help us lift a village in Kenya out of extreme poverty
Miss our conversation with Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and New York Times bestselling author? Get caught up with episode 622: Ishmael Beah | Memoirs of a Boy Soldier here!
Thanks, Remi Adeleke!
If you enjoyed this session with Remi Adeleke, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Chameleon: A Black Box Thriller by Remi Adeleke | Amazon
- Transformed: A Navy SEAL’s Unlikely Journey from the Throne of Africa, to the Streets of the Bronx, to Defying All Odds by Remi Adeleke | Amazon
- The Unexpected Film by Remi Adeleke (BronzeLens Film Festival Finalist) | YouTube
- Remi Adeleke | Twitter
- Remi Adeleke | Instagram
- Remi Adeleke | YouTube
- Remi Adeleke | LinkedIn
- Remi Adeleke | IMDb
- Yoruba People | Wikipedia
- Nigerian Pop Star Davido: ‘Africans Were Made Fun Of. Now Everyone Wants Us’ | The Guardian
- “My Dad Left Nigeria in His Late Teens…” | Remi Adeleke, Twitter
- Banana Island, Lagos | Wikipedia
- Nigeria’s All Too Familiar Corruption Ranking Begs Broader Questions Around Normative Collapse | Council on Foreign Relations
- Take a Virtual Walk Through the Bronx of the ’80s | Welcome2TheBronx
- Bad Boys | Prime Video
- The Rock | Prime Video
- If Michael Bay Upgraded Titanic for 3D | PistolShrimps
- Transformers: The Last Knight | Prime Video
- Def Jam Recordings
- US Navy SEAL Careers | Navy.com
- BUD/S | Navy SEALs
- Human Intelligence (HUMINT) | Defense Intelligence Agency
- David Kilgour | The Heartless Art of Forced Organ Harvesting | Jordan Harbinger
- Gerard Butler Boards Remi Adeleke’s Human Trafficking Thriller ‘Unexpected Redemption’ | The Hollywood Reporter
868: Remi Adeleke | The Ex-Royal/Ex-SEAL Who Fights Organ Harvesting
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:18] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:21] Remi Adeleke: You see these politicians who go into politics, not wealthy at all, without a sense of their name, but they come out billionaires, not millionaires, but they come out billionaires with a B. They don't go into politics to serve the people. And that's just a cycle that has been created for decades. So that's what they're used to.
[00:00:42] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker through long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers, even the occasional arms dealer, former jihadi, four-star general, or Russian chess grandmaster.
[00:01:11] And if you're new to the show or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, I suggest our episode starter packs. These are collections of our favorite episodes, organized by topic, and they'll help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Topics like persuasion and influence, abnormal psychology, China and North Korea, crime and cults, and more. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:35] Yes, housekeeping, I got to mention the fundraiser. We are doing the fundraiser to lift an entire village in Kenya out of extreme poverty by delivering cash donations, no strings attached. A kind-hearted donor is going to double what we received during our campaign here, so if we gather 20 grand, it's going to magically transform into 40, bringing hope to families that can't afford just even the most basic things that you could think about. These families, only seven in the whole village of 36 families, have a permanent shelter. Education is three bucks a semester. Over half the residents can't afford to send their kids to school. It's that rural in Kenya over there. Medical care is most often out of reach because they have no affordable transportation to get there. Access to water is almost nonexistent. Sometimes, the pipes run dry for up to a week. They can't afford to buy water. I don't even know if I want to know what they do in the meantime. Despite these hardships, they are going to be buying land for farming with the money we give them, covering school fees for their children, investing in livestock like goats, which don't die immediately when there's a drought. They're going to improve their homes, build homes, metal roofs, concrete floors so they're not sleeping in the dirt, improve sanitation, start businesses in the community, like taxi services that will require motorcycles, communication stuff. I'm really excited to see where this goes. givedirectly.com/jordan to donate. I would love to see your donation in there. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible in the US. For listeners not in the US, a great way to support the show is to go to givedirectly.com/jordan and throw your money down right there. And if you email me a screenshot of your donation, I'll send you a personalized video thanking you for it.
[00:03:07] Gentle reminder — we've just started the newsletter. Many of you are getting it already, and a lot of really good feedback. Every week, the team and I dig into an older episode of the show and dissect it, give the takeaways, give the recap. jordanharbinger.com/news is where you can sign up. I am not going to ask you for your credit card or spam you with crap, jordanharbinger.com/news.
[00:03:28] By the way, if you use the Stitcher app to listen to this show, they are getting rid of that app, August 29th, it will no longer be useful. So switch to a different app. If you use the Stitcher app to listen to this podcast. If you're on Android, I suggest Podcast Addict. It might not be as pretty, but it works really well. If you're on iOS, Apple, you should use Overcast in my humble opinion or Apple podcasts, but definitely no longer Stitcher. It will not update anymore in the next couple of months. So if you're using the Stitcher app, now is a good time to switch to a new podcast app. And if you have any problems with this, you're kind of Boomer in terms of your tech, you don't know what to do, you can always email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to point you in the right direction, but the Stitcher app will no longer work for this show.
[00:04:12] Today, my friend Remi Adeleke, you might have seen him in Transformers. This guy is just a badass. I don't know what else to say. He grew up partially in Africa, partially in the Bronx, joins the military, ends up a Navy SEAL, specializing in human intelligence, and then dives into anti-human trafficking and anti-organ harvesting. Fascinating conversation that goes across corruption in Nigeria, going from Nigerian royalty to a Bronx kid. Perseverance, insight, hard work, and some crazy ass stories along the way. Enjoy this episode with Remi Adeleke.
[00:04:51] Let's sort of go chronologically, for lack of a better plan here, because your dad was a chief in Nigeria, which you don't hear very often from somebody who's a Navy SEAL in the United States. They're like, "Wait a second. You're from Africa?" I didn't even know. I guess you can't run for president, but you could be a Navy SEAL. So you got that good for you.
[00:05:08] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, well, actually, I can run for president because my mom is American.
[00:05:13] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh.
[00:05:13] Remi Adeleke: And so I was born an American citizen abroad. Well, my dad, he was a visionary. He always looked like 10, 20, 30 years into the future. And so he always wanted the potential to exist for my brother and I to be able to run a politics. So he ensured that when I was born, I wasn't born with dual citizenship. I was just born a US American. I was a US citizen abroad.
[00:05:34] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:05:34] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:05:36] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. So he didn't want anybody to be like, oh, you're actually not as American as you're just, uh, he didn't want any question. He didn't want you to only be USA.
[00:05:44] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. And due to the corruption in Nigeria, which still persists—
[00:05:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:05:49] Remi Adeleke: —he didn't want me to be relegated, I mean, from his perspective, there was no real benefit for me to have Nigerian citizenship—
[00:05:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, interesting.
[00:05:59] Remi Adeleke: —because of all of the corruption out there. Yeah, my dad, his father was a royal chief in the Yoruba tribe. Yoruba is one of the most prominent tribes in Nigeria. You have Igbo, Hausa, but Yoruba essentially stands at the top. And he had like eight, nine wives, kept on having girls with his wives. And then, finally, my grandmother came along and she was able to produce an heir, which was my father. So my father naturally acquired the title of chief being the firstborn son, and then obviously the last name Adeleke, which ade means crown and leke means supreme, so the crown is supreme or above. And so when I came along, I wasn't the firstborn son, but I did and still do have that Nigerian royal Yoruba lineage, so to speak.
[00:06:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, wow. That's really interesting. I had no idea. I mean, we've heard of the corruption in Nigeria and stuff like that, but—
[00:06:56] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:06:56] Jordan Harbinger: And it still persists as you mentioned. So wait, does this mean you have nine grandmas? Or does it not work like that?
[00:07:02] Remi Adeleke: I have one grandma.
[00:07:04] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:07:04] Remi Adeleke: That's my one grandma. I don't even, you know, that's a really good question. I never thought about it. I don't know if I would consider my step grandmothers or what, but—
[00:07:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:13] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. They were about eight other women along with my grandmother that were my grandfather's wives.
[00:07:20] Jordan Harbinger: And then you have all these, like, step, I guess not step, but aunts, like, step aunt? Is that even a thing? I don't even know how that works.
[00:07:29] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, I think that's what it would be called aunt.
[00:07:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:07:30] Remi Adeleke: And then a lot of cousins, would probably be cousins, correct? I think it would be cousins.
[00:07:37] Jordan Harbinger: It is, but I don't know because usually we don't have to deal with nine wives over here, so I'm not sure the technical aspect of that, but I guess, yeah. Cousin? Step cousin? That's very interesting. That's a humongous family. I mean, that gets enormous really fast. You probably don't even know all those people.
[00:07:53] Remi Adeleke: No, not at all. Not at all. I mean, there's a very famous Nigerian singer named Davido. And so we're distant relatives because of that. His father is a younger brother, younger half-brother to my father.
[00:08:11] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:08:11] Remi Adeleke: So you know, from one of the wives?
[00:08:14] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:08:14] Remi Adeleke: There's a lot of distance between.
[00:08:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. So, wait a minute. So then, who's the most famous person in your family? Is it really not you, even though you've been in Transformers and everything like that? It's some guy named Davido.
[00:08:24] Remi Adeleke: It's Davido.
[00:08:25] Jordan Harbinger: Man—
[00:08:25] Remi Adeleke: He's like the biggest Afrobeat performer on the planet, actually.
[00:08:30] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, really? Okay. Yeah.
[00:08:31] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Davido.
[00:08:33] Jordan Harbinger: That's such an interesting family history. And I want to hear a little bit about how your dad, I mean, he got screwed over in Nigeria. There's not like another polite way to put it or anything. It was really just exactly what you'd expect from a super-corrupt government. It's depressing to read about, right? Because it's so brutal.
[00:08:52] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Yes. And so, interestingly, I will say I did a social media post on July 4th, just, you know, "Hey—"
[00:09:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:01] Remi Adeleke: Here's a bit of my story and this is why I'm grateful to be in America because of what happened to my dad and posted for any other reason, but just to kind of say "happy fourth" and it's gone viral at like almost four million views on Twitter. And I've been contacted from news outlets in Nigeria because they're like, oh—
[00:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:09:20] Remi Adeleke: —you know, some of us have heard the story, but we didn't know that you were that guy's son, we never put two and two together. But yeah, my dad, one, he was educated in the West. He went to a school in London, got his bachelor's and master's in architecture and engineering. And then, he began to accumulate his wealth and success for the most part in the West. He was one of the first black men on the board of the World Trade Center in New York City. He was the first black man on the board of the British Financial Planning Council in Great Britain, and he started a number of businesses from engineering firms to even a partly-owned law firm. I mean, he dabbled in absolutely everything.
[00:09:58] And after a number of years, he decided, "Hey, I want to take everything that I've learned and all of this wealth that I accumulated and bring it back to Nigeria and establish some businesses in Nigeria because many people don't know this, but Nigeria is very, very rich in resources, you know, from oil to natural gas to gold to cocoa and to other minerals. I mean, you name it, Nigeria has it. As a matter of fact, now, you know, China is signing packs with a lot of different African countries, Nigeria included, in order to be able to mine a lot of the materials that are in the specific regions because Africa and Nigeria especially are very, very rich in resources.
[00:10:37] So my dad went back to Nigeria. He wanted to establish somewhat of a black Wall Street/World Trade Center area. And in Lagos specifically that people, not just from around Africa, but people from around the world could come to and do business. Because again, he understood that if we could somehow organize the selling and the trading of our resources in a more structured format, in a more structured place, then we will be more successful and we'll be able to kind of get rid of some of this corruption that takes place in Nigeria. And so he went back to Nigeria, he bought a massive plot of land in Lagos called Maroko. And he started his development and, long story short, there was a military coup. So the land, he spent eight million pounds for it, it was essentially taken from him. Just with inflation, that's a lot of money—
[00:11:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, man, geez.
[00:11:35] Remi Adeleke: —in the '70s. Military coup, essentially, threw out that idea for a bit, but then after democracy was reinstalled, he went to court and was fighting the Nigerian government for compensation or for the Maroko back. Long story short, the federal government, they saw that his case was legit and that the land was unjustly taken from him. And so they gave him an offer. They said, "Hey, what do you want? Do you want your money back? We're not going to give you Maroko back. That's not going to happen. We're not going to give you Maroko, but we'll give you your money back or we give you—"
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: Because they built on it, right? So they were like, "Well, wait, now we got to compensate everybody and untie the knot. We can't do that."
[00:12:13] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[00:12:13] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:12:14] Remi Adeleke: Exactly. And they had already started to do deals with other people, not just from inside Nigeria, but people from outside of Nigeria as well, other countries. And so there was a lagoon and still is, but a lagoon off the coast of Lagos, Ikoyi to be specific. And my dad said, "I want the lagoon." Now, at that time, it was more of a swamp, but now it's a beautiful lagoon. And the judges and people in power said, "What are you going to do with the lagoon?"
[00:12:43] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, give him the swamp.
[00:12:44] Remi Adeleke: What are you going to do with the body of water?
[00:12:45] Jordan Harbinger: Just give this dumb ass the swamp right here.
[00:12:47] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:12:47] Jordan Harbinger: Give it to him. Right?
[00:12:48] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, exactly. They laughed. And he said, "Just give it to me." Again, he was so forward thinking because in his mind, he figured if I create something where there was never something where there was never anything, no one could ever come back. No politician, no, you know, government entity. No one could ever come back and say, "That belongs to us. We require that now." So he started, he signed a deal, signed a contract, everything started moving forward. And then, finally he hired some Dutch engineers, the Westminster company. And they came and they started dredging the foreshore and developing what was part of a body of water into land. Around this time is when I was born. I was born in '82 and my brother was born in '81. So when we were born, we were born in the midst of this and in the midst of the wealth and the construction.
[00:13:39] And my dad having people from all around the world, as a matter of fact, the architect of the World Trade Center in New York City, who my dad was really, really good friends with, he would come to Nigeria to visit my dad because he designed the World Trade Center, Twin Towers that were going to be at the center of what was to be called Lagoon City. And so this is what I was born into. I was born into wealth and prestige and also having a Royal title and people from around the world respect my dad. They come to Nigeria to see what he did. And so we had cars, we had nannies, we had drivers. I mean, we had it all, we even traveled the world. Paris, I have pictures behind me on the table, not this table behind me, but on the desk below, on the table below the table behind me. And these pictures of us all around the world doing all kinds of good things. things. And, you know, yeah, eating and dining with dignitaries and very influential people. As a matter of fact, I remember years later, after my dad died, I found a letter from Ronald Reagan—
[00:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:14:35] Remi Adeleke: That he had written to my father. And I was just like, oh my god, but unfortunately in 1987, the corruption got really, really, was already out of control, but got more so out of control. And the politicians who essentially, and not the politicians, but the government entities that essentially awarded my dad lagoon after the land had formed, not after he signed a contract, not when he started dredging the foreshore, not when a land had been formed and then he started, they waited until after it was formed and he started to do construction on the island to say the Lagos State Government came in and said, "The federal government was never supposed to award you this lagoon."
[00:15:17] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:15:17] Remi Adeleke: Because of how close it is to Lagos, it is property of Lagos.
[00:15:21] Jordan Harbinger: Phew. It's exasperating. I mean, to say the least, right? Understatement.
[00:15:26] Remi Adeleke: Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, there were a lot of people close to my dad and people who were close to my dad that played a role in doing this. As a matter of fact, our family bodyguard, my dad's personal security guard is now to this day, the manager of what is now called Banana Island. So the name was changed from Lagoon City to Banana Island. And now that island is a place where the wealthiest Africans and even Nigerians have properties and have estates from mansions to compounds, you name it, it's on the island. And you know, it was never intended for that. My dad never intended for it to be a Beverly Hills. He intended for it to be a place where Nigeria could be a shining beacon towards the world as it relates to business.
[00:16:13] Jordan Harbinger: It sucks to hear. I read that and I was just like, you know, well, this is why this country is in the place that it is, because someone's like, this guy wants this to be international. Get us a bunch of respect. And somebody else is like, "Yeah, but I kind of want more money for myself. So when I balance those two concerns out, I really fall on the side of me stealing this from you. Sorry, man."
[00:16:34] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[00:16:35] Jordan Harbinger: It sucks. I feel sorry for the people that live with that corruption because—
[00:16:38] Remi Adeleke: Oh, yeah.
[00:16:38] Jordan Harbinger: —they can't do anything about it.
[00:16:39] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:16:40] Jordan Harbinger: It's so frustrating. Because it's like you can't help a place like that because everybody with any shred of power is just not interested—
[00:16:49] Remi Adeleke: No, not at all.
[00:16:49] Jordan Harbinger: —in sharing the wealth, to say the least.
[00:16:52] Remi Adeleke: I have literally a thousand messages over the last few days from Nigerians who are saying, who have found out the story and read the story and they're just like, "All these politicians lied to us. They said it was theirs. They said that they came up with the idea. They said this and that," and this just proves how evil these people are. And this just proves that they're not for the people they are for themselves.
[00:17:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:17:14] Remi Adeleke: So I got people from Nigeria who are literally saying, "Hey, this is not good, and we are fighting and we're going to stand for you and with you in this. And can you help me get to America because I want to get out of this place?"
[00:17:29] Jordan Harbinger: PS I really need to. I feel bad joking about that because if you live among that corruption, you're not just trying to see Bubba Gump Shrimp in Times Square. You want to anybody who has a shred of upward mobility is just trying to escape. It's like—
[00:17:42] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[00:17:43] Jordan Harbinger: It's a sad situation. Imagine growing up somewhere where you have no opportunity. I guess you don't have to imagine that because after your family lost everything in Nigeria, you moved to the Bronx. But before that, I still want to paint this picture of Nigeria because you have this little anecdote that I think is kind of interesting in the book that most people probably ignore this, but this guy comes and tries to squeeze through your fence and he's from the electric company. Tell me about this because this is like a perfect little miniature portrait of everyday life in Nigeria, probably.
[00:18:13] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, there's a saying in Nigeria, every day is for the thief.
[00:18:17] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's horrible.
[00:18:18] Remi Adeleke: So that story encapsulates that point very, very finely. But yeah, my mom and I and brother, we were outside in the garden, you know, just hanging out, playing around. And mom was listening to music. This guy squeezes through our compound gate and, yeah, he approaches my mom and says, "Madame, if you want your electricity not to be interrupted, you got to give me a gift. You got to give me some money." And you know, my mom being a New Yorker, a very like street New Yorker.
[00:18:53] Jordan Harbinger: I got a gift for you, pal.
[00:18:54] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. She lays into him. And good thing was my dad ended up approaching around that, you know, in the midst of that situation and tearing into him, but that's how it is every single person in Nigeria, because of the corruption at the top, they feel that that's the only way they can make money even at the bottom. Case in point, when I landed in Nigeria, I went to Nigeria to finish writing my book Transformed. And as soon as I landed in Nigeria, and before I even got to customs, there were customs agents who were telling me, "Do you have a gift for me? In order for you to get through, you have to give me a gift."
[00:19:30] Jordan Harbinger: Gosh, so ridiculous.
[00:19:31] Remi Adeleke: And it was disheartening because, you know, here, corruption is what was my dad's demise. It wasn't the corruption, that he wasn't doing anything corrupt, but it was the corruption that was projected upon him from the country. And as soon as I land, after you know, over 30 years, I met with that same corruption. I even got pulled over by the police at one point and held up at gunpoint and said, unless you give us X amount of dollars, we're not going to let you go by.
[00:19:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:19:58] Remi Adeleke: That every day is for the thief and that's insane. It comes out of Nigeria. So that was that day, that situation where the guy squeezed through the gate and was essentially trying to bribe my mom.
[00:20:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Extort her.
[00:20:08] Remi Adeleke: And tell her mom, that extort my mom, and tell her, "If you don't give me any money, I'm going to cut off your electricity.
[00:20:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's crazy. And people will say, "Well, we have that kind of stuff here in the West." Okay. We do have problems like that here, but I think most people start off in politics or whatever job with good intention and some become grifters later.
[00:20:26] Remi Adeleke: Yes.
[00:20:26] Jordan Harbinger: Although that might be changing by now, but in Nigeria, it sounds like from your book, it sounds like people go into politics to become grifters because they're like, "Sweet, I can rob a large number of people if I get this job."
[00:20:37] Remi Adeleke: That's exactly what it is. I mean, here in the US when somebody is in an impoverished situation, at least coming from the growing up in the Bronx, you know, what are the things that jobs that they look to selling drugs, sports or rap, for the most part, right?
[00:20:50] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:20:50] Remi Adeleke: And that's their way out. In Nigeria, where you have the vast majority of people are poor, not because it's a poor country. It's a very rich country and resources. It generates a lot of money, but because of the politician, when you have the vast number of people who are poor and they see these politicians who go into politics, not wealthy at all, without a sense of their name, but they come out billionaires, not millionaires, but they come out billionaires with a B. What do you think these people want to do? So a lot of people, most people who go into politics in Nigeria, they go into politics to get rich. They don't go into politics to serve the people. And that's just a cycle that has been created for decades. So that's what they're used to. Because they can't go into other jobs and rise up like here in the West. You can start out at the bottom, bust your ass, you know, as a podcaster, bust your ass as a janitor, whatever the case may be, and end up with a retirement and end up having a good life. You can't do that in Nigeria, but you could do that in politics. And so that's the trend. And it's sad.
[00:21:51] Jordan Harbinger: So like the only shred of upward mobility is a corrupt career path, a career path of graft, basically.
[00:21:57] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. And then once people get into it and they get to taste it, for example, there was a story, I can't remember what article it was published in, but the oil minister, the minister of oil, which was a woman, she sold barrels of oil to, I can't remember what country it was. I can't remember if it was China or some European country for pennies, literally pennies on the dollar.
[00:22:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:22:22] Remi Adeleke: But she pocketed all that money.
[00:22:24] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:22:24] Remi Adeleke: So she essentially cut a deal with them. Essentially, again, I'm kind of paraphrasing or truncating because I don't remember the exact numbers.
[00:22:30] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, yeah, yeah.
[00:22:30] Remi Adeleke: Essentially saying, I'll give you this ship of oil for five billion when in reality it's worth, you know, twenty billion. You just give me five billion under the table and the ship will kind of disappear and end up where it needs to be on your end.
[00:22:42] Jordan Harbinger: Crazy.
[00:22:43] Remi Adeleke: And so she fled to the UK. I can't remember. I know the Nigerian government has been trying to get her back, but she fled to the UK, and said, oh, she has cancer and she needs to get treatment there. And then, after her treatment, she'll come back. But from what I remember, she never went back to Nigeria.
[00:22:57] Jordan Harbinger: I hope somebody like that actually is sick because they fricking deserve it. If you live a life of crime like that, like I hope you are rotting in a hospital in the UK.
[00:23:05] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: I don't believe it. But I hope, you know, like a karma.
[00:23:08] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:23:08] Jordan Harbinger: So your dad passes away from what sounds like rabies, but you leave it a little vague. And I wonder if you think that if that is that what happened or you're not sure.
[00:23:16] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, no, no. We know exactly what happened as a matter of fact, all of this is so fresh in my mind because the book got picked up to be a film with a major studio. It hasn't been announced yet because we can't announce the studio just yet, but this is all, I've just finished writing all of this. I turned the screenplay into the studio, but essentially, I go into a little bit more detail in the film. But I can kind of give you a bit of a spoiler here.
[00:23:37] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:23:37] Remi Adeleke: My dad he was super stressed out about everything that had been happening and when he was stressed out, you know would go for long walks. And he ended up going for a walk as he did days before and the neighbor's dog, it was actually wasn't a Nigerian guy. The guy was Indian a lot of people don't know this but Nigeria has a big Indian population as well.
[00:23:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:23:57] Remi Adeleke: His dog attacked him, my dad. And I want to be careful by saying he contracted rabies, but he got bit by a dog. So he went to the doctor to go get treated in the case the dog had rabies. And he was poisoned essentially. So the medication that he was given in order to treat him on an autopsy report, the medication was bad medication.
[00:24:20] Jordan Harbinger: That's terrible.
[00:24:21] Remi Adeleke: His heart died and essentially that's what killed him.
[00:24:24] Jordan Harbinger: Corruption, man. Because the bad medication was because somebody put something in there that wasn't supposed to be in there.
[00:24:28] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[00:24:28] Jordan Harbinger: Or just put no active ingredient in there or whatever.
[00:24:30] Remi Adeleke: Or poison. Pretty much he was poisoned. The short end of it was I think he was poisoned.
[00:24:35] Jordan Harbinger: Do you think it was deliberate that they did that?
[00:24:37] Remi Adeleke: 100 percent.
[00:24:38] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see.
[00:24:39] Remi Adeleke: Because my dad, you know, he was a very powerful man in Nigeria and Maroko after that was taken from him, he fought them for years and eventually had to relent and give him the swamp.
[00:24:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:24:53] Remi Adeleke: And they knew that my father would not stop fighting them and they knew that that island would be worth billions of dollars. My dad had already, I mean, put the eight million pounds aside. My dad had already invested, he signed contracts with Marks & [Spencer], McDonald's. Other companies already start come work on or to be housed on the island. He had signed deals with construction. I mean he invested millions and millions of more dollars I mean even dredging the foreshore and creating the island cost millions more. And so he wasn't going to let that go.
[00:25:30] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:25:31] Remi Adeleke: He was a very vociferous man and he wasn't going to let that go. And the Nigerian government knew him. As a matter of fact, one of the top generals in Nigeria, who's still alive to this day, who benefited from my dad, who my dad did favors for, you know, that guy, we believe played a role in my father's death.
[00:25:47] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sorry. I'm even making you talk about this because it's so disgusting. It's so gross.
[00:25:52] Remi Adeleke: I don't mind talking about because the truth needs to get out there. And I think that in what's happening on social media now were so many Nigerians are reaching out to me and saying, hey, this politician or the current president of Nigeria—
[00:26:04] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:04] Remi Adeleke: —was the senator of Lagos during this whole situation.
[00:26:09] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:10] Remi Adeleke: And all of these Nigerians are reaching out to me and saying, "The president said that he was the one to discover the island. And now, I'm seeing he's lied about so much but now we're seeing how it's a lie because you've shown all of the receipts and you've shown all of the evidence that it was your families." And so they killed my dad.
[00:26:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:26] Remi Adeleke: They had to because they knew that my dad being a chief, and my dad being connected and my dad was not going to give that up.
[00:26:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. He sounds like a very driven/very stubborn kind of guy.
[00:26:38] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:26:38] Jordan Harbinger: Like you're not getting one over on chief from the sound of it.
[00:26:41] Remi Adeleke: Exactly. And so he died three weeks later after he started, after it was taken, and after he started fighting them in court, and busting ass and showing receipts and doing all the things they said, "Okay. This guy's not going, he's not going anywhere."
[00:26:55] Jordan Harbinger: Do you feel safe going back to Nigeria? Would you go back now? Because it sounds like you got a lot of attention that maybe wouldn't do you any favors if you go back now.
[00:27:03] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, I'd go back now.
[00:27:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:04] Remi Adeleke: I have a half brother who's out there now. He's a lawyer. He's actually the lawyer on the case. He's been on the case since 1987. In fact, the Lagos State Government offered him eight million four years ago in compensation.
[00:27:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, because is it starting to creep up like he's just making enough noise that they're starting to—?
[00:27:23] Remi Adeleke: Oh, yeah, well, a few things have happened. One, they offered him eight million and he turned it down because he said, "Listen, my dad, he bought Miracle for eight million pounds and this was in '70s and his compensation was the swamp, and then all the other money he invested in and just adjust for inflation—
[00:27:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:42] Remi Adeleke: —the value of it now, it's worth billions of dollars. So he turned down the eight million from the Lagos State Government.
[00:27:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Inflation and interest, by the way. Yeah.
[00:27:49] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. And interest. So he turned all of that down. And a few months later, maybe a year later, was the End SARS movement. I don't know if you remember the End SARS movement that happened.
[00:28:00] Jordan Harbinger: End SARS?
[00:28:02] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, E-N-D and then S-A-R-S. It was almost like the BLM riots.
[00:28:07] Jordan Harbinger: Like ending the disease of SARS? Or is this something else?
[00:28:11] Remi Adeleke: It was a police force.
[00:28:12] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay because you know what SARS is, right?
[00:28:14] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah.
[00:28:14] Jordan Harbinger: Like it's a respiratory disease. I was so confused.
[00:28:16] Remi Adeleke: So it was a police force. And so there were big riots and protests and conveniently, some protesters went into the courthouse where the case has been for 30 years, 30-plus years, and they found all of the documents, all of the evidence, everything that pertains to Banana Island and Lagoon City, my dad's case, and they burnt those files.
[00:28:43] Jordan Harbinger: Aah.
[00:28:43] Remi Adeleke: And it was protesters.
[00:28:45] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:28:45] Remi Adeleke: Nothing else burned down in the courthouse.
[00:28:47] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:28:48] Remi Adeleke: But just those files were burnt by protesters. And so my brother was, my half brother, who's a lawyer, happened to be in the UK, was in the UK at the time when all this was going on, he jumped on a plane. I mean, the guy had brain cancer. He had a tumor. He has to wear like a helmet on his head now because they had to take a piece of his skull out and the doctors have to go in every so often and do some work.
[00:29:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:29:07] Remi Adeleke: And he flew down there and confronted the judge and he said, "What can we do? What is it? It was the protesters."
[00:29:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:29:17] Remi Adeleke: They wanted to fight for what they thought was a just cause.
[00:29:19] Jordan Harbinger: They didn't even take a pen off the judge's desk.
[00:29:22] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[00:29:22] Jordan Harbinger: But they burnt your files only. Such transparent bullsh*t.
[00:29:26] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:29:27] Jordan Harbinger: For the listeners listening to this right now, how frustrated are you listening to this story? Imagine living this as your reality every single day and you're trying to get something done. You're trying to open a restaurant or go to college or anything. I know we're going to get Nigerian listeners being like, "Thank you."
[00:29:40] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:29:40] Jordan Harbinger: Because no one talks about this because I'm sure that this is just a reality, every single day for every single person growing up there. It's so sad.
[00:29:49] Remi Adeleke: 100 percent. Yeah, it's a kick in the nuts.
[00:29:51] Jordan Harbinger: So chief passes away.
[00:29:53] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:29:53] Jordan Harbinger: And you move to the Bronx, which is a different kind of neighborhood. I would imagine that you're used to in Africa.
[00:30:00] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, went from riches and wealth to, yeah, to the Bronx, man. And it was, uh, you know, I would say in my early years, my mom, you know, such a strong woman, much credit to my mom. She did a great job of masking the reality of what had happened. We didn't have much, but our little apartment that we did have, she always kept it clean. There was some art that she was able to bring from Nigeria that was peppered around the house. So she did the best that she could to mask the reality of what had happened and also our environment.
[00:30:30] And she would work multiple jobs, started out just working as a teacher in the South Bronx, and then she would take jobs at museums and art galleries and even playhouses in order to be able to expose my brother and I to the arts. And then, she would educate us on top of sending us to school, public school, because the public education system was really bad. She would homeschool us as well so that way we could stay on par with the standard, which wasn't the best at the time either at a minimum.
[00:30:59] And so yeah, it was really, really rough, man, but it wasn't until I was about eight years old that I began to become conscious of our surroundings. You know, I would go out and see guys handing other people who didn't look too healthy bags of stuff. And I would put two and two together ways. My mom would tell me, "Oh, they're just giving each other some treats. It's nothing." I was able to know that's drugs. You know, I would see these people—
[00:31:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:28] Remi Adeleke: —looking like zombies and my mom would tell me, "Oh, they're just sick." No, that's a crackhead. You know what I mean? I would go into these bodegas and see the Mafia guys because the Italian Mafia was very prevalent at the time in the late '80s and early '90s.
[00:31:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:42] Remi Adeleke: Going with their cows and shake down the Dominican store owners. And I was like, "Uh, that's not right. I think that guy might be a mobster." You know what I mean? And so—
[00:31:51] Jordan Harbinger: Geez.
[00:31:51] Remi Adeleke: As I began to really, as I grew up and began to venture out of my mom's apartment, this bubble that she created, that's when I begin to understand the environment that I was in and understand that I'm not in Kansas anymore. And that rich life that we had is never going to come back.
[00:32:08] Jordan Harbinger: How old were you at this point in time?
[00:32:10] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. So I came to the States in '87. So I was five at the time.
[00:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: Five, okay.
[00:32:14] Remi Adeleke: And then, it was around eight when I was beginning to, eight, nine years old, when I really began to become conscious of my surroundings.
[00:32:24] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Remi Adeleke. We'll be right back.
[00:32:29] This episode is sponsored in part by Cometeer. Coffee, it feels half the planet, that rich coffee aroma hitting my nose in the morning is my favorite alarm clock. Sadly, a lot of people have been settling for coffee that tastes more like charred wood than the heavenly nectar that it can be. Out of convenience, we fall for gas station brews that promise a caffeine kick but often taste more like licking an ashtray. But with Cometeer, you can get the best of both worlds. Exceptional coffee with convenience. Don't settle for the burnt and the bland. Cometeer sends hyper fresh, flash frozen coffee with incredible flavor that you can make in seconds wherever you are. I got to admit, I was a little skeptical. Like, why do I need coffee mailed to me? That seems dumb, especially because it's frozen. Who cares? It's coffee. Does it need to be frozen? But then, I tried it, I added some hot water to a frozen capsule, turned it into delicious liquid gold. I've actually tried it iced as well. No fancy machines. I actually have a fancy machine. I have yet to get it right and I've had it for a long time. Cometeer is pulled by a professional and all you do is put it in the glass. So join the future of coffee with Cometeer and get a curated starter pack of their most popular roasts. Go to comiteer.com/jordan to get a free eight pack and a travel mug when you sign up. That's a free eight pack of coffees and a travel mug when you sign up at C-O-M-E-T-E-E-R.com/jordan.
[00:33:45] This episode is also sponsored by Rocket Money. Try it for 30 days! We've all heard that stuff before. Like when you signed up for that free trial to watch that one movie, we tell ourselves, I'm going to cancel this next week, but over 80 percent of us forget and are unknowingly still paying for these money eaters without realizing it. It's almost like companies are counting on that. Well, Rocket Money can help spotlight those hidden subscriptions and cancel unwanted subscriptions with just one click, which is super convenient. I love that this exists. Rocket Money can also help negotiate your bill. So our internet bill, it goes up every year. This year, we negotiated it down from 130 to 105 bucks for the exact same service, saving us hundreds of dollars a year. Rocket Money is going to do that for you. Rocket Money is a personal finance app that finds and cancels your unwanted subscriptions, monitors your spending, helps you lower your bills all in one place. Join over three million people who've trusted Rocket Money, saving an average of $720 annually. So stop throwing your money away. Cancel unwanted subscriptions and manage your expenses the easy way by going to rocketmoney.com/jordan. That's rocketmoney.com/jordan, rocketmoney.com/jordan.
[00:34:52] If you're wondering how I managed to book all these amazing folks for the show, it is always about that networking. jordanharbinger.com/course is where I got that Six-Minute Networking course for you. It's free. It's not cringy. It's not gross. There's a happiness dividend from reconnecting with people. It's not just about getting them to do what you want. It will help you with your career if that's what you're into. But it will also help you reconnect with folks. It's going to make you feel better. It's going to give you opportunities and it's not going to be schmoozy. You're not going to feel awkward doing it. And many of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. You can find the course all for free at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:35:31] Now, back to Remi Adeleke.
[00:35:34] That makes sense. I guess the change in lifestyle would be something you would notice, but not as much at age 5—
[00:35:41] Remi Adeleke: Right.
[00:35:41] Jordan Harbinger: —I suppose. I mean, you remember things, but you don't—
[00:35:44] Remi Adeleke: Yep. Yep.
[00:35:44] Jordan Harbinger: Your mother's change would be dramatic.
[00:35:47] Remi Adeleke: Yep.
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: And almost impossible. Like, I don't know how I would deal with that.
[00:35:50] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:35:50] Jordan Harbinger: If I had to move now to the Bronx, or whatever the equivalent is, I think the Bronx is probably, you probably got $4,000 studio apartment in the Bronx now.
[00:36:00] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:36:01] Jordan Harbinger: Back then it would be very, very tough to adjust. And she was also a single mom with two, two little kids.
[00:36:07] Remi Adeleke: Two boys.
[00:36:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. So we're talking about like drugs and drive-bys. And then, you see, the movie, was it Bad Boys with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, which is a funny—
[00:36:16] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:36:16] Jordan Harbinger: —movie, but kind of like what, that's what inspired you? Like tell me about—
[00:36:20] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:36:20] Jordan Harbinger: —the shift in mindset.
[00:36:21] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. So the shift in me, you know, I did a lot of bad things. So after I began to realize my environment and I began to unconsciously try to find a father to fill my void. And I looked to the streets. So I started out stealing from my mom, the little that she had. And then, that progressed stealing from stores that progresses getting jobs and stealing from jobs and that progressed to selling drugs and that progressed to running high-level scams where I was bringing in tens of thousands of dollars a week. And I remember my teens when Bad Boys came out, I was selling drugs at the time, just, you know, hustling, making money, doing what a lot of other kids did in my environment. And I went and saw Bad Boys, and interestingly, in the movie, the drug dealers were the bad guys and they weren't black.
[00:37:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:08] Remi Adeleke: And the good guys were black dudes who I felt like I can identify with. These were guys who look like me. They seem to have come from somewhat of the same environment that I came from, but they were heroes. They were heroes with swagger. And that was the first time in my life, well, since I had come to from Nigeria to the Bronx that a light went off in my head and I was like, oh, I could be something other than a drug dealer or an athlete or a rapper.
[00:37:35] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:35] Remi Adeleke: Like I could be a hero and I could still be who I am. I could still maintain my swag and be a hero at the same time. So that movie really enlightened me. And then, a year later, the same director, Michael Bay, directed another movie called The Rock.
[00:37:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:54] Remi Adeleke: And of course, having saw Bad Boys, I love that movie. I never forget after I watched Bad Boys, I went and bought a bootleg tape version of it and I would just watch it over and over and over again.
[00:38:04] Jordan Harbinger: Were they holding the camera in the movie theater?
[00:38:06] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:38:08] Jordan Harbinger: Those are terrible. There's people getting up and walking out to get popcorn in front of the movie and everything. Oh man.
[00:38:14] Remi Adeleke: You know, watching it a million times on cassette. Then, a year later or two years later, The Rock came out and as soon as I heard, hey, Michael Bay, the same guy who brought you Bad Boys is doing The Rock. I was like, I'm going to see this movie and I went to go see it. And that was the first time I was exposed to Navy SEALs. And growing up in the Bronx in the hood, like no one knows what a Navy SEAL is—
[00:38:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:38:35] Remi Adeleke: —or special operations or any of this stuff. We're not exposed to it. You know, we're exposed to the things that I've already touched on, but we're not exposed to things like engineering or being a doctor, because there's not a lot of engineers, doctors, Navy SEALs that live in the Bronx, you know?
[00:38:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:38:51] Remi Adeleke: And so when I watched the film and I saw these guys coming out of the water and they had these cool guns and they were willing to sacrifice themselves for others and for a greater cause and they were cool, and I was just like whatever that is, if I ever turn my life around, I'm not saying I will, but if I ever turn my life around, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be a Navy SEAL. And you know, I filed that away and continued doing what I was doing, continued selling drugs. And then, as I mentioned, when I was about 18, this was definitely after high school—
[00:39:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:26] Remi Adeleke: —begin to realize that this is a huge risk. You know, I stopped selling drugs down in the Bronx and I migrated up to Poughkeepsie, New York because there were less drug dealers up there. And then I was able to get in with a company called MCI Worldcom. And when I got there, I met a guy.
[00:39:44] Jordan Harbinger: A phone company?
[00:39:45] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, a phone company.
[00:39:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:47] Remi Adeleke: I call it a different name in the book.
[00:39:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's probably a good idea.
[00:39:52] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, maybe. So I got a job with WCT.
[00:39:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, there you go.
[00:39:58] Remi Adeleke: A guy there, he was a hustler, you know, former drug dealer as well, and he was like, "Hey dude, here's how you could hustle and make money." And so, what he would do was he would get people's personal information, date of birth, social address, full name. And he would activate, he can activate three phones on one line of credit. And then, he would sell those phones to drug dealers for anywhere between $300 and $900. And the phone, for the first 30 days, there was no bill. After 30 days, the person who uses credit was used, received the bill. And then, that person had 60 days to pay the bill. And then, if it wasn't paid in 60 days, then 30 days later, which was 90 days later, was 90 days in total, the phone would cut off. So drug dealers like the phones because they could have a free unlimited plan phone for 90 days and then, it would cut off and they would get a new one. So it'd be hard for cops and people to trace them and track them down. And so that guy put me onto it and I was like, "Hey. I'm in." And so I started doing that. A guy I went to high school with his girlfriend worked as MA at a hospice clinic. And so she would give me and him, will give him the information sheets of information with people who were about to die.
[00:41:11] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:41:11] Remi Adeleke: And I would take that and I would activate phones. Again, this is not something I'm proud of.
[00:41:15] Jordan Harbinger: No, no.
[00:41:16] Remi Adeleke: This is the bad Nigerian side of me.
[00:41:17] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:41:18] Remi Adeleke: But you know, this is the good side of me in the sense that I took my dad's ingenuity and I applied it but I applied it the wrong way. And that's how I ended up making a lot of money, more money than I ever made selling drugs. And with that money, I essentially would launder that money. I'm reaching because this CD right here, I'll drop it right here.
[00:41:41] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yeah.
[00:41:41] Remi Adeleke: I laundered that money into a record company called 8th Wonder Entertainment. So I signed artists and paid for studio time and did all of these different things as it relates to running a record company. And I was able to do it and grow the company because of this illegal money. And my goal was to get out. I had an exit plan, similar to how Jay-Z and Damon Dash were selling drugs and their plan was to make it in the music business and not sell drugs anymore. My plan was to do the cell phone thing, accumulate all of this money to build a business. And then, at some point, sign a label deal with Def Jam or MCA, one of the major record companies. And so, yeah, that's, that's essentially what I was doing.
[00:42:16] Jordan Harbinger: So I'm guessing the rap career took a little bit of a right turn because you ended up in the Navy.
[00:42:22] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:42:22] Jordan Harbinger: Your mom had it hard with you, man.
[00:42:23] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:42:23] Jordan Harbinger: You're like a punk kid, sell drugs. And then, it's like, just kidding. I'm going to be a rapper. And then, it's like, nah, I'm going to go join the military during—
[00:42:31] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:42:31] Jordan Harbinger: —time where the country is maybe going to go to war.
[00:42:34] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah.
[00:42:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yikes.
[00:42:34] Remi Adeleke: What happened was I got involved in a deal with a drug dealer, sold him a bunch of phones that were supposed to last for like the 90-day period, they cut off in two weeks. He in return had flipped those phones, so if I sold him a phone for 500, he sold it for a thousand. So he was in hot water with a bunch of guys, and so he essentially came to my apartment and threatened my life. And that was a huge wake up call for me. I gave him his money back. And then, that's when I decided I'm not going to do this anymore. And then, fast forward six months later — whoa. Before that, I pursued, got a meeting with Def Jam, tried to sell a label deal to Def Jam, Kevin Lau specifically. I'll never forget meeting with him, and had some other meetings, and none of them panned out. I didn't end up getting a label deal, all the money ran out that I had saved. And so I was dry. Fast forward to June of 2002, that's when the change came. I kind of was in my mom's apartment doing nothing with my life. And I just felt something tell me you need to get out of here. You need to join the military. And I battled with that idea for a few minutes because I hated the military. I hated the police. I associated anybody in a uniform as the police.
[00:43:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:42] Remi Adeleke: I didn't like authority. I like my clothes baggy, my hats backwards. I still wear my hats backwards.
[00:43:46] Jordan Harbinger: Still wear hats backwards, yeah.
[00:43:48] Remi Adeleke: And so I didn't want to do it. But after looking around the room that I had grew up in, I finally realized, hey, what else do I have? I have nothing. My brother was at Syracuse University studying engineering at the time. I wasn't going to college. And that's when I decided to go join a Navy. And this was nine months after 9/11, actually. And so I get to the Navy recruiter's office and met this amazing Navy recruiter by the name of Tiana Nadine Reyes. And in my mind when I went and saw her, I'm like, "Oh, I'm going to get me a new girl," because she's fine.
[00:44:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:21] Remi Adeleke: She's Puerto Rican. And in her mind, she was like, "I'm going to get this fool into the Navy."
[00:44:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:44:25] Remi Adeleke: And so she had me take a practice ASVAB test.
[00:44:27] Jordan Harbinger: That's like the STAT for the Navy or for the military, right?
[00:44:30] Remi Adeleke: Yep. So it pretty much tests your aptitude in different areas. And I scored high enough to get into the Navy, but I didn't score high enough to get into SEAL training. And so the next thing she did after that was she ran my background and she discovered I had two warrants out for my arrest. I had a warrant in New Jersey. And I had a warrant in New York. And, you know, as soon as she said that, I got up and ran towards the door and she screamed at me and told me to stop. I said, "For what?" and she asked me if I had a suit. I said, no. She asked me if I had a collar shirt, some nice pants. I said, "Sure. I could find something." And she said, "Come back tomorrow." I said, "For what? So you could turn me in." And she just snapped at me and said, "Just come back tomorrow." And, uh, you know, growing up in the Bronx, I had to learn how to read people. And that served me well when I got into human intelligence and the SEAL teams.
[00:45:18] And I didn't know exactly what she was going to do for me, but based off what I read and her reaction and the way she had been with me the last hour or so, I realized that whatever it was going to be, it was going to be good. And so I came back the next day and she was in her dress uniform. And she took me to both judges, took me to the judge in New Jersey, judge in New York, advocate on my behalf said, "Hey, this kid's made mistakes, but he has potential. He wants to join the military after an act of war, but he can't with warrants and a criminal record." And so, both judges, they were impressed with the idea that I was raising my hand in the middle of a war. And they said, "All right, we'll expunge his record." So both judges unanimously expunged my record. I just had to pay court fines and court fees. And then, she went a step further and fudged the paperwork to sneak me into the Navy.
[00:46:06] And that was how it all happened. Unfortunately, she died two years later, but I'm so grateful to her decision for her decision, because if it wasn't for her, I would be dead or in prison.
[00:46:19] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. She risked her whole career though, because she was obviously not supposed to do that.
[00:46:22] Remi Adeleke: Not at all. Not at all. In fact, I get contacted by kids from all across the country, at least on a monthly basis, who say, "Hey, Remi, I read your book, heard your story, and I can't get into the Navy. I had this little misdemeanor. I made this mistake or whatever the case, and no military recruiter won't touch me. And I tell them about your story and they say, 'Hey, I'm not going to jail for you.'" And they asked me what to do. And I said, "Hey, you just got to find a recruiter who's willing to take that risk. And she did.
[00:46:51] Jordan Harbinger: That seems like a large oversight. Now, I get why they don't want actual criminals to join the military, but I also think it's a huge mistake to write off a kid who has done something that is not really bad. Like, if you get busted for selling weed in high school, that torpedoes your chance in the military. That really, in my opinion, should not be the case. I get it if you have three violent assaults or a sexual assault or something like that, I understand that. But even then, juvenile stuff, I don't know, man, it just seems like you're taking a lot of people's last chance to really get their sh*t together and being like, "Nah, we're not going to do that. And I'm really on the fence there. I'm sure there's a reason for the policy, but it seems like a lot of human potential is being wasted.
[00:47:32] Remi Adeleke: I agree with you, 100 percent. I want to at some point when I get a little bit more juice behind my name, I'd like to be able to go to Congress and advocate for some type of change because there are so many kids are like myself. I mean, I'm proof of concept.
[00:47:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:47] Remi Adeleke: I'm proof that it works. You know, there's a lot of kids who just need that second chance and if they could get that second chance, their whole lives would be turned around. And in fact, right now there is a recruiting crisis across every branch of service. It's a national security issue. And I talked to a buddy of mine who's one of the head, he's a master chief at one of the recruiting commands, and he's like, "Dude, it's bad. I mean, the army is down 25 percent. Navy is down across the board. If we went to war right now, we would get crushed."
[00:48:18] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh.
[00:48:18] Remi Adeleke: And they are generals and admirals who are shaking in their boots. And so this is a prime opportunity to look at cases. Look at kids who, you know, yeah, they made him was like you said, nothing violent, nothing crazy, not great, nothing. But something that, you know, simple cases and say, "Hey, we're going to give you an opportunity." I'd like to advocate for that in some way, because something has to change on both ends. Kids need to be able to get an opportunity who made mistakes and the military needs bodies. Oh, we're going to—
[00:48:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:48:46] Remi Adeleke: We're going to be crushed as a nation. So I agree.
[00:48:48] Jordan Harbinger: It's a pretty good match, right? And you see a lot of people, I know a lot of people who were really just kind of pieces of sh*t and joined the military and are—
[00:48:55] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:48:56] Jordan Harbinger: —really upstanding guys and gals now for that matter.
[00:48:58] Remi Adeleke: Yup.
[00:48:58] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm thinking like, whoever's doing all that yelling, it's getting through to a lot of people for sure.
[00:49:03] Remi Adeleke: A hundred percent. And I know for me when I was in I realized that I was the case study and I knew that if I followed up in any way if I was disrespectful to a DI or if I screamed at somebody or if I fought someone, did something stupid, then I would be messing it up for everybody. I would not only be screwing Tiana, but I would be screwing so many other who later in life, we want to join the military and they made the same mistake. So a big part of why I chose and I strove so hard to do the right thing every single day and strive to get to that special operations is because I wanted to prove the system wrong. I wanted to prove to the system that, hey, there are people who need a second chance and deserve a second chance and who will take advantage of it in a good way.
[00:49:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, man, I love that. Tiana, the recruiter, who you just, you couldn't let her down. I think that's amazing. And your Aunt Dokey who walked to the bank and didn't want to walk alone because she didn't want to carry all that money on her. You're blessed, man. You have a lot of good people around you.
[00:50:03] Remi Adeleke: A hundred percent. Again, speaking of Aunt Dokey, she died four months ago.
[00:50:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
[00:50:08] Remi Adeleke: She would have been 105 in September.
[00:50:09] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, who lived a full life, needless to say.
[00:50:12] Remi Adeleke: Full amazing life, yeah, yeah.
[00:50:14] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, that's good genetics.
[00:50:15] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:50:16] Jordan Harbinger: Tell me about BUD/S, the Navy SEAL training, for people who don't know, because my impression of Navy SEALs is usually like white people from upper middle class backgrounds.
[00:50:27] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:50:27] Jordan Harbinger: Not that nobody else can do it, but it just seems like that's what you get with those.
[00:50:31] Remi Adeleke: No, you're spot on. And it is what you get. I mean, you get a lot of guys who come from, you know, interestingly, this is the one thing I found, they come from wealthy families.
[00:50:39] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:39] Remi Adeleke: Get a lot of guys who gone to Ivy League schools.
[00:50:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:43] Remi Adeleke: You get a lot of enlisted guys who graduated from Ivy League schools and then decided they wanted to go and enlist instead of going to an officer. I mean, I was in a class with a Rhodes Scholar.
[00:50:52] Jordan Harbinger: That's crazy.
[00:50:53] Remi Adeleke: You get guys who are lawyers or engineers or like computer programmers making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And then, one day they decided, "Dude, you know what? I think I want to be a Navy SEAL." And I was in BUD/S with some, some crazy stories, but you literally get the cream of the crop. And as you mentioned, the majority of them are white. There's not that many African-Americans, I think, the community is less than one percent African-American. I was around the 50th, not the 50th, but around the 50th African American seal in the history of the SEAL team since 1962. And so when I showed up the BUD/S, yeah, man, I couldn't get away with nothing, man.
[00:51:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:34] Remi Adeleke: I couldn't get away with anything because I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was—
[00:51:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:38] Remi Adeleke: —big black dude and like in the sea of white dudes.
[00:51:41] Jordan Harbinger: Literally.
[00:51:41] Remi Adeleke: And it's tough in and of itself. I mean, it sucks. It's considered the toughest military training known to man. People have died in SEAL training.
[00:51:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:51:49] Remi Adeleke: People have been permanently crippled. I mean, a guy died in my class right in front of me on a conditioning run. And it's brutal.
[00:51:55] Jordan Harbinger: How did he die? I remember in the book, it sounds like a heart attack or something. Is that what happened?
[00:51:59] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah, it was a heart attack. We were on a soft sand conditioning run which was about eight miles. Those runs are horrible. And towards the end of the mile, when you get to about the seven-mile mark, the instructors warn you. They say, if you're not up with the pack, you're going to be in a goon squad and goon squad essentially a section of the class that just gets hammered on a beach. I mean, up and down the berm, you know, pushups to the surf and back. I mean, we call it a beat down session, but they literally throw everything at you.
[00:52:30] And so, we were in the goon squad, but we didn't make the cut. And the instructors were just putting us to rain. They were guys quitting left and right. And this particular guy, Rob Vetter, actually yesterday was his birthday, his heart gave out. His heart gave out and he dropped right in front of me, me being a corpsman, which is a medic in the Navy before I was a corpsman before I went to BUD/S, you know, I saw what was happening. I started CPR with some other guys until the lead BUD/S instructor came up. And I want to say they worked on him for a while and then, finally, they were able to get a pulse, got him to the hospital on Coronado Island, but at that point, I mean, he had been out for such a long time that he was on a ventilator. And he was a vegetable for the most part.
[00:53:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:53:14] Remi Adeleke: And then a few days later his family decided, you know, there's no brain activity, so they decided to pull the plug.
[00:53:20] Jordan Harbinger: How does that affect your mind when you're doing the same thing as that guy and he just died from it right in front of you, basically?
[00:53:28] Remi Adeleke: I want to say that it didn't affect me in any way because I would say once you make the decision to join the Navy, especially when you're pursuing a combat role in the military, whether it's Navy, Army, Marine Corps, you're essentially, in my opinion, you're giving up any fear of death.
[00:53:44] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:44] Remi Adeleke: Once you make the decision, "Hey, I want to go to BUD/S, I want to funnel this down and get even more dangerous," you have to cast that fear away because the reality is in a lot of things you do in training, you can't die.
[00:53:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:59] Remi Adeleke: I mean, actually a lot of SEALs die in training. Once they get through, not just BUD/S, but once they get to SEAL team and they're doing IADs or they're doing CQC — there was a guy, he's doing CQC training, brand new guy, just graduated from BUD/S, got to a SEAL team and went to kill house to do CQC training. And there was a fracture in the wall. So when one team entered one room and they were shooting at a target, a bullet went through that wall right into his heart. It killed him.
[00:54:27] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[00:54:28] Remi Adeleke: You get guys who die on skydiving training and all kinds of stuff. So once you make the decision that, "Hey, I'm going to go into that program," if you have not given up the fear of death, you ain't going to make it. So for me, when that happened, I was just, he's part of the job. You know what I mean? He was close to me and I talked to him at lunch and breakfast at times because we were in the same boat crew at the same time I understood the risk.
[00:54:52] Jordan Harbinger: That is a mindset is hard for I think a lot of us to wrap our head around because for me I feel like it would either be so demoralizing or so terrifying that I would probably want to quit which doesn't surprise anybody listening to the show because me and Navy SEAL do not belong in the same sentence. But there's a reason I'm not a Navy SEAL, you are. But I will say, it's a little weird that you joined SEAL training and you couldn't swim. That's unusual.
[00:55:19] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, I think, you know, I've been a masochist since since early age, I would say. Yeah, that wasn't fun, but I wanted it, you know?
[00:55:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:55:28] Remi Adeleke: And I tell people all the time when you have a dream, it's called a dream for a reason because you're going to have some obstacles on your journey towards attaining that. And either you could throw your hands up and say, "I can't do it," or you could do the extra, extra hard work in order to overcome it. And it was brutal. I mean, before I even got to BUD/S, you know, I remember jumping in the shallow end and trying to figure it out. And it sucked. And there were some times where I was just like, ah, am I going to be able to do this? But I just kept on showing up rain, sleet in snow, cold, hot, whatever it was, I ran to that pool and tried to figure it out. But I wanted it. I wanted to be part of the best. I wanted and everything that I read, everything that I saw, SEALs were the tip of the spear. They were the best. I know there's other special operations units but they were the best. And, you know, my mom beat into me the importance of whatever you do it right the first time and go for the top. And so, though, I was totally disqualified, you know, because there's not a lot of pools in the Bronx and a lot of fire hydrants, but not a lot of pools. That was brutal.
[00:56:32] Jordan Harbinger: This is the regular training, and then there's Hell Week, which is like, they don't even let you sleep. You're talking about weird diseases people get from suppressed immune systems.
[00:56:40] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[00:56:40] Jordan Harbinger: That could kill you too, I would imagine, going, getting two hours of sleep and then running, I don't know, 50 miles or whatever in some sand.
[00:56:47] Remi Adeleke: I almost died in Hell Week.
[00:56:48] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:56:49] Remi Adeleke: I got pneumonia, SIPE, and rhabdo where essentially my muscles tissue started eating itself because my immune system was suppressed. I wasn't getting as many calories and I was just broken down. But yeah, Hell Week is horrible. I mean, six days starts on Sunday and on Friday. You get two hours of sleep on Wednesday, two hours of sleep on Thursday, but by the time you've gotten to Wednesday and Thursday, your brain is just so wired. Most guys can't even fall asleep in those two hours. And then, also you're hydrophobic. You become hydrophobic because they keep you wet and cold and tired every single moment you're wet and cold. So when you put on your dry clothes and you get in that rack, if you're lucky enough to get into the rack, you know, with dry clothes on you, you can't go to sleep because you know that you're going to be woken up at any moment to get wet and sandy again and be cold and sandy, so you can't even sleep. So it's very, very brutal, but it's a necessary process because essentially what they're looking for is they're looking for that guy who has been stripped of everything, been stripped of sleep, been stripped of food, been tired, is beaten down, a zombie pretty near death, but still willing to keep fighting and keep moving.
[00:58:00] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:01] Remi Adeleke: And it's necessary. I remember being in training, not just in Hell Week and in training, in general, and hearing instructors say, "You think this sucks? Wait, until you — I've been on ops that suck worse than this," and I just remember being in BUD/S through the same bullsh*t.
[00:58:16] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no way.
[00:58:17] Remi Adeleke: There's no way you've been on ops, until I actually went on an op.
[00:58:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, really?
[00:58:21] Remi Adeleke: That was a kick in the freaking nuts, and we're getting shot at, and we had to crawl through a swamp to get to another end, and it's supposed to be a quick direct action mission where we just go in and get the guy and go out, but it turned into a 14-hour chase in the sun, at night, and you're beat down. And it's like, you can't quit.
[00:58:42] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:43] Remi Adeleke: And when you're in that situation, you're always able to fall back on "I went through Hell Week."
[00:58:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh interesting.
[00:58:49] Remi Adeleke: And if I made it through Hell Week that I could do that. So it's absolutely necessary. I mean, think about what happened with the guys on Operation Red Wings and Marcus Luttrell among the survivor, you know?
[00:58:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:00] Remi Adeleke: They were four guys against a large number of guys, with guns, outgunned, outnumbered, right? But those guys kept fighting for each other and didn't quit, didn't give up on each other and three of them died, one of them survived. But that one guy, Marcus Luttrell wouldn't have survived if those three guys didn't go through the same training that he went through and didn't get pushed way past their perceived limits so they knew what they could do. And so it's a brutal process, but it's a necessary process.
[00:59:28] And that's why the attrition rate is as high as it is. I mean, the class that I eventually graduated with started out with 270 guys, only 29 of us graduated and that's the way it is every class. You'll get 10 percent that'll graduate. You'll get 20 percent, you'll get 15 guys. There was a class has just went through Hell Week a few months ago and class started with 250 guys, only 14 guys made it through Hell Week. They haven't even gotten—
[00:59:51] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:59:51] Remi Adeleke: —a dive phase and third phase yet. These are guys that just got spit out of Hell Week, you know?
[00:59:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[00:59:57] Remi Adeleke: So it's a necessary process.
[00:59:59] Jordan Harbinger: How long are you sore after Hell Week? That's what I want to know.
[01:00:03] Remi Adeleke: Ooh.
[01:00:03] Jordan Harbinger: Three weeks.
[01:00:04] Remi Adeleke: I mean, I'm still sore to this day and that was over decades ago. But no, you have a week after Hell Week, we call Walk Week where you kind of get a chance to recover and you just walk everywhere instead of run everywhere. And then after that, you're right back in it. But yeah, you're sore for a while.
[01:00:24] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Remi Adeleke. We'll be right back.
[01:00:29] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Life's ceaseless whirlwind often pulls us into a vortex of fulfilling others expectations, leaving us little space to focus on our own needs. Unremitting giving can, over time, lead to mental exhaustion or burnout. It might be that you're a people pleaser. You might just have a lot going on at work or at home. Therapy can be your compass, guiding you to extend support to others without losing touch with your own self care. And Better Help is a solid stepping stone on the path, being entirely online slash the phone. Better Help offers therapy sessions right where you are, perfect for those days when getting out of bed feels like too big of a job, or maybe you got to do this on your lunch break in your car. One of the shining highlights of Better Help is their extensive network of licensed, professional therapists. A brief questionnaire maps your unique needs, pairs you with a suitable therapist. Jen needed a therapist who was also a mother, somebody who could empathize with her experiences, had younger kids. Moreover, Better Help ensures your comfort by allowing you to switch therapists at any time without additional charges. Switching therapists in real life is a huge pain in the neck. Switching therapists with Better Help is a snap.
[01:01:32] Jen Harbinger: Find more balance with Better Help. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[01:01:42] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. So we used to travel a lot for podcast interviews and conferences, and we love staying in Airbnbs because we often meet interesting people and the stays are just more unique and fun. One of our favorite places to stay at in LA is with a sweet older couple whose kid's been moved out. They have a granny flat in their backyard. We used to stay there all the time. We were regulars, always booking their Airbnb when we flew down for interviews. And we loved it because they'd leave a basket of snacks, sometimes a bottle of wine, even a little note for us. And they would leave us freshly baked banana bread because they knew that I liked it. And they even became listeners of this podcast, which is how they knew about the banana bread. So after our house was built, we decided to become hosts ourselves, turning one of our spare bedrooms into an Airbnb. Maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Hey, this seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you get a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle, turn it into an Airbnb, let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this, your little one isn't so little anymore. If they're headed off to college this fall, the echo in their now empty bedroom might be a little too much to bear. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[01:03:05] This episode is also sponsored in part by ZipRecruiter. Navigating the hiring landscape amid this uncertain economy, it can be challenging. If you want to onboard the right talent quickly and cost effectively, you need a dedicated hiring ally. From pricing to technology, everything that ZipRecruiter does is for you and what works best for you. And right now you can try them for free at ziprecruiter.com/jordan. ZipRecruiter's got transparent pricing so you can stay within budget. ZipRecruiter's widespread reach can connect you with a diverse pool of qualified candidates as they broadcast your job posting across more than a hundred job platforms. ZipRecruiter also got intelligent matching technology so your job postings find their best fit swiftly. With ZipRecruiter, personally invite top candidates to apply for your job so you can secure them before they get swept up by competitors.
[01:03:51] Jen Harbinger: Hire the best with the help of a partner who's all about you, ZipRecruiter. Four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate within the first day. Just go to this exclusive web address to try ZipRecruiter for free. ziprecruiter.com/jordan. Again, that's ziprecruiter.com/J-O-R-D-A-N. ZipRecruiter, the smartest way to hire.
[01:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: If you like this episode of the show, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors. All of the deals, discount codes, and ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for a sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well, jordanharbinger.com/AI. Don't forget, we've also got our fundraiser at givedirectly.com/jordan. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[01:04:40] Now for the rest of my conversation with Remi Adeleke.
[01:04:45] You got really sick. I know you ended up getting med rolled and I thought, "Oh, good. They put you back where you get a chance to rest and you go back, but they make you start over again—
[01:04:54] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:04:54] Jordan Harbinger: —which is just cruel—
[01:04:55] Remi Adeleke: Day one.
[01:04:55] Jordan Harbinger: Terrible.
[01:04:56] Remi Adeleke: Day one, man. Yeah, day one. It was so funny because the instructors, they didn't know that I was sick. Bcause you get a lot of guys who want to quit.
[01:05:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:05:06] Remi Adeleke: But they don't want to quit. And so they fall on medical reasons and they fake injury or they fake being sick.
[01:05:14] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[01:05:14] Remi Adeleke: So when I was sick, I was spitting up blood and I had all this stuff going on. The instructors, they didn't see that I was spitting up blood. They just heard me say I spit up blood and they thought I was faking. So when I was like passing out, they thought I just didn't want to quit which I didn't want to quit, but they thought that I wanted to quit, but didn't want to quit.
[01:05:34] Jordan Harbinger: What's it called? Malingering? Where you just faking?
[01:05:36] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah. Malingering or sandbagging.
[01:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: Sandbagging, yeah.
[01:05:39] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. So they were laying into me and then finally after I went down hard and ended up in the ICU. They were like, "Holy crap, like, dude, like you almost died, bro. Like, we're sorry."
[01:05:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, remember when I told you I was spitting up blood, that was a good indicator.
[01:05:56] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I remember the instructors came into my room and they was just like, "Hey, you crushed it. Glad you didn't quit." And I'm expecting them to say, "You're not going to have to start from day one, first phase, you're just going to have to start from day one of how we got. They said, "But you're going to have to start from day one." And I was like, "Oh my god, I got to go through all of this again." But hey, you know what? I wanted it. I wanted it. And when you want something in life, I tell people all the time, when you want to be actor, podcaster, writer, director, you know, doctor, whatever the case is, you got to have a deep rooted emotional reason as to why you want to do it. Because that deep rooted emotional reason is going to anchor you when the winds and storms and setbacks of life come. And if you don't have a deep rooted emotional reason as to why you want to do something, when those waves and the wind comes, it's going to blow you right away.
[01:06:46] And I had a deep rooted emotional reason as to why I wanted to be a frog man. And so when I almost died in Hell Week and had to start all over, I was anchored in that. When I got kicked out of SEAL training after getting a dive phase and had to start all over again, like I was anchored, like I was just anchored. Like my dad, that's what I say, I said early on in the podcast, they had to kill my dad—
[01:07:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:07:12] Remi Adeleke: Because my dad wasn't going to stop and I inherited that aspect of him along with many other things I inherited that from my dad and there was no way I was going to stop. The only thing that could have stopped me was death. And it came from the fact that I was anchored. That's what ended up getting me through.
[01:07:33] Jordan Harbinger: Do you think having your dad pass so early in your life maybe caused a strong desire to be affirmed or approved of by other people? Because, obviously, that drive comes from somewhere and it's not like you were not a division one athlete before SEAL training or whatever.
[01:07:48] Remi Adeleke: A hundred percent. I think every boy needs a man, a father to affirm him. Because if not, he's going to seek affirmation from others, and every girl needs a father to affirm her so that, again, same, same, she doesn't seek out a toxic relationship in a man to affirm her. In the absence of my father, that's why I sold drugs, that's why I did them. I mean, at the end of the day, when I look at the root of it, in retrospect, the reason why I did those things was because I wanted that affirmation from my peers. I wanted what I couldn't get from my father. I wanted that pat, "Yo, you're the man. Oh, look at all those girls you sleep with. Oh, look at all this money. Look at the car," all these things. I wanted that affirmation.
[01:08:31] And then, you know, I think that also played a huge role in me wanting to get through SEAL training. Because part of it, I had my deep rooted emotional reason why, but I would say my selfish reason was I wanted to be affirmed. I wanted people, whether it was my friends I grew up with or whether it was my mom or whoever, my brother, to say, "You're the man."
[01:08:51] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:08:51] Remi Adeleke: "Good job, well done, son, well done, son." And so that did play a role and it worked for the good, but as I went on and after I made it through SEAL training and it went south and worked for the bad as well.
[01:09:04] Jordan Harbinger: There's a lot more to SEAL training and things like that, I'm sure, or I know because I read the book, but you become a human intelligence specialist. Tell me about that because that's a pretty rare specialty, isn't it?
[01:09:15] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:09:15] Jordan Harbinger: Or it's not something most people want.
[01:09:17] Remi Adeleke: It's something that I never knew about. It's not something that was talked about much, but it is a very, very unique specialization in the community, not just in the SEAL teams, but in special operations in general. And in order to get into the school, it's pretty hard, but a lot of SEALs don't even want to go to the course because it revolves around a lot of writing.
[01:09:36] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:09:36] Remi Adeleke: Not only do you have to go out and have meetings with sources or assets. Agency guys call them assets. We, in our community, we call them sources. And the police and community, they call them informants. But not only do you have to go have meetings with these people and learn how to run these people so that they can do stuff that you need to be done and collect intelligence for you, you also have to write detailed reports. And you have to write reports in a way where a CIA agent, DIA agent, NSA agent, or even another SEAL, a human guy can pick up that report 10 years later and read it as though those events happen that day.
[01:10:10] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:10:11] Remi Adeleke: So it revolves around a lot, not just writing, but the visual writing. And there's a course that you go to, basically, it's the entry-level course. And then, after that entry-level course, then you operate forbidden after you operate in that capacity, then you get the opportunity to go to some more advanced courses. And so HUMINT stands for human intelligence. And essentially all it is it's somewhat of a spy, really. I mean, you're running sources and you're collecting intelligence and you're building intelligence packages.
[01:10:40] And when I went overseas, I tell people all the time, I got to live the best of both worlds because this is misconception as it relates to the military and special operations as well that you just get told to go after that bad guy, or you just get told to go do this mission and then you run off and just mindlessly do it. And that's not the way it works. You can't go on an operation without intelligence, and it can't just be one piece of intelligence. It has to be vetted against another piece of intelligence, which has to be vetted against another piece of intelligence, which has to be vetted. And then, once it's been fully vetted, then you can go into operation.
[01:11:14] And so there were times overseas where we had ISR drone footage of something that a bad guy had done or had planned, but we couldn't just go after that bad guy. I had to then task some sources to go get some more on ground information, whether it was through taking pictures or whether it was through talking to other people. And then, I would then take that information, add it to a package, and then maybe we get what's called, you know, in the civilian sector, we call it a wiretap, but we tap that person's phone and we now we have that person confessing. And then, put all that together into a package, send that up a chain of command and then we're able to go on a direct action mission.
[01:11:50] So, I handled the intelligence side of things, but then I also suited up and there were times when I suited up when I had to bring a source with me. Because he or she knew what that target looked like or knew the specific house with a specific door we need to gain entry through. And so that source had to go with me and we had to go do the op. I mean, they weren't kicking down the door, but they were in the back of the train and we wouldn't kick down the door. And once we got to where we got, if we needed that person to verify who was who, then they would come in. And obviously, we'd keep the mass and keep them protected and verify that.
[01:12:24] But it's a whole world of intelligence. That's very, very fascinating, very cool. And I say that not only did my mom, having my brother and I write us as kids, prepare me for that job, but growing up in the streets of the Bronx prepared me for that job.
[01:12:36] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to ask about that. If you think your instincts being growing up in that area of New York at that time.
[01:12:42] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:12:43] Jordan Harbinger: That's as close as you get to dealing with terrorists, I guess, in the Middle East as you can get in the United States.
[01:12:47] Remi Adeleke: 100 percent. 100 percent. Because, you know, growing up in the streets of the Bronx, you have to especially when you're selling drugs. You know what I mean?
[01:12:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah.
[01:12:55] Remi Adeleke: Selling drugs and selling the illegal phones, you got to be able to read. Is this person an undercover cop? Is this person going to snitch? Like, what's going on? Is this person going to kill me? I was able to say — it's so interesting because I remember being in the entry-level course, the first, the basic course for the human program. And I remember being in the classroom and our instructors were former CIA guys. They were former like Green Berets guys who did this type of work for decades. And I remember them that they would teach you stuff. I was like, "Oh, I know what that is."
[01:13:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:13:27] Remi Adeleke: I just didn't know that that was the title for what happened. I did that in the Bronx. You know what I mean?
[01:13:31] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:13:31] Remi Adeleke: It's like all of these things translated really, really well, and it prepared me. And I remember the cool thing too, was because less than one percent of SEALs are African-American, and when you get to the human side of things, that number dwindles even more.
[01:13:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:13:47] Remi Adeleke: Because now not only are you seeing, you're dealing with a SEAL, but you're dealing with a SEAL and human intelligence, it's a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. I would meet with sources and I'd be the first black person that they ever saw in their entire life or had a conversation with.
[01:14:03] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god. They must be like, "Oh, Will Smith, Will Smith."
[01:14:06] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:14:06] Jordan Harbinger: Like the stupid stereotype. Like I can imagine.
[01:14:09] Remi Adeleke: That would happen. But again, I would utilize that.
[01:14:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:14:13] Remi Adeleke: I would utilize that. I remember doing my first deployment, I learned that a lot of people in, not just the Middle East, but other parts of the world, they love American movies—
[01:14:23] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:14:24] Remi Adeleke: —and they love African-American comedians.
[01:14:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:14:26] Remi Adeleke: And so I remember going into my first meeting and the guy saw me smiling as I walked in, he's like, "Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy." And so I just use that, so when I would go into my meetings sometimes in order to kind of break the ice or if a source was scared or didn't want to talk to me that day, whatever, I would go in and I would go, "Yo, what's up," and they would look at me and they would just start laughing. They would look at the interpreter. They'd be like, "Ah, I like this guy."
[01:14:51] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[01:14:52] Remi Adeleke: And that would break the ice and then we would go to work and do what we needed to do. So it all worked to my benefit. And that's why, again, going back to what we touched on earlier with the recruiting crisis and also giving more people opportunities, especially people who come from the background I come from, it only benefits the military because diversity, you know, proper diversity is important, especially when you're trying to go into other countries and build common ground or have somebody like myself. These guys, they were so, I already had a foot in the door when I went to go talk to them because they were just intrigued by the fact that, "Oh, this is a black guy," right?
[01:15:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:15:31] Remi Adeleke: And then I felt like I was able to identify with them because yeah, it's not the Bronx per se, but they are living in a very volatile environment. They're living in an environment where at any moment they can be killed or they can die. And, you know, it's the same thing in the Bronx. So there was that natural identifying factor that we had and we could kind of, it was almost like a look. There was a certain look in their eye that I could see.
[01:15:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:15:54] Remi Adeleke: Be like, we bros, right? And then, there's a certain look in my eye and they're like whatever.
[01:16:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's funny. Man, what a unique way to connect. Because I can imagine if some dude was on the Harvard crew team and he's a Navy SEAL and he's in HUMINT and he's got to talk to this guy, he's not jumping into an Eddie Murphy bit to connect with that guy in an authentic way. I just imagine you being like, "Ahmed, what have you done for me lately?" You remember that?
[01:16:19] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Yeah.
[01:16:19] Jordan Harbinger: With a purple leather suit on.
[01:16:21] Remi Adeleke: And I remember when I first got in country on my first deployment, I remember like watching and listening in on a meeting because we did like somewhat of a term, we call it like a turnover up. And I just remember the guy, the previous, it was like, no real, it wasn't that he was doing a bad job. Like he was doing a good job. He was getting the information, but it wasn't as smooth as it could have been because it's just a white guy from Harvard.
[01:16:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:16:47] Remi Adeleke: That's like, "Hey, so tell me where the bad guys are."
[01:16:49] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:16:49] Remi Adeleke: You know what I mean?
[01:16:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:16:51] Remi Adeleke: Which is not a bad thing because the job was still being done but the background that I had really played a role in making the job a bit easier.
[01:17:00] Jordan Harbinger: That makes a hell of a lot of sense actually. Those guys, those sources must be scared out of their mind when they have to go with you on a mission.
[01:17:07] Remi Adeleke: Oh my god. Yes. Yes.
[01:17:09] Jordan Harbinger: They're not in your unit. And you're like, "Follow us." And they're like, "Okay, but we're going to go into this neighborhood and everyone's going to be shooting at us. And I just have to sit behind you and hope I don't get killed. This sucks."
[01:17:20] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. Well, well, before we even would get on the op, so what would happen was I would go into, when I would do my meetings, I wasn't wearing uniforms and kit in there. I would just have on a collared shirt, slacks, pants and, you know, I'd have a sig on my side that they couldn't see. It was concealed. So I was in normal clothes. So they would see me and that's how all my sources knew me. Because that was the only capacity they would see me in. And so, you know, they would see me like this and then I was like, "All right, talk them into going on the op." And they was like, "Aah," and they were scared about it. And then, they was like, "Okay, okay." I would finally convince them, they would do it. And I was like, "All right, be right back. Uh, just give me about 15 minutes." And I would go to my trailer because we all had on our trailers, our own rooms and space and I'd get on my kit. I'd get on my uniform. I'd get on my ballistic vests with my ammo and grenades and all of that. And I get my M4 with the suppressor, the silencer on it—
[01:18:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:18:15] Remi Adeleke: And every, all of this stuff. And I had my ski mask and helmet and night vision goggles and I would go back in. That's when reality would set in, like, they're like, "Oh my god."
[01:18:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:18:24] Remi Adeleke: Like, "What? Who are you?" They didn't know who I was.
[01:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: Like Call of Duty.
[01:18:28] Remi Adeleke: Like, "Hey, it's me." Yeah, yeah, yeah. They was like, "Oh, this is real." Things have gotten real real. And the fear would set in right there, right away. But, you know, I would kind of, you know, coach them and talk them through it. And yeah, well, when we would get out there, they were pissing themselves.
[01:18:41] Jordan Harbinger: I bet, man, because you're carrying that body armor. That stuff's heavy.
[01:18:45] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:18:45] Jordan Harbinger: Do they get the same armor with the same plate? Are you just giving like—?
[01:18:48] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[01:18:48] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:18:48] Remi Adeleke: We want to give them weapons.
[01:18:51] Jordan Harbinger: Right, obviously.
[01:18:51] Remi Adeleke: Kit and armor, but yeah, we take care of them, make sure they have one. And also make sure that they're completely concealed from head to toe, so they couldn't be identified in any way.
[01:18:59] Jordan Harbinger: But if you have to run, all of you guys are like able to sprint on sand for eight miles. And this guy is just some dude. He's never going to keep up with you guys.
[01:19:09] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. We'll figure it out.
[01:19:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You figure it out. All right. I'm sure.
[01:19:13] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:19:14] Jordan Harbinger: You've been in movies like Transformers.
[01:19:15] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, directed by Michael Bay who directed The Rock. Now, you're doing a lot of your own film stuff. That's actually how I found you.
[01:19:22] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: Because you were doing some human trafficking, organ stuff.
[01:19:25] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:19:26] Jordan Harbinger: We've done shows about organ harvesting on this show with David Kilgour, who was a Canadian human rights lawyer, episode 497. And he talked about that happening in China, like Chinese prisoners of conscience—
[01:19:37] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:19:37] Jordan Harbinger: And things like that.
[01:19:38] Remi Adeleke: Yup.
[01:19:38] Jordan Harbinger: I didn't realize this was something that was even more widespread. Tell us about what you're doing now besides kicking Dr. Drew's ass on a reality tv show about Navy SEAL training.
[01:19:49] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah, so I'm making films. I did the short film, The Unexpected, which is on YouTube now and I'll get into how I kind of got into that side of it. And then, that film since we've spoke it got picked up to be a feature film. So we already got that fully financed. We got major star we'd signed on to play one of the roles. We got another major star. So it's going to be a bigger film, which is good because now we're going to get the word out to a wider audience. But yeah, when I got out in 2016, I still felt that passion and need to serve in some way.
[01:20:21] And so I would connect with nonprofits and that would have nonprofits reach out to me. And the one type of nonprofit that continued to reach out to me was human trafficking nonprofits. I would have had various human trafficking now, and I didn't know what human trafficking was. I wasn't familiar with the term and long story short, I would go do a job or help out with a nonprofit or help raise money. And then, one day I got approached by another human trafficking nonprofit that actually employed former SEALs and former agency guys to go to other countries to rescue kids trapped in sex trafficking, but specifically kids who are being purchased by Americans.
[01:20:55] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:20:56] Remi Adeleke: Americans would go down to some of these countries like Dominican Republic, Haiti, you know, other places, and they would go have paid for sex with these young, you know, 12, 10—
[01:21:05] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[01:21:06] Remi Adeleke: —11-year-old girls and boys. And so, I remember this one particular nonprofit sent me a video, documentary video, short documentary clip of what they did. And I watched him and I was just like, my blood was boiling. My wife's a doctor and she was working in community medicine at the time, so she had seen a lot of stuff and she told me after she watched the clip, she said, "Remi, you go do whatever you got to do, like go help those kids."
[01:21:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:21:28] Remi Adeleke: And so I went overseas and that's when I got exposed to it more. I was actually working in the film and TV industry at the time as well. I was about to work on 6 Underground at this point for Netflix. And when I got down there, my eyes were just like open fully, and I just remember being appalled. And I remember going into this, I was in this particular village in DR where the parents would sell their daughters to traffickers in the north.
[01:21:56] Jordan Harbinger: Dominican Republic for people who don't know what the DR is.
[01:21:59] Remi Adeleke: Yeah. And I just remember being disgusted and our guide, and our job in this particular mission was to educate the parents. So we were there to essentially, tell a parent, "Hey, here's, what's happening. Here's what these traffickers are doing to your daughters." And so kind of telling them you need to stop doing this.
[01:22:17] Jordan Harbinger: What did they think was happening though? Like if somebody wants to buy your kid, what do you think they're doing with your kid?
[01:22:22] Remi Adeleke: They knew it was for sex trafficking. But they didn't visually see, it was just like out of sight. "Okay. Yeah. Go take my daughter to the North."
[01:22:32] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[01:22:33] Remi Adeleke: To go party or strip or whatever the case may be, and people are going to pay, but they didn't really know that it was going to be actual sex.
[01:22:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh.
[01:22:40] Remi Adeleke: We went down there. I don't remember being in this village and like I said, I was appalled and our guide saw, because it was really tough for me. I mean, being a human guy, like, you know, I learned how to calm down and talk to people to get information, but you know, being a father—
[01:22:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:22:54] Remi Adeleke: I wasn't a father for the majority of my career as a SEAL. So now going down there and being a father, it was hard for me to stomach and talk to some of these people. And our guide pulled me aside and he took me into this chapel that was no bigger than the size of two toilet stalls. And at the end of the chapel was a dead six-month-old baby."
[01:23:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[01:23:14] Remi Adeleke: The baby had died because the mother's breast milk ran out. And so she got some formula and mixed the formula with the local water from the slum and that's what ultimately killed the baby. So he wasn't showing me this to help make me justify what was happening, but he wanted to help give me some level of understanding because he saw that it was hard for me to communicate with these people without the full understanding, without some level of empathy, which I know that sounds weird.
[01:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:23:44] Remi Adeleke: And so yeah, that helped me. And then we continue doing the job and doing rescue stuff. And then, when I got back from that trip, my phone had all these messages from Michael Bay's producing partner, Mike Case, and he was like, "Remi, where have you been? Your phone's been going straight to voicemail. What's going on?" And I said, "Dude, I've been down to DR. I was like out of it." I was like, "Dude, like it was horrific." And he's like, "Oh, okay." He was like, "Oh, Michael Bay wants you to work on his next movie, 6 Underground. He needs you to fly out to LA to start training the actors, like now."
[01:24:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
[01:24:16] Remi Adeleke: And I was like, all right, cool, but after I got off the phone, it was like these two worlds collided, right? This world of human trafficking that I had just been working in, and then this world of film and TV. And that's when a light went off in my head, and I was like, how about I combine these two worlds, because I can go down to South America or other parts of the world and rescue 10, 20 kids but it's such a global issue that there's going to be 20 million more kids, like not 20—
[01:24:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, like pissing into the wind.
[01:24:43] Remi Adeleke: Exactly. Exactly. And I felt like knowing how film and TV affected me as a kid and changed the trajectory of my life and talking to other SEALs and other people who do specific jobs, changed the trajectory of their life, I figured that I could have a bigger impact on this fight against human trafficking, specifically organ harvesting, because so many people talk about human trafficking, when they hear the term human trafficking, they just think about sex trafficking.
[01:25:06] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:25:06] Remi Adeleke: But human trafficking is a blanket term under human trafficking. You have sex trafficking, you have organ harvesting, you have forced marriage, you have forced labor, but you also have stuff like blood trafficking. You also have stuff like, you know, I interviewed this guy around the time when the film released, a short film release, and he had been trafficked from Venezuela to Colombia to Mexico with the promise from the cartel that they would move into the US. And essentially, what the cartel has been doing is they've been sending out e-pamphlets and messages, not just throughout South America, but to other parts of the world saying, "Hey, come to this particular part of Mexico. If you can get here, we'll get you in the US." And these people are coming to this particular part of Mexico and they're getting abducted.
[01:25:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[01:25:49] Remi Adeleke: They get traffic and the girls are being used, the women are being used for sex trafficking. The men are being used for labor trafficking. And then the kids are being used as mules for drug trafficking, they're being used because they could fit through the tunnels that move from, that go from Mexico into the US these really small tunnels that adults can't fit through, they could go through. And so, you know, it's all these different forms of human trafficking, but I chose to focus on organ harvesting. And that's when I created the film. And the more I'm having worked in the human trafficking side of things and then like researching and doing all this stuff, the more I begin to learn how big and vast organ harvesting is.
[01:26:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:26:26] Remi Adeleke: I mean, Egypt is considered the organ harvesting capital of the world.
[01:26:29] Jordan Harbinger: Really? Why?
[01:26:30] Remi Adeleke: Because there's a lot of migrants that come from Africa and other parts of the Middle East and they try to use Egypt as a way to get into Europe and get to more civilized places, so to speak. And so a lot of kind of what's happening in Mexico, a lot of these migrants and these poor people are getting stuck in Egypt. And they're getting told, "Hey, if you sell a kidney or if you do this, uh, we'll get you into Italy and we'll get you into France. And we'll get you, we'll move you into these other countries." And the poverty level is so, I mean, poverty is so out of control in Egypt, especially Cairo, Egypt, that you have this organized crime that's going on.
[01:27:10] As a matter of fact, you can look it up, I'm sure you could find it, Google it, but there was international organ harvesting ring that was based in Egypt that got busted. I want to say 2015 to 2016, and the majority of the people that were part of that ring were doctors and nurses.
[01:27:27] Jordan Harbinger: Phew.
[01:27:27] Remi Adeleke: And there was also a computer science engineer that was running a website and using the website to get people to find donors and to also find people who are in need of kidneys.
[01:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[01:27:41] Remi Adeleke: It's not just in Egypt. In India, it's massive. And there's a story that came out recently down in Costa Rica of a doctor who was brokering kidney deals. Essentially, when people in Israel needed a new kidney and they couldn't wait on a waiting list too long because they were going to die, he would find poor people in Costa Rica and kind of like bargain with them and then play on the fact that they were poor and essentially get them to sell their kidneys.
[01:28:07] So it's a very, very vast topic. And like I said, you know, the reason why I wanted to make This Unexpected short film and I didn't make this short film with the intent of, hey, this is going to be a big feature film. I made it says to be continued at the end, but my goal was to do another short film. But, you know, I made the film in order to be able to expose more people to this atrocity of organ harvesting. And also warn Americans who are going to these other countries like Dominican Republic, like Haiti, they're going to some nefarious pace cutting deals with people that they shouldn't be cutting deals with in order to get organs. And I kind of get it because a lot of, you know, I mean it's like 4,000 Americans die each year waiting on kidney waiting list.
[01:28:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I know people die on the waiting list, and I was going to say, like, it's a complex issue because I kind of understand why people buy organs, but I also wonder, do they know where they came from? Because if I bought one to save my own life, I definitely wouldn't want to know that somebody was tricked, kidnapped, and then murdered for that organ, potentially murdered for that.
[01:29:10] Remi Adeleke: A lot of people don't know. A lot of people don't. When they get into these deals, then a lot of people don't know where these organs come from. They just know that they're a match.
[01:29:18] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:29:18] Remi Adeleke: It was a story that came out actually a couple of months ago. This girl who she fell in love on his dating app and went to, I can't remember what part of South America. I think she was American. And this med school student, you know, chopped her up, took her organs and was going to sell them. And the people who were going to buy them didn't know where those organs came from.
[01:29:42] Jordan Harbinger: That was a TikTok romance scam, wasn't it?
[01:29:45] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[01:29:45] Jordan Harbinger: Or he sold the organs on TikTok and that's how he got caught? I vaguely remember this.
[01:29:49] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, it was something like that. It was something like that. Yeah, it was something like that on TikTok.
[01:29:52] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, man.
[01:29:54] Remi Adeleke: And that's where a lot of these traffickers are using social media.
[01:29:57] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:29:57] Remi Adeleke: They're using social media. They're using Instagram. They're using hashtags. They're searching hashtags for people. That's why people, we have to be careful what we put on social media because if somebody's sick and like, "My kidney problems still bother me, but here I am in dialysis clinic."
[01:30:13] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[01:30:14] Remi Adeleke: And then all of a sudden that person gets a message in their DMs. They get a message from someone who seems upstanding and normal, "I think I know someone that, uh, uh, they can get you a kidney. They can get you bumped up on a donor list." "Oh, you really do. Okay." Next message, "You know, they couldn't get you bumped up on the donor list, but you know, if you pay X amount of dollars, that person said that they know a clinic down in TJ or a clinic down in wherever the case may be that does everything up front and right. And they have organs waiting for you." "All right, I'm about to die. I'll do it." So it's very organized. A lot of it is happening on social media. Social media is a driving fact.
[01:30:50] As a matter of fact, there was a report that came out, I want to say like three weeks ago, four weeks ago, as it relates to Facebook and Instagram that's not intentionally, but they're responsible for a lot of these trafficking operations that are happening with these nefarious figures.
[01:31:06] Jordan Harbinger: It's crazy. And I know that desperation and willful blindness, it's a potent mixture, right? When you're desperate, you're dying—
[01:31:16] Remi Adeleke: Yep.
[01:31:16] Jordan Harbinger: —you don't care what it costs, and also someone's willing to lie to you about the source of the organ. Because they're not going to say, "We're going to kidnap some poor guy and just steal his organs." They're going to be like, "No! There's all these organs going to waste from these people. They die in car crashes and they're just too far away. But for an extra 25 grand, we can make sure that they're medevac to a clean hospital and we'll get the organ." And you're like, "Cool. I don't want to ask any more questions because even if I have a suspicion. This is my lifeline."
[01:31:42] Remi Adeleke: Exactly.
[01:31:42] Jordan Harbinger: It's complicated because I get it, right? But it's so horrible.
[01:31:45] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:31:46] Jordan Harbinger: There was a story, I think you shared this to me, or maybe it was Dr. Drew, and maybe this is how we got in touch, but these girls went to the DR for cheap surgery, and she ended up getting her kidney stolen during the surgery. Do you know about this?
[01:31:57] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, I sent you that. I think I was—
[01:31:58] Jordan Harbinger: You did sent me.
[01:31:59] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah. She went down for, it was for like plastic surgery. I think it was for BBL or something like that.
[01:32:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, yeah. She wanted a—
[01:32:07] Remi Adeleke: Brazilian butt lift.
[01:32:08] Jordan Harbinger: —bigger butt basically. And people were laughing about that.
[01:32:09] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:32:10] Jordan Harbinger: But I was like, hey, not funny. She got her—
[01:32:12] Remi Adeleke: Oh, no, no, no, no. It was a tummy tuck.
[01:32:14] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, yes. You're right.
[01:32:14] Remi Adeleke: She went in for a tummy tuck.
[01:32:16] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. It was a tummy tuck.
[01:32:17] Remi Adeleke: And it was a tummy tuck. And so she goes out on anesthesia and wakes up tummy tuck surgeries was done. She liked the results. A few days later, she gets back to, I think, Houston. I think she was from Houston and she's just not feeling well. She's not holding down foods properly. She's feeling fatigued, feeling lightheaded. And she's suspecting that it's from the surgery. But another month goes by and she's like, "Ah, this can't be the surgery and my stomach feels fine." And then, she goes to the doctor and doctor says, long story short, there's more to the story, "You have one kidney. Did you give a kidney?"
[01:32:56] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god.
[01:32:58] Remi Adeleke: "Nope." "You have one kidney," and the doctor in the DR took her one kidney.
[01:33:02] Jordan Harbinger: That's terrifying.
[01:33:04] Remi Adeleke: And sold it. I tell people all the time as it relates to this organ harvesting thing. People think that, and I know I did, but the perception of these traffickers is that they're these scraggly, evil-looking, uneducated, you know, on-the-corner type people. And the reality is the majority of people involved in the organ harvesting side of things are highly educated, learned people because they're doctors.
[01:33:29] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:33:30] Remi Adeleke: They're nurses. That was a doctor that performed her tummy tuck. He was educated. He knew what he was doing and then he took her kidney and then he sold her kidney.
[01:33:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Oh my god.
[01:33:43] Remi Adeleke: It's crazy, man.
[01:33:44] Jordan Harbinger: That stuff is so disturbing. So, all right, I know it's been a minute and you probably got to go to the beach with your kids and I don't blame you. I got to do the same thing.
[01:33:50] Remi Adeleke: Yeah.
[01:33:50] Jordan Harbinger: So you're rescuing children, you're exposing human trafficking. We'll link to the short film in the show notes, if we can do that, I'm not sure if it's public—
[01:33:57] Remi Adeleke: Yeah, yeah.
[01:33:58] Jordan Harbinger: You're exposing organ trafficking. Do you feel like the hero you set out to be in the Bronx?
[01:34:04] Remi Adeleke: No, I don't think I ever will. I don't think, for me, I won't attain that status until my kids have grown up and become upstanding citizens. I think just a part of my life is to be a blessing to other people is to fight the good fight. It's part of my DNA. I think it comes from my dad. The reason why he wanted to create Lagoon City was not so that he could be rich and wealthy. He wanted to create a place where people from all around the world could come and do business in Africa. He wanted to generate an economy for Africa. So everybody up and down the food chain in Nigeria can benefit from it. And that was his legacy. And I think that that's a part of who I am. Like it's just part of my life to serve and to give and to fight. So I don't think there's anything heroic about that. But for me, to reach that status of being a hero is to have invested in my kids and for them to be great people. Once they become adults and become great people, whether whatever it is that they do a life and they're a great part of society, then I could claim that title. But until then, I can't. That's my personal standard.
[01:35:08] Jordan Harbinger: Remi Adeleke, go spend time with your kids. Thank you for doing the show. This is really, really interesting, man. Thank you so much.
[01:35:15] Remi Adeleke: Thank you, brother. Appreciate you. God bless you, man.
[01:35:19] Jordan Harbinger: You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Ishmael Beah, who at the age of 13 was forced to become a child soldier. To hear about life in a war zone where he fought for three years before being rescued by UNICEF, check out episode 622 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:35:36] Ishmael Beah: I started when I was 13. The first day that we went to war, I think it was the most terrifying thing that ever happened to me, just on the way there. Knowing what we were going to do, but it hasn't yet happened. Having this feeling that I was descending into some kind of darkness, into some place that was going to chip away from who I had been, that I would no longer get back truly. And then, there was an ambush and then we started exchanging fire and people who look like us were shooting at us. And there was a kid that when we were training had looked up to me, he was next to me and there was an explosion, and his body flew and he was scared. There was blood all over my face and everything and I just lost it. I realized at that moment that, listen, if I don't shoot, I'm going to end up like everybody else who's been killed next to me. And I started shooting, shooting to kill and whatever could get you as high as possible. So you feel like you're kind of in a long nightmare. You took it.
[01:36:32] That becomes a new reason to fight. You didn't want to come down from the high, but there's also, because you're on the high, you also get addicted to the violence itself. So you constantly keep yourself moving, being high, engaging in more violence until you remove from it, which is why sometimes people are shocked when soldiers come back from fighting and they're traumatized sometimes they shoot themselves, they become violent. When you go and take out another life and dehumanize it, in reverse, it dehumanize yourself, your own spirit, your own being. And it takes a lot of undoing.
[01:37:03] I was once a kid who loved hip-hop, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, learned Shakespeare, wanted to be an economist. And then, I became a soldier, and I started doing things that I didn't think I would ever be able to be in a position to do, but I did them.
[01:37:18] Jordan Harbinger: To hear about life in a war zone where he fought for three years before being rescued by UNICEF, check out episode 622 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:37:28] Proud to be this dude's friend, man. He's an awesome guy, really a good dude with a good heart and what a story. More on organ trafficking, by the way, we've done here on the show with David Kilgour, episode 497, blast from the past. We really go into the organ harvesting thing, kind of gross. That one focuses on China, but this is apparently now a global problem. Yuck.
[01:37:48] All things Remi Adeleke will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com or ask our AI chatbot. Transcripts in the show notes as well. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, ways to support the show all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I've said it once, but I'll say it again. Please consider supporting those who support the show. And if you're not a consumerist type, go support our fundraiser at givedirectly.com/jordan.
[01:38:13] Once again, a reminder that the Stitcher app will no longer work for any podcasts as of August 29th, 2023. So if you're using the Stitcher app, time to switch. If you're on Android, Podcast Addict is a good one, Castbox. And if you're on iOS, I suggest Overcast or Apple Podcasts. The Stitcher app is going away, folks.
[01:38:32] Newsletter at jordanharbinger.com/news. I would love your feedback. A lot of great feedback so far, highlights and takeaways from those popular episodes of the show going all the way back. Six-Minute Networking also on the website at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn.
[01:38:49] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. If you know somebody who could use a story like this or is just going to be interested in a story like this, definitely share this episode with them. And in the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[01:39:23] This episode is also sponsored by A Little Bit Culty. It's a podcast I'd love to point you to. It's with Sarah and Nippy. I know that's a funny name. He's a good dude. They're former NXIVM cult members whom we had on the show, episode 770 and 771. They're also on HBO's docu-series called The Vow. If you have seen that, it's wild, you know already. If you haven't, definitely check out this podcast. On their podcast, A Little Bit Culty, Sarah and Nippy, they got a lot to share. Fiery questions for folks who've walked in similar shoes to topics like the dangers of multi-level marketing — you know that's one of my sort of pet targets as well — coercion in organized religion, the presence of cult like dynamics in our everyday workplaces. They've got some really good episodes on Scientology, filmmakers unmasking Teal Swan, who is kind of like an online cult leader, new-age gurus, NXIVM stuff, and more. You can start by listening to all 100 of their episodes and catch new episodes every Monday. So go find A Little Bit Culty on your favorite podcast app or learn more at a littlebitculty.com.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.