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Tuesday, 18 April 2006 21:36

Bishop Don “Magic” Juan

Written by Blake Avalone

Bishop Don “Magic” JuanPriest, Minister, Vicar, Rabbi, Shaman... traditional holy men by modern standards. Then there’s Archbishop Don “Magic” Juan... a man of God cut from a slightly less conventional cloth.

“I’m the original bling blinger,” he says laughing. “I’ve been wearing this stuff for over 30 years!” Upon first glance, the Bishop makes a unique impression and looks about as likely to frequent the pews and pulpit as Mary Kate Olsen is to hit the Fat Burger drive-thru.

Anyone aware of the pimp game undoubtedly recognizes the rather weathered, nevertheless youthful, countenance of this true player. First introduced to the world in the groundbreaking documentaries “American Pimp” and “Pimps Up, Ho’s Down,” the Bishop (born Donald Campbell) was bringing his brand of ... err... small business “magic” to the streets of Chicago decades before his experiences were related on film.

However, the Bishop is adamant about the change that led him to retire from the profession that he credits with helping develop his flamboyant nature.

“God saved me in 1985,” he says. “I was living wrong and he showed me right. I studied under Dr. Leonard P. Rasher, who taught me and tutored me in the gospel. Nowadays, I’m a spiritual advisor for people like P. Diddy and Snoop.” More than simply delivering his message to stars, the Bishop also lends a great deal of his time speaking at high schools, colleges and community centers, looking to perhaps cleanse the aforementioned tarnish from the reputation of the chuuuuch that helped steer his own life in a holier direction. As the Bishop so succinctly puts it, “I was part of the problem; now, I’m part of the solution.”

Bishop Don “Magic” Juan

Even though studying scripture and lecturing youth remains the Bishop’s priority, it doesn’t prevent him from pursuing another one of his loves—acting. Appearing as himself in countless movies, college frat-packers are sure to remember his memorable cameos in the blockbuster comedies “Old School” and “Starsky and Hutch,” among others. The Bishop had so much work that he decided to take up residence in Beverly Hills. Now, he recalls some of his most memorable moments. “I worked with lots of folks, man—from Aaron Spelling to Steve McQueen to Will Ferrell—I’ve been at this for awhile,” he says.

His on-screen performances and antics come nowhere near reaching the end of the tricks in this colorful Bishop’s bag. Claiming to embark on his various endeavors out of “realness,” a clothing and apparel line named appropriately “The Bishop” is already on the streets. Rounding out the merchandising bonanza are ringtones, T-shirts, and, soon, a shoe deal with Emerica, a skateboarding shoe company, and a television show.

“Andrew Reynolds is a member of the Emerica team. He’s endorsing me to be part of the company and get my shoe,” says the Bishop laughing.