American record producer and entrepreneur Khaled Mohamed Khaled, professionally recognized as DJ Khaled, is known for broadcasting positive messages, especially on social media.
Former President Barack Obama once even used DJ Khaled’s song “All We Do Is Win” as his entrance music at a White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
With a net worth valued at $15 million, as reported by Forbes in 2016, Khaled has found success as an author, restaurateur, CEO of We the Best Music and advocate for higher education, among other ventures.
Notably, he has his parents to thank for his business savvy.
Despite a recent 360-degree video feature on his $9.9 million Beverly Hills mansion published by the New York Times earlier this month, Khaled acknowledges his family came from much more humble beginnings.
When they emigrated from Palestine to New Orleans in their 20s, his father reportedly only had $20 with him, according to Ryan Pfeffer’s cover story in the Miami New Times. Khaled would often help his parents when they sold clothes out of their van at a flea market.
“They worked every day, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” Khaled says to Pfeffer. “If I wanted to hang out with my mother and father, I had to hang out with them hustling.”
After moving to Orlando, Khaled started collecting vinyl records and began DJing at age 13. Although others doubted his musical endeavors, his parents supported him. But after facing issues with the IRS, his family moved back to New Orleans, with the 16-year-old Khaled moving with them shortly after, Pfeffer reports.
“I’ve seen my family work so hard and come up, and I’ve seen it all get taken away,” Khaled says in an interview with Mary H.K. Choi for Complex Magazine.
Khaled tells Choi that during that time period, he “had to man up,” and faced getting evicted from an apartment, living in his car and staying at dirt cheap hotels.
Although Khaled worked locally at Odyssey Records to make money and help support his family, the job would serendipitously allow him to network with rappers, like Birdman, Master P and Lil Wayne. They would soon after help launch his career in music.
Today, Khaled has an 8-month-old son who he says he wants to raise the same way his parents raised him: in the middle of the family business, he shares in a June segment of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street.
“His father is the definition of drive, and my father was the same way,” Khaled tells Newsweek, referring to himself in the third person. “I want to give my son all the joy and happiness and anything he wants, and I’m also gonna show him the hard work you have to do to get these things.”