Jaison Gardner and Dr. Kaila Story talk race, gender, and LGBTQ issues, from politics to pop culture. A new episode every week, from Louisville Public Media.
Between growing public interest in the racial justice movement, a polarizing political landscape and folks trapped indoors for nearly nine months now, online activism is at an all time high. Accordingly, white supremacists who spew vitriolic and violent language and ideas also abound across social media platforms. This week Ron Dawson joins us to discuss his recent essay, "There’s a Jim Crow Mentality on Social Media,” which outlines his experiences combating racist trolls and threats of violence online. Later, diversity trainer Risha Grant joins us to discuss her idea that "radical acceptance" of our diverse selves makes us more valuable personally and professionally.
The body positivity movement has been extremely important in combatting our country's fatphobia and teaching us all to love our bodies just as they are. Kelsey Miller, founder of "The Anti-Diet Project," is this week's guest and joins us to explain “How Whiteness Killed the Body Positive Movement.” Miller shares her learning journey about white privilege and intersectionality and she says the body positivity movement must heed the work and labor of Black fat positive activists in order to keep the movement growing. We also chat with Elijah Li, founder of SOULE magazine and the SOULE Foundation about why it's important for Black LGBTQ+ folks to see reflections of themselves in a world that is both anti-Black and anti-queer.
This week writer Leigh Green discusses her compelling op-ed, "White Supremacy in Me: Light-skinned and part of the problem," where she acknowledges the privileges associated with her skin tone, and challenges other light skin folk to begin the work of using their proximity to whiteness to disrupt an unjust system and spark a revolution. Later, we speak with Peter Mercurio and Danny Stewart, who adopted their son after finding him abandoned in a New York City subway. They join us to tell their story and talk about Peter's heartwarming book "Our Subway Baby," which details their family's journey.
Nefertiti Austin was adopted by her grandparents when she was a kid because her parents struggled with addiction. She joins us this week, as a single parent of two adopted children, to discuss her book, "Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting." And we talk about her New York Times piece, "Grandparents, Kin and Play Cousins: The Soul and Survival of Black Families," which explores how African American families' use of fictive kinship ties and multigenerational structures have helped families survive through generations of violence, struggle and oppression. Later in the show, award-winning poet and Louisville native Joy Priest joins us to discuss her new book of poetry, "Horsepower," which was awarded the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.
Abby Johnson, the anti-abortion activist who recently spoke at the Republican National Convention, found herself at the center of controversy after a video of her went viral. In it, she said her adopted Black son was "statistically" more likely to grow up to be a criminal than her white sons who would likely grow up to be innocent nerds -- and thus police would be right to racially profile and stop him. Her racist comments sparked conversations about transracial adoptions (adoptions where the adoptive parents/guardians are white and the adoptees are BIPOC). Transracial adoptee author Melissa Guida-Richards joins us this week to talk about her essay, “Abby Johnson’s Video Shows the Problem With White Parents Adopting Children of Color,” and she joins us to offer advice for white parents who adopt child of color. Later, we speak with Graham Ambrose of the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting for an update on the recent financial settlement in the Breonna Taylor case.
Navigating life as gay man in a homophobic and heteronormative society can be emotionally and spiritually taxing. This week author Britt East joins us to discuss his insightful new book, "A Gay Man’s Guide to Life," full of what he calls “kitchen table wisdom” to help gay men endure and thrive in an anti-queer world, by loving themselves more and by loving others as well. Later in the show, speculative fiction author and publisher Olivia Raymond joins us to discuss the creation of her Black publishing house, Aurelia Leo, her new anthology, "Dominion," and why Black characters in speculative fiction works are vital for all communities.
As a historian of environmental justice and African American history, writer Faith Ashmore –- who is a white woman in an interracial marriage -– says she possesses the academic and intellectual knowledge to contribute to conversations about recent police killings with her Black husband but not the emotional knowledge. This week we discuss "What An Interracial Household Looks Like After George Floyd’s Murder.” Later, we speak to writer Allison Gaines about recent commemorations of the 19th amendment and how not everyone got to cast a ballot when women were granted the right to vote.
Young Adult (YA) fiction is a literary tradition that has largely lacked diversity when it comes to the race and sexuality of its main characters. Author Arvin Ahmadi's new book, "How It All Blew Up," has a queer Iranian American teenager protagonist. He joins us this week to talk about how other authors of YA novels can be more inclusive of diverse communities and identities.
Lena Waithe’s dramatic television series "The Chi" has garnered a strong following and has received critical praise since premiering on the Showtime network three years ago. Its season finale aired last week. This week we have a lively and insightful conversation with actress and model Jasmine Davis, who joined the cast of The Chi this season, to discuss her character Imani who is a multi-layered Black trans woman that is tender, loving and all kinds of fierce.
The word "ally" is frequently heard in the fight for racial justice, usually used by a white person seeking to declare just how "not racist" they are. This week, our guest Bridgette L. Hylton joins us to explain why she says “If You’re a Real Ally, You’ll Keep It to Yourself,” which she recently wrote about for Medium.
Educator and writer Rodney Fierce thought that performing a type of muted Blackness would shield him from the usual pitfall and roadblocks of discrimination, microaggressions and racism. He was wrong. Fierce joins us this week to discuss his essay "The Price of Being Pleasing," and explains why performing Black harmlessness isn't worth the cost.
This week we're joined by Chad Anderson, co-director of the new documentary “Dog Valley,” which details the largely unknown story of the brutal kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of gay college student Gordon Church in Utah in 1988. Later, we're joined by Michelle Silverton, author of ”Mom, Why Don’t You Have Any Black Friends,” and TEDx Talk, “We Are Not A Melting Pot: How to Stop Talking About Implicit Bias and Start Talking About Race." She discusses her work as a diversity educator and trainer and why she tells her white clients that in order to constructively talk about race in America, they must start by discussing and examining their own whiteness.
This week Jarvis Houston, the US spokesperson of tech startup I Love Black People joins us to discuss how the app helps Black people find businesses, accommodations and other services that are Black owned and the safest and most welcoming of Black people throughout the world. And in this week’s feature interview, Jermaine Fowler, creator, producer and host of "The Humanity Archive" podcast joins us to discuss his mission to expose listeners to history's unsung heroes and hidden figures, while emphasizing that Black people have been an integral part of world history.
This week we return to coverage of the protests and uprisings that are still happening in Louisville in response to the police killings of Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and others. We're joined by independent journalist Chea K. Woolfolk, who tells us about the recent arrests of live streamers covering the protests. We question why her charges varied so severely from a white live streamer who was arrested alongside her, and she talks about how she doesn’t plan on letting her upcoming court case stop her from bringing truth to the people of Louisville.
Recent uprisings around the country have made it clear to many citizens the importance of new media and amateur journalists in ensuring that folks to know what is happening on the ground, and keeping people updated in real time, without a corporate bias. This week former meteorologist and independent journalist Tara Bassett joins us to discuss her legendary career in journalism, how animal rights activists can better engage with intersectional movements, and how it’s never to late to come out and live your truth in the world.
With Pride festivals across the country being rescheduled or cancelled because of the Coronavirus outbreak, LGBTQ folks are finding inventive ways to celebrate Pride Month virtually. This week we speak with model, social media influencer, and Pop/R&B singer Teraj about his career, how he celebrated Pride virtually this year with the South Florida Pride Collective, and how queer and trans folks can celebrate Pride while amplifying the freedom calls of #BLM.
Taylor Ryan of Change Today, Change Tomorrow joins us this week to spotlight #FeedTheWest, an initiative which provides food and educational resources to African Americans in west Louisville affected by food deserts. The lack of access to food in the West End was made worse last week by the abrupt closing of a vandalized grocery store -– the only major grocer in the neighborhood. Later in the show, author Alexander Watson shares adventures from his recent book "River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America." Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
This week we continue discussing the high profile killing of 26-year-old ER technician Breonna Taylor by Louisville police officers. We are joined by Dr. Ricky Jones, head of the University of Louisville's Pan-African Studies department, who tells us why he thinks Black moderates helped kill Taylor and others like her, including Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.
The March 13 shooting death of 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metro Police Department officers has gained national attention in recent weeks and is sending shock waves throughout the city of Louisville and the nation. Strange Fruit is devoting the next several episode to coverage of Taylor’s case. This week we are joined by writer, activist, and renowned debate coach Shauntrice Martin, who helps us outline what we know about the case so far, as we work understand everything that led to Taylor's unjust death - starting with the use of a "no-knock" warrant.
Because racist microaggressions can be unsettling, oppressive and emotionally exhausting, especially when they happen in the workplace. Accordingly, many people of color try to be intentional about the places they work, so as to avoid such interactions. Freelance writer Jessica Hoppe thought she did just that when she obtained a position to create original and authentic Latinx web content for her new company. She was wrong. Hoppe joins us on this episode to discuss how she navigated on-the-job microaggressions and explain that many companies claiming they want authentic diversity are really just reinforcing stereotypes.
This week we discuss the prison industrial complex and the far reaching impact mass incarceration has on the families, children and loved ones left behind by those who are behind bars. Journalist and author Sylvia A. Harvey joins us to talk about her book "The Shadow System: Mass Incarceration and The American Family."
This week we're joined again by activist Amber Butts of Black Youth Project to discuss the innovative ways Black folks are finding joy and creating community during the COVID lockdown. Later, we speak with newly minted Dr. Dennis Johnson the recent "zoombombing" of his virtual dissertation defense, which was hacked by someone who posted racist and pornographic content. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
This week we chat with sketch comedian and writer Brandon Anderson who explores the confusion of being Black but told, "you talk like a white boy." In our Juicy Fruit segment, we discuss the Kenyan governor who’s including bottles of cognac in his city’s COVID-19 care packages.
This week, social justice filmmaker and author St. Clair Detrick-Jules joins us to discuss her new book "Dear Khloe: Love Letters to my Little Sister," for which Detrick-Jules interviewed and photographed over 100 intergenerational Black women about their hair journeys and the embrace of their natural hair. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
With recent reports that Black Americans are being disproportionately infected with and dying from COVID-19, on this week's show we reflect on the health and lives of ourselves, our loved ones, and our entire communities -- and we talk about how to properly prepare for the inevitably of death, whether it is expected or abrupt. Co-founder of Louisville's Before I Die Festival and end of life planning advocate Justin Magnuson joins us to discuss National Healthcare Decisions Day and the importance of "dying wisely."
This week we talk with Kerry Coddett & Krystal Stark of Kwanzaa Crawl, an annual bar crawl for Black-owned businesses in Brooklyn and Harlem that covers 30 bars. Founded in 2016, Kwanzaa Crawl host over 8,000 crawlers and has raised over $250,000 for businesses in Brooklyn and Harlem. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
This week we talk with writer and poet Miguel Machado about his compelling and vulnerable essay, "The Day My Mother Yelled Don’t Shoot," in which he recounts his startling interaction with police in front of his mother’s Long Island home one morning. Confronted by cops and held at gunpoint after being locked out of the house, Machado describes a bone-chilling experience he says is all too familiar for Black and brown men – and their mothers. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
This week we talk with award-winning playwright and poet Idris Goodwin, who was recently named Director of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. Goodwin, former Producing Artistic Director at StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, tells us how he got his start as a BreakBeat poet – and explains what BreakBeat poetry is. He is the author of a recently released poetry collection "Can I Kick It?" and will premiere his new play "Ali Summit" at Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2021. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
Things may be shutting down and folks my be staying in because of COVID-19, but this new episode of Strange Fruit will help pass the time as you (hopefully) practice social distancing. As the coronavirus outbreak negatively affects communities throughout the country and across the globe, "social distancing" - limiting our in-person interactions with others as a way to stop or slow down the spread - is the recommended way to limit its impact and safeguard our own health and the health of our loved ones and neighbors. But social distancing is not without collateral damage. This week we discuss the impact of social distancing on our most vulnerable populations and ways we can all cope amidst this global crisis. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
This week we're joined in the studio by Robert Barry Fleming, the newest Executive Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville. We chat about his robust career in theater and film and Fleming shares his commitment to making Actors an accessible and welcoming space for all people to enjoy. He also reveals what theatergoers can expect from the 44th Humana Festival of New American Plays, which opened this month and runs through April 12th. Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
We can all agree that a good night's rest is important to productivity, happiness and overall health. But have married and partnered couples been doing it wrong? This week writer Angela Lashbrook joins us to discuss the benefits of "separate togetherness" and makes the case for lovers sleeping apart instead of sharing a bed, which she explores in her piece, “It's Time to Embrace the Sleep Divorce.” Later, we speak with Steven Underwood who contends in an essay that “Bisexual Fathers Can Undo the Damage We Inherit From Our Dads." Because they escape the biphobia and monosexist projections Black bisexual men experience, and because they defy socializing of fatherhood as domineering and sometimes violent, Underwood says that bisexual dads can save us all. Strange Fruit Donate to support this and future episodes of Strange Fruit.
Our celebration of Black History Month continues and we begin by speaking with Baltimore-area educator Brittany Willis about the perilous plight of Black youth in the American education system - and how she came to realize that in order to save Black children she had to stop being their teacher. Next up, we talk about the relationship between Black fathers and their sons, as Chicago-based tech and political writer Keith Reid-Cleveland reveals how it took years to learn to love and forgive the father he didn’t meet for the first time until he was twelve years old. For Juicy Fruit, we’re joined again by linguist Grant Barrett of the American Dialect Society to discuss 2019’s Word of the Year and all the words and phrases that had everybody talking for the last decade. Donate to support this and future seasons of Strange Fruit.
This week, we recognize Black History Month by reviewing all the ways Black women and girls have been dominating the last decade in fields including politics, entertainment and sports, with culture writer Donnie Belcher, who outlines them in her feature “10 Incredible Years: The Decade in Review for Black Women." Later, we speak with New York Times reporter Emily Flitter, whose recent piece, “This Is What Racism Sounds Like in the Banking Industry,” sheds light on the discrimination and inequality she says is "baked in" to the banking industry.
This week we’re joined by writer and social media manager Sarah Thomas. In a recent think piece for Black Youth Project, Thomas says that despite well-received representation in popular films and television shows, polyamory, kink and other once-taboo areas of romance and sexuality are primarily only socially acceptable for white folks to explore. Thomas says that since enslavement, Black bodies -- especially those of Black women -- have been scrutinized, and today those bodies are prevented from safely exploring the liberatory practices of sex-positivity that many white people enjoy.
As a Puerto Rican woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community, architect and design professional Yiselle Santos Rivera has always been drawn to firms and companies that advocate diversity. This week she joins us to discuss why in corporate America, it’s okay and even important to “see color.” Later in the show, writer DarkSkyLady reminds us that Anti-Black Behavior Is Not Exclusively White, as we discuss the viral case of author Natasha Tynes’ prejudicial targeting of a Black woman subway worker in New York City.
This week on the show: Ashia Monet on queer love Interests of color and the white gaze (https://medium.com/@ashiamonetb/queer-love-interests-of-color-and-the-white-gaze-8928b7b5e6ad), and Sydney Balloue on what the "realness" ballroom category means now that passing isn't the goal for most LGBTQ people (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/22/opinion/ball-culture.html).
We’ve all heard the childhood rhyme about sticks and stones breaking bones, but in reality the seemingly-innocuous words and phrases we use to describe one another can hurt. Words can affect on our sense of self-worth or subconsciously reflect the value we find (or don’t find) in others. This week writer and world traveler Renée Cherez Wedderburn points out how hearing phrases like, “you're so pretty for a dark-skin girl,” from other Black women causes unintentional harm. It's the topic of her essay “How the Language We Use Perpetuates Oppressive Systems.” Later in the show, writer Jonita Davis revisits the podcast to discuss the challenges she faced as a Black woman and adjunct professor teaching white college students at a conservative Midwestern university.
From Paula Deen, to Brock Turner, to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, we live in a society that allows many white people who commit racist, violent or illegal actions to be punished lightly and quickly forgiven. This quickness to forgive is present in both the court of public opinion and also within the country’s political and judicial systems. This week we challenge notions of instant white redemption and second chances with Marley K, an author and advocate whose essay asks, “Why Does A White Man’s Legacy Trump A Black Man’s Trauma?"
Have you ever just wished that you could wave a wand and all of the oppression, injustices and traumas in the world would just disappear, like magic? Author Ariel Gore, a self-described social justice witch, says that not only is it possible, but she’s written a magical guide to show us just how to do it. "Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells, and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance" contains more than two dozen incantations, recipes, and rituals collected from actual witches from various traditions. Gore joins us this week to discuss her own journey to social justice witchcraft and shares how feminist magic can help uplift and empower the disenfranchised. Later in the show we have a provocative conversation regarding race, interracial unions and social justice with writer Madena Maxine. We talk about why white folks in interracial marriages should care about anti-racism work, which is what she examines in her deeply personal essay "Racial Trauma & My Interracial Marriage."
Telling the histories and lived experiences of Black LGBTQ+ people is beneficial not only for the future generations who hear or read these stories, but is vital to our own survival as well. This week, professor and author Dr. E. Patrick Johnson returns to the show to discuss his new book, "Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women," which introduces readers to a variety of Black Southern queer women who shared with Johnson the stories of the joy, pain, terror and triumphs that have colored their lives. Later, Jordan Williams stops by the studio to talk about his compelling short feature on the online platform Queer Kentucky. Williams discusses his journey to self-love and self-acceptance as a queer Black man and talks about how he coped with the lack of racial diversity while growing up in Hardin County, Kentucky.
Lots of folks may consider themselves to be “not racist” -- a sort of personal, private declaration -- but is that enough in these volatile political times? Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a leading scholar on race and discriminatory policy in America, says that the true goal is to be actively “antiracist.” Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He joins us this week to discuss his new book "How To Be An Antiracist," in which he analyzes law, history, ethics and science to contextualize his own journey toward awakening as an anti-racist. Later in the show we talk to culture writer Jonita Davis about the growing phenomenon of Black women in motorsports culture and motorcycle clubs, which she highlights in her feature “Yes, Black Girls Ride Too.”
Abortion remains a hot button issue in these political times, as some states race to restrict or ban abortion, while others race to protect it. In some regions of the country, citizens rely on abortion call centers to ask questions about abortions, locate providers, and schedule the procedure. Operators also sometimes help callers figure out how to get there or how to pay for it. The telephone staff at The Women’s Centers provide an important service for potential clients of a network of five abortion providers in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states, and in Georgia. This week author Lux Alptraum joins us to shed light on what it's like to work at an abortion call center. Later, in honor of National Inspirational Role Models Month, Fruitcake and frequent guest Aaron Weathers joins us to recognize two inspirational figures in his life.
In 1978 a landmark study revealed that many accomplished and highly ambitious women suffered from a psychological condition coined impostor syndrome: a tendency to minimize achievements, chalk up accomplishments to luck, and hold an overwhelming fear that they will eventually be discovered as frauds. While this study was groundbreaking, it primarily focused how the impostor phenomenon manifests within educated, middle to upper class white women. This week we speak with therapist and educator Lincoln Hill about why impostor syndrome is worse for women of color, and how such studies fall short by overlooking the unique experience of being simultaneously Black and a woman in professional settings. To start this week’s show, we’re joined for hot topics by educator and mentor Shauntrice Martin, and we discuss school safety, controversial Halloween costumes for kids, and the recent revelation that all modern humans originated in Botswana on the continent of Africa.
This week we talk with Mathangi Subramanian about her family, her work, and her recent essay, "The Day My Outrage Went Viral: Racist attitudes against my Brown daughter energized me to raise my voice." (Read it here: https://zora.medium.com/the-day-my-outrage-went-viral-7ad1257d7ff9) In Juicy Fruit: Calling the cops when someone steals your illegal weed, and casting news about Sony's upcoming Cinderella retelling.
We talk this week with Emma Akpan about how certain Black religious institutions expect Black women to conform to white supremacist ideals -- especially when it comes to sexuality, motherhood and family structures. She explores it in her recent essay, "I’ve Lost Faith in the Way the Black Church Polices Women’s Bodies." And October 14-18 was the YWCA's Week Without Violence -- part of a global movement within the organization to end gender-based violence. YWCA CEO Alejandra Y. Castillo joins us to explain that work.
Most often in America, when we talk about issues of race, racial tensions, and racialized politics, it's within a Black and white paradigm. But what is it like for someone to grow up and become socialized within this country whose ethnic identity doesn’t fall within this binary? This week we speak with writer Eda Yu about her essay on identity for Vice, “Finding Asian Identity in a Black and White America,” in which she discusses navigating this racial and ethnic conundrum and how she finally began to grow into and actualize her authentic Asian American self.
Corporal punishment describes using physical punishment intended to cause pain as a means of discipline. The most common version of this practice involves hitting or spanking children. Black folks commonly call it getting or giving a “whupping.” The phrase “spare the rod, spoil the child” is often cited as a sort of religious mandate for such physical discipline of children (even though the popular idiom isn’t actually in the Bible). And despite research to the contrary, there are still many Black parents who contend that hitting their children will turn them into good adults, teach them respect, and protect them for the lure of social ills. In her book “Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America,” Dr. Stacey Patton asserts that whupping Black children has far-reaching, seldom-discussed consequences, including producing traumatized children that are prone to higher suspension and expulsions rates in school, interactions with the criminal justice system, mental health issues, and foster care placements. Dr. Patton joins us this week to make the case for why Black parents, and others who raise and care for children of color, should replace corporal punishment with nonviolent, positive discipline.