Defining Ourselves (with Jessica Wilson) | Crooked Media
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April 18, 2023
Pod Save The People
Defining Ourselves (with Jessica Wilson)

In This Episode

DeRay, De’Ara, Kaya, and Myles cover the underreported news of the week — including , a handgun that fires itself, a study that finds Black people live longer with access to Black doctors, big potential for the upcoming Freaknik documentary, and a Black man that fought for liberation in Australia. Kaya interviews clinical dietician Jessica Wilson, MS, RDN about her new book It’s Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies.

News

Clarence Thomas has for years claimed income from a defunct real estate firm

DeRay Popular handgun fires without anyone pulling the trigger, victims say

De’Ara A Black Man Went to Australia for Gold, Then Stood Up for Democracy 

Myles Here’s Why Hulu’s Upcoming Freaknik Documentary Is Making Some Black Folks Nervous

Kaya In counties with more Black doctors, Black people live longer, ‘astonishing’ study finds

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay. And welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode, it’s me, De’Ara and Kaya, and we talk about all the news you don’t know from the past week. The news with regard to race, justice and equity that were underreported but is important to know about. And then Kaya sits down with world renowned dietitian nutritionist Jessica Wilson to discuss her new book, It’s Always Been Ours: Rewriting the story of Black women’s bodies. Here we go. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Family. Welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. I am De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on Instagram at @dearabalenger. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m Kaya Henderson. You can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya [laughing]

 

DeRay Mckesson: And this is DeRay at @deray on Twitter. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Fir– first of all, I just want to acknowledge that we are all on the West Coast and it is six something in the morning for us, like in our bodies. So I say that as a way to, everyone needs to give us some grace for what we will say or will miss. Early, early this morning. But we’re happy to be here. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ooh child. We we do it for the love because [laughter] because it sure ain’t for the timing. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Listen. You know and things are happening happening happening as usual you know I must admit. I hold a special place in my heart for Clarence Thomas. You know, when I was in college, I wrote a 20 page paper on Clarence Thomas and his life and how he ended up being a conservative and how that I was so troubled by that. I think it was probably the same semester I wrote a 20 page paper on Tupac. So, you know, I just was like– [laughter] 

 

Kaya Henderson: To counterbalance– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –in my Black power moment. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: De’Ara said I got rage, baby. I got rage. [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: I was in my Black power moment just trying to understand this Black man like this was in, you know, the very early 2000s. And I’m just like, you know, and I was in high school as Anita Hill. Um. You know, that testimony was happening. So I think. This man has been a part of my growing up. Right. And so with and the third thing is I when I was in law school, I got to hear I got to go to Supreme Court and hear a case. And Clarence Thomas was asleep in his chair the whole entire time. [laughter] Asleep, Y’all. Asleep. [sigh] You know, so I think we all know just as a collective, like, I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, everybody knows that Clarence Thomas is just– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Problematic. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Exactly. Thank you, Kaya. Thank you, Kaya. So in the latest tomfoolery. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ooh tomfoolery what a good word. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: We’re talking tomfoolery with Clarence Thomas is that he has he has been misreporting or reporting, he’s been reporting on his financial disclosures because, you know, when you’re in the Supreme, when you’re in a very hi– even when you’re kind of in low level government, you still have to disclose where your money’s going, where you’re getting your money from, etc., etc.. He has been [laughing], his family’s been getting rental income totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from a firm called Ginger. First of all, whoever is reviewing these financial disclosures, no Supreme Court justice should be getting anything from anything named Ginger. That just doesn’t make any sense to me. And if I saw that, I would like that needs more investigation. 

 

Kaya Henderson: That’s his wife’s family business. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ginni. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Ginni. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ginger. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I get it. But that company, a Nebraska real estate firm, launched in the 1980s by his wife and relatives. It hasn’t existed since, what, 2006? 

 

Kaya Henderson: It’s not as it’s not as sinister as it sounds. Right. It was acquired by somebody else. They have a different name, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever. But like, it, it points to the fact that he is fast and loose with his financial disclosures or like, just not either not paying attention if you’re generous or choosing to be deceitful. If you take on all of this undisclosed, you know, real estate dealing with Harlan Crow and the trips on the mega yachts and the private jets and the blah blah. I mean, here’s the thing, right? If if if it was a a a liberal or a Democrat or whatever the case may be, we’d be having hearings already. Right. Congress would be having hearings already and trying to oust this dude. Right. But he’s Clarence Thomas. And this is a conservative mega-donor. And, you know, the Republicans control the Senate. And so we’re all on a oh, he’s just going to fix his filings. Fix his filings? First of all, like, there is no ethics. There’s there’s not a strong ethics code in the Supreme Court. And that’s part of the reason why we’re even talking about this. Um. But I was reading up a little bit on this and found out that in 1969, a Supreme Court justice resigned um under Nixon um because of improper financial stuff. And so there is precedent for somebody stepping down from the Supreme Court for financial improprieties. And I’m feeling like somebody needs to dig that up. And uh I think the dude’s name was Abe Fortas. I was reading in The Washington Post, has an article, a throwback article. But it is crazy to me that this you know, this this uh court is responsible for for like is the highest possible place to enforce our laws in the country. And this dude is not following our laws. What do we do about that? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: But Kaya some of this is, like there’s one example. So the same dude he was going on those vacations with bought he and his relatives a Georgia home. Where Terrence Clark where Terrence Clarence, what’s what’s his name? Where Clarence Thomas is. Early. Clarence Thomas’s mother lives in this home. And that transaction was not disclosed. Like you like whole homes. You’re not disclosing. That– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You know. The only–

 

De’Ara Balenger: It’s wild. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: It is wild. And it’s like you think about people who have definitely been incarcerated for less. People who have experienced sanctions, like all types of stuff. And one of the things that’s interesting in this is that you can see the right wing media is just acting like it’s not happening. They’re like, Clarence who? Thomas don’t know him. Didn’t you know, like they’re like, just [laughter] what is a Clarence Thomas? Never heard of the Supreme Court. And the left, I think, has not figured out how to make this a big deal for aunts and uncles. It’s like a big deal in MSNBC land. But but it doesn’t seem like a [?] thing. And, you know, it just was reported before we started the podcast that he is finally going to amend the records and da da. But it’s like you definitely knew better. Like if there’s anybody who knew better, you definitely knew better. But the Republicans are, they just cannot imagine that he resigns and then we get the court back like that is, so they are like doing everything they can to [?] that. But this is something where I would love for the mainstream left elected officials to ride this really hard. Like AOC is riding it hard, but people expect AOC to ride it hard. It’s like [?] like people should the they’re like the middle of the road democrats should be like, this is actually unacceptable because let’s be clear, if this was if this was Sotomayor, the entire– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Listen. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –Republican conference would be sitting in the Supreme Court at a sit in right now, and that would be a she like got Girl Scout cookies from her niece. You know, it would be they would all be there. And we’re like la de da I’m like, Hakeem Jeffries. Where you at? Schumer, what’s up? Like all of y’all, y’all [indistinct word in background] should be, like, camped out? Yes. You should be camped out at the Supreme Court right now saying this is unacceptable. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: He’s such an interesting character. I think just in just in our minds because he, like, exists. But he really doesn’t exist, right? Because it’s like he’s he’s been so quiet over so many years um that and even on the Supreme Court, it’s like you never hear like, oh, and the dissenting opinion from Clarence Thomas, like he don’t do nothing. And so I think part of it is just like his his– 

 

Kaya Henderson: He doesn’t have to do anything– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: He doesn’t have–

 

Kaya Henderson: –because his wife is out there doing– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Doing every–

 

Kaya Henderson: –all this stuff. His wife his wife is the one that’s out there doing all this stuff. And he’s along– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: And he’s just–

 

Kaya Henderson: –for the ride. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –sitting back. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Are you kidding me like– 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’m just like–

 

Kaya Henderson: –this whole thing. When you add his wife’s shenanigans, I mean, and we’ve talked about it on the Pod, there is no way like, I don’t understand how nobody has put this whole thing together and made something happen like the removal of both of these people from American life, because everything that they’re doing is so fiscally improper. I mean, Ginni Thomas was on the phone with the president, your former president, talking about election denial and, you know, January 6th stuff this like why is that not improper? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I also feel like if the Anita Hill hearings happened today. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Today, ooh child. It would be a different thing. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Come on now. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Hoo boy. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I don’t you know and he’s just so he’s just, I don’t know, really an enigma to me. And so creepy and just basically in the O.J. Simpson bucket. That’s right. I said it. I just think it’s the same. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oooh. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: It’s just like because I feel like white people have like this special like, you know, the conservatives have like a special appreciation and whole like they look at this dude like he’s Frederick Douglass. And I’m like, what is happening? Like somebody take him down. And where do I donate to that, please? So my news came to me because this week I participated in the National Action Network festivities and at the annual women’s luncheon where my sister and mentor, Tanya Lombard, puts the dinner, the lunch together. Linda Thomas-Greenfield was there, and y’all I love Linda Thomas-Greenfield. So she is the U.S., the United States ambassador to the U.N., but she has this illustrious career leading up to that. And when I was at the State Department, she was the ambassador to Liberia um and is just beloved there. Um. So she has always been a point of inspiration for me. And she gave the keynote at the luncheon. At the luncheon she talked about this man named John Joseph, who was a Black man who was in Australia. Now, wait a minute now, because let me get the date straight, because we’re going to be like, I didn’t. 1850s. 1850s. So the story goes that John Joseph. A Black American helped forge Australian democracy, and he was then tried for treason um by the British colonial authorities. Um. And his acquittal sparked a street celebration in Melbourne where he carried he was carried shouldered high in a sea of 10,000 people. And so I had never heard of John Joseph. And I think this is very much in the context of like Black people, Black bodies, sparking liberation all over the world. Right. And so and and so it just was and that was her point, really, is that like what we’re doing here actually impacts what is happening globally and that Black people have been kind of always the pioneers in and getting revolutions, etc., started. And so John Joseph went, he was a miner, so he and a bunch of other miners, you know, they basically held a protest against the working conditions. I can only imagine the working conditions of miners in 1850s. I don’t even know. I can’t even wrap wrap my brain around what that would be. But and this this kind of got brought to light because Caroline Kennedy, which I completely forgot. Caroline Kennedy is the United States ambassador to Australia, and she unveiled a new plaque to commemorate Mr. Joseph, his life um and his contribution to democracy, galvanizing democracy in Australia. Um. So just like some background on John Joseph and how this man ended up in Australia. So there are some new accounts from the time of his trial that said he came from Boston, New York, or maybe Baltimore. DeRay maybe this might be your great great great great great great great great cousin. Or something. Um. [laughing] Historians believe he reached Australia’s Goldfields after working the seas, a common occurrence at that time as Mariners jumped ship to ship in search for gold. So he was part of the gold rush in Australia. He ended up north of Melbourne. And this was a place this was a place to be evidently. Gold had been discovered there in 1851 and so many thousands of thousands of miners ended up being there. Anyhow, I’m not going to go on and on y’all. Please read this article it’s in the New York Times. I think it may be a couple of weeks old, but I just thought just the connectivity between Linda Thomas-Greenfield being kind of, you know, one of our most senior diplomats as a Black woman telling this story of this man who sparked, you know, was the spark for for galvanizing what became democracy. And I’ll show you, I just thought it was so beautiful um and just allowed me to kind of think bigger about who we are, who I am, and the influence that we bring to bear. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Thanks for bringing this, De’Ara. Um. It was interesting. I had no idea about John Joseph um and I sort of feel unsurprised that um that our great, great forebears are were not were active in liberation all over the place. Um. I think to me, this [clears throat] reinforces the importance of um not just telling our stories, but part of this was about part of this article was about him being in an unmarked grave and people not knowing the history. Um. And you know what he what he was fighting for was the ability to own land and vote in this mining town. We had a the police were corrupt, right? The police and the government basically said the miners could come and mine, but they couldn’t own land, they couldn’t vote. And so it was a tent city and the miners were like, this is some trash. Like we need to be able to settle down and do the things. And and that’s what he was fighting for and and there are so many um stories that need to be preserved, so many graves that need to be um marked and remembered. And um I think one of the most pernicious um acts of white supremacy is the erasure of these stories. Right? This is this is why I do what I do at Reconstruction. Because when little Black kids know that we’ve been traveling abroad for centuries, when they know that we’ve been involved in justice movements for centuries, when they understand that we’ve been fighting police corruption and and government mistreatment forever, one, it contextualizes things and helps you. I mean, literally just this week I was like, we are living in the last days. We like I, maybe I should just give it all up and go sit down on a beach somewhere or whatever and I was talking to my therapist about it and she was like, girl, we’ve been doing this for centuries. Like, go back and read some of the history and we’ve been fighting and we going to keep fighting and we gonna keep on doing and then here’s this article that tells me, you know, Uncle John was down in Australia doing the thing. And that reminds me and it reminds it teaches um our young people that, like we ain’t new to this, we true to this. Like and we’re going to keep on doing this. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So I didn’t know about this guy at all. So shout out De’Ara for bringing him forward. Um. I love that the state tried him separately and first they were like all the people for high treason. We gonna, we gonna get you all together. And they tried him first because they were like, they obviously gonna convict a Black man and then they acquitted him. [laughing] The jury was like, not today. And I just love that. Like, I love that they tried to take this man down and that he becomes a hero out of it. So that was great. The second thing is he died at 41. And I just think about the generation of freedom fighters where life expectancy was so, so low that, you know, they were out here doing stuff at 18, 19, 20, 25 to like literally undo white supremacy at scale. And it just is a not that I feel rushed, but I’m like, whoo I, such a different way to do rebellion when the life expectancy is 40 years old. You know what I mean? Like just a a whole different um world. And to your point Kaya, I do think about all the people who sacrificed before us and all the people who were like, I don’t know everything. I know that’s right, though. And we’ll just see what what happens. Like, I’m not going to go to the mining things every day and die. I’m not going to be in a [?] like people who resisted um with no backup plan, with no fallback, no savings, no da da da. But they were like, this hell is just a, a hell I’m not I’m not doing any more. And shout out to those people. 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Don’t go anywhere. More Pod Save the People is coming. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

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Myles E. Johnson: This week my news is the Freaknik documentary. So Hulu announced that there was going to be a Freaknik documentary. And my whole timeline, like caught on fire with vintage uh nostalgic videos. My mother my mother would kill me to be hearing to hearing me call um videos vintage. But um just nostalgic videos of what was going on at Freaknik, the dancing, the music, the fun. And then it wasn’t long until clips came out around the dark side of Freaknik and how Freaknik was also a place where a lot of sexual assault happened, where a lot of um uh harm towards women in violence ended up happening. And it all began as a HBCU uh picnic that just really went global. There has been talks uh and [?] in the Root article that I am using to reference this, this uh, this take um there are talks by people who are lawyers, then judges, how they want to make this go away and make this not happen and disappear this and we’ll it we’ll see how that goes. But I think that what I’m most curious about is what Hulu’s take will be [?] I’m curious about who’s directing it. I um, I’m also really, really, really curious about the take that will happen, because I think there’s so much space to explore the cont–, the almost like cyclical continuous cycle of public violence, public like sexual violence against women. And sometimes I feel like because the Internet is so pervasive and quick, and and it makes you not really remember a year ago, let alone, you know, 20 or 30 years ago, that we forget that often, and specifically inside the uh inside of the Black community that these conversations around um rape and and and sexual autonomy have been going on. And Freaknik was such a groundswell for those type of conversations that I think that seeing that not only were these things happening, but there were people who were being critical in and in having conversations, very feminist conversations around the topic is beneficial and it can help even better map out how this feminist dialog has been a part of the Black American dialog for for a really long time now. I do hope that no matter whose featured in it. Um. I really hope that consent is used. And I also hope that perhaps you, the women who are participating in this and who have gone on to live respectable whole, quote unquote, “respectable upstanding, well-rounded lives,” can actually use this as a way to also show that, yeah. I’m a justice, I’m a judge, I’m a lawyer, I’m a teacher, I’m a mother, I’m whatever. And I also I had fun in college and also I had a body or also I uh was sex positive. And look, it doesn’t destroy your life to have fun. And I think that that will be a really cool, radical feminist thing to witness. But you know who knows. [laughing] Who knows it’s easier for me to say that as somebody who does not have those type of videos going going around. But I do think it will be really interesting to see um some of those women who can uh who can who consented mind you who did consent to participate in certain behaviors and dances and and acts to embrace it. Because I think that that is actually more the tone in this more sex positive and body positive um world that we’re in. So we’ll see. The trailer has yet to drop. I’m sure there will be another groundswell of reactions when the trailer drop. So we will see what is going on with the Freaknik documentary. I’m really excited and that is my news for this Monday. 

 

Kaya Henderson: My news this week is about a fascinating study that was just published last week in the Journal of American of the American Medical Association Network Open. And this study uh links a higher prevalence of Black doctors in a county to a longer life expectancy and lower mortality in Black populations. What does that mean? It means that in counties where there are more Black doctors, Black people live longer. In fact, if there is even only one Black doctor in a county, Black people in that county live longer um and they don’t even have to go see a doctor. Just the mere presence of the doctors [laughing] being in the county means that Black people live longer. Now, we all know we’ve talked about it on the pod and otherwise that um about the disparities in health care, especially for Black people, and how in the health setting, Black people are not believed, doctors treat us differently, etc., etc.. So you already know you can make the case for why having Black doctors generally is better for Black people. There are studies that show that um communication is better between Black doctors and Black patients, that mortality rates for Black uh infants are reduced. I think we did that, that was like one of my first or second articles on the pod when I joined a couple of years ago that mortality rates for Black infants were reduced when they are treated by Black physicians. We’ve learned a lot about um about the mortality of pregnant moms, Black moms being reduced when they are treated by Black physicians um and also even preventative care. Black people are likely more are more likely to stick to preventative care and avoid things like cardiovascular disease and whatnot when they have Black doctors. Um. Basically, Black patients fare better under the care of Black doctors. But this study, which shows that even only one in the county, just their presence and people live longer is astonishing, according to researchers. Um. That Monica Peek, who is a primary care physician and health equity researcher at the University of Chicago at the University of Chicago Medicine, says that a single Black physician in a county can have an impact on an entire population’s mortality, it’s stunningly overwhelming. It validates what people in health equity have been saying about all the ways Black physicians are important. But to see the impact at the population level is astonishing. Um. As you can imagine, um many medical schools are actively recruiting diverse populations, um but in fact, the number of Black physicians remains a stubborn problem. Um. Despite lots of recruitment efforts. A 2021 study showed that the number of Black and Native American medical students, particularly males, have stagnated. Um. There might there’s a little sort of uptick in admissions, but um the upcoming Supreme Court uh case around affirmative action could actually cut into even the small progress that folks have made. And so here we are. We have clear evidence that Black doctors make Black people live longer. And we have a continued crisis in in the recruitment and admissions of Black students into the medical field. And so um for all y’all young people out there thinking maybe you want to be doctors and you are Black like me, do it, please, because it’s going to save the race. Um. And for all of those folks who are administrators in medical schools, this makes the case for why recruitment of African-American physicians is even more important than we thought. I thought this was interesting. So um here we are. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’ve been in such a place of like trying to be able to be a whole person in the world that can feel liberated in a sense where I can. And I think part of that is really and it may be true for a lot of us is it’s seeing things like this, but actually it’s still seen either distant or it’s still or there’s like definitely a feeling of like, we know this is happening, but I have to put that over there so that I can continue to like put one foot in front of the other. And so when we cover the when we cover articles or studies around health. That’s one of the times where I’m really like. Gosh. They want us to die. Which is wild. Like you want us to die. And so and Kaya even back to when you, when you covered the one around, babies dying, Black babies die more with white doctors. Like it is something that we should be sitting with. It’s something that Black folk like everybody, everybody in this, everyone in the like, sitting with the fact that a Black doctor in the town. And what you said Kaya, you won’t even got to see the Black doctor. But just the fact that the Black doctor exists means you live longer. And when I think about it for myself, I go out of my way to find Black doctors. And it’s not that I’m having a conversation being like, I know I won’t get treated the same and da da da and the inequities and da da da da da. I’m just like it is in me to know that I have to see a Black doctor. I grew up in Washington, D.C., I went to Black dentists. I saw Black my whole life. My whole life. And so it is just. It’s it is it is so tragic to know that this is the state of the world and to know that. Remember when we covered that article where Black people with diabetes got, you know, got their limbs amputated more so than anybody else. I mean, damn. Like, what are you going to medical school for? I just like the whole like you’re taking a pledge. [laughing] You’re taking a pledge to keep people healthy and to protect people. This one is really one that, like, really, really deeply, deeply hurts. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I don’t want to be frou frou, but I will say that as soon as I read this um, I was like, you know, this is what Black feminism this is what Black people have always reminded us about the power of community. It’s like can’t measure it. It’s not going to show up on the study. You can’t you know, everybody can’t see it. But we know it when we feel it, right? 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And it’s like there is something that happens when Black people are just in community with each other that makes us better. It just is what it is. Right? And it’s cool that a study shows it, because the craziest thing about this study is you ain’t even got to, that is, you don’t even have to go to the doctor. That’s the crazy thing about it. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Don’t have to go. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: They just got to be there. But that to me is like, what happens when you go to church. You just you in the room and something happened. You know what I mean? Like God is like, hey, I got a let me just tap you. Let me just give you something but you don’t have to do communion to get that. You ain’t got to sing. You just got to be there. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Come on in the room.

 

DeRay Mckesson: And that is, everybody ain’t got that. You know and that is that if that’s not Black, I don’t know what is. And I think that that is actually the coolest thing about this, is that this reminds us that when we are in community with each other, we are better. That is like. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Preach. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Come on DeRay.

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. Preach. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: That’s how I think. [banter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: I needed this. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: That’s–

 

Kaya Henderson: I that is– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Shout out to– 

 

Kaya Henderson: –that is a now word. Honey that is the now word.

 

DeRay Mckesson: The fact that you don’t have to go to the doc now that’s– [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: That’s grandma that’s the ancestors– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Bless. [indistinct]

 

DeRay Mckesson: –being like listen up, y’all listen up. Um. My news is about guns and I this is a broken record. I like I’m really shocked da da da. Got me this time. I didn’t know that some of the guns just fire themselves. Who knew? So The Washington Post did this incredible um incredible report on, I know nothing about guns, but the Sig Sauer P320 pistol. Who knew that there are over 100 reports of the gun firing without anybody pressing the trigger. And 80 people are claiming that they have gotten hurt because of the unintentional discharge of the gun, including the police. There are at least, I think, 18 police officers who are like, you know, we um no at least 33 officers at 18 law enforcement agencies have been injured by the discharges. At least six agencies removed the P320 from service and they have like this the article is rife with examples. Right. So it’s like one woman’s like, I heard a bang. Da da da da da. And was like, oh, okay, that um that was the gun going off. But like, nobody actually pressed the trigger. The wildest part of it, though, is when the company was asked about it, they were like we don’t think this happens, but just so you know, and I quote, “Unintentional discharges are not uncommon amongst both law enforcement and civilian,” they’re like, you know what it just happens. And it happens with our gun, happens with other guns, but we don’t think it actually happened without people pushing the trigger. And you’re like what? I had no clue that there are some guns that just fire themselves. That is I like didn’t I don’t know of all the, guns are wild. That is just not something I thought was a thing. I really didn’t. So I thought I’d bring it here because that made me even more. I was like, Oh, this is wild. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I think the thing that is most offensive about this and this just speaks to our gun culture is that, you know, the gun manufacturer is not like, oh, snap, let me fix this. Right? They’re like, yeah, it happens. Literally, people are just minding their business. Put the gun on the holster and bam, it rips a hole through your leg. And the manufacturer is like, Oh, yeah, it happens. And this is the problem with the lack of accountability for gun manufacturers, right? We have not we the royal we y’all’s Congress people have made sure that gun manufacturers can’t be held accountable for damn near anything. And so it breeds this, this, this I don’t even know what the word is. This like total disregard for what what the product does. And so this is how we are at a point like, I don’t know what gun manufacturers are doing for these politicians, but, you know, this is why after people are shot at a school in Nashville, you know, and and the community cries out, Republican lawmakers are like, hell no, we not doing nothing about this. Right. Like the the manufacturer is hell no we not doing a nothing about the fact that we got a defective product that is out here harming civilians and law enforcement. So what? Like this is just about us making our money. There is no other industry that we allow this kind of leeway to. This kind of lack, total lack of accountability. And and, you know, this weekend there was a a shooting, a mass shooting in Alabama at a Sweet 16 party. Oh, and the little boy who went to pick up his his his siblings at the wrong house got shot up but the gun thing is, when you look at I mean, hoo don’t get me started, you know what, I’m just going to stop. We are a sick, sick nation. And this is just as far as our gun culture is concerned. And this is just another example of how sick we are when the gun manufacturers think that it’s not a problem that their defective flipping product is out here shooting people. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: You know, I don’t want anybody to be shot, obviously. But the way this article starts gives me a little chuckle. On a warm afternoon in May, Dwight Jackson was getting dressed for a visit to his favorite cigar lounge. He slipped–

 

Kaya Henderson: Hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it, hold it. [laughter] My man is going to the cigar lounge. [indistinct] [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: He slipped his holstered SIG Sauer P320 pistol onto his belt. Put on a button down shirt and leaned across his bed for his wallet. Suddenly the gunfire pop! Shot in the leg. Fool, why do you need a gun to go to this cigar lounge? Y’all better get out of here with this. Listen, another sister had it in her purse. Thing rattling around went off. So, first of all, y’all stop caring these guns around like they are Tic Tacs. Second of all, hold– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Tic Tacs. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: You y’all are buying em and getting tore up. Y’all need to be holding these people accountable. Like, part of this is just like, you’re right Kaya, it’s the culture of it all, But it’s like, why are we caring these guns around like this? Child. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. Mmm mmm.

 

DeRay Mckesson: Boom. 

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Stay tuned. There’s more to come. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: This week, the one and only Kaya Henderson welcomes Jessica Wilson on the pod to talk about her new book, It’s Always Been Ours: Rewriting the Story of Black Women’s Bodies. Jessica is a groundbreaking thought leader in the world of diet and nutrition. In addition to her writings, Jessica’s social media and digital platforms have become a clearinghouse for unpacking racist and damaging conceptions about food and bodies. Black women’s health and wellness is so important to us on the pod and we’re excited to have an expert here to discuss it. Definitely one of those interviews where you will learn something. I did. Here we go. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Jessica Wilson. Woo, I’m so excited that you are here. Thank you so much for joining us on Pod Save the People. Um. Jessica Wilson. Phenom, whose book is all over the place right now. Um. Jessica, introduce the book to our listeners. Tell us why you wrote it and uh and how’s the response been so far? 

 

Jessica Wilson: Sure. So the book, It’s Always Been Ours: Rewriting The Story of Black Women’s Bodies. I have uh written the book because I was having, as a clinical dietitian, very great one on one conversations with clients about body politics, about desirability politics, about fatphobia. And that was really helping the one person sitting in front of me. But folks don’t have access to these conversations both with their clinicians and, you know, in media and in the group chat. So I was hoping you know this would be picked up and more complex conversations about bodies would find their way through Black women’s communities. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Well, that’s just it, right? It’s not that people aren’t having conversations about bodies and health and wellness and diet and whatever. People are having these conversations all the time, especially in– 

 

Jessica Wilson: Right. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –groups of Black women, um but they are not having the right conversations, according to you. And so tell us how we should be thinking about health and wellness differently or Black women’s bodies differently? 

 

Jessica Wilson: Those are big questions. So I’m going to do health and wellness and then– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Okay! 

 

Jessica Wilson: –Black women’s bodies. [laugh] Um. Health and wellness uh is always chalked up to personal choices, individual solutions, uh when it’s actually a societal problem. Um. I was just asked the other day like, what would I do to improve the health of children, especially Black children? And I said, universal basic income, safe places to play, universal health care, like access to food, like those things are the things. Um. And then we’re told to like eat quinoa and kale and exercise as  the solution to all that is wrong with us and like per society. 

 

Kaya Henderson: It is. We get a steady diet of, you know, you just need to eat better, you just need to exercise. And there is no counter-narrative. So spend a moment just unpacking this a little bit. Yes, we need to live in better resourced communities, though that has nothing to do with us, right? That has to do–

 

Jessica Wilson: Mm hmm yeah. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –with systems and policy and resources and that kind of thing. So we absolutely deserve to live in better resourced communities. And so so what should we be doing if we if we shouldn’t just eat quinoa and kale? 

 

Jessica Wilson: [laughing] Well, first of all, if you want to fine. But really, I had somebody, [laughter] you know, just yesterday trying to tell me they eat quinoa. It was a client um because there was something good, you know, for it and I’m sure I know what it is, but that was the only reason they were eating it. They didn’t really like it. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I don’t I don’t like quinoa and I won’t eat it. 

 

Jessica Wilson: I don’t like it. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm mm. Mm mmm.  

 

Jessica Wilson: I also am not a fan of brown rice. I went back to white rice because it just it absorbs the flavors. It’s not crunchy in my mouth when there’s a, okay. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Tell the truth and shame the devil, why don’t you? But but there’s [laughter] I mean, but there are going to be people who are listening to us and they– 

 

Jessica Wilson: Yeah. 

 

Kaya Henderson: They are not serious about Black women’s health because– 

 

Jessica Wilson: Right. 

 

Kaya Henderson: We are not, you know, toeing the line. So what should Black women be doing about our health? 

 

Jessica Wilson: Let’s center a different narrative. So I always like to center joy and community when it comes to health. So we can’t undo, you know, centuries of uh post-traumatic stress and you know trauma from transatlantic slave trade and, you know, our ancestors being enslaved. We can’t undo that. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Right. 

 

Jessica Wilson: We can’t yeah, we can’t change uh the epigenetics. We can’t change the fact that Black folks inherently have more muscle mass and bone density, which just makes our BMI’s higher. Like those are not conversations that we’re having when we go to the doctor’s office. Quote, “You’re,” you know, “overweight” or quote, “obese,” which I don’t tend to use because they’re societal constructs. Um. We’re just told that our bodies are the problem um to be solved via you know diet and exercise. And sure, you know, food and physical activity can be very important to you know a variety of things. And that can’t be the only way that we’re like trying to prove our worth in a society that doesn’t value Black women. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Right. Like so often we’re engaging in these things as performance or as, you know, trying to just please our doctor so they take us seriously. So I don’t discount, you know, food, physical activity. But also let’s talk about stress. Let’s talk about sleep. Let’s talk about just being a Black person in America. 

 

Kaya Henderson: C’mon. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Because let’s you know, those have way more impact on our health than whether or not we’re eating quinoa and kale and on our pelotons. 

 

Kaya Henderson: On our pelotons. So you are talking to my tribe right now. [laughter] The auntie group. There’s ten of us. We’re a book club slash– 

 

Jessica Wilson: Aw. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –whatever else we are and we love each other and we’ve loved each other into buying Pelotons, not just the bike [laughter] the bike plus the trip. It’s the cult. And what’s interesting is we do it in the name of girl, I love you and I just want you to be healthy. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Aw. 

 

Kaya Henderson: But it is really I will say it is peer pressure to conform to societal standards. And and, you know, I’m not knocking people for their individual choices by any stretch of the– 

 

Jessica Wilson: No. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –imagination. I choose– 

 

Jessica Wilson: No. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –you know, I choose what I want for myself and other people should too. But this idea of community um being a I think the Peloton thing is a very interesting juxtaposition of how you could use community. You are saying that we should use community for good as far as our bodies and our nutrition are concerned. And I think the Peloton uses community in some respects to challenge people to exercise, right? In ways that are effective for lots of people, but that are also very um psychologically, I think, impactful for some people. And so talk about the peer pressure. Talk about Lizzo, you’ve talked of I mean, you should follow her Instagram folks like it is fascinating. Talk about the Lizzo effect and and community and all of this. 

 

Jessica Wilson: So I’m going to do community first and the power I find in community. You know, people talk about Black women’s resilience all the time and Black girl magic and all these things. Um. I don’t want us to be resilient in society. I want us you know to rely on our community and like build resilience there and have folks to lean on there. I don’t want us to be, you know, working twice as hard to be getting half as much. So how can we really find you know healing there um and how you mentioned performance, and I love that. That’s so important when it comes to, you know, what we’re eating or you know what we’re doing for physical exercise. And I find the respectability there, you know, the overlap of performance and respectability. And, you know, we’re really buying into um which is, you know, like how it’s designed to believe that Black women’s bodies have problems and that peloton is one solution, right? Like you should care about your body, you know, is, you know, both like, yes, we could be doing some things that can impact ourselves positively. And it’s also be like pathologizing, like penalizing you need to work hard to overcome, you know, all of these things that they’re saying about our bodies, you know basically, that they’re inherently unhealthy. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Oh. And then Peloton, [laughing] where do you want me to start? Um. If you’ve got the bike, you know what size people are, on the platform. Uh. For those who don’t have peloton, um I would guess the majority are like the largest of the like younger groups there, maybe the largest is a size four, I don’t know. But I’m looking at size two, size zero, negative two, um and they’re all in sports bras. So it’s like the sports braification of [?] collectivity, which is wild. Um. And you know, people who are consistently like shamed or, you know, told that they’re actually not belong like don’t belong at gyms, in theory should be able to find a safe place in their home to be physically active. But, you know, they’re, you know, shown the message that they don’t belong even though there’s this lovely like, you know, you should be you know, everybody is welcome here together we go far. And I’m like, yeah, you’re actually defining fitness based on who you hire to be like the fit, you know, to represent fitness. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Um. Yes. So and then the community– 

 

Kaya Henderson: I think I think it’s, I and you know, Peloton no, no shade on Peloton. I think that they are– 

 

Jessica Wilson: I have one. 

 

Kaya Henderson: –lots of people who are lots of people who are using Peloton and the community to do awesome things for themselves, their physical health, their mental health. But I think we often talk about it without talking about some of the downsides. And I do think for Black women, you know, the models that they hold up um and what people are trying to attain may not be the right thing for us to be shooting for. And we should say that. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Right. And even in the yoga instructors, like people, the instructors are able to move their bodies in ways that I cannot even imagine. Like to, like, move my legs or what like there’s, you know, my belly is in the way of like some of these things. When Chelsea Jackson Roberts was pregnant, I was like, I’m taking those classes because– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Right. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –she’s kind of like, she’s going to move her body in a way that, you know, I also can move my body. Um. So, yeah, in that definition of fitness and uh when Lizzo was launching her newest album, she took a Peloton class uh to both promote Yitty and um her new album. And one of the questions asked in that class was you know, Lizzo, how do you talk to people who don’t see themselves in fitness? And you know she, it was this question. It was like people don’t see themselves in fitness, in part because you peloton are defining fitness in a way that inherently you know excludes anybody larger than your instructors. And, you know, the bikes have a weight capacity, a weight limit. Um. And it’s just, you know, a bunch of things that really make clear like what fitness and at home fitness looks like. Um. Yeah so– 

 

Kaya Henderson: In It’s Always Been Ours, you in fact, bring people in. Right. You don’t exclude. You’re actually, this is an opportunity. This book brings people in in ways that build community. So talk about community. 

 

Jessica Wilson: I think again, defining resilience and community and also being able to have conversations. I mean, the respectability piece, you know, we can have the complex conversation about, you know, using our bodies to conform to what whiteness demands can provide some like societal safety, you know, in the workplace and all of these things. But let’s talk about it in that way, rather than policing each other for being you know too Black or having our hair in a certain way. Let’s talk about it for what it is rather than the auntie like telling you how to act, or your parents or your peers, you know, like you need to X, Y, or Z thing. Let’s have that conversation because of white supremacy and you know capitalism. And also, that gives me agency like, I know why you’re telling you to do this. Now I can make a decision without shame, without feeling a way about it. I can choose or not to choose. And in a society in which Black women are constantly denied our autonomy. Like, I want more choices for Black women and more autonomy in the ways that we’re you know navigating the world. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. Um. Talk to me a little bit about your thoughts on Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. [laughter]

 

Jessica Wilson: So in the book, I talk about Goop and how I took myself and a friend to uh a one day in Goop health um retreat-ish situation. It was at the poor striving experience, which was wild, you know, part of our wellness was like poor striving. Um. [laughter] Because literally– 

 

Kaya Henderson: That’s what people do to be well. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Right. Yeah, it was like the–

 

Kaya Henderson: [indistinct]. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –connection between like this mind body situation and you had to, like, be aware of folks who are around you both when driving a Porsche and you know and your wellness it was it was a good sell for a sponsor. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Okay. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Um. Yeah. But I call it Wellness Disneyland. It was also white women’s Disneyland. I say that I’m glad I wasn’t wearing all Black or else I was, you know, would have been asked where the bathroom is or, like, be directed because there all of the support staff were Black and Brown, uh and then I was maybe like one of three Black women there. But it was this, like easeful life that I could just really see, you know, how that was appealing with a bunch of rich you know white women who didn’t have cares in the world, you know, they just wanted to add like mushrooms um to their diet. And I really got to see and how Gwyneth, you know, they called them goopies, like people just wanted to be around Gwyneth and how it was peak whiteness, but also it didn’t have any of the shame. At no point did they talk about calories or, you know, people’s weight. It was just this like glorious, like you could just like, come and have fun here, which was so different than like any other, like food, health, body space that I have been in. There was there was nothing of that there was no shaming. Um. But then, you know, in every other facet of our lives, the things that are actually supposed to care for us, like health care, there was this constant narrative of shame and blame on bodies. So it was this wild juxtaposition. 

 

Kaya Henderson: You talk in the book about Black women’s joy as an act of rebellion, and that really resonates with me. Why do you think that we are so fast to embrace you know Gwyneth’s version of wellness as opposed to our own version of wellness? We know what Black women’s joy feels like when we are in our book club meeting or at the family reunion or, you know, just hanging out with friends. We know what that belly laughter does for us. We know what that you know touching does for us. We know what eating good food together does for each other. So why are we so quick to glorify this other existence instead of really being comfortable in what has kept us uh for, you know, generations? 

 

Jessica Wilson: That’s a fantastic question that I will just say up front. Um. And I you know, people have asked me to define joy, and my answer is always like Black women laughing loudly is how to define what joy is overall, especially what Black women’s joy is. And I first, we consistently demonized like the idea of Black folks getting together for Sunday dinner or whatever it is, because in the context of white supremacy, every food you know that is on that table is in the you know– 

 

Kaya Henderson: It’s bad for us. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –don’t eat column, right! It’s the unhealthy column. It’s the bad foods. Um. And like that only happens because of fatphobia and white supremacy. Um. And then I, you know, speak about how and when I was living in Oakland every restaurant had fried okra and collards and mac and cheese and pork belly. Um. So when thin white people are eating, that food is fine. But when Black folks are eating the same food, it’s pathologized, penalized, and we’re also not supposed to enjoy it, you know? So, like, we are taking ourselves away from our joy, from our culture so often that I asked to, you know, recenter you know ourselves with our friends, with our family in a way that doesn’t provide or produce the guilt that you know is just going to come. So, you know, it’s capitalism, white supremacy [laugh] and fatphobia are the reasons that we, you know, are just getting away from our joy in that way. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Tell me about the title, It’s Always Been Ours. 

 

Jessica Wilson: At first I think it was more specific. It was supposed to be uh particular to our body narratives, just like our um ability to rewrite what it means to be a Black woman. And then as you know it was going along, it was everything. It was like our joy has always been ours. You know our community has always been ours. Our you know bodies themselves um have always been ours. So how can we you know come home to those things in ways that you know we know to be true, that are influenced by, you know, the cultural narratives about our bodies? 

 

Kaya Henderson: Um. One of the things about social media, one of the dangers of social media these days is the impact that it has on young women’s body image. What would you say to young Black women as they are out here navigating these social media streets with messaging that tells them all kinds of things about their body? What do you want them to know about this journey? 

 

Jessica Wilson: I, the young, so I will say, first of all, the youth have read my book and come back with questions that I cannot answer because they are so smart. So first of all. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Give me an example. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Oh, somebody asked me about the like, what’s a modern day continuation of the Sarah Baartman project? So and– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oooh wow. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –Sarah, [laugh] I know, right? So Sarah Baartman was trafficked from South Africa to London, basically um as an enslaved woman and put on display because of the size of her quote, “buttocks” um and body was just inherently large um and so literally put on display to be seen to be you know paid to, you could pay to touch her body then. Um. But, you know, the question was like, what’s the continuation of that project? And like on the spot, I was like, oh, this is so complex. Anyhow, so this is just a great uh question that I got. But I think we underestimate sometimes, you know, if we give knowledge to young women, if we look at the clean girl esthetic and are like able to be, you know, talking about that and how it’s peak whiteness. Right now it’s the vanilla girl that’s going around. Yeah. On TikTok. If we’re talking about that as like peak whiteness and how, you know, that permeates what we’re seeing, how can we look at that as a critical lens because of algorithms. We’re just going to see them. But how can we know what that is when we see it? How can we know that that is white supremacy replicating itself on our feeds rather then that is something, you know, that I need to aspire to. And that’s like also a desirability politic. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Um. Yes. And again, with that respectability. So if I can form or like in public spaces, I try to be a vanilla girl, even though it’s impossible because it’s only for white girls. Um. I in my own home will know that my body is like, I want to say beautiful but wonderful, full of wonder um on its own. 

 

Kaya Henderson: That’s my wish for every young woman that they recognize and realize that and, you know, I think we spend so much time trying to contort our bodies to be what ever we or other people think when in fact we don’t know how long we’re going to be here. We just got to let this thing do what it does. I’ve been much bigger and I’ve been much smaller, and I’m enjoying myself all along the way. I’m not waiting until I get to be a size X or Y or Z to do anything right. Um. And I think that is that comes through in your book in spades. Um. What has been the biggest surprise for you um in terms of reactions or responses to the book so far? 

 

Jessica Wilson: We were initially targeting, you know, Black women in general and very specifically for this book. So it’s been an audience that has been, you know, Black women and Black women you know who are interviewing me and asking you know great questions, but also the clinician community. So specifically the eating disorder clinician community, I want to say has picked up this book in a way that I was not uh prepared for. So as a dietitian, I focus very much on eating disorders, especially eating disorders in Black folks, trans folks, queer folks um and folks who have limited resources. And the way that those stories have impacted clinicians and made them think about, you know, the ways in which we are talking about bodies has been incredibly inspiring and gives me some hope. Um. The ways that people are coming around to the idea that it’s not, quote, “diet culture” that is impacting, you know, the way that we view bodies. It’s white supremacy, it’s capitalism. Um. It’s not just like the drive for thinness and the ways that people are, you know, picking that up and taking it on and having more complex conversations has really been like a surprising and great response. And it really makes me feel that the eating disorder field, one that, you know, historically prioritizes thin white uh women and girls, affluent particularly, is going to expand. And we’re going to see that a lot of the ways that Black women and other folks contort ourselves and, you know, engage in restriction and restraint are a part of, you know, what we would inherently think of as, you know, starvation and disordered eating. But as you already said, you know, those things are celebrated like the ways that we’re, um you know, restricting ourselves and trying to make, you know, our bodies healthy. You know, that isn’t actually healthy. It isn’t good for us. But we don’t see that because Black women don’t get eating disorders. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Except we do. [laughing]

 

Jessica Wilson: Yeah! Right. But that’s what I hear all the time. Uh. People, I’ve had multiple people say, no, no, no, no, I don’t have an eating disorder. I’m just on my wellness journey or I’m on my health journey. I talk about Lexie in the book who never thought uh through her, you know, diet pills and purging and over exercising, you know, only eating a salad a day so that she would be deemed, you know, less muscular, less powerful as a gymnast and be treated like a white girl. She never thought that was an eating disorder– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –because that was just what she was doing to win. And [laughter], that’s amazing– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. 

 

Jessica Wilson: –to me. So, yeah, how we’re able to see both the humanity and, you know, if we’re looking at our typical white girl with an eating disorder who is, you know, fragile in need of protection like Black girls, Black women– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Say it sis. Say it.

 

Jessica Wilson: –deserve yeah to be you know protected, deserve nurturing, deserve all of the things that are so just naturally afforded to our pale peers. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. Yes. I mean, to me, at the end of the day, It’s Always Been Ours is a conversation about freedom. We talk about freedom a lot on the podcast. Like our greatest hope for ourselves and our people is that we can be free to do and be whoever we are. And this book, to me, feels like it is giving us permission to be free in our bodies, to be free in our culture, to be free with ourselves. And so I want to thank you for that gift. That gift of freedom. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Absolutely. I’m so glad to hear that that is landing for folks. 

 

Kaya Henderson: So there are two questions that we always ask our guests on the show. And the first one is, what piece of advice have you gotten over the years that has stuck with you? 

 

Jessica Wilson: [pause] To not make myself small in service of those who can’t take in my abundance is one. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mmm. Say that again, please. Because there are people. There are people who don’t understand what that means. Blow it out. 

 

Jessica Wilson: So again, you know, in a workplace or in a you know quote, “mixed setting” the code switching that goes on, which is just natural and again, a form of survival. And I definitely never want to you know criticize that. And, you know, what am I giving up of myself in order to do that? So, you know, am I going to be true to myself if I’m, you know, shrinking myself or am I going to be my full self and just you know handle the consequences? So, you know, if it’s you know, it’s not my problem, it’s not the problem with me. It’s other folks and their problems. So how can I just be abundant in the way that I am? 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. Yes, indeed. I appreciate that. The second question is, what do you say to the people who are giving up hope in this moment? These are people who may have read your book and some of your suggested readings and podcasts. They fought in the streets. They are vigilant online and anywhere they can and still the world hasn’t changed for them in the ways that they might want. What do you say to those people at this point? 

 

Jessica Wilson: Throughout the reception of this book and the audience that it’s resonating, um people in their twenties are really what is giving me hope. And I, you know, granted oftentimes and now they are the ones out in the streets. But for those of us old folks, [laughing] um let’s be collaborating with young people who are oftentimes smarter than we are. Um. So yeah, the folks who are younger are the ones that are giving me hope. So let’s listen to them more often rather than talking to them. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I think that is so right. Um. When I ask the same question all the time, what am I hopeful about? I am hopeful about this. These next generations who are taking um their responsibility to lead very seriously, who are doing the work, who are uh and we may not agree on how all the time, um but the level of civic responsibility, the level of empathy and care for one another that um these young people have is really very exciting to me. And I trust them to figure this out [laughing] way more than I trust us to figure this out. We’ve had our turn and it’s time to pass the baton. Um. Tell me, Jessica, where can people find the book? 

 

Jessica Wilson: They can find it online on e-book and audiobook if it’s not in your bookstore. I would love for folks to ask for it to be there. Um. I always remind, you know, my publisher and sellers, the book speaks for themselves. So the cover is you know actually a friend of mine and a beautiful Black woman, and her smile and her laugh it like lights up the page. So if it’s in, you know, your store, it will sell so [laughing] uh you can find it on those uh there and then you can find me on Instagram at first and last name, @JessicaWilson.msrd um and I talk a lot of stuff over there. So come on and–

 

Kaya Henderson: Follow her on the gram. It is. It is exciting, it’s an exciting space to be. Thank you and over 120,000 followers. So you have built community. People are listening. Um. All I can tell you, Jessica, is you are a friend of the pod and we can’t wait to have you back. 

 

Jessica Wilson: Thank you so much. This was great. [music break]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning into Pod Save the People this week. Tell your friends to check it out and make sure you rate it wherever you get your podcasts. Whether it’s Apple podcasts or somewhere else. And we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media. It’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Evan Sutton, executive produced by me and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger, and Myles E Johnson.