Beware the Swarm (with Kara Brown & Bassey Ikpi) | Crooked Media
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March 30, 2023
Stuck with Damon Young
Beware the Swarm (with Kara Brown & Bassey Ikpi)

In This Episode

This week Damon is joined by author Kara Brown, who’s a writer and supervising producer on the new Amazon Prime horror series “Swarm.” They pick apart what it means and what it’s like to write for a series with a black female lead.

In the latest edition of “Dear Damon,” New York Times bestselling author Bassey Ikpi joins Damon to help a listener dealing with the challenges that come with being in an interracial marriage.

Send your questions, confessions and/or conundrums in for consideration to be responded to on the podcast at deardamon@crooked.com.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Damon Young: Hey, everyone, this is Damon I just wanted to give you a quick heads up that this episode will be about the Amazon Prime series Swarm, and the entire episode will be a spoiler. Okay. Also trigger warning because there were themes of violence mentioned throughout this episode. I remember we were supposed to do a thing together. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: A couple of years ago. And you ditched me. You got a last minute invite to a megastars party. 

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: I would have ditched me, too. 

 

Kara Brown: I’m a be honest with you. Like, I’m not flaky. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: There’s not a lot of things I would like straight up ditch somebody for. But I was like, I got to go to this party. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: And it wasn’t, you gave me a heads up. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I remember telling my wife, and she was like, yeah nigga I would have ditched you too. [laughter] Like fuck you, fuck out of here. [music plays] So welcome back, everyone to Stuck with Damon Young, the show where if we ask you who’s your favorite artist and you don’t have the right answer [buzzing sound effect] holy shit, I’m being attacked. Help me, someone. Swarm the Amazon Prime limited series about an obsessive fan who becomes a serial killer has captured and polarized this audience in a way that few recent shows have, and to speak on some of their thematic touchpoints and through lines of that show. I’m joined by TV writer Kara Brown, who was a supervising producer, also a head writer, and also has a cameo [laughs] on the show and then for Dear Damon. New York Times best selling author Bassey Ikpi joins me to help advise the one on how to deal with their racist in-laws. All right y’all. Let’s get it. [buzzing sound effect] Kara Brown, friend, writer, supervising producer and also star [laughs] for Amazon Prime limited series. Kara, what’s good? How you doing today? 

 

Kara Brown: You know, I’m all right. I’m pretty good. 

 

Damon Young: All right. So I want to talk to you about Swarm. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Which is the Amazon Prime series that features a a stand up, a Beyonce, a like character. 

 

Kara Brown: A pop star. 

 

Damon Young: Yes, a pop star. [laughter] Right. Who ends up becoming a serial killer? 

 

Kara Brown: Well, there’s the obsessive fan of the pop star who becomes—  

 

Damon Young: Yes, yes, the obsessive. Thank you. Thank you. 

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: Thank you for producing me. 

 

Kara Brown: It’s almost like I wrote on the show. [laughter] It’s almost like I was involved in this. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: So the obsessive Stan of a pop star who becomes—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You know what. What, even that word, Stan. Like, I think that—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: —we presume that there are certain words that are part of the zeitgeist that everyone has a handle on. Understands. Stan comes from the Eminem song Stan. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And again, it’s been 20 years since that song so there are probably people who have no idea where that word comes from, but that word comes from a song that Eminem created, his own his greatest contribution to the culture—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: —is this song, right? 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And it’s the best song by a white rapper ever doesn’t, it’s not even close. [laughter] And it’s about an obsessive Stan. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: An obsessive fan of Eminem, who ends up killing himself and the mother of his unborn child, I think. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. And who is just named Stan and is obsessed with an Eminem, basically with Eminem and like writing all these letters. And so the guy’s name is Stan, which is truly just how we got Stan. And I feel like because it sounds like fan people probably think it’s some sort of like offshoot of that, but it’s like literally just because the guy’s name was Stan. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. Do you have any relationship with Standom yourself? Like, has there ever been an artist? Not even right now at your age, but as a kid, as a teenager that you were a literal Stan over? 

 

Kara Brown: I don’t think I’ve ever dipped into that a super deep level of Standom. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: I’m like, I am fans of people. I’ve been fans of their work. I think the more that I work in Hollywood, obviously, the further away you get from that because they just it’s like it’s weird to Stan people you work with, I think [laughter] to, and you just start to see like them as individuals. It’s like, oh, I’m working with people that maybe I was like a fan of and like they are great and talented, but they are also like regular people, you know, like someone like Donald, where it’s like, obviously I was like a big fan of Donald and then now I know him well. So it’s not there’s just no way you’re going to have the same kind of relationship. But yeah, I don’t I, you know, I did like people, but the type of fandom that the show is getting into, no, that is like foreign to me. And I think part of it, too, is because I began my career on the Internet. And so in no way am I saying that like I had Stans, but, you know, writing for Jezebel and you had fans and you had people who would comment a lot, and I very quickly developed a bit of a contentious relationship [laughs] with with all of them and all of that—

 

Damon Young: I remember, I remember. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. Because it’s, it’s, it’s weird and it’s invasive and like, you know, I remember one of the writers, you know, like she has her full name and so on her byline, she used her full name and we call her by her nickname because we know her. And I remember she would talk about like when commenters would call her by her nickname, and it drove her crazy because it’s like, you don’t know this person. And this is such a small scale compared to actual celebrities and pop stars and things like that. So yeah, I feel like I’ve, I’ve mostly just been an observer. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And a couple of things too, the Donald that Kara’s referring to is Donald Glover. For those of us—

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: —who are not on a first name basis—

 

Kara Brown: Sorry, sorry. 

 

Damon Young: —with, with Donald Glover. Okay, so—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —Donald Glover is co-creator of the show and also the term like parasocial relationship became almost cliche, particularly after what’s his name, John Mulaney, what’s his, you know— 

 

Kara Brown: Oh yeah John Mul— Yeah that is where yeah, like he left his wife and had, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: He left his wife for Olivia Munn. 

 

Kara Brown: Olivia Munn yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Kara Brown: And they had a baby and people—

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Kara Brown: —freaked out because he is this sort of like, quote unquote “nice guy.”. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: He was like a real wife guy too and like he used to talk about his wife a lot. And people lost their minds that this person they don’t know might make personal decisions about their personal life that are not directly in line with how these people who don’t know him view him. [laughs] 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And so that word, the parasocial, you know—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —thing became a thing for about like six or seven months or, you know, it got to the point where I just got tired of seeing it. I got tired of hearing it. And, you know, I’ve also had a relationship with some types of fans that that has been like that, where people just presume that because you are a public figure and you write online that they not just know you but have an access to you. You know, and sometimes that access would would even be there would be a presumed in person access where people just approach you, you know, like I’m I’m with my kids and people will come up and people on the street want to talk about things like, yo I’m I mean, I appreciate, you know—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —what I mean, the support and the fandom, but, you know, I’m I’m doing something else right now and I’m literally—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —in the middle of the street. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Right, can you at least wait—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —until I get on the sidewalk. And so and again, this is on a much, much smaller scale than someone like a someone like a Beyonce or someone like a Nicki Minaj or someone, you know, who is, you know, that stratosphere of of superstar would receive, you know, also professional athletes, you know, get this sort of treatment too, and I’m bringing this up because the way that Swarm ended. You know? 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: And again this show has a very obvious surreality. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Right where it doesn’t necessarily exist in a parallel universe. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: But it does not exist on the earth that we currently inhabit. Like there’s a different earth. [laughs] It’s like earth one point two.

 

Kara Brown: Well, there’s there’s I think of it is like it’s Dre’s, Andrea’s mind. 

 

Damon Young: Mm. 

 

Kara Brown: Like it’s it’s her version of reality. And I’ll also say this, like, you know, when I talk about the show, I’m talking about my personal interpretation of it. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: And like, obviously, like I was there and I helped create it. But, you know, like, that’s sort of the thing with art where like the way that even I see something and the way Janine, who’s the co-creator of the show with Donald Glover, like and the way Donald sees it, like they can all be a little different. So specifically too when I’m talking to the show, I’m like, this is how I have, like, interpreted all of this. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So to me it was about Dre’s new reality once she kind of snaps. 

 

Damon Young: And Janine Nabers also cause again, Kara—

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: —knows everyone by their first names. [laughter]

 

Kara Brown: I know, I was, but they’re just like my coworkers. Get out of here. That’s like, this is like. Yeah sorry I you know should say their full names, Janine Nabers very talented co-creator of the show. Showrunner. Yes. Yes.

 

Damon Young: And so I guess I just bring that point up because, you know, in I think episode three or four, when she’s involved with the cult, the Billie Eilish cult. What was the name of the cult again? 

 

Kara Brown: NXIVM was the cult that we, you know, talked a lot about. And it also kind of lines up like that’s the thing with the show where it is coinciding with real events. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: Like things that actually happen. And so when we had done the math like it’s it was before NXIVM blew up when everyone like, knew it was a cult. So in our minds, it was like still at this kind of, you know, underground thing, you know, with the branding, because that was a big thing with NXIVM. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: You see, Billie and the other girls are branded. Eva is her character in that show. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Kara Brown: So yeah, that was our whole. 

 

Damon Young: And Billie Eilish. [laughter]

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah. I’m shocked that that secret, like, lasted as long as it did, to be honest. Like, I could not believe that it didn’t—

 

Damon Young: And she was great. 

 

Kara Brown: —really, like. She’s amazing.

 

Damon Young: She was really like I for her, especially for it being her first acting role. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Damon Young: Like, she was amazing. 

 

Kara Brown: She was amazing. And like, against Dominique who is just fucking incredible. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Kara Brown: To like, be able to meet her because Dominique is just so, so, so good. I just like the performances in the shower were really impressive. 

 

Damon Young: I want to talk really quickly about Dominique, because as you’re watching this show, you just can’t help it be blown the fuck away by just how amazing she is on screen. And you know that that last episode where she strangles her girlfriend and she’s crying and she’s not even making eye contact because this is the first murder that we see. It’s the most intimate one. But it is also painful because in that episode you could see, oh, she finally has the loving potential in-law. She has the loving girlfriend who isn’t maybe you should have does some more vetting, but, you know what [laughter] that’s not that’s fine, right? 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: But how is it to write with someone or write for someone who is, I guess, such a star? Basically.

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. So when we started writing, she was not yet cast. So that’s another— 

 

Damon Young: Oh okay. 

 

Kara Brown: —thing that people don’t realize with TV like especially. In a more kind of, again, traditional TV world. You’ve like written a pilot, you know, for ABC, and then they go shoot it and you’ve cast the pilot and then they’ll pick it up for like a season order. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So then you would go write the rest of the season and you already know who the cast is. Or like when I was on Grown-ish, it was a spinoff of Black-ish. So you knew at least Yara was going to be in the show. And so that is that is often how it works. But in this streaming world where, you know, shows are getting series orders and you write them and then you go shoot them afterwards as opposed to writing and shooting at the same time, where like, you’ve already written a few episodes. You start shooting the show and then you’re simultaneously in production and writing with these other models. You write the show and then they go make it. You don’t have to cast anything until you’re ready to go shoot it. So we had talked about a lot of actresses, not a lot, but we, you know, we would like think of names of people who we thought might be good as we were writing it. And then Dominique has told the story where they reached out to her about playing Marissa, and she was like, no, I want to play. I want to play Dre. 

 

Damon Young: Uh huh. 

 

Kara Brown: I think I can do it. And she got that part and is incredible. And, you know, I think like I imagine as an actor for a Black female actress, like, you’re getting kind of the same shit, you know, like, okay, you’re going to play a therapist, you’re going to play the friend or whatever. And something that’s just so out of—

 

Damon Young: I got you. 

 

Kara Brown: —yeah, all the all the Black women judges [laughter] that apparently are like in charge of this whole country, you know, something that’s just so out of the box and different, I imagine, and I think for her was really exciting as an actor. And like, she just squeezed everything out of that role—

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: —that she could. But I think, you know, like, she’s incredible. I think Chloe did such a good job Damson’s really great. The talent in the show is I think like self evident. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And so that episode, you know, she kills at least two—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —of the members of the cult right kills the—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —Eva character and kills someone else. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I feel like in the real world, someone like her—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: When they also already knew her name—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: And did such a violent bloody thing would have been caught like you just can’t be killing—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —white you know influencers [laughter] right? 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: With IG accounts and TikToks and being able to go free for the next, what, year and a half, basically. 

 

Kara Brown: Sure. But like, here’s the thing. And like, I would say too just generally around this show, I would invite everyone to, like, chill out a little bit and like, have some fucking fun because it’s entertainment. It’s meant to be entertaining. It’s a comedy, you know, It’s the dark comedy that’s meant to be funny, it’s meant to be fun. And so, like, sure, maybe would she have been caught And like, ultimately she is caught. But it’s like, I think that’s the interesting thing about I think one of the things we talked about when we were like talking about a Black female serial killer is that they’re like, really haven’t been any. So people don’t even assume that that’s who they’re looking for. So that was kind of the idea behind episode six with the detective, where the only person who could put together that it’s a Black woman is another Black woman. So like, there’s a world right where, you know, they kill these girls and like, that’s just really not who anyone is looking for. 

 

Damon Young: Hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So I think that was part of it. But I think also like. You know, it’s like a talent show. [laughs] And, and, you know, when like, after that, you know, not long after that, she she looks different. Like she eventually, you know, she goes home and and she kind of she runs into the parents and then she kind of goes into like a transformation. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. I mean, it’s not a it’s not a critique, about the show. It was just, you know, acknowledging the fact that most of the shows that we watched exist in the version of reality, that’s not 1 to 1. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: You know, it shared a lot of the same elements, but it’s just not like a 1 to 1. Like this is the actual real earth that we exist on. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: It was a it’s a different version of that. I was bringing that point up because the way it ended. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You know, we were talking about like the parasocial relationship and you know how, you know, Dre very obviously had this love, infatuation, affection, you know, whatever word you want to use to describe her feelings for Ni’Jah. Right. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: And the series ends with her imagining what it would have been like if she actually met her, you know, the embrace. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You know, her just whisking her away with her in the van with the security and just ending in her bosom like that and her—

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: —finally getting that love. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: That she had been searching for. 

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: I guess throughout her life, basically. 

 

Kara Brown: Well, yeah. And then importantly, you see that Ni’Jah’s face is now Marissa’s face. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So, like, her obsession with Ni’Jah is so clearly tied to her obsession with her sister, with her friend Marissa. 

 

Damon Young: Hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: And that they’ve become kind of one in the same in her mind, where she’s murdering people, you know, with our now, like, iconic like, who’s your favorite artist question? And to me, it’s less about, oh, you don’t like Ni’Jah and more that if you don’t like Ni’Jah, you are like disrespecting Marissa. And that’s what’s actually fueling a lot of this. 

 

Damon Young: So what goes into creating a character like that, you know, just from a writers perspective, because you know, you have most of the shows that or I guess most of the prestige dramas that we’ve come to, you know, appreciate, you know, that have entered the cultural lexicon involved male characters or are centered around male characters who are sociopaths. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Essentially, Tony Soprano. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Don Draper, to an extent. Dexter, fucking Barry. 

 

Kara Brown: Breaking Bad.

 

Damon Young: You know, the list goes on. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And so now you have a Black female character. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Right. Who shares, I guess, some of those same characteristics. And, you know, as I was watching the show, the character that she reminded me of the most isn’t actually from the screen. Have you read Raven Leilani’s Luster? 

 

Kara Brown: Yes, yes, yes. That’s a really interesting reference. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. I’m just thinking of these black women who you have a spectrum, I think, of expected behavior. Right. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: That, you know, we see depictions of us on screen, even if it’s it’s the depiction of a character doing some fucked shit like Molly from Insecure. And it still exists—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: —within the spectrum of behavior that we come to, you know, I guess anticipate. Right. And so with Dre and also with I forgot the character’s name in Luster, they existed outside the spectrum. And I think some of the criticism or some of the reactions, not even necessarily criticism, but some of the reactions to the show are based off of these characters existing outside of the spectrum of expected behavior. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: When you’re creating a character like this, who were you thinking specifically, or were there any specific people or were you just trying to create like a character based off of themes or—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —points you wanted to hit. 

 

Kara Brown: I mean, I don’t think we ever, you know, it wasn’t like a name of like this is specifically who this person is modeled after. I think it was more about like some of the movies Donald had us watched before The Room we watched well, this isn’t a movie, but the Netflix series Don’t Fuck With Cats, which was you know sort of about all the social media stuff we watched Under the Skin, which I think is a really important reference. Scarlett Johansson’s character in that movie, like is an alien and is very weird, and the word alien is a word we used a lot in the writers room when we were talking about Dre. And so for me, it wasn’t so much about, like, I think a serial killer, which is already like a rare thing. 

 

Damon Young: Hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: There really are not a lot of serial killers, like in the history of Earth. And I would imagine that serial killers have something in common where, like, your brain is fucked in a way, and you were like methodically murdering people and so it was less to me about she’s a serial killer because she’s a Black woman. And it felt more like a serial killer who happens to be a Black woman and the texture of just what that would look like. So the way that a Black woman would be a serial killer to me. For me, the more interesting and the more fun part was like, why is she killing people? And it’s like, okay, she’s killing people over a pop star, which is maybe not what the white guy would be doing. And she’s, you know, like she’s in Houston, she’s in Atlanta, She’s in like Black cities and seeing the way that like that would manifest in a Black woman. To me is more interesting than like someone becoming a serial killer, specifically around being a Black woman. Because I’m like, I have to believe. Serial killers of all races have more in common with each other, you know what I mean? I’m like, that’s already like that throughline has got to be more specific to just like the chemistry of their brains than where they grew up and like and how they’re being treated because that’s a crazy thing to be. And not a lot of people are that. 

 

Damon Young: And I guess that that’s a perfect segue way to my next question because I feel like there [laughs] there’s an overrepresentation we talk about representation. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: There’s an overrepresentation of serial killers in—

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: —pop culture and— [laughter]

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —public discourse. So why do you think we are so fascinated by them? I mean, I have my own suspicions. I mean, there’s—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: —there again, I think there’s a fascination that’s based off of fear because we don’t understand—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —what makes these people tick. It kind of reminds me, I used to be scared to death of of lightning. Like I got caught in a bad thunderstorm when I was like six or seven years old. And so I ended up reading all the books, getting all the almanacs. I would buy, I would have my dad buy the USA Today just so I could look at the weather page on the back. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I became obsessed to the point where I wanted to be a meteorologist. 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Because I needed to know as much as possible about the weather— 

 

Kara Brown: When the—

 

Damon Young: —so it wouldn’t scare me. And so I wonder if that’s a part of this obsession that we have culturally with sociopathy, with psychopathy. But then part of me also thinks it could be envy, were not necessarily to envy not like we don’t want to go out and start killing niggas, although I’m sure we all get that compulsion sometimes, too. But the ability to kind of live in that way where we can do these sorts of things, like even if we’re not actually doing them, we have the capacity to do them and not necessarily feel the same way a quote unquote, “normal person” average person or whatever might feel that that part of it, that part of the psychology might be and I’ll admit to feeling like some a a smidgen [laughs] of envy about that, about being able to just—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —do a thing and move on and not, you know, and not be neurotic. 

 

Kara Brown: Right. Well, but the thing is, your ability not to do that is because you’re not deeply mentally unwell. You know [laughter] like, I think like I it’s interesting because I would not say like me personally, I’m not like super into serial killers. I think on a very simplistic level, if we’re talking about the depiction of serial killers in television and movies just as a narrative, it is more interesting to watch someone who is like killing a lot of people if you’re trying to tell a long story. So some of it is just like there’s a lot of things that like, I’ll talk to people a lot and you know, they’ll be like, I have an idea for a TV show. And it’s like mostly just about like their life, and I’m like, okay, the thing is, you’re not as interesting as you think you are. So like, just no one is so like, most of the things that you’re watching on TV, you’re watching people that are atypical, that are exceptional or whatever, because generally, like, that’s going to be more entertaining, right? Like Olivia Pope is not like a regular person. And that’s kind of the whole point. And even to me, like even with a show like Atlanta, you’re like, okay, well, Paper Boi becomes like a rapper in the second half of that show and he becomes like a less regular person because that’s kind of what stories at a certain point, like many of them require. So I think some of it is just like in terms of creating the shows is like it’s an interesting story to tell. Whether or not is it is a common story. I think the other part of it might also get into the true crime stuff. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: Which is its own. I have my own like not very flattering opinions about true crime fans. Like I, you know, I’ve watched some of it and I’m just like, this is fucked in a way. And this is clearly about a fear that, like, isn’t the main thing you should be worried about. Like, of all the things I’m worried about, like being murdered by a stranger is low on my list because that doesn’t happen a lot. And then it’s like even being murdered by someone. I, you know, it’s just like it doesn’t happen as much as people seem to think that it does. So I think, you know, and with episode six, which is our mockumentary true crime episode, like we talked about these true crime shows and that kind of obsession with it and it feeling, I think similar to the same kind of intense obsession with like celebrities. 

 

Damon Young: We kind of touched on this a little bit up top, but episode six is basically the ending of the series. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, it tells you the ending— 

 

Damon Young: Yeah it tells you the ending, it tells you exactly how this story is going to play out. While seven shows you right—

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: It shows you exactly what happens up until I guess, the last scene, which is obviously in Dre’s head. The true crime thing is something that always struck me as particularly when you think of the demographic that one is most interested in creating it and most interested in consuming it. Right. Is something that exists to replicate an anxiety that they don’t have about their existence. 

 

Kara Brown: Yes, yes. 

 

Damon Young: It’s like, you know what they don’t necessarily have to deal with the same dangers or the same, you know, all the fuck shit that—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —you have to deal with while existing while Black. And so you invent you invent fears. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. Yeah. If you’re not worried that a cop pulling you over could end your life, or if that is a concern that you have, then day to day you already have enough anxiety and fear that you’re like moving through the world with. If that fear, if the possibility of that does not exist for you, then like, you know, it’s I don’t quite understand and I would never like proclaim to understand the pathology behind that. Like, I don’t you know, I don’t know because that’s not me, but. But yeah, but I think also like, to be honest, like, I remember when like, when I first met with Janine and Donald to write on the show, Donald was like explaining to me because he would he said this phrase post-truth. And I was like, I didn’t really know what he’s talking about, to be honest [laughter] when he first said it to me— 

 

Damon Young: [both speaking] It sounds Trumpian that sounds Trumpian. Post-truth, yeah.

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. I was like, post-truth. And then when he when he was talking about this episode, episode six, it was like, oh, we’re going to see the real people. And I remember it was a thing in the room where we were all like, the real people? Like, we did not really know what he was talking about. And then he came in and explained it and I was like, oh, and thinking of something like The People versus O.J., where you’re like, oh, you’ve been watching The People versus O.J., right? Like, as a viewer of Swarm, you’ve been watching The People versus O.J. and episode six is like the documentary about O.J. Simpson. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: And then you’re returning to like the series, which I think is like a really cool idea. And I think even, you know, I know that kind of there’s probably other storytellers who would have put that episode at the end that would’ve been episode seven rather than six. But for the reasons that you’re saying, like, I think it is cool that it was six because you don’t realize it’s the end of the story until you finish seven. 

 

Damon Young: It also grounds the story and it makes the story, I guess a bit more. I don’t wanna say that it was elusive before, but it makes it a bit more tactile. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Right. Where you’re just like, okay, this, these things are it, it kind of extrapolates, pulls out this like, okay, the shit that’s happening and the story has had some real world consequences and there is an actual person that is on the case and there is an actual reason why Dre has become the person that that she is. Right. There are these actual factors, socioeconomic, environmental factors that created a person like this, right? 

 

Kara Brown: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: I want to talk to you also about and these are things I’m mostly curious about, right. As someone who has somewhat of a knowledge of how things work, but not really in the industry. So you’re a writer now what was your official title on on the show? 

 

Kara Brown: I was a supervising pro—

 

Damon Young: Supervising producer. Right. And so. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: What is the distinction between, I guess, staff writer, supervising producer— 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —supervising producer, and also, you know, the episode that you were in, you know, you were listed as, oh—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. [laughs] 

 

Damon Young: —you wrote this episode. So what’s the distincti—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Like, what’s the distinction between that and the rest of the stuff? 

 

Kara Brown: So the way that television works is you come in like your first show, you come in as a staff writer generally, and the titles really are coinciding with the amount of money you’re making in your experience. So you come in as a staff writer and then it’s story editor, then executive story editor, and then like some things like, I don’t remember them all right, now you keep going, like executive producer and showrunner. That’s like the top. That’s the highest one. So for me it was supervising producer because of the experience that I’ve had, because I’ve written on other shows. It can also come with other responsibilities, like generally the last show I was just on, you know, I was covering set for our showrunner, so I was going down to Atlanta and like supervising set because of the level that I’m at which you wouldn’t necessarily send only a staff writer to do that—

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: —although. But yeah, so it’s really just like those titles are about your experience and like sort of generally you probably take on a little bit more responsibility, you know, like the higher you go with the episode that I’m in so, so that was the episode I wrote and when I was writing it, I remember so it’s set at this party, right, that’s based off of like a real party that happened. 

 

Damon Young: Well—

 

Kara Brown: And I remember, Donald—

 

Damon Young: Kara, Kara before you continue, can you explain the difference—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —between writing an episode and writing on an episode. 

 

Kara Brown: So here’s the thing. When you’re in a writer’s room, everyone is contributing to everything. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So even if my name isn’t on episode two as a writer, jokes that I wrote, ideas that I had, all of us will be in the episode. It is very collaborative and you break. Which is it’s calling Breaking the Story, which is basically just like figuring out what happens. You do that as a room and you do that together, and then generally someone will write the script and then you come back and you give notes and thoughts. So for, you know, with Swarm, like Janine was really, really involved with a lot of the episodes. So like, you see both of our names because we both wrote, you know what I mean? Like, we’re both. We both wrote the episode. So it’s not really like we all contributed to every single episode of the show. But you generally kind of own one particular episode a season and in more traditional room so if you go back to like TV shows that are 22 episodes a season. Like a showrunner does not have time to write every single one of those episodes. So like, that’s why you have a writers room of people who write the episodes. But every single episode as a room, you’re coming up with things, you’re you’re pitching jokes, you’re pitching ideas, and you’re doing it collaboratively. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, so there’s so there’s that. So episode three so it’s like set at this party and I remember Donald was like, oh, you should write yourself into this episode. And I was like, I wasn’t at this party, like in real life. And he’s like, no, but he’s like, I believe you were there. [laughter] So I was like, okay, so then I [laughs] so I wrote myself into the episode. Like, that’s literally how. Wrote myself in, and so you, you know, you do multiple drafts, like it takes a while before like you get to the final thing that like, okay, we’re going to go shoot this. 

 

Damon Young: Mmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So each draft and like, you know, I did some updates and Janine does a rewrite and Donald contributes and whatever. And I kept thinking like, oh, they’re going to cut this part because it like, requires me to like, get on, you know, like they have to like, I have to go act. And I remember Janine was like, no, I think it’s going to stay in. And then we were doing the table read and we like, got to my line. And I remember Donald was like, Kara say your line? I was like, oh, we’re like doing this. And then Janine was like yeah no we’re doing it. And then I get an email from the casting department and they’re like, oh, so we’re flying you down to Atlanta [laughter] to like, shoot your you know your thing. And Adamma Ebo, who directed that episode and a few other episodes this season, including the finale, she’s amazing. She was I was also like, oh, this is you know, once you’re editing this is going to get cut. She was like, we were never going to cut you. So that was that was sort of like a fun Easter eggy thing where I am playing myself. That’s the other thing. It’s like I am playing Kara Brown. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: So like, this is a world where, like, I am at this function as, like, myself, the writer Kara Brown. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And I mean, it’s believable. I mean, it’s an after party in L.A.. You live in L.A.? 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: You know, you could have been there. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah. Well, it was also, I have been at events and parties with people who, you know, we’re sort of fictionalizing. So, like—

 

Damon Young: I remember we were supposed to do a thing together. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Couple of years ago. And you ditched me when you got a last minute invite to a megastar’s party. 

 

Kara Brown: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: I would have ditched me, too. 

 

Kara Brown: I remember when I told you I because I thought I was like, Damon, I’m a be honest with you. Like, I’m not flaky. I was like—

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: —there’s not a lot of things I would like straight up ditch somebody for. But I was like, I got to go to this party. [laughter]  

 

Damon Young: And it wasn’t and you gave me a heads up. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: It wasn’t like a ditch or a ghost where I was like, where the fuck is Kara? What? What happened? But it was more. You explained it. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I remember telling my wife, and she was like, yeah nigga I would have ditched you too. [laughter] Like fuck you, fuck out of here. 

 

Kara Brown: Yeah, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: But um, but, yeah, it’s. You know, I was curious about, I guess, your role and, you know—

 

Kara Brown: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —I guess and acting and saying the line on the show. I was wondering if you wrote the line if like yo  I got to fucking say this shit nah, it’s me. I am the one who needs to say this. But it was— 

 

Kara Brown: It was not my idea to be very clear. [laughter] To be very clear it was not my idea, but, you know, I showed up. I qualified for SAG. You know. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Kara Brown: I. I did the whole thing, but yeah, but I think, like, that’s kind of, you know, Stephen Glover, who’s Donald’s brother, plays Caché, who’s Ni’Jah’s husband like it was we had fun with doing this. And so I hope that people are also having fun with it. And I know that like, you know, it’s the Internet, so things just get very intense very quickly. And I think to me it’s been this like kind of campy, fun show and like, it was fun to make it. So I would hope that it would continue as people watch it. 

 

Damon Young: Kara Brown, thank you. Up next. Damon hates. The section of the show where I talk about shit that I hate because I hate a lot of shit. [music plays] So I’m a keep this short because I like to get places quickly and you’ll figure out why, the speed limits are bullshit and not every speed limit. All right. Speed limits within the city obviously exists for reasons for safety. You don’t want motherfuckers going 60 miles per hour in a residential area. That makes sense. There are kids, squirrels, all that shit that you don’t want to hit. That’s fine. What I’m talking about is on the highway, particularly stretches of highway where you have multiple lanes. It’s flat, you don’t have the crazy terrain and there’s no fucking reason why any stretch of highway that has those characteristics should have a limit on how fast you could drive. Like, I always feel like your license should get renewed every 15 years. There’s no way on earth that motherfuckers who got their license at 16 should be driving under the same conditions at 55 or are under the same presumption that they know all the fucking rules of the road, right? So anyway, speed limits should not exist. There should be a lane where you should go as fast as you want to. The cars that are built today are equipped for that. I mean, they’re fucking Jettas where you’ll be going 95 miles per hour and feel like you’re going 50, Ultima’s, fucking SUVs that are built where you can go as fast as you want. And again, the problem with driving fast isn’t necessarily the speed it’s that people are not focused. And so if you had this sort of structure in place where one, you could get a special license and two, if you’re caught texting while driving or eating while driving or anything that people do while driving, while you’re driving that fast, you lose your license, no points, no nothing. I would take that for the privilege of being able to go 130 miles per hour. [laughter] Right. Because I feel like if my car can go that fast, why did they build these fucking cars that can go that fast and that are equipped? These cars are not shaking. The steering wheel is not shaking when you go that fast anymore. My first truck, Mercury Mountaineer, it was 2000. It looked like a Ford Explorer. People will get disappointed when I told them, it was a Mercury Mountaineer. I know what the fuck is wrong with people. Anyway, when that car was going over 61, it would start convulsing, it would literally would do the Harlem Shake on the road. But the car that I have now doesn’t do that. And the cars that most people drive today do not do that. So again, why do we still have speed limits, right? Or at least why don’t we have a lane that is specifically designated for people who want to go as fast as they fucking want to and have the technology and have the license who are able to do that. Why does this not exist? Can someone tell me? [music plays] Up next there, dear Damon with New York Times best selling author Bassey Ikpi. Morgan the producer, what have we got this week? 

 

Morgan Moody: This week’s question is from someone who wants to learn how to repress their rage. Dear Damon, my husband is a great man. He’s white. I’m Black, half Black. But I identify as Black. My husband’s parents are from the South, and they never accepted me. They didn’t come to our wedding because they don’t believe in interracial marriage. We’re now five years after our wedding. We have a ten month old baby who’s white presenting. And for the first time in ten years, we’ve gotten an invite to visit them. I think it’s great that my husband can finally introduce his wife and kids to his family. Everyone deserves that. But underneath I’m sick to my stomach because I’m giving this family the ability to have all the joy of having a grandchild while suppressing the racism. I want to support my husband. So how do I not compromise myself and my ideals to do the right thing for the man I love? 

 

Damon Young: Joining us today, the homie Bassey Ikpi. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Hi, Damon. 

 

Damon Young: How are you doing today? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: I’m good. I’m very good. How are you? 

 

Damon Young: I’m good. You know Bassey, New York Times bestselling author, iconic def poet, iconic poet. I don’t even have to qualify it by saying def poet. Although that was my introduction to you. I was watching you on Def Poetry back in like 2001. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: That was 100 years ago. 

 

Damon Young: But again, you were one of the recurring people who I remember and I looked forward to. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Aw. That’s nice. 

 

Damon Young: You know what I mean? This was back then. So again, it was a pleasure to have you with us today. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: It’s good to be here. 

 

Damon Young: So this question [laughs] when I was reading this question out loud, I started laughing a little bit. Because I’m hearing the question and it’s like okay, my in-laws family is racist. They accepted our son, but only because he would came out light skinned. And I’m wondering did Meghan Markle write this? [laughter] 

 

Bassey Ikpi: I was thinking the same thing. I was thinking the same thing. I was like. Meghan come on. 

 

Damon Young: Meghan Markle— [laughter]

 

Bassey Ikpi: You have a whole documentary. You don’t need to write in. 

 

Damon Young: —secretly writing under pseudonyms. To Washington Post advice columnist. Like is she doing that. [laughter] 

 

Bassey Ikpi: I mean whatever it takes. I was thinking the whole time you were reading, I thought you were going to be like, psych. 

 

Damon Young: This is it, this is this is Meghan Markle [laughs] right? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: That’s too funny. 

 

Damon Young: You know what? There are people who believe that some of these questions that advice columnist receive are made up, right? That someone is just inventing the question based off like a real life scenario or just some [sighs] ridiculous, absurd situation that they created out of thin air. And so perhaps someone did create a question [laughs] based off of, you know, Meghan Markle and what Prince is she married to? What’s his name is it Andrew? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Harry. 

 

Damon Young: Harry, Harry, Prince Harry. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: The good prince. 

 

Damon Young: The good prince. All right. So this question, this woman who was not Meghan Markle. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Allegedly. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Allegedly has these racist in-laws. And like whenever I hear a circumstance like this, I’m a keep it a buck with you Bassey. I don’t think I’ve ever loved someone enough [laughter] to marry them if their parents hated me. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And I’m saying that as a married man. But like, if I had met my then girlfriend’s family after a month of dating and they were like, fuck this nigga, I don’t ever want you to bring them around again. I don’t know if that relationship would have continued. When I hear these stories about these people in interracial relationships, where the Black person who’s married to the white person and the white family just doesn’t accept them, won’t let them [laughs] won’t let them in the house on Thanksgiving [laughs] and allow me to correct myself really quickly because I, I think of race in a Black white binary and as a product of me just growing up in Pittsburgh, where race here is pretty much a Black white binary. I mean, we do have populations of other, but it’s not as large or robust as it is in other cities. And so I had to remind myself that when I think of race, when I think of interracial relationships particularly, I have to consider other cultures like other combinations that are possible. But any way. In this particular instance, I’m talking about the specific dynamics that arise when you’re talking about a Black person and a white person in a marriage. And again, I don’t want to minimize or make light of anyone’s experience or anyone’s love, right? But I just that part of the relationship is something I just don’t understand. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: No, I agree, especially if you’re close to your family. So if you’re close to your family enough for the absence of them to be a significant vacuum in your life, then I would think that what they think, number one, might be close to what you think. So I’m not leaving husband off the hook. 

 

Damon Young: That’s the part, too. If the family hates you that much, how much of the family does the husband have in him? Right? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Yeah. Especially if he’s willing to go back. Like I can understand and I don’t agree with this. We we we see this on Twitter all the time where people are like, stop talking to your family. Cut off grandma. They do all of that. And I don’t necessarily agree with that. But if it’s enough for them to be completely unable to even do their best to try and you’re still close to them, somehow it’s I feel like they’ve been talking. I feel like you’re still sending pictures. I feel like you’re still doing something that makes me question you because I know personally I’m close to my family. So if my family, I couldn’t bring somebody around that couldn’t be around because being close to my family is so important to me. Like on holidays, like every single holiday, you could be Black. But if you can’t fit into the dynamic, that’s a problem for me because you’re making me think about how I’m going to choose between my family and you eventually. And I’ve know my family longer. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: In circumstances like this. I’m just deeply skeptical of the person who comes from a family like this. Also, because it’s like you didn’t just discover yesterday that your family hates niggas. Like you’ve known this. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: And yet you still decide to get a Black girlfriend or whatever and bring her around to the family knowing—

 

Bassey Ikpi: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —that you are potentially putting her in a position where she could get harmed. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Right. If not physically, then like, emotionally, spiritually by, you know, getting rejected like this. All that being said, I think this issue is something that I may be unable to be objective about this. And I’m supposed to be objective in answering these questions. Somewhat objective, objective to a point, but I just don’t see how a relationship like that can can exist. But these relationships do exist and there are people who are able to find love. You know, Romeo and Juliet, I guess is—[laughter]

 

Bassey Ikpi: They died. 

 

Damon Young: —you know, the most famous example yeah they died, right? [laughs] They did die. But they’re an example of families who hated each other. Right. But they still got together, you know. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: And died. 

 

Damon Young: And died. Maybe not the best example. But but it does happen. But I can’t imagine marrying into a family where I know that I’m hated and I can’t imagine bringing someone around my family if I know that my family won’t fuck with them. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: And won’t fuck with them for reasons that are completely out of their control. So it’s not like they laugh weird or they’ve got bad table manners or something like it’s something that they fundamentally can’t change. But here’s the thing too, and this is why I don’t think it’s Meghan Markle. [laughter] My question in a situation like that, especially if my partner’s parents are so vocally racist, like they’re not even like fake microaggression racist like, they’re like, for real for real racist enough not to attend the wedding. My question is, am I a get back? Am I along puberty tantrum like. Those are the things that I wouldn’t be able to reconcile. Like I wouldn’t be able to reconcile whether or not you’re just having an adolescent moment like some punk rock always ready to piss your parents off type thing. I don’t believe in love, so. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: Okay. Okay. Way to bury the lede. Right there. [laughter]

 

Bassey Ikpi: I just don’t think it’s ever enough like saying, oh, I’m going to go through this because I love, is just not enough for me. And I think maybe it’s because, like, the whole bipolar thing, but like, in my rational medicated therapy mind, it just doesn’t seem like an emotion is enough to, like, go through a bunch of shit for. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. So you don’t believe in love? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: No. 

 

Damon Young: That’s a new discovery. [laughter] Okay. When did you, I guess, have that realization? 

 

Bassey Ikpi: That I don’t believe in love?

 

Damon Young: That you don’t believe in love.

 

Bassey Ikpi: Well, let me let me clarify what I mean by don’t believe in love. I don’t believe love conquers all. Contrary to all the songs, I don’t believe love conquers all. And I think because, you know, joking but serious because I live with an illness that makes emotions so outsized, that are so huge in ways that make me feel as though I’m a victim to my emotions, or I let my emotions happen to me as opposed to being an active part of it. So for me, when it comes to like love or even hate any extreme emotion, I have to from this vantage point, again, as someone who is a healthy person, have to really sit and dissect it and say, okay, am I feeling this way because of that? Am I feeling this way? Like I have to really get in there? And as a creative, it’s hard. But like scientifically, mathematically, you know, dissect and divide and make sure that what I’m actually feeling is what it is that it’s been presented as. So in that regard, I don’t see anything that passes that test for me. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Even down to, like, friendships, like, I’ve stopped saying, oh, I love you to my friends, because I realize the size of that and what it means. And I don’t think I’ve ever meant it. Oh [laughter] I sound like a terrible person, but I’m not a terrible person. I’m just. I’ve just gotten to a point in my life where I have to be very, very careful about the things I allow myself to feel because I know that they’re dangerous to me. So I’ve made a decision not to get involved in things that make my life feel more out of control than I can. I need to call my therapist. 

 

Damon Young: Well. I mean, language matters, though, right? And so if. If the way that you understand love to exist. If that does not encapsulate situations that you’ve been in, if that’s not an accurate way of describing them, then that’s just it just doesn’t work. You see what love is supposed to be. Right. And you’re saying to yourself, well, the way that love made this person do this thing or the way that love affected this person so much, it just doesn’t have that effect on me. So what I’m feeling, it could be something strong, something real, something tactile. But it’s not. It’s not love the way I’ve come to understand it existing. I’m wondering what we should tell this woman because you know her question basically, she wants to give her husband this joy of his parents meeting their grandchild for the first time. But at the same time she’s like, fuck these niggas. Like, I don’t I don’t want to fuck with them. I don’t want to deal with them. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Fuck these non niggas. 

 

Damon Young: [laughter] Yes. And. Her question is how do I not compromise myself and my ideals and do the right thing for the man I love? I mean, this this is not like a comfortable thing to hear, but I think I think this person has already made some negotiations. I think this person has already compromised somewhat. And so, like, if you want to continue to be married to this man and to this family and you would like for this man to have a relationship with his parents then. I guess that’s just what you have to do. And you just had to find a way to be okay with it. And I’m not saying this is stuff that this person should be okay with. But after her like decision has already been made. He’s just trying to feel better about it. And I don’t know if there’s a path for that. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: She made a point to emphasize that she’s biracial and she made a point to emphasize that their child is white passing. So what I think is that there is more than just this question about her racist in-laws. I think it’s a question about why she wasn’t automatically accepted. And I think that it’s more about the fact that they’re rejecting her, even though she’s half white, than it is about all the other things. I think she wants it to be about the other things, and I think that’s valid. But I think that it’s seeds from and it starts from the rejection of her. And I think that going back to what we’re saying about if you’re able to marry, I feel like if you’re able to marry into a family like that, there’s a part of you that feels like you’re the exception. And I feel like and this is why I think it is Meghan Markle. [laughter] I feel like she thinks that she was the exception. She wasn’t the exception. And there’s a, there’s a level of hurt feelings. I wonder what her family is like, the white side of her family, whether she thought that this was the thing that would solidify the other half of her, I guess, or justify or rationalize the other half of her and what she wants from them. So I wonder if she needs to thoroughly examine why this is a question for her and why she stepped into it in the first place, and then she can answer that all that other stuff. You’re right. She’s already compromised. And I feel like that’s different. But I think that even if she was to make this decision, it still wouldn’t answer the initial issue that she’s had with herself and the situation she chose. In my opinion, allegedly. 

 

Damon Young: Na na na na. I think you’re right. I think that’s it. And again, I think you made a great point about her. Not every biracial woman does this, but there are many who view their biracial status as currency. Right. And so being in a circumstance where you being light skinned does not matter. You’re still Black and we’re still not fucking with you because of that. Those three drops of Blackness you got in you. I could see that being something that is like an equilibrium shifting, sort of jarring experience for someone to have, particularly someone who has, you know, who is used to being special in a way. Right. Being considered special. And so, yeah, I agree with you that she has to unpack, you know, what is it that drew her to, you know, this sort of relationship, marrying into this family. And also, you know, these feelings of rejection that she’s feeling, are they necessarily about her being rejected by the family because she’s Black or is it because they’re rejecting the status that you believe that you had? And these are two separate things that could be difficult to parse them out, but those are two completely separate things. Is your world crashing down because your in-laws are racist or is your world crashing down because you’re not special? Anymore. Bassey, it was great having you on. Thank you for this. Where can people find you if they’re trying to get you, they want to get to you. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: First of all, this is a lot of fun. Thank you for having me. I am @Basseyworld. B a s s e y, world. On all platforms, and—

 

Damon Young: And please when you get a chance go cop Bassey’s memoir. I’m Telling the Truth but I’m Lying. It is just a great, great, great, great book. It was the New York Times best seller. It’s probably one of the best memoirs to be released in like the last decade. And again, it’s brilliant. It’s banging. Go cop it. Bassey. Thank you. 

 

Bassey Ikpi: Thank you. [music plays]

 

Damon Young: Again, just want to thank Kara Brown, Bassey Ikpi for coming through. Thank you all for coming through and listening again to Stuck with Damon Young. Remember. Listen, subscribe for free on Spotify. Also, if you have any questions about anything, any topic, there’s no topic that is too obscure, too mundane hit me up at askdamon@crooked.com. All right y’all. See you next week. [music plays] Stuck with Damon Young is hosted by me, Damon Young. From Crooked Media, our executive producers are Kendra James and Meredith Heringer. Our producers are Ryan Wallerson and Morgan Moody. Mixing sound and mastering from Sara Gibble-Laska and the folks at Chapter Four. Theme music and score by Taka Yasuzawa. And special thanks to Charlotte Landes. And from Gimlet and Spotify our executive producers are Krystal Hawes-Dressler, Lauren Silverman, Nicole Beemsterboer, and Neil Drumming. From Gimlet and Spotify our executive producers are Krystal Hawes-Dressler, Lauren Silverman, Nicole Beemsterboer, Neil Drumming and Matt Shilts. Special thanks to Lesley Gwam. [buzzing sound effect]