Freedom Over Fascism | Crooked Media
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June 11, 2024
Pod Save The People
Freedom Over Fascism

In This Episode

Alarming number of drug-related deaths in Baltimore, the conservative attack on diversity programs, a discussion on Biden and the Black vote, and 16 Afro-queer trailblazers who made history.

News 

Across Baltimore, the death toll has mounted.

‘Bad Boys: Ride Or Die’ Speeds To $105M Global Opening

Are Black voters deserting Biden?

A grant program for Black women business owners is discriminatory, appeals court rules

16 queer Black trailblazers who made history

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: [music break] Hey, this is DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode, it’s me, Kaya, and Myles, and De’Ara talking about the news that you don’t know. The news with regard to race, justice, and equity and make sure that you follow us on Instagram at @PodSavethePeople. Let’s go. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson: Good morning everybody, and welcome back to another episode of Pod Save the People. This is DeRay at @deray on Twitter. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I’m Myles E. Johnson and @pharaohrapture on Instagram. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m Kaya Henderson at @HendersonKaya on Twitter. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’m De’Ara Balenger at @dearabalenger on Instagram. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Myles, you not even shouting out the X no more? It’s just we just it’s Instagram only pharaoh rapture. Okay. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. We gotta, we gotta, gotta watch it. Gotta watch it. No TikTok. No X. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh, no. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So–

 

De’Ara Balenger: –TikTok either? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Now oh.

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah I’m taking taking stake in my millennial grounds. Instagram is the millenial. [laughter] [banter] Stick to the rivers and lakes I’m used to. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Happy pride everybody. I don’t know if we’ve talked about pride yet, but we can happy pride for the next three episodes. [banter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: DeRay you’re iconic–

 

Kaya Henderson: Wait, can I can I give you– 

 

Myles E. Johnson: –for pride this year. Sorry. You’re iconic for pride this year. I saw your um oh, this is really hard to explain um via a podcast, but I saw the array of different colored working out DeRay’s paired [?]– 

 

Kaya Henderson: [laughter] Oh! Yes. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: –both pictures paired with Beyonce’s cozy breakdown. So it’s just like pink DeRay, gray DeRay like all these different color DeRay’s. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: [?]. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: And I said, oh, you’ve internet and gay culture have met and DeRay’s in the center of it. And I was like, this is hilarious. Hilarious.

 

DeRay Mckesson: When the, a kid just randomly he randomly made it and somebody tagged me like, did you see this? And he thought I was going to be mad about it. So I sent him a note being like, this is this made my day. And–

 

Myles E. Johnson: And. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Here we are.

 

Myles E. Johnson: No, that’s a key. That was so funny. No, you have a great sense of humor. I feel like people don’t. Yeah, I wouldn’t get that either, if I if I just knew you from online if I’m going to be honest. [laughter] All you do is swim–

 

DeRay Mckesson: De’Ara you’re [?]–

 

Myles E. Johnson: And um protest.

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh, goodness. Swim, you’re so funny. Um. De’Ara were you about to say something about pride? Or Kaya, who was about to say something about pride?

 

Kaya Henderson: I was I was going to say, I found out this week that Washington, DC, is the home to the largest amount of adults identifying as LGBTQ in the nation per capita, with an estimated more than 80,000 people, according to a 2023 study. And it’s why our mayor calls us the gayest city in America. I did not know that. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Happy pride. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Also. [pause]

 

Kaya Henderson: Also what De’Ara? [laughter] 

 

DeRay Mckesson: De’Ara, do you have something to say, De’Ara? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: No, because as a part of pride, we’re not supposed to out people. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Out people. Mm hmm.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Because that would that would be. That would be contrary to our–

 

DeRay Mckesson: Okay. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –pride values. So.

 

DeRay Mckesson: De’Ara’s about to get a timeout, y’all. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Ooh. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Lord. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I kicked off my pride at a New York Liberty game, which was pretty awesome, with both– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh, did you see Ellie dance?

 

De’Ara Balenger: Brittney Brittney Griner and Tasha Cloud? My two crushes at the same time. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Did you see the elephant, though? Ellie isn’t that her name? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: No, Ellie. Ellie sets it off. Ellie is the best dancer, period of all time. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Who’s Ellie? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Ellie is the masc– Ellie is the mascot for the Liberty, and Ellie is that girl. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay but–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Ellie is in a elephant in an elephant costume. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Got it got it. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: But it’s like an elephant and the Statue of Liberty had a baby. And then was a fuzzy costume. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Got it. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: And Ellie dances in that costume. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Got it. But I’m guessing from y’all’s excitement, they do some type of new finagled Negro dances. [laughter]

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh goodness, oh goodness. Okay. Okay. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: [?].

 

De’Ara Balenger: It is. It is. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh my gosh.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Yeah, it is [?] video dancing circa 1993. Yes it is.

 

Myles E. Johnson: That’s what, that’s how did I know? [laughter]

 

DeRay Mckesson: You are a mess. One of the things I want to talk about obviously we got to talk about Trump because every week is something wild but–

 

Myles E. Johnson: Right. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I wanted to talk about Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have Bad Boys 3000. It is out. Also known as Bad Boys four. It broke records over the weekend. I just put in the chat, um a video of Will Smith doing old school good old fashioned PR. He watches the film in the movie theater with a set of people at a Cinemark. They do not know that he is there and he walks out with them. And the reason I bring it up is that it was so interesting to watch the the way the discourse about him grew, because there were a set of people who were like, you know, Will Smith will never work again. He will never have a blockbuster, certainly won’t have a number one da da da. This, I think, is his 13th number one opening weekend. It did incredibly well. It’s like a over $100 million the first weekend. It’s the most successful film of the of a weekend so far in 20 um 24. And then there are a whole set of Black people on on Twitter, at least eight on Instagram, being like, we never threw away Will Smith. We were just, you know, everybody was like, you probably shouldn’t slap people at the awards show. But nobody threw him away. And it was I’m I was interested in it, fascinated by it. And it was cool to see that old school PR, like Will Smith is a household name, and he in the back of the movie theater watching Bad Boys four with the people. So I wanted to bring it here to see what y’all thought.

 

Myles E. Johnson: Well, that’s that’s that good 1997 PR like I love, I love that, but I haven’t seen something like that in a minute. I love um yeah, I think that was a ridiculous idea that, that Will Smith was, was, was going to be gone, but also it kind it highlights for me that people don’t understand there really is two audiences, you know, um it’s almost we say like in jokes a lot of times, like even when um, was it that bulky, that bulky man who got the um, civil rights leader face? What’s his name? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh, I can’t wait to know who this is. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: The bulky man?

 

Myles E. Johnson: He hit that white girl. 

 

Kaya Henderson: O.J. Simpson? Who? Who? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: No not not [?]–

 

Myles E. Johnson: No he didn’t not he didn’t kill the white girl. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Bulky man. Oh. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: He um. [laughter]

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh goodness.

 

Myles E. Johnson: He hit the um Jonathan Majors [stuttering] Jonathan Majors. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Jonathan Majors. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yes. So. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: So– [banter]

 

Kaya Henderson: He is a bulky man. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: That’s that’s a that’s a lots of bulges and [?]. But even able to joke when we were talking about him about, oh, [?] go to a Tyler Perry movie or do a like a do this type of film or whatever. Um. Not saying obviously Bad Boys three is equivalent to a Tyler Perry movie, but it is a movie that really is based inside of an acceptance that doesn’t need Oscar bait, that doesn’t need that doesn’t need any type of validation from the people that were so offended by the slap. You know, like you’re an action movie, you’re pistol whipping, um bad boys. One, two the whole Bad Boys franchise is beloved specifically in the um, in in the Black community. Not to say, obviously, to make that much money, other people besides Black people are watching it and are okay, and are okay with it too. But also I think that when you have something that has such an engine in it from the Black community, unless you’ve done one of one of one of our internal moral failings, to me, how I see it, I’m still on the on the cliff around him, him slapping Chris Rock. I still feel like I get it. It’s still it’s I still see that whole moment as a fever dream. I’m like, no, I can see somebody getting slapped for that, I forgive you, go make a movie. The slave movie flopped though, right? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Big time. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: [?] 

 

DeRay Mckesson:  Yeah. That was rough. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: He probably shouldn’t do any more slaves. No more Huckleberry Finn. 12, 12 years a master stuff. Don’t do that anymore. But–

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh Myles. [laughter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: Everything else he should be able to do successfully. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I will say, because I’m coming off of Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, where Will Smith is from. And just–

 

Myles E. Johnson: You saw Sexyy Red, De’Ara?

 

De’Ara Balenger: I did. Extraordinary. Okay, that’s a whole nother podcast. But thinking about folks from Philly and how incredible they are and how somehow like, soulful and I’m about to slap you, they are. It just I actually had a moment thinking about Will Smith between Jill Scott and Black Thought. And like all of these folks, because it is, Myles to your point about the two audiences, I think partly what happens with a Black audience is something that is so transcendent that we actually like that is like molecular for us. And I know this because I also go to like Dave Matthews concerts, too. And like, I don’t find this happening at those concerts. So it is something that is like in our memories. And I think Will Smith is one of those people that a lot of us have grown literally grown up with. And I yeah, like, I feel like if I saw Will Smith walking down the street, I’d probably lose my mind because it is it is that that sort of that depth of our connection that is so much part of our, our culture. Right? And I think part of that is that protection that we have over one another, particularly our icons, and that’s for better or worse at times. Um. Many times. But I, I agree, I feel like Will Smith is one of these folks that is like. I mean, Martin too. I want let me give a shout out to Martin because Martin, one of the funniest people of all times from Maryland. Um. But yeah, I, I completely, I completely agree. I don’t think he was necessarily lost from the from the slap. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I was looking for this article that I read somewhere this weekend that cataloged um all of Will Will Smith the basically the article said something like, Will Smith makes more money than anybody else has when you look at the number of movies that he’s made and the amounts that those movies bring in, that he’s basically like that one of the, if not the one of the, like, highest grossing Hollywood stars in history. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. 

 

Kaya Henderson: And so when you think about capitalism, like, Hollywood is not going to let that train stop. [laugh] Like, this man brings in more money than anybody else, and Hollywood can make a slap go away and put Bad Boys four out there and make you forget all about it. And so I think we have to be clear about the fact that the money making people are always going to do whatever it takes to make their money. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Oh I’d be pissed if I was Chris Rock too. Y’all still like him and he slapped me? And y’all still want to go [?]. Oh I’m pissed if I’m Chris Rock.

 

De’Ara Balenger: But I think part of that is part of that just from like the, the, my proximity to like people that know Chris Rock. Partly it’s Chris Rock, always  they always have had sort of this like competition thing, always in Hollywood, where Chris Rock thought he should be as famous as Will Smith. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Why he think that? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh my God, Myles, I don’t know why you kill me. [laughter] That should be that that should be the clip that we put on. Why he think that? [laughter] Um. The other thing I’m going to sneak y’all on that I don’t know if everybody saw is I just put in the chat, it is Donald Trump at his rally over the I think over the weekend. It is a, I don’t know, ten second clip max, but I want to know your reactions to it. We will play the clip for everybody so you can hear it too. I did not hear him say this until this week– like I saw it online and was like, this can’t be real. And then I was like, oh, it’s real. Here we go. 

 

[clip of Donald Trump] By the way, is that breeze nice? Do you feel the breeze? Because I don’t want anybody going on me. We need every voter. I don’t care about you. I just want your vote, I don’t care. See, now the the press will take that and they’ll say, he said a horrible thing. 

 

Kaya Henderson: He said, I don’t care about you. I just want your vote. That’s honest. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: He said it. 

 

Kaya Henderson: That’s honest. [laughter] Look, now Maya Angelou said, when people when people tell you who they are, believe them, right? He just told you, I don’t care about you. I just want your vote. Boom. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I saw that and was like, wow. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: He’s so weird. [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: It’s almost like it is also it’s like it’s so evil that, like, I don’t even like to hear his voice because I feel like vibrationally, it’s like it’s traumatic. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: No, you definitely need–

 

De’Ara Balenger: You know what I mean? 

 

Myles E. Johnson: –like a yoga session after listening to him. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Afterwards. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: To get to get–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Like. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: –the chakras read. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I can’t he can’t be president because I cannot go through four years of him. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Well. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Talking at us. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: The actuality is he can be president. [laugh] Which is the scariest part. [laugh]

 

DeRay Mckesson: And what’s wild too is he has to do a probation interview before sentencing, but they’re letting him skip the drug test. It’s like y’all, either we’re a nation of laws or we’re not. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Or we’re not. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: What is it? 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Why did they let him skip the drug test? [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: And with thir– with 13 felony convictions, you can skip a drug test?

 

DeRay Mckesson: 34. 

 

Kaya Henderson: 34. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: 34. 

 

Kaya Henderson: 34. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m thinking of Hunter. I’m sorry. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Oh see. Look at you. Messy. Delete.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Poor Hunter, I don’t know, we can’t get into that, but, Lord. Oh, man, I’m praying for them. [music break]

 

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

 

[AD BREAK]

 

De’Ara Balenger: My news. The headline of it. I just I’m so sick of these, like sort of baity headlines. But the headline of this and it’s from Brookings is are Black voters deserting Biden? And it’s really about a Pew study that was recently done. And I just I, Black voters don’t desert the Democratic Party. So just this notion conceptually just makes no sense to me. And I really. I guess what’s I guess what is becoming appalling to me as I get older, as I, you know, sort of had have had this commitment to the Democratic Party. It’s just how politicized both sides make Black voters. And I’m kind of sick of it because one, even when we are studied, it’s always in terms of who, what what candidate we want to go for, right? It’s like it right now. It’s it’s like okay, month to month to month. We’re just going to survey Black people on how much they’re for Biden or how much they’re for Trump, which is kind of a waste of time because Black people are predominantly like and this, and this study says so like 84, 88% going to be for the Democratic Party. Why not actually start surveying Black folks off of issues that are key to them, that matter to them where they can, where the Democratic Party and others, as we’re talking about people not caring about voters, can actually glean what these communities need. Right? And and DeRay this is, this has me thinking too, just with some of Campaign Zero’s work around data. It’s like actually understanding what issues are key to Black folks and within diversity of, of economics, sort of geography, etc., etc.. And so I don’t know, I’m just sort of more so bringing um my frustration to y’all in terms of how I just feel like cycle after cycle, Black folks, Latino folks. And now more and more, there’s this is the first time, a president, a presidential has done so much even to court the AAPI community, but so much of it is very much in the space of, actually I don’t care about you. I want your vote. On both sides. So I don’t know. I think partly it’s like, where is the humanity in how we’re speaking to voters? Where is the humanity around voters, actually? This election being life and death for them. And why is it that there’s just so much tribalism around these candidates, as opposed to there being a discourse? And and in opening to how we as voters can be in conversation with our candidates as opposed to our candidates talking at us around their accomplishments for us, when they don’t even know the data on what we, like did we ask for it? What did we ask for? After we voted overwhelmingly for this administration. Y’all just, was it student loans? And to Myles’s point. Over and over again. Yes, student loans is helping a lot of people, but a lot of folks don’t have student loans and have other and have other needs, etc., etc. so I don’t know, I’m just I’m ranting at this point because I am. It’s my heart is broken again with my party, and I obviously will do all the things I can so that Donald Trump is not president. But at the same time, there has to start being accountability for how this system is run. And now I will stop. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Don’t feel bad De’Ara. You’re, listen. You don’t belong to a red party or a blue party. You belong to our cultural block party. And no matter what happens, [laughter] you’re always gonna be invited. And there will always be ribs. We will make it through no matter what the what [laugh] what these white folks decided to do. Yeah. I think the constant pathologizing of Black voters is extremely tired. It’s annoying because the stats always show that we overwhelmingly vote the same way. Um. Even the the the things that sometimes we can get a little me, myself included, because I totally am on the, the train. That there is a growing Black conservative movement. But even when I talk about that, I hate to make it sound significant in numbers, because I really feel like it’s less significant in numbers and more just significant in like cultural dialog and being able to like, create, um conversations that we see on the internet or the things that the cultural wars that we see. But when it actually comes to the numbers, it’s just not true. When it comes to Black men or Black women that we we usually vote, um that we usually vote Democratic. And I think that specifically the Democratic Party is is just having a hard time admitting or seeing that they’re not really willing to engage with the complexities and varieties of the Black experience, and address something that doesn’t just cater to a very small group of Black folks who are usually upperly um, like, you know, mobile in, in, and, and have a certain set of interests. You have to just diversify what you are catering to because the most excellent of of of us or the most um privileged of us. And if you got to go to college in any capacity, even with debt, that still is a privilege. That is not representative of most Black people, just numbers wise. And and, so we have to think of things that speak to Black people and not just squeeze it in and cram it in the last year or six months before you need the vote. Just, it just it has to happen. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I think that Black people’s consistent voting for the Democrats is being misread as loyalty, when I think it is really like a very clear pragmatism. People are like, well if I got to choose between you know, send all the Black people back to Africa and a little bit of student loan and, a little bit of a lack of clarity around funding other countries wars, then it’s not really a hard choice. And I think that is what’s happening over time, because when I talk to aunts and uncles, they get it. But they’re like, well, I can’t choose the like. The other choice is just so wild that that is not something I can go on the record saying that that works for me. And it’s interesting because the polls don’t even ask those types of questions. It very much is like who you are you going to vote for and you’re like, well, the why people are consistently voting that way is actually really important. And what actually, I think helped add some contour to this conversation if we were trying to–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –have some contour and I know somebody who is, you know, really into politics who talked about Joe Biden recently as sort of the guy we have, not the Messiah, not the second coming of progressivism, but he’s a guy we got and up against the other guy, he is great. Because we know it is a hard thing. But if you have people map out their values and what they wanted, I don’t think any of the candidates recently, um for for roles all up and down, forget the president, mayors, city council people. You know, it has become a game of who has money and who it’s like a high school popularity contest. But I do think that the consistency of the Black vote is not is is being misread as loyalty. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I love that. 

 

Kaya Henderson: The–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. 

 

Kaya Henderson: The thing that struck me about this and all of these um articles about the Black vote is the media framing of it. So this, this this article is, are Black voters deserting Biden? The article could have read, Black voters still consistent consistently with Biden. Right. But the media is inserting doubt in the Black community about whether or not, you know, we are voting for Biden as a community. And I think the media is doing this intentionally. I think all of these articles that question whether or not the Black community is supporting the Democratic Party gives people license to think, oh, maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe not all Black people are doing this. And it you know, it creates a little wedge of doubt where people otherwise if if everything was like, you know, Black people are still with the Democratic Party, Black people are still voting for Biden, Black people rejecting Trump resoundingly. If those were the messages that the media was sending, I think it would have a different impact both on the white population, on the Black population. But I think that the media is um, intentional in sowing these seeds of doubt and whatnot to, to kind of um put chinks in the armor of the Democratic Party. And as both of you said, right. Ain’t nobody a dyed in the dyed in the wool blue Democrat like they want us to be. As DeRay said, we are picking the best of our choices. Um. But I think it’s actually kind of nefarious how many of these, you know, what are Black people going to do? Are we still with Biden? Are we like, I think I don’t think that this is real curiosity or whatever. I think that there is something much more nefarious about all of these articles running. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Can I say one more thing that I noticed that could just be totally like anecdotal, but like I thought was interesting. Um. And again, this is just what I saw that I thought was interesting. So I did this really long walk from the community of Flatbush to Bushwick, because I walk long long ways during all the time. But this is across a lot of communities, and, you know, everybody had their flags out and stuff. Everybody has their flags and and who they’re voting for and all that other stuff out. And I thought it was so interesting that during my walk, I saw as many Cornel West things as I saw more, which I saw more Cornel West things than Biden things. Again–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Interesting. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: This is just anecdotal, but I thought that in my head what I started thinking about was there actually might need to be because how I see it, we do have like these really super villain things going on on in the world, right? And I do kind of think and out of all the moments we need right now, like a Barack Obama character. Of course, you can’t just bring that out. But there was something very superhero-ish about him, too. And I, I was won– I was wondering and I maybe I will just laugh, but I was wondering, I was like, well, do we need somebody? Not literally Cornel West, but like, do we need somebody like him who already has this kind of mythology around him already for Black, for people to motivate to to to to motivate people, not just thinking about Black people just in general, because I think there’s a blase attitude around Biden in general that the Democrats want to get rid of. And I’m just wondering, what does that look like? Because we say it all the time. But Trump obviously has done nothing but become like a that that mascot character. So we need our elephant is I guess is what I’m trying to say we need our like a dancing elephant for the for the blue party. Because it’s yeah that that I’ll just I’ll just leave that there. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm mm hmm. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: So my news is about the overdose crisis in Baltimore. it was a combo phenomenal research project done by the Baltimore Banner, um that also appeared in the New York Times. And they did an incredible study that showed that Baltimore is uh succumbing to overdoses at a rate that has never before been seen in a major American city. In the past six years, about 6000 people have died, and the death rate from 2018 to 2022 was nearly double of any larger city and higher than nearly all of Appalachia during the prescription pill crisis, the Midwest during the height of the meth labs and higher than New York during the crack epidemic. A decade ago, it was about 700 fewer people being killed by drugs uh with the opioid crisis and fentanyl. Um. And it was an incredibly big spike. There were all these. There was a lot of progress being made. There was a time in Baltimore’s history where, uh Baltimore was being hailed as a national leader in fighting the overdose epidemic. Baltimore was on the frontlines of giving people Naloxone, which is the overdose inhibitor drug, before it was easy to distribute to people. Um. There was task force and all these other things. And then what what the journalists sort of realized is that those things got swapped out for other problems that, you know, we had one mayor who went to prison, and she instead of doing clinics and things in communities which had been a successful strategy for so long, let me just find her quote, because I’m still wild that she said it, she said, instead of drug treatment centers in neighborhoods, she said that people needing help for addiction would have a better chance if they were removed from Baltimore’s drug afflicted communities and, quote, “put on a plane to Timbuktu or somewhere.” So Catherine Pugh said that she also ended up in prison. So after her, there was an interim guy who was city council president. He didn’t do anything. And then we have Brandon Scott, who is now a two term mayor of Baltimore. And what they sort of realize is that, that the mayoral administration sort of swapped one problem for another. So they acknowledge Brandon has made incredible strides, historic decrease in homicides in the city of Baltimore. We were a city that regularly had 300 plus homicides in a year. And there’s been a generationally defining drop in homicides under Brandon. And at the same time, it seems like the overdose epidemic not even seems the numbers are just there, have skyrocketed. And I brought it here because I’m interested in it. My family is one that was ravaged by the addiction crisis. Both my parents were addicted to drugs. I lost a whole set of aunts and uncles on my um, or a whole set of family members on my mother’s side due to addiction. All of my aunts and uncles on my father’s side battled addiction at some point. So I bring it up because I’m fascinated by this. I did not know um it was so bad. And the article just goes on to talk about, essentially the lack of strategy, a ton of money has been have been put to things. Um. The health department at the state level has or the health department at the city has about 900 people, only three full time people in 2022 working on drug addiction. Six people in 2023. So I could go on and on and talk about what they discover in the fact finding, but I brought it here because I was, you know, when you look at the charts and stuff, the rate of homicide, the rate of overdose deaths in the city of Baltimore is literally unlike anything we have ever seen in American history. 

 

Kaya Henderson: What was fascinating to me about this article, DeRay, is that, like, people just didn’t know the previously Baltimore was heralded because they were tracking this, they were paying attention to it, and yup priorities shifted to gun violence and things like that. But the article tells us that health officials began publicly sharing less data. City council wasn’t holding people accountable and asking any questions about it. The health commissioner, the mayor like the deputy mayor, they did not know, um because nobody was publishing the data or asking for the data until the reporters, um started asking questions. And in fact, the medical examiner, which is required to report how many deaths a year and and how people are dying, literally refused to provide full autopsy reports until the Baltimore Banner won a lawsuit compelling the agency to disclose the information. So literally, not only were people just not paying attention anymore, it seems that city officials were actively suppressing the information. And, you know, if you don’t know anything about it, you can’t do anything about it. It is staggering to think, I mean, Baltimore is a relatively small city with a shrinking population, and to see this magnitude of of drug overdoses is staggering. And, I hope I mean, you know, you can’t solve a problem unless you know that there’s a problem. And my hope is that this article helps folks. This this research, this data helps folks to reprioritize and put the things in place that work. It is always so crazy to me when we are successful at um combating a problem. And then we just slide back because we’re not paying attention like we know what to do about this. And so let’s do it for the citizens of Baltimore. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I think all that’s right. And I think the wild thing is that Johns Hopkins. It’s in Baltimore, and it is arguable that Johns Hopkins owes quite a deal to the Black community in Baltimore for a number of different reasons. So I think not only sort of a failure by local government in Baltimore, I think also a failure of Johns Hopkins, who I feel like would be such an incredible collaborator, not just on the issue of addiction, but everything that sort of leads us up to the circumstances around addiction. Right? Um. So I just. 

 

Kaya Henderson: But if the city is not sharing information, what can they do? I mean. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Right. Yeah. It just this also just seems like this, a crisis like this also just seems like it should have sort of federal attention as well. And the other thing I’m thinking of too, when you talk about all these lawsuits now against these big pharma companies. Like what percentage of those of the of the sort of claimants are are Black folks? Like what was the inclusivity around I mean, the fact that the numbers are higher in Baltimore than Appalachia is like– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Wild.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Astonishing. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: It’s also wild that this many people died and it didn’t trigger something just like forget the report. That’s just like a lot of people dying. Do you know I mean?

 

Kaya Henderson: And it wasn’t just poor people. The Baltimore Ravens dude died like it was up and down the spectrum. I mean, I’m sure the majority are poor people, but it represents a lot, a lot of different cross walks of life. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I think unless I’m misunderstanding something, I think the other thing that I thought was the kind of, just I guess just sad about this story, was that a lot of the things that were working, were disturbed. A lot of the things that were that, that were helping people were were uh, were were like either taking away or corrupted or something like that. So I think the, it’s it’s always sad when things ravage a community or ravage this nation, and we don’t know what to do about it. I think what’s even like just more melancholy is when we have the tools and we have the infrastructures to fix it, to improve it but either greed or nonchalance towards the issue has exasperated it. Like that, to me, is like the most, uh just the the saddest thing ever when it comes to this story. It does make me also wonder around is our is his so high because I know the whole thing around, specifically opioids is that this is an addiction that has a wider face than when crack um then crack and stuff. But I’m wondering, because Baltimore is so Black that even we’re still seeing that kind of racial disparity, disparity like happen in real time because Baltimore’s so Black dealing like with this is it being is it being, um maybe like even more overlooked in other places that have the, the same amount of um addiction problems but have a higher white population? I’m wondering if there’s any correlation in that too. 

 

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

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Kaya Henderson: My news this week is taking us back to two topics that we’ve discussed previously on the podcast. Um. One around the reparations program in Evanston, Illinois. And, um the other about the Fearless Fund, which is a venture capital fund out of Atlanta. And, why those two news topics are important and related are because a U.S. federal Court of Appeals panel recently suspended the Atlanta based Fearless Fund’s grant program to provide venture capital to Black women business owners. Um. The appeals panel ruled that a conservative group, the American Alliance for Equal Rights, which is also the group that brought the case to end affirmative action, um that they’re likely to prevail in their lawsuit, claiming that the Fearless Fund’s program is discriminatory. Um. And many of you know that the Fearless Fund was set up to provide venture capital to Black women because less than 1% of venture capital funding in America goes to Black women. Um. And Edward Blum, who is the conservative activist behind the Supreme Court case that ended affirmative action, is behind this one, too. Um. He’s using a reconstruction era law that was originally intended to protect formerly enslaved people from economic exclusion. And these anti affirmative action activists have been using this law to challenge programs that are intended to benefit minority owned businesses. This is the most egregious thing in the whole wide world that a law that was used, that was written to protect Black people’s economic interests, are now being used against Black people. Um. In addition to the Fearless Fund, they are targeting lots of other folks. And next up is an attack on the city of Evanston, Illinois, um which launched the first government funded reparations program for Black Americans. It has paid out nearly $5 million to 193 Black residents over the past two years, launching a national reparations movement. So cities like Boston and and New York and more than a dozen other cities and states have begun studying the possibility of offering reparations to their Black residents. But a conservative advocacy group has filed a class action lawsuit to kill the program, saying it discriminates against the suburb’s non-Black residents. So this program, um awards $25,000, a $25,000 grant for Black people to buy or repair a home. And it also has an option for a $25,000 cash payments. It’s open to Black people who either lived in the city or whose direct ancestors lived there between 1919 and 1969, when the city enforced discriminatory housing policies that deprived Black residents of opportunities to build wealth. The conservative people are saying in their lawsuit that the program is biased against Non-Blacks, and that it should be limited to people who can prove they experienced discrimination in the city. How are they gonna do that? How are they gonna do that? Um. This is, you know, part of a full frontal legal attack by conservative groups against diversity fellowships, minority business development programs, corporate DEI initiatives, and any other programs that preference minorities. We saw a proliferation of these programs, especially after um the George Floyd murder, as a way to begin to address the discrimination, the ongoing discrimination that Black people have experienced since we got here. And these attacks are coordinated and they are well-funded, and they are literally part of um the Republican platform. In fact, at some point, y’all we need to do a whole episode on is it Project 2025? What’s the name of their–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm hmm. Yeah.

 

Kaya Henderson: –policy document. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s what it is. That’s what it is.

 

Kaya Henderson: 920 page policy document that lays out very clearly um the kind of Christian nationalist state that the Republican Party is trying to create, um at the expense of all of the rest of us. And so I brought this in part because, we have talked about the Fearless Fund and we’ve talked about Evanston. And I think lots of times people experience these decisions as episodic, but they’re not episodic, actually. And in fact, the affirmative action case in college admissions was the linchpin or the domino that set into place all of these other lawsuits that seek to undermine opportunities to grant Black people um the ability to earn wealth in this country. It is intentional, it is coordinated. And I don’t understand how you can vote for people who lay out in a policy document that they are seeking to undermine your economic rights, your voting rights, your what child listen, anyway, I’m a little heated about this, but um, I brought it here because we need to connect the dots and understand what is happening. A few folks who have created these programs have figured out how to withstand legal challenges, how to design programs in such a way that they that they um, won’t be challenged. But I’m reminded of the, the purpose of racism, which is to distract and exhaust people and the, the, legal talent that we need fighting for voting rights and for other things is mired in these stupid, you know um anti affirmative action cases that have significant impact on us. And so I brought to the pod to see what you all think about it. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Thank you for bringing this Kaya. I think the first thing that I thought about when reading this article was that you don’t have to be smelling smoke or seeing fire in order for um Black Wall Street to burn. I thought that this was such a, such a parallel, motivation, um as when when, so many things happened during Black Wall Street and communities where um, where, where we’re terrorized based off of Black people having um economic and social sovereignty and financial freedom and and and moving up in the class economic ladder. That was destroyed. This feels like a mutation of the same idea. But being able to be, put in law in code. Like. [laugh] Yeah. Um. And I think although it can sound really alarmist when you when you position it like that. I do think that it’s necessary to position it like that because we’re getting the same result. So if you if you don’t really see these actions happening, um as this kind of mutation of, of of other types of like white supremacist like terror, but now we’re able to do it through law, then you kind of but you, you miss the bigger picture of it in my opinion. The other thing I was wondering too, and I guess after everybody uh speaks, I would like to like know as well is do you think that people are voting for a president or at this point, or Project 2025, like is that I, I sincerely don’t know, is this project 2025 motivating voters? And people are really voting for that now? More than they are voting for whoever is willing to to to make sure that it goes into order. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You know, it’s so interesting. This morning I woke up Kaya, after you had already put your article in. And a guy who I’ve known for a while online and, um know him because of the protest, he was like, you know, Project 2020– Black guy he was like, project 2025 feels like it came out of nowhere. I have not heard any Republican talk about it, and it feels like a scare tactic that the Democrats are using. Like they’re sort of like hyping this thing up. And he’s like saying he’s not like a, and he’s not really into politics, but he’s like, this feels like it came out of left field. The only people I’ve heard talk about it are like trying to tell me this is why I need to vote for Biden. And I do think there’s something really interesting happening where the definition of a conspiracy is a secret plan to do all these bad things, but this is not a secret. And I actually think that because it’s not secret, people cannot imagine that it is real. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And it feels so wild that you’re just like, oh, da da da. So that’s like one thing. The second thing is, I do think that there is like a really, um and this is true in activist communities, there’s this idea of like, let it burn to the ground. [?] like, why, why keep protecting this thing that frankly, hasn’t done right by me or my people ever. Still scewing me over, da da da. And the idea is really seductive. I am seduced by the idea often until I realize I am part of the burning, right? Like I will be one of the things that burns to the ground, that burning it to the ground is also me burning myself and everybody I love to the ground like we will die in the fire. And that is the other part of the story that people don’t say it’s like I live in this house too. My people built this house, we deserve a great spot in the house and everything da da da. I’m not trying to burn it down. I am trying to say that the house needs to change dramatically, and we need to do this right now. Right? And I and because I see some people sort of take not taking Trump seriously being like, well it’s been bad before and you’re like mm ahh, you know, this is a different this is literally burn the house. This is burning y’all in the house down. He’s going to be fine. He gonna burn all us up. Um. And I think that people it’s not even that they don’t take it seriously. I do think that conspiracies are secrets. And if these were being uncovered in exposes, I think people would experience it differently. But this is like a plan. And I think the plan is so wild that people don’t believe it actually. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: As somebody who, still licensed to “practice law” in quotes. I think the scariest, honestly thing about this is that this case proceeded without there being injury to the claimant in this case, meaning that the folks that said they couldn’t apply for the Fearless Fund competition said that they were harmed, but how but but actually didn’t show harm. So in the dissent to this, the dissenting judge talks about like there’s no harm here. So how, in fact, can we rule in favor of this, of of this petitioner when there’s no actual harm done.

 

Kaya Henderson: Not only not only is–

 

De’Ara Balenger: You know? 

 

Kaya Henderson: Not only is there no harm, the three women who were supposed to be applying didn’t even have serious applications, right? Like this was–

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s right. That’s right.

 

Kaya Henderson: Just a straw man kind of situation. This wasn’t even real. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: So that’s. I mean, this is and this is also why the project 25 thing is, is alarming too, because it’s [sigh] we have to have judicial independence, like as a like working democracy. If we don’t have impartial judges, we’re screwed. Like we’re actually screwed. Like at the heart of a democracy is actually an independent judiciary. And so I think that’s the other scary thing about these folks and this movement is that they don’t want independence. They don’t want freedom of thought. They don’t want freedom of movement. They don’t want freedom of identity. They want this place to look like one thing that is controlled. And so I think that and the fact that this, you know, Blum, this is like his life’s work. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Literally his life’s work is committed to this and I don’t even know, like. He’s Jewish. I don’t know the Christians. I don’t even know if he’s committed to that. Christians. I don’t know what’s going on. This guy, I know somebody needs to have a meeting with him quick. So um, it’s just I think that’s the that’s the scary part for me. And I think that is where actually, the Biden administration has done a great job, and we’ve covered covered this before of appointing great judges to the bench, but also a lot of diverse folks. So. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: As we all know, it is Pride Month. Me and Kaya are the resident allies of the podcast. DeRay and De’Ara are the are the rest of the alphabets. And I thought what better way to show my good Allie hood ally hood then bringing over this great article that I found on NBC news. So this article is your basic, I shouldn’t say basic, your traditional listicle of different Black LGBT prominent people. I really love this article and articles like it, because I think that there has been such a organized effort to either make sure you don’t know these people’s names, or to make, or for you not to know that they ever had like any type of like queer, any type of queer life. So in this article we have people like Gladys Bentley. So when I was working for the Smithsonian, I found out about Gladys Bentley and a couple and a few other like, blues, um blues folks and performers from the um, early um, the early 1900s child. And one of the things. And one of [laughter] And one of the things that I thought was so interesting was, of course, this idea around gender and non-binaryness and transness is, is, was specifically during this was like a couple of years now was specifically taking up the the pop cultural discourse. But Gladys Bentley was a performer who performed as a woman performer who performed as a man. And I almost feel I always like hesitate in, in, in, and hiccup over my words because something tells me, if given the language that we have today, um the people that we see on this list might not identify how they have not identified in the early 1900s. If you’re if you’re following me, of course you have your your your tried and true Bayard Rustins, and Marsha P. Johnsons who we love and we love Bayard Rustin too. But where where do some more digging. We have our James Baldwin’s, let’s keep let’s keep, uh uh let’s let’s keep digging for for more Black queer folks. The other person who was on here who does show up a lot, but I don’t know if people always know unless you’re in, because I can be in a little bit of an intellectual bubble myself. But Lorraine Hansberry, and who was such a coveted, coveted writer and playwright inside of the Black community, um penning A Raisin in the Sun and just being such an iconic voice for Black folks both in literature and in theater. She was she was a lesbian. I feel like a lot of people don’t actually know that. Alvin Ailey. So a lot of people know these names specifically I met somebody who didn’t know like put Alvin Ailey in a different in a different decade and generation. And I’m like, no, Alvin Ailey was not in the 1800s. Alvin Ailey was Black, like, literally like we’re losing recipes. People not really knowing who Alvin Ailey is is just this um, ubiquitous nature of his name at this point, and I’m like, not only what was he uh not only was he alive in in in in in the late 1900s, he was also gay. So I love this list because it gave some people like Gladys Bentley, who I don’t see mentioned a whole lot, uh some some shine. But then also it reminded people that these names that if I’m being honest, I’ll see people love to be able to use for pro-Black efforts for um, for Black liberatory efforts kind of hide the fact that they’re queer, too. So I love the Bayard Rustin, gay. Lorraine Hansberry don’t ever forget they’re gay. Even Baldwin has a little bit of that, too. You know, I remember that documentary that was a documentary, but like, just did not talk about Baldwin’s sexuality whatsoever. And even though for me and my bubble, it feels like, oh, everybody, maybe everybody knows Baldwin’s gay, but it is times like that where I’m like, oh, maybe we can use some more, some more reminding. Um. So that that’s my news for this week, I wanted to know, do you all have a favorite Black queer now I shouldn’t say favorite? [laughter] These are Black queer heroes and icons, not Pokemon. Um. So but do you all have um an unsung hero who’s dead or alive, who’s a part of who’s a part of history who you will want to um, take this time to honor who’s Black? Oh, the one person on this list too who I wanted to mention too was Miss Major, who’s still with us at 84. A Black trans activist and like, amazing woman. And and that really warmed my heart because Miss Major is still with us, still active. If you go to her Instagram, she’s still cursing out administrations around, what are you doing around trans rights? She’s still doing it. And I’m like that that is so inspiring too that you can still a, just the the the everybody knows that kind of uh the, the statistic that Black trans women living past 35 is very low. So to have an 83 year old Black trans woman talking her political ish and being out in the world is so um affirming to see as um somebody who’s a part of the the gender rainbow family myself. Who who who are y’all who are y’all’s favorite Black queer icons?

 

DeRay Mckesson: I don’t have a favorite, but I will say, um the older I get, the more I wish that everybody had to learn about people during Black History Month. Again, like I, you know, there’s a group of us who we all had to learn who Mary McLeod Bethune was like it was the same people every year. We all had to do book reports. Everybody had to know em. It just was it was what it is. And the older we get, I realize I say a name and people are like, who is that? You’re like, you don’t know. You don’t know nothing about Mary Mary McLeod. You never heard the name before? I’m like, that’s really weird. And I think that is even more pronounced with LGBTQ icons. I think that, like, you know, it’s like people know Baldwin. And they know Baldwin and you’re like, well, that is this nobody. You know, somebody one of my friends was like, we need to bring the AIDS quilt back out. And I’m like, I remember the Aids quilt when I was in school, it was like, every year you got it was just I was so used to having to learn about queer history just as a part of like the school year was like, okay, the aids quilt is coming you know, like you just knew it was you knew the aids quilt was coming, you had to do a field trip. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: The what? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You had to write a book report on it. The Aids quilt. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: The aids quilt.

 

Kaya Henderson: You don’t know what that is?

 

Myles E. Johnson: Of course I know what the aids quilt is. Of course I know what that is.

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh. [laughter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: No I don’t know what it is, but that’s not a good way. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m sorry. [banter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: That wasn’t nice. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: — [?] education leaders. 

 

Kaya Henderson:  I’m sorry. [laughter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: [?] make me feel ostracized and come on. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m I apologize, but I I am experiencing exactly what DeRay is talking about. Like this thing that was so such a major part of some of our lives that generations don’t know about. Okay. DeRay, you want to explain what the Aids quilt is? 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. The Aids code was, I think at its height was like 50,000 uh panels. But it was a quilt that pieces of it would go around the country or you’d look at it, um you’d look at pictures of it, but people would do memories of people who were impacted by Aids or died by Aids. And it like is a quilt, but it was a quilt that like, it was a quilt with like the panels were like stories and people’s names and pictures and it was all it was all together. So it was, it was trying to show the gravity of the Aids crisis, but it was like a it was a mainstay in school. It was like every year you like, did a thing with the Aids quilt you made you know, we had to learn that’s how I learned how–

 

Kaya Henderson: Make a panel. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –to sew some stuff because you had to make a panel. Your people–

 

Kaya Henderson: And they spread the whole thing out over the National Mall so that people would have a clear understanding of how much Aids was impacting the community, because it was initially only hitting the Black gay, only hitting the gay community. It was sort of the hidden disease, and people were not appreciating the gravity of the Aids epidemic. And so as a way to both commemorate and to raise awareness of how impactful this crisis was, um they put together the Aids quilt and each each person or family member whatever would create a panel memorializing somebody who passed away from Aids. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Wow, yeah, I’ve never, that all makes so much sense to me. Um. I never heard of that specific, the Aids quilt though. So I’ve been and you taught you you learned this in, in in school. And you also taught this uh DeRay? By the time you were teaching in school or was it– 

 

DeRay Mckesson: No no I didn’t. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: It was gone by the time I became a teacher. But but it was just a huge it was like one of those few things that was like, everybody did it. We all saw it in the same way that like, we all learned about Mary. I always think about Mary McLeod Bethune because like, she is a that’s a normal name to so many people that I grew up with, but it is abnormal to young people I meet today. But I I think about the storytelling of it all is like really important and having a mandatory storytelling about some things. I think we need to bring that back. I think that we sort of lost some of those recipes and I and that’s what this makes me think of. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I mean, this is why we started Reconstruction, right? Because schools aren’t teaching Black history, Black culture, LGBTQ history, culture. Um. And if we don’t take it upon ourselves to teach our young people what they need to know to be whole, fully equipped leaders of our community, if we don’t help them understand that they come from a legacy of leaders who have been changing our community. Um. Then, you know, we’re preparing them to be less then because other cultures are preparing their kids to take over the world. And it’s important for our young people to understand who they are and where we come from. Okay. I’m done, mm child. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I have two Myles. Um. Pauli Murray, of course, who is renowned civil rights advocate who actually refused to get off the bus back in 1938. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Um. But Pauli Murray was like, you know, she ended up being the first Black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. She just she had a lifetime of being, um sort of one of the maneuverers and operatives around um dismantling Jim Crow. Um. There’s a great documentary on Pauli Murray on Netflix, if you all want to check it out. My other, obviously, is Nikki Giovanni, who– 

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Mm mm mmm. [banter] Mm mm mm. And I feel like one of the my favorite things to watch is actually that conversation between Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin. 

 

Kaya Henderson: James Baldwin. Yeah.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Which is–

 

Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I’m gonna watch, I’m gonna–

 

Kaya Henderson: Fire. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: –watch it this week. Yeah. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Totally. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Just that’s one of my, one of my pride celebrations. Um.

 

Myles E. Johnson: So so interesting because wasn’t um, so I was I the only person who watched that documentary with Nikki Giovanni, and I was I didn’t know. Looking, looking back, I’m like, oh. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Oh really? 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I guess, I guess I guess you were. I guess that was a look but she has this poem, Nikki Giovanni has this poem called Beautiful Black Men. Where’s she talking about how fine and out of sight Black men are, and talking about how she loves them from their toes to their frolic of their hair. And I believed her. I believed her. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: A lot of people believed me, too. When I used to talk about men. [laughter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: So I believed her when she wrote–

 

De’Ara Balenger: A lot of men. A lot of men believed me, too. [laughter]

 

Myles E. Johnson: [?] documentary. I was like, well, I guess those that hair was short and those ties were consistent. And I get, I get I guess that that makes sense too. Um. But she really tricked, who tricked, but she really I really didn’t know. But it’s also interesting. To look at those that–

 

Kaya Henderson: Can’t can’t she look? Can’t she love Black men, too?

 

Myles E. Johnson: She can but it was such a um, romantic, ravenous, uh ’70s you you you hot mama jama poem. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh. [laughing]

 

Myles E. Johnson: You know, and so I was I was like [?]–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Not mama jamma.

 

Myles E. Johnson: It was, it was, it was steamy. It wasn’t like power to the people it was like, oooh, I can hardly contain myself when I see them walking down the street. And yeah, but it’s also just interesting to think about that conversation with Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni now, because here you have two Black queer people using their intellectual and imaginative prowess and their oratory skills in order to talk for Black, cis-straight folks and using all of our power to be able to understand that. And I think that has been such a service/sacrifice, if I’m thinking about it fairly, that Black queer people have done is using all of our power and all of our intelligence to make life better or more understandable for, our, our, our cis and straight counterparts. So. Yeah. I just wanted to mention that.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Happy pride. You’re welcome everybody.

 

Myles E. Johnson: Happy pride. Be who you are for your pride. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Happy pride. [music break]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Thanks so much for tuning into Pod Save the People this week. Don’t forget to follow us at @CrookedMedia on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. And if you enjoyed this episode of Pod Save the People, consider dropping us a review on your favorite podcast app and we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the P eople is a production of Crooked Media, it’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Executive produced by me, and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger and Myles E. Johnson. [music break] 

 

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