Products of Environment (with Congresswoman Summer Lee & Aisha Harris) | Crooked Media
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March 09, 2023
Stuck with Damon Young
Products of Environment (with Congresswoman Summer Lee & Aisha Harris)

In This Episode

This week on Stuck, Damon follows the ecological disaster taking place in East Palestine, Ohio. He’s joined by fellow Pittsburgher, Congresswoman Summer Lee to talk about environmental racism and the ways it’s manifested itself in Pittsburgh area historically.

 

Then writer Aisha Harris joins Damon to talk jokes- specifically which jokes are ok to tell and which ones are better left unsaid.

 

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

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Damon Young: If you’re in the city itself, the air is not great. But when you go into, you know, Braddock, whatever the smell of the air is actually different. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: That’s like a core memory for me, the smell of Braddock. 

 

Damon Young: There are some chemicals in the air. I don’t know what it is that there’s something in the air. Right.

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Honestly, it’s so synonymous with Braddock that we know what it is. It’s the sulfur, right? Because it’s the rotten egg smell. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I remember what I was growing up, look, if you don’t know about Woodland Hills our school was like a desegregation case. So we had, you know, the Black neighborhoods, they were poorer, closer to the mill. Then we also had, like, wealthier suburban white neighborhoods in our school district. But I remember when we used to get on the bus, like we would go on trips to other school districts. I remember the one time we had to cut through Braddock to get somewhere. Like as soon as you hit, like, the landmark there in Braddock, you can smell it. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: And, like, we’re now we’re, like, apologizing. Like, we’re explaining to these other kids, like, why our air smells like that. We’re apologizing to them like it’s our fault. [music plays]

 

Damon Young: Welcome back, everyone to Stuck with Damon Young. The show where we strongly advise you not to drink the tap water. So as most of you know, I live in Pittsburgh, right? Which means I live an hour away from the ecological disaster in East Palisade, Ohio. Where a train derailed and released at least 100,000 gallons of toxic chemicals in the air, which could have a catastrophic effect for years, decades, even on the food, water, air and soil here. And so to help provide a context for why this happened, I speak to Congresswoman Summer Lee, who is from Braddock, a city just east of Pittsburgh that is synonymous here with polluted air and water. We also talk about the long reach of environmental racism and how it affects poor white people, too. And then the homie Aisha Harris of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour joins me to answer a question about the evolving nature of comedy. We also riff quite a bit on some iconic comedians [laughs] who seem to be frozen, stuck in 1997. All right y’all. Let’s get it. [music plays] Summer. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: What’s up Damon? 

 

Damon Young: Or do you prefer Congresswoman Lee, I mean— 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: You know my mom named me Summer. Congresswoman is the title. It’s not my being. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Okay. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna go with Summer today. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: So Summer, let’s say, invited you to my house right now. And again, I want you I ask you this question. I want you to be honest, perfectly honest. I invited you to my house. Came over, I offered you a glass of tap water. Would you drink it? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Politely, I’d sip on it. 

 

Damon Young: You would sip on it. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I would sip on it politely for as long as I could. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Okay. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I’m not a water drinker, though. 

 

Damon Young: You’re not a water drinker. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: No don’t come, see, this is why I didn’t, see we already started with controversy. 

 

Damon Young: Okay, well, let’s presume that you were a water drinker. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Would I drink your Pittsburgh tap? 

 

Damon Young: Would you drink my Pittsburgh north side tap water? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Are we under a boil water advisory today? 

 

Damon Young: I don’t know. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Probably not, because I don’t know if you boiled your water. 

 

Damon Young: If I’m offering you tap water than no. It came straight from the faucet. It’s cold. Cold ish. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I’d drink it, man. I’ve had hose water. 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Okay, well, I guess I haven’t had any of the tap water here in probably months, but I think it’s been exacerbated ever since the train derailment in East Palestine. And I just don’t trust that any it like, okay, we still use the water to shower with. Right? We still use the water for tea, which gets, you know, boiled before it’s made. But just drinking it straight out the tap just doesn’t seem like something—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: You also use it to brush your teeth. 

 

Damon Young: Also use it to brush my teeth. All of these points of hypocrisy, basically [laughter] you’re pointing out. But but I feel like the tap water in a glass is more symbolic of how people actually feel about the safety of the water now. And I guess what I’m asking is, is that concern justified? Like, if you were to come to my crib and I offered you tap water and you drank it politely, would you be texting your friends like, yo, this nigga didn’t have no bottles of water? He offered me Pittsburgh, north south, tap water. Don’t he know I’m a congresswoman? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: It’s not that I’m a congresswoman. It’s that you’re famous. [laughter] I would be like, yo I’m at a famous brother’s house, and he don’t even have Fiji. So I would feel a type of way, I would expect you to have Fiji just because of who you are. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: But honestly, I mean, listen, the reality is, is that Pittsburgh water, long before East Palestine or anything else right, Pittsburgh, we had elevated lead levels in our water similar to Flint. Flint got attention. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Pittsburgh had a similar problem right? PWSA actually has been like replacing lead lines. I think two weeks ago they got to their ten thousandth lead line that they had to replace because Pittsburgh also had elevated lead levels. So none of us are really free from it. I think Flint, East Palestine, all of these, you know, disasters bring up this idea of right, these are public utilities that we rely on, but we also can’t trust. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. Yeah. And you’ve been very passionate about the environment, particularly environmental racism, you know, so there’s a, one of the producers on our show, Morgan, Morgan Moody, she’s also a Pittsburgher. But we joke before that you could tell there’s a correlation between how bad the air is in a neighborhood here and how good the high school football team is. And so [laughs] like, for instance, Braddock and, you know, Braddock has Woodland Hills, which just won state championships. Clairton has, you know, has a dynasty. Aliquippa has sent three people through the NFL Hall of Fame, the only high school in America that has done that right. And so obviously, there’s a connection here, but there’s also a racial component because these are neighborhoods that also are predominately Black. And so you have these predominately Black neighborhoods that aren’t necessarily in the city, that are around the city, that surround the city, and the water, the air, everything there is terrible. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Mm. 

 

Damon Young: Right. And so—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Let’s talk about that. 

 

Damon Young: Obviously, there’s an intentionality behind that. But can you walk us through how something like that came to be? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Absolutely. Listen, when you look at those communities, you got to go all the way back. If you’re going to get to the root cause of them, like you have to go. And a lot of us know that’s why we talk about it often. We got to go back to redlining. We have to go back to like government policies like the FHA. We have to go back to predatory lending with banks and all of the lack of opportunities. And honestly, the policies that kept Black folks from living in certain communities and pushed us into certain other ones, right. So we get pushed into these communities. Those are communities that are usually by, you know, the railroad tracks. The train derailments, usually by the refinery, the factory, the steel mill. Right. So more likely this is why Black and brown folks are more likely to live by an environmental hazards. But there are also the communities that because of redlining, because of our property funding for school districts, right. Those are the communities where their school systems are also underfunded. So Black people live in those communities because we were literally unable to buy, to purchase homes or to rent homes and communities that had better school districts, more well-resourced school districts that cleaner air and water, they weren’t closer. They lived farther away from the factories, farther away from the tracks, the highway, right. Every kind of generation. Right? We get hit with another thing, right? We get the redlining that moves us into these communities. We, we’re by the factory, we’re by the railroad track. Those were already there, or more recently, the highway that cuts your community. Right. In half. There’s a lot of air pollution by those highways, air pollution and sound pollution sitting right by those highways where a lot of Black communities are. Right. And then we got these kids who are now going to school districts where football or basketball or whatever it may be, right, is sold as their one escape out because the community doesn’t offer them any other job opportunities or any other, you know, educational opportunities to prepare them for other things. Right. So it’s like cyclical racism. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And, you know, and one of the one of the unique things, I guess, about Pittsburgh and so Pittsburgh is no, you know, I guess not just nationally, but internationally has this reputation of being a steel town, of being, like heavily polluted. You know, there’s this image of Pittsburgh, like from the forties and fifties and steelworkers, the smog, all of that. And the city isn’t necessarily that anymore. Right. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You know, it’s more of a tech, more of a health care, you know, education hub right at this point. But I guess as the quality of the air and the water in the city has actually improved [laughs] the Black people who have lived in the city have gotten pushed out, you know what I mean? So you have less of us living in the city, more of us living in the suburbs, more of us living in like Penn Hills, Monroeville, Braddock, [indistinct] and, you know, you just go down the line and there’s more of us there. Wilkinsburg. And again, it’s just as soon as the air gets better. As soon as the water gets better, soon as the standard of living gets better, it’s like, yo, y’all niggas got to leave. Y’all can’t stay here. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Honestly, though, the air and the water is not that great in Pittsburgh— 

 

Damon Young: And it’s not that great [laughs] yeah.

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So this is, this is one of those [laughs] right no, this is one of those situations where other things got better and we got pushed out. It wasn’t necessarily the water or the air. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: That’s why we’re talking about the the boil water advisories. No but like, you know what, we get pushed out when, you know, Black folk have been living in the Hill District, East Liberty, let’s take East Liberty, right. Black folk been living in East Liberty. We go get our shoes from Davis, you know, all that. They finally come in, developers come in, they build a community like they want it to be right. With with the nice stuff that they want, you know, your gourmet cupcakes, coffee shops, tacos, things like that. Right. But like, expensive tacos, not just regular ones and very expensive tacos right. 

 

Damon Young: No the, the $18 taco, the $13 milkshakes, you know, all that, you know—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: All those they were right there in that stretch. Right? So now them Black folks are pushed out. Now I’m not going to say that the air quality is better because it’s not right. Pittsburgh has some of the worst air quality in the nation, right on any given day. But they get pushed closer to like the source point, right? They get closer into the Mon Valley where it’s concentrated. Right. And not just like the air pollution. It’s the smell pollution. Right. So you’re now in the communities where you can smell the bad air, right? You’re in the communities where you’re breathing it way more directly. So like we’re getting pushed out into those communities and that’s also now creating other problems, like we can’t now we’re farther from our jobs, right? 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: We don’t have bus routes, but they can’t get in to the communities where the jobs are, right. So it creates different problems. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. And your point is something, you know, I’m glad you brought up about the smell. You know what I mean? Where you know. Yes. If you’re in the city itself, the air is not great, but it’s it’s not as much of like a present and a tactile feeling. But when you go into some of the, you know, again, to your Clairtons, to your Duquesnes to you know, Braddock or whatever, the smell of the air is actually different. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: That’s like a core memory for me. The smell of Braddock. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. You can literally smell like, holy shit, I’m I’m somewhere where something is burning. There is some chemical in the air. I don’t know what it is but there’s something in the air. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Honestly, it’s so synonymous with Braddock that we know what it is. It’s the sulfur, right? Because it’s the rotten eggs smell. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I remember when I was growing up, look,  if you don’t know about Woodland Hills, our school was like a desegregation case. So we had, you know, the Black neighborhoods, they were poorer, closer to the mill, right? Braddock, Rankin, North Braddock. But then we also had, like, wealthier suburban white neighborhoods in our school district, like Forest Hills, Churchills, Wilkins, where some of our richer friends came to. And, you know, I played basketball, I was on the track team, I was on the basketball team, I was in a band. Right. So.

 

Damon Young: You were busy. You were busy. Did you, did you [indistinct] off season? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I was very busy. No, no, I did not. My momma wouldn’t let me have off seasons— 

 

Damon Young: [laughs] Okay.

 

Rep. Summer Lee: —the babysitter. The track team was my babysitter. But no, but I remember when we used to get on the bus, like we would go on trips to other school districts. I remember the one time we had to cut through Braddock to get somewhere. So we’re on the bus, with you know the Forest Hills kids, the white kids from Churchill. And we were embarrassed. Like the kids were embarrassed because, like, as soon as you hit, like, as soon as you hit, like, the landmark and Braddock, you can smell it. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: And like, we’re now we’re like, apologizing, like, we’re explaining to these other kids, like, why our air smells like that. We’re apologizing to them like it’s our fault. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. When the reality is, it might have been some of their daddies, some of their granddaddies, some of their great granddaddies who created those conditions. You know what I mean?

 

Rep. Summer Lee: It ain’t even got to be that right. That—

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: —that’s active. Right.

 

Damon Young: Yeah.

 

Rep. Summer Lee: We know what NIMBY is, right? Not in my backyard, right? 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: A lot of them, their daddies might not have actively did it, but they also were the ones who said, don’t put this in my neighborhood. They’re still doing that to this day. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah and so like a term like environmental racism, you know, and again, I’ve seen some criticism of that terms like what, the environment can’t be racist, the air can’t be racist. But what that means—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Oh, that sounds like— 

 

Damon Young: Yeah I know it’s some [laughter] bad faith right wing bullshit, but what it really means. Is that when you have these conditions that people live in, then it just creates this avalanche of factors that just make life harder. Right. It’s harder to get the work. It’s harder to access health care. It’s harder to access good fruit and vegetables. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: You’re more susceptible to asthma. You’re more susceptible to all of these, like autoimmune sort of diseases and cancers and things of that nature. You know, I mean, you know, it’s because it’s harder to get the jobs then you have higher unemployment rates. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Yep. 

 

Damon Young: And then you have less businesses that, you know, that are in that community because who is going to want to start a business in a community where the air’s like that.

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Absolutely. People leave all the time because of that air. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. So you have people that need to leave in order to find work. But then the commute is, you know, a bus ride from Braddock or from like from Clairton—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Two or three. 

 

Damon Young: —to Pittsburgh. Yeah that’s two or three busses that might be an hour and a half, 2 hours every morning. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: To take you one further, though, because, you know, when they say that, like when they give you the bad faith arguments about like environmental racism, they’re like missing maybe intentionally or maybe unintentionally because you’re just not educated on it, because they don’t believe in critical race theory and whatnot. But. Right. They’re missing the fact that all those things you added like we can we can connect literally all type of societal ill. Every part of politics connects in some way, right? 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So even if we’re talking about air pollution, environmental racism, we can take criminal justice reform and put them together. Right? If you are in Braddock, Clairton, you know Duquesne. 30% of the kids, you know, likely have asthma. Right. Way higher than the national average. Well, we also know we have data that tells us you can’t miss a school. The more school that you miss, the more likely they are to funnel right into the school to prison pipeline. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So if you’re missing school because you have asthma, because you have, you know, whatever other respiratory illness, right now, we’re creating the environment, the condition for a kid to now fall behind. We talk about learning loss during COVID when it was other people’s kids that were missing school. But nobody cares about the conditions that make our kids miss school every other day. Right. So now that kid is more likely to come in contact with the criminal justice system, right? It’s a cycle. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah, it’s cyclical. And again, as you were saying, you could take out just, just one thing. Just one thing you could take out that the air and connect it to school attendance. You could take out, you know, even school delinquents and tie that to to asthma because, you know, kids are, you know, who are not feeling well in school, you know what I mean, might be more likely to act up wider in school. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Or if you have lead poisoning, we know that you got lead poisoning when you were a child. You’re going to have lifetime adverse impact from it. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So how many folks that we know came in contact with the police? You know what a police has done because they were having a mental health crisis that was spurred by their lead poisoning. 

 

Damon Young: And that’s another part, the mental health part, which even you talking about when you were in high school and having to drive through your neighborhood and have to apologize to white kids, that that does something to like a 14, 15, 16 year old, you know, kid who you know, who feels like they have to apologize about where they’re from in that. You know what I mean, and that that’s sort of you know, we don’t necessarily always think of that sort of experience as a trauma, but that it is a trauma that continues to build and build and build into, you know, you’re you just have this albatross on top of you and you don’t know where it came from, but it’s there also, you have, you know, this environmental racism contributing to all types of just mental health, you know, issues, all types of anxiety, all types of neuroses, all types of angst, you know, and this is the sort of thing that makes it I don’t know. I’m glad that you are in Washington right now. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Thank you. 

 

Damon Young: I’ll just say that like, I’m glad that that you I’m not going to say someone like you, but you particularly some Summer Lee is is is in Washington right now because we need people who not only can understand it, can understand all of the the cyclical environmental factors that contribute to why things are the way they are, but can articulate it and also have a passion about it. You know, I mean, so. So again. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Thank you. I’ll do my best. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: And, you know, and we’re also Pittsburghers, and we are an hour away from one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of the I don’t know, the last, what, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, whatever. And one of the things that make this situation is, the thing that I’m talking about is the train derailment— 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: —in East Palestine, Ohio, which is an hour from Pittsburgh. What makes this so unique in terms of how it’s being covered is that these are white people who are dealing with this. These are white people who are going to have to live in these neighborhoods with this terrible air and water and who are getting played. [laughter] You know what I mean, right in front of us in terms of people trying to minimize the impact and minimize, you know, exactly how bad it might be and how, you know, you hear the water’s fine. Don’t worry about those dead fish. [laughs]

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So can I say—

 

Damon Young: Please. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: —thank you for the alley-oop. Right. We talked about environmental racism. Environmental racism takes into account poverty. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: When we say who’s more likely to live by an environmental hazard it’s Black, brown and poor folks. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: And poor folks. The reality is, is that poor folks have been collateral damage in America’s race war from the beginning. From the absolute beginning. 

 

Damon Young: Mm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Right. They have been collateral damage. Right. They’ve been catching strays. Right. Because as long as poor white folks don’t feel like they are the direct kind of recipient of that capitalized racism, right, then they don’t feel the urgency to actually address it. Right. Now when it, when it happens to them. They’re like, oh, how did this happen? Right. Or they’re able to then say, because they’ve now they’ve been told that, like, you’re different than them. But then I’m like, I don’t have white privilege. Right? But the reality is, is that because our government is sold to the highest bidder, right. Norfolk Southern is able to use its capital to put pressure on government to unravel regulations, the very regulations that would have prevented this train derailment and not just this one, the what, three of the five train derailments from Norfolk Southern that have happened since then? Right. Because they’ve been able to stop workers, not just Black and brown workers, but those are the ones who are more likely to work here. Poor workers, right working class folks. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: They’ve been able the workers who would have otherwise been able to voice concern. They’ve been trying to say that this is a problem because our government didn’t trust them, didn’t listen to them, listen to the corporation instead right? We get this result right. These are predictable results that we’re ignoring for money or ignoring for capital. And in racialized capitalism, we’re always willing to it got to go somewhere, right? So we’re always going to put it in the community, the people who we care for least. And let’s be real. Norfolk Southern traverses through Pittsburgh. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Right. There was a couple of years ago, there were a whole bunch of folks, stakeholders throughout Pittsburgh from the Mon Valley through North Side, who rose concerns about Norfolk Southern because what they were trying to do is, you know, we’re the City of Bridges, they own some of the bridges. Right. They’re not taking care of the bridges. They’re wanting to tear down bridges, overpasses, things of that nature so that they can make them taller so that they can send their double stacked trains through. Well, those double stacked trains are usually always carrying some sort of toxic waste. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So if that had happened here right on its way to wherever it’s going, it could have happened here in this populated Pittsburgh. Right. What would have stopped it. 

 

Damon Young: I want to ask you, because I feel like I’m getting a lot of bullshit about like exactly how concerned about this we need to be. Because, you know, on one end I’m hearing like this is on some Chernobyl type shit in on the other end, I’m hearing like, you know what, well, the water’s fine. You know, it’s okay. It’s not really that big of a deal. Is the truth somewhere in the middle or is it something that I need to be like, super vigilant, super concerned about presently. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: See, you’re bringing up another issue. Right. What you’re actually addressing right now is the mistrust that folks have and our institutions and our government. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Why? Because we lived through Flint. Because we saw how they handled Flint, because there were elected officials who knew that that water was poisoning those kids in Flint, and they chose to do nothing about it. Right. When people came to them and said, listen my water is brown, right? Or I’m getting eczema or whatever it is. Right. Those folks were not just gaslit. They were outwardly lied to. So there’s always going to be that level of can we trust the information that’s coming down because we know how closely our government is working with these corporations, right? As long as our our corporations and our government are interwoven that way. 

 

Damon Young: But still— [laughter]

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Would I trust it? 

 

Damon Young: Yeah would you trust it? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: No I mean look, no, because, I mean, we’re getting conflicting information. I don’t trust it because I understand the marriage between corporations and our government, because I understand the influence that they have over us, you know, to change regulations so as long as there are animals dying, people forget that we are a part of the animal kingdom. So if your chicken died and your cat died, that know that’s not you, we are not safe. [laughter] But also that means that it’s just something that’s harming them. There are something that maybe not to the same you know, to the same level or degree is probably harming us, too. But again, I want to be responsible right now. When I get better information, I will always share better information. I’m talking as a regular Black woman. 

 

Damon Young: I appreciate that answer and again, if the chickens and cats are down around me, then yeah, that’s that’s a sign I probably need to not consume anything that’s coming out, that environment, you know what I mean, but I guess and this is again, this is another problem that exists that persists, that is pervasive in you know, you mentioned just the mistrust of government, mistrust of media, where, you know, you see a report about chickens dying and cats dying. And it’s like, well, is that is it related to this? Is there some other factor that has contributed to the epidemic of dead cats—

 

Rep. Summer Lee: That I’m suddenly dropping dead? 

 

Damon Young: Yeah, You know, I mean, and obviously there seems to be a one on one correlation between this thing happening and all of these, you know, animals, not humans yet. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Not yet, no. 

 

Damon Young: Not yet. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Also, humans, for the most part, was evacuated also. Right. So that is the other thing, right? Humans were evacuated at the point where it was this most dangerous. But like very many things. What are the long term effects? Right. What is the effect on the soil? What is the effect on the water sources? That’s what we are looking for good information on. That’s where we need to have a trust of our elected officials, of our institutions, of our agencies that we just don’t have yet. Because history tells us when you live in Black and brown and poor communities that have been intentionally used as dumping grounds. History tells you to have a healthy dose of skepticism. 

 

Damon Young: So if you if you are a person who who lives in this neighborhood or who lives in Braddock or who lives in Aliquippa, and you’re aware of all this happening and you don’t necessarily have the means to change to move. What do you tell them? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: I tell them that we need to really quickly, you know, lean into and identify. Identify our power. Right. Where is that? Where are those power sources that we can tap into? Because, you know, everything changes. Now things change from people who will their power differently. Right. Black and brown folks have not had power to wield, or at least we’ve not been able to identify the sources of that power. But there’s power in our solidarity. There’s power in our voice. There’s power in our organizing. And there’s power in us taking on systems, right, that we can’t just and we can right, we can just do nothing. But the reality is that every change that we’ve seen in this society has come from people organizing, people gathering and joining in collectives to force change. Right? The government didn’t just say I’m a give you all Black people voting rights. And that’s how that happened. And they just say, oh, we’re gonna give you your civil rights. That’s not how that happened. No president was just like, I’m really benevolent and I’m I’ll do this. No. Even what industry when industry changes, when we think about pollution, we think about industry, the refineries, steel mills, whatever. Not the easiest way, but the first level of defense that we have are labor unions, workers rights. Labor unions are our first line of defense there. When you join a union, when you organize a union, we empower workers. Workers are the frontlines there. When we support them in their unionizing efforts, we’re supporting our home community. Right? Because they now serve as our eyes and our ears on the job. They now know when the corporation has taken advantage of us. They know when something ain’t right, and they’re now able to either sound the alarm inside or outside, right. So unionizing is power. Join a union, voting, not just voting, selecting, grooming, picking, finding your your, your representatives. We got to switch, you know, flip the switch. Like, we can’t just have people sending their representatives to us. We’re supposed to send ours to them. So when we start to do that intentionally, right, we can start to shift things. 

 

Damon Young: And I’m glad you said that because that actually kind of segues into my next question. And this is more like a I don’t know, a theoretical exercise, but so I have two 20 something nephews that are both in college right now and one of them, you know, is trying to be more conscientious, trying to be just more aware of, you know, everything, right? He hits me up about reading lists. You know, if this is this a good book to read? Should I do this, should I do that and I, and I try to help him as much as I can. And so I spoke to him the other day. This was, you know, actually a few days ago, a few weeks ago. And he was like, you know, I remember how crazy everyone was when Trump, you know, during the Trump like election or whatever, and how people were saying, like the country country’s going to change is going to get so much more fucked up, whatever. But Trump got elected and my life didn’t really change any. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: No, he just hasn’t seen the ways in which his life has changed. 

 

Damon Young: Well. I guess, what would you say to like a like a young person who wants to get more involved politically but is also thinking like, you know what? I just do not feel or see the sort of, you know, that the outcome or the actual reality that I see doesn’t necessarily match with the hysterics that I see on TV. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Because my life, my circumstance and my circumstance doesn’t change. And I could I could understand someone who saying that, you know, when Obama was president or any any Democrat, but part of being president now, it’s like, well. Yeah, it’s great that he’s in office, but how is my day to day in traditionally Black communities and in Pittsburgh, how is my day to day different? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So first first, I would say, You have to sometimes realize that your reality is not the only reality, right? So that’s empathy, right? If you want to get involved, if you want to understand things, you got to have a little bit of empathy. You grow in your empathy, because reality is, is that if you have not seen change, you have to ask yourself, is that the case for everybody? So let’s take right now. Black folks, we hear a lot about the rising tide of something, the rising tide of anti-Semitism, the rising tide of homophobia, transphobia. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: We don’t ever hear about a rising tide of anti-Blackness because there ain’t never a low tide, if there ain’t ever a low tide it becomes normalized to you the ways in which your community is divested, the ways in which you struggle, you know, the air quality, the smell, the smell of Braddock is normal to the people in Braddock right? 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Your school is falling apart. That’s normal to you when you go every day. When you’ve been going every day for 12 years. Right. That’s now normal to you. It’s when you leave and you realize that it’s actually different for other people, that you get to kind of broaden your perspective and first broaden your perspective also too, remember if it ain’t happening to you, but it’s happening in your neighbor that it’s on its way, we are looking at the impacts of Donald Trump. We just had a whole conversation about East Palestine while the East Palestine regulations came from Trump era. So we are going to see the impacts of that of that presidency, of that administration for, for generations, just like any other one. But more immediately, right. We’re seeing the rising tide of that hate, that more emboldened bigotry that for Black folks is already normal, but for other people it’s not right. So I bet a trans person would not say that they don’t see the difference in their day to day life. Right now in Florida, where their entire lives are being attacked. Right. Black women would not say that they don’t see the difference, you know, when they’re dying in childbirth. Right. You know, there are so many folks who who could say that. I can see how is different. The problem is, is that we expect differences to come and booms and bangs. Right. But president does something wrong is to be like the big bang. Like we should just see a solar system appear. But that ain’t how change works. That’s not how, you know, negative impact works. That stuff sometimes comes over a lifetime. You might see that in your earning. You thought you were going to retire at 65. No you not bro, you retiring now at death, right? That’s how you may see things. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: So stay woke. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: Well, you know, you went to public school and I’m curious what changes you’ve seen, I guess just in the last like 15 years of, you know, with kids who are in school today have to deal with that. Maybe you didn’t, you know, and even from our own perspective, it seems a lot harder to be a 14 or a 15 year old than it was in 1997, 1996, or how. I forget how old I am sometimes. I know I was that age around that time. Right. [laughter] But it just seems like is there’s this much more. I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, what have you witnessed? 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Yeah, I mean, I will say one of the biggest changes, you know, for our our generation to this next one, we were in like the transition period, right, where technology was becoming a thing. Facebook, I think, became a thing like my junior year in high school, you know? So it was just like social media was like a new advent back then. But now social media is like these kids lives. They have technology that we didn’t have, it’s a double edged sword, right? They have access to knowledge that we just did not have, the answer to everything exists on the Internet. So I find that kids are actually politicized earlier, right, because they are finding themselves in the global kind of world like in our in our global politics in ways I think that our generation wasn’t and couldn’t. But also their experience and are open to just all these threats, mental health threats, physical threats that come from like a constant stream, of social, social media, a constant stream of like negativity of toxicity that they can’t avoid the ways that we could they can’t unplug the ways that we were able to unplug. And I think that that’s that opens up a new level of dangerousness and a mental health crises that we’re seeing with our students right, kids who are like, I’ve been pushed to think about suicide, younger eight and nine year old’s who are thinking about suicide because of the ways in which they’re bullied online, not even just in person, but bullied online. You know, young, young, young girls and nonbinary folks and femmes and others. Right. Who who, innocent things that young kids used to do. Right. Sharing a pic, which your dude, right, is now finding itself the Pornhub. Right. I just I just thought like a story about that. Access to drugs, you know, those are those are all kind of threats that a lot of young people are dealing with. But I think what our schools and our school system. Right. You know, and we have COVID, you know, just I think about the kids who went to college, who started college or high school or whatever it is. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Whatever phase of their life during COVID and the way that you had to now build on a rocky foundation. And it ain’t rocky because of them, it’s rocky because of all the inequities that we already had in society, that we were just like not addressing. So we just weren’t ready for them. 

 

Damon Young: Congresswoman Summer Lee, thank you so much for coming through. 

 

Rep. Summer Lee: Thanks for having me. [music plays]

 

Damon Young: Coming next is Damon hates, which is the part of the show where I talk about shit that I hate because I hate a lot of shit. So it’s been three years since the pandemic started. The thing you know that has impacted us globally, the once in a century event that has killed millions of people, made tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people sick, has impacted the way we live, the way we work, the way we breathe, the way we love. There’s no part of the earth, no corner to earth that hasn’t been impacted by this. And, you know, one benefit of this, you know, a silver lining, if you want to call it that, is that you’ve had some of the best and brightest minds in the world working together to develop a vaccine and then develop more vaccines. You know, that that actually, you know, I try to keep up with the different variants of the virus, which is great. I’m glad that we’ve been able to do that. But one thing that we haven’t been able to do in these three years is find someone to develop a motherfucking mask that fits men with beards. I should not have to cut off my beard in order to survive, in order to stay alive now and again. I know that there are some aesthetic considerations that need to be made for safety. Sometimes I get that. Sure. Fine. Whatever. Great. But have you seen me without my beard? Like my beard is make up, my beard is contour, my beard is a fucking girdle. It is all that shit on my face. I am not taking this shit off voluntarily for anyone. I waited my entire life to be to be a six. Right. I’ll give myself that. I give myself a six. Right. I waited my entire life for that. To be able to grow full beard, to hide what’s happening underneath it. And now I need to cut this shit off just because I’ll get sick and die if I leave the house and don’t have on a proper mask. No fuck that someone, it’s been three motherfucking years, why hasn’t anyone developed this shit? We have all types of technology. Elon Musk is going to Mars, and we hope he stays there. But where is the fucking mask for niggas with beards? So up next, I’m joined by Aisha Harris, who is the host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and a friend. And we talk a bit about, I guess, the evolving rules of comedy. We answer a question from someone who’s confused about that, and then we segue and talk a bit about Chris Rock’s selective outrage. So producer Morgan actually, you know what I think Morgan the producer, has a better ring. So. Morgan the producer, what’s up for this week? [laughs] 

 

Morgan Moody: Yeah, this question comes from someone looking for some advice on their jokes. Dear Damon, what kind of jokes are still okay? Like a week ago, I made a number of fat jokes and dumb jokes, and a friend told me that nobody is going to want to be my friend if I’m insensitive to these issues. I know, right? What kinds of jokes are safe around these people? 

 

Damon Young: So, Aisha, I did not want to use this question [laughter] at first because I thought it was stupid.  

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: [laughter] Right. I thought it was stupid. And I also thought that, you know what, this is like a 2009 question. Like, I feel like knowing that fat jokes are not cool, that’s I think we’ve been past that. But then my producers convinced me it’s like actually there are a lot of people who are not past that at all. And also we need to keep the spirit of the question. And you can’t just tailor the question so that it sounds the way you want it to sound. So. Question exist as is. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: Aisha, your response? 

 

Aisha Harris: Well, my first response is that this sounds like it was written by like a middle schooler. Possibly. [laughs] I don’t know if it was. But like you said, it does feel like a very kind of elementary kind of question. Right. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Aisha Harris: That’s a thing. Like, how do you start? I’m already judging this person. I think that you’re asking the wrong question. Which is not, like, why? Like, what is wrong with these people? Or why don’t these people get it? I think the real question is just like, okay, what is the punch line? Like, who is the butt of the joke? And I think obviously, a lot of times when comedians talk about these things, they talk about like you have to make sure you’re not punching down or you always punch up. I think that’s true to some extent, but I also don’t think that’s I don’t think it’s that simple because when it comes to punching down, sometimes even when you’re punching up, you could wind up making a joke that offends people who are also not in power or whatever. I think of the jokes where people go for famous celebrities and they say, oh, well, you might be gay or something, or like, you might secretly want to sleep with men when you’re making all these jokes or making these comments. And then you have to question like, okay, so what does that mean? Like, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing to want to sleep with men. But like, is that the joke? Like, who is being the butt of this joke? And I think that it can happen regardless of whether you’re punching up or punching down. And at the end of the day, like a fat joke is, again, this is Adam Sandler circa 1995 comedy. [laughter] Like we should be beyond that. Comedy should evolve, just as comedy, like we evolve as a society to some extent. A lot of us have evolved and I think comedy needs to move with it. And if it’s not moving with it, then you’re just going to sound like an old person yelling at the cloud. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah, I agree. I agree with you. And I even think about like, my own evolution, like when I’m just thinking about joking and comedy and what I consider to be funny. Okay, so one definite thing that I’ve stopped doing is I stop making fun of bad people’s appearance.

 

Aisha Harris: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: Now I already stopped making fun of, like, regular people or normal people or un terrible people’s appearance, you know, because you just have no control over how you look. But there is always like, this loophole, like if the person’s a shitty person. Like, if it’s Donald Trump or if it’s like, I don’t know, Rush Limbaugh than yeah you have carte blanche to say whatever you want to say about how they look or whatever. But then it’s like. Like if I make a fat joke about Rush Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh, who is dead, so he’s not going to hear it anyway. But when he was alive, he wasn’t going to hear it. But the people who are my friends, who are my family, who might be heavier, you know what I mean? Who might have a weight issue or whatever. They’re the ones who are going to hear it. 

 

Aisha Harris: Exactly. 

 

Damon Young: And they’re the ones who are going to be like, well, if you’re saying this about this guy, then doesn’t that mean you feel this way about me, too? 

 

Aisha Harris: Exactly. 

 

Damon Young: Right. I guess the one joke or the one, like, I guess, I don’t know. It’s almost like a subgenre of comedy now that really annoys the fuck out of me is when comedians who are being paid millions of dollars to get on stage and have us listen to their words, have entire bits about how they’re not allowed to say the things that we are paying them, actively paying them money to say. It’s like, you know, I’m going to get cancelled, you just get $60 million to do like [laughter] the worst. By far the worse at this right now, I feel like it’s Bill Maher. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: Who whenever I catch one of his clips online. Yeah. It’s been a shtick for like for almost half a decade now about all the things that he can’t say when he goes and performs and and goes and tours and it’s like, yo, but you’re still touring. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: You still have your fucking show on HBO. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: The part that really fucks with me is that the hypocrisy is so obvious. It’s like, if I were really being cancelled, then I would be cancelled. [laughter] I wouldn’t have a job like now if he got fired and, you know, he was unhoused or something. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Okay. Yeah, yeah this nigga got canceled. [laughs] Right. But you can’t talk about being cancelled.

 

Aisha Harris: Right. [laughs] Yeah, it’s old hat. And it’s sad because, like, I actually, you know, people like Bill Maher and Chris Rock, I feel like if you go back and look at their earlier stuff, they were cutting edge to some extent. They were saying things that meant, there are still some things that they’ve said that still hold up. And I’m not going to pretend that they don’t. But then again, especially as we move on in society and we understand the way things affect other people more or hopefully a lot of us do, we come to realize that, like not everything they said is okay. And even Chris Rock’s special the other night, I thought like, look, there are some points that I chuckled at. I laughed at, yeah, yeah. But like for every salient or sharp take he had, he undercut it with some misogyny or just some like rant about Meghan Markle that I was just like, really? Like, yeah, his whole thing going in on Will and Jada, like, I don’t even think he called her by her name. He called her a bitch. He referred to her as a bitch pretty much every time he referred to her. He also referred to Will Smith as a bitch. 

 

Damon Young: Mm hmm. 

 

Aisha Harris: But like, just the disrespect and look, I get it. He’s traumatized. I know. I get it to some extent, but I also just think there’s a whole lot of other mess going on there that, like, we don’t know about or aren’t privy to. And I don’t think it was just about the slap. And he has an ax to grind. And again, that part wasn’t even funny. It wasn’t like I didn’t find it funny. It just sounded like a dude who needed to be in therapy. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: So with that part, you know, and I’ve seen, you know, some of the commentary online over the past couple of days about how, you know, we’ve gotten over it. So he should have also and with that point, I’m like he gets smacked by Will Smith in front of a billion people like they’re still motherfuckers who cut me in lunch line at third grade who I still feel a way about. 

 

Aisha Harris: Oh, yeah. 

 

Damon Young: So of course [laughter] of course he gets smacked by Will motherfucking Smith—

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: In front of the entire world. And the comedians get the material from their experiences, their traumas, whatever. Of course, he’s still going to be working through some things about that, and sometimes he’ll work through those things on stage. So that part of it I get. 

 

Aisha Harris: Oh yeah, for sure. 

 

Damon Young: You know what I mean, the choice to cover it. I understand that. And the last five or so minutes that a show was devoted to this and, you know, it made some like one off jokes throughout the night. And his punch line that he was building, building, building, building towards don’t fight in front of white people. It’s like—

 

Aisha Harris: Dude. [laughs]

 

Damon Young: It’s almost like you. You eat like a full cup of soup. And the soup is decent. It’s good soup. But then at the bottom of the cup of soup, you see a dead roach. It’s like, oh, fuck, this soup is not good anymore. [laughter] Okay. 

 

Aisha Harris: Oh man. 

 

Damon Young: You know, I mean?

 

Aisha Harris: And I mean, as many other people have already pointed out, the hypocrisy is that like, who does he think a lot of the people in the audience for this Netflix show special were they were white people and here he is airing all of his misogynoir. And all that stuff about it, like he’s airing it out in front of them. So I don’t, I completely agree with you that like, I don’t begrudge him wanting to talk about it in a public sphere. It’s just again, you had a whole year and it doesn’t seem like you have at all come to grips with this, like even move just a little bit past it. There wasn’t any sign of growth, just doubling down, really. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: Yeah, I think that there is a way to channel that outrage. And again, I don’t want to say that he shouldn’t have been outraged. I don’t want to say that he shouldn’t have been hurt. You know, getting back to the question about, like the rules of comedy and what is good, you know, what is kosher or whatever. Now, I think back to so like six years ago, I went to my 20 year high school reunion because I’m old. And one thing that I noticed is that there were some people there that were wearing the exact same clothes that were popular in 1997. 

 

Aisha Harris: Hmm. 

 

Damon Young: Right. That’s the year I graduated high school. 

 

Aisha Harris: That’s a choice. 

 

Damon Young: It’s a choice. And I’m not here to clothes shame. Wear what you want to wear. Whatever. 

 

Aisha Harris: Okay. To be fair to them, though, those styles are coming back. 

 

Damon Young: Well, those styles are coming back now. In 2023, but not in 2017. 

 

Aisha Harris: Okay, fine. 

 

Damon Young: I don’t want to clothes shame. It’s not about their clothes it’s not, wear what you want to wear. Wear what makes you comfortable. But it’s more about. I don’t want that to be about politics. Right, where you stop evolving in 1997 or 2007 or even 2017. And I feel like with someone like Chris Rock, we could talk about Chappelle and even, you know, the person who wrote in, you know, to ask the question. It’s like you have to continue to evolve. And I think that with someone like Chris Rock and again, this sort of state of mind that exists with the person who asked this question about are fat jokes, cool, are dumb jokes, cool? It’s like you just have to have to recognize that that the rules that dictate, you know, what you’re able to or what you’re not able to joke about have evolved. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: Right. If you still want to be funny and if you still want to, I don’t know, have some sort of rigor. Right. Not relevance because you could be relevant and talk about whatever, but if you want your work to have like some actual rigor then there does have to be this evolution that that exists with it. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. I mean, I just went through my first watch of Cheers all the way through, and I’m in the middle of Frazier going through Frazier now for the first time. And look, there’s a lot of stuff that just would not fly today, whether it’s about there’s just a lot of casual misogyny, gay jokes, whatever, that don’t quite land, but a lot of it is timeless. A lot of it is. And most of the humor, they’re not insults that are made about characters appearance or about how they might act gay or whatever, or queer. Instead, they’re just like situational. And I think that a lot of people like to say that the woke mob is coming for all these things. And I think that we don’t get enough credit for being able to just say like, look, we can pick and choose the things from the art we like or enjoy and say like, nah, I’m not going to take that. But then there’s other parts of it that we can appreciate. And I think that when it comes to comedy, comedy is one of those things that some would argue ages the most poorly out of all the sort of genres and modes that we have, because comedy can be so beholden, I think, to our current cultures, like attitudes and how it like so much of it is filtered in a way that reflects who we are and who we think we are. And as time passes, you know, even just thinking about Eddie Murphy in Raw and how many times he uses the F-word and by F-word, I mean the slur. 

 

Damon Young: A lot. Like—

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. 

 

Damon Young: —I just rewatched it like a few weeks ago and it is everywhere.

 

Aisha Harris: Everywhere. [laughter]

 

Damon Young: And like, it was it was shocking. It was like, wow, there were still parts that worked. 

 

Aisha Harris: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: But that word just stuck. I mean, he and he said it at least like ten times. At least.

 

Aisha Harris: Yeah. So, I mean, it’s cringy, but like, we should be able to just acknowledge that that is the case. The point is that we don’t want to keep bringing that into our present day comedy. You know, like we don’t need a comic, you know? And I don’t think Eddie Murphy today would be bold enough or dumb enough to sprinkle any standup with that word. I think he I don’t want to assume, but it seems like he’s evolved in a way that maybe these other comedians haven’t. But he’s also not doing standup like he used to. So maybe that’s what it is. I don’t know. 

 

Damon Young: Yeah, I think, you know, maybe it it helps to think of comedy almost like music where you have some music that will be transcended, you know, in terms of like standing the test of time or whatever. But most music, you know, is meant to be a snapshot of a particular time, a particular era. 

 

Aisha Harris: Mm hmm. 

 

Damon Young: And so we watch a comedy, we watch a standup from 19, from from 1987. It’s not like, oh, this should still work today. It’s like, oh, no, this is a perfect snapshot of what worked 30 years ago, you know what I mean? And I think that if we were to kind of pull back and and almost like reverse, extrapolate and think of it in that way, then, you know, maybe some of these issues that keep coming up about, you know, people not knowing what to say or, you know, how come things aren’t the way they used to be is like, well, things that even in that moment weren’t meant to exist forever. Like the people who wrote those jokes realized that, you know what? If I do this thing again next year, I’ve got to think of some new jokes. 

 

Aisha Harris: I know. I think to more directly answer the question. I do think that jokes like those can be done, but it has to be very, very specific about who it’s targeting and about the character or whoever who’s saying it. The show that I always point to that I think does this kind of humor well is It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where it is very clear that all of these characters are terrible, horrible people. And they you know, they each have their own quirks and they have like some are worse than others for various reasons. [laughter] But when I when I think about that show and how they especially over like 15 coming on 16 seasons now, they’ve been able to find always pretty funny and different ways to question the way our humor has evolved over the years and their characters have evolved like they’re still terrible people, but they’ve gotten even sharper. Those, the creators of the show, have gotten even sharper about really like making it clear that they are terrible people and that they’re taking these like, fat jokes or they’re taking these jokes against being racist or being, you know, homophobic. They’re taking that and they’re making sure that we know that they are terrible and it can be done. It’s just you have to be really, really frickin good at it. And and your politics, I think, also have to, like, not be shitty. [laughter] 

 

Damon Young: Aisha, thank you so much for coming through today. People who are looking for you or trying to find you. Where should they look? 

 

Aisha Harris: I mean, I’m still on the dying Titanic that is Twitter. [laughter] So you can be there until the wheels fall off, I guess, or until the links don’t work anymore. I don’t know what’s going on over there @craftingmystyle is my Twitter handle. I’m also on Instagram now. Well, I have been, but I’m getting a little bit more since Twitter is burning. I’ve been on there a little bit more now and I’m @aha88 on Instagram and yeah, find me on NPR most days on PCHH, Pop Culture Happy Hour, the podcast. We talk about movies, TV, music, books, everything. It’s a fun time. 

 

Damon Young: And soon you’ll be able to talk about your own book. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: Which I had the pleasure of blurbbing, Wannabe has a long subtitle, what’s the subtitle? [laughter]

 

Aisha Harris: Has a long—

 

Damon Young: Wannabe is the title. 

 

Aisha Harris: Yes. 

 

Damon Young: What’s the subtitle again? 

 

Aisha Harris: Wannabe Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me. You can preorder it now wherever you like to preorder your books, and it’s coming out June 13th. That’s a collection of essays about growing up and loving pop culture and my relationship with pop culture. And in fact, like I even touch a little bit on some of the stuff we talked about today so you can hear more about it. Dave Chappelle makes an appearance. 

 

Damon Young: Boom. [laughter] Here we go. There’s a preview. It’s a preview. Here we go. All right. 

 

Aisha Harris: Cool. Thank you. [music plays]

 

Damon Young: Again, just want to thank Congresswoman Summer Lee, Aisha Harris for coming through. Great conversation. Thank you all for joining us again on Stuck with Damon Young. Remember subscribe and listen for free on Spotify. Also, if you have any questions about anything whatsoever, 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. Our executive producers are Kendra James and Sandy Girard. Our producers are Ryan Wallerson and Morgan Moody. Mixing and mastering from Sara Gibble-Laska and the folks at Chapter Four. Theme music by Taka Yasuzawa. And special thanks to Charlotte Landes. And from Gimlet and Spotify our executive producers are Krystal Hawes-Dressler, Lauren Silverman and Neil Drumming. Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Also special thanks to Lesley Gwam. Follow and subscribe to Stuck on Spotify. Tap the follow button and hit the bell icon to be notified when a new episode drops.