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October 06, 2022
Dare We Say
Slay Queen Yas Period (& other stolen language)

In This Episode

Gen Z slang may sound silly to other demographics, but joke’s on them: our BIPOC and queer elders are actually the ones who coined these terms! So, calling it “Gen Z slang” is…misleading. Join us as we talk about the history behind the “urban” in urban dictionary. Then, grab a hot drink and sit down with Alycia as she talks about Black hair during her new segment, Cafecito.

Show Notes

What Is African American Vernacular English (AAVE)?
The Language of Ballroom
Black English is being misidentified as Gen Z lingo, speakers say
A Twitter Account Is Tracking the Cringiest Misuses Of Black Language

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TRANSCRIPT

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Yasmine Hamady: Hello, hello. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: We’re back. Hi, guys. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hi. 

 

Josie Totah: Hi. I’m Josie. [singing]

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hi. I’m Yasmine! [singing] Oh wait that was terrific. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Wait do I have to sing now? I don’t want to sing.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah you have to sing it now you have to sing it. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Please, Alycia. Alcyia. But she’s actually going to sound good. That’s the difference. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No, I’m not singing it. Hi! 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Alcyia please. I’m Alyc– [starting to sing]

 

Josie Totah: This reminds me– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: One, two– 

 

Josie Totah: –Of that like clip that went viral on TikTok of Ariana Grande going, [starting to sing] He didn’t say I couldn’t sing. [laughter]

 

Yasmine Hamady: Wait, want to know somethi– I don’t know that clip. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I don’t know that clip either. [indistinct] cool.

 

Josie Totah: What!? Okay let’s not include that. Let’s start over. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No we should. Okay.

 

Josie Totah: Hi, I’m Josie. [laughter]

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hi, I’m Yasmine. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Hi, I’m Alycia Pascual-Peña. And this is Dare We Say. Hi!

 

Yasmine Hamady: Say we dare. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Sorry. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Is that the remix? 

 

Josie Totah: What’s this episode about? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Today we’re going to be talking about how Gen Z slang and its origins, more specifically, we’ll get into how AAVE and Black Queer Ballroom culture has influenced the words that we say today and how often those communities are forgotten when these words enter mainstream. So if you say slay, yas, period, and things like that nature, then listen up and get into this episode with us. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: So that means every single person who’s ever been on TikTok. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And I’m saying every single white girl at the University of Alabama who like meets one gay person and is like, slay!! 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No. 

 

Josie Totah: We’re– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Slay queen!

 

Josie Totah: But not not just like Alabama, but like Ashley at U [?] or like, you know, Sarah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yessss. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Not her calling out the name. [banter]

 

Yasmine Hamady: Sarah. Sarah at Columbia. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I’m disgusted that I know this because my algorithm must be broken because I had a sorority TikTok [gasp] come up on my for you page and I was livid. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: We should all– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: But it’s– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: But I want you to–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –rush week, it’s rush week. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: You love Rush week. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I– 

 

Josie Totah: Is it?

 

Yasmine Hamady: I can’t wait for Alycia to– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That was the most oppressive thing you’ve ever said to me. [laughter] I’m a need you to go away. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Bye. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And this is just gonna be Josie and I talking. Thank you very much.

 

Yasmine Hamady: I’m leaving the episode. Have a good one, you guys. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Bye. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Bye. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: All right, let’s get in to it. [music break] Hi, guys. Don’t forget to follow us at @DareWeSay on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/darewesay. [music break]. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: All righty. Guys, chicas, my sisters, people are, like, kind of obsessed with the way that Gen Z talks because the internet moves so quickly and our generation is so online. Zoomers pick up so many new terms so fast. And since the words are usually pretty fun or funny, young people use the terms and tend to go viral and then get associated with the slang. But a lot of the time, Gen Z didn’t come up with that vernacular that’s associated with them. Instead, it comes from a long history of American dialects that exist because communities that are minorities, specifically BIPOC and queer people, had to stick together to form a safe space where they were able to communicate in a way that only their community really grasped. So it’s a question whether our broader generation should even be using these terms at all. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So first and foremost, I do want to define AAVE. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So what we’re talking about is African American Vernacular English, which is a dialect that is acknowledged as a real dialect. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like Stanford, Oxford, all of these um institutions, academic institutions, have said that this is a dialect. It’s a real form of language. And then obviously queer ballroom culture that just now, like within the last two years um has vernacular and terms that they use that have become mainstream as well. To start off this conversation, now that we have defined what exactly we’re talking about, AAVE/Ebonics/ballroom and queer BIPOC um vernacular, what slang do you guys use? And do you know where it comes from? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I say slay. Every second of the day. And– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You do. You do.

 

Yasmine Hamady: I do. I do. [laughter] And and I’ll tell you, the Arabs did not come up with it. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh, my God. Really? I didn’t know that. [in a sarcastic tone]. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No they did not. It’s– fair. Um. It came from um ballroom culture um specifically. I recently watched Paris Is Burning. Every ally ever who’s like, I’m I’m an ally. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You texting me, do you want to watch– I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it multiple times. [laughing]

 

Yasmine Hamady: I, Well, I feel like I needed to see it. A.) Because if I’m going to use the word– 

 

Josie Totah: Well why not watch it again Alycia? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: She was going to. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I was with my mother. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: She was supposed to. She texted me, come here. And I said no, because you’re– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. So I actually did watch it again. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Because I was not. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: But. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. You. We were going to. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Um. And it was just so astounding how so many of the words like shade, reading, slay, like everyday words that people use who have no idea where they stem from and and the gravity it really holds. And I had to check myself as well. Like I went to bed, like, thinking, like. Do I even get to say those words? Truly. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That’s like a powerful revelation. 

 

Josie Totah: For me. I honestly feel like I didn’t use those words when I was younger. Or maybe I did when I was younger. I don’t know, because I didn’t want to come off as queer when I was younger, which– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Hmm. 

 

Josie Totah: –Which I think made me a better ally to those communities, because I wasn’t really appropriating because I was trying to pretend to not be queer. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Ally! 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Ally! 

 

Josie Totah: But then as life went on and I discovered, like, my own identity through being, like, trans and stuff and like, seeing, like, my trans people that I look up to, like, use certain vernacular, like, period, like slay, like, I mean certain trans vernacular like, you know, like clocking or like something being fish or something like whatever. But I realized, like, that doesn’t stem from like white trans people, it stems from like Black trans people who started those terms and cultivated those terms. But 100% I used to not know that. I mean, I remember saying so much all the time. And I think obviously not I mean, not obviously, I think becoming friends with you, Alycia, was super helpful because you were the first person to be like, uh that’s actually not, you know, where it’s not your people that said that. And um even though I was aware of what appropriating meant, I feel like because our world is so ingratiated in this, in appropriating, like I feel like our generation literally is [someone reacting with a yell] branded by appropriation. I mean, but it’s also not just our generation. I feel like culture, society in general and culture is naturally a vulture of other people’s culture and sound like a haiku.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Um. That that was a sonnet. [laugh] Can we just take a second. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That was such a beautiful poem. 

 

Josie Totah: Because of you, I started correcting other people and sometimes I feel like I did it a little too much and [laughter] cut to the wide please. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Could never. 

 

Josie Totah: Cut to the wide. Um. [laughter] There we go. And um anyway. But, you know, I remember, you know, just being in the car with so many people and being like, oh, you can’t say that word– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh my god. 

 

Josie Totah: –or you can’t say that. And then I just became like a like a white um like a white savior. Anyway, continue. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No. Oh, my gosh. That’s so funny. Ugh. I freaking love you. I’m so sorry. I have to mention this is such a random ass story, but it just popped into my brain. I will never forget. Josie and I were in the van. Right, leaving work after, like a 14, 15 hour day. And someone had said something so offensive, they used a slur. Like they are a non-Black person that used a slur. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Oh god. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I think that I was so– and mind you, you guys know me very well. I have no problem turning around and checking someone. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I will never try to do it with malice. I never try to do in a rude way. I actually try to use it as an educational moment. And by no means am I saying that I know everything. But usually I am the person in the room to be like, hey, that’s not okay. I would appreciate if you didn’t say that. I was so just disgusted and so in shock and I didn’t have the words because I was so depleted emotionally after that very long day. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah! 

 

Josie Totah: And Josie, so beautifully did not need to be told, um did not need to be asked. She just immediately stuck up for me and made the person who was the most at risk and the most affected by what had been said feel protected. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Good. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So being me as the– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –Black person in the room. And she was just like, that is not okay. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And mind you like this was pretty early on in our friendship and it just meant the world. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: It meant the world. And she shot it down so quickly and was like, that is offensive. You should not be saying that. You will not say that around us. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And did it make it this grandiose moment? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Where we kept on pushing, and I thought it was really beautiful. And I was like, that’s that’s friendship, that’s allyship. And that’s also, like the world would be a better place if it looked like that. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And this is so random. But it came to my head and I was also it was kind of funny because Josie’s Josie so there’s a comedic tone to anything that she says. 

 

Josie Totah: I was like, I was like where, I was like, Are you Black? [laughter]

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That was a– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I can so imagine– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yes. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: –her saying looking– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: She looked at her straight up and she goes, are you Black? Do you identify as a Black woman?

 

Josie Totah: And she, and she was like, No, I identified as this. And I was like, so you’re not Black, right? I was like, so don’t say that. But it’s also like that’s when it’s– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And then she read her. 

 

Josie Totah: But that’s when it’s easier to correct someone because a slur is a slur, obviously. But I feel like where– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –The line becomes a little bit less clear, a little bit more gray area is when it’s like it’s not a slur but it’s like– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: They way she’s doing this. The answer, she’s like, it’s the gray area. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah, it’s it’s like the Ebonics of it all. 

 

Josie Totah: Exactly. When it’s like, you know, things like that part, period, slay. I mean, what are the other like? What are words that we hear on TikTok? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Heard you. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like. 

 

Josie Totah: All the time. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Oh no cap. 

 

Josie Totah: Bet. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: See yeah. So–

 

Josie Totah: The word bet. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I– 

 

Josie Totah: Oh yeah. No cap. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No, yeah. Like no cap. Deadass. Like, okay, so obviously like most people know also because every New Yorker like brands themself with with everyone knowing this but um like being from the Bronx. Being from New York. We speak a totally different language, and I love that about us. We fully live in Ebonics, right? But because of survival, you code switch a lot. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You know what I mean? And then this is where we start to get into, like, the culture vulture and like, it’s just unacceptable to me if you didn’t come from an area or you never spoke like this, or even more importantly, I had people drag me in high school and I had people make fun of me and tell me that that was an uneducated way to speak. And now speak like that because–

 

Yasmine Hamady: Of course. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –It’s more mainstream. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Of course! 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Or and it’s like, let me clout, let me, that’s not English. Let me get clout. Because I’m speaking like this. Even though Black people in this country are still discriminated against. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: 100%. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Or looked down upon. And honey, I can bring out court cases. A lawyer sued a school district because they were seeing that African-American students in the school district. I’m forgetting exactly where this was. Um. Were being looked down upon and we’re being told to not speak that way in class. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Huh. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: But there’s a difference between grammar and then telling children how you speak at home is unacceptable. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Basically are you speaking white? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Speak white.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. And it’s like about proximity to whiteness and– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You know, associating and and and then also they like there’s this other aspect, right. Of like, for example, in the George Zimmerman case, Trayvon Martin, where his life was taken unjustly. Well, death is just unjust in general. He was murdered, because of racism. That is point blank period what happened. A young boy was murdered in the streets um by a person that thought it was okay to take a Black person’s life. Um. And George Zimmerman, who was on trial, there was obviously testimonies of how this was unjust, this was unacceptable. He needed to serve time, which isn’t justice. Justice would be that Trayvon Martin would still be here. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: But that he would be facing consequences and be held accountable for what had happened. Correct. And there were testimonies throughout the case. And one of the women specifically um was giving her testimony and was mainly speaking in AAVE. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And there was the argument made that because of the vernacular in which she was using and because of how she was speaking, it was deemed unacceptable and her testimony wasn’t as valid. And then research and due diligence was done after the case. And lawyers deemed that one of the reasons that he got served with what he was served was because of the discrimination towards the Black people giving testimonies. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Of course. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Does that make sense? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yes, it does. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So all of that goes to say in that awful case, in that awful instance, that people love to say that, oh, it’s just a few words, because Josie has seen people tell me that when I was like, hey, I don’t feel that comfortable with you using that language, or did you grow up speaking that way, or were people that you were raised with speaking that way? Because I do ask curious questions as well, because I don’t know people’s history. Right? But a lot of people throw on this Blackccent and code switch for fun and for commodity, not for survival. I’ve had to code switch out of survival and say it’s not that big of a deal but that’s not true, because this ends up being very problematic in a lot of ways, not only in companies, not only just–

 

Yasmine Hamady: In schools– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Everywhere, you were, yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: On social media, in schools and then in law. Because still to this day, Black people are facing discrimination and aren’t allowed to talk like this in in workplaces and are deemed uneducated and lazy and are fighting these these ideas put on Black people from minstrelsy. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And the times in which Black people were enslaved, because AAVE goes all the way back to the way individuals who were enslaved, so Black people in this country when they were enslaved on plantations, had to create their own language. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. To survive. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: To survive. And it’s kind of the same thing with like the queer community. They created this language out of community. Out of, out of um cultivating a place where they felt safe because society wasn’t– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –Protecting them and making them feel safe. And then there’s this really interesting intersectionality right between Black AAVE and Ebonics and then ballroom culture. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: What we’re trying to pinpoint here and show is that there is a distinct double standard between when one type of person uses this language and another type of person, and that these words are not just words. Because I feel like we hear a lot of people, a lot of white people in social media, not just white people, people they might be people of color and may just not be Black people or they may be Arab people who are not Black people say, oh, I grew up around these people. It was okay for me to say it, you know? But to those people I just tell them, like, you know, when you say it, it’s cool and it’s fun and it’s edgy and you know, you’re you sound like you’re in a rap song. But when what we’re trying to show you is like when a when a Black person says it or uses that language. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: They are persecuted for it and are told–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: It’s– 

 

Josie Totah: That they are– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: It’s– 

 

Josie Totah: –All of these derogatory terms and discriminated against. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: So it’s not just words, is what we’re saying. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Completely. It holds gravity. I see in like TikTok, a lot of these influencers and like dancers, I’m not going to, I don’t want to name names. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Mm hmm. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: But they, they’ll say like per, period. Slay. Um. Yes queen. Yes girl. When I I genuinely pose the question that if you are one of those people who say that, do you know where that came from? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Mm hmm. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Do you know the gravity of what that holds? Because, like and I know you brought up the queer community and ballroom culture and AA- uh Ebonics. I watched there’s a film called Paris Is Burning that everyone should be watching. And I know we mentioned that. And it’s not just, oh, if you’re an ally, you should watch it. Like I genuinely wholeheartedly think it should be in our school’s curriculum.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Well you should be knowing who people are that have shaped this culture historically. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Uh. 1,000%. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Queer and Black people create everything you do. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Every single thing. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And everything you see. So do your due diligence and know where things are coming from. Especially because white TikTokers and exactly what Josie said, not just white people, but people that don’t come from these specific communities love to cosplay and use this language. And just like what Josie was saying, thank you. It’s the double standard. So not only is it like invalidating Black people’s experiences who’ve created this, but now people are making money and getting growth– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And progression in society because they’re using the language when mind you, still to this day as a black person and I do use Ebonics very frequently um and I try not to engage in respectability politics, obviously, like, you know, you speak differently in different spaces. But when I speak in Ebonics, it can still be deemed as ghetto or ratchet or people will invalidate what I say. Whereas when white people use, oh my gosh, like they’re just so– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: They’re so with the times. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: They’re so woke. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: They’re so with the times.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: They’re so lit which also if you’re still saying woke. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: If you’re still saying– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And also–

 

Yasmine Hamady: Sorry. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Side note, if you’re white and I’ve heard plenty of white people, do not use the word ghetto to me and do not say ratchet and do not like don’t do it because I won’t be happy and I’ll tell you that I won’t be happy. 

 

Josie Totah: Let’s talk about those words, because I think there are some people that are– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: So, you know, misinformed. That I mean, I don’t know why they still wouldn’t know that those words are bad. But like, let’s talk about why those words are not okay to use and words like the G word and like ratchet and, you know. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Words that I even used to use. I mean, why am I acting like I’m motherfucking Theresa. We all know– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah.

 

Josie Totah: –Here that I’ve come a long way, but like those words [laughter] were used as weapons– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –Against Black people to dehumanize them to other them, to monstrasize them and make Black people feel less human. And that’s why over the years, the words ghetto, ratchet, all these things are associated with white– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Josie Totah: –People’s ideals of Blackness or not all white peoples, but like white supremacist– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Ideals of Blackness and like which is why it’s incredibly problematic to use those words, because when you’re saying, Oh, that’s ghetto, it has a connotation that’s not entirely about the aesthetic of something. It’s attached to a community and a group because of the way that our society has attached it. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And a survival mechanism. I know, like I used to say, woke back in the day and I think I was in college when I actually read up on what it meant. And it means Black people used to say it, but when police were there um and stay woke, stay aware, stay safe, it’s literally a survival method and people are using it like stay informed. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like that leads me to, now on TikTok I’ll see it used. So like in New York we always used to say like yo she a op like, yo, there’s ops like this shit just got knocked. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That means, like for some people, they would be like, what did Alycia just say?

 

Yasmine Hamady: What does that mean? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So let me translate. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: What I just said, yo, there’s finna be ops there like that shit finna be knocked, means they’re going to be police officers there. It will not be safe for us as Black and Latin people, and um it’s going to be hit up by the police and maybe raided. It won’t be safe for us urban people. Go home. That is what I just said. So it is what you’re saying. Like not only is there like empowerment of a culture and a society that, like, has been oppressed, that’s what minorities are.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Right? As queer people or as Black people. But it is also like that safety aspect as well. And now I’ve seen white people like, Oh my God, he’s such a op. Like, What. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Girl do you know what that means? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Were you saying that two years ago? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No, they weren’t. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And do you know what that means? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No they don’t. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No they don’t. Fiona said, Fi– this is really great. It’s a lot of people who will uh describe like predominantly Black neighborhoods as sketchy, like, I don’t wanna go to Skid Row– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Ahh! Ahh!

 

Yasmine Hamady: The– I can’t go there. It’s really sketchy at night. I don’t want to walk alone. Oh, so there’s a lot of Black people there. So you just–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Just say that. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That’s the other thing it’s like I learned really quickly at a young age, ghetto, ratchet, sketchy, meant black. Like let’s talk about it. 

 

Josie Totah: Yeah that’s what I was trying to say.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: We live in Los– like yeah let’s let’s talk about it. Let’s be honest. I personally go out in downtown L.A. a lot. Right? And I know people that are like the places that you go are always so fun. They always play that music. That’s–

 

Yasmine Hamady: That music. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –so cool.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Wait, can we say that music? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That– exactly that music. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: That music. Okay,

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That is so cool. And these are genuine conversations I have on a weekly basis. I’m like, Yeah, thank you. Like it’s a vibe. Like, you know, like my friends, we found places down that we like, whatever. It’s because it’s predominately Black spaces and I’m going to go where I feel safe and empowered. All that goes to say, what makes me laugh is I’ve heard um a lot of people say I would never go downtown. I refuse to go downtown. And I’m like, why is that? And you know, sometimes people say the very politically correct answer which is like, [scoff] parking. It’s so hard to drive down– and then I’ve had– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s actually easier– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And then– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s easier than West Hollywood. I’m sorry. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And then. And then it’s funny because people that don’t even know how problematic it is will be honest and be like, you just [sigh] Alycia, you feel safe down there? And I’m like, Yeah. Like, I’m I’m aware of my surroundings and I know that I’m a young woman in America, but, like, I’m smart, pretty intuitive, and and, like, also the places I go, I feel safe, and I’m around a lot of Black people, and it just it makes me laugh because it’s cool when people decide it’s to be cool. It’s like that quote, like, everybody wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hmm. 

 

Josie Totah: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And it’s like everybody wants to like everybody wants to do queer shit until it’s like actually dealing with, like, homophobia and transphobia and what it means to be a queer person– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –In the nation that’s still dealing with discrimination. Also, random. Shout out to Cuba. Um.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Just legalizing gay marriage. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Wait, I was like, what the fuck just happened. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I know you were like–

 

Yasmine Hamady: We’re like, shout out Cuba. Okay. Yeah, sure we can. We will shout out Cuba. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Josie was like, Alycia is going through her mental breakdown, but no. Shout out to Cuba. It’s super late. But I was just– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Josie you were going to say something. 

 

Josie Totah: I want to say that um, you know, you can say you don’t want to go to a area because you don’t feel safe in that area. I mean, downtown is historically has not been like a hun– a very a very safe area. And but it’s it’s you have to ask yourself– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah no for sure. 

 

Josie Totah: –Ask yourself, why are you saying that? You know what I mean? When you say oh it’s sketchy– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yes. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yes Josie.

 

Josie Totah: –it’s like well why are you saying it’s sketchy? Is it because it’s predominantly– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Full of Black and Brown people, or is it because it’s full of people who are– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Historically disenfranchized and who come from lower incomes or– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. 

 

Josie Totah: Like, you know, it’s like, right. No one’s asking you to be like to to change completely, like your perspective on where you go. Even– Because we also have friends that are Black that say they don’t want to go downtown. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Not to say that they judge downtown. But it’s it’s– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Why you’re saying that. What you mean by that and I don’t know why– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –I felt the need to explain that because I don’t want people to be like, Oh I don’t feel safe– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No, I’m glad you did. 

 

Josie Totah: –going to this back alley or whatever, you know? Because I mean–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No because it’s also like. It’s also like be smart. Like I’m, I’m very aware of the world. Like I’ve told friends of mine, like don’t go to where I’m from, like, like my family’s from the South of Bronx. Like, I do not want my little college friends from Poughkeepsie, New York, who have never been in that area, don’t know how to work a train system to go to certain parts of the world, like please preserve your safety. But I think it’s exactly what Josie’s saying. Like, why exactly are you saying that? Or like, why are you saying this place is so urban? It’s so cool. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Urban. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Is it– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: That word– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Is it like– 

 

Josie Totah: First of all yeah– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Also why am I still getting–

 

Josie Totah: –the word urban should not be in your– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Drop that shit. 

 

Josie Totah: –dictionary. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And that’s to Hollywood specifically, because I’ve seen the casting calls– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Why am I still getting breakdowns with urban. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: –Alycia gets– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I’ve showed them to you. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s all breakdowns and it’s like uh urban, speaks in Black vernacular. Urban. Okay, just say it then. You’re being like that. You’re being racist like– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: –That. That’s inherently racist. And you know, the people who are writing these character breakdowns are white individuals. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: You know that 1,010%. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I’ve straight up asked like my manager, who I’m who I adore um and is a lovely Black woman herself. I’ve said like, who’s directing this? Who’s writing this? 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Huh. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Because it’s funny, because sometimes I don’t even know that I need to ask because I can read something that is telling a story about a disenfranchized individual from a low income community and tell that it was written by a Black person because there’s authenticity and specificity that I can feel because I am that, right? And there are times I don’t even need to ask because I see it and I read it and it doesn’t feel authentic and words are being misused and AAVE is being used improperly. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: So– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And it’s like the same thing that you see on social media. Like you have seen brands like Dolls Kill or other random ass brands, frickin CVS being like it’s giving fall season.

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s giving, it’s giving. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Come pick up and– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s giving. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I’m like, it’s giving what sis? What are you talking about? 

 

Josie Totah: It’s giving. [laughter]

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Not my accent. Not.–

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s giving. Can we–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Not my whole accent coming out. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: That– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And then it’s like also like with with the queer community, right? Like it makes my skin crawl. And it’s, it’s sad because I’m like, how do my siblings feel who are gender nonconforming or trans and from these communities and this is how they speak to survive or how they speak only to feel empowered. And you have like miss girl from Texas being like slay sis period. And I’ve had so many of like my queer siblings be like it’s invalidating because now I feel like you are looking at me like as a character and invalidating my humanity and just associating– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Ah yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –Words with my experience. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I’m like, tea. 

 

Josie Totah: I just think we should be clear here in what we’re talking about it. So I want to ask you, Alycia, who it’s like not only who is allowed to say what, but who knows who is allowed to say what. And what do we ask of people when we hear certain vernacular? I mean, I think we just ask the people– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –To, like, look things up. If you don’t know what something means, you probably shouldn’t say it. And that’s something– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Shouldn’t say it. 

 

Josie Totah: That Alycia has had to tell me. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I say it every day. 

 

Josie Totah: Multi– every day. No. Not every day to me. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No, not, you. Not you baby. 

 

Josie Totah: Okay. But– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I was saying other people. 

 

Josie Totah: But. But. But. Pero but. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Pero like? 

 

Josie Totah: Like what do– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh my gosh. Latina.

 

Josie Totah: –We do in a world where our society is so convoluted with appropriation that we might not know that we’re– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Saying something that is appropriating and who is allowed to say what and how are we supposed to know who is allowed to say why? And also, like, is there ever going to come a time where where you don’t have to be allowed? Or should we just respect for the rest of eternity people’s vernacular as their own community? And at one point, does appropriation cross over to appreciation or is appreciation– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah Josie. 

 

Josie Totah: –Non-existent in vocabulary? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: What we call pop culture is everything that is taken from Black, Queer– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –Indigenous people. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That is a fact. Um. And you know, we’re seeing with trends now like right now super recent like just three days ago, Halle Bieber, nothing against her. You know, I think that she was just expressing her– 

 

Josie Totah: Hailey Bieber. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hailey Bieber. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh Hailey. 

 

Josie Totah: Wait. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh my God. 

 

Josie Totah: But I want you to answer my question. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Anyways I will. I will I will answer to your question. I will answer your question. But I’m answering what Yas said as well, I will answer your question. Um. But like the brownie lip trend or whatever like. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Uh huh. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Just the clean girl aesthetic, whatever. I’m like Black women have been doing that forever. Latino women have been doing that forever. And if anything, we were deemed as like, oh, urban ratchet girls who had the nails and had everything that white people are having now and now it’s cute and popular which is [indistinct]. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I mean, I’m I’m technically doing that right now. 

 

Josie Totah: Wait so–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No you look very cute in your [indistinct]. 

 

Josie Totah: But do you understand what– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: But– 

 

Josie Totah: I’m saying so what– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –But to answer your ques– 

 

Josie Totah: do you say to– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yes I understand what– 

 

Josie Totah: No, no. Now–

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –it makes it okay and what makes it doesn’t. 

 

Josie Totah: No, no. No because now you brought up another thing. So now I’m talking about this other thing because I’m just like– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –What do you say to Hailey Bieber? Do you know what I’m saying? Like, what do you– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Oh, in like moments like that. 

 

Josie Totah: What do you say to her? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Absol– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Yeah. What do you say to her? Because I mean, clearly, I don’t know her past. I think she has some possibly problematic things that has to be so, so many, who hasn’t? But like, from what I do know of her is that she seems to be a progressive, more progressive queen. And I have seen her– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Uplift black women and like so to someone– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Like her who probably didn’t even know that making her lip liner like that and putting her gloss like that, like what do you say to her? How could she have done better and how can she do better? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: For sure. I think all these are great questions and I’ll answer all of them. Specifically for Halle. Right? That’s her– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Hailey. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Hailey. I knew this. I knew this. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: You said Halle. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I seem oh sorry. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Halle. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Hailey Hailey. Sorry.

 

Josie Totah: Alycia’s– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I seem like an awful person. 

 

Josie Totah: –Prejudiced against white names. [laughter] They can’t be just– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Let it be known. 

 

Josie Totah: They can’t just be– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Alycia is prejudiced against the whites. 

 

Josie Totah: –like Caucasian names? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: No, I was trying to spice it up. But–

 

Josie Totah: Not Hailey it’s Halle.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I have so much respect. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. So much respect to Hailey. I actually agree with you, Josie. I think that she is like a progressive woman. I don’t know her in detail. I’m not, like, the best with keeping up with models and stuff. As you guys know, as I butchered her name anyways. Specifically what I would tell someone like Hailey Bieber is like so many people are, like, in uproar and livid at the girl. Like, am I livid with her? Am I super angry at Hailey? Absolutely not. One, it’s like, maybe don’t give something a name. You know what I mean? Like, she called it, like, so ready to wear, like, this brownie lip trend. And it’s like a lot of, like Black and queer bloggers and social media people are like, okay, don’t give it a name if you don’t want to be empowered behind that name. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: One. Right. But I don’t think that she did it from a place of malice and it’s like it’s less problematic that Hailey did this thing. Do I love that she did it? As a black woman? I’ll be honest, no, but I don’t think that she meant it with mal-intent. I think the bigger problem that we need to be talking about is like, why do we still live under an infrastructure and a society and algorithms that empower that, but not empower the Black and queer people that have always been doing it. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: 100%. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So Hailey isn’t the issue. She is just– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: A product of the issue. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: She is an example within the paradigm in which we live under that uplifts whiteness, that empowers and perpetuates the trends of white people, even though that Black people have created it and have always been doing it. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You guys have seen me take a black liner to my lip with gloss in the middle. And where have I gotten that? From my Black owned beauty store. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yes you have. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I’ve been doing that since I was a little girl when I get my edge control. So it is frustrating and invalidating. Am I livid with her? No. Did she mean to do it? No. Like, I think I am a pretty empathetic and intelligent person. I understand that she didn’t do it with malice, even though I have seen TikToks of white people um be like I’m not– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: The clean girl aesthetic. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And be like I’m not stopping using AAVE it’s Gen Z slang like or I’m not going to stop doing that, even being held accountable. And there are so many celebrities that I won’t even give them the airtime, but there are so many celebrities who have been called out and Black people or queer people have tried to hold them accountable, being like, hey, you’re being a culture vulture. This is appropriation, not appreciation. We don’t like it. And they continue to do it because they get money from it. And those people I will actively be angry at. And then the conversation about like vernacular in general. Look, I understand how language works. I understand how cultural diffusion work, but the innate nature of linguistics. 

 

Josie Totah: What does that mean? 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: That’s what I’m explaining. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yes. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Right now. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Okay. 

 

Josie Totah: Oh. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: The nature of linguistics. And the way that language evolves right is we gain language from other things.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like we’ve talked about this Yas, Spanish and Arabic or even a lot of other languages have similar sounding words– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Because of cultural diffusion, because– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Completely. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –People traveling the world because of immigration. Right. So I understand that like naturally there will be words that go into the mainstream and can be used and will be coming from Black people. But it’s like. Ask yourself a slew of questions before you use it. When did you start hearing it? Where does it come from? If it was coming out of a non white person’s mouth or a non cis hetero person’s mouth, how would you feel about it when they say it? Do you laugh when other people say it because it seems unnatural to who you are in your spirit? Ask yourself, can I actually break down what this word means? Am I using it improperly? Um. Do I hear other white people use it a lot? Do I mainly hear it in rap songs? And being said from people that don’t look like me. Would my mom and dad be okay with me saying this word? Because I’ve walked into the white houses of like, no. [laugh] The political White Houses, no. I walked into my friend’s houses who– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: She walked into Joe Biden’s house. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Exactly. Um. And I walked into their houses and heard them code switch because their parents would deem it undesirable how they were talking. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Uh huh. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So if you wouldn’t say dead ass and bet and no cap in front of your parents because they would be like, stop talking like that. You’re talking like the street. And don’t talk like that ever. Because not everyone, not everyone has the privilege of going in and out of spaces and putting it on and taking it off. 

 

Josie Totah: I’m glad that you brought something that’s really important up that I think a lot of people don’t know, which is code switching and what that means for a Black person, a BIPOC person um or even I don’t know if this is a thing in the queer community um or if it’s just in the black community, but changing your vernacular to assimilate and be safe in any given situation, whether it’s as a Black person changing your vernacular in a place of work to assimilate because you could be fired from using AAVE and not just the corporate world, but any place of work or– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: In any yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –Whether it’s changing your vernacular to assimilate in a predominately white school because that certain language isn’t used. And I know that’s something that affects you on an everyday basis Alycia. So I didn’t know if you wanted to talk about how that affects you and also how you view that when it comes to language. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah, for sure. I think that’s a great question. Thank you. Um. Growing up, code switching was something that, like I violently did because I had to survive and because frankly, I think you guys know this, but I learned later on in life I equated a lot of my self-worth with intellect and my academic achievements because I felt like because I was the only Black woman in most of the spaces I was in, because I always went to predominately white institutions my entire life. I’ve never I’ve never had a Black teacher in my life. So–

 

Josie Totah: Wow, I actually didn’t know that. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You didn’t? I think it’s just something that is like so embarrassing, like as a as a Black woman. All of that goes to say, a lot of the time I felt the need to feel like the smartest person in the room. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So I felt the need that I needed to be super eloquent and the most articulate and never questioned about where I came from, especially because English is my second language. And I come from the Bronx um and I was always like having these discourses about like my identity with people. Um. So whenever I was in school I spoke extremely proper, especially with what I was studying. I wanted to pursue law because and that’s why my undergrad was in political science. I’m fully a dropout y’all like that that didn’t happen. You hear me on a podcast, but– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I’m dead. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: All that aside um. I like aggressively had to code switch. And it’s funny because growing up I didn’t have that term. Code switching is something that I always did and Black people knew that we did it. Like I knew that around other Black people I could be like ugh. Yo the way like deadass I’m so tired like I could speak like that around certain people and I couldn’t around others. Like I knew at home I could speak that way. I knew at school I couldn’t, so I would have to code switch. Um. But I thank God, as I got older, I was like, I’m intelligent and my thoughts and my opinions are valid no matter how I’m speaking or what vernacular I’m using. And I deserve to be listened to because I’m a human being [laughing] and I should be respected for my humanity. And I’m very like privileged now because I am like, you know, quote unquote “in the entertainment industry,” that I feel less of a need to codeswitch. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I think also like with wisdom as an adult, as a grown ass, you know, Afro-Latina woman, I’ve also said like I want to not engage in respectability politics as much. I still have to we like it’s, it’s bureaucracy, it’s the world that we live in. So I still code switch, but I think I’m more active about saying like, if I want to say it like this, I’m going to say like this.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: You know what I mean? Um. But yeah, I had to code switch and I think a lot of people do and I think queer people do too. Like, I think there’s a difference between being in like, you know, queer spaces and people being like, yo, you just [?]. Like you’re giving everything that I need and more like no tea, no shade, no pink lemonade. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yup. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Like, I have a best friend now that’s Latino that would never speak like that in workspaces um because he has kept like his sexuality private. Um. But with me and with people of color and queer people, he will. So it’s it’s very like interesting. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I also feel like, well, first of all, thank you for sharing that Alycia with us. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Of course. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Um. 

 

Josie Totah: Yeah thank you. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And I think and I think it’s important to also, also say that it is never a Black or Brown or queer person’s job to educate the rest of us. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It is never your job. So thank you for taking the time to even– 

 

Josie Totah: Yeah thank you. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: –do that for us. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Thanks. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Because it is our responsibility and it is our duty, not only as just humans like decent human beings, but also to show support, encouragement, uplift and allyship to do the research ourselves. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And I think Alycia– uh Josie brought up a really important thing and that’s do your own fucking research.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Ask yourself these questions because I understand there’s a lot of things like when I was younger I used to say, no cap, deadass and I had no idea where they came from. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I remember we’ve talked about that. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And it’s a lot of unlearning that you have to do. And once you acknowledge that, but you don’t change anything and that’s willful ignorance. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Mm hmm.

 

Yasmine Hamady: And that is unacce– And that’s racism. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And you’re being complicit in like oppression and–

 

Yasmine Hamady: 100%. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –People being invalidated in their community. And I have to say to Josie and Yas, thank you as sisters, for always making me feel safe enough to have these conversations, because I think a lot of Black people feel the need to, like, dilute their real voice. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Or invalidate who they are so that they can assimilate or because they feel like they’re going to be combated. And I feel empowered not only because of my journey, but because of amazing, lovely people such as you guys to know that I’m going to be supported when– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Always. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: –I say, yo, that isn’t cool. Like, like dead that like I don’t feel comfortable with you saying that, I feel unsafe and I know I’m going to be supported by y’all. And not to sound cliche, but these are the conversations that change things. Like also me, I’m not perfect. I don’t know where everything comes from. I’m a sit there and do my due diligence. Like I’m a look shit up. And I’m going to also be honest from where I come from and use the words that I have grown up hearing, I’m not going to try to like co-opt certain words that I use and switch them for other ones because I think they’re more popular. I think things are also about sincerity and authenticity, like going back and answering Josie’s question. And then also like I, this is like a super personal story. But here’s to the pod. Um. One of my best friends from high school, um we were talking about the entire, like rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mmm. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: This is a white woman. We were very close in high school and she’s straight up in a car like on the way to [?] while I was home, while I was protesting stuff. She was just like, I just want to say, like, I’m sorry for everything that you experienced and that I took a hand in not standing up for you. And she said something like, that was a really beautiful conversation. Like still to this day, it was a really formative moment for us. But then she said something that got me really emotional at the time and I was really offended and I’m glad that it could be an educational moment. But she said, I just wish other Black people spoke like you, like weren’t so angry or didn’t like, you know, like talk the way they do at protests. And I was like, what? And she was like, you know what I mean like? You’ve given speeches at protests and you have talked about things, but like  you talk about it in a certain way that I feel like I understand and– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: She just was saying, you’re not an angry Black woman talking. That’s basically what she was saying. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And I don’t think that she understood, like, how much anger like rose in me at the time. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And then me, um because I am who I am, immediately started to change how I spoke and I was like, let me keep it a buck with you like let me keep it a hundred right now. And I was like, whether I am speaking like this and talking about you know, oppression and systemic racism and institutionalized oppression. And if I’m speaking like that or if deadass be yo like these cops are killing us in the streets and as Black people we don’t feel and if I’m talking like that. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And with a little bit more grit and a little bit more anger, you should be listening to us regardless. So I said, what you just said is extremely offensive. 

 

Josie Totah: Right. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: She she took a step back and she was like, oh, um because that definitely was not the response that she thought she was going to get. But then from that moment on, we’re still friends. I still love that woman. But it just it took me aback because I think it reminded me how many people think that way. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: 100%. And I mean, I think also I mean, I wasn’t there in that car, but I think what I can imagine her ignorance was also coming from was of someone being like, why can’t someone be less upset about something that is affecting them? Which– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Mm hmm. 

 

Josie Totah: –is the most counterintuitive question. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: Because you can’t ask someone to not be upset about something that they’re the victim of. And just because Alycia has gained the strength and the peace and the courage with her relationship with God and the world to be so gracious in expressing, you know, how she feels to people like us, like doesn’t mean that everyone has to go out of their way to do the exact same. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: 100%. 

 

Josie Totah: And people react the way they react. But that also just goes in with um I mean, before I start wrapping this up, also, just like you should never comment on anyone’s speech pattern, language, vernacular– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: No. 

 

Josie Totah: –flow, in general. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: It’s weird. 

 

Josie Totah: Like the amount of times I’ve heard people say, like, oh, Alycia is so articulate, like your friend is so articulate or, you know, I’ve never heard anyone say that about my white friends. And that’s not just because they are marginally stupider than Alycia, but it’s also because they are white and– [laughter] 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: And. And. And no one– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah. 

 

Josie Totah: –expects–

 

Yasmine Hamady: Josie well said. 

 

Josie Totah: No one doesn’t expect, you know, a white person to to not sound articulate, but they expect for some reason Black people to not meet a bar of of how they uh of linguistics or what is, you know, appropriate for them. So to those people, I just say, like and anyone, you know, all that we’re asking is to think a little bit more before you say and before you do something. And in a world where, you know, culture is constantly shifting, we have to remember that the people steering these ships and the people that have been steering these ships for a long, long years and time, times, times ago are people of color. They are queer people. And, you know, they’re are white people, too. Like, I’m sure white people are starting trends too like the bass pro hat, you know, is a cute moment and I should shout out to all my white– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah! Fishing! 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Ohh! 

 

Josie Totah: –fish– 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Not even that. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Wait, wait.

 

Yasmine Hamady: What if that didn’t even come from white people. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: I heard a TikToker be like, why are y’all using, like a white TikToker was telling other white people, stop using um, be fucking for real. Like, why don’t you use you’re just yanking my chain right now.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Please, please, please, please, please. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Or like, there were like other things that they were saying that I was crying. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: You’re sure crazy for that one. Like, yeehaw, yeehaw. You guys have that, good job. [starts clapping]

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Stop. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: But I do want to give credit where credit is so importantly due to the people who really paved the way. And I think it’s important to say their names as well and like give them credit. And this is specifically within the LGBTQ community. And they are Black and Brown um. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Individuals. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And I, they’re more than just individuals. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Icons. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: They are legends. Icons.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Legends, trailblazers. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: They’re Willi Ninja, Dorian Corey, Pepper LaBeija, Angie Xtravaganza, RuPaul, Junior LaBeija, Brooke Xtravaganza, all of these queer Black and Brown individuals. I’m getting goosebumps talking about them, have done this for decades, especially in a time that was so much harder than what it is today. And they went to a place they had those walks and also bring, this could be a different episode, but TikTok dances, TikTok dances, voguing, uh ballroom challenges, catwalks, all of those stem from Black and Brown queer people. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Very true. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And these white people’s are going on Ellen DeGeneres, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and they’re getting brand deals from pretty little thing because they’re they’re doing these dances and live audiences when they’re not even getting giving credit to the Black and Brown founders– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Creators. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: –Of these. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: For sure. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: So I want to give those people credit. And if you’re listening to this, I really implore you to do the research and actually ask your que– ask yourself these questions because we have so much unlearning to do. And it not only shows that you’re a better ally, but literally makes the world a better place and it makes a safer place for our family, for our friends. Please. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Sorry. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: So all that goes to say if you’re worried on whether you should say a word or it feels unnatural, don’t. Um. And then to also our queer LGBTQI+ and Black siblings be you you are valid in the way that you use your voice and the way that you speak. Don’t let anybody change you and uh keep slaying and giving all that you got. 

 

Josie Totah: Or don’t because you can’t say it. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh, yeah. Period! [laughter] [music break] Hi, guys. Come on in. Take a seat. This is Cafecito. with me, Alycia, where I will spill tea, get into some news, and honestly, sometimes just talk shit about things that bother me as a Black Latina woman in this country. And today we have to, we have to speak about non-Black people wearing braids. Hi. Braids. The thing that is in my head and I look phenomenal in yes, [indistinct] shout out to [indistinct] my hair braider. Yes. Queen. Support Black women and get your hair braided by Black women if you’re Black. But anyways, I don’t know what it is like. I’ve been getting my hair braided since I was a little girl um because I love my crown and I love my hair. And it’s a wear, it’s a way to wear my hair. Um. But as of late, I’ve been seeing it more and more and more, of non-Black people, specifically white people wearing braids and locks. And I’m just I just want to have a meeting, what’s going on? I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been going to more music festivals or I’m in L.A. where people think that they’re free and don’t see color, whatever the hell that means, because that doesn’t exist. But I keep seeing [laugh] white people wearing locks and braids and trying to debate me when I tell them that they shouldn’t be in braids. Look, I’m not here to police anybody’s language or self-expression, but I’m going to give you a couple reasons on why it isn’t okay. [bell ding] Number one, cultural relativism and context. If don’t know what that means. Look it up in a book, but I’ll try to explain it to you. It means that for us, Braids is not just a hairstyle. For Black people. We have historically always worn braids not only to protect our hair, but it has also been a way to freedom. People were wearing braids on slave ships when African people were enslaved and would hide rice in their braids to survive on these ships where they weren’t getting food. In addition, black people would braid maps into their hair in the south of America so that they would know the way to go to freedom to get to the north. So braids are not just a hairstyle for us, it is ours. It is historical. It is the way that we celebrate each other. It is literally and figuratively a protective style and also has been demonized and stigmatized in the workplace so much so that we had to put in legislation so that we wouldn’t get discriminated against for our braids and for our crowns, it’s called the Crown Act, support it. But most importantly, you guys look bad. You look ugly, like it doesn’t look good. I’m sorry. Sometimes you smell bad. I’m just going to say it. I don’t care um because you don’t know how to keep it up. And also your hair textures aren’t made for it. So do you want to end up with bald spots and looking crazy? Don’t do it. And also Josie, Yas and I have all very much so made people feel uncomfortable around us for wearing braids and locks if you’re white and I don’t care if your great great grandfather is Black, do you navigate the world as a Black person? Oh, you don’t. Then don’t wear braids and locks. It’s that easy. Thanks for drinking some coffee with me. [?] Cheers. Salud. [music break] Okay, guys. Back wait– 

 

Josie Totah: Connections. I’m alone in the wilderness. Um. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Scotland. 

 

Josie Totah: So I’m joining via cell phone now. That was a great convo guys. [laughing] 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: This is deranged. Yes um. Josie to via Scotland on my phone. Uh. It was a great episode. Did you guys enjoy it? Did you learn something? Thank you for allowing me the space to rant. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Always, always, always. I think it’s important, no matter what. Not only as like your best friends and sisters, but also just as people of the world to give you the space, to uplift you, to encourage you. It’s not only um I see a lot of like slogans on infographics like support Black and Brown people. That’s the bare minimum. It’s encourage, it’s love, it’s uplift. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. And be authentic about your support. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And mean it.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah so um. 

 

Josie Totah: And give them your money. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Reparations. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Well you know where I stand. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Reparations. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Reparations all the way. 

 

Josie Totah: Or their or they’re trans [indistinct] best friends money. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: I can’t. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Show up and pay up. Be about it. Don’t just talk about it. Right. Keep it a buck. But anyways. Yeah um. [laugh] Yeah disenfranchise people like don’t police your language, talk however you want to talk and also people from not those communities. Be cool, show up, be a Gen Z-er if you are that but a don’t use anything that’s not authentic so. Adios.

 

Yasmine Hamady: Yeah you’re gonna use [?], Slay, period, reading, giving, girl. You better know where that came from. And that’s all I’m going to say.

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Yeah. And so turn up on this Thursday. Have a great day. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Happy Thursday. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Whatever day you’re listening, Josie? 

 

Josie Totah: Um, uh. Goodbye. And and in a universal language everyone can understand. Have a beautiful day. If you’re a [?], you better swig that bottle of liquor on our [?]

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Oh, alright. Bye!

 

Yasmine Hamady: Okay, so thank you so much. Bye you guys. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Bye! 

 

Josie Totah: –better hit that– 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: Adios! 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Bye! 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: [?] Buen dia.

 

Josie Totah: Dare We Say is a Crooked Media production. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: Caroline Reston is our showrunner, producer and mommy, and Ari Schwartz is our producer and show daddy. Fiona Pestana is our associate producer and Sandy Girard is the Almighty Executive Producer. 

 

Josie Totah: It’s hosted and produced by me, Josie Totah. 

 

Yasmine Hamady: And me Yasmine Hamady. 

 

Alycia Pascual-Peña: And me, Alycia Pascual-Peña. Vasilis Fotopoulos and Charlotte Landes, they are both our engineers. Brian Vasquez is our editor and theme music composer. Our video producers are Matt DeGroot, Narineh Melkonian, and Delon Villanueva and Mia Kellman. 

 

Josie Totah: Lastly, thank you to Jordan Silver, Gabriela Leverette, Jesse McLean, Caroline Heywood, Shaina Hortsmann, Deisi Cruz, Danielle Jensen and Ewa Okulate for marketing the show and making us look so damn good