The Left Will Win | Crooked Media
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March 19, 2024
Pod Save The People
The Left Will Win

In This Episode

Trump calls for a bloodbath, appeals court blocks Floridian ‘Stop Woke Act’, U.S. government scrambles for control of TikTok, and Regina King opens up about her son’s death by suicide.



In Ohio campaign rally, Trump says there will be a “bloodbath” if he loses November election

Regina King Opens Up About Son’s Death: “He Didn’t Want to Be Here”

Appeals court blocks Fla. ‘Stop Woke Act,’ says it’s a ‘First Amendment sin’

Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he’s putting together investor group to buy TikTok


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[AD BREAK] [music break]


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode, it’s me and Myles and Kaya talking about the underreported news in the last week with regard to race, justice, and equity. The news that you should have heard about. Probably didn’t, but now you will. Here we go. 




Kaya Henderson: Welcome, welcome, welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. We’re so excited to be with you again this week. Family, I’m Kaya Henderson. You can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya. 


Myles E. Johnson: Hi, my name is Myles E. Johnson. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for now at @pharaohrapture. 


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


Kaya Henderson: De’Ara is not with us this week, but she’ll be back. And this week we are talking about lots of interesting stuff that happened over the last week. Let’s start with the presumptive Republican nominee. That’s all I can call him. And the comments that he made over the weekend at this Ohio campaign rally. Well, he did two things right. He was talking about the auto industry. And he’s like, if I win, I’m going to put 100% tariffs on all foreign cars basically. Right. And these people are not going to sell these cars here. We’re going to sell American cars, which is super interesting. Many people were like, yay. And whoever really thinks that that’s going to happen. And in the second breath he’s like, and if I’m not elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath. It is it like, that’s the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath. And of course, his camp came back shortly after and said it’s going to be an economic bloodbath because Biden’s economic policies are going to create, you know, havoc for the country. And of course, the Dems have seized on this and are saying that he is once again inciting political violence. So, of course, I wanted to see what my friends thought about that um incendiary comment that Mr. Trump has made. 


DeRay Mckesson: You know I’ll say, I don’t know if you saw, but Mike Pence also came out saying that he would not support or endorse Donald Trump. The quote is, “It should come as no surprise. I will not be endorsing Donald Trump this year,” he said in an interview on Fox News. I think the thing that worries me about all these comments is how sort of people don’t really take them seriously. Like people are like, wow, that was really wild. That was what a crazy thing Trump said. And then it goes on to the next thing and you’re like that was sort of a, that was really nuts to say they’ll be a bloodbath. You know, many people have said this, but the normalization of terror, this moment reminds me of what the end of Reconstruction must have felt like. Like what happens when people are doing well, you know, at the end of the Obama era, we had good things happening. And then you find the white supremacists using every single, quote, “legal mechanism they can” to just strip people of power. So it’s like, you know, they installed judges at every single level. They gerrymandered the maps. They like, do every single thing that is, quote, “legal.” I think about what they’re doing to public education Kaya. I never thought I’d be alive to see taking hordes of money away from public schools and in the name of school choice and like not on like little experiments, but like trying to wipe out entire districts. But you are quote using the “legal mechanisms” and like this is reminiscent of the strategy at the end of reconstruction. And I’m worried that people like won’t see it until it’s too far gone. I was watching a reel this morning on Instagram and this Black woman and on this podcast, that was whatever it was, a Black woman and three Black guys. They were all sort of talking about like, we don’t do politics. And I’m like, y’all, they are going to take every amount of freedom you got. And, you know, maybe part of our work is to reframe what politics is, I don’t know. But people are just like not seeing it. And it’s like, oh, they are coming full steam ahead. 


Myles E. Johnson: I think that’s right. Um. DeRay specifically around like the normalcy part of it, like how regular it is. Because if I’m being honest, my reaction to that comment was like, wow, Trump said something wild for spring, groundbreaking. Like it just wasn’t, it just did not hit me. Like, like, I, I’m a little bit numb to it. What’s also interesting to me that I keep on thinking about it, is the motivation behind what Trump is saying too. That I think the bigger political motivation is of course like white supremacy and oppression. But Trump is saying whatever he has to say in order to stay out of jail. There’s a weird motivation behind what he’s saying and how he’s saying it, that I don’t know it’s like he’s just willing to say anything in order to galvanize and energize his base. And to me, that’s an interesting space to be in where there’s no thought of like, well, what does this mean eight years from now? Or what does this mean 16 years from now or whatever? It’s like, no, what does it mean for me to stay out of jail? And that’s an odd place to be with somebody who’s trying to be president. Like that type of desperation and lack of future sight. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m very worried about the normalcy, the we don’t do politics. I mean, this is how January 6th just popped up out of nowhere for many of us, right? Because we heard him sending these dog whistle messages and we heard him saying all kinds of crazy things, and we think we’re at a point where, of course, people wouldn’t act on that. Of course, whatever, whatever. And then on January 6th, out of nowhere for some of us, there’s a zillion people storming the Capitol. And I think that the same thing is happening right now. I, you know, one of Trump’s spokespersons was like, anybody believing this Democratic spin on this bloodbath comment is stupid. No, no, you are signaling exactly to the people what you want to happen if Trump is not elected. And if you did it January 6th, you can do it again. DeRay, you posted some data on the number of conceal and carry permits in DC, going from like 120 something to like 17,000 or something. And like, we can’t be naive about the fact that, like, people have guns, people have lots and lots of guns. We can’t be naive about the fact that so many people in the January 6th uprising were police people, military people, other law enforcement people. And like, I am very worried. I have friends who are Black and are gun enthusiasts, and they’re always like, Kaya, we got to take you to the range. Kaya, you got to get your permit. Kaya you got to and I’m like, do you think the race war is coming to, you know, Bowie, Maryland? And they’re like, you never know, right? And now I’m like, mmm, maybe I got to get me a conceal and carry permit, cause I don’t want to get caught out here when the people come for me. Literally.


Myles E. Johnson: I was over here like, you may not want to say uh, what part of Maryland [laugh]– 


Kaya Henderson: I don’t live in Bowie, Maryland. That’s where the people are. 


Myles E. Johnson: Ok got it. 


Kaya Henderson: But I do think that this is much more serious than people are taking it. I think that all of this, from the prosecuted Trump to the, you know, um for Black men Trump to the like, this dude is building a very broad coalition or is attempting to build a very broad coalition so that when it goes down, there are lots of people who are outraged. And I am so worried, y’all, I really am worried. I’m worried. I’m not worried about him. I am worried about the people’s response, his ability to galvanize people to do crazy stuff y’all mm.


DeRay Mckesson: The last thing I’ll say about this is that there is a question of who can you trust, because one of the interesting things I found, especially as we organize on the local level, is like people just can’t imagine that political leaders lied to them. Like they will do backflips to like, well, no, it probably wasn’t a lot to do anything but call it a lie. Like that is sort of especially on the left. I know, I know, I know the left better than I know the other sides. And it is really interesting because you look at the policy, it’s like, no, no, the strategy really is lock up Black people. That is the strategy. Whethere you want to call it a conspiracy or however you want to talk about it? Like the reality is that stealing a bar chocolate or whatever should not be a prison sentence and what is and not naming it as race. Y’all remember Sam Bankman-Fried is that he is being recommended, you know, he scammed a gazillion people out of a ton of money. He’s being recommended for a 50 year sentence. It will be one of the longest sentences of a white collar crime in American history. And I only know about this because the tech bros on Twitter had been outraged at the excessive sentence. They are like, how dare you? 50 years? It’s crazy. And I’m like, do you know how long we put people in prison for marijuana? 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 


DeRay Mckesson: This man defrauded he wiped out pension funds, stole people’s retire– like he made up money. Don’t like all this wild stuff. And people are like what a crazy sentence. And you’re like the guy who sold marijuana got 30. 


Kaya Henderson: But because Sam Bankman-Fried is a young white guy who comes from an upper middle class. 


Myles E. Johnson: Right. 


Kaya Henderson: Or an upper class background and whatnot, we think that he is somehow or another elevated. But y’alls Republican presumptive not or now nominee said very clearly that immigrants are not even people. And so the dehumanization like this is this is the reconstruction playbook. This is the Nazi playbook. Like it is all on a platter for us. And we’re like, oh, no, that’s not what’s happening. Speaking of locking up Black people, the Republicans continue to try to lock up or at least unseat Fani Willis in the Trump case in Fulton County. If you are following the news this week, the judge said that nothing improper had actually happened, but the appearance of impropriety was significant enough to make either Fani resign or the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, her former paramour, resign. And so Nathan Wade stepped down this weekend so that Fani’s office can continue to prosecute the case. And the judge paused parenthetically, to say that Fani hadn’t done herself any favors because she acted quite unprofessionally. And so what do you think about that, friends? 


Myles E. Johnson: I think Fani had one job. [laughter] Goodness. I think that she had one job. And yes, it’s not fair. Yes, double standard, but the standards have been doubled for as long as there’s been a DoubleTree hotel. 


Kaya Henderson: Oh! 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 


Kaya Henderson: [clap] Say it.


Myles E. Johnson: So [laughter] standards have been doubled, but I don’t know. I’m also hoping that Shonda Rhimes picks this up as well, because I really want to get the details about the details about this, because it’s very I don’t know, it’s just very juicy, but the remorse for her, I think I don’t have a remorse for a lot of like Black professionals and or elites because I’m like, well, if you played that game and you wanted to go and be the Black woman because you’re not ignorant to the optics, you’re a Black professional woman who’s going to take down Trump, who’s like this new old wave of white supremacy. And you wanted that moment. I’m like, well, you can’t go and get busy with your lawyer, boo cousin friend like you can’t. Not cousin child. That’s that’s not our stuff. [laughter]


Kaya Henderson: That’s how bad. That’s how bad rumors get started. 


Myles E. Johnson: That’s not, that’s not that’s not our style but you can’t do that. So it’s kind of like yeah. But to me, out of all the places it could of went, when I think about what happened to um the women at Harvard and just, just what I’ve seen happen to professional Black elites and stuff, I kind of feel like it’s a smoother conclusion than what it could have been. So that’s good. Yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: You saying play thug games win thug prizes, right? 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. I was like, what are you. I was like, I’m like, I’m surprised ain’t gotten a or like you must have a really clean record because I’m think I’m waiting for them to talk about the [?] you stole when you were 12. I’m waiting for them to talk about how you stole them. You know, I’m it’s just wild. So I’m like, yeah, you you knew what you were getting yourself into. Hide your boo. 


DeRay Mckesson: I thought it was interesting that Nathan Wade, who is a special prosecutor, who she did have a sexual relationship with, um you know, she was told that he had to leave like, the only way she could stay prosecuting is if he left. He left the case. And did you know that he booked an appearance on Meet the Press over the weekend? 


Kaya Henderson: Oh, but he didn’t show up. He didn’t show up, I was watching. [gasp] 


DeRay Mckesson: So then he doesn’t show. It says a family emergency. And somebody was like, the family emergency is that somebody called you and was like, sir. This will be the end– 


Kaya Henderson: Right, sit down. 


DeRay Mckesson: –of. Right. 


Kaya Henderson: Go sit down. 


DeRay Mckesson: Sit down. 


Kaya Henderson: What are you doing? Um I read an article this weekend about the Republican couple, frankly, a lawyer and her lawyer husband. He, she’s been a long time Republican or conservative, whatever lawyer in Fulton County. And her husband is a Republican um opposition researcher. Right. His job is to dig up stuff on people and how the two of them sort of crafted this whole case out of not much of anything. Like she made wild accusations, basically based on Nathan Wade’s former law partner, now the Black man who testified, Terrence somebody or another. I can’t remember his last name, maybe Campbell or something, but how this Republican lawyer was friends with um Nathan Wade’s law partner, and they. And this dude was texting her a whole bunch of stuff about the affair, and he knew for sure x, y, z, blah, blah, blah, and then got up, had no nothing to back it up. He was also Nathan Wade’s divorce attorney. And apparently, according to the article that I read, he was not happy with how Nathan treated his wife on the exit, and so was using this to sort of get back at him. Was also not happy about, I guess, how their firm whatever didn’t work out. Um. And so he fed this Republican lady all of this stuff, which she used to build a case and then but then there was never any real evidence. And so–


Myles E. Johnson: What color was this man? Not that it matters. 


Kaya Henderson: Um. He’s a Black man. He testified. And then one of Fani’s girlfriends testified to say she knew a whole lot, and both of them had nothing, said nothing, but probably got paid a lot by somebody or another. You didn’t hear me say that. 


DeRay Mckesson: Ashleigh Merchant, who is the person who blew it all up. She is representing Michael Roman, a former Trump official. That is the connection. But the quotes, verifying what you just said Kaya are so wild. Uh. The quote from Miss Merchant in her testimony is Nathan was still married, and Mr. Bradley was upset because of what happened in the divorce. He was upset because Nathan and his now ex-wife were still married. The Wades were still married. And Nathan essentially just left her after meeting Miss Willis and dropping the kids off at college. Bradley did not like the way Nathan had treated his wife. He didn’t like what was happening in the divorce proceedings. I remember specifically him saying, I handle my business, things like that. I don’t leave my life without alimony because da da da, they had been married for almost 30 years, and it was literally right after they dropped their youngest off at college that Wade said, move out. 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


DeRay Mckesson: It’s a round world. 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. Okay, okay, okay. 


DeRay Mckesson: Because you put that out there in the world, baby, and it came back to bite you. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay, okay. 


DeRay Mckesson: And Fani. 


Myles E. Johnson: Right? You thought you were living your best Shonda Rhimes scandal little life here yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: Honey. 


DeRay Mckesson: And Ashley Merchant came out of nowhere and said, no, thanks. Okay, Kaya, sorry move us on to the next news. 


Kaya Henderson: So Kate Middleton. 


DeRay Mckesson: Kategate! 


Kaya Henderson: Who the world is obsessed with. 


DeRay Mckesson: Yes. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. Kategate, help me understand. I find it wholly reasonable that somebody might have had surgery and might need some time to recover. 


DeRay Mckesson: Kaya. Good night. [laughter] Oh Kaya.


Kaya Henderson: I could give a flying hoot about when that lady is coming back or who’s seen her, or whatever the case may be. Tell me. Help me understand. I mean. 


Myles E. Johnson: I think DeRay probably can help you better with, like, the original interest in it, because I don’t possess that. I did possess interest once you start covering it up like so, I didn’t care where Kate was. I was kind of with you. Whatever. But then when you start releasing stuff and it’s fake and I’m like, now Kate, blink twice. I need to see you. Like I need to [laugh], [banter] I need to know where you at. So I think the cover up is what got me fascinated with it. Because I’m like, what are you covering up, you know? And I do think there’s something too, what I seen other people say online around, you know, Queen Elizabeth has, you know, she’s, she’s still, she’s still warm in the ground child and y’all al– and y’all already just, just things just crumbling. Every single time I look around, something wild is happening. Y’all couldn’t even get a good ten years, five years of of showing face. Just things are already crumbling. I don’t like that. I don’t like that. 


DeRay Mckesson: So I also didn’t care until the cover up. But the last time Kate was seen was December 25th. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 


DeRay Mckesson: And then they put out that image that was clearly photoshopped. 


Kaya Henderson: Well wait wait wait wait wait wait wait. Before the image, there was the image of her in the car and it was like a Range Rover and she was in the car. 


DeRay Mckesson: We didn’t care about that image. Nobody cared about that. But what made it a big deal. 


Kaya Henderson: But I’m just saying she had been seen. 


DeRay Mckesson: No, that wasn’t real Kaya. Kaya no, she had not been seen since December 25th. There is no Kate. 


Kaya Henderson: [laugh] Did they kill her? Did they kill her?


DeRay Mckesson: But they put out the photo and that photo being doctored. It was crazy because the AP and Reuters, two legitimate sources, had to send out a kill notice being like, just kidding, the photo is doctored. And when they did a cover up saying that, Kate herself manipulated the photo and uploaded it. Now that’s the biggest lie you made, Kate is not. 


Kaya Henderson: You know that Kate don’t take no pictures. There’s no way.


DeRay Mckesson: And then you know what made it worse is that they said that originally William took the photo, so he took the photo. She did it on her phone. 


Kaya Henderson: And then she–


DeRay Mckesson: Come on.


Kaya Henderson: –doctored it. 


DeRay Mckesson: No, it didn’t happen. That–


Kaya Henderson: Right, right right. 


DeRay Mckesson: So that’s the big lie. But I don’t know. You know, part of me wants her to be like, the royal family is crazy, and I’m refusing to participate in the drama. That would actually be amazing. They have now announced that around Easter, she’s going to make an appearance, like Jesus. 


Kaya Henderson: No, but but first they said she was going to resume her duties after Easter. And then I heard something today that saying may, it might take a little longer. She might not come out for Easter. 


DeRay Mckesson: And then Camila is saying that she is overwhelmed and needs to take a break from public life. Mind you, Big Liz, that’s what Twitter calls Black Twitter calls Elizabeth. Big Liz. Big Liz did that thing for 70 years and did fine. 


Kaya Henderson: I disagree with that. I disagree with that. 


Myles E. Johnson: You you minimize and you minimizing Big Liz because one thing I was um shocked with–


DeRay Mckesson: No Big Liz did her duties every day. They might have been imperialistic, capitalistic, crazy duties, but she did them every day. She didn’t need a break like Camila. She didn’t need a break like Camilla. 


Kaya Henderson: You saying she showed up for work every day. 


DeRay Mckesson: She showed up for work. Kate is hiding. Camilla need a break. Liz came to work every single day, 70 years. 


Myles E. Johnson: The one thing that I was always shocked with when I would watch like things like The Crown was like, wow, she lived a long time, you know, like from, like the. It was just interesting seeing the costume changes and and being like, okay, well oh she still here. Oh she still in this season too. She’s still in this season too. So that there is something about going to work every single day for 70 years. 


Kaya Henderson: But she was groomed for this, right. Like she was born to this. She was trained for this. You know, the young people from other families come into this, and I think they think they can hang with it. But this is I don’t even know what it is. Right. But it’s more than what anybody has bargained for. Now, I’ve seen stuff talking about William’s affairs with some horsey looking lady. 


Myles E. Johnson: Uh uh. 


Kaya Henderson: I’ve seen stuff about, oh yeah, yeah, on the interwebs. I’ve seen stuff that like Kate and Meghan and Diana have, are all sort of in the same boat. Nobody knew what they were really getting in. 


Myles E. Johnson: Oh, I thought you meant they were all on the same call or something. I’m like, what in a seance?


Kaya Henderson: No, no no no no no no no. That they none of them knew exactly what they were getting into and all wholly overwhelmed by the royal family. Like, whatever it is I feel, one, I’m interested in the Royals like People magazine is interested in the royals. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: Right? They’re a good story, they’re interesting, they’re whatever. Whatever. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m not, like, super serious about it. And like, that lady is a mother. She got three kids and she is dealing with a crazy set of in-laws is how I really think about it. And so I I wish the best for her and her children. I don’t know about the rest of them clowns. 


Myles E. Johnson: I am curious to like what could be and I totally get privacy. So I say this like it’s a weird double sided sword that I’m saying, but I’m like, what could be going on that makes this easier than just saying the truth? You know, even though– 


DeRay Mckesson: Right? 


Myles E. Johnson: Like, even though her just being like sick– 


Kaya Henderson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Myles E. Johnson: –or something like that I get totally get wanting privacy. But at this point it would just kind of be easier to say it. 


Kaya Henderson: One of the things that I heard was if she is really sick, like if something is really gravely wrong with her. 


Myles E. Johnson: Mm hmm.


Kaya Henderson: They have gone out of their way to try to give their kids as normal a life as possible, and when they tell their kids that the mom is sick is probably part of the calculus. Um. And so, you know, just managing what your kids know and don’t know, which is hard to do when the whole world cares about your health care or whatever. 


Myles E. Johnson: That checks out. 


DeRay Mckesson: I do love that Meghan restarted her Instagram during all of this. I think that is I think that’s– 


Kaya Henderson: But she’s also selling some new stuff, right? She’s got a whole luxury line. 


DeRay Mckesson: [?] She got a new podcast.


Kaya Henderson: Blah, blah, blah and– [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson: Hmm. 


Myles E. Johnson: I do like Meghan. I do like her, but it appears to me not me trying to be like my most royal PR question. It appears to me that Meghan as a brand is not sticking. 


Kaya Henderson: I think that’s right, honey. I think that’s right. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. And then also, it appears to me that Meghan doesn’t understand. She needs to hire me, because I don’t think that Meghan understands how she can make her brand stick. She really has to go to the Essence brunch. She really needs to go to the NAACP Awards. She really needs– 


Kaya Henderson: Honey. 


Myles E. Johnson: –to go Rolling Loud. 


Kaya Henderson: Honey. 


Myles E. Johnson: Because the people who’s doing the American Riviera stuff, there’s whiter people yet to do that, and they don’t need you. And I think the people who really feel empowered and shaken by her, she’s not connecting with. Like the last thing was like, Oprah, who’s kind of like a bridge between, you know, Oprah’s forever our like, you did it, sister. 


Kaya Henderson: Black Saint Oprah. Yes. 


Myles E. Johnson: You know what I mean? But I’m like, you really need to like, go in and kind of play up this like I’m in it for you. More videos in Tyler Perry’s mansion that he let you stay in. [laughing]


Kaya Henderson: I remember when they got married and it was one of the Blackest things you ever did see in the UK. 


Myles E. Johnson: Which is not saying a lot.


Kaya Henderson: And like we were up at, not it’s not saying a lot, but but it was Black. It was Black. And you know, we were. I was calling her cousin Meghan and we were all so excited and–


Myles E. Johnson: She needs to lean in. 


Kaya Henderson: Blah blah blah. And Serena and Idris and Oprah and all of the things. Right. And I feel like, I want to like cousin Meg I have drifted off from Cousin Meg because she ain’t really feeling us, but like, I’m like, Meg, we the only place you really been home, sis? We going to take you no matter what happens. So you better come on and cultivate this little relationship on this side of the world. Because them people already done told you how they feel about you. And we’ll always love you, we’ll always keep you, but keep treating us like trash and you going to find out the hard way. Tyler Perry opened his arms for you [?], listen sis, you better come on to where you are loved. And–


Myles E. Johnson: Not even a picture with Scary Spice. Nothing like you need to sew negro alliance. [laugh] That’s where that’s where your power is going to come in at. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m just think you are right, Myles. I think you right. Mm.


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




DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. So my news is you all probably heard that the the House just passed um a law that would essentially ban TikTok. It would do more than that. It would allow for the federal government to intervene in a host of aspects with, social media companies. But it has been called the TikTok ban. You might have seen the CEO of TikTok come. The spin on this has been that they are concerned that there’s a national security threat, and that this law will force a Chinese owned company to hand over the data to an American owner, so that it will no longer be a threat, a national security threat. The company has insisted that they never share US data with the Chinese government. And this is the fight. If it is passed and signed into law. It has not yet been voted on by the Senate. It would give ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, 180 days to sell the platform and for the US government to be okay with the sale. And it would bar uh ByteDance from controlling TikTok’s algorithm. So that is what happened. My news is that people have been taking this at face value, and I sort of did, too. And then I looked up and was like, oh, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin [DeRay pronounces it Mun-Chin], who was Treasury secretary under Trump. 


Kaya Henderson: Mnuchin, [Kaya pronounces it Min-U-Chin] I think is the way you say his name. 


DeRay Mckesson: Munchin, Mnuchin, all the all of this, the cousins– 


Kaya Henderson: Okay. 


DeRay Mckesson: –call him Munchin. 


Myles E. Johnson: He’s munching your ass. 


Kaya Henderson: Let’s call him Munchin, because that’s what the Republicans do. They call you whatever thing they want to call you. 


Myles E. Johnson: Right. 


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. [laugh] Um. He’s putting together an investor group to buy it. Now, this is a reminder that they don’t want to stop TikTok. They don’t want to ban TikTok. They want to own TikTok. And in the same way that they did this with Twitter. Elon bought Twitter, took down all of the restrictions, all the hate speech, uh flagging. He brought back all the people who had been banned for inciting violence and racism and all this other stuff, and they want to do that to TikTok. And they know, you know, there have been a lot of news reports about what the conversation on Palestine has been on TikTok. It really did in some ways shift a generation to be critical of what happened and what is happening in Gaza in a way that is scaring the Republicans. And they want to do this before the election um, in November. And when I saw that he was putting together this investor group, I was like, you know, it really is. It always comes down to money and power for the Republicans. Like that is say what you want to say about whatever the play is. Money and power is uh the thing. And yeah, I just um I was really fascinated by this, so I thought I’d bring it back up because it’s wild. 


Myles E. Johnson: I’m used to having unpopular opinions, but I feel like this opinion is like maybe one of the more unpopular ones, because I know most people care, but, like, I don’t know, maybe I just braced for this walk with me. If you remember this, because I know there’s so many things that have been happening. Remember, like the unidentified flying object that was like the balloon that was observing people. 


Kaya Henderson: Oh yes, the Chinese. Mm hmm.


Myles E. Johnson: And how that was tracked to being Chinese. Like I knew then that something I was like, oh, this TikTok thing, TikTok for real. Like there’s a time on this because this is a piece of technology that’s taken or a app that’s taken over culture that’s not controlled by America. And then actively, this place is also doing this kind of stuff. It just always seemed like it’s gonna it had an expiration date on it. And I understand, you know, the autopsy that people are doing where like, look, they want to buy it and stuff like that. But I’m like, isn’t that the game plan like that that’s just such quintessential American gangster Republican yuck move. But like it’s not like to me like surprising. It’s like, yeah, they’re going to take it and they’re going to steal it. And this is what’s going to happen. But I think I just saw this so long ago. And if I’m being really honest, I’m surprised that it lasted as long as it did. Because if I’m remembering correctly, this is not the first time that this has been threatened. I think this is like now it’s moving and it’s being passed and stuff. But I remember hearing about this a couple of times and me reading about it and being like, yeah, that checks out. Like, yeah, I it it feels surreal that it even lasted in this country for this long. When we think about Russia, when we think about all the documents that we’ve seen about there being cultural wars started by foreign places on purpose in order to shape votes and like all this other stuff that we’re supposedly concerned about. I’m quite frankly surprised that this wasn’t used as an excuse to own and destroy TikTok like a lot earlier. I’m surprised it took this long. I know that’s not popular, though. 


Kaya Henderson: It doesn’t have to be popular and it might be prescient like so on the one hand, like you, Myles from the balloon thing to the I don’t know if you remember the televisions, there were these Chinese televisions that were being sold in the United States. I can’t remember the brand. And the FCC found out that they were communicating stuff back to China, like there was some built in mechanism where they were transmitting back to China. And um, what’s the shopping thing? Is it Temu?


Myles E. Johnson: Gasp. 


Kaya Henderson: Which like ran 900 zillion ads during the Super Bowl, which is the most like expensive ad time and, and the accusation that they are taking all of your information like there is something to what is happening with China and information flow and all of that jazz. And it is DeRay, to your point, the Republicans obsession with money and power that they’ve basically found a back door in, like the Republicans have been trying to control the tech companies and haven’t really figured out how. And I think this national security angle is very, very interesting. And like, there’s something to Chinese ability to possess and whatever our private information. But I’m just like, we’re not even pretend like we are sort of pretending it’s that. I think what we have done is used this national security moment or issue to open a door for Republicans to just consolidate their money and their power by buying this business. Because if we are really concerned about national security, why wouldn’t the government take over TikTok or create a consortium or something like that. Right. But Mr. Mnuchin is like, nope, I got a group of people. We’ll buy TikTok, we’ll control the information, and you can best be sure. My guess is whoever’s on that list has stuff to do with Fox five and the whole Republican media conglomerate. And so I don’t know if it stinks it stinks and it stinks to me. In other political news, my news this week is from the state of Florida, and for me it is slightly optimistic news, just an indication that the arc of the universe bends towards justice, even if it happens very slowly. This is an update on the war on woke. And so in the last legislative session in the state of Florida, a number of culture war proposals from conservative lawmakers bit the dust. There was a bill banning rainbow flags from public buildings in Florida to protect children from subliminal indoctrination. And that failed. There was a bill banning the removal of Confederate monuments, and that failed. There was a bill requiring transgender people to use their sex assigned at birth on their driver’s license. That failed, and there was a bill forbidding local and state government officials from using transgender people’s pronouns, that failed. These bills, and some others, failed even with the public support from Mr. DeSantis, which is different from the days when the Republican supermajority in the Florida legislature passed everything the governor asked for. In fact, pushback is growing tremendously in the state of Florida to the war on woke. Um. There have been lots of organized protests from parents and community members against school book bans. The abortion rights advocates have gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in Florida in November so that the people can vote on abortion. There was a fetal personhood bill that stalled in the legislature before it even got to a full vote. And in perhaps one of the most striking defeats of the stop woke act. A three judge panel of the US Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the Stop Woke Act exceeds the bounds of the Constitution’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression. And so I brought this because I think it is an indication of a couple of things. One, whatever DeSantis was doing, steamrolling a whole bunch of crazy culture war stuff through the Florida legislature, I think that we’re not going to see that continue to happen. Um. And it’s Republicans who are actually stop, I mean, again, Republicans have a supermajority in Florida, so whatever Dems do doesn’t really matter. But it’s Republicans who are saying too much, too far. We’re not willing to support this. The head of the Florida legislature, the Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, has stopped several of these bills progressing, and she’s just being reasonable. And so I am excited for the return to reason. I think sometimes, like, I am worried that things that we have taken for granted as part of social compact, mainly civil rights values and tenants are being completely and totally eroded. And I think that reasonable people don’t want to live in the un-woke world. I think I understand the tension between, you know, white preservation of power and privilege and living in a multicultural, pluralistic society that is true to the American ideals of everybody having a chance. But I think that reasonable people do reasonable things. I hope that reasonable people get encouraged to do reasonable things when they see things like this happening. And so I brought this to the podcast because I feel like, you know, as Dems, we get a steady onslaught of, you know, the Republicans just steamrolling this stuff through. And I think we’ve had examples like Kansas and their abortion sort of overturning and things like people in Florida saying, nah we’ve gone too far. And I wanted to bring it here so that we can encourage other people to find their reasonable center and to stop some of the craziness. 


DeRay Mckesson: So Kaya, this is just like, just like um, so much of what Trump is doing reminds me of the end of reconstruction. This actually reminds me of the same framing that white supremacists had around restricting, denying, limiting Black people’s ability to read. That it was really clear during that era that they were like, if Black people can read and start reading things. It’s going to be a revolution. That was clear. Like they wrote that. They said it. It was I just read this incredible book called School Closed by um Professor Gibbons at Harvard, and I didn’t know. It still blows my mind. I didn’t know that uh they would not only beat and whip Black people who were trying to read, but they would pour acid in their eyes to make sure that they cannot see in the future. Now I bring that up because I was reading when you put this in for this week. I was reading about what the federal appeals court said when they blocked the Stop Woke Act. And it’s centered around, workplace training, around institutional racism and whether they could require that for their employees. Now, this is what, the governor’s office said when the court said that this was, quote, a First Amendment sin, like making that illegal. The court was like, this is such a wild thing. This is what DeSantis’s team said. Quote, “We disagree with the court’s opinion that employers can require employees to be taught as a condition of employment, that one race is morally superior to another race. The First Amendment protects no such thing. And the state of Florida should have every right to protect Floridians from racially hostile workplaces.” That is quite a framing. And then DeSantis said in 2022, when he was pushing this, he said, quote, “no one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race. In Florida, we will not let the far left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces.” And I’m fascinated by those statements because at once they are just blatant lies. But two, they are a reminder that the more they are afraid that people know the truth about what has happened in this country, because the more people know, the more like I think about every day in the work that I do, that if people actually saw the underbelly of this, they would just revolt. It wouldn’t be forget a meeting, forget a vote thing. Forget a it would be topsy turvy. And they are working really hard as a narrative piece to say that teaching about systemic racism is actually doing what they’re doing about moral superiority like [?] over race or, uh is making a racially hostile workplace like they are trying to flip the the intent, knowing that people won’t really dig a little deeper, but just to give sort of, some talking points. But I am and Myles I’m actually fascinated by what you make of these statements that they have made. But I read it and I was like, oh, that is an interesting way to try and justify this. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. The first thing that I think of is how there’s like a steady effort in like anti-intellectualism. 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 


Myles E. Johnson: Because I think about, like what literature and what certain types of discussions do for my mind, even outside of the topic. So of course, when I think about or when I’ve read about race or when I’ve read about gender, it has expanded or developed how I feel about gender and race and sexualities and in class and all these different things. But it also empowers me to navigate into personal, professional. If I’m on the street and something happens, those type of situations too. And I think about the effort to keep a population of people, as many people as possible, not thinking critically, because when you think critically, you think complicatedly. And then when you are able to think complicatedly, when complicated things happen, you’re able to problem solve and navigate those things. And there seems like to be an effort to make sure people are not able to problem solve and navigate those things, even outside of what the the hot button topics that we talk about. And it just actually makes it easier to make it just about race or just about gender or just about these things, not minimizing those things, but it’s easier to make it about this other thing, because when it comes home to you, you don’t recognize it. And the perversion of certain languages of making it like, okay, and making it like, this is a First Amendment thing. And like to me that just feels like power for the course. Like they, same thing happens and like to me, like, pop culture media where things get absorbed and all of a sudden being a feminist is good, and being a feminist is is great. But then what being a feminist is changes. So you can still call yourself the language of it. But now what it means is different and it’s more shallow. I feel the same thing with like this lang–, like a lot of the language that they’re using now can’t weaponize this against us because we’re here for it too. Am I making sense? Like, it’s just gutting the meaning and shifting it so it could be used, which is like the regular cycle of dominant culture, because the dominant culture can’t really be against anything. It just has to be able to absorb and pervert anything to be for it. In order for it to progress. So I’m kind of like going that that’s sparked a lot of different neurons in my brain child, but like the main thing that I’m thinking about is how this is a total anti-intellectual movement. And when people are pushed, people are not able to navigate the problems in their lives and how wanted that is for people who are profiting and getting political and financial power from people being ignorant and being kind of perpetual victims. 


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




Myles E. Johnson: So I was looking up. I was asked to do something. And I guess I want to first say that I do not know what this person suffered from mental health wise and I, if anything. But I do want to say this is how I arrived here for this being my news. Um. I was asked to do something for um Bipolar Awareness Day, and that was on March 30th. And then it felt very interesting to me that I was watching the Regina King, because Regina King just came out with her um Shirley Chisholm movie, and she hasn’t really been interviewed a lot. And of course, one of the things that she’s going to be interviewed about is going to be about her son, who um died by suicide a couple of years ago. So then I thought to myself, oh, I didn’t know that bipolar awareness day was a thing. And I also think about how May and days in May are kind of like, that’s when everybody talks about mental health a lot like LGBT. And I want to do better at talking about things outside of the allotted time that we have to talk about things, because it’s on our month cycle. So I was like, no, it’s March, and let’s talk about it. And let’s still highlight the issue of mental health and the experience of mental health. And then also what really made this news to me is how Regina King decided to address her son, which I thought as somebody who’s dealt with suicide ideation, who’s dealt with mental health problems my whole entire life, I thought that it was really brilliant how she decided to handle this publicly and what she says. So let me read it to you. This was in The Hollywood Reporter, and um she was talking to um Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts that name child, that always gets me. Um. Speaking with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts in an interview that aired on Thursday, King opened up about both Alexander Jr’s choice to die and the journey she’s experienced as she grieves her only child. When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way and they expect it to look heavy, King said of Alexander Jr.’s struggles in her first extensive comments since he died. To have experienced this and not be able to have the time to just sit with Ian’s choice, which I respect and understand that he didn’t want to be here anymore. That’s a hard thing for other people to receive, because they did not live our experience and not lived Ian’s journey. So one of the things that always frustrates me when I’ve talked to both therapist and friends about like suicide ideation, depression, anxiety, and other disorders I won’t necessarily disclose like like on the podcast, but when people talk about it, it’s it’s almost like makes the person whose experiencing mental health an infant and makes them into somebody who um, and this like language around like, oh, it’s the disease. It’s a disease. Also that kind of takes away that person’s kind of intellectual autonomy and takes away that person’s kind of like intellectual autonomy in both political, social, political awareness when they’re engaging with that disease. And I thought it was really powerful for a Black mother to as difficult as it was, have to say no. This was a lucid person who was suffering and who looked at what their life has been and looked at what the world has been and did the math on it and said, I’m not here to do that anymore, and I’m not willing to do that anymore or I’m not interested in doing that anymore. And I made a choice. And I think something around that really makes the making of a better world, making for mental health. Us being aware about mental health makes it more of our responsibility. I think that if mental health or suicide is always a monster that happens. It’s also always something that takes somebody over. Or there’s this um, I always say this analogy might be a little rough, but hopefully y’all understand that sometimes people see suicide as like this serial killer, that that takes over somebody’s body and kills them. They don’t see it as a conscious choice to not want to show up anymore. I think about the man who um, passed away, who’s on the Ellen DeGeneres show, who was always smiling, and everybody was like– 


Kaya Henderson: Oh, Twitch. 


Myles E. Johnson: Twitch. Yeah. And I and I think about him a lot and how people were like, oh, I can’t believe it. He was so he was so happy. And you never know what people are going through. And I’m like, yes. And also somebody also can be saying, oh, I’m here to smile. I’m here to smile. I’m here to smile, and I’m tired of that, you know? And I just think that how she worded it, where she made your mind and your spirit go by saying that it was his choice, actually put more responsibility to our community, to each other about making a better world, about showing up for other people and not making it something that’s uncontrollable, that possesses somebody. And then, you know, that’s it. I don’t know, just something was really, to me, brilliant about how she worded it. And it felt really cathartic for me to read, because I think when I am in these conversations that are really difficult to have with um people specifically like neurotypical people, it’s hard for people to grasp, you know, and then you come up with language like there it’s just filled with shame or, or this person was selfish or this person was so out of their mind, and they did something that they might regret. And I think there’s something about her saying like, no, look at this world that has been built. I believe this person was 25 when they die dby suicide. So look at the life that they have lived times the world that has been built and [?] the options they had. And this is the option that they chose, even though it wasn’t comfortable for them. And I do think that that is the next step. And I think because hopefully this ain’t nobody’s friend, but I’m not saying anything rude. But I think that sometimes when I think about the Charlemagne commercialization of mental health talk, and oh go to therapy and do this and like it is, it is very um commercial, it’s very shallow. I think that I was happy to hear this deeper, both intellectual and spiritual analysis of something like suicide. Then this is what happens when somebody is not on meds. Or this is what happens when somebody is taken over by something. But also this is what happens when somebody is just alive and awake in America, and somebody has lived enough life and seen where things are going and has decided to like turn the video game off. Like that’s also something that we have to sit with and it may not be easy to sit with. It may not be comfortable for us to sit with, but it actually helps us come up with some real answers and have some real conversations to help more people feel like that choice that is available to them is not the best choice anymore, you know? And I but I do think it’s having those rougher conversations and not just totally turning the person who made that choice into this infant who can’t control their their mind and their actions and who didn’t know what they’re doing, or this selfish monster who did something and left everybody behind. I think there’s a in-between space that Regina King [?] that I’m just impressed that, A, I’m impressed when anybody hits that, but also somebody who’s a Black woman and a Black mom, and we have all these kind of like, pathological stereotypes around Black people and mental health. And we don’t do that and we don’t talk about that. And that’s not what Black people do. And not only saying this is something that a Black person did because that person was my son. But I’m going to actually address this in a way more progressive way than I’ve heard it happen in the public sphere. So, yeah, I wanted to bring that to the podcast, because I want to be just better about talking about mental health in a way that is more robust and deeper and challenging, because I do think that’s the start of having more robust and deeper answers and solutions so that people can make choices that, you know, make themselves comfortable, but also make other people comfortable, you know, as well. 


Kaya Henderson: I appreciate you bringing this to the podcast, Myles. And the point about like, this is not madness that took over somebody like the the point of intellectual presence. Right? And an informed decision, I think is really, really an interesting point. Some additional things that stuck out to me about this article. One was Regina King totally controlling when and how and how much she wants to deal with this incredibly personal thing. I think, you know, one of the tremendous downsides of celebrity is we expect that we own celebrities, and so we should know everything and whatnot. And there’s sort of a privacy thread running through I think our whole conversation this morning from Princess Kate. To we are having an offline conversation about Oprah. And and I do think we’re in a different space where we can reclaim how much we share with people, even in an age of social media. Regina King is doing interviews now for the Shirley biopic, but she said, I’m ready to talk about my son. I want to do it one time. I want to do it with this one particular interviewer and that’s it, right? Because I don’t want him to be the poster child for whatever. And so I appreciate the way that she has drawn her boundaries and is utilizing her power to do what is best for her. The other thing that came through to me here, you know, Regina King is around my age and I like I feel like we grew up together in the same time frame. She says that the thing that defines her most is being Ian’s mom. And I am sure that that is surprising to some people because people think, well, wait a minute, you’re Regina King, you’ve done all these things, you’re rich, you’re famous, you’re blah, blah, blah. And the most important thing to her was being a mom to this son. And so it was humanizing for me, in a way that we don’t usually get, with celebrity news. And it also reminded me that we get to manage our own public narrative if we are willing to draw some boundaries. And so I thought it was a really powerful reminder that we don’t owe people like, you know, one of my friends says all the time, I’d rather be rich, but I never want to be famous. I think about my time at D.C. public schools. And the hardest part, I mean the job of running a school system super hard. But the hardest part was operating in the public eye, because people make assumptions about how much they own you and what you are supposed to do, and all of that kind of thing. And so this was a really important reminder that as Black women, as Black mothers, as people, we get to define how much other people consume of us even when we’re in a consumption industry. 


DeRay Mckesson: I appreciate you bringing this uh too, you know, somebody I’m close to the other day texted me and was like he was watching something, and it was it touched on suicide, and he was like, wow. I didn’t realize that the number of men who commit suicide or die by suicide is so high. And I was like, well I just always assume that we thought it was high? You know, something like 80% of Black people who commit suicide are men.  So I always thought that was like a 2014 number, which is one of the latest statistics. But I always thought it was really high. And when you factor in gun control, it’s even wilder because most men use guns. So I took for granted that I feel like I had heard stories about suicide a lot, and I personally have been impacted by people. I know people who have died by suicide. But what I think I’m struggling with is um the public conversation about loneliness. That makes sense to me. But how the research suggests that if we talk about suicide more, that people will copycat. And that, like when celebrities die by suicide and the news reports on it, that there is a measurable increase in suicides. And, the hard part for me is that I feel like it go, this becomes a topic that people don’t really. Like it just becomes an undiscussed thing. But I really dig this like a, you know, a thing that I, I that we need to talk about a little bit more. And I don’t know what to do with that. Like, I get the reasons why people don’t publicly talk about it. And, you know, Regina is, Regina son, like, she’s so famous and it it became a story of its own. But but this is a much bigger deal. And I don’t know how we talk about the loneliness crisis or mental health or any other thing happening and not talk about suicide too, in public, even though the research. I don’t know, I’m like stuck because I have read I have looked at the studies and I’m like, I get it. Um. But I like how everything that you all said about, like she did it on her terms and, and said, I’m not doing this for, I’m not talking about this every two seconds just because y’all want to talk about it. And she is one of our like old school Black celebrities in a way that I don’t know if we will get celebrity in that way again, just like, you know, came up in a time of there and not a TikToker, but like a tried and true celebrity. Um. So I’m excited about seeing Shirley as well. And the interview sort of broke my heart in some ways too, because you can, you know, she’s still dealing with the the pain of it, but I don’t know. I want us to talk more publicly about suicide and and I don’t know what to do with that. 


Myles E. Johnson: One thing I’ll say before we close too, around just around your point, DeRay, is that I always I like I’ve heard those stats too, and I don’t know something about me. I think I do challenge those things, and I think that the invisible part of tho– of those stats is it turns people like well I was kind of using the term infant a lot, like and say, like, oh, if we talk about it, then these people who don’t have control of their brains are just going to copycat these like other people. Even like the term copycat is something that we use for um kids or whatever. It is one of those things where if one person who’s, you see, has all this going on and has a maybe a better section of life than you socially, politically, financially, and they can’t handle it, then that is the risk that we take. But I think that obviously not taking that risk, it’s still harming people. And I think that the more we see, again, as uncomfortable as it is, as we see suicide as a type of choice, not something to be condoned or avoided, but something that we have to move through as a society and make a better society, where that choice does not seem beautiful or interesting or like the best choice anymore. That’s how we have to move through it, because just avoiding it is not doing it anymore. But the risk is that if you talk about it with somebody, or if something happens or somebody does do it, then yeah, the risk is that other people are like, well, if this person can’t handle like their life, then who am I? But I don’t think that’s working anymore. Just avoiding it. I don’t think that’s working anymore. But to your point, I don’t have all the answers to it, but I just want to give that little note because I’ve thought about that too. 


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