The Radical Black Joy of The New Brownies' Book (with Dr. Karida L. Brown & Charly Palmer) | Crooked Media
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October 26, 2023
Stuck with Damon Young
The Radical Black Joy of The New Brownies' Book (with Dr. Karida L. Brown & Charly Palmer)

In This Episode

Dr. Karida L. Brown & Charly Palmer, authors of “The New Brownies’ Book: A Love Letter to Black Families,” a collective anthology inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’ original work, join Damon to talk about some of the ideas behind their work, the importance of the book at a time when so much black literature is being challenged in schools, and the process of working on a project like this as a married couple.





Dr. Karida L. Brown: I can’t wait for The New Brownies’ Book to get banned because it is rooted in the Black radical tradition. 


Damon Young: So welcome. Welcome. Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Stuck With Damon Young, the show where we are for the children, the kids, the babies. So I was in Atlanta a couple weeks ago to celebrate the launch of The New Brownies’ Book, which is the anthology that’s a love letter to Black children and families inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’ and the original Brownies’ Book periodical. It was a great, great, great event, had so much fun I even rocked leather pants, which I buy specifically because I knew I was going to be in Atlanta at a party and had to come to rep. And so today I’ll be joined by star sociologists Dr. Karida Brown and award winning visual artist Charly Palmer, who together edited it and curated the book. And we talk about some of the ideas behind it, the importance of it existing at a time where so much Black literature is being challenged and banned in schools and just the process of working on a project like this together as a married couple. All right y’all. Let’s get it. [music plays] Charly Palmer is one of the dopest and most prolific fine artists alive. And Dr. Karida Brown Is a professor of sociology at Emory University. And also in 2020, the year the Lakers won a championship, joined them as director of racial equity in action, which means she actually has a rank. [laughs] Charly and Karida. What’s good? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Hey, Damon. 


Charly Palmer: I’m ready. [laughter]


Damon Young: I’m just glad y’all are here. I’m just happy. 


Charly Palmer: I’m glad to be here. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Thank you. We’re glad to be here. 


Damon Young: So for people who listen to podcasts, right before we get the guests on, we do a soundcheck. I do a soundcheck the guests do a sound check. Usually for my soundcheck, I start rapping, I either do plosive words. They have a lot of P’s and a lot of forceful sound so that you know that mic picks up so I do a lot of DMX. Before I was doing like Kurtis Blow. Like [coughs] like I was doing a whole lot of that [laughs] and so Karida, when she was doing her soundcheck, also rapped. And this was the first person who also rapped, during the intro. So I just want to give a shout out to that. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Thank you.


Damon Young: Acknowledgment to that. So who did you do again? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: I did. Tribe Called Quest. 


Damon Young: Yes. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: The introduction to Scenario. 


Damon Young: Scenario. Mm hmm.


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Actually Damon. I performed that in the fourth grade during a talent show. 


Damon Young: Okay. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: So you could just imagine this like little skinny, lanky girl getting up onstage. [laughter] And to the shock of all the parents in the audience, that’s what I chose to do for my performance. 


Damon Young: Did you did you know, rah rah, like a dungeon. Did you do all of that, too? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Of course. I did. Yeah. Busta Rhymes, in fact, is from Uniondale, where I grew up. I went to the public school system in Uniondale. He’s a product of that. So he was a hero of mine. 


Damon Young: Okay. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Of course I had to from my chest. Rah, rah, like the dungeon dragon.


Damon Young: Okay. I mean, why wasn’t that in the book? I’m just saying. That would have been a perfect addition, a perfect entry. If you do an audio book, this could be a part of it. You could find, like the old archival footage of your fourth grade, you know, doing Scenario. And there’s this, you know, just part of the book. 


Charly Palmer: That doesn’t even exist. [laughter] I would love to see that myself. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Oh, my God. I hope that that archive is destroyed. [laughter]


Damon Young: That’s funny. Again, I’m so happy to have you all on. I was in Atlanta, with you all a couple of weeks ago for the launch of The New Brownies’ Book, which is an anthology, a celebration of Black children, Black families, Black people. You all are the curators, the editors. The braintrust, the conceivers, the geniuses behind this project. And the Atlanta book launch was a great time. I bought some leather pants because I knew that I was going to be in Atlanta and I had to come correct cause y’all are, alright for instance, when I told people on Instagram that was in Atlanta, I was like, you know what? Whoever has the best recommendations for White Hennessy lamb chops— [laughs] White Hennessy lemon pepper, lamb chops, whatever y’all eat in Atlanta, let me know, because I know it’s a city where y’all do a lot. Y’all do the most. And so I felt like, you know what, if I’m going to be around y’all, I had to do the most too. So I brought the leather pants. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: You did what needed to be done in the words of Law Roach. You walked through with them leather pants and wasn’t there like a little knit [laughter] to the top or some a little fray on the neckline. I noticed that. 


Damon Young: It was an Honor The Gift T-shirt. Right, an Honor The Gift, it’s Russell Westbrook’s company. They do a lot of really dope T-shirt, sweatshirts, sweatpants, etc. But I cut the collar on the T-shirt so it gave like a wider collar. And so yeah, but thank you for announcing that. 


Charly Palmer: You bought something new and cut it up?


Damon Young: Yeah. I feel like you should appreciate this as an artist. You know what I mean, I’ve been buying the T-shirts buying the sweatshirts and just cutting the collars because I just feel like it’s hard to find shirts with, like the more extended collars in store. So it’s like, you know what? And it’s just an easy modification if you have sharp scissors and the phrase on it make it look like something that was actually purchased as is in the store. So, yeah. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Well, you definitely served us a look that nice. So I appreciate that. Damon.


Charly Palmer: Yeah, you looked great, man. [laughter]


Damon Young: You know, you both came through, you know, true you had the full D & G, you know what I mean? [laughter]  Charly. I remember you had the jacket. What kind of jacket was that? I remember you had the jacket and the shirt underneath the jacket. 


Charly Palmer: That’s the thing about it, man. I’m incredibly cheap. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: And so I go to places where I don’t have to spend very much for my stuff. No name brands whatsoever other than my sneakers. 


Damon Young: I mean, it looked fresh. It looked great. It looked like, You know what? You know what? I’m glad I wore the leather pants today because if I were dressed like I was like in Pittsburgh or in DC, you know, I felt like I wouldn’t have fit the aesthetic. But anyway. Karida. Can you tell us a bit about just how the book was conceived when you came with the idea? And also, like, why now? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Damon this book was very much a part of our love story, but really two love stories. One with me and Charly. We had met each other in late 2016. We were getting to know each other and because we’re both socially awkward people and Charly has no game, it wasn’t like we were. [laughter] Courting formally. But instead we formed a relationship through talking about art and literature and Black culture and history, just the things that we love and live in anyway. So Charly had asked me [laughter] he’s illustrated like 2000 children’s books, right? And written one of his own and stuff like that. So he at the time had asked me if you were to write your own children’s book, what would it be? And I couldn’t answer in the moment, and I ended up writing him an email in 2017 saying, You know what? If I were to do it, it wouldn’t be a new book. I would revive this thing called The Brownies’ Book. And I sent him a link to the Library of Congress, where the archive is of the original Brownies’ Book. And I just said, you know, we should do this. It was just a really short email, and that’s when it entered into the collective consciousness. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: For both of us. It wasn’t like we started acting immediately on it. It was years of conversation and discussion and also very much a part of my love affair with W.E.B. Dubois because I was in the thick of writing a scholarly book on him at the time. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: So babe, when did we really start working on the book in earnest? 


Charly Palmer: The reality is, it’s like during the pandemic is when we found ourselves with a lot of free time. And those conversations that had started three years prior led to let’s make this happen. Let’s see if we can make this happen. Let’s start thinking about some of the great writers, great artists that we know and perhaps see if they can ask us to develop this book. 


Damon Young: Okay. And really quickly, you know, Karida, you said Charly has no game, but asking someone if you could write a children’s book, what would it be about? That sounds like a game to me. Like you said that he said that I’m like, you know what? If I were single, I would be taking notes on that [laughter] because that’s a that’s a great first date icebreaker. It’s a question that’s a vet also, because, okay, you know, this person conscientious, you know, this person is artistic and a writer, you know, this person’s interested in how your brain works. And he packed all of that into that one question. And y’all’s married, now. So, again, I mean talk about you got no game that that’s the best game that I’ve heard in a minute. So. [laughter]


Charly Palmer: You know what, and I’m going to be using that in the future whenever she comes up with that question because I thought you were just going to skim over when she said the thing I had no game. And I’m like, should I try to defend this? You know, in the future I’m going to use exactly what you just said. 


Damon Young: Boom. That’s like everyone is searching for like the best icebreaker, the best question that gets people’s engines running, gets people’s brain firing, and that’s it. And also, the answer is like, you know what? I’m a ask this question and the type of answer that the person oh I don’t read no books, okay, well, we’re not going to be a good match. 


Charly Palmer: Yeah. 


Damon Young: I don’t read no books, what are you talking about? [laughter] Books. Don’t write no books. For no kids. [laughter]


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Remember that scene in Belly where [laughter] where Nas’s character asks DMX, When’s the last time you read a book? He was like— [laughter] Books? Never nigga. 


Damon Young: Belly had so many iconic lines in and one that I always come back to, and it’s not even really a line. It’s just how Nas just wanted go to Africa, not even a country. So many countries in that continent like just I need to go to Africa, just need to go to Africa. It’s like all right Nas. I think you could narrow it down. All right. It’s a whole entire continent. [laughs]


Charly Palmer: Right. 


Damon Young: Coast and. And, you know, different geography. You know, you know, make a choice. Come on Nas. Smarten up Nas. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: We got to do better. 


Damon Young: Yeah. So this became a thing during the pandemic, during lockdown when, you know, everyone’s in a house, and couples are. 


Charly Palmer: Right. 


Damon Young: You know, it is funny because there are a lot of couples that broke up because of, you know, just having to spend that much intense, hyper anxious time together. Other couples that came through stronger. And you all came out with a book. 


Charly Palmer: We came out with a book and we came out with a marriage. We got married during the pandemic. 


Damon Young: Oh. Okay. All right. So you know what I mean? Go pandemic. All right. This is the first positive byproduct of COVID, right? Is that it produced this book. So shout out to COVID. You have this book, you had this idea. And then I guess the next thing is the decision about who was going to be in it. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mm. 


Damon Young: Right. And I know that you both artists, academics, writers, you have binders after binders after binders full of people that you could reach out to that you could think of. And I’m sure that you thought of. Can you walk us through Charly? The decision making just in terms of who to include, who to reach out to, who to ask. 


Charly Palmer: You know, so that’s a great question. And it’s like the thing was that we had a wish list of people that we knew of. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: And then we had this list of people that are already established that we knew of that we already had relationships with. And so we literally started with those that we knew. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: And so many of them so quickly said yes, that our wish lists got smaller. But then there were these writers and a couple of artists that we had a great deal of respect and love for, but may not have had a relationship with and said, Let’s go ahead and start sending them an official letter and see what kind of response we could get. 


Damon Young: Now, so you have the people that you want to be in it and you have the idea of what you know, you wanted them to contribute. So I guess had you already begun to curate it, you know, even before you reached out to the people or did the curation process start after you received? Because, you know, just for us, you know, I’m in the book. I don’t think I’ve said that yet, but I’m actually in the book too right. I have a chapter in the book. 


Charly Palmer: And you were on the wish list of can we get him to say yes. [laughter]


Damon Young: Thank you so much for that. And we were actually connected because  Saida Grundy who’s a friend of the podcast, has been on the show a few times, reached out. I guess maybe you reached out to Sai, and Sai reached out to me, or maybe you got my information from Sai and reached out to me that way. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: You could just call it what it really was. Damon I was low key stalking you [laughter] because I love your work. I love your writerly voice and just respect what you’ve been able to create through that and do with it. And I also know through Saida, who I just I call she’s like the great American bap. She knows everybody who’s everybody who’s Black, you know, who’s doing something and and really committed to to Black people and just has a have a love for them. So I just knew by proxy that you are also a good person. So you were one of those people on our wish list that we knew of and might be one degree of separation from. But you know, we didn’t know each other personally. So, yes, Sai was the plug. She put us in contact with one another, but never did I think that you were actually going to say yes upon being invited to contribute to the book. And you did. And you also say yes, super quick too. And that was our experience with most of the artists and writers and the book. We’ve got 50 Black authors and artists of note in The New Brownies’ Book. And, you know, it wasn’t hard to get people to plug in to the concept. 


Damon Young: Well, I guess this gets back to the question I was asking Charly, too, about like the curation And the curation was something that happened before you receive. If you already had a curated book in mind before you reached out to people or did that happen after you received what people pitched and said they were going to contribute it? Did the curation start then? 


Charly Palmer: I think it was a lot more of after. 


Damon Young: Okay. 


Charly Palmer: You know, I think that Karida and I discussed the idea of something similar to what Toni Morrison did with the Black Book. 


Damon Young: Okay. 


Charly Palmer: But we wanted to elevate it a little bit with a lot more color now, but like how a curator would typically work anyway. They receive the work, they lay it out and they start to see where it fits. And so there was a combination of what Karida and I were doing as far as bringing in the writers and artists, but it was also bringing the Publisher Chronicles book together with a great designer, Kieron Lewis , out of London, and taking these elements and assembling them. 


Damon Young: You know, it’s interesting that you bring up the Black Book, which was, you know, edited, curated by Toni Morrison and others, and because I feel like this book. The Brownies’ Book will have a similar place in Black homes and not just in Black homes and in homes generally in American literature, because it’s not just a book, it’s like a collector’s item, it’s a coffee table book. It’s beautiful. Like it’s the most beautiful book that I own. 


Charly Palmer: Thank you. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Wow. 


Charly Palmer: Wow. 


Damon Young: It’s a sort of book that when you buy, you want to display it and you display it and that people come over and they read through it. They look at it, you know, whatever it is, that sort of book that I think is going to be passed out on coffee tables and, you know, to generations, you know, going forward. So, again, that was just I think it was a tremendous achievement. And I’m not just saying it because I’m in it, although me being in it, you know, I’m not objective [laughter] about this because I am in it. Right. Karida you mentioned that you were surprised that I said yes so quickly and just to walk you through what was going through my head at that time. Now, you reached out to me. I want to say maybe that was like 2020, 2021 around that time. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yeah, it was 2020.


Damon Young: 2020. And so the ask was like, serendipitous because I was already thinking of writing a YA novel. I was already thinking about writing a children’s pitch book. So I was already kind of in a mindset of, okay, how do I modify my voice and create something that’s aimed for like a ten year old or 11 or 12 year old while still keeping some of the same humor, still even to keep it some of the same politics that are infused in my work. And so how do I do that? And so when you reached out and asked, I was like, Oh shit, this is kismet. Like, this is again, I was already there. And so the yes was like, of course shit. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Wow. 


Damon Young: This will give me an opportunity to do this thing that I’ve actually been trying to do, the wanting to do for a few months now. And also to, you know, you get asked, you know, sometimes people reach out about anthologies and I had just left a no season where I had turned down a couple. And so you had me thinking of YA already, but then also being like, you know what? I’m going to say yes to the next thing. And so it was both of those things combining and then you reaching out and having a Sai connection. And it was like, Oh yeah, of course I want to do this shit. Of course. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Wow. 


Damon Young: Yeah. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Thank you for sharing that. One thing that I love about this project, what became the new Brownies’ book is that, number one, it is a collective letter of resounding love from these 50 Black creatives, right? But what we’re learning from our contributors is that it was a crossover piece for a lot of folks. And I’m hearing that from you, Damon. We have some professors who submitted pieces to the book, and I thought that we were going to get like, history lessons. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: No, they wrote poems and love letters to their children. Folks, really, like broke their traditional genres and gave us something a little more intimate and vulnerable for this book. That’s another reason why I just love it so much. 


Damon Young: That’s a great point, because I think that people who are kind of steeped in a certain type of work and whose work maybe is more sober, more serious, or focus on like a particular subject matter, might look at an opportunity like this and like, you know what? This is my opportunity to write this poem or to write the short story or to modify my voice so that it’s for children instead of for adults or academics. And so it surprised me that you all are surprised that so many people said yes immediately, because for people in this world, this is like the perfect ask. I don’t know what your success rate was in terms of if you ask 60 people and 55 said yes, but you could ask a thousand people and 950 of them would have said, yes, I feel like. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mm. 


Damon Young: Just because of the ask and also because of who you are and what you’re trying to create, what you did create. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yeah, we’re super grateful. 


Damon Young: Back with more after a break. [music plays] And so this book, you know, it also exists at a time when books are under threat. Right. Black literature, Black history. You know, all of these things are being suppressed, being canceled, books being taken out of schools. Children, particularly in certain states, are barred from having access to certain types of books in their classrooms. You know, libraries are getting challenged. Librarians are getting death threats. Authors are getting death threats, doxxed. You know, these things are happening. And so this book is this thing at that time. Now, obviously, you know, I don’t think that you well, I’m not even going to say, obviously with that part a factor, Charly, in creating this and wanting to write this and revive this now. 


Charly Palmer: You know, I’m thinking from the standpoint of what Du Bois did. He took the time out of an insane schedule to not only produce this book, but to respond to those young people. 


Damon Young: Mm. 


Charly Palmer: He never spoke down to them. He actually addressed their parents some time in raising their children. I think that when we’re looking in a society right now that’s operating with such fear or ignorance, it is the perfect time for what we’re doing. And I think that if just us as a community were to support this book, it would be a huge success. It would be a resounding success because we are speaking again to family, to love, to relationship to children, and it covers the gamut. And when you mentioned to think about, like being surprised that we have been questioned, that anyone would say yes or no. Quite honestly, I think we’ve been giving ourselves less credit for our reputations and the respect that we’ve accomplished in our lifetime. And I think that’s made a real big difference as people are responding because of their love and respect for us. 


Damon Young: So, Karida, you study racism. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yes. 


Damon Young: That’s what you do for a living. Right. And so how do you think this book fits in that context of like critical race theory, you know, being challenged when you hear about something new every day about books being banned and things being challenged, curriculums being challenged, teachers being fired, school administrators, you know, being protested because they’re including certain books in their curriculums. And so how does this fit just historically with that context? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mm hmm. So it’s so important that I continue to reiterate that this book was born out of love. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: And that’s the the source from which we hope that, you know, anybody who engages with their experiences. The New Brownies’ Book. But to your question, Damon, like that context of anti-Black racism, systemic racism is the conditions under which the original Brownies book that was founded by W.E.B. Dubois in 1920 and this new version of the Brownies book that we’ve co-produced 100 years later. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: It comes in the backdrop of that, so it can’t be ignored. So in 2020, when Charly and I started to reach out to the 50 contributors and solicit original artwork or original literary works for the book, we were trapped in the house. We started this while we were still on lockdown. Okay. George Floyd had just been murdered on TV for us all to see over and over and over again. Breonna Taylor had just been killed. So we were in the height of despair and uncertainty. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: And anger and rage at the time that we’re asking folks to produce a work for young Black children to let them know that they are loved. And it’s in that context or through that context through which we all created, you know, our pieces. And I think that you feel that in the final product that is in this book. And when we started, books weren’t being banned like that. This whole landscape that the Brownies’ Book is born into in this iteration. It just happens to be the time. And I can tell you, I can’t wait for the New Brownies’ Book to get banned [laughter] because it is rooted in the Black radical tradition. So it should be it responds to certain, you know, lived experiences that Black children, too, have to experience. So there is a piece in the book by Keith Cross and Sharon Burke says that’s called I Don’t Want to Be Black. And that’s a comic strip that deals with, you know, and Charly can talk about it more. It deals with the little girl who sees George Floyd being murdered on TV and gets scared and tells her parents that that’s a true story that her parents illustrated. We have Dr. Laurence Ralph, who’s a professor at Princeton. He wrote a time capsule to his daughter, Amina, about the fear that he has, about knowing that one day he’ll have to have the talk with her. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Right. So those types of pieces are in The Brownies’ Book, as well as humorous stories. Joyous stories. But we also picked up pieces from the original Brownies’ Book. For example, we’ve republished all of Langston Hughes’s original works that Du Bois published in The Brownies’ Book. Those were Langston Hughes first published pieces. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: That for the most part, folks haven’t seen. So the The New Brownies’ Book is up to a lot of things. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: It’s about harkening back to a Black radical tradition that we all have as a part of our heritage that we can call on. It’s about making real statements about what it means to be, you know, in this skin that we’re in as a young person today. It’s also about joy and laughter and what it means to be human. So if any of those things are deemed controversial because it is produced from the standpoint of a Black creative and a Black experience, then so be it. But we said what we said we meant it. [laughter]


Damon Young: Oh, man, thank you for that Karida. And, you know, the joy part is something that one, it really shines through this collection because this is a book that is just bursting with joy, is bursting with just. I want to say brilliance and brilliance in terms of just, you know, the type of, you know, brilliance using in a connotation of like, okay, these people are extremely smart, but also brilliant in terms of like the sun. You know what I mean? In terms of something that is so bright, something that is so vibrant, so brilliant. Right. And that’s one of the things that is that just jumps off the page with this. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Hmm. 


Damon Young: But the joy part and again, this gets back to why so many people are so willing to be a part of it. Because, again, if you’re reaching out to people during that summer, that summer of 2020 with the protests, with the lockdown, then you have George Floyd, and then you have COVID, and then you have Breonna Taylor, and then you have so many other things that are just happening all at the same time. Right. I think that there might have also been like, you know what? We need to find some form of joy. We need to create some form of joy. We need to create something that is joyous. We can allow ourselves to just be engulfed by all of this anxiety, all of this hate, all of this America. We can’t allow America to suffocate us. And so this book, you know, is almost like a, I don’t know, a respirator in a way. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mmm. 


Damon Young: Where it allows people to breathe and to, like, create and to like, you know what? Let me write this poem that’s been on my mind. Let me write to my daughter. Let me write this to some invented kid. Let me read a thing that was written 100 years ago and try to come up with my own modern contemporary spin on it. And again, I think those sorts of things can’t be parsed out from each other. And there’s never been a time when we haven’t been under threat. Like it has dips and valleys. But the valleys ain’t that deep, right? 


Charly Palmer: Right. 


Damon Young: The valleys is like a puddle. [laughter] Right. You know what I mean, like we you know, it’s always the thing. It’s always something. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mm hmm. 


Damon Young: If it’s not critical race theory, then it’s woke being a thing of is now woke being a thing it’s super predators. If it’s not super predators. It’s, you know, you could just go southern strategy. You could just go down the line. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: We can’t even wear our hair the way we want to. 


Damon Young: Yeah. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yeah. Beards. We can’t have braids and locks and stuff like that. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yeah. 


Damon Young: There’s always a thing. And again, I just think that something like this is a response and saying that this is response sounds a little white gaze, like, okay, but rightness in response to white people. And we want to show that, you know, we could be like, not that that, but it’s more just like an intra racial, intra community response. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Mm hmm. 


Damon Young: To all of the things that, you know, that we always will have to deal with while we’re here in America. 


Charly Palmer: But can you imagine if it was and I was thinking about it as you were just speaking, if this book existed, during the pandemic. How refreshing and uplifting and needed it would have been. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: You know, I’m like, we were all like, in our own little capsules, creating our stories or are now during the time of that struggle. And now it’s coming out now. But had that book existed, it would have been an escape on a daily basis because there’s such a variety in the book. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. And so I also want to ask you all and Charly, maybe you could provide some insight on this. How was it like working on this thing as a couple. [laughter]


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Charly, let’s hear that.


Charly Palmer: People would not believe. When I addressed the idea of how Karida and I move, we have so much love, respect for one another. I learn big words from her daily [laughter] but I learned from her a different understanding. We used the word intentionality, but when we look at the struggle to be African America in this American country, we know for a fact that certain things, including the educational system and politics and everything, have been always designed to hold us back, to not give us the opportunities. I’m always offended by the idea of up from your bootstraps, you can make your own. It’s like, no, this system is not designed for us. And so we have to find ways to uplift, to inspire, to give insight and understandings about how certain things are going on in the system. And we can take advantage of it, as everyone else has been able to. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: But working with my boss, I mean, my wife is stimulating. [laughter] And it was really exciting because we watched the birth of this baby that we are extremely proud of because it came together in such a easy way. 


Damon Young: So there was no friction. There was no, like, conflict. There was no, like, none of that. And I’m asking it because my wife and I have tried to work together on a couple of projects and, you know. [laughter]


Charly Palmer: No, no, so let us keep it real. Like when it came to this particular project, we both had a very clear idea of what we wanted to accomplish. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: I don’t say that’s always the case. You know, we’ve worked on other projects where literally Karida is taking the lead. And I’ve watched her operate in a room of bosses, CEOs and presidents. And it’s. It’s scary. 


Damon Young: Mm hmm. 


Charly Palmer: You know, she’s confident. She knows her stuff, and she does not back down. But that’s a different situation. This was for us and for us as a community. And so we worked together to, I think, create what best represents Black love.


Damon Young: Karida, do you have anything you want to say in response? 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Yeah, I would agree with Charly’s depiction on this one. We have worked together on other projects that will go unnamed where, you know [laughter] we learn new things about one another and it we should probably walk away from. But on this project again, it was like, you know, first of all, I learned so much from Charly. You can’t imagine what it’s like to be in the presence in the company of married to such a prolific artistic genius. I think that Charly is an artistic genius, and I’ve seen him paint before and how he applies the paint to the canvas to create something. And that’s fascinating in and of itself. But to be a part of his thought process in curating then a final project or speaking art to the other artists because they have their own other language that I don’t understand, you know, it was just beautiful for me and I grew from it. I learned from it. And, you know, I’ll cherish this for the rest of my life. It was a it really was a beautiful journey. Thank you, babe. 


Damon Young: Charly Palmer. Dr. Karida Brown. Thank you so much for coming through. You all will be in Pittsburgh, too. You’ll be in Pittsburgh? 


Charly Palmer: Yes. 


Damon Young: In November. I guess it’s either right before or right after Thanksgiving. Around that time. 


Charly Palmer: It’s around the time. I think we’re coming just before Thanksgiving. 


Damon Young: Yeah, right before Thanksgiving. You will be in Pittsburgh for a fashion Africana event that’s going to be held by the homie Demeatria Boccella. And I think I’ll be a part of that, too. So I will I will see you all when you get here. 


Charly Palmer: I hope so. 


Damon Young: But again, this amazing book, New Brownies’ Book, go and cop it. It’s available in stores now. Oh, and also, I did not read the title of my chapter. I want to get the book just so I could have it in front of me and read it. It’s a letter to the kid who eventually breaks my world record of most bite size snickers eaten by a 12 year old in a 13 minute span while waiting between pickup basketball games at Mellon Park. Okay, so I got a little silly. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: The longest title in the book and the longest story in the whole book. 


Damon Young: Yeah. Oh, was it? I [laughs] thank you. I don’t know if that was a sub. I don’t know if that’s a compliment, but. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: We love it.


Damon Young: Again [laughs] I appreciate you all giving me that space. Giving me that room to talk to this kid. To talk to all of our kids. Right. But again, thank you so much for coming through. And please, please, please, if you’re listening to this. Go and cop The New Brownies’ Book. Beautiful book. You will not regret it. Thank you. 


Dr. Karida L. Brown: Damon, thank you so much. 


Charly Palmer: Thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. And look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh. 


Damon Young: Oh, yeah, of course. [music plays] Again, I just want to thank Charly Palmer, Dr. Karida Brown, for coming through. Great topic, great guests, great people. And please, please, please go and cop The New Brownies’ Book, which is available in stores now today. Also, you can find Stuck with Damon Young anywhere you get your podcasts. But if you’re on Spotify, particularly if you’re on Spotify app, please take advantage of interactive polling questions answers. Knock yourself out, have a lot of fun with that. And again, if you have any questions about anything whatsoever, hit me up at All right y’all. See you next week. [music plays] Stuck with Damon Young is hosted by me, Damon Young. From Crooked Media, our executive producers are Kendra James and Madeleine Haeringer. Our producers are Ryan Wallerson and Morgan Moody. Mixing and mastering by Sara Gibble-Laska and the folks at Chapter Four. Theme music and score by Taka Yasuzawa. And special thanks to Charlotte Landes. And from Spotify our executive producers are Lauren Silverman, Neil Drumming and Matt Shilts. Special thanks to Lesley Gwam and Krystal Hawes-Dressler. [music plays]