The REALities of Being Black in America | Crooked Media
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August 26, 2022
The REALities of Being Black in America

In This Episode

Content warning: This episode contains discussions of suicide.

Systematic racism, police brutality and generational trauma all play a huge role into the mental health of the Black Community. The ladies of Imani State of Mind are taking a deep dive into what it really means to be Black in America and the harsh realities  race plays on the Black community’s mental health.

Resources if you or someone you know maybe struggling with suicide: Suicide prevention life line 1800-273-TALK

Connect with us at hello@imanistateofmind.com and Follow the show on Instagram at imanistateofmind

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome to Imani State of Mind. I’m Dr. Imani. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I’m MegScoop. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hey. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What’s up, girl? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hey girl what you doing. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You look cute today with your pom pom shorts. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Thank you. You know, it’s I mean, honestly, I was going to say that I have on my pom pom shorts because it’s hot but girl I wear– I moved to L.A. specifically to wear pom pom shorts like year round so um it’s definitely not because it’s hot but what’s up with you? How are you been over the past week? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl I’m good. I had family in town from New York, so it was just like house– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, you did? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. Houseful of little boys just running around the house. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yelling. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Kids everywhere, yelling. But it was really cute to see like all the little baby cousins together so. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That’s nice. No, that’s that’s super nice. Oh, where New York they come from? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Uh Flushing? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Ok Queens.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Bayside? Yeah Queens and then New Jersey. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, nice, nice, nice. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, that makes me kind of like homesick a little bit. But let me [?], I’ve been in L.A. for, like, almost 20 years. Um.

 

MegScoop Thomas: What you been doing? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, chilling. Clearly wearing pom pom shorts. I know that. [laughter] Working on my tan. I am super excited about this show. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Me too. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But I am a little bit weirded out because it is is going to be like September like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl, like where did the time go this year’s over. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: This year’s over. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I feel like it was June and then all of a sudden it’s going to be like October. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on. I do like this time of the year because it’s kind of like relatively like slowish. But then, of course, as you know, the news always brings some drama. I’ve seen some really, like, crazy stuff this week. Uh I know you were saying something about there was a little boy and people was putting– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –stuff in his hair or something? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Girl it was on like ESPN. They were covering this, I guess, I don’t know if it was a Little League game or just a regular baseball game and Little Leaguers were there. But either way, it was these Little League boys, white boys taking the stuffing out of like their little um stuffed animals, you know, the white filling that looks like cotton. And they were all putting it on this little boy, Black boy’s head that’s their teammate. And he was just sitting there like the look on his, if he was like laughing I’d have been like, okay, this seems a little weird. But his the look on his face was he was not happy about it. He was just sitting there, kind of sad as they’re just putting all this cotton looking stuff on his head. And and then and what makes it worse is that the announcer was like, oh, that’s Little Leaguers being little leaguers. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know what? Listen. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What? Since when are Little Leaguers, like racism goes hand in hand with Little League. What do you mean? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, ugh okay, now that that is horrendous and horrible and I feel really bad for that little boy and I’m sure I mean, mentally, that is so degrading and it’s so angering. I just I just feel so terrible. I know that affected his mental health. One thing that has affected my mental health and I say this kind of in jest, but not really is um so we all know that J.Lo and Ben Affleck are married um and I’m like, you know, that’s great. Happy for y’all. I know this is, you know, y’alls second go around whatever. Um, Do y’all know that they about to get married on a plantation? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Wait, so wait. Their official wedding is going to happen on a plantation. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. So they got that. They had their little quickie Vegas wedding and now they about to be married on a plantation in Georgia, girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So. Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I have so many questions. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, okay, so first. Okay, so let me tell. So let me tell you what at least what I’ve read. So Ben Affleck, as some of you may know and you might know this too, Megan, remember, remember not um not that long ago, a few years ago, Henry Louis Gates had that show about like people like, like stars would come on his show and he would– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Find their genealogy, like, do their genealogy for them. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: The show would, not him specifically. And Ben Affleck’s uh ancestors were slave owners. And so he wrote the show and was like, please, please, y’all don’t have this on the show. And they aired it anyway, because it’s Henry Louis Gates’ show ultimately, and they aired it anyway. And everybody was like Ben Affleck. Like, the thing is, is that like that’s part of the issue. The part of the problem is that you as a white man, like you’re so like it’s not about hiding the fact that this was a part of your history. It’s about discussing it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And how you can admit that it was wrong. And when you don’t admit that, when you don’t say those things out loud and you don’t admit to it today, that’s a part of your history. You are in a lot of ways endorsing it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. Exactly.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And so that show came out way before he, Ben Affleck, purchased a property in Georgia, the person whose property it was before specifically said, I want a plantation style estate. So Ben Affleck had this has this property in Georgia. He’s going to marry J.Lo. Um, their second official wedding is supposed to be at this property. Apparently, there are also there’s I think there’s slave quarters on this property. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh my gosh. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: But also there is a slave cemetery like slave burial ground on the cemetery. Now, the reason why I brought this up is, yes, Ben Affleck is a white man. Um we’re actually going to talk about the Black experience on this show, which is well one of my favorite topics, because I’m a Black person and I have experience. I’m just kidding. [laugh] Um but with that being said, this, Ben Affleck is a white man. So I and he has proven in the past that when it comes to the concept of whiteness and upholding um certain facets of white supremacy, such as not discussing the fact that you had uh slave owning ancestors, I expect that from him. From J-Lo, who is Puerto Rican, through and through. Puerto Ricans, many of them, if not the majority or most of them, have African ancestry. Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are part of the African diaspora. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And so for me, I’m like, Girl, what are you doing? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And like, is, is is she okay with them getting married there? Because that’s his home and it’s like, okay, we’re getting married at home. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That ain’t his real for real house. That’s just a house he got.

 

MegScoop Thomas: [banter] I’m saying is that is that why she’s okaying it and she hasn’t said anything because in her head this is like, oh, this is our house. Like, we’re getting married at home. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl, I don’t know, all that. But here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. They were going to get married there before when they were first engaged. And from what I read this morning, they were going to build, they were planning on building a church there. Now, somewhere in here, I’m just like, girl, J.Lo. What? Like where? What? Like, what side are you on? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. I mean, there has to be some kind of preservation of, like, you know, this is sacred ground. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Decency. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Where slaves are buried, you know, the slave quarters. Like, what are you going to do with the slave quarters. Are people just gonna be walking up in there? Like, haha this is slav–. Like, what are, are you going to make it a museum? And, like, is there. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Listen, let me tell you something. You want to hear some wild shit? So Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, when they got married at the plantation, there are slave cabins, a row of intact slave cabins there that are that’s called quote unquote, “slave street”, [gasp] girl slave street. Now, look, they apologize. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds apologize, whatever. But I’m, look, I’m a put it to you like this. I don’t fuck with Ryan Reynolds because of that. Like, my Blackness cannot allow me to like, I haven’t seen Deadpool, I know everybody loved it, my son watched it. I was like, my Blackness cannot, like I can’t do that. Um but in any case, girl, this week, while it’s been kind of maybe slow in terms of like it’s late summer, it’s been really chill. These people have been out here in these streets acting a whole goddamn fool. We gon talk about it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: On this show. On this show today, which I’m really excited to talk about, because this show we’re actually going to be talking about the realities of being Black in America. So I’m really excited um to talk about that. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So we as I said before, we gonna talk about the realities of being Black in America. Me and Megan are super hyped. And we just want to remind you guys that if you’re loving this show and I know you guys are, please let us know by rating the show on your favorite podcast app. So we’re going to get into the show. We have so much to talk about, so let’s just go ahead and start the show. [music break] Okay. It’s time for Ask Dr. Imani anything. We love hearing from you. Meg, who’s our first letter from today? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It is from London Nicole. And she writes, Hey, ladies. Hey, girl, if you’re very single listener here, or should I say Little Miss Forever single? I think I’m broken. I tell all my friends I have no problem getting a man, but every problem keeping them. Whenever things start going good, I find some way to sabotage it. I don’t know how to not bring my past insecurities or relationship problems into the new relationship. I overthink every text exchange, every call and interaction to the point I will wake up in the middle of the night overthinking. My friends say I put all my eggs in one basket way too fast, but I have a fear of being alone. It’s almost an obsession daily on figuring out how not to be alone. Diagnose me, please, so I can start working on my problems and stop running these men away. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: [laughter] Okay, um London Nicole. First of all, this letter is hilarious. And this also sounds like me back when I was very, very single. I mean, I, you know, I joke up here– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I think every woman has, like, had a like, everybody can identify with this at some point in their life, right? For the most part.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, yeah. Yeah, for sure. Like when I when I was living in New York and I always joke on here that like, I was running these streets, but I was, for the most part, running these streets. I was the same way. Like, I like I like being alone. But there’s a difference between, like, being alone in the summertime and being alone when it’s, like, snowing outside. [laughter] And this was back when I was living in New York. And so, you know, you really like winter boo season is real and it’s like, oooh, it’s the fall, I got to find somebody like I need to grab somebody quick because I do not like sleeping in this big ass bed that it will get cold. Like, I remember legit. Like I had male friends, like we were just friends. Like there was nothing romantic going on and there’d be times where like they would come over or I’d go to their house in the dead of winter in New York just so that we could be warm together, like nothing happened. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Where was y’alls heaters? Why did y’all need to have bodies? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Because it’s like we definitely had heat. I had heat in my house, but it’s just like, okay, it’s like I be in a bed and let’s say it’s like February in New York and where I’m sleeping, like it’s warm. But then when I go to stretch my legs out, it’d be cold. That shit be, aw that shit is depressing. I’ll be, like, damn I’m all alone. All alone up in this bed. So sometimes, like me, me and my male friends, like my uh platonic male friends, we would do that every so often. Like, bitch it’s cold, like you want to come over? Cause this is like, I do not feel, like this shit is terrible. So anyway, back to you, London Nicole. So here’s the thing. Like Meg said, I think we all go through a similar type of, you know, season, if you will, in our lives. Honestly, I can’t diagnose you because it just kind of sounds like you may be going through any number of things and you may just need to talk to somebody about it. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m, I’m a diagnose her. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Oh okay, my bad.

 

MegScoop Thomas: London. I’m a diagnosis you as being bored. [laughter] Being bored. [laughter]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was going to say that, I was going to say that. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: London, you’re bored girl. It’s that simple. [banter]. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You need to volunteer girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You have too much time on your hands. If you had, every text exchange, every call, every interaction, waking up in the middle of the night, girl you don’t have enough going on. [laugh] I’m like, personally, because if you did, you’d be like, Oh, I don’t have time to think about it. I got to go to bed. Like I’m tired. I have stuff to do. There’s there’s got to be you’re not focusing on you enough. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You know what, remember how. Okay, we do the last episode, I was like, well, I’m trying to be, you were like, I’m trying to be nice about it. I was like, uh uh I was like, this is stupid. This is what this sounds like. I was trying to be nice about it. Like, maybe you need therapy. Meg was like, you sound bored. [sound of disgust] 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That’s what it is! 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was going to kind of say that later. I was going to say cause because legit, if you’re overthinking every text exchange and callin, you be waking up in the middle of the night, like, oh, my god, like, girl, you need, you need something to do. So, like. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Volunteer, join a gym. Uh I don’t know, like. But. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: What do you like? What do you like to do?

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, that might be it too. Like, you got to focus on you first, and then whoever is worthy enough to be with you will come, you know, like, yeah, but don’t be out here chasing, you know, tail, because is you not gonna get nowhere, you might have some really nice dinners, but no. [laugh] So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I’m. I’m telling you. I remember this–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I can’t diagnose you girl, I’m sorry. [laugh]

 

MegScoop Thomas: You got my diagnosis girl, bored. So, I mean, like I said, I encourage you find something that you like to do because that will fill up some of your time. You’re still probably going to feel that, you know, like– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: –Emptyness. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: –What’s wrong with me? Becau– You know, because we always think about that. I remember when I when I first moved to L.A., I was super single for like years because I was working four jobs, hustling, trying to make my dreams come true. So I didn’t have a lot of time to be with anybody, but it didn’t take away the feeling of like, why am I by myself? I’m. You know, I see other people flourishing in their relationships, and I got nothing. And I just remember crying in my bed, like, why I got to be so lonely why I can’t. Like, where’s my happy ending? You know, I remember thinking all these things, but then, you know, what happened? Like how it actually, I guess my singleness ended. It ended when I started getting so busy and my life started getting so full. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: When I started really concentrating on me and what I wanted to do. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Then it was just like everything just kind of falls into place. But if you’re waiting for that, you’re going to get every side dude. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: That was not meant for you. You’re going to have a whole lot of issues with men that you’re going to have to talk about years from now with your home girls like you don’t want those stories. So. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Just do you, live your life. Focus on what you want to do. Find a hobby, find someone to help. I mean, whatever you can do, girl, and then your boo will come. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, exactly. I can attest to that, because after I separated from my husband, I was just doing me. And I mean, I knew the person that I’m with now for longer than I actually knew my ex-husband. But um but that really was when I think I was ready. And I was I mean, I was filming a show. I was working out all the time. I was working full time. Like I was just doing me like I had my whole day planned um and I really wasn’t thinking about a relationship like that. So, yeah, I would, you know, I would honestly, you know, just like Meg said like, like, do you girl like find some hobbies because because thinking about this, it sounds like to me London Nicole, it’s kind of like a hobby in and of itself for you and you need to find a more productive hobby. So that’s what I would, that’s the advice I’d give. I can’t diagnose you, but I mean, Megan said you bored. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: [laugh] Ask yourself why you’re afraid of being alone? That is important. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Because you said you put. You move way too fast. Why are you so afraid of being alone? What about aloneness is scary to you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right? Because there’s aloneness and there’s loneliness. And they are two separate things. Yeah, I like being alone. Like, I’m like, ooh, yay. Now I get to just, like, chill and spread out and, you know, play with my plants and whatever. Um. So. So London Nicole, thank you so much for your letter. Let us know how. Let us know what hobbies you pick up. Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, girl. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, for real. Let us know. Okay? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay. Our next letter comes from a listener by the name of Anita. She says, What’s up Dr. Imani and Meg, I first have to say thank you for creating a show that I can really relate to as a Black woman. Because of the show, I’m trying to embrace who I am, encourage more healthy conversations and prioritize my mental health. With that being said, I am struggling with being labeled the angry Black woman at work. It’s like if I speak up about something bothering me at work or address my coworkers, they immediately tell me I’m angry, upset or worked up. And that then does get me worked up, to avoid being labeled the angry Black woman. I’ve started to lose my voice at work and just not speaking up at all. I’m starting to feel hopeless and depressed at work because I don’t feel comfortable speaking up with the fear of being labeled as angry. It’s to the point I get physically sick Sunday nights thinking about having to go to work on Monday. I can’t let this fear take over me anymore. But feeling lost on how to find the balance of having confidence at work to do my job and not being labeled the angry Black girl. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hooo okay. Now this is a lot, okay? And I’m going to do kind of what I do when letters can be like when there’s a lot packed with into one letter. So I’m going to kind of go through it line by line, but I’m going to kind of like jump around. So you’re struggling with being labeled the angry Black woman at work. Okay, stop. So, first of all, you’re a Black woman in the United States. You’re going to be the angry Black woman, whether you like it or not, like it’s you could be the sweetest person you could walk in baking people cookies, rubbing people feet all day. You would still be the angry Black woman. It doesn’t matter. That’s just, unfortunately, the stereotype that we have to carry. Right? So I know in every business situation. I’m I mean, that’s just how they going to look at me. So I’m just like, whatever, not like whatever where I’m a be that, but just like, you know, well, if you feel that way, that’s fine. But once you start to speak to me, you know, if I get angry about something, I’ll tell you why. But, you know, it’s really going to have to be on the other person and the other person’s issues in terms of, you know, how they how they take me. Um that being said, so you’re struggling with being labeled the angry Black woman. All right. They’re going to think of you as angry regardless. Now, when your coworkers immediately tell you that you’re angry, upset, or worked up, and that does get you worked up as it should, it’s like telling somebody who mad, you need to calm down, right? Like that. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It’s not going to work. Like that’s not going to work. So it sounds like a lot of what you’re dealing with is just you’re dealing with being bombarded by the concept of whiteness in your job, which is that you as a Black woman are having to navigate and deal with what racism truly does represent in our society, which is that it has it is baked into the laws, it’s baked into our culture, it’s baked into our language, it’s baked into our clothes, is baked into our thinking. So it’s really not up to you to change the minds of your coworkers. It’s really up to you to just keep being the beautiful Black woman that you are. Right. And if for some reason, listen, if you getting sick, you just said you wrote I get physically sick Sunday nights thinking about having to go to work Monday. Okay, Anita, you probably should start looking for another job. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Because this is toxic. Like, this is, like you are getting sick. I’ve been in a similar situation. I left. Now I’m not going to say that. I mean, it wasn’t the most ideal situation because then I was kind of broke afterwards. But I did have my, I did have my like. Like my mind was clear. Like it was very difficult for me to go to work. I was getting headaches and grinding my teeth, and I was like, I’m a kill this woman, like. It just it’s not. It is. I’ve said this on the show before, and it’s something that my mom has said to me a million times before, but she was like, you will get an ulcer before I do. And that’s my motto. Like, you will get sick before I get sick off of your dumb shit. And that’s just that. So I’m not saying you should quit your job immediately. I’m just saying you should really, like, look into finding other places of employment because this is not a good place for you any first of all, anywhere where there are people, there are white folks coming up to you telling you, well you angry? That’s a HR call like I’m going to HR, like this is ridiculous, and you might have done that. And listen, I’m not going to sit here and say that. I mean, I’ve met some raggedy HR people, too, so it may not be just that. It may not be that like, oh, you know, you went through all the steps that you were supposed to go through in the in the in the employee handbook, and they still just acting raggedy. You need to leave. Yeah, I just. I hate hearing that you are lacking confidence at your job. And that confidence, you know, is, you know, could be negatively affecting your work. Like, don’t ever let anybody steal your shine. It just sounds like you not at the right job, so. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. Meg, what are you saying? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I mean, I. Well I’ll say this. So. You know, my I also work at All Def, which is a Black owned company owned by Culture Genesis. And I’m known there as The Angry Woman because everybody’s just Black, right? So [laugh] what I’ve learned is when people think a certain thing about you. You just let them think it? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Because at the end of the day, your work speaks for itself. If you, if you do good work, okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Then guess what? They’re going to be working with this angry, quote unquote “Black woman”, because I do good work. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I do good work. And at the end, that’s what matters. And, you know, you know, you’re not an angry person. They don’t know that. Maybe they’re they don’t have experience with Black people. Maybe, you know, it might be a communicat–. Maybe it’s a regional thing. You know what I’m saying? It might ain’t have nothing to do with your color, but for them, sometimes they don’t understand. Like this is the vernacular and this is how I speak. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: This has nothing to do with anger. It’s just how I communicate. Sometimes it’s is when you perceive that and you if it’s if it’s that, then it doesn’t feel as harsh. But I get you, girl. Just do your work, keep your head down. Probably find a new job because they clearly don’t don’t uh recognize who you are and what you bring. So do you, do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel healthy. Because going to work physically sick because of what these people are saying about you is never okay. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And that goes for any label. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mhm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean I do listen. As a native New Yorker who is always like well tell me to my face, I do respect the fact that these people are telling you to your face, but at the same time you can get slapped. You know, I’m saying? [laugh] Like just because you want to express yourself does not me that there’s no repercussions. So it’s like, oh you angry like oh for real? You want to see, you want to see how angry I can get, because you acting very raggedy today. So Anita, thank you for your letter. I’m sorry you got to deal with these raggedy ass people at your job. Um feel free to obviously take Megan’s advice. Feel free to look for another job. I mean, I’m just I’m like, getting hot up in here just like thinking about this, because this is a little triggering for me from one of my previous jobs. But, girl, we just want the best for you. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, you know, but, like, legit, don’t let nobody steal your shine. Like, like, do do your work and, you know, just tell all these other people that they can just, you know, I don’t know. I just like when people call me angry, I double down. I’m like, oh, for real, am I? You want to see, like, I’m but but I’m very conf– I got problems. [laughter] I’m very conversational. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh you want to see. You want to see angry?

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Ya you want, oh am I angry? For real? You wanna see how angry I can get? Like, let’s do this. Um, but, Anita, for real. Like, I don’t want to think about you, you know, feeling bad about yourself because there are some raggedy people at your job. Um, so, so good luck to you. And if you can, let us know how you’re doing. And if you you know, if you’re about to embark on a job search, like let us know. Let us know. Thank you, Anita. And thank you, London Nicole, for submitting your questions to Imani State of Mind. I hope that me and Meg were able to help you guys. Today’s questions really have me thinking about how I want this show to continue to be the conversation starter surrounding mental health in the Black community. And I can’t wait for today’s conversation. It is stressful to be a Black person in America. Listen, and I want to normalize us being able to talk to each other about it right after the break. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Welcome back. So we are going to be discussing the realities of being Black in America. And this is something that myself and Meg are obviously intimately familiar with, because we are both Black and we’re both Black women. So here’s here’s something that I often well, I don’t wouldn’t say that I often think about it, but like I live in a white neighborhood. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Me too. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And I’m cool with my well, my neighbor with my neighbors. Like they cool. like, you know, they they like my little Wu-Tang sign and they’re like, oh, that’s so cool, whatever. And I’m like, ha ha okay, bye, whatever. But I there are certain things that I knew when I moved into this uh neighborhood that I wanted to make sure, like, I’m like, I need for you all to know this is a Black house, okay? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I don’t want for you all to think that I’m here. Like, I’m here to simply assimilate. Like, I’m here like, if I could live in another part of LA, I would. But my son’s schools just happened to be um close to here and, like, right down the street. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So that’s why I live out here. And also, my parents kind of live down the street, too. Um but but I but I say all that to say that I’ve always wanted to make sure that I, as a Black person in America, was that I was always able to express myself and and let other people know, like I am of I am Black. Like this is this is me. Like this is also a part of America. And it always drives me crazy when like there are certain trigger words for me, like when people are like, oh, the heartland of America or the real America. I’m like, oh, so you mean white people? Is that what you mean, like you mean white people 

 

MegScoop Thomas: The real America. Oh, you mean with the natives? Because that is– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Child. That is the real America. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That that’s what I’m talking about. [banter] Yeah, right. Like, I’m like, I ain’t even supposed to be here and actually these white folks ain’t either, so. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Um, but I think that’s why, you know, there have been previous friends of mine who are like Imani you always talk about race. You always want to make some racial. And I’m like, well, this country was built on the backs of slaves and– 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It affects me every day. I’m like, there are so many things that people who are not Black, let’s just say white folks, don’t have to think about. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like at all. Like, you know what I thought about when um COVID first hit? I was like, okay, so we’re going to have to wear masks. So like, if somebody I mean, I knew that we all would be wearing masks, but I was like, I wonder if, like, if I go into Trader Joe’s, these white people are going to be freaked out because they can’t see my face. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like, there are so many little things that like white people, for example, don’t like, they just don’t think about because they’ve never had to, you know, on a larger scale. My son is about to learn how to drive and I have to have that talk with him. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And the fact that I’m like as Black people, when you say that talk, I already know what that talk is. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You already know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s it’s sad that we we have to know what that means. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. Exactly. And I also remember a few years ago when white people discovered what the that talk or the talk meant, it was like, okay, you can calm down. They’re like, that’s crazy. I’m like, yeah, we know, we know. And that’s why.

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s toxic. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, exactly. And that’s why it’s so important to talk about what it’s like to be Black in America. Because for when you go when you go overseas, when it comes to Black folks, it’s, you know, it’s sports entertainment. Like, that’s that’s mostly what it is. And so I’ve had friends and family members who have gone overseas. And I remember, oh, my god, I just remembered this. My parents was telling me the other day that when they went to, they went to the Olympics. I think they were in China maybe? This is a long time ago. Yes, it was China. It was Beijing. And [laugh] my dad, if you see if you ever saw my dad, my dad is a very chocolaty, dark skinned man. Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: These people over there in China thought he was Will Smith. And so he was signing autographs like, okay, then. [laugh] And my mom was like, what are you doing? And he was like, they think I’m Will Smith, so I guess I’m a be Will Smith today, so here. Like, I mean, basically, like, if you’re going to I mean, I felt it so it was kind of like if you’re going to infringe upon my space, then I’m, gon– you know, like, I’m going to I’m going to, you know, I’m going to give it back to you. So I just I just I say all that to say that it’s important for people, even people in this country who are not Black to get an idea of what it is like to be Black in America, because we are still considered like other. You know what I mean? That that’s one part. But but but that’s kind of like the tip of the iceberg, the majority of the iceberg when it comes to, you know, just Blackness and being Black in America, a lot of it is a lot of it has been us trying to come up with, I guess, mechanisms to cope, like like coping skills to deal with what we have to worry about on a daily basis. And despite the fact that Black doesn’t crack, um you know, despite the fact that, you know, fillers and Botox exist for me, um well you know, we like we. Yeah, like we you may not be able to see our pain, but for a lot of us, just even like I’ll give you an example, I just got a new car, it’s an electric vehicle. And in L.A. or in California, you can drive in the carpool lane if you have an electric vehicle. I was on some thread, some Reddit thread about electric vehicles. You could, I could tell these were white dudes because these white dudes were like, oh, yeah, you have to have decals to to drive in the uh carpool lane. And these white dudes is like, oh yeah, I don’t want to mess up my paint. I don’t want to put it on my car. So I don’t, I don’t put them on. And if a cop pulls me over, I just I just open up my glove. I open up my glove box and I pull them out and I just show them the decals. Do you understand how, like, there are so many steps that that if I were in the same position, I could be shot at anyone at any point. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So I’m in the I’m in the I’m in the wrong lane. I’m in the right lane. But I don’t have my decals on. I’m a get pulled over. I could get shot, now reaching for glove boxes. Are you serious? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. I can’t do that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I can’t do that. So let me tell you, my car got all decals, okay? I got all the stickers. I’m not playing games. I’ll be in the carpool lane, like all just all kinds of yellow stickers all over the place. Cause I’m like, I’m ain’t gett– I’m not getting in trouble today. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It’s like stuff like that that you don’t think about, for example, selling a house, right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You have a house, you want to sell your house. It should just be easy to just say, okay, you know, I’m I’m going to have somebody come in, appraise my house. They’re going to give me a fair amount and that’s it, right? That’s not the case if you’re Black, because there’s been at least two like on a recently in the news, there’s been two instances where Black families had their pictures up, the appraiser comes says their house is like $400,000, right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: They know their house is worth more because they’ve seen the houses in their neighborhood. They remove anything that resembles a Black family. [banter] Get a new appraiser. The house is now $750,000. How is it $300,000 more. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Listen. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And the only thing you did was take away your Black pictures. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Listen, I when I when I’ve moved, I mean, I had my realtor tell me this, but I was like, dude, you ain’t got to tell me that. I take down everything. Everything. Like, I even will have a stager come in. I’m like, I need for you to make this as white as possible. Like, like I’ll put up lil febreezes because I mean, because, you know, when you go in to a black home it smells different. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like it’s smell like black people. Like, it smells like I’m in– [banter]

 

MegScoop Thomas: Smells like love, it’s like love. Good food, seasoning.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, it smells like seasoning and coconut oil or cocoa butter. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yup. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And I’m like, I need for you to open these window, I need for you to Febreeze this out. I don’t want no, I want none of these people to know that a Black person with a with an Arabic name lives in this house, lives in this house. And, you know, like like I would never be there when, like, people were I mean, I would never want to be there when people were walking through my house, even though I want to sell it, because I get really weird about stuff like that, like get out of my house. Um but yeah, you have to whitewash it. You have to whitewash it. And I saw that. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Most rec– the story you were talking about, the most recent story that I saw involved a couple that they’re both professors for at Johns Hopkins University. Yeah. And, and I mean, and and here’s here’s the thing that’s messed up. In my mind. I know it’s wrong, but I am always like, I have this issue sometimes with like we all do with playing devil’s advocate. And so I’m not saying I believe this, but I was reading the story and then I was saying, well, why didn’t you just get your white friend to do it? And that’s not the point. That’s not the point. That’s not the point. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: The point is is that, this is a house. There’s equity in it. I want to sell it. Tell me how much it’s worth. Like. That’s like that. Like, that’s it. That’s I mean, let me calm down. It’s kind of like what I was discussing at the beginning of the show in terms of like there’s a difference between. There’s white people, there’s whiteness. And they’re. They’re two separate situations. One of my favorite shirts that I’ve seen recently is um it’s a it’s a shirt that that my boyfriend has. And it says whiteness is violence and no one’s really ever said anything about it. But like on the on the occasion that like this one white dude did, like, he was just like, well, listen, if you have an issue with it, like you’re part of the problem. Like I’m not saying why people are evil or terrible. And he was like, basically, he was like, here, here’s the deal. You can be Black and ascribe to whiteness, you can be Asian and ascribe to whiteness. You can be white and ascribe to whiteness. It’s not about white people are evil and all inherently terrible. It’s about whether you as a person uphold the tenets of white supremacy. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And it shouldn’t have to be about. Well, I have to take all all my Black accouterments out of my Black ass home. But that’s just the way that, you know, this world works, unfortunately. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s also like saying Black Lives Matter means that I’m saying white lives– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: lives don’t? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It it’s my that’s that’s ascribing to whiteness, is that you can be you should be able to be a white person and go, okay, I’m white, but I don’t, if I’m not racist, I don’t ascribe to these things and I can speak against that. And I don’t know if, you know, because I had some conversations with some of my white friends. I’m from Kentucky. So there’s you know, there’s a lot of white people who are cool with Black people but maybe don’t realize some of the things that they’re doing are very racist. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Girl. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Or definitely whiteness. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And so I’ve had these conversations with some of my friends and I realize, like, some people really don’t know, you know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, I know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And I hate to say that and it’s sad, but, you know, I’ve at least had like even today when I posted this story about um the Black boy getting the cotton in his hair with by the white kids I put in there. Hello, Hey, white friends. DM me if you don’t understand why this is wrong. And I did get a couple DMs like, okay, Megan. And, you know. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh! Not with that face, though. Oh, no, Uh uh. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I, I, you know, and I like I always breathe through it because while it’s not my responsibility to explain to you, um you know, the Black experience or explain to you why this is racist, I do it because there are some people who actually learn, who actually want to learn. Now, if I see you, just you do. That’s not racist. Okay. Well, I have nothing to say to you. But.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, yeah yeah.

 

MegScoop Thomas: If you’re genuinely trying to understand, because you’ve lived in this white bubble and nobody’s ever challenged your whiteness to your face and you have no clue, but you’re willing to learn, then I’m willing to have the conversation with you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You better than me. I’ll say this. There are people like Megan who definitely, you know, have the patience to be able to, I guess, have those kinds of conversations. Um, then there’s people like me who don’t like I just I’m not I’m like, I don’t want to. I guess I feel like this. There was a time where I definitely was more willing to have a conversation um about that. But I think as I’m getting older, I like all of my conversations, like I’ve had all the conversations I want to have. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like I’m like, I don’t I don’t want to I don’t want to talk about this anymore. And the fact that I, as a Black person, have to know more about white people then then white people know about me. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Know about me, yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I’m just like, I don’t know. I don’t know what to tell you. Like, go Google that shit. I don’t know. Like, I’m not like, I’m not like, bitch, I’m not a book. Like, I’m not like I just, like, it’s just it’s stuff like that. That’s just. Okay. You okay? You want to know? I just remember this the day that I stopped explaining, I just. I just remember I was like, on this day, November 5th, I’m not going to do this anymore. I was at a gas station in L.A. and I was, you know, filling up my car. And I got out of the car and this white woman came up to me, and I had like, I don’t have any hair, but sometimes I’ll wear, like, you know, like head wraps. And so she was like, oh my god. She was like, You look so great. I was like, Thank you. I also kind of have a thing about like random, like white women coming up to me and being like, Oh my God, because I feel kind of like um objectified. But in any case, sometimes compliments are nice. So she was like, Oh, you look so nice. I was like, Thank you. And she was like, she was like, so she’s like can I ask you a question? I was like, Here we go. I was like, Girl, go, what what. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Here we go. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Here we go. Here we go. And she was like um, she’s like, where are you from? I was like, Syracuse. She’s like, no, like, where are you from? I was like, bitch. I was born in Syracuse, New York. [laughter] Like I was born in upstate New York. Like, I don’t know what to tell you. And she was like, but where’s your family from? I was like. Why? Because I was like, I could tell you, but I’m not. I’m like, I was like, Why you asking? She was like, Well, she was like, I’m guessing that like you, your family is probably from like East Africa. I was like, Do you know anything about the slave trade? I was like, My family is not from East Africa. I was like, Girl, bye. I just left. I was like, you know, I was like, you know, I’m like, That is on today’s date. This is the last day I’m even entertaining this. And that’s why I’m saying there are people who are more willing to do that. I’m just not one of those people. I’m I’m like, I’ve I’m not I have no interest. Like, I’m like, I don’t want to do I don’t want to do this with y’all no more because it always turns into like, especially with this woman, she was like, she was gonna tell me. I was like, Oh, you want to tell me. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: To tell you. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: You want to tell me oh okay.

 

MegScoop Thomas: You’re from Somalia. You’re from Eritrea. You’re from–

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I was like, I am not. I was like bitch I told you I’m from Syracuse, New York. Get out of here. Get out of here. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know what, to see and see. I had a situation like that happened to me and they were like, No, but where are you from? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Bitch. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: From Kentucky. No where are you from? Because, you know, sometimes, most white people don’t even know– 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like you too exotic. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. But most white people don’t even know I’m mixed. They just think I’m Black, but they don’t know. They’res like I can’t tell something. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Something something I don’t know. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know what I said? I was like, okay, well, cool, where are you from? And the chick was like, like somewhere in Wisconsin. And I was like, no no no no, but where are you from? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right, right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like where are your people from? She’s like, Oh, yeah, like Wisconsin and like Montana and like. And I was like, No, no, no. But like, where you guys are because this is like, are you guys Native American or are you from like some European country? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And she was like oh, [laugh] like like I like it’s like the light bulb clicked. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. And like oh.

 

MegScoop Thomas: And like what she was trying to ask me and I’m like, okay, do you see, like do you understand. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You can’t say that because all of us are not from here unless you are Native American. You’re not from here. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Okay so don’t don’t ask me. Where are you from? I’m from here. Just like you from here. Right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Like we both from the same place. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So all that to say. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: We both got ancestors from somewhere else. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. All that to say, like being Black in America, whether you Black or white or not, everyone knows it can be a very difficult time. Our mental health is very precious and it’s not something that we’ve often paid attention to uh just culturally. I am happy though to see like honestly, as much shit as like older generations always will talk about younger generations. I’ve seen more people who were so averse to therapy, let’s say, who are of an older generation like older than me. They’re now like, you know, maybe I will see a therapist and and I think and I think that’s something we can really owe to like people who are, you know, younger than me. I’m Gen X, I guess. So, like Gen Z, millennials, like all like all of them. Like, y’all really did the work to really get all of us to realize, especially as Black folks, because historically we, we, you know, why we don’t talk about it? We don’t talk about it because when we were indentured, we were told not to talk about it. We couldn’t complain. And so that became the norm. But and because you keep doing something that becomes, quote unquote, “normal to you”, you perpetuate it like whiteness. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like like we will, in a lot of cases, uphold tenets of whiteness, like real talk. Megan, how many girls on your Instagram feed look like um a Kardashian who are Black? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, there’s a lot. [laughing]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So many. So many.

 

MegScoop Thomas: Are you? Are you [?] Why do you look like this? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I’m like you ain’t Armenian my girl. If you don’t get out of here, I’m like this. I’m like, okay, all right. But. But, but but that’s kind of what I mean. It becomes so normal that you just ascribe to it because that’s what you see. And also you get rewarded for that. Right. You don’t like we we as Black folks really were never rewarded for being honest and open and discussing our issues and the pain that we have. And now we’re able to talk about it more. So I’m like, there have been the majority of my life. I’ve been really proud of Black people. But this is definitely a time in the past couple of years where I’ve been really proud of us collectively as a people because we have really been like, You know what. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Mm hmm. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I do not feel good and I am taking a mental health day and I don’t. I’ll see ya’ll tomorrow. I don’t know when I’m a see y’all. But I need to go. I need to go sit down. I know that during 2020, I was like, I cannot watch the news no more. It was just. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I mean, I worked from home and even I was like, I got to take a mental health day. Like, I can’t deal with this right now, it’s too it’s there’s too much going on um. I have a question for you, though, Megan. So how old is your son? Is he three? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: He’s he’s almost four. Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Oh, my God, he’s almost four. I love that time. My son. So my son’s 15 um. He’s about to go into seventh grade. And I was thinking recently about like, okay, what are some things that have changed versus haven’t changed? Like we talked about the quote unquote “the talk”, right. About like, okay, if a if if if police pull you over like put your hands on the steering wheel, like, you know, there’s a whole there’s a whole, I guess, roster of things you have to do if you’re pulled over by the police as a Black person in America. The other thing I thought about that hasn’t changed is having to do better than your white counterparts. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, yeah, 100%. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like you can’t–

 

MegScoop Thomas: That. That’s never going to change. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: That ain’t never gonna change.

 

MegScoop Thomas: [indistinct]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You have that’s that you know, here’s one thing that I you know, I’ll get back to that in a second talking about my son. But I remember growing up my, I’m half Korean, half Black, my mom’s Korean, my dad’s Black. And the one thing that I remember them telling me, I was five years old, my mom and my dad sat me down together and told me I was Black. And I remember like at that age, like, I can’t you know, you don’t really understand race too much at that age. But I could just say, like, my skin is brown. First of all, I’m not black, I’m brown. I know my crayon colors. And number two, like, mom, you’re this color and dad’s this color. If I’m both y’all, like, how am I Black? I don’t understand. It was foreign to me, but it made. I’m so glad that they said that to me and they sat me out and said that to me because that helped me understand how people perceived me. And and that’s half the battle when you understand that people are going to look at you and say you’re an angry Black woman, are you’re this or you’re that, you can understand. Or if they clutch their purse, when you walk past them, you understand like you understand what’s going on. You understand how to react, right? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: If my parents had never sat there and told me that, I would have been so lost. Because when people see me, they don’t look at me and go, Megan that Korean girl, you know what I’m saying. [laughter] 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: There. Unless you know me. You don’t know that my mom is Korean. You may if you know, mixed people. You may say, oh, she’s mixed. But, you know, growing up in Kentucky, where I was a lot of around a lot of white people, they thought I was just straight Black. And so it would have it wouldn’t have helped me had my parents not sat me down, including my Korean mother, not sat me down, said, you are Black in this country, you are Black, and people will see you as Black. And you need to understand that. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, no, thats–

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it stuck with me and I’m so grateful they did that because that has helped me out a lot. You know, when I faced racism, blatant racism, I understood immediately what it was. Whereas I’ve had some friends who are mixed and they, their parents never had that talk with them. So they didn’t understand why somebody was looking at them and treating them. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: As a Black person. Because you are Black. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. Like, how dare you? Like, what are you talking about? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Oh, honey, we Black. And then that’s something, you know, for my son. He’s he’s mostly black. He’s a little light skinned baby boy. So cute. I just love him. He’s a good boy. But he’s, you know, he’s growing up in our white neighborhood. So a lot of the kids at his school are white. And you know he said, you know, he’s he’s starting to understand differences like his hair. His hair is when his hair gets long. It’s still really like, you know, he had a little afro. But his friends, when their hair gets long, it goes down. And he was explaining that to me and he said, oh, I like their hair. And I said, well, what about your hair? He was like, no, it’s not long. I said, yes, it is, look at it. And I had to like pull his curl because shrinkage is real. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. [laughter]. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: I said look how long your hair is. You know, I had to hype him up and so he got happy about that but he was like, I just wanted to [?] No, no, no.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: No, no, no, no. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Your hair is grows this way towards the sun, okay? Because you are above, you are high. You’re flying up here, baby. So your hair goes that way. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Exactly. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So, like, I’m trying to teach him to love, you know, himself the way he is, even though he’s growing up in a place where he’s just the only little brown spot. Sometimes.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. No, it’s that that’s that’s an important point to make because I’m Black, obviously. My son’s father is Puerto Rican. He’s more he’s definitely more on the fairer side um of as far as his complexion, my son is the same color as his dad. And even though he, you know, he’s aware of both sides of his family, he definitely is in communication with his dad and and and his Puerto Rican relatives. You know, I’m like, listen, you know, as far as as far as, you know, we’re concerned you’re you’re Black. And that’s how people are gonna treat you. Yes. You’re, you know, a very nice, sweet person. But people you know, I, I, I where I watched with a lot of trepidation how people would react to him once he hit puberty, because when he was young, it was like, oh, he’s so cute. And da da da da and then when he, you know, he’s taller than me now. He like six one, he got a deep voice, and hair on his face. And I’m just like, okay, I he truth be told, he stays home a lot. Um, he’s a he’s a homebody like me. But yeah, I’m still kind of like like I mean, he’s he’s going to go out in the world much more. He’s only getting older. But but that is a fear. Like I knew when I was pregnant with my son, I was like, oh, my god. Like, I wanted a boy, I wanted a son. But I also knew like what would come along with that. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And that’s something that, I mean, I just honestly, I just think that, I mean, and, and if we can’t get our 40 acres and a mule, all Black people from birth need to be given. We need to be given like a basically a savings account with like I’m going to make up this number $100,000. And we need life lifelong therapy. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Agreed. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like we could we could start there with reparations, and then we can kind of, you know, like, like work along the way. But, um but I say all that to say that there is a lot there’s being Black in America and the realities of being Black in America are very um they’re very real. It can be heavy. I mean, look but most of the time, like 99.9% of the time, I’m very happy to be Black. I love being Black. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes m’am. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: I love just being me. And and looking in the mirror and knowing that I’ll probably look the same way 20 years from now. [laughter] I just like I look the same 20 years from today, uh, 20, 20 years ago. Um but I just say. But that being said, you know, it’s um it is important to always when you have the opportunity to just bask in the glow of your Blackness and just let people know that we are the original um originater none greater. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes, we move the culture. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay we always we keep moving the culture. And aside from the fact that I still find it kind of disturbing that I see, you know, like I see these I even some friends of mine, I see some like Black women. I’m just like, girl, did you get your lips filled? [laugh] I’m like, you know, you didn’t need to do that. But. But it’s fine. But that being said, Blackness comes in all shapes and and colors and sizes and everything. And I just. I love us. I love Black people. I just want for us to just, you know, be the best that we can be, despite the fact we have to deal with a lot of raggedy people on a daily basis. So our mental health, I’m happy that we are putting it first and that we’re not like sweeping it under the rug and trying to, you know, uh come up with maladaptive coping skills um to bury it. I’m glad that we are, you know, really taking this time during this pandemic to really make ourselves better. So. Good job, Black folks. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. And always remembering from whence we came. Okay. Because our story did not start in America. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And our stor– our story does not begin with slavery. Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: It does not. It does not.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: It does not. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: We always, a lot of times we get caught with that because but, you know, that’s what is dictated in this country. But lets, lets. Let us not forget. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: We are the beginning of civilization. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yes. First universitys, first libraries, first everything. So. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Everything. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, so power to the people. I’m making a Black fist right now. I love you all Black people and I love all y’all people that love Black people. So, so. So, that being said, uh thanks Megan for that awesome conversation. That’s all the time that we have for our deep dive conversations today. Of course, I wish I could talk about Blackness forever, please. But that being said. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. Let’s switch gears and get to our favorite segment of the show, Pop Culture Diagnosis. [music break]

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hey, guys. So before we get into pop culture diagnosis, we are going to be discussing suicide. So if that is triggering for you, it is a very sensitive topic. So if you would like to stop the episode or if you would like to fast forward past this part of the episode, please feel free to do so now. Okay. So let’s get right into our pop culture diagnosis for this week. Meg, can you give our listeners a quick synopsis of the hit show P-Valley and the character known as Big Teak? 

 

MegScoop Thomas: P-Valley is my show. Down in a valley where the girls can make it. [singing] [laugh] Like that’s the theme song. Okay, that is the theme song. Um. This is a great show. I love it. It’s a little bit on the raunchy side. So put your kids to bed when you watch it. But it’s about basically strip club culture um in the town of Chucalissa, Mississippi. It takes place at this strip club called the Pynk. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: The Pynk. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: The Pynk Girl, the Pynk. And, well, this show covers a lot of different things. It covers you know, you’ll see. I think one of the progressive things about this show is that it talks about queer characters in a storyline that we’ve never really seen before in other shows, at least I haven’t. Especially in a Black show. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Mm hmm. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: So one of the characters is named Big Teak now, big Teak has just gotten out of prison. He is you know, he’s got a very deep story um about his life, but he’s also the best friend of one of the main characters, Lil Murda. Now Lil Murda is on the DL when it comes to out in the open. He’s a big mur– a big rap star from this town and he’s blowing up, but nobody knows he’s gay. So, you know, and he’s in a relationship with another one of the main characters, Uncle Clifford. Now, Big Teak is his former lover, we find out. But Big Teak also has a lot of turmoil going on because he’s Black and he’s gay and he’s, you know, he’s got to present this masculinity that is opposite of who he is. He’s also grown up in poverty. He’s grown up in abuse. And so all of that put together has created this this guy. And he’s just dealing with a lot, dealing with a lot to the point where he commits suicide. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah, I, I, I’m not going to sit here and say that I’ve seen all of P-valley I’ve seen some of it. I saw some of the first uh season. I think at the time I just had too many shows, um you know, what happened, you know, what happened. P-Valley came out and like Lovecraft Country and Watchmen were out and I was like, okay, if we talking about Black folks in science fiction bitch, like I got to I got to switch to that. Um but so I didn’t finish watching the first season of P-Valley, but I really did like how it was shot. And it’s it’s something that I really wasn’t aware of. This is kind of a side note. Um, it’s something I really wasn’t aware of until Waiting to Exhale when Forest Whitaker directed that movie. And he made I remember reading um interviews that he gave at the time where he spoke about the lighting and how it’s dif– how you light black skin differently and P-valley you’re definitely in a strip club, but like the way that it’s lit is really like it’s really vibrant. And so that was one of the things that I that um I really liked. Just, just, it’s aesthetically a really nice show to watch when I had to kind of do a deep dive about Big Teak who we’re discussing today, even though, you know, a lot of the clips were him like, you know, gettin loud and mad and whatever. Like I could just see through all of that. And I was like I was like, he’s very sensitive. Like, this is a very, very sensitive dude. And knowing as I kept watching, knowing that he had been in jail, um knowing that, you know, he also um was trying to hide his his uh his sexual identity. I mean, that that’s something I, I can’t it’s something that I can’t imagine having to go through. And it really just made my heart, like, just pour out even more for him. Um and especially knowing that, like, basically he got to kick it with like, you know, his, his lil boo thing the whole time. His character is really, really beautiful. And I especially loved reading about um the the actor, the person who portrays Big Teak, John Clarence Stewart. He spoke about the fact that he also loved playing Big Teak because he himself struggles with depression and anxiety. And it’s obvious with Big Teak that, you know, he’s he went away, I think, for ten years. And so despite, you know, like, oh, like cell phones look like this now. Our styles are like this now. There’s been a lot that has changed in the Black community between now and ten years ago. Like we have trans people, we have, you know, we have uh there’s there’s sexual identity, there’s gender identity, there’s, you know, there’s so many different things I know through dealing with uh patients of mine and former patients of mine that when they get out of jail or prison, it’s a culture shock. Like it’s it’s a really to the point where sometimes they will commit crimes, not with the express intent to go back in in like be incarcerated, but sometimes that is what they’ll do. And it’s like, okay, I feel more comfortable here because the outside world is too much. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. It’s like, where do I, where do I belong? 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: You know, cause I don’t want to be in jail, but I feel comfortable with that because I’ve been there. But I also like I want to go back to my old life but. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: As the case in in this this show, Big Teak goes back to his old home and it ain’t his old home. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And it’s a crack house. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Right. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: And he’s just kind of like, I don’t know where I belong. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. I mean, I don’t it’s not very difficult for me to diagnose Big Teak. I mean, he did shoot himself. He definitely had depression. I mean, I’m sure he had anxiety just in terms of like, oh, my god, who’s going to find out that I’m gay? Um you know, how do I navigate in this world that I’m not used to? And because he never felt like he fit in anywhere. That anxiety, I’m sure, existed before he went uh. He went to jail and went to prison. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So he’s just I just I really, really fell in love with this character um. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah, me too. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: When he when he was about to shoot himself and he was in the car um and he was talking to Lil Murda, and he was just like, you know, like he was just like, I’m just so tired. And that’s one of the things that I when I hear people say, like, oh, well, so-and-so, you know, well, this that was so selfish of her for– that was so selfish of her, for example, like she just went and shot herself. And I’m like, nobody does that. Like people, people seek to harm themselves in that way, to actually kill themselves because living is so painful. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like it’s not a spite.

 

MegScoop Thomas: I felt that when he said that, man. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. It’s not a spiteful thing. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Ooh thats hard. Yeah.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Like killing us. It’s not like, oh, for real, I’m a show you. Like, that’s not how it works. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So, yeah, when he said that, I was like, oh, no. I man, I cried a real tear and a thug tear. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And I was like, oh man, he bout to. I was like, no! 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Right. So if you hug a Black man, okay, only but ask first, don’t just touch them. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Yeah. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: But hug a Black man today. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Hug a Black man and and especially hug Black men who are who do not uphold the tenets of whiteness. Don’t just be hugging. Don’t hug Clarence Thomas, [laughter] okay? Like hug, hug a real for real Black person, a real for real Black man. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: Okay. Because if anybody needs hugs, we we need hugs the most. Okay. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: So anyway, RIP Big Teak, we love you. Uh and that is that is it for pop culture diagnosis. That was really fun. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: We’re going to have another fun character to analyze next week. If you guys have suggestions for fictional characters that you want for me to diagnose. Hit me up on Twitter @doctor_imani. Hit Meg up on Instagram @MegScoop and email the show at Hello@ImaniStateofMind.com. And again, if you’re enjoying the show, please don’t forget to rate and review the show on your favorite podcast apps. We love reading the reviews. 

 

MegScoop Thomas: Yes. 

 

Dr. Imani Walker: And it makes me like super hype um even when some of y’all be saying that you don’t like it, but that’s really like nobody so. Um, so so that being said, thank you, everybody, for listening to this week’s Imani State of Mind. Thank you, as always, Meg, for co-hosting. And we’ll be back for an all new episode to get our minds right next week. This is a Crooked Media production. Our executive producer is Sandy Girard. Our producer is Leslie Martin. Music from Vasilis Fotopoulos, edited by Veronica Simonetti, and special thanks to Brandon Williams, Gabi Leverette, Mellani Johnson and Matt DeGroot for promotional support.