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In the Blackseat
10 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
S2, Episode 11 | In the Blackseat | Quick Ride, 6/2/2021
It's been a while since I have done a Quick Ride, but this topic has been on my mind!If you are a Black person who has been attacked by white supremacy - whether individually or systemically - is it a compliment to say "you are so strong" or "you are so composed"? You've seen the scenario - Black person gets harassed and holds their peace in the face of unrelenting aggression. Black person gets praised for composure, strength (and sometimes even patriotism, grrrrrrrrrr!)I don't think it's a compliment, and I will tell you why in about eight minutes. Keep in mind, that I am not advocating for wholesale, unwarranted violence. Also, this is no way reflects by admiration for our resilience. HOWEVER, I think this sort of remark is more damaging than helpful, and I will tell you why, and my personal opinion on how we can protect ourselves. Let's go!
73 minutes | May 19, 2021
S2, Episode 10 | In the Blackseat, Mental Health, Part II
I got incredible feedback from the season premiere focused on mental health. As I am writing this overview, it is the top episode of this season and the fifth most downloaded episode of them all!There is such a hunger for information about honest conversations about mental health and practical ways to engage in self care, and Dr. Ricardo Whyte, Dr. Kimani Norrington-Sands and AJ Springer are BACK (literally by popular demand).We covered even more ground (honestly, this could be its own series!) Our discussion ranged from the need for self care, the way society and media attack and assault Black people, how to harness your physical and emotional energy and even how they are actively healing themselves (as mental health practitioners and individuals). I can't say enough good things - I've got pages and pages of notes, and I hope you come away with some goodness that will help you preserve your mental wellbeing (which impacts the entire community!) Let's go!
67 minutes | May 12, 2021
S2, Episode 9 | In the Blackseat, Addiction
Drug addiction has been a plague on America for generations, and we all know when America sneezes, Black folks get the flu. When I heard my guests' story about dealing with and overcoming addiction, I couldn't wait to get them in the Blackseat to share. I believe Gary and Myrna's love story, through years of hell as he used crack cocaine, will inspire those who are also struggling or love someone who is. We spoke at length about how he became an addict, their tumultuous relationship during the worst years (as she took care of his family while he was in the crack house), his run-ins with the law, the damage to his family and their thoughts about addiction and the Black community. I guarantee you will feel like you are right there with him in the depths of his disease, and your heart will go out to Myrna. You'll also be heartened to hear how he rebuilt his life and his marriage, how passionate they are about helping others, and what you should do to get help. Let's go!
74 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
S2, Episode 8 | In the Blackseat, HBCU Men
Last week, we had an all girl HBCU band. This week, the fellas talk about their HBCU experiences! There are about 1.5 million Black men in college at any given time, and a portion of them have decided to attend HBCUs.Len (Morehouse), Kwame (Lincoln Univ., PA) and Donavan (Morris Brown) arrived at their chosen schools via VERY different paths, but each found the family and strong Black identity they were looking for. We discussed their windy journeys to higher education, the things that surprised them about their schools, and how their experiences over 25 years ago have shaped them.They speak with great passion about how to support HBCUs, and how all HBCU grads are a part of a larger family that is impacting this country and the world. The camaraderie was easy, and each man was enthusiastic about dispelling myths and sharing the truth about what happens on these campuses. They also share their definitions of Blackness and their Black heroes and sheroes. Let's go!
77 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
S2, Episode 7 | In the Blackseat, HBCU Ladies
There are currently 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country, with nearly 230,000 students. HBCUs have been a force and a lifeline in the Black community, educating students since the mid-1800s. When other schools would not admit Black students (something that happened well into the 20th century), these schools were established to give Black folks the education they needed to become leaders in their communities. However, HBCUs are still not as well known as they should be, and their impact isn't fully understood.In the Blackseat, we talk about life from a Black perspective, and so it goes without saying that the important conversation about HBCUs had to come from proud alumni. Our journey to HBCUs is a two parter - first with the ladies, and next week with the fellas. Get ready to be transported to the yard - Joy (representing Florida A&M University), Maisha (representing Morris Brown College) and JoLai (representing Tuskegee University).We talked at length about the history of their alma maters, notable alumni, the history of their own educational journeys, why they selected their schools and what HBCUs have meant to them in their lives. Without prompting, ALL of them said - at separate points in our conversation - that attending their HBCU was the BEST decision they made in their life. I felt the spirit myself: the love, the pride and the joy is evident. If you went to an HBCU, this will be like homecoming. If you didn't, it's all good - there's room for you in the Blackseat!
64 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
S2, Episode 6 | In the Blackseat, Unorthodox Professions, Black Farmer
Many of those kidnapped from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trade were farmers. They brought with them techniques to grow and harvest multiple crops that helped build the economy of America, and the entire world. In modern times, the descendants of those farmers have faced an arduous road - their land has been stolen, they've been unable to access government subsidies and benefits that white farmers can easily take advantage of. The dramatic decrease in Black farmers is happening at the same time that Black folks in the cities are facing food inequity and food apartheid - new terms I learned from my guest and CEO of Gardeneers, Selma Sims.This sista is an agronomist and urban farmer, and is on a mission to make everyone more aware of the food system. We had an incredible conversation that was political, agricultural and cultural - you won't look at what you eat every day, or the resources in your neighborhood the same after listening. She gives advice to those who want to start their own gardens, or start neighborhood gardens, talks about the difference between soil and dirt AND puts some respect on the name of George Washington Carver. You're going to love her as much as I did, I guarantee!
72 minutes | Apr 7, 2021
S2, Episode 5 | In the Blackseat, Black in Medicine/Medical Racism
The relationship between Black folks and medicine has been full of tension and betrayal for hundreds of years. From kidnapped Africans who brought their healing touch as enslaved men and women, to midwives, to brutal experiments performed on Black bodies and issues with pervasive myths about Black people, we are constantly on the defense in medical settings.I wanted to talk about medical racism and being Black in medicine with the best of the best, so I am excited to introduce you to Dr. Breanna Freeman-Jordan and Nurse Practitioner Frances Davies (who has since retired!) We talked about their experiences with racism as professionals, how Black people should approach getting the best health care, and what Black folks considering a career in health care need to do to succeed.
69 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
S2, Episode 4 | In the Blackseat, The Diversity Episode
54 minutes | Mar 24, 2021
S2, Episode 3 | In the Blackseat, Unorthodox Professions, JMD Defense
Close your eyes and picture a gun owner. Chances are, you'll envision a white man, but Second Amendment rights apply to all Americans. Javondlynn Dunagan, owner of JMD Defense, believes that wholeheartedly. After retiring from a career in law enforcement, this sista decided to help other women become more comfortable with owning and handling a weapon. In an industry where women are anomalies, let alone Black women, I thought this was the perfect introduction to our series focused on Black folks in unorthodox professions.We covered SO much ground, including gun ownership in an age of societal upheaval, how men and women differ when they go to the range, the community she has built in her classes, the foundation she is starting to continue to pour into her community, and interestingly enough, how SHE was once afraid of guns (clearly she got over that!) As always, she shares her definition of Blackness, and her Black heroes/sheroes. Let's go!
79 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
S2, Episode 2 | In the Blackseat, Black Across America
We already know that Black people aren't a monolith, but how does where one lives affect the Black experience in America? I think there are a lot of assumptions based on geography (Black folks above the Mason-Dixon vs. below it, for example), but I wanted to find out for sure. I sat down with my friends Verdis, Maleta and Nichelle - who live and have lived all around this country, for a discussion that both surprised and saddened me. Verdis discussed a family member whose home was bombed in Illinois; Maleta spoke about her run-in with a Confederate legend at the post office; Nichelle shared her discomfort in certain parts of the very city she was born and raised in. They also shared their thoughts about feeling like an American, and the BEST places they have lived.The one constant that emerged was the fact that Black folks have created and maintained communities to protect, provide for and grow our people. I hope you enjoy this conversation, and think about how where you have lived has contributed to your experience as a Black person in America.
84 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
S2, Episode 1 | In the Blackseat, Mental Health
Welcome back to the Blackseat! It goes without saying that these are stressful times we are living in (and have been living in if you're Black in America). How do Black folks make it through? Some say prayer, some say therapy (I say both). In this episode, Dr. Ricardo Whyte, Dr. Kimani Norrington-Sands and AJ Springer (the Black Men episode) share their personal and professional stories about the state of mental health in the Black community. What are the unique challenges we have faced historically that lead to mental and emotional distress? How can we select the right professionals for us? How does dismantling systemic racism benefit our mental health? Why are mental health services for our children so important? As always, my guests share their Black heroes and their definition of Blackness. As I say in the intro, my sincere hope is that if you are on the fence about seeking health for mental and emotional difficulties, this episode will be the gentle nudge to get the assistance that you need. There is no shame, and you are worth it!
44 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
Episode 15 | In the Blackseat, Mass Incarceration, Part II
Part II takes us back to the fateful day when Kiilu found out his sentence had finally been commuted. Ride in the Blackseat as his wife goes to pick up him from prison, and they spend their first moments of his freedom together. Find out what he is doing now, what they plan to do with their future, their Black heroes and what they would have said to their younger selves! A fitting way to end the first season, with an amazing story of survival, and love, and redemption.
56 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Episode 14 | In the Blackseat, Mass Incarceration, Part I
Mass incarceration has disproportionately affected the Black community for generations. Men and women have been stolen from their families and neighborhoods, and thrown behind bars, their bodies used as wood to keep lots of people warm (and rich).We must never forget that inmates are people, so in this episode - the first part of our season finale - I want you to meet Kiilu and his wife Crystal. Kiilu spent his entire adult life in various prisons in California, for crimes he committed as a teenager. Although he had a 25 to life sentence, he changed his life and fought for his freedom. He's been out for fewer than six months, and he's in the Blackseat - with his lovely wife - to tell you his story.It is a captivating and challenging conversation, and I am proud to share it with you.
63 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Episode 13 | In the Blackseat, Black Mothers
You heard from Black fathers, now it's time for Black mamas to take a ride in the Blackseat! Christine, Aneiko and Dana - mothers of Black teenagers - talk about how they are preparing their children to be Black adults in a hostile world, while also examining whether they are also sheltering their kids. We even went back into how they were raised, and how that impacts their parenting style. Issues of gender and class came up as well, and the ladies shared their definition of Blackness as well as their Black heroes. Ultimately, Black mothers love their children the same as anyone else, but have an extra burden and responsibility for their Black brood. If you have been raised by a Black mama, know one, or have NEVER discussed motherhood with your Black friends, this episode is for you.
60 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Episode 12 | Black and Abroad
We venture back into the Diaspora with three Black people who live or have lived abroad. Maisha calls Canada home, Marcus is making a pit stop back in the U.S. after living in Vietnam, and Voltaire has found peace in Accra, Ghana. Our conversation was sprawling and insightful - Voltaire spoke of the peace in Ghana and the lies we are told about Africa that must be unlearned. Maisha shared her revelation that she has not been able to be fully Black, and where she believes she'll find that freedom. Marcus shared how he navigated his space as a big Black guy living and working in Asia, and why the world beckons to him. They share tips on how to break free and discover if living abroad will work for you, their definitions of Blackness and their Black heroes.
69 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
Episode 11 | In the Blackseat with Black Hair
The policing of Black bodies is nothing new. Others have made judgments about our features as being inferior, and hair is included in that. Media often depicts long, flowing hair as being good and desirable, which left Black women to try and keep up with that standard, or forge a new path. In true sista fashion, we have taken the reins of our hair-story, and rock everything from braids to curls to perms to weaves. Even in that freedom, we still have to reckon with how we were raised to view our hair and the struggles we face today, as well as how we communicate about our hair to the next generation.I am excited for you to hear the raw, unvarnished hair journeys of my three guests - Kim, Melitta and Milan. We had an absolute ball in our sister circle, sharing how our views of our hair have changed over time, straight up truths related why touching our hair is verboten, how we feel about being fully who we are in corporate America, and as always, their Black heroes (with a hair twist!)
63 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
Episode 10 | Back in the Diaspora: Belize, Haiti, Cuba
We are back in the Diaspora with Ken (Belize), Felice (Cuba) and Jessica (Haiti, and returning friend of In the Blackseat!) They are tied to their heritage in ways the illuminate the Black immigrant experience (once that doesn't get focused on much). Ken shares his passion for unity and all things Belize; Jessica speaks lovingly about her Haitian roots (and how her grandparents fought off political pressure and fear to make a life in the U.S.); Felice delves into Afro-Latin identity, how that's evolved over time for her, and what a trip to the salon taught her about the gulf that is still there when people assume that Black skin does not equal countryman. We had a really searing discussion about whether we FELT American, or identified as such, defined Blackness, and spoke about their Black heroes.
82 minutes | Oct 21, 2020
Episode 9 | In the Blackseat with Black Fathers
Black dads are more likely to be in the home and be involved in child rearing, but you would NEVER know that if you looked at the media. I want you to meet three Black dads - Orlando, Tangier and Ed. They are amazing fathers, period, but have an extra responsibility as they raise their Black boys and girls. How do you help your children keep their innocence, while preparing them to face a world that will be hostile to them, solely based on their skin? You gotta hear how the fellas share what they love about being a dad, as well as their Black heroes and sheroes. It's an AMAZING ride in the Blackseat (and makes me appreciate my wonderful daddy even more!)
46 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
Episode 8 | In the Blackseat: The Biracial Discussion
In this episode, you'll meet Tiffany and Alisa - friends and lawyers with a LOT in common, including their mixed parentage. However, you'll quickly see there are major differences in their origin stories, and consequently, how their racial identities were formed. We discuss everything from family dynamics, the difference between trying to figure out if you're Black vs. figuring out what being Black means, and how their fateful trip to Ghana shaped their views of the Motherland. As always, we discuss their Black heroes.
54 minutes | Oct 7, 2020
Episode 7 | In the Blackseat with Black Women
Jump in the Blackseat with Black women. Shante, Ebonie and Stephanie share frank observations about colorism, erasure, harmful stereotypes (hello, angry Black woman!) and their heroes/sheroes. It's a candid, funny and painful peek into the lives of Black women. If there is a Black woman you love, or maybe you don't know any Black women intimately, listening to their stories will give you much needed insight.
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