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theblerdgurl Podcast with Karama Horne
15 minutes | Sep 22, 2021
Alfred Enoch Discusses the far future of Foundation
This week is a theblerdgurl podcast special short episode. My guest today is the lovely actor Alfred Enoch. Best known for portraying Dean Thomas in the blockbuster Harry Potter films and Wes Gibbins on the ABC television series How to Get Away With Murder Alfred is one of the stars of the new Apple TV + epic series FOUNDATION. Apple was nice enough to let me talk to him for a bit about the show, and I can attest to the fact that it is stunning from the screeners that I have seen. For those unfamiliar, Apple TV’s new show Foundation is based on the legendary Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series. Asimov’s enormously inﬂuential science fiction series inspired generations of ﬁlmmakers ever since. From fantasy to the future: Alfred Enoch plays Raych Foss on the new Apple TV+ show Foundation credit: Apple TV + Showrunner David Goyer (Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises) adapted the complex story centered around the Empire’s Cleons (played by Lee Pace, Terrance Mann, and Cassian Bilton), a Genetic Dynasty all cloned from the same man for 400 years. Hari Seldon, played by Jared Harris) is the mathematician and prophet who, through something called psychohistory, has predicted the human races’ demise and wants to save it. (Coincidentally, I did get a chance to talk to Goyer and Harris separately, and those interviews will be up soon). His beliefs are, of course, considered heresy by the Empire, and the future lies in his new protegé, Gaal Fornick (Lou Llobel) and a band of scientists already forging a new world on a distant outpost. My guest today, Alfred Enoch, plays Raych Foss. Harris’ adopted son and right-hand man, whose romantic entanglement with Gaal has more of a ripple effect than he realizes. Foundation premieres’s this Friday Spt. 22 on Apple TV+. LISTEN BELOW OR CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! START LISTENING TO AMAZING AUDIOBOOKS AND SCRIPTED PODCASTS TODAY ON AUDIBLE Show Notes Apple TV+ Foundation The post Podcast: Alfred Enoch discusses diversity in the far future of Foundation on Apple TV+ appeared first on theblerdgurl.
72 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
Tanya DePass is on the front lines fighting for diverse and safe spaces in gaming
Although my conversation with gamer and activist Tanya DePass was initially recorded at the beginning of 2021 on THEBLERDGURL LIVE, our discussion around diversity in gaming and enduring the harassment that goes with it is still ongoing timely. DePass is the founder and Director of I Need Diverse Games, a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, dedicated to better diversification of all aspects of gaming. A partnered Twitch variety broadcaster, DePass, (her online persona is cypheroftyr) often speaks on issues of diversity, feminism, race, intersectionality & other topics at conventions. DePass was also named part of The Game Awards Future Class 2020 and was one of Kotaku’s Gamers of the Year 2020. Tanya DePass was featured on BETHer Presents: The Queen Collective Tanya DePassartist: Lethendralis Most recently, DePass was featured on BETHer Presents: The Queen Collective talking about her work. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes CLICK HERE TO REPAIR YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF CREDIT APP Tanya DePass TwitterI Need Diverse GamesBET Presents: The Queens CollectiveInto the MotherlandsRivals of WaterDeep The post Podcast: Tanya DePass is on the front lines fighting for diverse and safe spaces in gaming appeared first on theblerdgurl.
106 minutes | Aug 25, 2021
Peter Ramsey was in the game long before the Spiderverse
My guest in this episode is Academy-Award Winning director Peter Ramsey. Of course, everyone knows Peter Ramsey is one of the co-directors on Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, which won the team an Oscar. This was a historic moment for Ramsey, who became the first African-American ever to be nominated for or win in the Animated feature category. But he’s actually been in the business a REALLY long time. One of his first gigs out of school was as the storyboard artist and second unit director for John Singleton’s Boyz ‘N the Hood. Peter Ramsey was John Singleton’s storyboard artist on Boys ‘N the Hood. Peter Ramsey 2018 San Diego comic Con photo credit: Gage Skidmore He also boarded Tank Girl and worked on many other projects, including HULK, Batman Forever, and Fight Club. If you follow me on youtube, you might have already heard part of this episode with Peter Ramsey because this is from when Peter visited me on theblerdgurlLIVE over on Twitch. We talk about everything from his humble beginnings growing up in South Central to figuring out where Hollywood was and switching his career to animation. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Rise of the GuardiansYoutube Interview with Peter CLICK HERE TO REPAIR YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF CREDIT APP The post Podcast: Peter Ramsey was in the game long before the Spiderverse appeared first on theblerdgurl.
64 minutes | Aug 23, 2021
Ify Nwadiwe is a professional geek
Continuing my epic throwback series on the podcast is my interview with Ify Nwadiwe. Ify stopped by TBGL in season 2 to talk about how he balances being a writer, actor, comedian, gamer and how he dopes it all so smoothly. In our discussion he talked about how multi talented stars that are also geeks like Orlando Jones are his inspiration and it’s easy to see why. Ify Nwadiwe is Ify Nwadiwe(photo: Gregory Adam Wallace) You might recognize Ify from the Nerdificent podcast with Dani Fernandez, but he also has a comedy album, founded the Maximum Fu, writes for BlackbirdsRPG and as of this writing he’s got a brand new podcast called My First Kicks. And he even has found time to save a theater in Los Angeles. and don’t get me started on his anime weeb side.So click the link below to listen on your podcatcher of choice ! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Ify on Twitter D&D LiveSuper PunchIfy on Twitch The post Podcast: Ify Nwadiwe is a professional geek appeared first on theblerdgurl.
89 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
How Xmiramira is unapologetically creating space for Black gamers
If you are an avid player of The Sims, a life simulation game that let’s players design the lives of simulated characters and watch as they “live” out their scripts, then you know that game has change a lot over the last 20 years. This episode I talk to guest Amira Virgil (aka @Xmiramira) who got tired of seeing the same light or shite characters with the same hairstyles, slothing music and scenarios, decided to create a downloadable ‘Melanin Pack’ mod to give her and friends more diverse characters. Needless to say it was a hit. Today Xmiramira is Twitch partner, a member of Queen Gaming, an advisor to EA Sports, the creators of the game and has founded her own gaming community of Black gamers called The Noir Network. This conversation is from my chat with her on theblerdgurl LIVE on Twitch and was recorded back in March of this year. Xmiramira’s mods have changed The Sims game forever Amira Virgil (@Xmiramria) Comic book series inspired Static Shock, the animated series which ran on the WB Network’s kids block starting in 2000. The show ran for four seasons (also produced and written by McDuffie) influenced an entire generation who grew up with Virgil (voiced by the legendary Phil Lamarr) in their living rooms. The new Milestone, now an imprint within DC Comics finally returned last month with a new story, Static Season One #1. (Fun fact: It wasn’t Vita’s idea to update Vigil’s origin story, that came from Milestone partner Reginald Hudlin.) CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! And if you are looking for more Black women to who mod Sims WATCH THIS Show Notes Xmiramira’s Sims Melanin Pak The Noir Network CLICK HERE TO REPAIR YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF APP The post Podcast: How Xmiramira is unapologetically creating space for Black gamers appeared first on theblerdgurl.
26 minutes | Aug 13, 2021
Vita Ayala takes on Milestone's update of superhero Static
If you are a fan of Milestone’s most famous character Virgil Hawkins, then this is the episode for you. Vita Ayala ((New Mutants, Shuri), is the new writer on the series Static Season 1, and I talked to them about what it was like updating the character and how they got the gig. The debut of Milestone’s original Static #1 was almost 30 years ago. (No he’s not a young Black Lightning). It was created by the co-founders of Milestone, Dwayne McDuffie, Dennis Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle, and drawn by the late John Paul Leon. Now the character of Virgil Ovid Hawkins would go on to be one of the most impactful characters in comics in the ’90s. Vita Ayala is updating Virgil Hawkins for a whole new generation Vita Ayalaphoto credit: Carla Cain Walther Comic book series inspired Static Shock, the animated series which ran on the WB Network’s kids block starting in 2000. The show ran for four seasons (also produced and written by McDuffie) influenced an entire generation who grew up with Virgil (voiced by the legendary Phil Lamarr) in their living rooms. The new Milestone, now an imprint within DC Comics finally returned last month with a new story, Static Season One #1. (Fun fact: It wasn’t Vita’s idea to update Vigil’s origin story, that came from Milestone partner Reginald Hudlin.) CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Click here to buy Static Season 1 (Remember to Pre-Order!) Click here to read Hardware Click here to read Icon and RocketCLICK HERE TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF APP Ep50_Vita Ayala on Static and Milestone [00:00:00] Karama: What's up, folks! I'm Karama, aka, The Blerd Gurl, and today I have the pleasure of speaking with award-winning comic book writer Vita Ayala. Now, if you haven't already, please take a moment to subscribe to The Blerd Gurl podcast over on iTunes and leave a nice rating. It really helps the show. Now, if iTunes isn't your thing. That's fine. You can always find The Blerd Gurl on your favourite podcatcher. Now, if you're a fan of Milestone Comics’ most famous character, Virgil Hawkins, then this is the episode for you. Vita Ayala is the new writer on the series Static: Season One. And I talked to them about what it was like updating the character and the very interesting way that they got the gig. For those of you who don't know what all the fuss is about. The debut of Milestone’s original Static: Number One was almost 30 years ago. It was created by the co-founders of Milestone. Dwayne McDuffie, Dennis Cowen, Michael Davis, and Derek T Dingle. And drawn by the late John Paul Leon. Now the character of Virgil Ovid Hawkins would go on to be one of the most impactful characters in the comics of the nineties. The conflict series inspired Static Shock, the animated series, and it ran on the WB networks’ kids block starting in 2000 for four seasons. The show, also produced and written by McDuffie, influenced an entire generation who grew up with Virgil— voiced by the legendary Phil Lamarr. [00:01:30] The new Milestone now, an imprint within DC comics. Not to be confused with Milestone Media, the media company run by Hudlin, Cowen, and Dingle, finally returned last month with a new story, Static: Season One. Now by the time, this drops Static: Season One #2 will also be out. Now, this new story which is written by award-winning writer, Vita Ayala was laid out by award-winning artist, ChrisCross and drawn, uh, I believe this is his first Milestone comic by Nikolas Draper Ivey. A lot of you know him as the guy who designed the Black Panther album. And he's also done a lot of work with noirCaesar, a Black-owned manga company. So I'm going to pay some bills, and then up next, my conversation with comic book writer Vita Ayala. Ad transcript because you mention it at the end too. Listen, if you have bad credit or no credit, I’m telling you, the Self Credit app is a way to build your credit history. After the dumpster fire that was 2020, as well as some mounting health insurance bills from years ago, my credit was pretty much tanked! And I was able to raise it by 35 points from the start of this year. I’m not exaggerating! Thirty-five points and it is so simple to use. You simply open a self credit-builder account and deposit a small amount of money in it. And for as little as five bucks a month, you pay the money back, automatically, through the app! Then Self reports your credit to all three credit agencies; that’s it, it’s that simple. Like, I don’t even think about it, and my credit has jumped 35 points. Low credit, no credit, it doesn’t matter. Use the Self app today and build your credit and savings, and get back on track. It’s available on iOS and Android. I have a link in my show notes for anyone who’s interested. Check it out! Karama: When you first got this project, first of all, did you put in for it, or did they come to you? Did Milestone come to you? [00:02:41] Vita: I was approached by Conroy, I think by Chris Conroy, um, the editor, uh, and I was told, I believe I was told straight off the bat that it was a bake-off, which makes me really nervous. It's a very stressful thing. Cause I, at this point, I know so many people, like, I don't want to, I don't [00:03:00] want to like fight for like this stuff. You know, I grew up with this stuff. I remember the comics. I remember the, you know, the cartoon and all that kind of stuff. So I was like, all right, like. I was going to say no, and then I was like, no, this I have to, I have to try. Right? [00:03:17] Karama: So, but by bake-off, you mean, do you have to pitch something? [00:03:21] Vita: Yeah, I had to pitch it and there was multiple people pitching. Um, I wasn't told who, so it was a blind bake-off. I hate that term, though, so I just call it a bake-off. So you're kind of just developing a pitch with, sometimes with an artist of mind and sometimes not. They did tell me like this is the person that we would love to have you work with, and it was Nik. So yeah, I kind of developed something after talking to Reggie and Dennis and Conroy all together. Um, and they seem to like it because they chose mine. [00:03:50] Karama: But that's great! So what was one thing that you definitely wanted to do going in that, you know, like you grew up with this character, but you knew? I mean, look, we can all look back at Milestone and go; some of this stuff might not hold up right now. [00:04:06] Vita: Right, right. I, you know, I re-read a bunch of that stuff too, to kind of get into the mindset, to find the core of the character to bring forward. And that's really what I wanted to do. I, I think that the stuff in the past was of its time in a good way. You're like; this is what was going on at the time. These were the conversations. And I was like; we need to do that for now. What are the conversations that we're having? What are the struggles that, you know, [00:04:30] Black kids are having and, you know, right now? And then taking the core of Virgil, you know, of his character and translating that into a more contemporary context. I think that like one of the things that I've always really liked about the character that I hoped to replicate in a more contemporary way was that, you know, he's weird. He's a weirdo. He’s a weird smart Black kid who plays like Dungeons and Dragons with his friends. And like, you know, like he's, he's, he's kind of a fanboy. Like he likes superhero stuff. He wants to; he wants to be a good person. Um, and I think that. That's something that is really beautiful. Um, I think that looks different than it did, you know, in 93. Right now, partially because people are just-- have more access to information. So you, you make different decisions based on that, but also just because the world has changed so rapidly in the last what? Thirty years, 20 years? So yeah, that was kind of what I wanted to do. And Nik and I talked about this a lot as well. Like what does it mean for that kind of Black kid to exist now and Black boys specifically? Right. But also we wanted to do a lot of stuff with his family, and, and show that dynamic and show a healthy functioning Black family who struggles, but like ultimately they are a united force, together. [00:05:53] Karama: Right. And which, which sadly enough, is very rare because a lot of Black characters too, you know, I don't know my [00:06:00] parents or one of my parents was killed. [00:06:01] Vita: They got shot down. [00:06:03] Karama: They got shot down, or they have a drug overdose, or they had whatever. Right. That's also... [00:06:07] Vita: and, and, and I think those stories are really important too. But I think for me, I was like, Hey, that's not everybody's experience, and that's okay! We should; we should show multiple experiences. And one of the things that I thought was really important was to show how a family that has very different people. Who have very different opinions can still work together, who can still support each other, even if they don't always agree. Like you said like often, the family dynamic is one of, of, not chaos, but one of struggle. I just want to be like, yeah, like, but also this is what this looks like. Again, no, no judgment on any of those other things. Um, that was just something that was important for everybody working on this book to do. [00:06:54] Karama: Who made the decision to change the quote-unquote Bang Baby's origin? Was that you, or did they come to you with that? [00:07:01] Vita: That was already scripted and being drawn. That was a Reggie, Dennis decision. I think that that was a good decision. I think that the conversations that people were having in the past at the time were, you know, in the news, and all this stuff was about gang warfare. But then, that book then went on to show like, but it's not as simple as you think it is and all this kind of stuff whereas, now, the conversations we're having are like, Hey, uh, you literally want to kill us just for existing. [00:07:30] Like, can we not? And it's very; it’s very public. Karama: Very overt, yeah… Vita: the conversations Black people have been having, but now everyone has to deal with it. Right. So to update the origin in that way, um, I think puts the, puts the onus of, of responsibility, where it belongs on these people that are trying to destroy this community and, and hurt these people— playing off of that. Uh, one of the things that I wanted to do, and Nik is super into it too. And, so it was Conroy was played with how information then gets twisted. Right. Um, and I, I won't spoil anything or anything like that, but there is this kind of through-line where. That we floor through the character of Derrius, where he saw the truth, but now he's seeing how, how things get twisted and how the victims get blamed and get demonized and that kind of stuff, and he wants to fight against that. Um, whereas Virgil is living that experience. Karama: Right! And, and he's also living with trauma. Vita: Yeah, and that was, another thing too, that like, to me. They accused him of being too angry and too sad at first. And I was like, yo, this kid just watched all his friends like melt and die. Like I would not be okay. I'm a very happy go lucky person. You know, I'm, I'm a very optimistic person, and that's why Virgil appeals to me, personally. He sees really, you know, messed up stuff. And then he's like, but we can do better. But, I would need a minute. Like I would be angry. I would be so angry. Um, [00:09:00] and he's scared, right? He has PTSD. His body is changing in ways that like, he doesn't know what's going on, and he's afraid that he's gonna either hurt people. Right. Or, or cause someone to be hurt. Like he's, he's gone through a lot. I think he needs to be allowed to process those feelings. [00:09:17] Karama: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I also think that the dumpster fire that was 2020, God. It's like from zero to 2020. Is this that violent? Like? [00:09:29] Vita: I think that people were expecting him to bounce back immediately. And to me, I was like, he’s going to get there because that's who he is at his core. But we cannot expect children to go through these traumas and immediately be okay. We can't expect anybody. Karama: Yeah! Vita: Nobody, but especially not children. It is okay to be angry, to be confused, to be sad. It doesn't make you a weak person. It makes you someone who's experiencing stuff. Karama: makes you human. Vita: Yeah, exactly. It makes you human. And, and this was something that resonated, I think, with Nik as well. Cause we have all these conversations about the underlying themes, and it's just like, we can show him lying about how he feels. Right? But like, we have to be authentic about his internal life when we go forward. Like, yo, it's a bummer this takes place like very, very quickly after the big bang. Like it's a lot. [00:10:21] Karama: What I'm also curious about is because there's some amazing, uh, other characters that are, that really care about him, like his sister.[00:10:30] But towards the end of the first issue, we get to meet some people that were in the animated series. Vita: Yup. Karama: Now, was that your idea? Cuz this is kind of exciting. [00:10:41] Vita: Yes and no part of it was like conversations with Nik, and he's like, but, what about this person? I was like, all right, we, we goin do it. Like we have to put them in there. Um, but also I just felt like. I dunno, man. I think that the the happiest superheroes are the ones that have friends. Right. And I really liked the dynamic between those characters when we see them. So I was like, again, like, what does it look like now? Um, and then, of course, Nik hooked them all up with the drip. They look great. They all look incredible. [00:11:07] Karama: No, they do look great! But yeah, like when I saw Frida and Richie, I'm like, wait a minute. Aren't they, the animated series? [00:11:15] Vita: I know that that Frida was, uh, in the, in the OG comics, but she's different. Right. She looks different she's, you know, but it's a teen book. We had to have a little bit of that. Like, uh, romance drama. [00:11:28] Karama: Yeah, no, absolutely. Also, the interesting thing, we touched on it a little bit, is working on a comic like this; you did work on it in 2020. [00:11:39] Vita: I sure did. [00:11:41] Karama: So, what was that like? What was that experience of drawing this child going through this trauma with very obvious and violent police brutality, and you know, and you're writing it? You're coming up with this story, and then, you know, to relax, you turn on the TV and oh, look, it's more police brutality.[00:12:00] Vita: Listen, I don’t have cable; I just have streaming. I can't; I’m not sure. You know, it was a, it's a hard line to walk. Um, and I know it's gotta be difficult for Cross and for Nik as well, to be like, we want to be as authentic as possible. But, also, we want to provide hope in a way that the media doesn't necessarily provide when reporting on these situations. [00:12:22] Right. I think that we, we kinda come at partially through his internal, um, his internal life and how like he's working through it, but you see that he's going to make progress. Um, but this is all a lot. It's hard; it’s hard still. Like we're not going through as many mass protests, but like everything's very difficult. [00:12:46] Karama: It is, it is tough. And how about staying creatively motivated right now? [00:12:54] Vita: Honestly, I struggled, but one of the things that I'm really blessed with is I get to communicate pretty regularly with my collaborators and sort of feel kind of where. We feed off of each other for work, I would give each other energy, and it goes back and forth. And that really makes me want to work, even if I'm having, if I'm struggling with anything, in particular, just the idea of being able to give something to my collaborators and have them be excited is very motivating. [00:13:24] Karama: And collaborating, have you like you said, this was like sort of a, you said it was a bake-off in the beginning and [00:13:30] it was like a non-traditional way of sort of how you've written before. What about the experience of sort of working with two artists? Working with both Nik and Chris, did you all come up with your own rhythm? Vita: I have been, one of the things that we've been doing is Cross very much of like the old school where he's just like, I got the script, I work on this, what I have here, you know, I'll change up things here and there, but like mostly like, that's what I'm doing. And Nik is a much more like, he'll be like, okay, but why is this happening? Which I really like, I like, I like to have someone like question me because I want to get to the best story. So one of the things that actually, um, that we've been kind of doing. I'm re-breaking a lot of the story. I wanted to accelerate some stuff. Nik is a very dynamic artist, and just person, like a very energetic person. Um, and so I was like, all right, I want that reflected in here. Not just in his drawings but in, in the pace of the story. Um, and so we've been just like, all right, we have a couple of things we know we have to hit, let's rebreak um, and then every, every two issues, or so we check back in in terms of like, does this still work? Yes. No. All right. Well, let's, rebreak the next issue or two. Um, and it's been working great. I think that, like, we got to a place, I hate just writing a document and then being like, this is what the story is. It makes me feel real weird because comics are supposed to be a group effort. And so to be able to do this, you know, dynamically, even though we do have some bullet points that we have to hit is really great. I think that that's a great [00:15:00] rhythm for this particular team. Karama: Cause it sounds like you have somebody that's very sort of rigid and somebody who's very like let's draw outside the lines. Let's be a bit more organic, but I think the quality of the product is, is worth it. How many issues are we getting before the volume? We're getting full six? Vita: Yeah, I think we're getting a full six. Karama: Oay. So issue two is about the drop. Think, back to issue two. Let's see, uh, Virgil's house is blown up. Vita: It's on fire for sure. Karama: It's on fire. Yeah. I don't know if it's blown up, but he's got these big anime tears in his eyes. [00:15:35]Vita: It's so good. Karama: Moving into issue two and even the the subsequent issues. What are some of the most fun things that you got to write? Vita: That’s a good question. Um, each issue, I try and find a thing that makes me laugh. Um, it's hard, right? Because this is still a very like heavy, the beginning of this book is certainly going to be heavier than that at the end, um, I think. So issue two, oh my God, thinking back. There's a scene that Chris and Nik, absolutely. Like, it's just a single page that made me laugh so hard that when I wrote it, I was like, this is kind of fun. Like, you know, uh, he's skateboarding along. I think that we've seen previews, uh, online, and I didn't write this part into the script. I don't remember it, but like, they drew these birds, like these pigeons, just scattering. And I saw that art and started cackling. I was like, this is great. Like we need these moments. Um, [00:16:30] and there's another scene that I thought was personally, for me, really, it was really fun because it felt very like this is Virgil, where he, he is find something that really tickles his science senses, and he's just like, whoa, this is so cool. And he forgets for a second all the stuff that's happening, and he just immerses himself in that. And I really love that. [00:16:51] Karama: It feels like we're going to be in his world for a minute, and it also, there’s a very tangible feeling from this version of Virgil that I really, really like. Well, which would you rather, the Virgil that you're writing? Would you like it to be animated or live-action? [00:17:10] Vita: Oh, animated. [00:17:10] Karama: Okay. So who would be the voice? [00:17:13] Vita: It's still Phil Lamarr. What? Are you kidding me? [00:17:17] Karama: No, because some people say it should be somebody younger, and I'm curious. [00:17:21] Vita: I don't know because I am of a certain era and age. [00:17:27] Karama: Uh, so I mean, no, I think Phil Lamarr should be in. And I'm just curious whether or not maybe he should be the dad. Vita: Yeah! He should be the dad, that’s a pretty good-- Karama: Because his dad is a present, very present in his life. Um, I'm just thinking of all of our anime-- Honestly, I was thinking of Zeno Robinson, the anime voice actor. [00:17:45] Vita: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That would actually be great. [00:17:47] Karama: He'sHawks on full metal. Not full metal. My God! My Hero Academia. [00:17:52] Vita: no, I think you're right. I think that would be really great. [00:17:54] Karama: And he's also Ogun on Fire Force. I'm thinking of the way Ogun sounds. [00:18:00] Vita: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah Karama: But. Yeah, no, I, I'm excited about this, this whole new story. Everybody is doing a really good job of bringing this character forward. And even if it's not always in the language. In the art, it feels like it's right now. Because a lot of the stuff that he's going to, we've gone to other people who've gone through who are older. Do you have discussions besides what you mentioned already about moving forward with this character and making it more in the world of gen Z? [00:18:36] Vita: Yeah. When, when I first got to speak, actually whenever I've spoken to, to Reggie and Dennis, especially, um, talking about all the things, thematically that we wanted to do, that was, that was one of the things that was really important is to make it feel, you know, as relevant as possible to right now, while still kind of giving it a little bit of timelessness, right? Like people are always obsessed with these evergreen stories. And I think that you can have evergreen stories that are really great. But you can also have very specifically contextual stories that are really great. Um, and so it's coming out now and like. Yes, there are a lot of fans that are my age that want to buy this book, who, who, you know, they're all about the cartoon, are all about the the original comics. But that's not our target audience. This is a this is a book for teens right now. So it should be something that is relatable to them right now. So yeah, like that's [00:19:30] really what we wanted to do. And then working with Nik, I think is. He gives me, like. I’m much older than him. He gives me that vibrant now energy, like. You know, he's, he's in his twenties, so he's still, he's still much more connected to that kind of feeling, um, than I am. So I take a lot of that from him. Karama: Well, also I think it also comes out in his work. I know you're a manga and anime fan. Manga was your first love. Definitely his first love. So, here are these moments, especially in the action scenes and stuff that definitely feel have that manga feel. How excited were you the first time you saw the art that he created Vita: Oh, I flipped out. I flipped out when I saw his designs that he had just done for fun. Like, like I was like, oh, this, this is perfect. Like this guy gets it. Even as pinups are dynamic. Jokes about Black characters, all having electric powers aside, right? Like this kid has electric powers. He should feel like that. He should feel dynamic and kinetic and maybe a little bit all over the place, but not too much. Like still, you know, you can still follow what's going on. But that energy, when I saw his stuff, I was like, oh, this is it. This is perfect. [00:20:38] Karama: Like, this is the one, also! [00:20:39] Vita: The one, yeah. [00:20:42] Karama: The last question that I would give you is, what is the one thing that you wish people would ask you about this book that nobody ever asked you? Vita: I wish that we as a team got asked more about why it was important to build, not just virtual's character, but his family and [00:21:00] friends, the way that we did. Why we introduced this other character, Darius, to me, um, I didn't create that character. That was Reggie. I had a choice about whether or not he would come forward, into the book, as opposed to just staying in, in the, you know, in the zero issue. And I was like, no, that's such a great perspective to have. And Nik and I have had extensive discussions about the parallels and the differences between Virgil and Darius and what we get from adding a character like that to the story. And I wish people would ask more about that because Nik has a lot to say about that too. Um, we talk a lot about anger, but also about, about the opposite. About finding peace and how these two characters are coming at it from, from different, you know, different directions. And we want them to kind of meet in the middle and find balance. [00:21:45] And that all that stuff is going on behind the scenes, right? Like we want the comic book to be super entertaining, but we also want, we want to kind of show perspective of, uh, the perspectives of lots of different Black people and how no one has it a hundred percent right. You have to find a way to find that balance in yourself. But that's, that's a lot for a teen comic, I guess. [00:22:10] Karama: No, but I, I liked that, and I liked the fact that you're giving Darius that presence, And I really feel like I got a family dynamic. [00:22:18] Vita: Yeah. Like, like there's a scene in the first issue that is these two double-page spreads of like the family at the dinner table. Karama: Mhm Vita: And like that to me was like the core of the issue. And I think that [00:22:30] Cross and Nik really gave it their all there because they wanted to, they wanted to be like, this is it. This, this is the conversation we're having right now. Like there are scenes coming up in, in subsequent issues that we'll, we'll touch back on these family dynamics in ways that like we want, we want it to feel nuanced, even though all the characters are very different. Um, we want to want to show them being a family. They're on the same team, right? [00:22:55] Karama: Yeah, no, absolutely. And, and unlike a lot of, again, superheroes where they're missing a parent or that they just seem to be... [00:23:03] Vita: I can't tell my friends, I can't do this. We were like, no, we can’t do this. [00:23:06] Karama: Right, right. [00:23:07] Vita: I think that the idea is to pull it forward in a way where you're like, these were the things that made this relevant and great. Let's, let's do that. And then let's try and do as good a job at doing these well-rounded characters as we can. You must check out Static: Season One, if you haven't already along with the new Hardware: Season One. And! The new Icon and Rocket: Season one out now as well. Also, a little shameless plug. I got a chance to talk to Hardware: Season One writer Brandon Thomas for Nerdist. So, definitely look out for that and thank you so much for listening. Please comment over on iTunes and subscribe while you're there or on your favorite podcatcher. [00:24:00] Don't forget to check out our sponsor, the Self Credit app, in the show notes. And please follow me across social media. I'm @TheBlerdGurl everywhere. And don't forget support me on Patreon, so we can get more quality content out there to you at patrion.com/theblerdgurl. See you next time! The post Podcast: Vita Ayala takes on the return of Milestone’s Static appeared first on theblerdgurl.
28 minutes | Aug 6, 2021
Cress Williams and the legacy of Black Lightning
Welcome back to another episode of theblerdgurl podcast! This episode I had the pleasure of speaking with actor and CW Black Lightning star Cress Williams.Now last episode I spoke with actress Erika Alexander who played Perenna on Black Lightning, but that’s not the first time Erika and Cress have worked together. In fact, his second acting role ever was as Terrence “Scooter” Williams, Khadijah’s love interest on Living Single. That’s the show that Erika played the iconic Maxine Shaw and Khadija of course was played by the incomparable Queen Latifah. Cress Williams measures the social impact of Black Lightning Photo Courtesy The CW/Warner Brothers Television We talk about his career and all of the amazing guest stars. (He’s a Robert Townsend fanboy). This conversation happened right before the series finale of Black Lightning back in May. We talk about what the show looks like in the rearview mirror, his favorite moments from on set and how hard it was shooting the series finale, and I don’t mean emotionally. Everything went wrong in the last month of shooting! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Watch all four seasons of Black Lightning on NetflixCLICK HERE TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF APP The post Podcast: Cress Williams and the legacy of Black Lightning appeared first on theblerdgurl.
34 minutes | Aug 4, 2021
Erika Alexander has been busy since "Living Single"
Erika Alexander is known for her roles on the Emmy nominated series Living Single, the Oscar Award Winning movie Get Out, the CW’s Black Lightning and Wu-Tang: American Saga on hulu. In this episode of the podcast we discuss her work as a producer on Good Trouble the CNN documentary about the late Rep. John Lewis and she co-created at the comic book series Concrete Park along with artist Tony Puryear. They even turned some of their characters into NFTs. Making them the first Black Indie comic book publishers to do so. Maxine’s been busy! Erika Alexander is an actress, producer, writer, political activist and comic book creator In this episode we talk about her life on the road as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election and why activism for Black folks in Hollywood and in the hood are both important to her. We also talk about her first superpowered character Perenna (Black Lightning) and we even have a frank conversation about the NFT craze and what it means for both indie creators and the environment. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Watch my video interview of my interview with Erika Alexander here! Show Notes Get Concrete Park HereWatch Good Trouble Here CLICK HERE TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF APP The post Podcast: Erika Alexander has been doing A LOT since ‘Living Single’ appeared first on theblerdgurl.
77 minutes | Jul 30, 2021
Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes talk Horror and Hollywood
If you are a writer or an aspiring writer or a fan of horror this is the episode for you. This is another throwback theblerdgurlLIVE episode but it’s one that is actually pretty timely because this week it was announced that my guests Tananarive Due and her husband and writing partner Steven Barnes are going to be Executive Producers on a new show coming to Shudder called Horror Noire. Now if that sounds familiar that’s because Tananarive Due, Ashlee Blackwell and Danielle Burrows executive produced the Horror Noire Documentary, also on Shudder that was directed by Xavier Burgin. All of this was based on a book by Dr. Robin Means called Horror Noire: Blacks in Horror Films. (And you NEED to watch it!) But this episode was recorded last July when’s not a Revo and her husband Steven came on the show to talk about the work that they were doing with Jordan Peele on his new show at the time the twilight zone. Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes also wrote for Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone In this episode we talk about the process of writing, how they have pitched and sold books and TV shows to Hollywood, including, how they got to write for Season 2 of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone: A Small Town. This episode is full of gems! check it out! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Horror Noire on ShudderHorror Noire NEW show castTwilight Zone S2: “A Small Town”CLICK HERE TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT WITH THE SELF APP The post Podcast: Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes talk Horror and Hollywood appeared first on theblerdgurl.
17 minutes | Jul 28, 2021
LeSean Thomas discusses his anime Yasuke
This little podcast interview is a conversation that I had with the creator, co-writer and animator LeSean Thomas about Netflix Animation’s Yasuke. A trippy mech fantasy anime loosely based on the real life Black samurai of the same name. He co-produced the project with award-wining actor Lakeith Stanfield and Grammy Award winning visionary artist and musician Flying Lotus. The show was written by Nick Jones, Jr. (I have an interview coming up with him soon). LeSean Thomas on the anime Yasuke for Netflix Animation Now a portion of the interview is up on NERDIST (and if you’d like to learn more about the show itself please check out the link in the show notes. That article dropped the week the show came out on Netflix but I wanted you to hear the full convo because it’s really interesting. We discuss his previous anime work, Canon Busters and Children of Ether and the man that inspired Yasuke. We also talk about what it was like working with some of his anime heroes. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Learn more about Nobunaga hereLearn more about Yasuke hereRead my NERDIST Yasuke coverage hereWatch Yasuke on NETFLIX here The post Podcast: LeSean Thomas discusses working with his heroes on Yasuke anime appeared first on theblerdgurl.
58 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Orlando Jones on Evolution and dragons
Welcome back to THEBLERDGURL podcast! I always wanted to make THEBLERDGURL LIVE show available in podcast form, but I kind of got overwhelmed by how popular it became and the craziness of 2020 in general. But for those of you still subscribed, or those of you who are new to the podcast I’m reposting past episodes in there entirety along with a few other interviews that are unreleased. This episode is with the amazingly talented Orlando Jones. Now, the last time Orlando Jones was on the podcast was actually at the end of 2019, when he gave me the scoop about why he was fired from STARZ American Gods franchise in his own words. A lot has happened since then, but I was lucky enough to have him on THEBLERDGURL LIVE as my second guest. This interview was originally recorded back in June of 2020 smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. We were all still reeling from the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmad Arberry and from the protests that followed. Not to mention the COVID-19 lockdown. We talked about how he’s explaining what’s been going on to his little girls, why he’d be down to reboot Evolution and how he balances his acting with his activism and of course, how he keeps a dragon in his basement. Because dragons. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Watch the video of this episodeListen to Orlando’s last visit to the podcast 45_ORlando Jones ' visit to TBGL 070220 [00:00:00] Karama: [00:00:00] Hey, everyone. Welcome to THEBLERDGURL podcast. I'm Karama Horne aka theblerdgurl Now 2020 was a right Royal mess. And there's a lot of things that should just stay there. But one thing that I was able to start that I was really happy about was THEBLERDGURL live show on Twitch on the OS operating system channel. [00:00:20] Well, I always wanted to make the post available in podcast form, but I kind of got overwhelmed by how popular. it got Now I'm finally getting around to reposting those episodes here in podcast form. For for those of you who might have missed them. And this interview is with the amazingly talented Orlando Jones. [00:00:42] Now, the last time he was on the podcast was actually at the end of 2019. When he gave me the scoop about why he was fired from STARZ American gods franchise in his own words. Now a lot has happened since then, but I was lucky enough to have him on the live show as my second guest. So this interview was [00:01:00] originally recorded back in June of 2020 smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. [00:01:04] And we were all still reeling from everything, from the protests to what we were seeing every day, play out over and over again, the violence on screen. And we talk about that. You can watch the entire video version up on YouTube, which I will link in the show notes. We talked about how he's explaining what's been going on to his little girls, how he balances his acting with his activism. [00:01:29] And of course, how he keeps a dragon in his basement. Don't we all. So after I pay some bills, check out my interview with actor writer, producer, and activist, Orlando Jones. Hey everyone. It's Karama here. I just want to thank you for listening to THEBLERDGURL podcast and for your continuing support. And I wanted to let you know that I now have a PATREON That's right. If you are interested in supporting THEBLERDGURL podcast or THEBLERDGURL LIVE show on Twitch or any of the other [00:02:00] content that I bring you on a regular basis, you can now go to patreon.com/theblerdgurland support. Now I use those funds only for theblerdgurl projects, buying gear, paying for software subscriptions, and hopefully. [00:02:13] hiring a team I a team with your help, I can do all that. So please support the show at patreon.com/theblerdgurl [00:02:27] Orlando: [00:02:27] But what we ain't going to do though, is we ain't go accept these ridiculous terms that you're talking about, where we know we second class citizens. Now we supposed to shut up, be quiet and be thankful for second classes. [00:02:48] Karama: [00:02:48] What's up everybody. Thank you for joining me tonight. Of the blurred girl live. My name is Kara horn, AKA blurred girl. And I hope you all have had an amazing week and [00:03:00] that you learned something from my very first guest, April, April rain all week. Folks were asking me about how to work for her when I promise her company has not started yet, I will let you know when it does, but tonight's guest is going to really. [00:03:14] Drive some knowledge and keep you entertained. I have been smiling like this for the past half hour. Hanging out with him. I am super excited to invite to the show. Actor writer, producer, director, activist, and troll assess. Orlando Jones. Welcome Orlando doing [00:03:42] so I gotta, I gotta ask just off the top. How are you? How's the family. How are you holding up in COVID and all the crazy [00:03:53] Orlando: [00:03:53] that's good. I just, you know, my girls are amazing, so that's always fun. And, uh, you know, I, I love [00:04:00] the fact that I get to, you know, spend. Gobs of time with my daughter. So I got no complaints about that, frankly, my life hasn't changed a lot because I'll never go away anyway, as you can see, I'm sitting, uh, in, in the dungeon. [00:04:13] Yeah. [00:04:21] So sorry guys. [00:04:25] Karama: [00:04:25] Obsidian. [00:04:27] Orlando: [00:04:27] Yeah, he think he blends [00:04:31] Karama: [00:04:31] south of Westeros. Where is he [00:04:34] Orlando: [00:04:34] is way south we down, uh, in the, uh, North Carolina region. He has out around here and, uh, and the Cape fear area and, you know, You know, he got cakes, you know what I'm saying? And he gives fear and a lot of people think his name for the river, but it's not his name for the city because Jackson. [00:04:54] Yeah. Because you know, he has a Cape and he brings fear because he's been eating cows and, you know, [00:05:00] just he'll go through here and grab, you know, dolphins, whales, just to just shrimp, like just having a party, like he had red lobster one Sunday. Yeah. It's, you know, it's ridiculous. [00:05:10] Karama: [00:05:10] Well, I hope you're safe. [00:05:11] Cause I don't want this to turn into leg horror film in the middle of the live show. [00:05:18] Orlando: [00:05:18] We have a, you know, alpha type of relationship, you know what I mean? Um, alpha run. If he blow his breath on me and that's pretty much the way it works. [00:05:29] Karama: [00:05:29] So listen, what are you, what are you relaxing with now? What are you watching besides your dragon? [00:05:34] What are you kicking out over? Are you watching shows with the girls? [00:05:38] Orlando: [00:05:38] You know, we, they are funny, um, to watch some of the same things over and over again. So we have enjoyed Peabody Sherman, which we love both the show. And of course the movie and, uh, uh, so where a girl is, is the giant [00:06:00] on, uh, we had a strong Phineas and Ferb thing going on. [00:06:05] Yeah, we, we rock that. We've now moved. We went through spirit like a brush fire. It was amazing just watching that horse run and watching chicken, Linda, and, uh, all those wonderful characters. Um, uh, we have princess and frog got way recently. Uh, and then we, uh, did a swing back to the aristocrat. Uh, which was interesting. [00:06:29] And the old 76 animated Robin hood, uh, was a big hood. Now. They hate all of that. Everything I just mentioned is horrible. Uh, my youngest one wants Papa troll and, uh, baby Yoda mandolin. So respect. That's a three-year-old by the way, she requests Mandalorian. She's three years old. It's amazing. Yeah, [00:06:56] Karama: [00:06:56] I was. [00:06:56] She's also your child. So [00:06:57] Orlando: [00:06:57] there's that I'm not mad at [00:07:00] her. I was like, you know, you right you, right. I ain't, I can't say nothing. Magda bought man Dubai in Magda, Florian. [00:07:13] Completely that it didn't just happen immediately. Like told you man servant, I'm a man servant. That's how it works. Um, and I think my oldest actually likes the cooking show. Um, that make the desserts and she loves that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So sugar, candy, sugar rush. We've been watching that. Um, of course we went through the land of sugar on record Ralph, um, and, uh, We, uh, we, we do a lot, we do a lot, uh, with those crew and then we have a documentary, uh, you know, films that we'll check out occasionally, particularly those telling stories of, you know, the different lives of different, you know, indigenous children, just children around the world, just to get a clear sense of what their privilege [00:08:00] is up close and personal, rather than, you know, saying the word, just seeing what it's like to have to walk, you know, seven, eight miles to get to school. [00:08:11] And just what that process is. [00:08:14] Karama: [00:08:14] In the, in the past few weeks, so many people have been, uh, speaking of privilege, there's been so much discussion about teaching people about their privilege. One of the things I was telling April when she came to visit was okay, we're going to, for the next hour, you do not have to explain racism to white people. [00:08:36] It's been really interesting. Um, you just gotta ask, you have been an, you know, an activist and an entertainer and. So you, you walk those paths simultaneously, but now everybody is a behind a keyboard and being a social media activist and stuff. What do you, what do you think of this newfound? Not at not newfound black lives matter. [00:08:59] Cause this has [00:09:00] been a word that's been around for awhile, but this newfound interest in what we folks have been doing and saying all this time, [00:09:09] Orlando: [00:09:09] I mean, I guess good. Uh, There's just a huge difference between social activism and actual activism. So I think it's imperative that there would be a plan and a clear focus. [00:09:23] And I think that simply means. Go to your city council meeting, get involved in your children's school. Look at what the curriculum is. Look at what they're actually teaching in those institutions of higher learning and lower learning, like actually get involved, um, is one way to do it. And then secondly, I think it's to recognize you're dealing with the community that has suffered a great deal of trouble. [00:09:47] And hasn't had anyone treat them as trauma victims. They've just been treated as criminal. So if we simply applied, you know, the care that is required to the disenfranchised communities, and while at the same time, [00:10:00] helping those gifted kids get where they belong. Um, and that means that when you recognize this aptitude in fourth and fifth and sixth grade math, which is when you would recognize the aptitude of a coder, um, that you now help that child get the 10,000 hours of math and the access and resources that that child needs to become a million dollar code or so. [00:10:22] Focusing in both of those areas and our immediate communities, I believe is a sure-fire way to make a change because you've changed that life for real, you help that kid get where he or she needed to go. And at the same token, you help this kid get where they needed to go by helping them through their trauma. [00:10:39] So I think in doing so you empower real authentic change, um, by, uh, uh, by helping helping someone. And I think that's activism, I think. Great to tweet about and great to post about what pissed you off today, but, um, actually empowering another life is true. [00:10:59] Karama: [00:10:59] No, I [00:11:00] completely agree. Although I do have to say that I am thoroughly entertained by your Twitter page. [00:11:09] And, um, so many of us, yes. I feel like you show more of your activism on, um, although I've seen it on Twitter too, but I feel like you show more of your activism on Instagram, but all of your personal personalities on Twitter, like troll Lando. And Olivia, wait, let's, let's roll down the list of some of your, uh, your lovely personas on Twitter. [00:11:38] Orlando: [00:11:38] So the fun of Twitter to me is that it's, um, it's a bit of a scream Fest, uh, in many ways, little bit of a scream Fest. Um, and everybody likes to scream with certain. And I like to scream something that you will never know what's going to come. That's the way I [00:12:00] prefer it because it's more entertaining for me. [00:12:02] So sometimes I'm talking as trow, Lando. TRO Lando is a as a troll. He is there to troll. If you get in your feelings, it is just more entertaining to him because he tells you upfront that he was a trolley full disclosure. Yourself. If you, I used to get mad at a troll, well, then you deserve everything that's coming. [00:12:26] Right. And that's through Orlando. Now I was raised by, you know, a collection of very, very strong black. There was not a weak one in the bunch. And because of that, they had no problem telling you what it was, what it was going to be, what it wasn't going to be, what you was and what you wasn't going to do and what you bet not do. [00:12:51] That was all laid out very clearly. What they was fixing to do or what they was fin to do, [00:13:00] they was fixing to do it. Then they was going to do a whole bunch of other stuff before they did it. But if they was spending whoop your ass, it was imminent. It was moments away from that ass whooping comment. So. [00:13:12] Alandra is my inner black woman. And she is, oh, Landro. And Alandra is here to tell you what it is going to be, what it ain't going to be, what it looked like and what it don't look like at all. What's the Napa. See? So Alandra don't want to hear that. Um, Olivia is high inner white girl. She got a lot going on and you know, she's, she doesn't understand, I past it all. [00:13:48] And she's just, you know, [00:13:54] because reasons because of reasons, you know? Yeah. So that's [00:14:00] Olivia and she's always in her feelings. It doesn't matter what you say. Yeah. [00:14:09] And then there's, um, Sapphire, but his stage name is Dawn. So, so Sapphire is a, is a, is a drag queen. And, uh, he performs at a last school Lita, uh, right across from port authority in New York city. That's what came from that's his state. Okay, [00:14:27] Karama: [00:14:27] I'm done. I'm mad that he's on 42nd and eighth. I'm mad. That's right. [00:14:32] Orlando: [00:14:32] That's exactly where he is. He said, first of all, he's real winded in like these bougie drag frees. Okay. That's the bottle of whiskey on the table and a real show going down. How dare you talk about stuff. His real name is doin. So sometimes the one, sometimes Sapphire whose real name is doin, you know, it just has to let you know what time it is. [00:14:59] And [00:15:00] then sometimes it's Orlando, it's Orlando Jones, occasionally it's Atlanta Jones. And then occasionally, you know, it might be Mr. Nancy sometimes just for. Or a dig McCaffrey from say it is. And so I dragged him up a lot just cause he's a, he's a paraplegic cocaine addict. Uh, I just liked the idea of talking to somebody like a paraplegic cocaine addict, um, and Dick McCaffrey doesn't care. [00:15:26] And, um, and that's it. Those are, those are my goals. Those are my go-to is if I'm being honest, um, and those are my Twitter voices and I, I enjoy them and I enjoy watching people respond to them like what the hell is going on. It's awesome. [00:15:45] Karama: [00:15:45] And it's also, I mean, and we talked about this a little bit before the show, but also sometimes this is something that's hard for. [00:15:52] I think a lot of mainstream to understand black folks, we laugh at a lot of our own pain. You know, [00:16:00] we, we are out here dealing with, like, I know, like in one week I had lost. A family member to COVID and I was also dealing with another sick friend and somebody else who'd lost a job. And then I'm turning on the news and seeing another person who died in the hands of police violence. [00:16:17] And then we go and turn on a comedy and people don't understand that, but we don't have therapists. We have comedy, we have comedians like [00:16:28] Orlando: [00:16:28] you. Look, I'm from the deep south. Okay. And I can tell you with great certainty that Larry, the cable guy and Jeff Foxworthy, and those guys were talking to an audience of broke people who happen to be white, who were, you know, trying to figure it out, just like everybody else. [00:16:47] Right. And there were a bunch of black comedians that were talking about. You know what it was like from that side of the camp, you know, everybody from mom's basically the true, the true raw [00:17:00] Primea genius that she was to the people she spawned like red Fox and Richard Pryor, but that came from mom. Let's not get it twisted and her. [00:17:09] Political comedy and I, her, in some ways, birthing and spawning, even Dick Gregory, um, was to show you how prolific she was as a comedian and that she could do so many different styles and types of comedy. But when I look at those, those storytellers, the Nina Simone. Um, the James Baldwins, which were the people who I was inspired by then there were lots of colors within the way they lived their lives as artists. [00:17:38] So I really try and do that. I, it would be boring if I had to be the same Orlando all the time, so I enjoy all of them. And I'm sure some people like some more than others and that that's fine, that's their prerogative. But, um, it's for me, it's, it's, it's what I enjoy doing is, is bringing different characters to life. [00:18:00] [00:17:59] Karama: [00:17:59] And you're obviously amazing at it because you've had so many incredible, incredible, um, roles. And actually, I also want to ask you about that because I think I noticed this most on sleepy hollow, but you've done it obviously. On other shows, you have an incredible connection to your fans in terms of your social media, you speak out on things that a lot of your colleagues might not feel comfortable speaking out on. [00:18:25] But your fans always bolster you. And I think it's a, it's a balance there. How do you keep that balance? I, [00:18:32] Orlando: [00:18:32] you know, people, people think of, of. People think in such polarizing terms, um, they think that black lives matter is a political statement. Uh, some people do, and for me, that's not a political statement, but I also think it's important to advocate. [00:18:58] If you're going to advocate for [00:19:00] human rights to certainly advocate for yourself, but also to advocate on behalf of others who, whose experience you don't know, but who you clearly recognize is receiving the same second class citizenship type treatment. So I really think about that. And who I'm trying to advocate for online. [00:19:18] I even think about that in terms of the fandoms that I tend to like to join. I liked the ones of the groups who are often the most disenfranchised, the people who people hate for no apparent reason other than they don't like what they think. So I, uh, I like that. I think talking about that isn't as important for me, uh, as, as an artist, because I never. [00:19:39] One, anybody get confused about, you know, what it's about for me, it's not, it's not a black lives matter, certainly, but it's about equitable treatment for me. And I mean that for everybody, not just somebody who's black, um, equitable treatment for somebody who's white is equally as important. And at the end of the day, um, you know, no, one's trying to [00:20:00] take that away, but since that's so freely given, um, uh, you know, It's amazing how sensitive people are. [00:20:09] So I look at all those elements and I go, and if that's, what's going to make you sensitive, if my honesty as an artist is what's gonna make you uncomfortable, then man, I'm probably not the type of artist you're going to like. You know, and, and that's, that's your prerogative like, you know, but the truth of the matter is it depends on what, how you're engaging me. [00:20:30] And if you're engaging me as a, as an actor, I played all types of characters who hold completely different police belief systems from myself. I play characters who fundamentally disagree with everything that I think and believe in, but, and people might love that character and can't stay on me. So for me, that's also a lot of times they're interacting me, but they don't know who they're talking. [00:20:51] Yeah. Yeah. You know, so, well, for me, it's, it's a bit of a cheek, right? I've been over here playing these games as [00:21:00] whole time being these other people. And now you're trying to interact with me based on this little sliver right here. And so I guess for me on social media, that's what I try not to do. And that's why. [00:21:12] That's the balance that I exercise. I'm not trying to impress anybody or not impress anybody. I'm just trying to put forth a balanced view of, of the way I would like to be represented. And so I'm trying to talk about Brazil and trying to talk about China. I'm trying to talk about Muslim talking. Talk about, you know, LGBTQ. [00:21:32] You know, as two plus, but I'm not talking about them. Like they're letters. Like, you know, I have my, I have a gay character. I do, I have a lesbian character. I do. I have a two-spirit character. I do. I see them as three dimensional. People who are, have experienced something. And I know that experience not well, it's something that's been taught to me and, and shared with me through other artists. [00:21:57] And those artists opened up my mind to [00:22:00] things that discrimination of a kind that I'd never even previously seen. And that was transformative for me because I saw it through the eyes of being a hunted black man. I didn't see it through the eyes of, of what a vulnerable indigenous. Right. And so, and so I really, yeah, my social media and those terms and, uh, and try and talk about what my heritage is and that's really what it is. [00:22:22] I'm native American, I'm Chinese and I'm black. Um, and I, I try and talk about all those aspects of, uh, of who I am and those people of my family, uh, who represent all those. Things, um, uh, but who are people who I love dearly and I just try and advocate the way I would want other people to advocate. For somebody who you might not think is a nice person because they they're this or they're that, but that's not how I know them. [00:22:53] I know them in a different way. So I'm going to try and advocate as best I can, how they probably should advocate, but [00:23:00] sadly, they too bigoted to do it. So I'm, uh, I'm gonna stand up for my people and I'm gonna get them to sit down. I don't want nothing to happen to them. I'm sure you got you up here. And let's, uh, let's find a path forward that doesn't cause harm to each other and does it, you know, demonize people. [00:23:16] And I think that's critical, critically important as we move forward. But by the same token, it's critically important that we get equitable treatment and we've, we've stood still long enough. So y'all gonna have to take this screaming and this yelling right now. We're going to work and do together. We're going to do right together. [00:23:33] It's going to be fine. But what we ain't going to do though, is we ain't go accept these ridiculous terms that you're talking about, where we know we're second class citizens. Now we supposed to shut up, be quiet and be thankful for certain classes and shit. Now I appreciate offer, but no thanks. I tried it out and knocked the tires for 400 years. [00:23:57] Karama: [00:23:57] You bet to say. So, um, [00:24:00] now the last time you were here, I had to bring, you saw me. I had to out, I had to break up my fan. Um, the last time you were last time you were here. No, I did every now and then. Hallelujah. Um, the last time we spoke, not the last time you were here, you were on the podcast and you talked about, uh, You went through one American gods and how you left that show. [00:24:25] And we're not going to talk about all that right now. Y'all can go back and listen to the podcast and get that whole story. Um, but you were shining a light on some of the, more of the ridiculous things that had happened behind the scenes, namely American guy's parent company. Fremantle that we found out is also the parents who company for Gabrielle union, who was fired from America's got talent, which was also the parent company from Michela. [00:24:53] Cole's showing gum. And now what we have here, ladies and gentlemen is what we call a pattern in [00:25:00] the things that came out since then. And the fact that, uh, so many actors came together for you for Gabrielle, for Miguel and other people. It felt the strength to talk about something justices that were happening in Hollywood. [00:25:17] Do you think a change was made and I'm not even talking about American gods, I'm talking about like, Hollywood as a whole, or do you think it took what we're seeing now? All of these people shining a light on all of the things that they've gone through in Hollywood right now, uh, for changes to be made. [00:25:35] Do you think you helped start that or you just going to be here to help. [00:25:42] Orlando: [00:25:42] I, uh, I don't, I think that's for somebody else to say, I don't know. I don't know that I feel comfortable, um, saying that I was, I was the start of, of, of, of that movement, but I I'll say this. Um, [00:26:00] I think what Viola Davis has said is. Is something that needed to be said. And I think that Nicole, but Nicole Buhari finally having the courage to come forth and say some of the things that she finally was able to say and the incredible growth that she went through as a human and as an artist to not come forth until she could speak in a way that wasn't out of anger. [00:26:28] Um, that's a really powerful thing. And I want to diminish the power of those type of ads. I think those types of acts are transformative and I, I wish that there was more attention being paid to those little nuanced nuggets that are coming forth. As we talk about these larger issues, um, ultimately. This is hopefully a period of tremendous change. [00:26:54] Uh, that's certainly my hope, I think right now, I think people are scared why people are just scared right now. [00:27:00] You know, they, they are for the first time coming face to face with the reality that they previously didn't know, and that is, they thought they knew what racism was. When they thought they had a handle on it and they've never experienced it, but they thought that by hearing about it, they could understand it and that, you know, that's ridiculous. [00:27:22] And then that's not to demonize white people at all. I mean, men don't understand what it's like to be women. You know, so we all have many blind spots about the things that we think we understand intellectually, but we don't understand because we just can't see it through the eyes of someone who's lived it. [00:27:39] We don't have that, that granual knowledge, that, that institutional knowledge. And I think, um, it's gonna, it's gonna be. A process to educate this institution. Um, they're aware of their bigotry, but they don't know what to do. They're scared. And then there's another contingent of them that are frankly, just [00:28:00] white supremacist and believe that diversity and multiculturalism are anti white and that they're entitled to this and that their forefathers built this thing. [00:28:07] And, you know, Abraham Lincoln jipped them because he never freed those dabbing on slaves. So there's a whole. Another group of people, uh, who have, you know, finally a representative in the white house. Um, who's literally repeating there. Their battle cry. Those that's their rhetoric to a T I mean, he's dead in sync with the outright and the Neo Confederates. [00:28:32] So a white supremacy has a very powerful voice and it has one and those powerful voices have aligned themselves under very specific network and then network isn't new. And we are attempting to dismantle that network. And that's why I say you have to. Then your local community to do that because that's where that network is built from it's granual. [00:28:53] Um, but by the same token, Um, to pretend that this moment [00:29:00] isn't an opportunity would be, I think stupid. And I think to look at it as purely negative is, is, uh, is a fundamental mistake. I think it is painful for all sides as it has been an a w and I think it would be great. The New York police chiefs of the world who are complaining about people, treating them unfairly for 30 days, you poor things, um, could, could have, they could have the empathy and also just. [00:29:34] Frankly could have the empathy to understand how ludicrous what they're saying is, and that we could remove those individuals and replaced them with someone who, who does understand that because that person will help the community. So in that person's ideology, he's also telling you what his value system is for the community. [00:29:54] So he's telling you that your trauma and your problems don't matter. It's part of his belief system. That's his world. [00:30:00] You can't just leave that person there. You have to remove that person and the people who supported that person and put in place, someone who sees everyone is human. Doesn't see you less because you're a female or because you're fat or because your palms sweat, or because your hairline is weird or because you're not what people call traditionally attractive, whatever, the reason they're going to discriminate against you for it, shouldn't be able to do that. [00:30:26] And so that for me is really all that all it's about. At the end of the day. And my hope is that this moment pushes that forward. And I believe that that will happen simply because the only reason it wouldn't happen is because we were so apathetic, we fucking gave [00:30:44] Karama: [00:30:44] up. So I got to ask, I'm going back to acting now I've got to ask, what did you think to date now? [00:30:50] Your favorite role has been to play. When you, when you look back [00:30:57] Orlando: [00:30:57] for me, wow, [00:31:03] [00:31:00] God, I don't know how to categorize them like that. I w I wish there's such, this is going to sound crazy. I see them as such a different thing than that. Does that make sense? [00:31:21] Uh, I see them as, as, as the. As a friend. Right. And I got this friend and he looks like this and he talks like this and he walks like this and he's got this kind of crazy story that goes along with them. And he spent too much time in his son and he got his skin. Two-tone like this. I mean, I, I really, for me, it's all of that. [00:31:46] It's, it's, it's, it's all of that little stuff that you do on the day to day that, that make you who you are. And so I, I kind of enjoy it. A lot, um, because it really [00:32:00] helps me bring the character to life. Um, And so each one of them for me, and what I was doing was awesome that I got the opportunity to do it and to have it, and this crew of people who worked with me and I worked with them and we all, you know, got it on, on camera. [00:32:19] Right. And whether it came out exactly as I wanted it, or it didn't come out exactly as I want it, it doesn't much stop. The process is kind of. Right for me. So it's hard for me to, I don't know how to pull them apart. I mean, I like, I like people like Nancy, but those guys I liked, you know, like I liked the re the Reverend Lamont fatback from MADtv. [00:32:44] I liked him. [00:32:49] I liked, he was amazing. It was crazy. I li I really, another one I liked for MADtv. I really liked the prison warden in the Barbara Streisand, Whitney [00:33:00] Houston, like terms of endearment movie. Um, I like that guy back, uh, uh, he was involved in, in love with all the inmates and whatnot. And, uh, yeah, I did. He was all at his feet. [00:33:19] He really put his way. He was a mess. This is what I thought was horrible about. It was hard about him as he was an absolutely, um, toxic human who was using his power to create very unbalanced relationships in the prison system as the war. Right. But in his mind, He was in the soap opera, not to laugh. And that in his mind, that's what was going on. [00:33:52] So the way he dressed, the way he spoke, everything he did was like, he was a Nazi landing character. [00:34:00] There was all this pain that was happening to him the whole time. Uh, so, uh, And Nicole, uh, Sullivan, who was on the show with me, used to have a joke and we, we could never get it on camera, but it was the funniest thing about that entire character. [00:34:19] And that was, I would say. And she'd scream, [00:34:29] but may bell [00:34:39] And she would have yelled at Howard in the corner and cried, and that was the bit, and we would do that bit. And the crew would be like, look at these fools. We'd do that like three, four times a day. Sometimes she could yell. Oh no, absolutely. I'd ask her a question. And she started yelling and I am not a whore. [00:34:57] And the bit is it goes on. As [00:35:00] long as she wants to scream, I am not a whore. I'm not in control of it. My job is power. That's the key. I keep playing a off until Nicole Sullivan gets tired of screaming. I am not a whore, which generally happened because Debra Wilson decided I'm tired of this white girl screaming. [00:35:19] I'm not a whore and Debra Wilson shut that shit down. And that was my whole girl. So I hope you like Tempra helped me. It's you? Bitch. You got three more. I'm not a horse before I come over there, [00:35:36] you can second that emotion. And the next thing you know, it was all around the camp and we were a Motley crew and then our, the Lang said something hilarious. And that was it. So, uh, I really like, I think all of those things and all those characters for all those different periods in my life that were just insane. [00:35:56] Karama: [00:35:56] So if there was one movie or show [00:36:00] that you could do over that you could bring back and do a remake of what would you, what would it be? [00:36:07] Orlando: [00:36:07] I would bring back to evolution because if I didn't, I take the same thing and you know, it's funny. I just had, David was just on my podcast and, um, he's such a sweet dude, man. [00:36:23] I really liked David, but you know, when everything got crazy. You know, people were coming at David, you know, and David is not no David company. He's not a racist dude. You know what I mean? It's not his, he's not, that's not the place he's coming from. You know what I'm saying? So this daughter was going to protest and he was like, listen, Corona's out there. [00:36:45] It's important for you to stand up for something and not be the failure that I have been in, not being more vocal and standing up myself. Right. So I'm like, okay, you know, respect. I wouldn't let my daughter go out [00:37:00] there with you crazy, but okay. [00:37:05] You know what I'm saying? Like, that's my dude, but, uh, uh, you know, where he's coming from and I, and I get where he's coming from. And he, he was one of the people that really supported me on the Mike Adams thing, because David David's a smart dude. And you know, he was like, you know, educating young minds. [00:37:19] Yes. That's not freedom of speech. That's weaponizing freedom of speech. So I really, I really feel like. The us taking those characters is who we are today. Um, as opposed to who we are then, and having something attack the earth, um, that is way above our pay grade. Uh, while those two grown ass men are still the children, they were then maybe a little bit grown up, but not really. [00:37:49] Not really. [00:37:50] Karama: [00:37:50] It would be amazing though, because your characters could be like, nah, I see we've done this before. When we were here. We remember what happened last time. Not [00:38:00] only did [00:38:00] Orlando: [00:38:00] I go, I was in an alien asshole and they got pulled out of my asshole. So let me be clear. I'm not trying to relive it. [00:38:13] Just the performing of getting an alien. You ain't got my ass hole was exhausting. Okay. I think I asked the ice cream for my ass at the end of it. Okay. It didn't matter what flavor it was. Cause it was from my ass. And I'm just saying, you know, I went through a lot of trauma in that movie. Okay. I sang the birds, took it too. [00:38:34] The call. [00:38:39] Okay. I begged people not to tell anybody where I had been. Okay. I went through a lot in that movie. Okay. So I would like to see less alien assholes the next time around, [00:38:53] go investigate all the alien assholes. That's what I would like me to be. I'm like, Not let him get sucked up all of the ASOS. And [00:39:00] I'm like, yes, you know what? It feels like, motherfucker. That's a great plot right there. Now the white dudes get swept in nearly and ashes and, uh, it'd be lovely now. Please see, I seen it. [00:39:18] Listen, I made that joke 20 years ago, just to have people explain the joke I made to me. How does that work? The joke was I seen this movie, the black guy dies first and then people will be interviewing me going, you know, in Jurassic park, the black guy dies first. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about that happening? [00:39:43] I'm sorry, what I'm saying? The black eyes for a second horror movies and he's always dying first. Like, what's that like? I mean, like, obviously I'm sure you have something, you know, to share about it. [00:39:58] Karama: [00:39:58] It's hysterical. [00:40:00] [00:40:00] Orlando: [00:40:00] I direct your attention to this movie called the evolution. Direct your attention to this following line. I seen this movie, the black guy dies first use Snagit. I'm pretty sure that's what I said. And it was 19, uh, two of the year, 2000, maybe. I think it was 2000. Yes, a 2016, what the fuck are you talking about right now? [00:40:27] And you might want to consider whose joke you are referencing. [00:40:34] Karama: [00:40:34] That that was more of my question. Should have been what's the dumbest question that you've ever been asked. Um, okay. But I have people in the chat that are like losing it. So I I'm taking questions from the chat now. And. Oh, my God. They're all yelling. [00:40:50] There's people in here yelling lines from a movie it's in me. It's in me. That's hysterical. [00:40:55] Orlando: [00:40:55] That's exactly right now. Y'all see. This is why, because here's the [00:41:00] thing. I really mean this in all sincerity, like one of the great joys of my life that I never ever in a million years saw coming is that as an adult, I would be walking down the street and encounter so many people. [00:41:12] Who who are so excited to see me because of, you know, some project I did. Right. And there was always such evolution. Fans are the nicest human beings I've ever like, yo they're there. Like, they're nice. Like I want to do it just because of how awesome the fans of that movie have been. Like, it's crazy to me, how nice they are. [00:41:36] So nurses run up to me. With and I signed K Y to the state as always the lubricant tell you how much I have Stein. Literally sent me a gift basket of like every type of lube I [00:41:57] Karama: [00:41:57] had. K Y jelly. K Y [00:42:00] jelly sent you a big. [00:42:03] Orlando: [00:42:03] They sent something to me and I responded with a Jiff that said, it's always time for lubricant. [00:42:07] They sent me a DM and said, can we please send your lubricant? They sent so much lubricant. I look like I had taken anal to a whole new level is what it looked like [00:42:22] were like 18. [00:42:29] Okay. The house people walk around, you look at it too funny. I see your eyes. [00:42:42] Got my girl. That's my girl to my girl and my dad and handicap my gun. I had it cause my homie. And Halligan literally. And like, she'll tell me, it's like, it's not, we don't have that type of thing where she got act like she had visible, you know what I'm saying? Uh, you know, my, my, my grandmother and, you know, they were housekeepers. [00:42:59] So, you know, I mean, I [00:43:00] don't play that second class citizenship foolishness. So she say anything she wanted to say. So she saw, I left it in the wrapping, right. So she saw it in the wrapping. She said, you're going to lose all of that. She goes, she goes, are you going to use all of it? And before she left, I put it in her car. [00:43:18] Karama: [00:43:18] No, you didn't. So, and Halakha went home with a big box of lube and hats [00:43:26] Orlando: [00:43:26] to her family. Soon as she looked at me and she was like, are you going to lose all that? I said it right in [00:43:32] Karama: [00:43:32] her car. So. I got to know just Orlando mess with anime. And if so, which ones like, so do you watch enemies? Are you a fan of any enemy? [00:43:46] Orlando: [00:43:46] I went down a really, you know, I went down, I asked versus the evil dead. Uh, you know, I went down that rabbit hole. For awhile and came out of it. And you know, where I really find that I really like animates is going to sound crazy on Wattpad. I [00:44:00] really liked reading it on Wattpad. [00:44:04] Yeah. Yeah. Mongo it's really, I, I enjoy that and I really enjoy, uh, tracking the artists of the track and the art. I just, I mean, It's like a completely different language from the anime itself. Right. Because just because of how it renders anyway. So, uh, yeah, I, I do. Um, and I kinda, and if you have stuff you think I should totally check out, like, please send me stuff. [00:44:31] Cause. Um, I'm really looking for more, um, the person who turned me on to it was Ernest Dickerson, uh, the cinematographer and he and I were really into, he was director and he was directing me on a project and we started talking about all of the, um, crazy Japanese movies, you know, you know, come through hustle back in the day at each you the killer audition, um, and all those types of movies. [00:44:57] And then we got into a crazy animated discussion. [00:45:00] And, uh, I've been like a fan ever since, so yeah. [00:45:04] Karama: [00:45:04] So we've got to get you some, we're going to get you some Akira. We're going to get you some ghost in the shell. [00:45:11] Orlando: [00:45:11] It took me out. [00:45:13] Karama: [00:45:13] Um, so somebody said, am I, uh, am I the only one who wants to know the behind the scenes for drum line? [00:45:19] I would love to hear some tea about behind the scenes on that. Now I know one story. So you should share it because you turned down now. Yes. You turned down a role to say germline. [00:45:34] Orlando: [00:45:34] So at the time, they're trying to get me to do a movie called like Mike, uh, which is, uh, a magic tissue movie with bow and Morris Chestnut. [00:45:41] Um, and I thought Morris, Justin, it was fantastic in the movie. Shout out to my dude, Morris Chester. Um, uh, but I just, I couldn't understand. That versus bringing together show style marching band. There was no comparison to me. I'm like I grew up, you know, [00:46:00] and my parents went to traditional black colleges in the south. [00:46:02] Like, that's just where I'm from. So I was like, no, I'm doing this y'all are crazy. Um, the best T on that movie is probably, I got, gosh, it's snowed that summer. And it was crazy to be shooting in the snow in Atlanta. And the craziest part of that movie is who really won the battle of the bands for real on the field. [00:46:33] And. The participants were, there are a lot of people who didn't like participate cause Florida a and M got an AA feeling so they wouldn't do it. Um, it was, it was Clark Morris brown, uh, Bethune, Cookman, and the Atlanta and T band and Atlanta T band was made up of a high school band. That was led by a foreigner, a former [00:47:00] rattler. [00:47:00] That was the Southwest, the cab high school band. And the drum line was, uh, uh, was a mishmash of college students and high school. So the point is, is that, but the most ridiculous band was Southwest to cab and Clark and the Southwest cab high school band was bigger than the Clark university band car had 91 people and they out blue bands of 250. [00:47:28] It was crazy to actually hear that, like, to just sit and cook because I would, that's what all the conducting scenes were cause know I had to actually conduct them. So I spent all of my time conducting those bands while Nick learned to play the drums. And that was the most that movie was, I got to read. [00:47:50] To do that and to, you know, to really sort of, you know, write their arrangements and you know, I've been a musician time. So, uh, that's why I did the movie. Cause I got to go back to [00:48:00] being a musician. So it was really fun. [00:48:03] Karama: [00:48:03] Somebody else is asking, did you write the OJ Simpson bloopers fees from MADtv? Yes, it was your seat. [00:48:15] I figured you did the short answer. [00:48:19] Orlando: [00:48:19] Yes, I did. Ma'am [00:48:23] Karama: [00:48:23] um, how much of, [00:48:28] how much of Clifford Franklin from the replacements was improv? [00:48:34] Orlando: [00:48:34] Um, it was, uh, You know, 60, 40, I mean, I wouldn't say it was improv. Uh, I mean, I've been in the writers Guild for 25 years. Um, you know, so, you know, I had a, I knew who I wanted clipper Franklin to be, and that wasn't in the script. So [00:49:00] as soon as he got off the box, Well, clever Franklin shows up as a replacement player. [00:49:05] If you watched a movie, he is holding, he doesn't have luggage. He has a box with twine wrapped around it. That's his luggage [00:49:21] because, you know, I went to school at Charleston, South Carolina, and I had a friend named Tyrone. And Tyrone Geddes traveled with a box with twine wrapped around. That's how he traveled. And he was a mechanic and that's how he traveled. So for me, that was Tyrone Geddes, got a shot to go to the NFL and he starts off with not even having luggage. [00:49:46] And they went a couple of games and he wearing sunglasses. Uh, and talking about himself in the third person, [00:49:55] suddenly he's calm alone. Uh, the thing about cooking. [00:50:01] [00:50:00] So that would, so that wasn't in the script. So I had to write all of, you know, what that was. So, you know, I, so yes, I, I, you know, I was writing clipper Franklin, [00:50:15] Karama: [00:50:15] the Elliot's out, and now I can, I'll never look at 20 of the same again. Um, Is there, is there a role out there or a story I should say? Is there a story out there that you would love to tell, even if you weren't able to write it, if somebody came to you and said, we're doing a movie. This is his character or a person out there who you'd love to play. [00:50:40] Oh my God. [00:50:47] Orlando: [00:50:47] Ted Patrick. The father of cult deprogramming, Ted Patrick Black, guy's still alive lives in San Diego was literally grabbing kids who had been snatched by. [00:51:00] Grabbing them with a blanket, jumping into a two door car, driving off and staying in a room with them 16, 17, 18 hours until you deprogrammed him. [00:51:09] He started off with his own child. He's deprogrammed over 2000 people. And he tried to contact multiple sitting presidents, including Obama to explain to them that ISIS an ISO were cults and that you couldn't bond those people to death because they'd been indoctrinated into mind control and they had to be deprogrammed and there was no system to do the. [00:51:30] That guy's story. Amazing Curt flood, the black men free agency to create all that, these athletes who are multi-millionaires that happened because of Kurt flood and his legal case, which created free agency and professional sports. Those three yesterday. [00:51:50] Karama: [00:51:50] Oh, my God, somebody write the James Baldwin. Now while I researched the rest, because all we need to give you is a cigarette [00:52:00] and a suit. [00:52:00] You already don't care. It would be perfect. [00:52:07] Oh, that's amazing. [00:52:11] Orlando: [00:52:11] The phone call from a director, a extremely talented black female director telling me to start writing that in yesterday. [00:52:19] Karama: [00:52:19] Yes, absolutely. That is amazing. Um, and I'm gonna, like I said, I'm going to send you some animate to watch, but I want to explain one show for you. Cause I want to hear your, your, uh, idea of this. [00:52:37] There is a show that is very popular right now called my hero academia. I am also a fan sink of it as if, uh, if the eczema. Is Charles school, his gifted school was just a public school and it was a public school for kids that had special gifts. Those gifts weren't they weren't called [00:53:00] mutants. They are rotations. [00:53:01] They were called quarry. So everybody, you know, everybody in this world is born with a quirk, but not everybody's. Quirk can make them a superhero. Your quirk might be that you can move clouds. That's not helpful. You just happen to have it. Um, but these kids who go to UAA, UAA high have, are being trained for. [00:53:22] Superhero basically classification. So if you could pick any quirk and I'm telling you, these kids have everything, some people could talk to animals. Some people can stick to walls. One guy can bake that's his quirk. If you could have one special superpower, one special cork, what would it be? [00:53:46] Orlando: [00:53:46] I like the one I have. I'm going to stay grateful for the one I. [00:53:51] Karama: [00:53:51] Okay, which is the one you have on [00:53:53] Orlando: [00:53:53] the storyteller. [00:53:55] Karama: [00:53:55] Okay, great. That's my ticket. [00:54:01] [00:54:00] Orlando: [00:54:01] I like telling stories. Uh, I like them to be rooted in truth and from hopefully a perspective that you maybe previously they consider. Outlandish and funny and ridiculous, but I like, I liked telling stories that I'm going to, I'm going to be grateful for the one I got, because I love that story simply because that metaphor is a powerful one, but we all have a superpower. [00:54:24] We all have that quirk, that thing that we do, and not only the discovery of that, but having a tribe of people around us to help us, uh, be able to do that as a way of life and support ourselves so that we, you know, can hopefully be doing the things that we love, uh, as well. You know, make a living is, uh, that's a beautiful thing. [00:54:43] That's not work. Uh, so I feel like I got, I get to live that. So that's a, that's a special gift. [00:54:52] Karama: [00:54:52] Okay. So I'll, I'll give this one to you. You, your, your superpower is that you are actually a Nancy and we are actually [00:55:01] [00:55:00] Orlando: [00:55:01] that's my superpower. [00:55:04] Karama: [00:55:04] So you're a storyteller, you're a storyteller and you make those changes and you, and you, your stories, and even the stories that you're told tonight have even, um, and, uh, not no matter what ever happened on that show, there's that it will, you literally made history. [00:55:20] With the few scenes you were in through the species that you gave, um, one of what you wrote. So, uh, you will ever forever. Yeah. And we are so incredibly proud that you were on it, but I want to thank you for being the second guest on the blur girl live and hanging out with me. And in your dungeon with your dragon here, you're incredibly well behaved. [00:55:45] Right? [00:55:48] Orlando: [00:55:48] First of all, he's not well-behaved. I just didn't say that they don't. You look at me don't you dare blow your hot fucking breath on me. I wish a dragon would [00:56:00] far. What he likes to do is, and this happened several times. If you saw me adjusting my hat is because he was over here blowing his hot fucking breath on me. [00:56:09] Okay. And, you know, and. Fine. You know, you know, if you ever been to a laundromat during the winter, like in Cleveland, and then it's so cold outside that you go stand next to the dryer exhaust, it's blowing out all the, and even though. Committee, uh, uh, herpes and syphilis of blowing through the dryer vent. [00:56:33] You still stand there because it keeps you warm. Okay. That's the way it feels like, I don't know what obsidian eight, but I can smell that he ate something in his breath because he doesn't floss because dragons don't floss and that's a problem. People don't talk about that. They really don't fucking times dumped. [00:56:58] Karama: [00:56:58] Sorry. [00:57:00] Thank you so much. It's always a pleasure talking to you and you always make me laugh. I have like endorphins for days after our coverage. [00:57:12] Orlando: [00:57:12] Thank you. Good to talk to you. [00:57:14] Karama: [00:57:14] Thank you folks. Thank you so much for checking out the bird girl live. Please follow Orlando. Give him your enemy suggestions. Uh, we were little Joe's on Twitter. You can always find me Kara, the blur girl, T H E B L E R D G U R L, Twitter, Instagram and all over the interwebs. [00:57:32] And thank you so much for joining me. I will see you next week. [00:57:39] Hey folks. Thanks so much for listening. I hope you enjoy these reposts. And if you would like to see this episode in video form, I've put the link to the video in my YouTube channel in the show notes. Uh, all of the first season is now live and this episode happens to also be closed captioned as always, please follow me across social media. [00:57:58] I'm the blurred girl everywhere. And don't [00:58:00] forget to check out my Patriot at patrion.com/the blurred girl. See you next time. The post Podcast: Orlando Jones on Evolution and dragons appeared first on theblerdgurl.
38 minutes | Jan 9, 2021
Alex Kurtzman and Olatunde Osunsanmi discuss Star Trek: Discovery S3
Welcome to a bonus episode of theblerdgurl Podcast! In this interview, I get a chance to talk to Star Trek: Discovery executive producer and Creator Alex Kurtzman along with co-executive producer and director Olatunde Osunsanmi. So I’m really really excited to bring you this episode because, since the season 3 finale dropped, we were free to talk about the whole season. We talked about everything from how the pandemic has affected production, to saying goodbye to Michelle Yeoh’s character Georgiou, even directing Doug Jones out of makeup, and the future of the Federation. Tunde also shared why the season 3 finale of DISCO is so important to him. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! Show Notes Watch season 3 of Star Trek: DiscoveryDavid Ajala InterviewWilson Cruz InterviewThe Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas (the book Alex was referring to) The post Podcast: BONUS EPISODE! Alex Kurtzman and Olatunde Osunsanmi Explain the inspiration behind Star Trek: Discovery’s “Burn” appeared first on theblerdgurl.
34 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
David Ajala talks about Cleveland Booker of DISCO
Hey Star Trek fans guess what? I had an amazing chat with David Ajala, the new star of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3. He plays Cleveland Booker, the rogue pilot that Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) meets when she crash lands in the future after the events of the season 2 finale. In this timeline, there is no federation…or is there? If Ajala looks familiar, that’s because he has been on theblerdgurl podcast before. And he starred as Manchester Black on Supergirl and as the elusive Captain Roy Eros on SYFY’s Nightflyers. He’s also had guest-starring roles on Black Mirror and the video game franchise Mass Effect. This is the podcast version of my youtube interview with Ajala last year. Now that Season 3 is all over, see if you pick up all of the hints he was dropping! Plus he lives! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! The post Podcast: David Ajala talks about Cleveland Booker of DISCO appeared first on theblerdgurl.
40 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
Raven the Science Maven looks like a Scientist
On World Science Day a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with a woman reshaping the image of Black women in science, Raven Baxter. (a.k.a. “Raven the Science Maven”) . I first heard about Raven when her music video Big Ole Geeks, a “science parody” of Megan Thee Stallion’s Big Ole Freak, popped up on my Twitter feed last summer. Needless to say it blew up. Since then, she has created more videos, including Wipe it Down, (about the Coronavirus), she’s given a TED Talk and was named Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 in Health this year! Raven is an American science communicator and doctoral student completing a Ph.D. in science education. I wanted to talk to her about her journey as a Black woman within the science space. We talked about how lonely being incorporate science can be, how she stopped codeswitching and got real in the lab and why she is dedicated to teaching a creative approach to science so that kids actually enjoy it!. So check out my interview with Raven the Science Maven! If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER Raven the SCeince Maven WebsiteRaven Baxter on Twitter Karama: Hey folks. I'm Karama a.k.a theblerdgurland welcome back to theblerdgurl podcast. Now I know I talk a lot about comics and anime and fantasy and stuff here, but today I'm talking science. And my guest this episode is Raven Baxter, a.k.a "Raven the science Maven". She's an American science communicator and doctoral student completing a PhD in science education. Now I first heard about Raven when she dropped a single actually called "Big Ole Geeks", sort of a parody to make these stallions "Big Ole Freaks" last summer. Since then she's created more videos, including "Wipe it Down" a parody about the coronavirus, then a Ted talk and was on Fortune Magazine's 40, under 40 List. I can't wait to share with you this amazing conversation I had with this amazing woman. But first we've got to pay some bills. She's been busy. We talked about how lonely it is being in corporate science, how she stopped code switching and got real in the lab and why she's dedicated to teaching a creative approach to science so that kids actually enjoy it. So up next, my interview with Raven Baxter, a.k.a "Raven, the Science Maven". Raven, welcome. It's nice to like talk to you again and you blowin up! Raven: Yeah. I mean, that's what they say, you know, I'm just out here doing my thing. Karama: I mean, and you were still a full-time employee working as a scientist too, as well. So and Happy World Science Day. It's so nice to be able to say that, knowing that we're going to have a new President that cares about science. Raven: Yeah, it makes me feel really good. You know, knowing, I mean, I was watching the President Elect Biden's speech and just to see how much appreciation he has for science was incredibly refreshing. You know, him making full sentences was music to my ears. You know what I'm saying? Karama: Never saw that never saw phonics and actually a properly worded sentence would sound like music to our ears. But here we are. So for everybody who doesn't know your full title, what is your official like scientific type title? What do you do and what branch of science are you currently in? Raven: Sure. So I am a molecular biologist and I am also now working as a full-time science communicator. And what molecular biology is, is the study of molecules and how they generate our life processes. And like, as you know, we are made up of molecules and they all do very special things in our bodies. And so that's what I'm interested in learning about. Um, and then as a science communicator, I basically engage the public in science. And make concepts and science fun and interesting and relatable for people who are under the sound of my voice. And I, I try to extend that reach to especially communities that are left out of mainstream science education efforts. Karama: And when you grew up, when you were growing up, did you know you wanted to be a molecular biologist said that we're a molecular biologist? Raven: I did not, I knew what molecules were, but I didn't know how cool they were until I maybe got into college. I definitely always knew I wanted to be a scientist. And really what science has always been to me is just asking questions about the world around you. And being curious. And so the different branches of science are really just asking different kinds of questions about the world around you and things that you can see and things that you can't see and using tools around you to answer those questions. So yeah, science. I'm a ride-or-die scientist my whole life. Karama: For those of us who were in a pandemic lockdown, you've been like giving Ted talks. You got married. Congratulations. You've you've been busy. Your Ted talk, you talked about wanting to be an astronaut as a little girl. What changed? Why not? Astrophysics? Raven: I personally think that when you work in the space industry, there's, there's so many things that you can do first of all. There is you can be a physicist and work on theories on how the world operates and how the universe and space and time operate. Or you could be a geologist and look at how like the terrain on different planets are formed and what they're made of. but I think that the most exciting part of working in the space industry is actually going to space, right? And like being an astronaut and making that trip to wherever and having that very extremely rare experience. So I went to space camp when I was around 12 or 13. And what space camp is, is a. Basically a sleep away camp where you spend a week at the U S space and Rocket center, and they train you on basically skills that astronauts need to learn to get to space and to run a successful space mission. So, um, with that being said, once I got into the simulations that were putting us high in the air and like simulating like high altitude space travel. I quickly realized I did not want to be an astronaut, um, because I'm afraid of Heights. So I actually found out I was afraid. Karama: That can be problematic. Yeah. Raven: Yeah. And like, once I figured out, like I can't do the most fun part about working in the space industry. I'm like, all right, well, let me just figure something else out. Cause it's just not going to work. Karama: That's too funny. You will like, so yeah, I regret this decision as they're shaking you around the simulator. You said you always wanted to be a scientist, which is great. And it's wonderful that your parents like encouraged that. When did you feel like you might be alone or one of the few people that was interested in that. Did you go through that in high school? Where people were like, "Ooh, science geek", or was it c that you realized, like, I don't really know that many people who want to do what I do". Honestly, I I've grown up in, uh, the suburbs and the white suburbs specifically of New York State. And. You know, like I didn't, I never had any negative experiences with science there. I, you know, I recognized that I was a racial minority and I just assumed that like being the racial minority is just always finding that you're the only person in the room. Fortunately, I didn't have any bad experiences until, um, I got into corporate, you know, and that's when that really became a factor in how I saw the world around me. Um, as far as my treatment goes. But as far as science goes, it wasn't until college when I would talk to my friends, you know, and they would be like, "Oh, what's your major?" And I'm like ,"Biology". And they said, "Biology?!Like, Really?" And I'm like, "Yeah. Like, why is that weird?" And they're like, "Oh, I didn't know that we was out here doing biology". I'm like, "It's a major at this school". "Why wouldn't we be in the major programs?" "Like I just didn't know, you know, black people were interested in science" And this is other black people telling me this. So that was the first time I realized that what I was doing was not common. Interesting. I, I went through something similar. I grew up in a suburban New Jersey. And again, one of the few black people. Definitely in my school all the way through. So I would say, I didn't know, I was weird, like for like a comics and geekdom and like, you know, animation and science-y stuff until I was in college because I was so busy being the only black girl. Raven: Right. Karama: When I think corporate, I don't think science, so help me out and for lay people who are listening, what is a corporate science job? Raven: So corporate science is different from like, academic science jobs in that academic scientists work for universities and colleges and they they're conducting research usually on a grant. And that money goes to the school. Um, and they just work at the university versus a corporate scientist, works for a for-profit organization and key word for profit. Okay? That means that we are working to make money for a corporation where, um, You know, depending on the type of company working for, you can be doing projects for bigger pharmaceutical companies like Johnson and Johnson or Pfizer or Bayer, um, or you could just be your own biotech in, uh, like your single biotech company. That's making its own, um, discoveries and X, Y, and Z. So I was working at a contract research organization, which is a, for a for-profit, research facility that conducts, um, contract work for larger biotech companies. Karama: So you said you were treated differently in corporate. I think we all have had that type of experience, but what is it like in the lab? Raven: Working in the lab? Karama: Or being treated differently in the lab? Raven: I guess maybe I should preface this by explaining the nature of the work that I was doing. You know, I don't think scientists really explain what lab work looks like. It's never really quick, like at least the work that I was doing, Karama: it's not like on CSI. It's not with the pretty lab. They, the results come back. Like, you know, 20 minutes they don't have. Raven: Yeah, no, it's not like that. Oftentimes you're sitting around, you're waiting for things to happen and there's a lot of downtime. Time for chit-chat, you know, you're still watching your experiments, you're running data, generating reports. But like, you know, there, there is a lot of opportunity to, to speak to coworkers, et cetera. And like, I often kind of found that I didn't have, I wasn't included like the company culture was not very inclusive of me. Um, but like they definitely, you know, were inclusive of each other. Right. Like I felt like. The only times that I really got was spoken to were times where I changed my hairstyle. Like I didn't have dreadlocks. Then I had a different Afro. Sometimes that would straighten it, then people would be like, "Ooh, let's talk to Raven". Or like, I don't know, I'd wear a cute outfit and people who want to talk to me and I'm like,"Is anybody going to ask me like how my day's going?" You know, or like ask me to lunch or anything other than what is super superficial about me? Karama: Did you see, you saw other people doing that you saw other people like cliques and things like that? Raven: Oh yeah. You know, people like were really deep into each other's lives. Like, you know, they knew each other's kids, their kids are playing together. You know, they were like inviting each other out to like, after work beers and stuff and baby showers and all of these things that I would just be like, never. It almost got to the point where, like, I knew that if. People were talking about like there's like a super fun thing happening. I just automatically knew that I wasn't going to be invited and I never was. Like, you know, it was just, it was just that kind of thing Karama: For your tenure at that particular company were you always the only black woman or the black only black person period? Raven: As a scientist? Yeah. Karama: Oh, so there was like, janitors and things like that. Yeah. I've been there. And that sounds lonely. Raven: Yeah. I mean it's especially was for me because I'm super social and like, I love having fun conversations. I love doing fun things. I'm actually a big extrovert. And like, so me having to walk into a situation every day where I really. There's no place for me. Right? And nobody's really interested. It was kinda like unnerving, like I had so much to offer. I just felt invisible for real. Like, it just, it did feel lonely. Karama: Wow. Now was it there that you decided that you wanted to teach? Did you make the decision then? Like, you know what, let me get out and get, let me teach the next generation. So they won't be by themselves. Is that when that decision got made? Raven: Kind of, yeah. You know, like I, throughout my professional career, whether I was working in corporate or working as, you know, working as a professor at a community college, I always saw the need for me to kind of stop what I was doing and use my skills and talents in a way that would make big impacts for the future generations of scientists. And, um, That's kind of like a part of the reason why I turned around and went into science education for my PhD. And also ultimately why I decided to start working full time, like kind of for myself, but really for the community as a science communicator and bridging these gaps that I see in the science community. Karama: Do you feel, since you at least came from that corporate job, that things have changed a little bit, that there's, there have been things have gotten a little bit more inclusive. Raven: I really can't speak to it because I've. Kind of been marching to the beat of my own drum since then. Like, um, I I'm hearing about efforts that people are making to make their workplace more inclusive, but I don't work in those workplaces. And you know, if I don't have firsthand experience then it's all talk to me. You know, I want to see something. Karama: I know absolutely. Raven: I couldn't even tell you. I'm hoping though that there, there are actual tangible improvements. Karama: When did you decide, uh, to actually become faculty? Cause I know that was like one of the steps towards what are your, what you're doing now. What was that experience like? And what were you teaching biology at that point? Raven: Yeah. So I actually left my corporate position to become a, an assistant professor of biology at, a community college. And I made that decision because I felt like working in corporate would be safer or not. Corporate working in a college would be a little safer for me, especially the nature of the college. Um, their student population was very diverse. And I just kind of felt like it will be more fun to work with diversity. Right? So that's ultimately what happened. Karama: But I heard, uh, um, this might've been a new Ted talk. I might've heard it someplace else. There was like a, a mailroom incident. Was that at that school? Tell everybody what that was about. Because that blew my mind. Raven: Yeah. I mean, long story short, I was trying to get my mail and, um, one of the faculty members didn't think I worked there and asked for my ID. She thought it was fake and then threatened to call the cops on me, even though, like, there was absolutely no reason to do that. And she gave me.. Karama: Call the cops on you inside your place of work? Raven: Mm-hmm. Karama: You see Karen's are everywhere, man. Raven: Yeah and her reason was that she didn't think that I look like I worked there. Um, so therefore I had to be lying even though I had identification. Like that literally listed my job title of the department and like, you know, so that, yeah, that happened. Karama: You have people breaking in to teach classes at the school at a regular basis. Raven: Like they will be lucky. Karama: Oh my God. Um, when that was cleared up, did you ever get an apology? Raven: No. Karama: Oh girl. Yeah. And it's funny because a lot of people think, Oh, that was years and years and years ago, this was recent, right? Raven: It was like three Karama: years ago, See what I'm saying? Raven: Within the past five years. Things are changing, but they have not changed completely. Um, no, I'm really sorry that you had to go through that. But on the brighter side of teaching, uh, what, what did you like about teaching science? What was what's what excites you about the teaching process? I think that, uh, part of what needs to change about science culture and the way that we teach science is just allowing for more individuality and creativity. And so I worked really hard to incorporate elements of that into my lectures and my assignments and my assessment. So one of the biggest ways I did that was through my tests and exams. So I will couple all of my exams with a creative assignment. And that way students can kind of exercise their creativity any way they want to, to, um, convey, uh, convey a particular subject with their choice. That we covered in class and the product could look like anything from like a game or a puzzle, or like a skit, a play, a painting, an animation. I've had so many things come from this assignment and it helps bring the. Our community of students together, like closer together, because it's, I assigned this in a group project and they ended up doing really well. Um, and it also helps to bring down testanxiety because the students know, like, I, you know, everything's not riding on this one multiple choice exam. Like I'm going to have the opportunity to really show the professor that I know my stuff. You know, and I could take my time with it. And, um, yeah, I had, I've had really great outcomes with that and I'm looking forward to continuing to do that. I'm looking, I'm actually looking for a faculty position now, so hopefully I'll be able to continue that. Karama: What age group were you teaching then? And what age group are you looking to teach? Raven: I was teaching college students, um, and I'm still looking to teach college students. Karama: Um, I find it interesting that people even college level have that anxiety when their major might be science. You know what I mean? But I mean, I guess there's anxiety around all, all, uh, testing. So tell me how your music video, Big 'Ol Geeks came about Raven: Big 'Ol Geeks came from, um, my desire to, put out positive messages to the science community, especially to women who look like me. And just kind of give them an instruction manual for like the kind of energy that we're going to start bringing into the space. And, um, and that came about because after I left corporate for several months after I was really ashamed and embarrassed to, because, so many black people were like rooting for me. And I was, you know, really the only black scientist they had ever heard of, or even seen or met. And so for me to tell everybody that I was leaving, um, even though it was because I felt like I was being mistreated, you know, people didn't understand the the extent of the trauma that I was enduring in that position. And, um, they just wanted to, they just wanted to see black women winning, right? Yeah. Without really understanding, like we are really being harmed in these places that don't have, um, proper like diversity, equity and inclusion. Initiatives in place and like action plans. So I left and then after I left, even though I was leaving with the intention of, you know, doing good for the community and bringing people in behind me while improving the culture. I was still kind of ashamed because I was definitely like another black woman who left STEM and I had to take a few months to reflect on that. You know, it was kind of a big decision because mind you, like, I had gotten undergrad and graduate degrees with the intention of like being a career like corporate sciences. And I had totally changed my plan. So I was like, kind of in limbo. And trying to figure out what do I do now? You know, the plans have changed and I can not believe that this happening. Uh, but that only lasted for like six months. And then like by month six, I was like, it actually isn't my fault. Because it wasn't my responsibility to stay and fix and fix what they should've had there in the first place. And like, I'm just one person in this corporate machine. And if this machine, you know, is not supportive of women like me, there's, you know, I can't, I can't fix that. Like, Yeah, but, Karama: um, I'm really, I'm really glad you said that because I think so many of us in many different disciplines, black women, and this is the other reason, I think black women have the highest rates of like stress related illnesses and, you know, and fibroids and cancer and things like that. And hypertension, because when we do get into these spaces and, and it is Highlander syndrome, what I call Highlander syndrome, there could be only one. When I was working more in video and advertising, I wanted to leave so many times and it was always a black person saying there, "You can't leave. You're the only one. We need you". And I'm like, "But what about me?" And then when I, and then when I had a stroke, I was like, you know what? I'm not that one is not supposed to pay me. But unfortunately, or fortunately, I think a lot more people are speaking out about this because it doesn't make sense for me to be the only one allowed in. And then you beat the crap out of me and I'm supposed to take a trophy for that. I was supposed to stick it out and say, yeah, but I'm the only one, you know what I mean? Like it is. It is frustrating and it's also scary and it is so very unhealthy that we don't have the support in these places. And I personally don't think it is a badge of honor anymore to be like in 2020, the first black fill in the blank. Because it means like, Oh, they're going through it. Like, I am so excited for Kamala Harris. I'm also terrified. Look at how old, most of these presidents, vice presidents look, when they leave office, baby girl is going to need help. She gets out. You know what I mean? Like I hope she has the support system of the gods. Raven: Yeah. Yep. Karama: So music, when you decided. I'm going to make this, and I'm going to unleash this creativity...were you always into music and then you just decided I'm gonna put my science to it? Raven: Basically. Yeah. That's it like, I started journaling kind of my thoughts about how I was feeling. And once I realized that it was them, not me. And then I got like, you know, my 'big petty' energy on and I'm like, Oh wow. "You know, They really messed up". That's sort of where Big Ole Geeks came from. Um, but as far as my entire music, like I've always been into music and I guess having all that time to sit and reflect on what my professional experiences had been. Gave me some time to do deep introspection and like out of the pits of my spirit, like through like, "Oh yeah, like I do love music". And then like," I do love science". And then I was like, Oh, well, you know, I'm mashing them together. And unapologetically because I had lived, you know, basically years of my life in this corporate space, trying to cater to what I thought other people would accept from me. And I was not having it anymore. I'm just going to do this my way and y'all are just got to deal with it. I'm glad I did it. Karama: And so a lot of other people. It blew up and on top of that, you've sort of got national recognition. So what has been the most mind blowing experience that has come from that video? Cause I know you've done others since then. Raven: Uh, from Big Ole Geeks. Um, I will say that I'm studying, I'm actually studying the response to that video as my doctoral dissertation. Karama: Oh, wow. Raven: Um, so, um, I'm interviewing women, black women who watched the video and I'm understanding what their reactions were to that type of representation, because it really was the first time on the internet that black woman had shown shown her science in that way. I mean like, do we do not have twerking videos, like black women on the internet doing science, like that does not exist until I put that video out, which is why it got so much attention. Um, but the responses were amazing. Um, just to talk a little bit about my study, I interviewed 50 black women and. 80% of them had never seen a black woman scientist period. Um, not on TV, not on social media, not in person. Karama: They didn't even, they didn't even have a black physician. Like he didn't have a Raven: No. Karama: Wow. Raven: And, um, half of these, half of all of these women either had STEM careers or had careers outside of STEM. And I think one of the most important parts of my research was that 80% again, of the women who saw my music video, but did not have STEM careers said that they would have pursued a STEM career if they had that type of representation when they were younger. Karama: Yeah. I believe it. I know you said you're using it sort of for your dissertation. Are you going to be trying to prove why the types of education and science needs to change? Is that, is that the goal? Raven: There's, that's, that's a distant goal of it. I mean, I think the immediate goal is to really show that. The way that we're studying under-representation it needs to be rethought because many of the studies that are done, you know, about black women's experiences in STEM and understanding why we have under-representation, they're really only asking black women who are in STEM professions. Right. And like, Not necessarily people who left STEM, not necessarily people who never had a STEM career. Like we need to understand why people are not picking STEM in the first place to answer why we're underrepresented in STEM. And also people who've left STEM careers. So I want to highlight like there's, there are things to learn about. Um, under-representation in STEM from adult black women who never chose STEM careers. It's like we have to hear their stories because we need to understand where we're missing the mark in, in garnering interests from, from this population. Karama: And it's so funny because so much of what you're saying does not sound like it's a lack of interest it sounds literally like its environment. . Even people who get the concept of black women in science, it's like, yeah, I'll go. "I don't want to be the only one". Now, let's talk about some of these accolades a little bit. Now, first of all, you've released some more songs, some more tracks, your COVID track had me hollering by the way, because it was like, "Just wash your hands". Um, but it was a bop! I liked it. And then you have another one out where you actually highlight, um, women scientists. , where did you find the women that were in that one? Raven: Um, those are just women that I, that I knew were following me on social media. I put out a call on social media, like if you are a woman scientist come through. Um, and yeah, it made for a really cool video. I'm glad we did it. Karama: Now. Fortune called. Fortune has a 40, under 40, I remember being on Twitter when you said, "Oh my God, I got a blue check mark!"and I was like, "Well, duh you're in Fortune!" So what was it like first , when Fortune called. And then second getting that blue check. Raven: You know, it's weird because like, I never really saw myself as somebody who was doing big things, you know? And like I knew what Fortune magazine was. Everybody knows what the fortune 500 is. Right? So when I was contacted by them for this 40, under 40 List, I was like, "Mm, I think you have the wrong email address". Like not, Karama: Raven. I don't think they screw that up very often. Raven: I mean, it was just unreal. Um, and then once we got on the phone and to hear how excited they were about the work that I was doing. I said, Oh wow. This is, I must have really done something here, you know? Okay, let's do this. and they don't tell you that you're actually on the list until the list comes out. So, Oh, Karama: so, but they hit you up and say, Oh, you are in the running or you're a finalist. How does that work? Raven: I would say that I was a finalist. Karama: Okay. Raven: And I'm like, "Oh, they can't pick me". Like, I didn't know that they were doing 200 people this year. They did five categories of 40, um, which made more sense to me. Cause like, I didn't know until they released the list, but up until the day they released it, they were like 40, under 40 I'm like, so there's 40 people on planet Earth. And y'all, there's just.. Karama: There's your scientific mind again, like, let me do the math on this. Raven: But it's still all in. Like, it, it was nice to be recognized because when I started this work, especially when I put big old geeks out, like I truly did not know if I messed up like my entire reputation because of the radical way in which I was portraying women scientists. And like, it was radical because I was really coming, like breaking all of the barriers and the boxes and, um, doing so in a way that was super unapologetic. And like, um, risky really, especially for me as a black woman and just knowing how, how hard we have to tip toe would walk on eggshells to be taken seriously and, um, to be seen as credible. You know, I just kind of is dove right into what I believe was being true to myself. And didn't really want to take the time to worry about how I would be treated because at the end of the day, I was being true to myself and that was the most important. So to see that being celebrated by Fortune Magazine, um, was incredible. And it really signaled to me that, you know, all this time, you know, black women. Didn't necessarily have to, like, we didn't have to do as much as we thought we had to do, you know? And like, I'm really glad to see more black women coming out of, of these boxes and keeping it real and being true to themselves. Cause I think that's going to make us a healthier people, you know, in the long run and happier people Karama: really. Yeah, no, absolutely. I'm also curious, I've been meaning to ask you this question. Were there older black folks who will like, okay, settle down, settle down. Like, Raven: Actually no! My grandma was bopping to this thing. Karama: Good! Raven: You know, her friends were bopping to it. They were sending it. I was really surprised. Cause like, you know, I'm an AKA actually. And like, you know how we are. So, um, but everybody was very supportive and that's, that's when I knew like, women just needed to see other women making their own narratives and like doing that is inspirational. And everybody's narrative doesn't look like mine, but seeing an example of what it means to do that , was inspirational for people, regardless of age and, career field, et cetera. Karama: That's awesome. But now, like, It's really blown up. I don't know if a fortune did it for you, but the blue check mark did. Also as someone who also has a blue check Mark, isn't it hilarious on this side? What people think that you have the ability to do when you get one of those? It's like this thing is not paying my bills. I don't know. It's it's funny. Like I, you know, I've kind of, I feel like I manifested the blue check. Cause like, at the beginning of this year I was like, "Oh, I want to get a blue check," you know? And it was just kind of a thing, like another milestone, right? Like, yeah. But, um, Raven: the authenticity that came with yours. It's the fact that this is the original. There might be somebody else on here. that's going to try and call themselves Raven or Raven, the science Maven, but they're lying. This is the original. And that's what is, that's what I liked about mine. It's like, I am, there might be a bunch of y'all calling yourselves this, but I am the one that is what that is the only thing that made me feel good about it. it was important to me to have a black voice, an authority in science identified by Twitter who was black. And who can act as a trusted figure in science and bridge the gap between, you know, the black community and the science community, and act as like a liaison. I think is important that Twitter gives people that type of visual trustworthiness badge so that people can find their role model and their information source. Especially now during a pandemic. Like c'mon where the Black community is being hit hard. Like we need, we need this. So I was happy about it Karama: As you should be. Um, last question, if you had to. Have the ability to go back in time and talk to Raven that was going to science camp. What advice would you give her? Raven: I don't know. I really, I don't really have much to say because everything went fine. Um, maybe just say you're doing a great job. Like, um, Karama: or maybe you're not alone. You're not going to be by yourself. Raven: Yeah. I mean, I don't really know what to be honest. Um, I was a very oblivious child. I, and that's, that's a part of the reason for my success was that I never really cared what was going on around me, not in a emotionless way, but like I didn't allow outside factors to impact my interests and my academic like journey. You know what I'm saying? So, Anything that I would have told Raven back in the day would have just went like way over my head. That's why it's hard to imagine. I'm like, would I even listen? Like be paying attention? Probably not. Yeah. Karama: So is that what you would tell, like somebody else that you meet now that is that age that's interested in science, would you, would you give them the same advice? Like trust yourself? Yeah. Raven: Yeah. I think that's, that's definitely the advice I would give is like follow your intuition and, um, keep, you know, the path may not always seem straight, but that's okay. Because paths don't have to be straight. You can go up down and around left right back front, but you're still moving. Like just keep moving, keep understanding yourself, learning, growing, and it'll be fine. Awesome. Karama: Thank you so much for hanging out with me. I really, really appreciate it. Raven: you for inviting me. It's so good to talk to you again,. Karama: Isn't Raven amazing? I love all the things that she's working on. And I love the fact that she's got this dedication to making sure that black women stay in the sciences and stay recognized. I'm putting all of Raven's information in the show notes so that you can keep up with her and make sure you don't miss anything. But please leave a comment for me over on Apple iTunes and police subscribe to this podcast and tell your friends about it. Don't forget to comment over on iTunes, subscribe and do me a favor, take a screenshot of this episode and on Instagram stories, shout me out, tag me, tell everybody that you listened to the show and that you like it and get your friends to subscribe too. I really appreciate it. And I will see you next time. The post PODCAST: Raven the Science Maven looks like a scientist appeared first on theblerdgurl.
60 minutes | Sep 19, 2020
Lovecraft Country Blues with Ashley C. Ford & Shannon Houston
If you are a fan of the HBO’s Lovecraft Country, then this episode is for you. This week my guests the hosts of the official HBO Lovecraft Country Radio podcast. Ashley C. Ford and Lovecraft Country writer Shannon Houston. Every week on their show they break down each episode of Lovecraft Country after it airs. But on this podcast epsiode we are going to break down some of our favorite moments from the show, how they work together and discuss some of the choices that were made in adapting the original book by Matt Ruff. We get into a lot including some of the things that did not work on the show. I can’t wait for you to hear this one! If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like mixing, transcription, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER HBO Lovecraft Country RadioAfroComicCon Sign up InfoNYCC/Metaverse InfoNATIVE JUSTICE COALITION The post PODCAST: Lovecraft Country Blues: A conversation with Ashley C. Ford & Shannon Houston appeared first on theblerdgurl.
39 minutes | Sep 12, 2020
Cartoonist Keith Knight is WOKE
My latest guest is someone I’ve actually known for a few years now, Keith Knight. Keith is an American cartoonist and musician known for his comic strips The K Chronicles, ink, and The Knight Life. While his work is humorous and universal in appeal, he also often deals with political, social, and racial issues. The new show Woke is based on his life and some of the people in it. I have seen all 6 episode and I will warn you that towards the end of this episode we get a little spoilery but nothing too heavy. Woke is basically what happens when the white guy’s best friend in a comedy, gets his own show. But I’ll let Keith explain it. If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like mixing, transcription, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER Keith Knight’s K ChroniclesSYFYWIRE Interview with the cast of WokeDCFandometheblerdgurlLIVE Season 1 Replay The post PODCAST: Cartoonist Keith Knight is WOKE appeared first on theblerdgurl.
57 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
April Reign and her new media company Ensemble
This is the podcast edition of the premiere episode oftheblerdgurlLIVE in podcast form. It’s edited slightly for clarity, and there is a transcript available below! It was great having April back and I was able to get the scoop on her new venture Ensemble with Overture Global! We also talked about some great Scifi shows we’re watching on streaming. Please take a listen and let me know what you think! If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like mixing, transcription, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER April Reign on TwitterApril Reign on InstagramOverture GlobalAmazing Stories – AppleTVTwilight Zone – CBS AllAccess POD_Ep39 TBG Live _April Reign [00:00:00] Karama: [00:00:00] Hey folks. It�s Karama Horne aka theblerdgurl. And welcome back to theblerdgurl podcast. Starting this week, I will be sharing with you the audio version of theblerdgurl LIVE a brand new show I'm doing over on Twitch on the OS_NYC channel. Yes, that's right. I'm on Twitch. [00:00:17] And my very first guest on the show was friend of the podcast and hopefully friend in real life. Activist and now media company, co-owner April Reign. She stopped by to talk about her new venture Ensemble. It's a new media company collab between her and Overture Global. She gives us the details on that. Plus we talk about some of our favorite scifi shows we're watching right now. [00:00:42] I'm super excited she agreed to be my first guest on my live show from my home office. And I can't wait for you to hear it, but first let's pay some bills. [00:00:52] (LIVE SHOW) [00:00:52]Hey, everybody. Welcome to the premiere of theblerdgurlLIVE. My name is Karama Horne and I am a culture journalist, content, creator, and host parked at the intersection of geekdom and diversity. Welcome to the show where I talk to creators about everything, basically from anime and superheroes to activism and diversity within the geek space. [00:01:15] and this is sort of an extension of my podcast. So my first guest who I'm really excited to have with me is none other than media activist, equity advocate, and creator of the #oscarsowhite hashtag. April Reign. [00:01:30] She's also a killer on Twitter. [00:01:32] Um, she's hanging out today with me to talk about a couple of scifi shows, share a bit of tea about her brand new venture Ensemble. It's like this lab between her and Overture Global. So. I'm going to read this. So I don't do it wrong. "Ensemble will be a digital content studio that will accelerate opportunities around content and develop it in front of, and behind the camera for people of color". [00:01:56] So I'm really, really excited. Welcome April. [00:02:01] April: [00:02:01] Thank you so much for having me. I am honored to be your very first guest. [00:02:06] Karama: [00:02:06] Yeah, I'm so excited actually. And I'm so happy that you agreed to do this. I've I've talked to you about things before I consider you a friend. I also want to be you when I grow up. [00:02:15] Thank you so much for gracing us with your presence. Now, basically folks, how this is going to work is, um, We're gonna talk about a couple of shows in the scifi/fantasy space that we've watched. And then we're going to talk about what April's doing, what my guest is doing, my illustrious guest, and in the last 20 minutes so, we're gonna take some questions. [00:02:39] So April, I think that the last time I talked to you, it was back in February, right before the Oscars were announced and, uh, Ever since then we've had what? [00:02:51] Pandemic, killer wasps, now we have killer dust. During all that time. We had Black people being killed [00:03:00] on video. Uh, so yeah, it's been an interesting few months. How you been? [00:03:04] April: [00:03:04] You know it, I'm fine. Thank you very much for asking. I am actually an introvert. [00:03:11] Usually, or at least an ambivert, which means I can turn it on when I want to and be an extrovert, but I'd much rather be at home, um, on my couch. Uh, and I don't really like people anyway, that part of the pandemic, the social distancing I'm doing okay with. Um, you know, my kids are 16 and 20, so one is home from college. [00:03:32] And when, um, you know, I was doing high school, her last several weeks, there were several months actually online. So yeah. So that's been a challenge, but you know, I'm, I'm very privileged. You know, I, I recognize I've got a roof over my head, you know, my immediate family is still healthy. Um, and, and so, you know, It's it's a different lifestyle than what we're used to from six months ago, but I have absolutely no complaints. [00:04:00]Karama: [00:04:00] That's good. Um, are you now a homeschool master? [00:04:06] April: [00:04:06] Oh, no ma'am no, no, no. Ma'am uh, no, no. I'm very thankful that both the college and the high school were taken care of things. Cause my daughter was taking classes. She's the high schooler and she was taking like AP computer science and honors English. And I know no. [00:04:26] I mean, if they had been in like, Third grade or something maybe, [00:04:30] but it's like, gnosis you, you you're on your own. You better dial up .Com Academy or something. Cause mama can't help you. [00:04:36]Karama: [00:04:36] The new math is throwing you off. [00:04:38] April: [00:04:38] New math, old math, not my business. That's what calculators are for. Nope. [00:04:44] Karama: [00:04:44] Also, um, just, I didn't know the amount of spreadsheets that I've been making, like for all of the black lives matter now, allies that we have, there's so many now in every company on the planet, um, and everybody's "hiring". [00:05:03] April: [00:05:03] So they say. so they say. [00:05:05]Karama: [00:05:05] .But so many of us have been like trying to get this information down and share it with as many people as possible. And had anybody told me that the revolution was going to take spreadsheets. [00:05:14] I would have gotten a new computer, cause this is a lot. [00:05:17] April: [00:05:17] It is a lot! Just trying to keep up with the organizations and the corporations who are really, you know, walking the walk and not just putting up a black screen on their Instagram or whatever the case may be. And, you know, the type of hiring they're doing.... [00:05:30] I literally earlier today, um, I got a posting from an organization that I know well, and they were like, you know, it's tough right now, but we're still looking for all these people and content strategist and whatever, whatever. Um, so, you know, please, you know, amplify on your networks. [00:05:45] And I wrote back to them. I said, okay, number one, you don't have salary in your job listings. So what are you doing? It's 2020, right? You need to have it in there. And number two, we're in the midst of a global pandemic. And there's no mention [00:06:00] whatsoever about working from home telework, remote work. What have you, you're telling me you're based in this particular city, but why does that even matter? [00:06:06] Like is your office even open today? So I think that, um, All kinds. Yeah. Everything is on the table. I just keep saying that everything is on the table right now. And the companies that are, that are going to come out of this the best are the ones that are really being thoughtful, um, about, you know, their hiring practices, their retention policies, all of that. [00:06:28] Karama: [00:06:28] I completely agree. Um, Now I'm curious what you're doing to relax because after a hard day of spreadsheet making and making sure people are getting paid and explaining what racism is, what are you, what are you streaming? What are you geeking out over? [00:06:51] April: [00:06:51] So, um, I guess it was earlier this year or late last year, I got all of these promotions for Hulu and Disney Plus, and you know, a lot of channels that I didn't have, which led to their own different channels. [00:07:03] And, um, Amazon prime and now I have Apple TV and I just started the other day. I know I'm months old. So please nobody in the comments, give me any spoilers, but what is it called? I think "Truth be Told" on a Apple TV, which is like a trick. It's one of the thing with, yes, with Octavia Spencer. I am really enjoying that ...because [00:07:24] Right because [00:07:24] Karama: [00:07:24] it's like a podcast or something that she has, or, or she's investigative reporter. [00:07:29] April: [00:07:29] Right. She [00:07:30] plays a journalist who started writing a story about, um, a young man who was accused of murdering his friend's father and, um, based on her journalism, um, he. Ended up getting sentenced to life in prison. And so now she has a whole podcast, like a True Crime podcasts about it. So she, and this is Octavia Spenser's character, and she made a whole bunch of money, you know, telling everybody that this guy was guilty basically. [00:07:58] And so now she has second thoughts. So now she's trying, so now she's using the podcast to flip it and figure out if in fact this guy is guilty and he's already been on, um, in prison for S 20 years or something like that. So yeah. I find it really interesting. [00:08:14]Karama: [00:08:14] Something else I've been watching on that Apple TV thing. And it's weird because I'm not loving all the shows, but I was kind of excited when I found out that Amazing Stories was going to be on there because I remember watching reruns of Amazing Stories. The original one, when I was a kid, um, George Lucas re rebooted. [00:08:35] This it's like, they're calling it a horror series, but it's not really horror. It's really more suspense. I don't know. And there was a magazine that went with it. I didn't know there was a magazine, but apparently somebody told me this was like the original Stranger Things. [00:08:48] This is like what it originally like. [00:08:50] April: [00:08:50] Oh! Okay. [00:08:51]Karama: [00:08:51] Um, so one of the episodes, one called "The HEAT" which was episode three. I was [00:09:00] really blown away by this one. I was stunned because it was basically all black people first. So, uh, and it was basically two black girls who were in high school. [00:09:11] Anybody who didn't know, it's two black girls who were in high schooltrack and they're these stars, these track stars. And they're, you know, basical ltrying to get that college scholarship, trying to, you know, basically make, go to the Olympics and everything else. Um, I'm about to get a little spoiler-y here. [00:09:26] Do you think you think that this spoiler length of time matters when you're in a pandemic? [00:09:33] No. And plus it's been out for a while. I mean it's not like it was last week's episode. [00:09:39] No, it was out, I think March, beginning of March. End of February. So yeah, if you haven't watched it, I'm gonna spoil this one for you. So basically for all intents and purposes, this is a glorified ghost story because one of the girls is for the most part, a ghost. [00:09:53] Um, but this isn't like for those of you who are anime or like real horror have fishy analysis is not like Japanese anime with a girl on the corner. That's upside down that her hair head spins around. Not this it's not like gory like that. It is really more, like I said, suspenseful. Um, but just the new one, lots of it, these two girls in high school, in the hood, but actually it's a ghost story and we're talking about a couple of different dimensions and, and, and love and things like that. [00:10:28] What did you think about it? [00:10:30] [00:10:30] April: [00:10:30] I thought it was really interesting, you know, and this all goes back to whose story is being told and who is telling the story. Right? Which I talk about with respect to # OscarSoWhite all the time, you know? And so we're definitely, definitely, yeah. Little pieces in there. That's like, okay, you had to live in the hood or know something about the hood to put that in there. [00:10:52] [00:10:52] Karama: [00:10:52] Thank you! Yeah, like the, like the drag race and stuff. [00:10:55] It is realistic because it feels like somebody was there, right? Somebody that somebody who lived in the hood was there and it was directed. That episode was directed by Sylvan white, who was the person that one of the people that directed The Rookie several episodes, and he also did a lot of directing on Sleepy Hollow. [00:11:14] Uh, I think he also did some work on Hawaii-Five-O. Oh, Sylvan is a black, I'm going to say person of color because it's definitely mixed. Um, But I think it did make a difference. And it was written by Chinaka Hodge who wrote several episodes of, uh, this season as well as Snowpiercer. [00:11:33]Were you surprised by, and yeah, we're spoiling things. Were you surprised by the end? [00:11:40] April: [00:11:40] I didn't fully understand it. Like I'm going to lose all of my gleek my geek blerd credibility here in the first six minutes of this lovely episode. Yes. I was surprised cause it didn't make sense. And I was like, Oh, you should have just left it with, you know, the apparition. I'm trying not to spoil it. Right? You [00:12:00] know, you should do this left. [00:12:00] Karama: [00:12:00] We can spoil it! [laughs] [00:12:02] April: [00:12:02] It just didn't make sense to me that she would actually be alive. Like my daughter was like, and she was like, "Oh, she just gets up? She doesn't even have a limp?" Like that. I'm thinking, you know, it doesn't make any sense. Like, I, you know, I need a little trickle of blood or, you know, or something, you know, you know, if they had kissed and then she had gone into whatever the afterlife or whatever, we're calling it and ended it there. I would have been great. [00:12:29] You know, but then they went back and it's like, Oh, okay. All of it was in somebody's mind because there's still, they're both two human living people and I didn't need that revolution. [00:12:40] Karama: [00:12:40] Well, I, it's funny because, um, Twilight Zone does this Black Mirror does this Tales from the Loop does this, and it's fine that you haven't watched these shows. But this is a sci-fi trope where it, I shouldn't even say scifi trope. It's a Disney trope, like Cinderella gets kissed and comes back from the brink of poison, you know, like from death, you know, I mean not Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty. See what I mean? Disney. [00:13:03] April: [00:13:03] Yeah, yeah. Right. They're the same thing [00:13:06] Karama: [00:13:06] Like interchangeable princesses. Um, [00:13:09] April: [00:13:09] but you're right. Princess and the Frog, you know, they do the kids and you know, and so then we can talk about tech, toxic masculinity. Why has gotta be a man that can, yes. Right. And so he flipped it on its head with respect to sexual orientation. And I was thrilled to see that portion of it, but, you know, I still, you know, I just, yeah. [00:13:30] [00:13:30] Karama: [00:13:30] But I, and without getting into any more detail, cause there's people in the chat that are yelling about it, smiling, it you've had months people. [00:13:38] Um, I [00:13:40] don't even have FPV anyway, [00:13:49] you don't get that free trial for one episode. Gotcha. Go ahead. It's fine. [00:13:58] So, I think that it was nice though. It didn't seem forced that there was a queer love story, uh, evolve and Oh yes. For the person in the chat who said they didn't hear about this story until this show until tonight, that is something else I want to address just briefly. [00:14:19] This show as well as another one that we're going to talk about. Like, no one is talking about these. No one's talking about "Amazing Stories". Nobody's talking about these amazing directors. Is this black directors, even though we're out here yelling, like we need more representation. We need more access. [00:14:34]It's a show that is executive produced by Steven Spielberg. This is something that a lot of people should be talking about. Nobody's talking about it. There's no press on it. All of the actors in this show, everybody was black and Latino. There were white people in it too, but it was like [00:14:50] April: [00:14:50] Were there? [00:14:54]Karama: [00:14:54] If you squint like the police officer look like the crossing guard [00:15:00] [00:15:00] know. Right. I think one of the problems we're having is we get these shows, we'll get access. We'll direct them. We'll even in the SciFest space and then nobody will promote them. So I think that's, uh, uh, another issue that we're having as well. [00:15:16] April: [00:15:16] Let me say that, that the issue with that has to that's that's the network. Right. That's Apple TV. And that's the show itself. Not reaching out to whatever we're calling them these days, influencers or whatever people like you and saying, Hey, you know, can we send you bag or whatever, or even better, we send you a check so that you will watch the show. [00:15:40] And if you like it help promote it. I mean, that's what happens with shows like Watchman. Right. Would anybody have been talking about that race massacre of 1921? In that first episode of Watchman, if they, if HBO had not seen it, Hey, you know, we've got this new show coming out with Regina King, um, you know, we'd love for you to promote that kind of thing. [00:16:01] So it's, it's on Apple TV and it's on the particular shows to reach out, um, to folks to, to get that, you know, to get that ball rolling. And then once people get into two or three episodes, then yeah. You know, they're on their own because everybody's into the show now, and then everybody else it's already talking about the show. [00:16:19] Very organically. [00:16:21] Yeah. And, um, this is actually one of the reasons why I, I have Stream This over on my YouTube channel because people, people are saying, [00:16:30] Oh, you know, what are you gonna think fine to talk about it. I'm like, do you have any idea how many shows her streaming right now that nobody knows about like all over the world, trust me, I'm not running out of content, but you're absolutely right. [00:16:41] And to that end, I was one of the, that HBO reached out for, for Watchmen and the reps. And the people that were promoting it were also people of color. So they got it. They got not just who to reach out to, but the conversations that we were going to have it just, yeah, we'll get, we'll get into that because you have a whole company that hopefully it's going to help. [00:17:05] Well, what's, you're starting is hopefully going to help address that somebody else has been pretty good about that is, um, Jordan Peele and his. Twilight zone. I know. Right? He's amazing. Um, Twilight zone is back for season two, and I don't know if anybody in the chat has been watching Twilight Zone, but I'm gonna just go out and say that season one was good. [00:17:31] It was decent, but I think season two is even better. And.One of the reasons why I think, uh, and this has nothing to do with who's in the writer's room. This is, I think they tried to do too much season one. Um, season one was very much, uh, had a great cast, had great stories, but there were too long. The original Twilight zone was always like 30 minutes and they would give you a very interesting in story. [00:17:56] I don't know if you remember the old ones, it would give you an interesting, uh, [00:18:00] twist and then make you go think. Um, I think they tried to do too much season one, season two, they corrected that. I think none of these episodes are longer than about 35 minutes. Um, now I know you haven't watched all of them because yet another streaming service. [00:18:19] Um, the one that I wanted to talk to you about was season two, episode two. Uh, downtime and yes, in the chat, somebody just mentioned that. They get their green. Lovely. It's rare that a chat actually agrees with me. This is awesome. [00:18:39] They're not calling you names or anything. [00:18:42] I'm not used to people treating me. [00:18:44] Good. Um, so let's talk about season two, episode two. Now this one is about a hotel executive that gets a promotion to hotel manager, and then her world suddenly stops, like literally stops. Um, everybody suddenly freezes again. It's a little spoilery. Um, and then no, it's going to be kind of really spoilery and then maintenance people start coming in. [00:19:10] Yeah, she was played by Marina Bocker in, sorry, if I'm saying her name wrong. I don't remember her as Deadpool's girlfriend and from the, and for, I don't know if there's there's three Firefly fans in the chat, but she will always be in our, from Firefly. That was a deep cut, but. You don't need to know all that to [00:19:30] enjoy this episode April, what did you think? [00:19:33] I thought it was really interesting. I mean, Colman Domingo has a sort of a cameo, like, you know, he only had two or three sentences where, um, but made it work for him. He plays her, um, partner, love, interests, uh, you know, and the [00:19:47] Irish accent, it threw me off. [00:19:49] I will see I was going to leave that I wasn't trying to well that part of it, but poor, poor fans in the chat, um, you know, she just has to make a really difficult choice about, you know, once she realizes that her world isn't real, which is basically like the premise of every single Twilight episode, you know, once she realizes her world, isn't real, she has to. [00:20:10] Decide, whether she's going to stay in the imaginary world or go back to whatever the real world is. And so it was interesting sort of watching her, um, you know, battle that back and forth and think about the consequences, right. Because you know, it's like the butterfly effect. Okay, well, you can stay in one place, but if you stay then that, what does that mean to everybody else in either your real world or your imaginary world [00:20:33] and. [00:20:34] I don't know how many, uh, anime fans we have. I know there's one or two that are in the chat, but, um, the best way to describe it is. This, this episode is kind of like sword art online, except the game isn't trying to kill you. And it's not trying to trap you. So that's, [00:21:00] that's the best description I keep. [00:21:03] Um, but yeah, for all types of purposes, she's sort of an avatar and I'm not gonna scroll that part, but again, this looked like a city. Here's the thing. I've already swallowed the fact that it's a game, but I want to play this game because this game was very different. These people look like they look like they will live in, in Brooklyn. [00:21:28] Um, yep. And. I again, I think that has to do with a director. The director of this episode was J D Dillard. He directed sleight if anyone remembers that movie. And, um, the horror movie sweetheart with Kiersey Clemons, Kiersey Clemons is the girl that was, um, in dope. And she was also in existence as the robot. [00:21:50] Um, And I just think again, it made a difference because there were certain, not that all the characters were black. That's not what I'm saying, but there was a written richness to the story. There was also, if you squint, it was, it was queer, adjacent. I want to say it's queer adjacent. Um, it might've been, I actually, somebody was saying that we might've been a trans, uh, Really a statement on being trans. [00:22:24] And what I was thinking was it's actually more about transhumanism, I think. What do you think. [00:22:30] That's interesting. I hadn't thought about that, but [00:22:33] yeah. You know, having to, um, you know, hide your true identity because you're not, you know, cause you're afraid of being accepted as who you fully are. Um, you know, trying to, um, not assimilate, but at least enter into society as a full fledged person. [00:22:53] Um, you know, I think all of those themes were in there. So that's really interesting analogy. [00:22:58] And I think that, um, again, it's nuanced. I think that's the big thing. When, when, when people move that I think most writers are asking for, when they're trying to be in the, the writer's room, it's a, it's a level of office entity that makes these shows. [00:23:19] Uh, more relevant and it always gets on my nerves when it's, especially in the scifi space, people go like, Oh, we don't need those politics. And I'm like, Hm, have you watched star Trek? Like ever? Uh, and it's also, I also find it really weird how people, like, we don't need all these different, like, I don't want subtitles. [00:23:39] I want all my characters to speak English and I'm like, [00:23:41] yeah, but [00:23:42] Karama: [00:23:42] you speak fluent. Cling on. So I don't understand how is it that you can speak cling on and you can write a language of like, I don't want to say Jewish cause Judah is an actual language, but you know, you can [00:24:00] write languages of fiction, fictional characters, but then a real person with a language that isn't English. [00:24:09] Really, you know, it's too [00:24:11] April: [00:24:11] much. I mean, we saw that in, in film with parasite. You know, Oh, well, it's not going to do well because Americans don't like to read. So they, you know, so they won't deal with the captions in the film. It's like really? Is that where we are? You know, it's, it's almost embarrassing, you know, I, I always think, you know, so I always take it back for me. [00:24:30] It's star Wars, you know, so you can believe in Tom Toms and George are beings, but a black Stormtrooper is way beyond, you know, your understanding of what the entire universe. Looks like, yeah. It just defies logic. [00:24:47] Karama: [00:24:47] Yeah. And I it's so strange the, the pushback, because I think a lot of people, we you've obviously seen it, you know, in terms of Hollywood films and things like that. [00:24:59] But the pushback inside of cite the scifi geek world is fascinating to me because it's like, Let me get this straight. You spent the majority of sophomore year from the inside, out of your locker. [00:25:15] Get out, you're grown. You now, you know, have a life of your own. And now you want to oppress other people because you didn't get a chance to do that yourself. And then the moment we come back at you and say that that's a problem. [00:25:30] You cry. Like, no, you don't understand. I have trauma from what I've gone through as a, as a geek or nerd or whatever. [00:25:37] And I'm like, that's awfully convenient. It doesn't make any sense. [00:25:44] April: [00:25:44] Yeah, I, I can't, I can't do that. The oppression Olympics, I, you know, that those prior conversations, I just can't have them with folks because they see to be disingenuous to me. You know, that you, you make the decision higher world is made up. [00:26:03] Right. It's all fictional. And so if, if that's your baseline, you know, whoever the author, the creator was, it all came out of their head. And so if that's the baseline, then why can't we tweak it a little bit to say, okay, well, you know, we're not sure. What, you know, what the sexual orientation of this person was. [00:26:22] So let's just say that they're lesbian or let's just say that they're trans, that doesn't change anything with respect to how you play the game or anything else, but it brings more richness into the story. [00:26:34] Karama: [00:26:34] Yeah, absolutely. Now. One of the things that both those shows had, where we're like we said, very nuanced, obviously writing and, and, uh, incredible set design and things like that because there are people of color involved. [00:26:47] Let's bring that to your project. Now you have teamed up with overture to create ensemble. Now tell me a little bit [00:27:00] about what this is. Are you starting your own TV network? Is that what's happening? [00:27:04] April: [00:27:04] Okay, easy, easy. Yes. Easy. This is going to be a digital content studio, as you mentioned. So we are going to develop sustainable programming. [00:27:17] Um, we're going to help with. Development and production and promotion and distribution and sales and marketing and enterprise just soup to nuts, helping content creators, um, you know, take their project from their head or from their paper and get it onto a screen, you know, either large or small or a handheld. [00:27:36] Uh, you know, I've, I've always said that, um, you know, again, who's telling the story and whose story is being told. And so it's incredibly important that people have the opportunity to tell their own stories. It's incredibly important that people have an opportunity to see themselves on screen. And, you know, here we are, you know, the Oscars have been around for a hundred years almost. [00:27:58] Um, you know, and we're still having these conversations about. Um, you know, who GreenLights films, you know, whether they're big or small. And the majority of the gatekeepers, the decision makers in Hollywood are older white men. And so they are going to Greenlight the stories that they want to see. That's not. [00:28:20] Bigotry or racism or anything else that's just, you know, how people operate. Well, I want to see stories about marginalized people. You know, I want to see stories about immigrants [00:28:30] and Muslims, you know, by, for, and about these communities. You know, I want to see more stories about. Disabled folks and people from the LGBT plus community and all the intersections within. [00:28:43] Right. And so this is an opportunity to, and this is a logical extension for me. Um, for us you're so white. Um, and so it's my hope that we have the opportunity to help people tell their stories. That's [00:28:58] Karama: [00:28:58] that's amazing now. And it does. It totally does seem like an extension because even behind the scenes, April, a lot of you in the chat don't know this, but April is very good at putting people together and getting PR and basically creating these recipes for success, for projects. [00:29:16] And that is literally what, when, when I say I want to be you, when I grow up, you have perfected that. And I try really hard to do that, like in my little corner of the world. Um, but you've definitely perfected that, um, How did it come about? How did you get involved with Overture Global? Um, [00:29:34] April: [00:29:34] I originally met Donovan Andrews who is the CEO and founder of Overture a couple of years ago at TED, I think. [00:29:43] Um, and you know, we just kind of vibed, you know, he wanted to do the same kind of thing, but he was a little bit more in the tech space at that time. And, you know, and the vast majority of my stuff is. It's entertainment. And so we just became friends and kept talking. And so, you know, we had talked about different things [00:30:00] over the course of the last few years and he said, you know, I think now let's talk now is the time, you know, what do you know, what do you think about this? [00:30:06] And it, it just makes sense right now, you know, as, um, you know, nobody's going to movie theaters anymore. Probably shouldn't be if they're reopening. Right. Um, so everything is. Moving to a digital world. And so how do we best, um, you know, leverage that opportunity? Um, you know, we're thinking about people online all the time, you know, doing stuff online is obviously cheaper than a full, big budget production. [00:30:37] You know, I always think about. Like look at Issa Rae, right? She started with a YouTube channel, you know, with Awkward Black Girl. And now here she is with a multi picture deal with HBO and she's got an Insecure and, you know, she's got her own production company and it just mushroomed from that because somebody saw her talent and gave her an opportunity. [00:30:56] That's the same kind of thing that I want to do with Ensemble. [00:30:59]Karama: [00:30:59] The other thing that I like about this is because I haven't, and I've been thinking about this a lot recently with all, every other company saying like, "We need you, we need you!" [00:31:07] I have been applying for things and telling my friends and freelancers, like, listen there's opportunities. If you're ready, your stuff is ready. Take them pitch, write, you know? Because I know this door is closing. [00:31:19] April: [00:31:19] Yeah. Eventually. [00:31:20] [00:31:20]Karama: [00:31:20] And I dunno, maybe it's cause I'm jaded or whatever, but I, this door is gonna close. So I really think it's important that [00:31:30] there we are creating our own spaces. [00:31:33] And this is a fantastic opportunity, not just for you, but for what could come out of it. Um, are you gonna do any science fiction stuff? You need any like geek consultants? Cause I, I know, I know girl [00:31:48] April: [00:31:48] Asking for a freind? Who looks out a lot like you strangely enough? [00:31:57] You know, again, every everything is on the table. Right? I would love to see, you know, we need to see more black folks in animation, you know, more people of color and marginalized communities in animation. You know, our friend, Frank Abney who's worked on several Pixar films. Who's worked on ,Soul, which is going to be coming out soon. [00:32:16] You know, he's great. But he's one of a handful of people we need more. We need sci-fi Everything. I mean, you know, rom coms, you know why have we still not had a romcom with two people from the LGBTQ plus community as leads.? You know, so yes, I want to see that, you know, I want to see, you know, we have professor Xavier and the X- Men series, you know, and he uses a wheelchair, but we've never had a disabled person play a disabled superhero. [00:32:48] Somebody pitch me that. You know, I mean, so everything, you know, everything that we want to see is fair game. As long as it's quality content, uh, youknow, we'll be taking a [00:33:00] look. [00:33:01] Now you see what you just said, somebody is on Twitter right now. Like, "April is taking pitches!" [00:33:09] No. April isn't even providing her email address. No, sir. No, ma'am. No friend. [00:33:15] Karama: [00:33:15] What I'm curious about though is when? Like this was just announced and as we know, many times things are announced and any business takes a minute to get up off the ground. So, you're not announcing that you're dropping a show. You're announcing that this business is starting. [00:33:31] What is your projection? Or even, I mean, you can't even have an office right now. So are you planning on even doing the creation of this remotely? Like is the company all, all going to be remote? [00:33:45] Yeah, [00:33:45] April: [00:33:45] For sure, because we, you don't want to wait because we don't know what the future is going to look like. [00:33:50] You know, it doesn't make sense to announce it and then say, okay, when we open, we're going to find aWe work space or, Oh, we're going to have an office in New York city or whatever. No. I don't see why we can't move on this faster than that. Um, you know, so right now the goal, um, is to get funding in place, you know, because I don't want to take in, you know, dozens and dozens of pitches and say, okay, I love this idea, but it's gonna, you know, now I gotta go sell it to somebody before I can give you the money for you to go do it. [00:34:19] Right. Um, so we want to have funding in place, um, in a, in a really great foundation so that when people start coming in, artists, content, creators, [00:34:30] creatives, come in and say, you know, this is my story. This is what I want to do. This is when I tell, you know, we can Greenlight it a lot faster for [00:34:36] people. [00:34:38]Karama: [00:34:38] I feel like this is sort of the future of where everything's going to be going. Um, for instance, Quiby people talk about like how Quibi has not been great, but I think [00:34:53] April: [00:34:53] 2 billion dollars later. [00:34:55] I know. And here's the thing though. [00:34:58] It's not the platform people have. I've heard some people blame the platform and I've heard some people blame, you know, the algorithm, there is no algorithm. You have to go to the platform to watch everything. and tick tock. [00:35:11] Has been doing well is because what ticktock does that, and I'm not, this is not an ad for tech ticktock, I'm just cause they have their problems too, but I'm just trying to talk him in terms of execution. And yes, I know in the chat, if somebody brings it up, how they treat black people, I'm not talking about that right now. [00:35:27] And then algorithm, I'm just talking about the execution. Um, the, whenever you create anything in ticktock, it immediately asks you where you want to share it. So it's an app that purposely goes out and share things. Quibi and other apps like it, you have to go there. So see you can't, you can't share it. [00:35:50] You can't screenshot it. You can't gif it. You can't. Yeah. Watch it with somebody else and laugh. You have to only watch it yourself and then go tell [00:36:00] everybody else how good it is or take my word. Yeah. [00:36:05] Just singular speaker shared experience. [00:36:08]Karama: [00:36:08] and you have to pay in order to see it so, and pay, you know, I'm not saying it's expensive cause we all pay for Netflix and stuff like that, but there's not that many offerings that are then and the offerings that are there, I guess aren't that diverse. So it's a reflection of the people that created it, I think. [00:36:25]That's not going to work and whatever you come up with with, I think if you just keep that in mind, make making sure that not, and it's not everything isn't subtitled either. That's something else that I'm also trying to do, even on my platform is getting more subtitles and more. [00:36:40] Um, thanks. Because I think the thing that people forget is that the planet is big. And if you subtitle something or if you put something in a different language, uh, you instantly. Have a whole other demographic, you know, that's instantly advertising, you know, but we never think about that. But it's just one of those things where all of these people that you don't think are important are the people that are buying your product. Yeah. [00:37:11] April: [00:37:11] Yeah. And, and we'll have more opportunities to buy other things. [00:37:15] I mean, it's, ablest right. And, and we all need to do better with respect to communities that we may not belong to. Right? Because we don't think about it. You know, if, if I can see, I'm not thinking about what visually impaired people need [00:37:30] to, you know, and so we, we all have to turn that on, you know, as you said, doing something as easy as putting subtitles. [00:37:38] You know, it makes it so much easier for people to enjoy and it expands your audience. So you're truly leaving money on the table, potential advertising and all the rest of that, where you're not being more thoughtful about who your entire community is. So don't assume that everybody in your community is exactly the same as you meaning, you know, able bodied or cis male or whatever the case may be. [00:38:09] Karama: [00:38:09] I'm going to, I'm starting to take some questions from, from the chat. [00:38:14] April: [00:38:14] I'm so afraid about this section. [00:38:17] Karama: [00:38:17] It's not bad. They've been curating. The mods here are amazing. (Reading) Um, so this question is directed at April, will the content be specific? Are you looking for outside of what you just described a specific kind of content in terms of length? Like long form or short form? Like, are you trying to a, y'all try to do movies or you're trying to do a series or you try to do like short bits. Like Quibi? [00:38:46] April: [00:38:46] Correct. we're doing it all my friends. So, you know, so it may be, you know, shorts, you know, shout out to Matthew Cherry who won an Oscar for Hair Love for his six and a half minute [00:39:00] animated short. Or it may be a full length film, you know, that you eventually want to get onto a Netflix or Apple TV or, you know, distributed elsewhere. [00:39:10] So, and everything in between. [00:39:14] Karama: [00:39:14] And someone else is saying like the point of science- fiction is to discuss politics. It's to discuss, you know, the world around us. Um, and I agree with that. Whoever said that in the chat, um, I, so you have a question to that end. Will you be looking for reality programming? [00:39:37] For instance, there's so many people, the thing that I've noticed is so many people out during the protest and everything, um, having a phone in their hand and having a camera in their hand. And there's so many stories that we're not telling that are maybe right around the corner or on the other side of the world. [00:39:56] Is that something that you're looking into? [00:39:59] April: [00:39:59] Absolutely. Um, you know, so it, it may not be real Housewives of Detroit, right. That's okay. [00:40:06] Karama: [00:40:06] That's okay. [00:40:07]April: [00:40:07] I mean, I will admit to being like a huge 90 Day Fiance fan, you know, which is kind of reality TV. But you know, that cheesy mess. It will be first person forward. You know, so if you want to tell your story about what it's like to live in Iran or what it's like to live in Syria. [00:40:30] [00:40:29] And so, you know, you've got your handheld, um, and you're making your own little series that kind of reality show? Absolutely. Because I think stories like that help to bring the world together. You know, so that we can see something again, different outside of our own little bubble, whatever that means, you know? So even if you're living in Nebraska and you want to. [00:40:49] show people, you know, in the inner city, what that world is like and vice versa, um, you know, all of those things are possible. We are No Limit Records right now with respect towhere we really want to go, [00:41:05] Karama: [00:41:05] Oh goodness. We got people. We got people pitching in the chat. Okay. Are you in, are you, are you interested in adapting, scripted podcasts? [00:41:17] April: [00:41:17] Yeah. Potentially. Yes. if the pitch is good and it makes sense, um, you know, then yes. Um, yeah, I mean, I'm not, you're not going to get me to say no to anything right now. Um, every again, this, um, this is my theme for today. Everything is on the table. And we will be looking to, um, creatives to content creators, to artists to tell us [00:41:41] what makes sense. You know? Cause I, I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of a few things, but clearly not everything. And so what are we missing? You know, what makes sense? What, you know, what niche will your particular pitch fill? [00:41:55] Karama: [00:41:55] Awesome. Um, let's see. Oh, now on the other [00:42:00] end we have a consumer, how can one sign up? [00:42:03] And to that end, how soon? I don't think we're setting up for anything yet, [00:42:08] I haven't [00:42:09] April: [00:42:09] even taken a pitch yet. And somebody always already wants to watch an imaginary movie that I haven't even greenlit get given time. I know you're excited. I'm excited too. [00:42:20] Karama: [00:42:20] I would absolutely say start a mailing list though, so that you can start building your audience from there. [00:42:28] If you had your druthers and again, We're not going to hold you to this, but would you want to see some type of content coming out of this venture within 24 months or sooner? [00:42:40] April: [00:42:40] I, yes, I absolutely will. It really depends on funding, right? I don't want to, can I cuss on this? [00:42:48] Can I curse a little bit? [00:42:49] Karama: [00:42:49] Yes! It's twitch! [00:42:53] April: [00:42:53] It's not a bad word, but we don't want to have that. We don't want to half-ass this! Y ou know, we don't want [00:43:01] I know, I know, but you know, my mother may be listening [00:43:04] Karama: [00:43:04] That's not a f***ing curse word. [00:43:07] April: [00:43:07] My virgin ears! What are you doing? (laughs) [00:43:14] So, you know, we, we, we don't want to half-ass this, so I don't want to get a thousand pitches and then only be able to do two. Cause we only have the money for two. You know, at the same time, I don't, I don't, you know, I want to make sure that this is quality programming, so I don't want to throw [00:43:30] money at stuff and then say, go do it. [00:43:32] And, but you don't actually have, you know, the right kind of content that makes sense. And that people are going to want to see. You know, absolutely your mother and you know, and your best friend are going to want to see your video, your movie, whatever. But will it sell to a broader audience? Are you really thinking about what all of those things mean? [00:43:50] You know, who, what's your demographic, who is this for? Who are you making this piece for? You know, besides just you, so all of those questions, um, you know, have to be answered as we work through what makes sense for ensemble, um, and the types of content that we'll be providing. [00:44:08] Karama: [00:44:08] Okay. And hopefully that answered this other person's question. [00:44:12] What's the criteria to pitch. How do you get a meeting? My God. Yeah, y'all gotta hurry up. Cause everybody and their mother wants to be in on this. [00:44:19] April: [00:44:19] The press release is still warm! I okay. Yeah. Well, as quickly as we can. I hear you, I want to take pitches. I want to get the content started. Absolutely. But we have to have the money first, you know, or you're going to pitch me and I'm going to say, I love it. [00:44:38] I can't do anything with it. Right. And I don't want to, I don't want to option somebody's pitch. Um, and you know, and lock it down and then Netflix comes calling or whatever, and they're like, Oh, why, you know, Netflix has more money, so go to Netflix, but you can't because I already have your, I already have your project. [00:44:57] So I'm trying to be as fair as [00:45:00] possible to folks and not lock people down until we're really ready to move. So, you know, this is for you as much as it is for [00:45:06] Ensemble. [00:45:07] Karama: [00:45:07] And I actually have a couple of questions about that myself, not about pitching, I promise. Are you looking for, of course everybody wants an angel investor, but, uh, is it something where, or would you have any content that would be a crowdsourced or crowdfunded potentially? [00:45:28]April: [00:45:28] I'm not going to say no to that either because. Again, Matthew A.Cherry with Hair Love that started as something that was crowdfunded, right? Yeah. And look where he is now. Now he's got an overall movie deal, you know, and it started from a GoFund me on Twitter basically. So yes. You know, if somebody wants to come and say, Hey, you know, we just need the distribution and the marketing and the platform to get it out. [00:45:52] We can make it on our own, you know, we've got the money for it. We just need somebody to help us get it out into the masses. Yes, we can absolutely have that conversation as [00:46:00] well. [00:46:02] Karama: [00:46:02] Something that I've also noticed is that there are a lot of, I feel like so many marketing teams need to be retrained because everything that they learned, everything that they learned in school has nothing to do with how we market now, influencer marketing and everything else. [00:46:21] April: [00:46:21] Well, and it's changed. I mean, I went to college back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, you know, I rode a Brontosaurus to class. [00:46:30] Definitely. Yeah. Um, I mean, it was a, it was a Tauntaun in the winter time. Um, you know, so things have definitely changed. Um, and, but because everything is moved to online, so even from a year ago, everything has changed, you know? [00:46:45] And so now, you know, we were talking about Quibi earlier and I think part of their issue is marketing as well. You know, who are you reaching out to? You know, I saw, you know, there was an ad with, um, I think Chrissy Tiegen and maybe one more Chance the Rapper was like, Oh, just "Quibi" it to me. [00:47:01] Or, you know, it'll be on just could be before it's ready, indicating you know, that everything is six minutes long, but that wasn't really clear [00:47:08] Karama: [00:47:08] It didn't tell uswhat it was. [00:47:12] April: [00:47:12] And you made the fantastic point that if you can't share what you're really enjoying, then how are you going to get more people to see it? [00:47:21] You know? So you need to have like a free seven day period. Quibi call me so I can help you with your marketing plan. You know, have a free seven day period and put all of your best stuff on the platform during that seven days. So people were like, Oh my goodness, I can't live without it. So, you know, Back to your point, marketing all over the place has changed so much in the last, definitely in the last six months, uh, because a lot of, um, corporations, companies, they still have these voluminous marketing budgets, but they can't shoot commercials. [00:47:54] Right because I can't get in the studio and they can't get people on a plane to go [00:48:00] fly to, you know, some beautiful, you know, exotic locale, um, to shoot an ad or whatever. And so how are you going to get people to watch your product, which is already in the can without advertising the way that you normally do? Well, again, that's reaching out to influencers or whatever we're calling them. [00:48:19] Yep. Wherever, whatever we're calling them and paying them, um, you know, and using that marketing budget for that instead. [00:48:27] Karama: [00:48:27] That's amazing. Okay. So one of my last questions is this is for me, what does. What does Mahershala smell like? (laughs) I gotta know! You were standing right next to him at the Oscars! [00:48:50] April: [00:48:50] I mean, he smells like. Good credit and fulfilled dreams. It's just, [00:49:02] you know, you've seen him in everything, everything. And actually one of the shows that I've been watching recently and is Rami season two, because Mahershala has, I guess, a recurring role. Um, and I fast forwarded to all the scenes with him because he, at one point I want to say it was. Like episode three of season two, and he was talking about, um, Islam and, you know, and practicing and what it means. [00:49:29] I was this close [00:49:30] to converting. You see, I'm already ready with the hijab. Like. Rather than was so smooth. And plus, you know, he makes dua, you know, he, he performs the prayers on the show and, you know, he's that, [00:49:46] Karama: [00:49:46] I think people forget that. Cause there's so many of us that have African names as well as Muslim names that aren't don't necessarily practice that when people saw, why is he on there? [00:49:57] It's like, uh, cause he's Muslim. [00:49:59] April: [00:49:59] He is the perfect, perfect person to be on the show. Right? [00:50:04] Karama: [00:50:04] He's an actor and he's muslim [00:50:08] April: [00:50:08] and you know that he is fantastic. I was just reading that. He's going to play Jack Johnson, um, you know, boxer, you know, and the, and we're waiting for him to play Blade. He can just do no wrong in my book. [00:50:22] Just none at all. [00:50:24] Karama: [00:50:24] People are going to have to start wearing their masks and getting themselves together. Cause this pandemic needs to end so they can start shooting Blade. Cause I'll tell you right now I'll wear a hazmat suit to that screening. Like [00:50:37] Can you iamgine? Yeah, no, Wesley Snipes all credit to him, you know, he left big shoes to fill, but I am so excited, you know? [00:50:45] Cause Mahershala has that laugh already. You know, that sounds sinister slash sexy and yeah. So I'm, I'm super duper excited. [00:50:58] Okay. Now [00:51:00] we're not, I'm not gonna ask you anymore questions about how could I get a job. Um, but I did want to ask you for anybody that's in the chat that cause we've got a lot of creators here. Obviously. Do you have any advice for anybody? Who's? Uh, I had said this actually on the last time I was on OS_NYC, which was the first time I was on Twitch. Um, during their Junteenth stream. All these people were talking about getting themselves together to try and get the attention of a network of a XYZ. And one of the things I say on a regular basis is stop waiting to get picked and just, and just do the thing , whoever is a Korra fan knows what that means. [00:51:40] Just do the thing. Um, What do you feel? Do you think people should get ready with their pitches and get ready with their, uh, shows? Or should they just shoot the show? All these people are shooting stuff in their apartments, in their living rooms and just basically shoot it and then pitch a whole season. [00:52:02] What do you think about that? [00:52:05] April: [00:52:05] I think it's a both /and. You know, again, everything is on the table, so yes. Have your pitch and make sure it's tight. Right. And make sure you've run it by, you know, somebody that's as close to the industry as you can get, you know, it can't just be your best friend. Cause they're going to love everything you do, right. [00:52:21] Somebody with a critical eye. Um, you know, make sure that your website is together, make sure that your reel is together. Um, you know, you need to [00:52:30] have, you know, it's, we don't do elevator pitches anymore. Right. Cause nobody's in an elevator. [00:52:34]You know, but you need to have a pitch in, in one tweet or less 280 characters. [00:52:40] Can you do it? Can you give me the premise in one tweet? Um, you know, and then yes, go out and shoot it. Again. You know, Matthew Cherry is the homie. Um, you know, he shot his first film , it was called Nine Rides and the entire thing was shot on an iPhone. [00:52:57] Karama: [00:52:57] On an iPhone. I remember [00:52:58] April: [00:52:58] on an iPhone and he premiered it at South by Southwest. [00:53:02] Right. And then Matthew started working at MonkeyPaw productions, John Jordan Peele's production company. You know, not as a big time producer I mean you know, he was starting from the ground up, and then he had this idea for Hair Love. And instead of pitching it to Jordan or, you know, taking it somewhere and trying to pitch, he did it himself. [00:53:22] Through crowd sourcing, and then he won the Oscar. And that translated into, you know, and while he was doing that, he was able to direct a couple of TV shows. I think he directed an episode of Last OG and then he ended up directing an episode of Blackish and so on and so on. And so on. There is no time to wait. [00:53:40] Right? There are so many talented people out there. Why would you wait until somebody says yes. Right? When no only means N.O. Next Opportunity. Keep pushing, keep [00:53:54] pushing. [00:53:56] Karama: [00:53:56] I don't think there's any, I have to end on that. I do. [00:54:00] Thank you so much, April for hanging out at my very first live show. And thank you for being, [00:54:08] April: [00:54:08] I want to be, I also want to be the thousanth guest! Like I'm number one. [00:54:12] Karama: [00:54:12] Oh, okay. [00:54:13] April: [00:54:13] I want that in my rider or something. [00:54:19] Karama: [00:54:19] You willalso be the thousanth guest then. [00:54:21] (END LIVE SHOW) [00:54:21]April was dropping some gems there at the end. Right? No means "next opportunity". I love it. That's it for me, folks. If you've hung out this long, please consider subscribing, leaving a comment from me over at iTunes and let me know on social, how you like this podcast. If you really want to make me happy, please screenshot this episode and tag me over on Instagram stories. [00:54:44] Also, please support my Ko-Fi page at ko-fi.com/theblerdgurl and if you'd like to watch theblerdgurlLIVE show�well live, that's every Tuesday at 8:00 PM. Eastern on Twitch. I will leave a link in the show notes for you to do that. [00:55:05] Please stay safe, wash your hands and share this podcast with your friends and family. It might just brighten their day. See you on the internet! The post PODCAST: April Reign and her new media company Ensemble appeared first on theblerdgurl.
36 minutes | Jun 28, 2020
Palika Makam and the new rules of social media activism
Did you know that if you go to a protest, take pictures and share them on social media, not only can your location be tracked, but the location and identities of everyone whose face you’ve shown in a video can also be traced? Did you know that if you are recording a crime or some other form of injustice, that if you change the name of the file when you download it, it might be inadmissible in court? Well, my guest today is Palika Makam, the US Senior Program Coordinator with the global human rights organization WITNESS. They are actually the oldest organization working in video advocacy. And this episode is chock full of tips, tricks and facts that you can use to properly bear witness to many of the events that we are seeing in the streets today. This episode is the class that you never knew you needed! I can’t wait to share it with you! If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like mixing, transcription, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER Palika Makam on TwitterPalika Makam on InstagramWITNESS.ORGWITNESS Library on How to Cover ProtestsSignal AppImage Scrubber Webtool Karama: Hey folks, Karama Horne aka theblerdgurl. And welcome back to to theblerdgurl podcast, where I interview some of the most amazing creators in the geek space. Now, this week's show is a little different. Did you know that if you go to a protest and take pictures and share them on social media, [00:00:18] not only can your location be tracked, but the location and identities of everyone whose face you've shown in that picture can also be tracked? Did you also know that if you are recording a crime or some other form of injustice, that if you change the name of the file cwhen you download it, it might be inadmissible in court? [00:00:39] Well, my guest today is Palika Makam, the U S senior program coordinator with the global human rights organization. WITNESS.org. Now WITNESS is actually the oldest organization. Working in video advocacy. And this episode is chock full of tips, tricks, and facts that you can use to properly bear witness to many of the events that we're seeing in the streets today. [00:01:05]This is really amazing information. And this episode is like a class that I never knew I needed. I can't wait to share it with you, but first let's pay some bills. [00:01:13]Welcome back now, please consider subscribing and leaving me a rating and a comment over on iTunes. It really helps the show out. And if you're feeling extra helpful, I'd really love it. If you could screenshot this episode and tag theblerdgurlover on IG stories in a post, just tell me what you think. Now that doesn't really help my numbers, but it does make my day. [00:01:40] And don't forget, I have a Ko-Fi page now. to support, go to ko-fi.com/theblerdgurl. [00:01:55] my guest today is activist Palika Makam. Palika is a media activist and the US senior program coordinator at WITNESS. She has produced video advocacy campaigns and trained activists all over the world from Ferguson to the West bank. At witness Polica leads the us immigration focused work with Eyes on ICE. A project dedicated to supporting directly impacted communities and allies to document abuses against immigrant communities and use video to fight deportations and advocate for immigrant rights. [00:02:32] Prior to coming to witness Palika co-founded and ran The Babel Project, a nonprofit that teaches youth activists to use storytelling and documentary film, to advocate for their communities and specific policy change. [00:02:46]Media she has helped produce has been used in evidence in human rights, abuse court cases, and an advocacy campaigns around education, police violence and immigration reform films have been screened everywhere from the United nations to high school classrooms. I personally was fascinated by a conversation Palika had when she was featured on AJ Plus recently about the Black Lives Matter Movement. [00:03:10] And I reached out. I was thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed. Now, I'm going to tell you right now, you better have a pen and a piece of paper ready, because she's going to be giving a lot of amazing info in this discussion. So up next, my interview with Palika Makam. [00:03:27] So Palika thank you so much for joining me today. And I would love it. [00:03:33] If you could tell everybody about basically where, how you got into this and what witnessed.org is about. [00:03:42] Palika : Sure, thank you so much for having me on today. so I'm a media activist. I have been working at the intersection of video and technology and human rights for about a decade now. I used to run my own nonprofit called the Babel project, which I started, you know, I was like 22, 23. [00:04:00] I got an amazing grant from a university to start a nonprofit and, myself and a handful of trainers. We would go, To different communities and train youth organizers and activists, to be able to use video and storytelling as another tool in their activists tool belt. so I did that work in South Africa and Cape town in Palestine, Ferguson, New York, all over the place, really. [00:04:25]And, around 2014, you know, when Mike Brown Jr was killed when Eric Garner was killed, You know, I felt compelled to take kind of all of the knowledge and privilege that I had had from traveling and meeting grassroots activists and working in movements and different countries and spaces, and, and really bring that back home and focus that work in the country where I was born and raised. And in the country where I'm implicated in that movement and in that struggle. [00:04:51]so a few years ago, I saw a job, opening it, witness and witness is, you know, kind of the oldest organization working in this very niche space of video advocacy. I remember learning about witness when I was in college, you know, witnesses on my, my syllabus at the time. And so. When I saw that Witness was starting officially a U S program, it seems like the perfect opportunity for me to really route myself here, back home in the United States. [00:05:22]So at witness, I am the U S Senior Program Coordinator. Witness is a global human rights organization. We support communities around the world to use video and documentation and technology and. Storytelling to be able to expose abuses and advocate for human rights. We are a global team. but we're tiny, you know, we have small teams all around the world and one of those places is the United States, which is the team that I work on. [00:05:49]and here we mainly focus on supporting communities to film and expose, police abuse. And also to use that video to tell a larger story of systemic violence through creating databases and archives. We also support immigrant rights through projects called Eyes on ICE, which is the project that I actually lead. [00:06:06]and we train immigrant communities and advocates and lawyers to use video to document abuses, and then use that video to fight deportations in court. And also for advocacy purposes outside of court. I also lead a project called Legal Video Advocacy, which is more focused on storytelling and, and traditional documentary style. [00:06:25]and through the project, we train public defenders and their clients to create videos, interviewing their clients and family and friends, and then submit those videos to DA's and judges as a way to reduce harsh sentences and even support folks to get out of prison on clemency and parole. So everything that we do at witness, at the core of our work is using video both to expose abuses and serve as evidence, but also as a storytelling and advocacy tool to help change policies and practices and behaviors. [00:06:55] And I really think the two go hand in hand. [00:06:58] Karama: Yes, that's absolutely. incredible. I did not know about, Eyes on ICE or the Legal Video Academy. . I have a quick question about that last one . WIth the video that you're able to have defenders in their families create, is the video almost acting as a character witness in certain cases? [00:07:15] Palika : Exactly. And in a lot of situations, we're able to interview people who wouldn't otherwise be able to come into court as witnesses for, you know, a handful of reasons. And it's really an opportunity to, you know, bring the courtroom into the community or the community into the courtroom and, and, you know, be able to show a part of a person's life. [00:07:34] Beyond just their rap sheet or their, you know, "criminal history". It's really humanizing people, which seems like such a horrible thing to say, because we're already human. We shouldn't need to be humanized, but unfortunately in the criminal justice system, it is something that needs to happen. [00:07:51]and we've had a ton of success. It's one of our newer projects, but it's really been exciting to see lawyers and, you know, social workers. Look for and be excited about using a more creative strategy. And we've even been able to do this work during COVID-19 by, recording phone interviews and Skype interviews and zoom interviews with incarcerated individuals and their community members, and still be able to submit that video. [00:08:16]and we've actually had success in getting a handful of folks out of Rikers right now who were vulnerable to infection by COVID-19. [00:08:26] Karama: Wow. That's, that's incredible. Do you ever partner with organizations like the Innocence project and things like that ..?. [00:08:32] Palika : we haven't partnered with them yet. I actually have one of my childhood friends works there. So we're always kind of in communication and finding ways that we can collaborate. But, you know, we, for the most part, our target audience is, you know, directly impacted communities, public defenders, investigators journalists... you know, grassroots communities, advocates. To really be able to give them the tools they need to document abuses. [00:09:00]Karama: And also you'd mentioned that you've been an activist for so long, and you talked about Palestine and South Africa, and many of the places that you've been. Is it a little bit surreal now to be here, home in the States and seeing images that you probably have used to just seeing in other countries? [00:09:19] Palika : It is strange. But that's a really good question. It's, it's strange, but it's so important. You know, I remember even, when I worked in South Africa, there was a win that we had where the organization I worked with, took the Prime Minister of Basic Education to court and won. and it was a huge, huge victory for black and Brown students throughout the country, who were living in a post apartheid, South Africa. [00:09:46] So dealing with institutional racism and systemic oppression all throughout the education system. And I just remember seeing their faces that day on the day that the news came out and, and it was, you know, obviously like I'm a human, I have empathy. I'd been working with them. I was incredibly happy for them. But there's something about being from that community that you can never replicate. And so I feel the pain here. I feel the lows here, but I also feel the wind here in a really different way, because it's not just my work now. It's my entire life. It's the conversations I'm having with my friends and my family. And I, you know, I'm doing so much work on learning my own, you know, ingrained racism coming from a South Asian community. [00:10:30] It impacts every part of my life here. because I'm working in the country where, where I'm from. [00:10:35]Karama: There's no compartmentalizing it, [00:10:37] Palika : Right. [00:10:37] Karama: Cause it's, it's all around you all the time. Now. Let's, let's bring that, to how Witness has been helping people document a lot of the, I don't want to say the Black Lives Matter Movement like it started yesterday, because it didnt. [00:10:53] These videos are humanizing people. And we shouldn't have to say that, but the whole term Black Lives Matter is a humanizing statement because people I think are desensitized to a lot of what they, they see. How has witnessed our org been able to, and the work that you've been doing, I've been able to help some of the protests and the protesters that we've been seeing around the country. [00:11:17] Palika : So what we've really been focusing on, and we've really been in like our emergency rapid response mode the past few weeks. And, and we've been, you know, we can't be everywhere at once. We're a small team and on the US team, it's actually just me and another colleague and she's on maternity leave right now. [00:11:32] So it's just me. So I can't be everywhere at once. So one of our goals is to really be able to. Create resources and get those in the hands of as many advocates and communities as we can so that they could spread that information. And we make sure those resources are accessible, different languages, you know, accessible to communities. [00:11:49] It's not, you know, we don't use a lot of legal jargon or jargon in general. and we make sure that things are in multiple different languages. But really we've been wanting to support. Communities, not protesters, not to film because you know, people are already inclined to whip out their phones and film when they see something happen. [00:12:07]So it's not about that, but it's about making sure that they're doing it in a way that actually leads to some impact, you know, unfortunately, so many of the videos that we see showing police violence and abuse, whether at a protest or not, don't actually lead to any sense of accountability in, or out of a courtroom. But the few cases that have, we've seen that there's strategy involved, things were filmed a certain way. They were stored a certain way. They were shared a certain way. And we really see ourselves in this interesting kind of connector space, where we work with the lawyers. We work with the journalists and we work with the activists on the ground. [00:12:43] So we can be able to help those three groups of people communicate with each other better to make sure that this eyewitness footage is crucial footage, that sometimes people are. You know, risking their lives to document actually leads to impact. and you know, the main ways that we do that are by listening, learning, observing, and really figuring out what the gaps and the needs are and then creating resources and trainings as well. [00:13:07]So for example, just through, you know, going to the protest, myself, talking to people, you know, being online, reading the news, opening myself up as a resource, checking my DMS, everything. I realized that what people are really looking for is advice around sharing. You know, what do you do after you've filmed a video who should you share it with? [00:13:27] How can you protect protesters identities? What's the strategy to actually make sure that people see this and make some sort of impact. So two of the rapid response resources that we've created over the past couple of weeks in two different languages has been a guide. And it's just kind of a one page guide that you can even just pull out on your cell phone. [00:13:47] And it just reminds you that before you share a video publicly to pause, take a breath and look through these eight questions before you actually post the video. We're never, you know, none of our advice is absolutist. We can't tell you what to do and what not to do, because it really depends, on every situation and on every person's personal. [00:14:06] Risk profile and their life, but we really see our advice as harm reduction. You know, if you're gonna post, we can't stop you, but we want you to be thinking about how can you reduce harm and increase impact. we also created a really cool resource. It's kind of like a decision tree and it asks you for questions. [00:14:25]you know, the first question is, Are you as the filmer worried about your identity? If you share this footage and if the answer is yes, then we advise you not to post without first taking a few steps to reduce harm, which we lay out. If the answer is no, then we take you to the next question. You know, are you worried about exposing anyone's identity in the video? [00:14:47] If the answer is yes, then we take it to the reduced harm section. So it's just a way to get people to think through the more, the most important questions we should be considering for safety and security when we share videos. and to just pause and reflect and think there's some strategy. You know, unfortunately we know that FBI, Department of Homeland security police. They surveil protests. They do, they target protestors. We saw it in Ferguson. We're seeing it now. We've seen it in the past, even before there was video technology, you know, the Black Panther movement was surveilled. We don't need cell phones. You know, just to surveil people, surveillances as old as, as America, [00:15:29] Karama: COINTELPRO'S entire [00:15:31] Palika : Exactly! [00:15:31] Karama: Existence was based on that, just that thing. [00:15:34] Palika : And it's only gotten easier since we have cell phones and people are taking videos and photos, which make it easier to identify people. So I both have really excited that people are asking these questions around security that maybe didn't get asked six years ago and Ferguson. but I'm also eager and anxious to respond to those needs. [00:15:54] And that's one of the main ways we've been doing it is to really make sure people have the resources and in there in the information to share videos, in an ethical way and in a strategic way. [00:16:06] Karama: Well, I would love to go over a few of those ways. Yu named eight, we don't have to hit all eight, but if we can leave it at least five, that would be wonderful. [00:16:14] Palika : Sure. [00:16:14]Karama: One that I heard that surprised me. wasn't about video, it was about still images. If you're going to take a picture. Don't just post the picture straight to whatever social media platform, especially if you're worried about your own safety or something, take a screenshot of the picture and then post it. And I found that fascinating because it basically loses the tracking data, I guess? [00:16:38] Palika : Right. [00:16:39]Karama: What are some of the other tips that you were offered people in very specific situations? [00:16:43] Palika : Sure. I mean, I have to, as a first step, just remind people to assess their safety. No footage is worth your safety. [00:16:52]Sometimes whipping out your phone can escalate the situation. We're seeing how it's making protesters, who are filming the, become the target of police harassment and violence themselves during these protests. So just understand that your cell phone can change the dynamic of the interaction. So it's important to, you know, assess that before and also in the moment. [00:17:11] And, you know, the risk to your safety really depends on your own identity, your background, your race, your gender, your ethnicity. I really see filming, especially filming at protest is something that white allies can especially, engage in, in a more safe and secure way. Not to say that they're not targeted themselves, but obviously, you know, their skin color does come with a set of privileges and advantages. [00:17:32] [00:17:32]Karama: I saw a video the other day where, when cops taught to fire on protestors, all the black and Brown protesters in the front moved all the white allies moved up and they, staff of them lowered their weapons. [00:17:44] Palika : So yeah, it can be an amazing act of solidarity. [00:17:48] Karama: And I'm not, I do not want to condone anybody listening to just start standing in front of weapons, but you know, safety first, but it is something that we have seen. [00:17:57] Palika : Yeah, exactly. That's the thing when it comes to security, there's really no, no easy black or white solution here. You know, it's really about who you are. [00:18:06] You have to think about your family, your community. I mean, You know, I I've been filming and I've documented, armies and, you know, military and police in different countries over the years. And there's still situations where I just don't feel comfortable filming as a young woman and a young woman of color. [00:18:22] So it's really, it's really just about being aware of that. I think the second most important thing to realize is that. That you do have a right to film law enforcement in public spaces. It's part of your constitutional right. And you know, Federal Appeals Courts throughout the country have upheld this right. [00:18:38] That being said, you know, we know that what your rights are and how they play out in the real world are not always aligned. So one thing to keep in mind is you can film law enforcement. You can't get arrested for filming, but you could get arrested for interfering with the arrest, which is how people often get, arrested. It's for "obstruction of justice" [00:18:57]And it's completely at " discretion of the police officer. So it's best to keep some distance between you and the, and the incident. you know, just keeps kind of a healthy, this distance, even just an arms length distance away. And, you know, if the officer does tell you to back up. it really is best to comply with their orders. [00:19:13] You can move a minimal amount, but, you know, it is better just to deescalate the situation, to comply with the orders. You know, you can, even as you're backing up, say out loud, I'm complying with orders, I'm taking five steps back." And you can even film your feet as you're backing up so that there's some sort of documented record, that you complied. [00:19:31] And if the police tell you to stop filming, you can assert your right to film if you feel comfortable doing so. but you know, if you're scared, if you're worried about being retaliated against, it's okay to stop filming and stand there and bear witness instead. [00:19:44] And if you do want to assert your rights, I know it sounds silly, but I really recommend practicing in the mirror before you go out into a protest situation, because sometimes it's just getting that your vocal chords to practice saying out loud to give you the confidence to say it in person. [00:19:59] Karama: Yeah. And repeating it. I think it practicing and repeating. is an excellent, excellent idea. [00:20:04] Palika : Yeah. another tip is you want to lock your phone with at least a six digit passcode, not just the touch ID or face ID or pattern lock. [00:20:14] And the reason for this is because, you know, for the most part courts here in the United States have ruled that you have a Fifth Amendment constitutional right to not give up your cell phone passcode during a legal search. But that right. Whether or not, it currently applies to finger ID or face ID and pattern lock is a little bit murkier. [00:20:33]and courts have ruled both ways. So for now it really is the safest to use at least a six digit passcode. We also have heard instances where a police officer just takes a person's finger and forces them to open their phone right. Or sticks it up to their face and, and, you know, forces it to open that way. [00:20:51] So it really is safest to have some sort of a passcode on there [00:20:54] Karama: I'm curious about that too. If you're protesting and you're arrested and they confiscate your things, even if you don't stay and you know, and even if they're overnight, they could be doing whatever with your phone. [00:21:04]Palika : We actually saw that happen before that exact scenario in 2015, an activist named Keeanga Womba, what's driving home from work and she saw police officers kicking and harassing a man who they had handcuffed. And she pulled over her car across the street and she opened the window and she started to film. [00:21:24] And her father was a police officer. She knew her rights. She knew she was able to film police officers. She was all the way across the street. She was nowhere near the interaction and the police officers saw her filming and this really upset them. And they came over to her car, told her to stop filming. [00:21:40] She didn't stop filming. They opened the door. They dragged her, they pulled her to the ground. Her phone ended up falling out of her hands, but it was still recording the audio of the entire incident. And you could hear them saying some really horrible stuff to her because she had tried to assert her rights and tried to hold them accountable by documenting them. [00:21:59]They ended up arresting her and she spent the night in jail for, you know, "obstruction of justice". And all of her stuff had been confiscated. And when she went to go get it in the morning, she grabbed her phone and immediately went to look for the recording, but the recording had been deleted. Of course it was then her word against the officer's word. [00:22:20] But luckily she had like a teenage daughter who had backed up all of her footage to automatically back backup to the cloud. So her and her lawyer were able to still retrieve that video. And they used that video to get the charges dropped against her. [00:22:35]Karama: Wow. [00:22:37] Palika : Yeah. You could get your phone to back up to a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. That way even if something happens to it or you lose it or break it, you still have, you know, a layer of protection on your footage. You know, you just have to be aware though that backing up to a cloud, depending on the company, the company's policy could leave your data vulnerable to legal requests or subpoenas from the police. [00:23:00]Karama: This is all extremely fascinating. is there a platform that you have found has been, really, an amazing resource for documenting things? [00:23:12] Cause I know Twitter years ago started for this reason. It was for. People in the news to get information back and forth to each other quickly. But I feel like now there's so many different platforms. Is there one that you're seeing that is sharing information faster? [00:23:29] Palika : Well, the one I use the most is Twitter. [00:23:33] When it comes to kind of like rapid response news, unfolding protests, I mean, you have to make sure you're following the right accounts and vet that, information, but, you know, we're seeing so many, like even. Compilation videos and people collecting this, these videos on Twitter, and it's really an amazing place for documentation. [00:23:52]it's not a platform necessarily, but I've really seen Signal be a great resource right now. Signal is a communication app, end to end encryption communication app. I'm sure that your audience is well aware of those. But what they might not be aware of as they recently released a tool that's free to use on Signal that makes it easy to blur people's faces on photos. [00:24:13] So you can just upload a photo to Signal or take it using the signal app and then blur their faces. and my colleagues at, Witness have looked at this and tested it and it is supposed to be a very secure blur. That's hard to reverse. So that's a really great platform for images. And then I'm sure that folks have seen iImage Scrubber, the website popup, and they are an awesome resource. [00:24:36]they're only for photos, not for videos, but not only do they help. Scrub or not only do they help blur photos really easily, but they also scrub or get rid of the metadata, which is that kind of tracking information that you were talking about so that, you know, you could share that on social media and feel more secure that, that, that footage is not going to be tied back to you [00:24:57]Karama: Why is it important to sometimes blur people's faces at, especially at protests? [00:25:04]Palika : We know for facts that FBI, police, Department of Homeland Security use video and photos and livestreams from protests to target and surveil people, and to " protesters. We know that this has happened even as recently as, you know, Ferguson, this happened with Standing Rock, this happened with Occupy Wall Street and it's happening now. [00:25:27]it's how they find protesters who are doing, you know, "incriminating things" and they arrest them and they charge them. And so while we're at protests fighting for police accountability and exposing police violence, we want to use our cameras to hold police accountable, not to expose anyone from our own communities. [00:25:46]And so it's important that while we're sharing this really important footage or even trying to build solidarity by sharing footage that we're keeping in mind that people's identities could be vulnerable, even if they're in a public space. And so a really easy way to help protect your fellow protestors and community members is to blur out or blackout faces. [00:26:06]And it's important to remember that faces are not the only identifying features, you know, there's tattoos, t-shirts affiliations, things like that. So it's important to be. To really be thinking about a person's identity. And what are the different things that can help someone identify someone when you do blur footage? [00:26:24] And then if you are concerned about your own identity as the person who filmed it, something that gets attached to all of your photos and videos is called metadata, and it's basically just. Data about your data, but some of the data that that includes is GPS coordinates that can track you to exactly where you were when you took that footage. [00:26:45]so if you are concerned with your own personal safety, if you are high profile, high risk, and even if you're not a good practice is to try to get rid of that metadata. and like you mentioned earlier, really easy way to do that is to take a screenshot. It's not the most foolproof way. So if you are at high risk, there are better ways to do that. [00:27:04] And I would, recommend consulting with the digital security expert, but at a very basic level, taking a screenshot, you know, making a recording of video recording on your phone of the video, or going to a site like, Image Scrubber could get rid of that metadata. [00:27:21] That's amazing. and this is just invaluable information. [00:27:24] Karama: Like there's so many links I'm going to be putting on the show notes. Cause this is just, this is very, very helpful. [00:27:30] Palika : Oh good! I'm glad. [00:27:31]Karama: You mentioned some things like when you're trying to protect people, you know, and protect members of your community, but can we flip that on its side and, and try and find a way to, if you're trying to take a picture or videotape somebody who is NOT helping the situation and is being harmful. is there a best way to take a picture? Is it like a closeup of a tattoo or a hand, or is it a wide shot of where you are? Like, is there a good way to take that picture? [00:27:59]Palika : I think it's actually a combination of those things because you want to use a wide shot so that you can confirm the surroundings and the location. [00:28:07]There's so much misinformation and fake news out there. We want our footage to have visual cues that verifies that we were where we said we were, when we said we were there. So it would be helpful to get a different, a few different types of shots. [00:28:20] One would be a wide shot that really places the person in that location. and then maybe a medium shot or, or zoomed in shot that could help, share some more identifying details. You know, I generally tell people to try to record for at least 10 seconds before you move your camera away. I know this isn't always possible in the moment because things are really happening quickly, but you know, we work with a lot of lawyers and journalists and investigators, and they're looking for footage like this and the main issue they always tell us over and over again, is that they couldn't use the footage because it was too shaky, you know, or they couldn't see the full screen. And so, you know, another helpful tip is to think about, do I want to film this horizontally or vertically? You know, if you're trying to get the full scene of a protest, it might make more sense to film it horizontally. [00:29:08] So you just capture more information in the screen, but you know, if you're filming a burning building, for example, it probably makes more sense to film vertically. So you can actually show the full building. And then another useful tip is, is to, is to just not stop and start. Filming continuously, even if, you know, parts of it seem boring or like there's no action that you're filming, is really the best way to do it because this can also fight against claims that your footage is manipulated, [00:29:37]Karama: That it's been edited or... [00:29:38] Palika : Exactly [00:29:38] Karama: things have been cut in. [00:29:39] Palika : But yeah, you generally, you know, you wanna, you want to tell a story with your footage. You want to ask yourself if I wasn't here, what would I need to film in order for people to understand what was happening? So that's really like. The who? So that's, you know, identifying details. The where? So like street signs, landmarks, buildings. You know, those wide shots that place the person in that space. The, what, you know, what actually happened if it's possible to film in the moment, you know, those are really, really crucial details to film, to film. [00:30:12] Karama: Awesome. And sort of my last question, what, once you do have this footage, whatever it is, and I'm not just talking about police brutality, maybe you documented something, like you said, like a building, you know, burning building or something like that. [00:30:26]Because people also witness things and then are, contacted by news outlets and stuff like that out. What's the best way to catalog this footage? [00:30:35]Palika : The best thing to do is, is to remember that if you're going to make any edits to your video, you know, including even changing the title name, you know, we often will change the title of, you know, our, our footage to men to. To indicate the time and date and location, but when it comes to filming something, that's some sort of abuse or that could potentially be used as evidence. [00:30:59] We actually recommend that you don't make any edits to it at all. If you're going to edit, you should edit from a copy. [00:31:05] Karama: Even the name? Don't even change the filesname? [00:31:08] Palika : Even the name [00:31:08] just because if it is, if it does have the potential to be used as evidence in a legal proceeding, changing things like the date and time and anything, even just the, the name of the file could hurt its chances of being able to be used. [00:31:22] So if you are going to blur faces or add in date time or slow things down or make any cuts, I just recommend doing it from a copy so that you have at least one. Unedited copy saved and secure, and preferably even backed up to one other space. [00:31:38] Karama: Well, thank you so much. This been like an amazing, like yeah, you need to teach classes. You probably already do, but, this information that you mentioned, the decision tree and things like that, where can people find that? Is that all over on Witness? [00:31:53]Palika : So all of this can be found under our filming, the police, filming police violence in the United States project page, which I'll send over to you. [00:32:02] It has resources, tip sheets, case studies, blog posts, everything you need, in multiple languages on this page. [00:32:11] Karama: That's amazing. And where can we like find you and follow you too? Cause you said you're on Twitter. [00:32:19] And if there's anybody else out there or groups out there that want to basically contact, Wtness and say, listen, we ha we are an organization that is trying to make a teach all of our members, how to do these things more properly. Is there a way that they can contact, witness that way as well? [00:32:38] Palika : Yes. So you can reach out to me on Twitter. It's my handle is @palimakam. I'm also active on Instagram. I share a lot of information there and my handle is Polly pocket. For all you nineties kids. It's @palipocket. [00:33:00]But if you are interested in just reaching out to Witness generally, we have a contact page through the website that you can reach out to and, you'll get directed to the right person. [00:33:09] Karama: Awesome. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to me because this is invaluable information. And I know you've been really, really, really busy these days. But I appreciate it. I know my listeners really appreciate it and we really, this is information that we need because it's all going to help us. [00:33:27] And I think there's a lot of people out there that feel a little bit helpless right now. but this is something that everybody can do. And this is information that everybody can hold on to. Thank you again. [00:33:37] Thank you so much. [00:33:39]That's a lot. Right. I've put all the links of what we were discussing in the show notes. And I am happy to say that this episode has been fully transcribed. Are hearing impaired brothers and sisters really need this information as much as we do. So please share. Uh, transcriptions or something that I hope will be a regular occurrence here at the blur girl podcast, but I'm going to need your support at dot com slash the blur. [00:34:07] But I'm going to need your support at coffee.com/the blur girl. That's K O hyphen F i.com/the blurred girl to make this a regular thing. As always, please, please leave me a rating and a comment over on iTunes. I'd really love to hear what you think about this episode and subscribe to the blur girl podcast on your favorite podcast or. [00:34:28] See you next time. The post PODCAST: Palika Makam and the new rules of social media activism appeared first on theblerdgurl.
71 minutes | Jun 13, 2020
Malcolm Barrett on Acting, Activism and Allies
So today my guest today is actor, writer and playwright Malcolm Barrett. Many of you remember him as Lem from Better off Ted and Rufus from the sci-fi show Timeless but he’s also a playwright and rapper, (his alias is “Verbal”.) In addition, he’s also the co-founder and artistic director of the nonprofit Los Angeles-based Ammunition Theatre Company. You may have also seen him on a hilarious episode of Blackman Beyond with my previous guest Hollywood scriptwriter and podcaster Marc Bernardin. In this conversation, we talk about growing up in Brooklyn, his very first speaking role, the hazards of auditioning while black, whey he hates basketball and how he literally has a license to poet. We also have a serious convo about why Malcolm is so discerning about picking roles, what it’s like being an actor an activist right now, and where he would take the Lifeboat (Timeless’ time machine) if he had it right now. We laughed, we cried, this was one emotional roller coaster folks but Ir really hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like a mixer, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER Justice for Breonna Taylor@WritingWhileBlack Job list for writers/journalistsBlack Girl Gamers Online Summit LAN Party Podcast – Juneteenth LiveJuneteenth Book FestMalcolm on Malcolm Show The post PODCAST: Malcolm Barrett on Acting, Activism and Allies appeared first on theblerdgurl.
46 minutes | May 18, 2020
Jeff Barnaby talks about his indigenous zombie film Blood Quantum
You’ve already heard me rave about the new indigenous zombie movie Blood Quantum on Shudder. This week’s podcast interview was with the director, Jeff Barnaby, about the film and his experiences as an indigenous director. Barnaby came up with the concept of Blood Quantum back in 2007. But no one was going to give a young director, fresh out of film school with only a couple of short films a feature. So, he decided to test himself and create his first feature, Rhymes for Young Ghouls. He did pretty well, Ghouls won Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2013 Vancouver International Film Festival. The work garnered enough attention he was approached to direct, another script, and Blood Quantum came to life. In this episode, we talk about the title’s meaning and the voice of the indigenous artist in the age of “wokeness.” (And I found out that “pretendians” are actually a thing). This is a great episode you don’t want to miss! If you enjoy this episode please subscribe and leave a comment over on iTunes for me if you can, it really helps me out.. Or, screenshot your podcatcher and tag theblerdgurl over on IG stories with what you liked about it! If you REALLY want to support what I’m doing, please contribute to my Ko-Fi page! Your contribution really helps me keep the show going and eventually pay for expenses like a mixer, a video editor and so much more! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCATCHER Blood Quantum ReviewBlood Quantum meaningWatch Blood Quantum on Shudder The post PODCAST: Jeff Barnaby talks about his indigenous zombie film Blood Quantum appeared first on theblerdgurl.
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