Episode 6 of the Black Girl Dangerous podcast is here! Listen to Black Girl Dangerous herself—Mia McKenzie—and guests Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Reagan Gomez and Cate Young discuss the Democratic debate, why we don’t trust Hillary Clinton, Quentin Tarantino and the importance of controlling our own narratives as marginalized people, Ellen Degeneres’ racist Nicki Minaj skit and more!
Some of our fave quotes from this week’s podcast:
Jamie on Tuesday’s democratic debate:
Mia on Bernie Sanders:
Jamie on Hillary Clinton:
Reagan on her new zombie apocalypse show about black women:
Cate on Ellen’s racist Nicki Minaj skit:
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Mia: Welcome to the Black Girl Dangerous pod cast. Iam Black Girl Dangerous, Mia McKenzie. This week we got all types of fuckery to address. Later we are gonna be about that skit Ellen had on her show depicting Black people with enormous asses. We’re gonna talk about Quentin Tarantino saying he doesn’t care what Black critics say about his portrayal of Black people. And Raegan Gomez is gonna join us to talk about her awesome new web series about Black women and girls in the zombie apocalypse. But first, we gotta talk about Tuesday night’s Democratic debate and the contenders and non-contenders for the Democratic nomination. Joining me now to discuss the Democratic debates is freelance journalist and co-editor of Hood Feminism, Jamie Nesbitt Golden. Hey Jamie!
Jamie: Hey! I’m good. How are you?
Mia: I am very good. I am a little bit tired. I woke up with the sound of Bernie Sanders voice thundering through my skull. (laughter). I know. I don’t understand –
Jamie: He was really good at giving you his best cranky uncle, the best cranky uncle voice.
Mia: Oh my god.
Mia: Grandpa, please lower your voice. I know I am in trouble but I don’t even really know what I did (laughter). I didn’t move your slippers, damn.
Jamie: It wasn’t just about the slippers. It was like him and his bad back, and his arthritis, and he’s got like blow ups and oh my god (laughter).
Mia: I just know that he is so mad at me.
Jamie: It’s like, I’m sorry. I’m sorry about asking about the damn emails. I’m sorry. Oh my god.
Mia: Oh my god. (laughter) So, we were both on Twitter live tweeting the debates. Though I feel like you’ll probably agree with me that it was all, it was many things, not the least of which is hilarious.
Jamie: Yes. Unintentionally hilarious. (laughter) Like I said, I appreciate that it was an actual debate. It wasn’t the G.O.P. debate, which was an awkward series of stand up bits.
Mia: Right. Right.
Jamie: From, you know, all 1500 G.O.P. contenders. You definitely got a sense of where the candidates stood yesterday on a lot of things. Unfortunately, Black Lives Mattering, not so much. But in terms of foreign policy and domestic policy and things that affect women you definitely got a sense of where they stood there.
Mia: Yeah, Black Lives Matter was definitely not high on the agenda.
Mia: They did this weird thing where they didn’t even have, like the one question they had about it they didn’t even have a direct question from Anderson Cooper. It was like, a kind of, “Oh, let’s ask this person on video.” Super weird easy question that you know that they already know how to answer now. So it didn’t challenge them in any real way.
Jamie: Well some of them knew how to answer it.
Mia: Right, right.
Jamie: Jim Webb was like, “Dude, I saved a Black guy once.” So like, we’re even Steven now. All right. Cool. All lives matter. Boom.
Mia: Right, right.
Jamie: I mean that’s what you got and I will say that Hillary and Bernie have learned their lesson, so to speak, in regards to answering the question correctly. But I expected a much more, I guess, broader conversation on the subject, rather than the one question and then, “Oh, let’s move onto something else.” It was just a very awkward moment. And then to have Don Lemon – why was Don Lemon in there? We don’t know.
Mia: Well, why is Don Lemon ever there? Really?
Jamie: Right. Why is Don Lemon here period? Like, that’s the major question on my lines all the time. But, I needed more. And you just didn’t get that. We didn’t go into Sanders plan for addressing the mass incarceration of Black and Brown folks. We didn’t get that. We didn’t here Clinton tell about what her plans were. I found that it was lacking in a lot of areas.
Mia: It seemed to have this really, like, the pace was super duper quick. And Anderson Cooper, he would literally ask somebody something. He should have just stopped asking chaffy questions and he would ask them questions and they would talk for like 10 seconds and then we would be like, “Ok, thanks.” And then try to (laughter) – he was being so extra. He was, on the one hand he was asking some good questions. He wasn’t letting them off easy. He was asking tough stuff, but at the same time he was kind of like your new boo who hates your friends and everything they say he’s like, “ugh”.
Jamie: Yes! Like you’re not even relevant. They were totally giving him the non-mutherfucking factor treatment yesterday. And, Jim Webb, to be honest I barely paid any attention to Jim Webb or Lincoln Chafee prior to this (laughter).
Mia: Right, right.
Jamie: It was like, “Oh, those are the other two guys.” Lincoln Chafee cannot convince me that this man is only 61 years old. (laughter) He has been transported from the past and (laughter)
Mia: Yeah, seriously.
Jamie: And he’s been transported from the past and he’s in this new modern world and yesterday’s debate, he was kind of, in some moments, like a dear caught in headlights when it came to answering some of the questions. Dude was just like, “uh, I…” And I think they did a tally of how many minutes each candidate was given and Chafee – the detate was an hour and a half and he was only given 7 minutes.
Mia: I mean, even when he did talk it was just like, what? He has the most boring sound bite. Like he came out of the box with, “I have no scandals.” Like?
Jamie: Because nobody knows who you are sir.
Mia: Right, you can’t have scandals if no one knows you exist.
Jamie: You are like the unknown Kardashian. Like, nobody knows you. (laughter) Nobody would know you. But when asked about, god, what was it?
Mia: Anderson Cooper asked him why he voted to repeal the Glass–Steagall Act.
Jamie: Yeah, so, “My dad died. I just got there. My dog died. Didn’t know what was going on. Didn’t know what was happening.” And Anderson Cooper is looking at him like, really dude? Really? It’s like, he repeats the question again, and again, Chafee launches into this long, “My dog ate my homework” answer (laughter).
Mia: “It was my first day!” (laughter)
Jamie: “I just got there! My dad died! I lost my homework. I don’t know. You gotta give me some time.” I was like, ok dude. Ok. You’re not along for this campaign.
Mia: And then later he kept, he said, “You’re looking at a block of granite.” He said that like 3 times. “You’re looking at a block of granite.” Which, I get where you’re going, but like, that just sounds boring.
Jamie: But I guess he wants to show you that he has strength and that he’s strong in character and just to believe that he’s 125 years old and this is not work out. (laughter) Like, no. No dude.
Mia: He looked very lost. He looked very – I said, he should have just gone to the Hip Hop Awards.
Jamie: I mean he looked like, “What are these moving picture machines? What is happening here?” (laughter)
Mia: Oh my god.
Jamie: I mean, like, even he, I feel like, to an extent, fared better than Jim Webb. I think we saw Jim Webb flush his presidential hopes down the toilet yesterday. And I’m happy. You know like. I’m cool with it. There’s one less person.
Mia: I mean I just remember him – he complained that everybody was ignoring him, he was just so upset at being ignored and he said it so many times. But you know, when you really say it that many times, it just makes you look whiny and weird. Like, come on.
Jamie: And he comes on with this tough guy thing where he’s giving you his best Cash impersonation, “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” blah, blah, blah and he’s making references to him being in the war and I’m like –
Mia: Who are your favorite enemies or whatever? He’s like, “I killed a guy in ‘Nam.” (laughter)
Jamie: Right (laughter)
Mia: Like, are you serious dude? (laughter)
Jamie: I was like, oh, did he really say? Oh, ok.
Mia: And then he pulled that affirmative action is racist against white people.
Jamie: He couldn’t be more out of touch with the current political climate. And, like, why did you defect? Why did you become a democrat? You don’t really belong here. Why did you ever come over here? We don’t need, you know, it’s just awkward.
Mia: Let’s talk about Martin O’Malley.
Jamie: Oh yeah!
Mia: Here’s one thing about Martin O’Malley. I find him terrible and also kind of hot. It’s weird, cuz I’m not even into dudes like that, but he’s like you’re white boss who you hate but you sometimes have dreams where you squeeze his nipples with jumper cables while he eats your pussy. Right? Is it just me?
Jamie: No, no, no, no, no. I’m there with you. I’m there with you. (laughter) There’s definitely some hate fucking involved.
Jamie: The question was posed. Have you seen your state lately? What’s up with you’re old city? And O’Malley was just like, “Yeah, so uh, our bad.” (laughter)
Jamie: “Been workin’ on it.” And it’s not like you’re 18 and you’re new to this whole voting thing and you’re idealistic and you think that it will change the world. It’s much different when you’re in your 30’s and you’re like, “Dude you are so full of shit. This is ridiculous.” And, so it’s really hard to take O’Malley seriously when he talks about making changes to the policies that he put in place in his home state. And that pretty much inspires the whole hate fucking scenario, because it’s like, “Dude, you’re such an asshole, but you are kind of, got this whole silver haired fox thing going. I’m so conflicted.”
Mia: He definitely did learn, with the Black Lives Matter question. You know, because before – last time he was confronted, he pulled an “All Lives Matter” and we can see the difference now where at least even if he doesn’t, you know (and I don’t necessarily believe that what these people say or what these people feel in their hearts or anything) but at least he now understands that you don’t say, “All Lives Matter.” Like you don’t say that.
Jamie: Right, he gave you Black Lives Matter. Sort of. Again, they’re running for everyone and not just Black folks and they want to make sure they are as even and balanced as possible. I sort of get that. On the other hand, I mean, come on dude. Seriously? We’ve been over this. It’s ok to say the words. It’s ok to agree and make the distinction that all lives don’t matter but in this particular instance it seems like it should be easy. But apparently…
Mia: Right. So, the candidates that no one is gonna vote for. We covered them. So the candidates that people are gonna cote for: Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton. It was pretty much the Bernie and Hilary show.
Jamie: It really was. And I would kill for a sitcom based on this awkward (laughter) buddy between the two of them going back and forth. But doing so respectfully. It wasn’t like, the G.O.P. debates, where Trump was like, “Yeah, fuck your mom and then (inaudible) was like, “What? What? What? No! Fuck you!”, No, “Fuck you dude! Fuck you!” I mean it wasn’t, it was a very civil, measured, with the exception of, you know, Sander’s crazy grandpa moment. It was a very civil conversation. And again, I do appreciate that both candidates have reached out to Black activists and folks in the BLM movement. And it says a lot because certain candidates feel like they don’t have to do that. They don’t have to make these overtures to marginalized groups. So it makes it, it says a lot that they went and at least heard them out and talked to them. I don’t know how much faith I put in that. I’m much more of a let me see what policies come from this. You know it’s really great that you talk to folks, but I need something more substantive and hopefully that comes, depending on who is put in office. But at least there was an attempt. There wasn’t like, “Oh god, Black people are upset. I don’t know what to do. Hide me, hide me.”
Mia: Right, right. I mean you can’t really hide now because muthafuckas will get all up in your shit. But you know what I think is – you know like, Hilary Clinton, who I felt like got a lot of tough questions. I mean the first question out of the box was like, Anderson Cooper was like, “Will you say anything to get elected?” (laughter) And I was like –
Jamie: I know. Out of the box. I was like, damn dude. For real? Wow.
Mia: And Hilary was like, no. And he was like, “Are you sure?” And she was like, “Bitch I said no, did I stutter?” I thought they was gonna go fisty cuffs up in there for a minute. It was getting heated. But you know the weird thing about Hilary Clinton is that she still, I feel like she, she’s talking about how she had these meetings with Black Lives Matter activists and she seems to be getting some stuff. Or at least knowing how to talk about some stuff better. But then she’s still telling Black Lives Matter how to do it better in her answer. It’s still like, she had to put in a, “Oh but this is what you also really need to be doing. You know. And she also seems to be really bad at talking, sort of holding Black people as an audience. She will sort of start off like she’s talking to Black people but then it will just veer right off. You know like, we’ve left her mind and she’s talking to white people and it’s just the weirdest thing. I mean, not weird, because white, whites. But it’s still fascinating to watch.
Jamie: There is definitely, uh, she get’s a little paternalistic with the way that she addresses certain Black folks and it’s a little unnerving. BLM has it’s issues, no doubt, and it’s problems in the movement, but they do have a platform, they have a list of demands and they have been very vocal about what they expect from anybody who is involved in policy making. So for her to be like, “Well, you guys, I’m down but you need policies, you need this, that and the other.” Well, dude. They have been talking about that. There’s a whole site.
Mia: Exactly. Even in that video where she did that video where she is talking to Black Lives Matter activists and they are asking her about her policies or about the Clinton years and policies that were really detrimental to Black people and then she goes into this thing where she is talking about, “Well, you can’t worry about changing people’s hearts. It’s about policy.” Bitch, that’s what they said. (laughter)
Mia: That was literally what they asked you.
Jamie: They made it clear that they wanted to change policy and another thing is that I listened to her interview in another round, which was really good by the way, and it’s really telling the people asking the most heartening questions are not colloquial journalists. They are pod casters, they are folks doing other things other than covering politics. But it was really interesting to me that when Hubin asked her, “Dude, do you totally regret policies that your husband signed into law 20 some years ago.” Somehow it comes back to when everybody is pushing for tougher crime laws, American and the Black community, and we reached out to Al Sharpton and blah, blah, blah” Hold on. Wait. Did we really just try to put this at the feet of Black folks??
Mia: Yeah, that was some shit when she said that. Like, uh. It’s just so, that’s really frustrating and kind of infuriating because, Black people, obviously during these years there was high crime, although what we’re talking about in terms of crime is sometimes iffy. Cuz being Black and existing is often a crime. But, Black people didn’t want our people just thrown in jail and for y’all to throw away the key. That’s not what people were demanding. People were demanding solutions to high crime and that included services, resources, like the Black community was not like, “Can y’all please just lock all of our kids up? We don’t like having dads. Can y’all do something about this?” No, people wanted resources. It’s just such a cop out to say that. We made all these horrible laws and threw everybody in prison because that’s what Black people wanted.
Jamie: Yup and the key thing is that we folks, we have Black scholars and writers and others talking about the big problem with mass incarceration now, but these are some conversations that Black folks were having 20 years ago. And they were largely ignored. People saw the writing on the wall, back in ’93 when this all started, when this was all being set in motion.
Mia: Yeah, I mean this had devastating consequences to the Black community. And to me, unless you say anything except, “Oh yeah, that’s on us.” Unless you say anything but that you can fuck off. You can eat a bag of dicks.
Jamie: Right, and it’s, and as far as I know I think that CEO’s or private prisons are still donating to Clinton’s campaign. It will be really interesting to see what her idea of prison reform looks like.
Mia: Yeah, I agree with you. The interview that they did on Another Round, @heavenrants and @brokeymcpoverty, whose names I should know. Heben Nigatu and what’s @brokeymcpverty’s name?
Jamie: Uh, oh gosh, Tracy Clayton I think?
Mia: Tracy Clayton! The interview that they did was really good, really on it, there were moments when Hilary tried to veer off in her little politic-ies and they were like, “Nah, bring it on back sista. We ain’t even trying to go there. Please answer the question, ma’am.” And it was really good and you know there were parts of it that were funny. Here’s the thing though. I’m listening to this pod cast and the questions are good and they start going into this, “oh let’s have some fun questions” and I’m laughing. It’s good and amusing and she’s talking about being a robot and being manufactured in a garage. She’s acting like a person and that’s always nice to see. But then, you know, at the end, I still feel like, I just don’t trust her.
Jamie: That is definitely a healthy distrust though. Because I feel like we still haven’t full addressed the big 28 gaffe. We’ve never had that moment where we apologized for saying some low-key racist shit. There has to be a moment of honesty there for us to really fully go ahead with the trusting.
Mia: Yeah, that’s what it is. That is what it is. It’s partly her and it’s partly just you know, I’m 39 –
Jamie: No way.
Mia: Yeah. And I’ve seen a lot of, relatively speaking, a lot of presidential campaigns. I think this is my 7th campaign that I’ve been actively paying attention to. The first Clinton campaign was the first one for me. At this point I have just been disappointed too many times. I’ve just been, everything that comes out of the mouth of any politician really, is just like Charlie Brown’s teacher to me. I believe nothing that you say. I just want to see what you’ve done and that’s all. And so for Hillary, because she’s so, what she says changes depending who she’s trying to pander to, I just can’t trust her and you’re right. There needs to be a moment of real honesty. Real, real honesty about things that matter to me and things that matter to people in my communities. And I don’t know if she’s really capable of real, real honesty around that stuff.
Jamie: I don’t think she is. Hilary is definitely not her husband. Bill can sort of charm his way out of the hardship and pull out a saxophone and win some folks over. Hilary was not given that charm gene. She is very no nonsense type of woman and in saying that it should be easy for her. It should be easy for anyone to have an honest conversation about what happened back then. It should be her. But, we also have to keep in mind that she’s also a politician and she has to play the game and she has to keep up the face. Much to the detriment of the coalition that she’s trying to build with Black folks. It’s great that she’s reaching out to people of color in order to get elected but we need to see something more. We need to see a whole lot more in order for us to put our faith in what she is doing. I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. I feel like I’m getting 28 flash backs but this time, because back then it was Hilary Clinton and all the white feminists who wanted to come out of the wood work and be like, “Hold on! Let’s vote for the white woman this time and then you guys will have your turn.” I feel like I’m getting another dose of, like getting deja vu here, with her but this time it’s Bernie Sanders and his really rabid fans. My god.
Mia: Oh my god. (laughter). Lord, I mean, no wonder he’s so mad. No wonder grandpa is talking at me so loudly. His supporters are the worst.
Jamie: Yes, I swear to god. I am so afraid of even talking at Bernie Sanders on line because I feel like they are gonna come out the wood works, like they are going to descend upon you like an angry hoard, like, “Have you read his website? And, have you done this?” Like, yes! I have done all these things and I need more. And it’s not so much Bernie Sanders who’s making himself look bad. It’s his fans. He has like Beyonce, he has his own beehive. It’s bizarre.
Mia: They are just so condescending. So paternalistic. They are just so like, “Black people are obviously stupid and know nothing and don’t know why they should vote for Bernie Sanders, let me enlighten you.” Oh my god.
Jamie: And it’s not just the fans. Even some political commentators are writing these long, too long, didn’t read, screeds about what Black folks need and why Black folks need Bernie Sanders. And, I would be down for this except that Sanders has not shown me anything in the last ten years or so to make me believe I need to put Bernie Sanders in office. He’s a nice liberal white guy. Well, let’s look at how many people of color are working on his campaign.
Mia: There is a statistic for Vermont that is there are more Black people in prisons in Vermont than are on the streets.
Jamie: Right! He could actually free Black people. And that’s alarming. I heard a lot of talk about making education accessible for all, which is all well and good, but for those of us who are already crippling under the weight of student loans, I don’t hear anything. No one addressed private loans or regulating private loans. These are the things we need to talk about because a lot of us do have private loans that are out of fucking control.
Jamie: And you would think that we would want to fix so more people can, you know, so we can free up more money to put back into the economy that we are talking about in these conversations. Again, this never really happens. Until I see something dynamic or something different I’m just gonna kind of shrug my shoulders. I felt like I did a lot of shrugging at the debate last night. Like, eh, ok. Right, that’s a good point but eh, ok.
Mia: It’s kind of the same stuff. We said these things before. Ok. Sure. Fine. But you are not, you know, and this is one of the things about – and maybe this is, this isn’t the first time this happened. Because I am often with Democratic candidates kind of like, “Meh, whatever.” But I feel like especially now in this political climate, particularly with Black Lives Matter advocates, there is just a real need for somebody to be bold. To be bold in a way that nobody is being and I feel like particularly for the people who are not Hilary, because Hilary is obviously the front runner. She’s the front runner for the nomination. I feel like anybody who isn’t Hilary, anybody who wants to break out, then this is the time to really be bold and to really do the things that Hilary won’t do. Saying the things that Hilary won’t say. Contrary to what people seem to think about Black loyalty to Hilary Clinton, it’s not there. Most of the people I know don’t have it. And our votes are very, very, very much still up for grabs.
Jamie: But I feel like the biggest laugh I did get yesterday was when Hilary told the audience that she believes she is a progressive. (laughter) I died. She’s like, “I’m totally progressive. I’m just a progressive who believes in results.” What?? I feel like, there’s again, we’ve seen this show before, it happens every four years. There’s a lot of talk about reigniting the middle class, helping the middle class, focusing on the middle class. I feel like the last candidate to ever mention poor people was John Edwards and we saw what to him.
Mia: Right, exactly.
Jamie: I almost didn’t vote for Obama for a second. I was like wait, John Edwards is talking about poor people.
Mia: Right, for real.
Jamie: This is my ministry. Right, I was right there. But there has to be, and just like I feel like there are Republican candidates who feel very comfortable, almost too comfortable, veering to the far right, there has to be a democrat who feels comfortable doing the opposite. I don’t see that. I see a lot of, “Let’s come to the center.” And centrist thought, centrist thinking, centrist focus, but we’ve seen what centrist policies have wrought.
Mia: So it will be interesting to see how, well, (laughs) kind of interesting I guess how it all plays out and if there’s any – I’m just sort of hoping for – because the way it is now it just seems like it’s going along it’s little path and we’re doing these debates, but we know Hilary Clinton is going to get the nomination, blah, blah, blah.
Jamie: Pretty much.
Mia: It would be nice if something happened to mix it up or something.
Jamie: We might get out wish because, again although I really wouldn’t want this because it kind of scares me to have Trump so close to the white house – like right there, like Sarah Palin in 2011 being that close. Here we have another candidate who is in no position to be anywhere near a white house, an out house, any type of house. (laughter) And he’s gonna be, he’s looking like the front runner. And that might be, you know, when you think about it, really disturbing. Because that means a lot of us are looking at this race as a WWE match and not taking it seriously. This man has been unabashedly racist and classist
Mia: And sexist and misogynist.
Jamie: Oh god, sexist. He’s a potpourri of fuck shit. And he’s been getting away with it. This weekend he’s gonna be hosting SNL. Like, he’s the completely normal dude who – like, I would love to be a Black person working at 30D Rock this weekend because I’d just be like muthafucka are you serious?? Are you for real? But again, I think we are really not taking this whole thing seriously. And Donald Trump has not given you no policy, nothing substantive has come out of this man’s mouth and yet and still he’s a GOP front runner. And that should share the fuck out of us.
Mia: Seriously. Yeah, and because it was like, “Oh Donald Trump’s got all this buzz, but once the debates start happening, once the campaign gets under way, he’s gonna fall off because obviously he’s not a real candidate. The joke will be over.” And no, the joke is still fucking going and it’s scary as fuck.
Jamie: It’s not funny to me anymore. The joke is not funny.
Mia: It’s like, is this a real thing? Are you serious? He’s not just trying to get publicity for a TV show? But you know we’re more than a year out before the election and I’m just holding onto hope that a year is a good chunk of time.
Jamie: Yes, yes.
Mia: That somebody can emerge who can shake this thing up and help us move forward. Like, move forward instead of this lateral moving that we are always doing. And to break forward to get to something better.
Mia: You’re listening to the Black Girl Dangerous Pod Cast, I’m Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous. Joining me now is actor, producer, director and all around dynamo, Reagan Gomez. Reagan, who I’m sure you all remember from the TV series The Parenthood, you probably also remember her from Jerry Maguire and Beauty Shop and of course is the voice of a bird on The Cleveland show and lots of other stuff. Reagan has a brand new web series out right now called Surviving and she’s here to talk with me about it. Hey Reagan.
Reagan: Hey, how you doing?
Mia: I am doing so good. It’s good to see you.
Reagan: It’s good to see you too. Thanks for having me.
Mia: Absolutely. So, we know each other on Twitter. But on Twitter you know folks, but you don’t know them, know them.
Mia: So, let’s get to know each other a little bit better. I have a few ice breaker questions that I want to ask you.
Reagan: Oh, god. Ok, I’m ready. (laughter)
Mia: So, first of all, if you could have an endless supply of any one food, what food would you want?
Reagan: Macaroni and cheese. It’s a no brainer, Mac’ and Cheese. Eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, all of it.
Mia: That is a great answer. That is a terrific answer. I would choose potatoes.
Reagan: Yeah, yeah, potatoes are good too.
Mia: Cuz then I could have fries and mashed potatoes, which are my two favorite non-meat foods.
Reagan: Yeah, true very true.
Mia: But my favorite meat food is bacon. But endless bacon sounds a little dangerous.
Reagan: It does sound a little dangerous. You would have heart burn. You might not make it past next week if you ate bacon every day so, yeah.
Mia: Yeah, I don’t think that would be good. But cool, mac and cheese is a good one. Next question. Who’s your favorite character on Empire after Cookie. Because obviously Cookie is everybody’s favorite.
Reagan: Um, probably Luciuos. And I hate him so much. I hate to love him because he’s just so evil. He’s just such a horrible person. Sometimes you have to be like, does he even like his family? Does he even like his kids? Because he’s acting like he hates them. But he always sees, he always see everything they try to pull. He always sees it coming. Even from prison, even from jail he can always maneuver and make sure that at least he’s alright and the business is alright. I love to hate him.
Mia: I kind of don’t like anybody that’s not Cookie.
Reagan: Yeah, she is the show.
Mia: Yeah, she’s like everything. That’s really the reason I watch it. But I kind of like Becky, more because I like Gabby Sidibe so much, Becky doesn’t really have much to do with it. But Gabby’s just so awesome that I love her.
Reagan: And she wound up donating for our Indie Go Go. So I adore her.
Mia: Oh that’s dope.
Reagan: Yeah. yeah. That kind of came out of no where. She’s the best.
Mia: Do you like Candy Corn? Have you been part of the candy corn debates on Twitter?
Reagan: I do like Candy Corn.
Reagan: I keep my mouth shut. Oh you like it??
Reagan: There’s only like two of us and we have to be quiet during the debate because I don’t want any problems but I love Candy Corn. Me and my kids so I feel we’re definitely in the minority.
Mia: So let’s talk about your new web series. I’m super excited about your web series, Surviving. I’m looooving it. Like, Black women and Zombie apocalypse. It’s dope as hell. So, why did you want to tell a story like this? Why Zombies?
Reagan: I love the apocalypse genre, thriller, fantasy, horror. I’ve always been a fan of those genres. And I definitely wanted to tell this story because I feel like even with shows like The Walking Dead, which I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead and Z-Nation and all these other shows. There’s a new show coming out, I think on CW, called Containment that’s coming out. I feel like whenever you meet people of color you meet them after they’ve already lost people. Whereas when we see families together they are always the white characters and we’re kind of rooting for them to stay together. Whereas with Black people we know they’ve already lost everyone so they really have nothing to live for and they are trying to find people. I don’t know. But I just feel like for Black families to sisters and what they would do to keep the other alive. I feel like we haven’t really seen that story yet and I was really interested to tell it. And I definitely wanted two Black women to be the protagonists of the show. I wanted to show them kickin’ ass and takin’ names but also being vulnerable and loving each other.
Mia: This is a super, really beautifully produced web series. It looks really good, the production value looks so high. What are the main challenges of making a quality web series?
Reagan: I think for us the main challenge of making a show like this was getting the money in the first place. We went on Indie Go Go for the 3rd time. I have another web series called Almost Home. We did two seasons of that and we went on Indie Go Go for each of those seasons. And we went on Indie Go Go again for this show. And even going on Indie Go Go we had no idea how much the show was gonna cost, we had no idea how we were even gonna make it happen. I remember I told my husband, this is just me and my husband making this shit happen, so after we finished Almost Home season 2, I looked at him and I said, “We have to make this happen.”
Mia: Quentin Tarantino has recently said some really offensive stuff about how much he doesn’t care what Black critics think about the way he tells Black stories. And I think he’s a really good example of why Black people, and all marginalized people, really need to have control over our own narratives. Is the importance of that kind of why you got into Indie media?
Reagan: Absolutely. Absolutely. The truth is that you write what you know. And you have a guy like Quentin who’s been so successful for so long and I love his films and obviously I don’t agree with what he’s said at all, but that’s who he is. That’s what he thinks, so you can’t really go after people like him or even Matt Damon or whatever. The only option, the only alternative to that, is having people of color and having marginalized people be able to tell their own stories. Because these people are saying what they know. Now you hope they educated and you can hit them up on Twitter or whatever but white people gonna white. They are gonna say what they really think and it’s totally wrong but that’s why we need more people in these situations. We need more people behind the camera. We need more people in the studios. We need more people of color show runners and all of that to be able to tell our stories, because if we leave it up to other people who aren’t really in the culture, that shit is gonna happen. So, I definitely think we need more people behind the camera telling our stories and controlling the narrative.
Mia: So what’s been you’re favorite thing about making this show and about making Indie media in general.
Reagan: Man, I was just, this morning we were dropping our kids off at school and we were watching the episode. My husband watched the episode all the time, which, I do too. Just looking at our catalog and knowing that we have a little bit of a catalog. We have two seasons of another show. We this show. Knowing that we literally made it happen in our kitchen. Everything starts in our kitchen. We drop the kids off, we come home, we kind of have a little bit of time to brainstorm and just knowing that we, literally made it happen. I mean, that is the best thing. I write the show. I direct the show. I’m not in surviving. I was in Almost Home. My husband was in Almost Home as well but he’s executive producer, so he handles the money and the crew and all of that. He also scores all of our shows. Cuz my husband is a musician. He has history in the music business as well, but, he’s always wanted to score film. So, on a show like this, you can really go there. So this was amazing for him as well and just the fact that we had a plan and we’re making it happen. And it’s not easy, it’s, the money is the biggest issue to be able to continue to do this and knowing that we took a huge chunk of our own money and invested it, like we did for Almost Home Season 1 and Season 2, as well, and that God always makes a way for us to be able to keep going.
Mia: And the music is great, so kudos to your husband for that too, cuz that’s really good.
Reagan: Oh, thank you.
Mia: So, how can folks who love the show and want to support this season and future seasons, cuz I’m already hoping there’s gonna be future seasons. How can folks support the show if they want to do that?
Reagan: You guys can follow me on Twitter, @reagangomez on Twitter. I’m Reagan Gomez everywhere. I’m Reagan Gomez on Tumblr, Instagram. Our YouTube channel – It’s Reagan Gomez on YouTube. You guys can subscribe. There’s reagangomez.com and that has all the webseries. You can subscribe to reagangomez.com. We’re also gonna have exclusive content on reagangomez.com. But there is also a donate button on reagangomez.com. And we just launched the website maybe a few weeks ago so the donate button is new so we’re gonna keep that there. It’s never going away. If you watch the show and you like it, you can donate. We definitely need the money and 100% of the money that we raise is going towards our production fund. Whether it’s a 3rd season of Almost Home, whether it’s season 2 of surviving, which is definitely what I want to come back with next, or whether it’s future projects cuz we’re not gonna stop. We have so much planned and we have so much in store for what we want to do. The stories that we want to tell. And it’s really exciting so, that donate button is right there at reagangomez.com
Mia: Awesome. Folks definitely please go watch the show if you haven’t watched it yet. It’s really dope. It’s so dope. And definitely click that donate button. It’s so important, you know when people are creating content. We always say that we want content that is for us and by us, that we want to be seeing these things so here it is. Make sure that you give, you know, give back to make these things possible.
Reagan: And let me just say real quick that podcast like yours and all the podcasts that are coming up. You guys are so important because if it wasn’t for shows like yours I wouldn’t be able to let people know what was going on. So shows like yours so, so important and we need to control our own narratives and kudos to you.
Mia: Thank you. Well thank you so much. It’s been so great having you on the pod cast. Super good luck with the show and we’ll definitely be watching.
Mia: So on Monday Ellen Degenerous had a very unfortunate sketch on her show. I guess Nicki Minaj has a new show coming up about growing up and about her family and Ellen’s show decided to do a sketch wherein a character who’s supposed to be Nicki Minaj as a little girl is walking around with a giant ass and all of her family members are walking around with Giant asses, like asses so big that they are constantly bumping into things and knocking things over and they can’t even sit together on the couch because their asses are so huge. Joining me now to talk about this racist fuckery is creator of the pop culture feminist blog BatyyMamzelle and one of my fave Twitter homies, Cate Young. Hey Cate!
Mia: How are you?
Cate: I’m great. I’m really happy to be here.
Mia: I’m super excited to have you. So this sketch on Ellen, like I barely know where to begin with this. The sheer blatant minstrelsy of the sketch. Like, “Hey white folks. Look how big Black people’s butts are. Isn’t this hilarious?” I find this sketch so incredibly offensive. It’s not even subtle racism, it’s just over the top blatant. And I’m rarely shocked at the kind of shit that white folks do, but this is not some seedy corner of the Internet, this is a major network in the daytime. What, just what the entire hell?
Cate: For me, I have several theories. The first thing is that I’m actually really surprised because Ellen is supposedly supposedly supposed to be one of the people that we can count on to not do that shit. Granted, I don’t watch her show, I usually just watch the sub channels on YouTube. But this really upset me because I feel like it was a very blatant attempt to reduce her to her body in a way that was unnecessary. One of the things that we know about Nicki Minaj is that she’s famous for these voices, for these costumes, for these colors. There is so much that you could have done with that skit that didn’t involve reducing her to just her ass. How many of her videos are just vomits of color. There’s so much you could do. But instead they chose to reduce her to her body, sexualize a little girl in a way that was completely unnecessary. I feel like it shows not only a lack of creativity on their part, but an intentional desire to cut her down almost. And I hope this running fairy that Black women have been having a banner year in pop culture and I feel like white women are feeling the heat. They’re recognizing that we are coming for their crown so there’s this concerted joint effort to undercut us in a way that has to be intentional because there’s no way that they are all this stupid. It’s just not possible.
Mia: Right. Yeah, I love what you say about Nicki because you are right, Nicki is not a difficult person to caricature in any number of ways. There’s just so much there and the fact that white people, all they see is her ass when they look at her, it’s just so amazing to me. And her ass is obviously prominently displayed in many ways but there’s also an entire human being attached to it. With all these different facets and all these different things that she’s bringing. All these different qualities and it’s the same shit that you hear about, Madame Tussauds, however you say that.
Cate: Yes, I heard about it.
Mia: With a wax figure of her and she’s on her knees with her ass in the air and it’s just like, how is this all that you people see?
Cate: That in particular really upset me because I felt like there were a lot of people who didn’t get it. I’m on a couple of online forums and this is one of the things that we chatted about and people didn’t understand why it was offensive because they figured, well it’s an image from her video. And to me it’s just like the video serves a specific purpose. It’s within a particular context that she controls. One of the things that Nicki does and does well and does often is that she plays directly into racist stereotypes and flips them. That’s kind of one of her things. The video allows her (cuz I was told that she directed the Anaconda video) to control the narrative around her body and around the racist stereotypes that people put upon her. And, a static statue does not have that context. It’s just a Black woman in a jungle context on all fours. And, I find it very hard to believe that they wouldn’t know that people would go up to the statue and interact with it in that way considering that’s generally how people interact with statues in Madam Tusaud’s. I went when I was maybe 15 in New York and I have several pictures of me with wax Will Smith. It was so much fun. It’s not a thing that people are unaware of what happens.
Mia: Especially the place themselves. They know. They know what goes on at their own establishment.
Cate: Exactly. And the idea that this was a completely unforeseen circumstance is beyond me and I understand the argument that Nicki approved the statue or whatever it was, but at the end of the day there is also, she also has a vested interest in not seeming to be more difficult than she is already perceived to be. In the last couple of months we’ve had a very generous run of Nicki Minaj as an angry Black woman stories. And she has a career and a reputation to protect. It’s in her best interest not to be even more difficult. And I personally am very glad that she has recently been pushing back against that and saying that these things are wrong and I shouldn’t be penalized for speaking out about them. I was really proud of that interview that she did in the Times I think it was because I feel like she’s allowed to be upset when people say shit to her. She’s allowed to react. She’s allowed to react in a way that one would normally react when you upset and offend them. So I’m really starting to warm to her.
Mia: Yeah, me too. And with the Madam Tusaud’s thing and Nicki, her people approving it, or whatever, it’s also true that she doesn’t work there. She doesn’t know the going’s on there. She’s not necessarily like, “Oh, people are probably gonna shove their dicks in my face”, in the wax figures face. This is information that Madam Tusaud’s actually does have. And I seriously doubt that they were like, “Oh, hey, but you know what, actually because of the way that people interact with these figures, people are gonna be super disrespectful to this wax figure of Nicki.” I’m sure that they did not offer this insight and this information to her either.
Cate: Exactly, and I thought that in light of what happened with Kara Walker’s installment, A Subtlety, it’s something that literally was there. It’s not something that you couldn’t have not known had happened and it was something that I brought up at the time too. It’s the same thing. The same interactions, the same attitudes. People have very little respect for a Black female body and I think that there’s very much this idea that if it’s in a public place then it’s public property regardless of whether or not the body itself is inanimate or not. And the idea that even after what happened with Kara Walker’s exhibit that you couldn’t foresee that people would be indecent, it’s frankly bull shit.
Mia: Yeah, and with the Ellen thing, like oh god, again, why don’t you see a whole person when you look at Nicki and then, but they took it even, it’s not even enough racism to just make fun of Nicki’s ass. Let’s bring other Black people, let’s have a whole family of Black people and laugh at them. It’s just so, the way that they didn’t even, that they were just like, “Oh, other black people with giant asses. Let’s throw that into there too. This all sounds really, really good.” It’s just, it’s yeah, it’s terrible. And, I actually think Ellen has had a lot of fuckery actually and has been doing things. You know, like, she I remember something where she had the Latina woman who’s on Modern Family was on her show or something
Cate: Sofia Vergara
Mia: Yeah, and she was, there was some kind of bit about her body that they were doing. Oh yeah, I think Ellen was being her for Halloween and had this really big butt thing wearing. And it’s just like, she’s, and also she said some questionable stuff about Caitlyn Jenner and transgender folks and how she doesn’t really get it but fine, whatever, do your thing, but then when Caitlyn was like, “Oh, I don’t really know about gay marriage.” She just railed and was like, “How can you be like that?” When she said exactly the same thing about Transgender people that Caitlyn said about gay marriage. But doesn’t see the hypocrisy. So she’s, I’m not really feelin’ Ellen these days. She’s fuckin’ up.
Cate: For me it’s just that, I feel as though, there’s not attempt to even pretend to be intersectional anymore and that’s what frustrates me most. I feel like there is this idea that it’s an afterthought or that liberation is top down, with them at the top. And that is something that is demonstratively not true and has not been true for a really long time. It really bothers me that it kind of feels like the whole world is fighting you, including the people who are supposed to be your friends and so you really start to feel like maybe you are missing something because if that many people disagree then maybe you are the problem, right?
Cate: Except that you’re not and you know that you’re not. So it’s really difficult to keep your wits about you and keep your ground really because there are all these prominent voices, there are all these prominent female voices telling you that you are worthless, your consideration is less, that your concerns are less than, and it can be really disheartening.
Mia: Yes, and I said this on an earlier pod cast that its seems that the more Black women are winning, we saw Viola Davis at the Emmy’s, of course some white woman had to show her ass, because what do white women do when Black women start winning? What do they do? Who are they if they can’t be better than Black women? And I just think we’re gonna see it more and more.
Cate: I completely agree. Last year I did a top twenty list of white feminist fuck ups and I didn’t stop that list until a week before the end of the year. This year I started early because I just kind of had to. You know all the feminists who have already started. I’m about maybe ten things in. And I still have to go back to the beginning of the year because I know there’s all kinds of shit. This is gonna be a banner year. Soon I’m going to have to start crowd sourcing because there’s no way I’m going to be able to keep track of it all.
Mia: Right (laughter). So, on to some more white fuckery, Quentin Tarantino showed his ass again, recently. And I say recently, because almost every time a Black person appears in a film of his, Quentin Tarantino is essentially showing his ass. So here’s a quote that he made to the New York Times, “‘If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me. You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences. If you sift through the criticism, you’ll see it’s pretty evenly divided between pros and cons. But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about ‘Django,’ I couldn’t have cared less.” So first let’s just pause and note the word “savage”, when talking about Black critics. That’s not accidental. Um.. uh.. What? Again, I barely know where to start with this.
Cate: Quentin Tarantino is kind of a difficult topic for me to engage with, because he’s someone who’s work I just don’t engage with. I’ve seen one of his movies, it was, Django in Chains and it was specifically because of the buzz at the time. I’m not upset that I watched it but it’s not something that I’d watch again and it certainly doesn’t make me excited to see any of this other movies. A lot of his films get cited as classic and I just have zero interest in them because between what I saw in Django and the things that he says, as a public figure, he seems like precisely the kind of person that I don’t want to be supporting. And granted, if I’m watching it on Netflix I’m not handing him my money, but it’s still the equivalent of a time investment that I’m not willing to give to some white guy who thinks that he has free range to say the N word. I don’t even say the N word. For that kind of entitlement to just ooz from him it’s at a level where I just, I can’t even be upset because I’m literally disengaging entirely from him and these circumstances because I feel like there are people who are better equipped than me to deal with and delineate why he’s so wrong on everything. I was doing some reading yesterday and I found an old piece that Jesse Williams, the actor, wrote about it. He did a whole thing on his Tumblr where he breaks down scene by scene where he thinks the problems with the movie are and why they are racially problematic and I was like, this is why he’s bae, so he can do that. He can do that. I don’t need to do it, because people are doing it. And as someone who is also an actor, he has an inside track onto how these things are being perceived. He always talks about being biracial and the fact that, that allows his access to white spaces that most Black people don’t have and he hears first hand the kind of racist things that white people say so he knows how racist they really are and what they really mean when they create particular images and put them on screen, so I thought you, you could do that. I’m just gonna stay here and pretend to lick the screen and I’ll just read whatever you put out. It’s great.
Mia: Yeah, you know what I think is really interesting, even outside of Quentin Tarantino, and how terrible and how awful Quentin Tarantino is, I feel like Quentin Tarantino is one of those white people who too many Black people have given a pass for too long. You criticize Quentin Tarantino and you’re guaranteed to see people defending him, Black folks defending him. And it’s this thing where a lot of people seem to feel like, white people are so benevolent in even wanting to tell stories with Black people in them, I guess that we’re all just supposed to be so thankful, so grateful, that Quentic Tarantino even wants to bother to tell our stories that we’re all just supposed to be so thrilled no matter what he does. And you, he just does not respect Black people. He doesn’t. He sees Black people as something that is useful for his vision as a film maker. He thinks that the things that have happened to Black people are interesting. You know? He thinks slavery, that’s an interesting thing that happened. I can use that for my vision of my of this film but he does not have any respect for actual Black people. I just want people to stop caping for him because it’s just so, like he’s just so blatantly racist and doesn’t give a fuck what you think.
Cate: I find it interesting too, because I feel like he is one of those people who really thinks that he’s doing us a favor. It comes through in everything that he says and all the criticism surrounding Django in particular. He really thinks that he’s done a great thing and we should be grateful and if we’re not then we’re haters. And it’s just this general misconstruction of any criticism at all as trolling or heating or as negative on it’s face when then fact of the matter is that critics are supposed to critique. That’s literally their job description (laughter). That’s their function. That’s what they do. I feel like he is one of those people who really has a strange gross fascination with the desecration of the Black body. I feel like he takes great pleasure in seeing Black pain in a way that should be more concerning. I feel like there are certain things that, there are certain images that we keep seeing about Black people and it’s because it entails Black people being in pain. For me personally, 12 years a slave, I saw that movie and I cried but it’s not a movie that I can ever watch again, because it’s something that I feel like on a psychic level is too much for me.
Cate: But at the same time, I feel like one of the reasons why it was so acclaimed was because of those graphic scenes and I feel as though this idea that we will never understand the horrors of slavery unless we see them reenacted on screen is kind of bullshit.
Mia: Yeah, absolutely bullshit.
Cate: Right, and I hate to compare tragedies but we never have these issues with the Holocaust. No one ever feels like we need to see Jewish people gassed in chambers to understand how terrible it was, like this is not a thing that ever happens. But I mean he’s a white guy in Hollywood so it’s not like we didn’t already know that.
Mia: Exactly. So white’s gonna white. (laughter) Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.
Cate: Thank you for having me.
Mia: Listeners, if you want more of Cate’s brilliance follow her on Twitter @battymamzelle and thanks again to Jamie Nezbet Golden and Reagan Gomez for joining me for the Black Girl Dangerous podcast this week and to everybody for listening. See you next time.
The Black Girl Dangerous podcast is a production of Black Girl Dangerous Media.