by Mia McKenzie
Black Girl Dangerous’ Crush of the Month is a new feature from BGD, where we choose one bold, brilliant, badass QTPoC who has inspired us with the amazing things they’ve been up to this month (and been up to in life, in general). We’ll interview said crush-worthy individual so that you, dear readers, can share in our swooning!
I’ve been a fan of Janet’s since 2012, when I first started reading her work. When I finally got to kick it with her in real life for the first time, I came home all smiles afterward. My partner was like: “You crushing on Janet, baby?” I was like: “Maybe.” LOL.
All month, I’ve been binging on Janet’s new pop culture show, So POPular!, over at Shift by MSNBC.
In her new weekly culture show So POPular! — a series she created to examine the cultural experiences that occupy our brains and time — Janet wields her encyclopedic knowledge (and LOVE!) of popular culture, her journalist curiosity and feminist and social justice lens. The goal of So POPular! is to discuss the things you pretend you’re too smart to like, in an effort to expand the idea of what is considered political and worthy of analysis.
Needless to say, I’m hella onboard! Before I go back to binging, I had a few crush-related (and not) questions for Janet.
Mia: You’re newly engaged (congrats!). What are three things you love most about your relationship with your fiancé, Aaron?
Janet: He’s my safe space, my best friend and makes me tacos on the regular. Plus, he’s fine.
Mia: Does the fact that fiancée rhymes with Beyoncé make you even more excited to be engaged?
Janet: You know me so damn well. Also, my instagram fam have been telling me that I must buy the Feyoncé sweatshirt. I’ve been on the hunt!
Mia: You are obvi totally in love with Aaron, but when you think of QTPoC crushes, does anyone come to mind? Like, if Aaron got into a space program and was going to be on Mars for a year and he was like, “Please crush on QTPoC while I’m gone!” who would you be crushing on and why?
Janet: If he was in a space program and gone for more than a year, I would be on the prowl. Let’s be real, and I would make Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan take me in. I imagine the three of us doing yoga, eating brunch, taking selfies and throwing intellectual shade.
Mia: You have a show on Shift by MSNBC called So POPular!, where you talk about all things pop culture. How do you prepare for the show? Do you watch TV non-stop now? If so, how great is that?
Janet: I do watch A LOT of TV but that’s more for my own pleasure than for So POPular! What I do is invite super smart people who have a guiltless love of pop culture as my guests and they make me look all the better and informed. That’s really the key: creating a space where others can share their brilliance and help you, as the host, come to new revelations. Plus, we just want to have smart talk and all of the fun. But preparation for me looks like keeping my eyes constantly open to not only what’s in the zeitgeist but who’s writing about culture in a fresh, fun, sharp and accessible way. It also looks like a ton of emails, gifs and links sent between me and my producer Nick Ramsey, who really gets me and my vision for So POPular!
Mia: A question from our 18-year-old intern, Christal: Do you have any advice for acne?
Janet: Here’s my two-step solution…Internally: Take one tablespoon of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar every night with a large glass of water. Externally: Order the Acne.org face wash, treatment cream and AHA cream. So affordable, so effective.
Mia: Are crushes (and sex and romance) important to revolution? How/why?
Janet: It is vital! Crushing allows us to celebrate one another in a world where we’re marginalized and not even often counted. Sex allows us to use our bodies to express desire (and for some of us is a road to duplicating brilliance!). And love, where the fuck would we be without love?!
Mia: Do you feel part of the Black Lives Matter movement? Why or why not?
Janet: I do because so many black queer people I love are architects of that intersectional work, specifically if we’re talking about #BlackLivesMatter, the movement. I find that the organizers are consistently ensuring that the lives of ALL black people, not just the most visible victims (black cis men) but also the most invisible (black cis and trans women), are included in their discussions about violence and brutality. But I don’t think that many people who use the hashtag as a slogan understand the intersectional way in which these black women set out to organize, and that is what happens when a powerful, searing message is soundbite-d in the mainstream. Still, I feel part of it because I feel it’s mine: my black life matters and so do all my black sisters’ lives as well.
Mia: Make Out With, Date, or Banish from QTPoC Island: (A Twist on Fuck, Marry, Kill): EJ Johnson, Brittney Griner, Frank Ocean.
Janet: I’d make out with Brittney Griner, date Frank Ocean, and tragically banish EJ Johnson (there’s only room for one fierce queen in my life, and that’s me!)
We love you, Janet!
BGD accepts writing and video from queer and trans people of color! SUBMIT your work.
Do not republish anything from this site without express written permission from BGD. For more info, go here.
Mia McKenzie is an award-winning writer, a speaker, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous. Bring her to speak at your college or community event.