In today’s episode, we are too TIED to repeat ourselves! There is simultaneously so much to talk about and little we haven’t said in previous episodes, so we’re treating this as a moment to hold space, be in community with each other and you all, and really, just rant about what in the world is going on?! You’ll hear an update from Brendane and Alyssa (and why she’s joining one of the industrial complexes they mentioned in the last episode!).

Discussed today:

Roe vs. Wade and the Supreme Court leak
Kevin Samuels
The Met Gala

Previous episodes to help you make sense of our current moment:
S1, E6 Deathcraft Country
S2, E5 The Emancipation of ZD: Black Feminist Futurity
S2, E12 Villain Origin Story
S2, E1 Liberation Don’t Cost a Thang
S2, E4 Fleeing the Plantation

Zora’s Daughters Podcast: Season 2 Episode 15

Co-Hosts: Brendane Tynes and Alyssa James
Title: What in the World?!
Total Length: 01:23:22

[00:00:00] [Music plays]

[00:00:22] [Music fades down]

[00:00:21] BT: Hey y’all! Welcome back to Zora’s Daughters, the podcast where we tackle topics of interest to Black folks through the lens of academic scholarship and colorful insight. I’m Brendane and I use she/her/hers pronouns.

[00:00:34] AJ: Hi everyone! This is Alyssa and I use she/her/hers pronouns as well. Today, we are talking about being TIREDT.

[00:00:46] BT: Tired. TIYAD. Exhausted—

[00:00:48] AJ: Tiyad of being tired.

[00:00:50] BT: Le burnt out [laughs].

[00:00:52] AJ: Being—[laughter]. Being over—just being over it. It’s—we’re over it. It’s above us. You know, all of that and all of that. So it’s just what’s happening with us is that there’s simultaneously so much to talk about, but nothing that we haven’t already said in previous episodes. So today is going to just be a moment to hold space, be in community with each other, and you all, and really just rant about what in the world is going on. That’s it. So there’s no word this week, there’s no reading. It’s just gonna be Brendane and Alyssa unfiltered.

[00:01:34] BT: Ooh, unfiltered. Mm. Mm mm mm.

[00:01:37] AJ : [Laughs] Be scared y’all be scared—no, I’m kidding [laughs]. 

[00:01:41] BT: Be scared. I mean, I guess.

[00:01:42] AJ: We don’t know what’s gonna happen. This is all—we don’t really have a script, we don’t really—you know, we’ll see what happens.

[00:01:50] BT: Just us chattin’. But before we get there, we just wanna say thank you to the people who have been supporting us. Whether you’ve been a day one—you’ve been hanging out with us since 2020—or this episode is your first one, if you’re listening, we are just so incredibly grateful. And if you’re a new listener on Apple Podcasts or Spotify—because yes, Spotify has ratings now—please leave us a five-star rating and review. Like, we love reading y’all’s reviews in our free time, believe it or not. It really does keep us going. And we’d like to thank our patrons, our PayPal donors, our communities on social media. Like, y’all really do keep us up and running. Even in the moments where we feel exhausted, it’s nice to know that we have a community. And if you would like to become a patron, where you can access the ZD conversations—we have recordings of our talks, you can join at a level to get a book of the semester—and this semester, the book is really cool—or if you just want an invite to our semesterly hangouts, head to

[00:03:02] AJ: Yes, definitely, thank you everybody. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being with us on this journey that we have been on and plan to continue. So there once was a time where we actually used to do updates every episode [laughs]. 

[00:03:19] BT: I know, I know. Back in the day.

[00:03:22] AJ: Back in the day, we had updates and then we played our little game—what was it, Defund, Reform, Abolish?

[00:03:30] BT: Yep! Which has now moved into classrooms.

[00:03:34] AJ: Yeah—really? People are doing it in the classroom?

[00:03:37] BT: Yeah. Lee Baker said he does it in some of his classrooms. 

[00:03:43] AJ: Aww.

[00:03:43] BT: They’ll do a Defund, Reform, Abolish. 

[00:03:46] AJ: Yay! [Laughs]

[00:03:47] BT: Hopefully he doesn’t mind me telling people that, but I love that. That actually really warmed my heart so much to hear. So I was like, “Oh, cool.” We have not played the game in a while.

[00:03:56] AJ: I know.

[00:03:57] BT: Maybe—

[00:03:57] AJ: And we’re not going to start it again today, no [laughs].

[00:04:00] BT: We’re not gonna start it again today? I was like, “Dang!”

[00:04:01] AJ: But we are—we are going to do an update. We are going to do an update because I don’t know why we stopped doing it. I think we were like, “Let’s just privilege the content and maybe people don’t really care that much about what we did on the weekend.” [Laughs]

[00:04:15] BT: I know. What is the weekend? What do you do on those?

[00:04:19] AJ: So, what did you do this weekend? What—do you have any—

[00:04:22] BT: Oh!

[00:04:23] AJ: —Updates for us?

[00:04:25] BT: Yeah. Let’s see this weekend, um—

[00:04:31] AJ: Better yet, what were you doing today? [Laughs] 

[00:04:33] BT: Today?

[00:04:34] AJ: Why are we recording this two hours later than we usually do [laughs]? 

[00:04:36] BT: Two hours late because—[sighs] look, it’s been a long road. So my friend Mayyadda came into town, in DC. She claims that she forgot that DC and Baltimore are not that far from each other. So I didn’t know until, like, yesterday or something, day before yesterday, that she was even gonna be here. And we decided we’re gon go to the museum—the Black museum [the National Museum of African American History and Culture]—I don’t know the real official name, y’all. But we went there, it took us an hour to find parking because DC is the worst city in the world. And it was cool. The museum was cool. I think the Breonna Taylor exhibit is definitely something that will—I’m gonna to have to write in my fieldnotes journal about. And while I was there, it was so interesting. Someone actually walked into the exhibit and said, “Who is this?” Who is this? Even though it says her name everywhere, and so, you know. It really speaks volumes, I think, about how people just assume that people care about Black women. But that is definitely not the case. But it was a really—I guess I’ll use the word “beautiful” for now. I have some conflicting feelings about it. And part of the reason why I’m so attached to Breanna Taylor is because she’s only five days older than me. And just the—she was the oldest daughter. She was, like, a caretaker in her family. And to know that she was just starting really to have a life of her own when it was taken from her is something that really strikes me. But yeah, that’s what I did today. Yesterday— 

[00:06:28] AJ: Was that your first time? 

[00:06:31] BT: It was my first time going, it was. I’ve never been able to get a ticket to go. And this was my first time going. Yesterday, I stayed in the bed basically all day, because Saturday, I was out and about. My friend had like a themed party and—she and her partner had a themed party. And there was definitely a lot more white people there than I expected. So my energy was feeling real low [laughs] afterwards. But during it was fun! We did some karaoke and—whenever I go to do karaoke, somehow, someone always keeps handing me the mic. And I’m like, “Yo, it’s not about me singing. It’s about everyone enjoying it.” But—

[00:07:24] AJ: Okay, but y’all—

[00:07:25] BT: —I always—

[00:07:26] AJ: Just so you know, Brendane can SANG. Like, do you hear how rich her voice is on this podcast? Brendane can sang [laughs].

[00:07:33] BT: I can sing. Not today, though, because I definitely was singing karaoke and having my margaritas and it’s not a good combination—singing and alcohol is not a good combination. So now my voice is suffering from that. But that was fun. My little boo thang went with me. And so that was, like, our first outing as a couple around other people.

[00:08:01] AJ: Oooh. So you hard launched. This was the hard launch.

[00:08:06] BT: Hard launch! I mean, yeah. And it was definitely an experience—a good one. But it was like, “Oh, like—oh, this is what it’s like to be with somebody who likes me and I’m out in”—you know? But that’s for another podcast, not for this one. Yeah, so that was Saturday. Yeap, Saturday. Friday didn’t do nothing. I spent most of my days in the house by myself—not by myself—but—that sounds so sad—but like, I—you know, it’s my first grown lady apartment. Spend most of my days in the house trying to avoid the Vid [COVID-19]. It is so cold in my apartment that I actually purchased a space heater because I can’t do this anymore. I need—what they say? I need spring to wake up or what do they say? 

[00:08:59] AJ: Need a spring awakening? 

[00:09:00] BT: Stand up!

[00:09:01] AJ: That’s not what it is. 

[00:09:01] BT: Stand up! That meme of that woman being like, “Y’all weak in the knees!” Like, spring, summer, weak in the knees! I need y’all to stand up! It’s cold! It’s so cold.

[00:09:12] AJ: Just be careful with that space heater. You know, keep it away from anything that’s flammable. Don’t leave it on while you’re sleeping and all that, you know.

[00:09:24] BT: Oh, that was exactly my plan [laughs].

[00:09:26] AJ: No practice safety. [Laughter] Practice safety. I know at least you’re—I am glad that you are in a nicer apartment now, so I’m assuming that it doesn’t have any faulty wiring or anything like that. But, of course, I don’t wanna, you know, hear any bad news about you and a space heater so.

[00:09:47] BT: Yeah, the way—

[00:09:48] AJ: But that’s just—that’s just the mama in me being a worrier so.

[00:09:51] BT: No, no worries, I appreciate it. That would just be such a sad way to go out [laughter].

[00:09:58] AJ: Y’all, I’m turning—the way I’m turning into my mother. That was just—I just reminded myself of my mom right there. Like, that is 100% her. I’m like, “Oh, I’m going on a hike,” and she’ll be like, “Oh, just make sure it’s not anywhere where there’s no cell service because you could fall down a ditch and nobody would be able to find you for days.” Like, she’ll just come up with these scenarios about crazy things that could happen to me. But also—

[00:10:21] BT: My grandma does the same thing [laughs].

[00:10:21] AJ: —That are very plausible. So then it really freaks you out, right? Because you’re like, “It’s possible.”—

[00:10:26] BT: It’s possible.

[00:10:26] AJ: —”This could definitely happen.”

[00:10:29] BT: Yo, my grandma does the same thing. And I told her, like, I go on walks around the neighborhood. And I was like, “You know, kinda how, like, you used to go on walks and take us.” And she was like, “Well, whenever you go on a walk, make sure you take your cell phone with you. Don’t leave your cell phone at home, because then if something happened, you’re not gonna be able to call for help.” And I’m sitting here like, “Ma’am, nobody in the year 2022 leaves their cell phone at home. On purpose!” Like, in her mind—you know, she’s always like—she’s a Virgo. She’s definitely a worrier. And her anxiety comes out in, like, trying to make sure that you’re safe, like, that is her bit. Oh my God, she’s always like, “Are you safe? Are you safe?” She prefers to know that I know someone in the area, so even if she’s like, “You know, your cousin’s husband’s sister’s daughter has a child in the area. You should get to know them so you have some family?” I’m like “Grandma, is that how people used to do it in South Carolina back in the day?” [Laughs]

[00:11:34] AJ: I’m sure. When they were all coming up during the Great Migration, I’m sure that’s what they were all doing. They were like, “Don’t worry. Your auntie’s got a cousin. That’s her sister’s brother’s husband”—not husband, not sister’s brother’s husband, not whatever—”wife” [laughs]—”whose nephew lives up in New York. So, you know, here’s their address, just go reach out to them and just let them know that you’re so-and-so’s niece’s cousin’s whatever.” I totally lost the train of where I was going. 

[00:12:03] BT: You couldn’t even call and be like, “I’m on my way.” [Laughs] 

[00:12:07] AJ: Yeah, so [laughs]. 

[00:12:09] BT: Yeah—

[00:12:10] AJ: I guess that is [the way?]

[00:12:11] BT: —Um, what is—what’s up with you? 

[00:12:15] AJ: What’s up with me!

[00:12:15] BT: How are you doing?

[00:12:17] AJ: Well—

[00:12:17] BT: Why you so tiyad?

[00:12:17] AJ: I think I told folks that my boo thang was here visiting in Martinique for a month. So boo thang left last week, so my weekend was quite uneventful. I just went to the beach, relaxed, you know. My research is taking off finally. I think I have just about everything in place. I also got funding. Finally. 

[00:12:48] BT: Purr.

[00:12:49] AJ: What a very insecure 12 months I’ve had post finishing my—basically since advancing to candidacy. And, um— 

[00:13:00] BT: Wow, It has been 12 months.

[00:13:02] AJ: Yeah, yeah.

[00:13:03] BT: Woooow.

[00:13:04] AJ: So it’s been a very uncertain 12 months, but now things are definitely taking off ready. I’m going to finish up this fieldwork and I’ll be back in in New York in the new year. At which point I will be deep diving into one of the industrial complexes that we talked about last week—or last episode—which is the wedding industrial complex cuz boo thang is now fiancé thang cuz he proposed while he was here. So I’m engaged. Lots of—yeah, it was very exciting [laughs].

[00:13:44] BT: [Imitates gunfire] Apparently that’s my—apparently that’s my signature, is the—

[00:13:50] AJ: The gun sound?

[00:13:51] BT: —Guns in the air [laughs].

[00:13:52] AJ: Oh! Okay.

[00:13:54] BT: [Laughs] [Imitates gunfire]

[00:13:57] AJ: [Laughs] So yeah. It’s—you know, it’s just, like, the little cloud nine moment and—

[00:14:03] BT: Yeah! That’s so exciting.

[00:14:03] AJ: —Even though he’s gone, it’s still just exciting to be, you know, thinking about wedding things and it gives you something nice to focus on versus what the hell is happening in the world. But one of my friends here put it a really good way cuz she lowkey—no, she highkey wants her boyfriend to propose. That said, they’ve been together for 20 years so [laughs]—since they were in high school. Since they were in high school. She wants him to propose and she was there when we were telling his family on Zoom. And she was like, “You see? [Unclear] It’s not just making one person happy. You’re making a whole family happy. Do you see how happy everyone is for them?” So that is kinda what it feels like. It feels nice that everyone was so excited for us and to feel all the love—

[00:14:55] BT: Yeah! 

[00:14:56] AJ: —Coming from all directions. 

[00:14:57] BT: I’m looking forward to the outfit. That’s what I’m—that’s what I always be thinking about, like, what are we wearing? 

[00:15:05] AJ: What are we wearing?

[00:15:05] BT: Where we gon be?

[00:15:07] AJ: How do you feel about mustard? How do you feel about burnt orange?

[00:15:11] BT: I love mustard. I’mma bad bitch in mustard. Burnt orange, I’m not sure what I look like in that, but I can make it work, you know?

[00:15:20] AJ: Isn’t that the color you were—that’s basically the color you were wearing during our little baddie photo shoot at the triple A’s [American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting] for when we went out for dinner. 

[00:15:28] BT: Oh, yeah! Oh, then! 

[00:15:30] AJ: It’s basically that color. I mean, it’s like a terracotta burnt orange kinda vibe, but anyway.

[00:15:35] BT: Well, long as—

[00:15:36] AJ: Anyhow!

[00:15:38] BT: Long as it’s short. As long as it’s a short dress, I can do it. Or a maxi one. I can’t really do the mid length. Mid length doesn’t work the same on my little legs.

[00:15:48] AJ: Fair enough. I’ll keep that in mind. I mean, we’re thinking—

[00:15:52] BT: If you want!

[00:15:52] AJ: —Fall, so you’re probably gonna wanna do the maxi length situation.

[00:15:55] BT: Purr. And I’m not saying I wanna be in it. I just wanna make that clear. Like, just in case you were like, “Ooh, I don’t know,” you know. I know people get weird about the bridesmaids thing. I am happy as a guest. However you want me to do behind the scenes? I’m cool for whatever, so. 

[00:16:14] AJ: You know you’re on the list. Just chill. It’s fine [laughs].

[00:16:18] BT: Oh! Look, my sister said I’m not on her bridesmaids list and I’m fine—

[00:16:22] AJ: Got it.

[00:16:22] BT: —I was fine with it so.

[00:16:24] AJ: [Savage?] You’ve been on the list, don’t worry [laughter]. All right. So yeah, if y’all wanna throw—no, I was gonna do “the throw me some coin” thing. I’m just kidding. 

[00:16:37] BT: [Laughs] Just start a GoFundMe like everybody else. 

[00:16:38] AJ: We’ve been meeting with— we started meeting with wedding planners today. And wooo, uh, the sticker shock. Like my—one of the wedding planners told me a price and my soul left my body. Like, you could see it behind my eyes [laughs].

[00:16:54] BT: Yeah, no, I’m—I just wanna know, can y’all tell me why do weddings cost so much money? Like, I just—I just wanna know why does it cost so much?

[00:17:06] AJ: It’s the industrial complex, and—okay, the thing that I’ve been noticing, when I’ve been looking at different venues and some of the wedding planners and stuff, they don’t say, like, “Here are our rates. Here’s how much people spend.” They say, “Our typical bride, or our typical couple, makes a wedding investment of $60,000,” or whatever, like, that’s the minimum. So there’s been this shift in language from spending or whatever to investment. And I’m like, “What an investment usually has a return.”

[00:17:39] BT: A return!

[00:17:39] AJ: And considering that the amount of money I spend on a wedding has no correlation with how successful the marriage is, what exactly is the return that I’m having here? What is the—what is the return on this investment?

[00:17:54] BT: The pictures?

[00:17:55] AJ: Well, yeah, I guess [laughs].

[00:17:57] BT: [Unclear] The [mems?].

[00:17:58] AJ: The memories? The only—honestly, if I spent that much on a wedding [laughs] the only thing I would remember was how much I spent [laughs]. That would be the only memory. I’d be like, “Yeah, those— the flowers in that pic look nice, but they cost $250 [laughs]”

[00:18:18] BT: At the bottom of all the pictures, the price of everything in the photos. Sixty thousand dollars is, like, a nice car.

[00:18:23] AJ: It would be like those old MasterCard commercials [laughs].

[00:18:27] BT: Where the prices flash by on this screen, that’s the wedding video. “This dress was $15,000.” I just—ooh.

[00:18:33] AJ: I mean, look, if someone out there is listening and y’all want to give me the money, plus a house, then I’ll spend it. But [laughs]—but otherwise. I said—I was saying to boo thing—to fiancé thang—today—I was like, “Even if somebody came and gave us the money and was like, ‘Here. Have it. Spend it on the wedding,” I would be like, “But we need a place to live.” Like, considering how uncertain the world is right now, it would be nice to have something that is ours. So they would have to be like, “Here’s a house plus the money for your wedding” for me to even fathom spending that much. But not—no tea no shade to anybody who has. If that is your dream, if that’s what you wanted, I am in support of that. It’s just not right for me.

[00:19:28] BT: It’s not right for me either. But you know I’m not getting married no time soon. [Laughter] It’s perfectly okay. It’s perfectly okay.

[00:19:38] AJ: Anyhow, we—I could talk about this all day. So we are just going to move on to one of the things that we, of course, have to talk about this week, which is— 

[00:19:48] BT: Yes, of course.

[00:19:49] AJ: —The Supreme Court leak. The documents indicating that Roe vs. Wade is going to be overturned. It has caused a shit storm this week. And I’m gonna let you start cuz I just don’t even know where to start.

[00:20:10] BT: Um, yes, so Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court case that guaranteed a right to privacy—and that is very important for if you choose to terminate a pregnancy for any reason. Reasons as simple as you want to, to it could be life threatening, right—is now—we all know that that was going to happen, I think. It was inevitable. If you follow people who are really into reproductive justice work, Black women especially have been ringing the alarm for years. Especially, I would say, since Obama’s second term, when people started noticing this kind of uptick in gerrymandering and all of the white supremacist practices around voting that were happening, right. So, like, the failure to ratify Voting Rights Act, etc., etc. And they were like, “Oh, y’all guys! By the way, you know, if conservatives, whatever, get in charge, they’re going to take away people’s ability to control when they give birth.” And so this—I would say this for me is—it was scary at first. And then I was like, “Wait a minute, why not think about this differently? Why not think about it as an opportunity versus a loss?” Because I’m also thinking as someone—as a Black person with a uterus, my reproductive shit was never really under my control to begin with, right? Like, the reproductive justice movement is for niggas like me, right. And so what does it mean now to—to see it so, like, flagrant, so out there that, yes, they are trying to take our rights away from us? They’re trying to put everybody back into the bondage of slavery [laughs], which was bondage for white women as well. And I actually—I actually had a conversation with one of my friends about it on IG. And she was just like, “You know, this is all about controlling white women’s fertility because they want them to basically birth—continue birthing the race, because the birth rate—now the birth rate for white folks is below their death rate.” Which is one of the reasons why they are getting rid of Roe versus Wade, and it’s because, really, the majority of people who access abortions in this country, in particular, are white people with uteruses. And so they’re tryna make sure that they continue to birth white people, because nobody else can birth a white person but a white person. [Laughs] So we were just going back and forth about that, and how, you know, it’s like, you know, it’s not just something that affects Black people, it affects everybody. And it just really makes me think about how the Combahee River Collective was always right! But folks don’t wanna believe it, right? Like, if the shit impacts Black women, it’s going to come to you sooner or later, so you best get ready, best be on our side, best fight for us! But, folks—violence is something that we’re supposed to experience, so folks don’t jump up. They don’t get ready, so they don’t—they don’t stay ready so they don’t have to get ready, so then we end up in messes like this. Yeah.

[00:23:58] AJ: Yeah. Messes like this where I think one of the things that has also led to this is a kind of apathy. Where people have been like, “Well, this isn’t going to affect me. So it’s okay, I like—I live in New York, so, you know, I’m always gonna have access to this, I’m always gonna have access to that.” Meanwhile, conservatives, Republicans, they’ve been organizing for decades.

[00:24:27] BT: Decades.

[00:24:28] AJ: For. Decades. This like—

[00:24:29] BT: De-cah-dés.

[00:24:30] AJ: You have to think that [laughter]—that after this passed, the whole idea of being anti-abortion, all of this seemed to be, like, a fringe movement. People who are—they’re like, “Oh no, y’all are crazy! Like, anyone who thinks that way—that’s—it’s never gonna happen.” So there’s been this, like, attitude where people have just been kind of, like, “Well, it could never happen. It could never happen.” And then, on the one hand, it’s like, first of all, this has already happened. It is already happening. I mean, just—was it two years ago or three years ago, they just—they were still finding out in Canada that the state was sterilizing Indigenous women. Like three years ago! So that kind of like, “Oh it’s not gonna happen to me, it’s not gonna affect me” is part of the reason that we are in this situation today. But of course, the way that you’ve reframed it is an empowering one, right? 

[00:25:44] BT: Yeah. 

[00:25:45] AJ: And I’d love to hear you speak on it a little bit more, because your tweet, like, I was like, “You know, this Brendane.” [Laughs]

[00:25:51] BT: There’s some hope out here. Yeah, I was like, you know, I can see this as an opportunity because—what did I say? I said something along the lines of “Have we ever considered the fact that perhaps this is the future, or the unraveling of the US that our ancestors have prayed for?” And it really just hit me, I was like, “Wait, did I think that they was just gon legislate us free? Did I fall into the Black liberal trap of believing in the state as something that’s actually going to not oppress me?” And so, I guess I’ll let this secret out the bag: I’m not a communist, y’all. I’m not a communist. I’m not a socialist. I actually think that the state should not exist. Communism and socialism expands the power of the state. So I don’t believe that the state should exist. There are labels for that that I won’t discuss in this because I don’t want to be associated with the white people who believe [unclear]. I’ll just say I don’t believe in the state. But yeah, I was thinking, like, our ancestors knew that this shit was violent, right? Like, this country came to be through rape, through genocide, through the land theft, right, through the theft of bodies, the theft of people’s psychological—I don’t even—like, the way that you can’t even really escape white supremacy and anti-Blackness in your own thoughts, in your own body, right? Like, so much so that my heart beats faster because I’mma Black woman. You know, I got higher blood pressure because I’m a Black woman, right? And the years that are taken off in my life are then handed to a white person. That’s not coincidental, right. That—it happened through chattel enslavement. And so what else but this kind of shaking is going to really bring us—or empower us to see like, “Hey, this is actually something that’s not gonna work for us. We see the limits of representation,” right? We have Roe v. Wade being dismantled as we have a Black woman entering into the Supreme Court, right? So it’s, like, this kind of, like, “Okay, we gave you what you wanted but also, we ‘bout to snatch this shit away from you.” And we have Roe v. Wade dismantling as we have the other Black Supreme Court justice helping plan a “coup” of the government, you know? Which—that was also not surprising to find out either. So, yeah, I wonder, for those of us who are particularly invested in Black liberation, right, what is it going to take for us to give up on the US and build communities? And then also to think about like—because I’ve been seeing the meme like, “Oh, you can’t ban abortion, you can only ban safe abortion.” And I think that also highlights how we have relied so much—given so much of our power to the medical industrial complex. Yes, for some women who have to have late-term abortions, right, it is safest to do it in a place where sterilized and etc., etc. But for birthing people who are early on, right, there are things that you can do that aren’t abortion pills, that aren’t surgical procedures, that will allow for you to pass an embryo. And so I think getting in touch with those Indigenous technologies is something that people can do that might make folks feel less anxious in this moment to say, “Oh, wait, this is my body. I do have sovereignty. I don’t have to say just because the state wants to have sovereignty over me that I can just, like, give it. Like, I can reclaim some of that.” So, I don’t know this—it really helped me, I don’t know if it helps y’all, but it really helped me to kinda loosen my anxiety around the situation. And then if you got money to give, give.

[00:30:20] AJ: I think in that instance, there are those options, of course. I think one of the things that people fear is being criminalized for taking those kinds of actions, which this dismantling of Roe v. Wade also opens the door to. 

[00:30:41] BT: Yeah.

[00:30:42] AJ: So if you do pass an embryo, they decide that was illegal, they can go after you. They can go after the person who supplied those things, supplied the herbs or supplied the medication or whatever the case may be. And I think people are rightly concerned about that. And then, of course, you hear about the way that—the other ways that this loss of, like, privacy law can impact us. I’ve been hearing about the way technology can now continue to be used against us—

[00:31:20] BT: Oh yeah.

[00:31:21] AJ: —For folks who have periods using the period apps, the way that that can also then—

[00:31:26] BT: Delete your period app. 

[00:31:28] AJ: Definitely am deleting Flow. [Laughs] And I just cancelled my subscription. 

[00:31:33] BT: Yeah, delete it. 

[00:31:34] AJ: The way that can be used to track you, along with, you know, the location data from your phone. So I really hope that this is another—in addition to the many wake up calls that we’ve been having over the last few years about how we use our phones, how we use technology—to step back from those things, particularly when it comes to questions of privacy, which I think we’ve kind of lost. We really lost, like, a frame of reference for what is private and—like, what should just be for us and what goes on our phone and what goes on the internet and all of those kinds of things.

[00:32:23] BT: Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:32:34] AJ: And it’s very worrying. But I think one of the other kinds of, like—one of the things that, of course, we’ve been seeing, is like, “Oh my God, The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s coming true! This is Gilead! This is Gilead!” First of all, I’ve been saying that for a long time. I’ve been saying Gilead escape plan. 

[00:32:44] BT: [Laughs] Cite Black women [laughs].

[00:32:45] AJ: But also, as you all didn’t see, Brendane rolled her eyes. What I had—the way I was saying it was also a suggested eye roll [laughs]. Because, first of all, when Margaret [Atwood]—I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale—and when she was writing it, she said, “I’m not going to include anything that hasn’t already happened.” So everything in that book has already happened somewhere in the world, somewhere in the United States, in history. This isn’t—it was not her being prescient. It was actually her retelling, with white people, what had already happened to people of color, to Black people and Indigenous people. And so the only—again, this comes back to this whole thing, like, the only way that white people can ever really, like, empathize is if it’s other white people—if things are being experienced by other white people. But if you’re taken aback—if you’re taken aback by The Handmaid’s Tale, then, you know, they will be incredibly shocked when they read Octavia Butler [laughs]. 

[00:33:56] BT: What? What?!

[00:33:56] AJ: They will be shaken.

[00:33:59] BT: Shake-AN. 

[00:34:00] AJ: But what I find interesting, and I think it relates to what you were saying, is that everybody—everyone talks about like, “Oh my gosh, all of the things that the state was doing, that the, you know, illegitimate government—that Gilead was doing in The Handmaid’s Tale“—that’s the thing everybody talks about, but nobody really talks about Mayday and the internal networks in which people were organizing. They were continuing to fight against the government. They were doing all of this revolutionary shit. And nobody’s like, “That’s what we need to do.” They’re just like, “How can we avoid becoming Gilead?” [Laughs]

[00:34:40] BT: Right. And the thing is, is that it was inevitable, right? I think from the moment that you free a population of people that built the wealth of your country, right, there’s going to be—it’s going to be, like, a backlash, right? So, yeah, I didn’t, when you were talking about the privacy and the concerns—the rightful concerns—I do think that one of the blessings of the internet has been people have been able to make community outside their homes in ways that were unprecedented. But we have to all consider that we put data online that these companies sell. They sell, even if they say they’re not selling it, they sellin’ it. And if you choose to terminate a pregnancy, I think from this point forward, you really have to be thoughtful about who you tell this information. Because—because, right, of those concerns of “Well what if?” What if, what if, what if? And I like to think that, like, my ancestors had networks of support, like, networks of, you know, those whisper networks. And then maybe, you know, you have your doula in the community who has a pact that’s like, you know, “If you’re under my services, you will not tell somebody what this is, right?” Hopefully, there’ll be doctors that will be like, you know, “Yeah, we perform this procedure, but I’m gonna code it as a physical,” or whatever, right, so that it doesn’t get flagged by your insurance company, things like that. I think people have to consider what it means to move outside of the kind of parameters of legality. Because what does the law do for us, right? Like, it was illegal to run away from the plantation. 

[00:36:44] AJ: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s actually what you tweeted.

[00:36:47] BT: Yeah, you know, did we forget that, right? Like, it was not legal, to free yourself. And I think we have to really take that to heart, right, that there are risks to being free that I think no—that people don’t really talk about because we kind of sell—we think that, you know—damn, what is it called?—emancipation just kind of happens, it’s granted to you. Someone in power that benefited from your oppression has a change of heart and now you’re free because, you know, some weird Christian, you know, Jesus-came-into-your heart-changed-your life thing, whatever. And the reality of the matter is that’s not at all how it works. And so I think as a Black person who wants to have a child or two, in the future, like, I have to think about what am I willing to sacrifice to have the kind of future that I wanna have? And every day I have to think about that, so we gotta think about that. Like, what are we willing to give so that we don’t continue to live in this state of fear all the fucking time? Like, I’m paying taxes to be scared? I just think it’s a scam. Like, it’s a scam! I’m paying taxes to be scared. I’m paying taxes to fund—

[00:38:11] AJ: Don’t even get me started on taxes. If anyone knows of a good tax…accountant?—[Laughs] Someone who will do my complicated taxes, please send us a send us a DM. I really need to do my taxes.

[00:38:25] BT: Paying taxes to be terrorized! Paying someone so they could be terrorized with my taxes [laughs].

[00:38:33] AJ: Facts. Big facts. Honestly, it really pisses me off that I have to pay taxes in America because I’m like, “What am I even getting for this? What do taxes really pay for?” 

[00:38:43] BT: Police.

[00:38:43] AJ: I guess war. And police. [Laughs] 

[00:38:44] BT: War and police. What, two cents of it goes toward their local schools? [Laughs]

[00:38:49] AJ: But I’m like, I’m not getting health care. I’m not getting any social security. I’m not getting any retirement, like, there’s no pension coming for me. So what exactly are my taxes going towards, I do not know. And every time I have to pay them, it ticks me off. Extremely. 

[00:39:12] BT: Me too. Me too.

[00:39:13] AJ: I don’t mind paying my taxes in Canada, of course. I’m like, “This is great. I support people having other kinds of public benefits ‘on my dime’.” [Laughter] No, I’m kidding. I don’t actually believe that it’s on my dime. No, I absolutely support people having, like, access to social services, public benefits, all of those kinds of things, if that’s what my taxes—a portion of my taxes are going towards, I think that’s great. Is that really happening in America? No. So, I mean, I guess there’s Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps and things like that— 

[00:39:55] BT: But they keep shrinking it! 

[00:39:56] AJ: —All of those things are just—mm. Anyways.

[00:40:00] BT: Yeah. They keep shrinking it and I think—I don’t know, I have lots of—lots of thoughts, lots of theories, lots of, you know, “Here’s my conspiracy theory about what the hell is going on.” But as you said, right, I just feel like this—the left—if you consider yourself to be part of the left—we have been out-organized, hunny. We’ve been out-organized. The evangelical Christians, the conservative right, who may or may not be evangelical Christians, but do believe in a sort of Manifest Destiny in the US sense, right, have no intentions of playing with your life. And yet, here we are. People are like, “Well, maybe if we just vote. Maybe if we just send some money to the Democratic Party. Maybe if we just send some money to our favorite nonprofits, then, you know, we’ll be able to change things.” And it’s like, we are working with an enemy who will definitely sacrifice you. So—

[00:41:16] AJ: And you know what—you know what partly—in part messed us up?

[00:41:21] BT: Integration. I’m just kidding.

[00:41:21] AJ: The left—[Laughter]. The left and the center being conflated. The center started taking up our language, our terms, and we were like, “Oh, they must be one of us.” But then you end up with Mr. Joe Biden—

[00:41:48] BT: Robinette.

[00 :41:48] AJ: —Who talks the talk but absolutely does not walk the walk.

[00:41:53] BT: Yo. And then only talks to talk sometimes, like out the side of his neck, like. And then you catch him and the mic still on, he don’t know, and it’s like, “Uhh.” Did you hear about [laughs]—

[00:42:02] AJ: So we thought—so the thing is, like, we thought—or people thought—because it wasn’t “we” cuz I don’t vote in this country—but people thought that our numbers were bigger than they actually were for one. And two, you have these like centrists saying, “Oh, but they mean well. It’s gonna be fine.” Meanwhile, it’s—you’ve got what you’re saying: people on the other side who are willing to sacrifice us, our lives, our well being. We really—we—I don’t know if I’m—

[00:42:46] BT: It’s like coming to—

[00:42:46] AJ: —I don’t know if I’m part of this “we” [laughs].

[00:42:48] BT: I’m just like, it’s like coming to—what do you call it?—like, coming to a gun battle with Pepsi, you know. I— 

[00:42:58] AJ: Oohh, shoot. 

[00:42:59] BT: [Laughter] It’s like, “Girl, what is your doing? That’s not gon stop a bullet. If anything, the caffeine is gon help them shoot you better.” Like, I—it really perplexes me when I see Black people in particular—and I know it comes from a place of fear and it comes from, like, a place of real ancestral trauma of just, like, “Well, we do what we gotta do to survive.” And—I don’t know, I guess maybe because I’m not scared of death either. So I—I’m like, “I would rather die than be enslaved.” That’s how I feel. And I was telling, like, you know, my friends, like, that’s my plan. Like, if shit—if it’s lookin’ doomsday, if it’s looking Sharknado, if it’s looking zombies are here, if it’s looking, I got to—honestly truly if it’s like I gotta live in the woods to survive, just go ahead and let me go. I’m—let me go. I will try again. I will reincarnate hopefully on another planet. Try again there.

[00:44:11] AJ: I wanna be like you. My mom says the same thing as you. She is not afraid to die, but I’m like, “I gotta know!” I want to know what’s happening, I gotta know what’s going on [laughs]!

[00:44:23] BT: I’ll know—I’ll know from the other realm.

[00:44:23] AJ: I don’t want it to be the end [laughs].

[00:44:24] BT: I’ll know from the other realm. I’ll know from the other realm how—look—

[00:44:29] AJ: I gotta get like that because, I am—

[00:44:29] BT: —Light a candle on your dresser for me [laughs].

[00:44:32] AJ: —I am too afraid to die. I think I would rather—I’d rather suffer just to see what’s happening. Is that—does that have anything to do with my chart [laughs]?

[00:44:43] BT: No, no, I don’t think so. I feel like—I mean, I feel like just being nosy. It’s just like, “I just wanna see what’s up. That’s it.” Me, I’m like—

[00:44:55] AJ: [Laughs] That sounds very maladaptive in the future that is coming. Considering I am very well aware that the end is nigh, and I’ve been saying this [laughs]. 

[00:45:04] BT: I know! 

[00:45:04] AJ: But if you’re like, “Wait, I thought you said that you didn’t have anything else to say on this topic. But we don’t know what you said in the first place,” you can go to season one episode six. It’s called Deathcraft Country, and in that episode, we read “Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights” by Angela Davis. And when it comes to this ugly future that we have in store, you can check out season two episode five, “The Emancipation of ZD: Black Feminist Futurity.” And in that episode, we read Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, with the wonderful, wonderful cohosts of the Lose Your Sister podcast. So what else? What else has been trending? [Pretends to cough] Kevin Samuels! [Laughs]

[00:46:02] BT: Kevin Samuels, so—

[00:46:04] AJ: Oooh Lordy!

[00:46:05] BT: Guys—

[00:46:06] AJ: Okay, so—

[00:46:08] BT: Guys—and I’m saying guys very intentionally—

[00:46:10] AJ: Oh dear. Dear oh dear.

[00:46:11] BT: —Guys, because you know, I try not to use gendered language like that on here but, you know [laughs]—Who did I tell—I [laughs]—or maybe I just be having conversations with myself because I’m a Gemini—but I was literally like, “Yo, the blessings are in the atmosphere.” Very churchy—blessings are in the atmosphere, you gotta reach up and grab it.

[00:46:34] AJ: “When the praise goes up the blessings, come down,” is that what it is?

[00:46:36] BT: Blessings come down! Yes! Because, trust me, when everybody was like, “Is this a joke? Is this real? Did it happen?” It did! The high value king, Kevin Samuels, is dead.

[00:46:48] AJ: Our Great Value—Walmart Great Value man. Okay.

[00:46:52] BT: Is dead. And apparently his momma is on GoFundMe raising money for his funeral? 

[00:46:56] AJ: Apparently, that’s not true, according to the family’s lawyer. Apparently that’s not true. She’s not authorized it. Any articles about his net worth are false.

[00:47:06] BT: Are false? Oh, dang! I was—I was excited about that. Dang.

[00:47:12] AJ: Anyways, if you all are wondering why we are rejoicing about somebody’s death—not that I’m rejoicing!

[00:47:18] BT: I am.

[00:47:20] AJ: [Laughs] I know, I texted you [laughs]—

[00:47:22] BT: I was like, “Hallelujah!”

[00:47:23] AJ: Let me tell—y’all, I was on Twitter—was it Thursday night that this all came out? Either Wednesday night or Thursday night, or Thursday afternoon—and I was like, “Yo, Brendane, I think I think Kevin Samuels died.” And you were like, all caps, “GOD IS GOOD.” And I was like, “Oookay.” Fiancé thang was like, “I don’t think that’s true. It’s probably fake.” And I was just keeping up with the news because, as you all know, I’m nosy [laughs]. So I was just refreshing to see if anybody—if any websites had confirmed it. I was like, “Kevin Samuels TMZ, Kevin Samuels TMZ” [laughter]—because they’re usually the first to confirm. But somebody on Twitter [unclear]—

[00:48:11] BT: TMZ know you dead before you know you dead.

[00:48:13] AJ: But—well [laughter]. It was more like TMZ don’t give a damn about Kevin Samuels. That was kinda the vibe on Twitter. So Kevin Samuels, for those of you who do not know, was a YouTube “high-value man.” So if you’re like, “When have you all talked about that? When have you two talked about that?” you can listen to season two episode twelve, Villain Origin Story where we spoke with Anuli about the high-value man and divine femininity Twitter stuff. So the godfather of that YouTube network, of that world of the manosphere, passed away on Thursday. There aren’t very many confirmed details about how, when, under what circumstances he passed. But let’s just say that Twitter rejoiced. A lot of Black—at least my Twitter feed rejoiced because he is misogynoiristic—or was misogynoiristic. He was definitely sexist, definitely colorist, definitely classist. And just all of the “-ists” that you can imagine. His whole thing was— 

[00:49:52] BT: I mean, a true role model. 

[00:49:55] AJ: Yes, his whole thing was a “high-value woman” has to look good and be submissive. And a “high-value man” has to make a lot of money. And they’re allowed to cheat. And any woman over 35 is—who is unmarried is a leftover woman. And his whole platform was about degrading Black women. It was about preying on fears and anxieties about being—about not finding love, essentially, because of all of the rhetoric that is spewed online with, you know, the way that data is used to tell us that we are not lovable, that we are the last picked, that we won’t be picked, and that we’re not valuable. So that was his platform. Now, I’m sure that you can see why women were like, “Good riddance.” Why Brendane said, “God is good.” [Laughs] All the time.

[00:51:04] BT: Hallelujah. I was texting people like, “Y’all know that nigga dead?” I feel like it, to me—I think I tweeted this—like, for me is more telling, right, that folks don’t think “untimely” death is an appropriate consequence for a man who’s built years of a platform on years of abusing Black women. We are so okay with Black women being abused that like, even when someone who literally—who literally said if you have a child, that you are not worth—like, you’re not worth love. If you have a child, right, that you’re not worth love. And, like, love that you want, right? It’s whatever love some man, who may or may not wash his body properly, wants to give you—

[00:52:05] AJ: Who may or may not clean his sheets.

[00:52:07] BT: Who may or may not clean his sheets, who wants to give you and the other three women that he just met, you know, whatever, you know—it’s really stunning to me to see just how—and I talk about this, I guess, in my research, too, right—like, what death does for Black men is it really elevates them to a place where they are honorable, even when they have not done an honorable thing. And I am not one of those people that is like, “Oh, you know, everybody born is worth celebrating when they die.” I don’t—I don’t believe that. You know, there are certain people that I’m sure you would agree with me—hopefully, if you’re listening to this—right? Like, Adolf Hitler, you know, died, thank goodness, you know. Hallelujah to that. What was that other—Strom Thurmond? Thank you, Lord. Um—

[00:53:06] AJ: Just—I think the whole, like, we shouldn’t—

[00:53:08] BT: You know, show me!

[00:53:08] AJ: —We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead thing. Why not? 

[00:53:14] BT: Why not? 

[00:53:15] AJ: Some—some people…some people—

[00:53:17] BT: Some people [unclear]—

[00:53:20] AJ: —You don’t have a good word to say about them. Like, this guy—this man died and did not have anybody who wanted to claim his dusty ass but his mother. Which tells you so much about one, Black woman, and two, a mother’s love.

[00:53:33] BT: Mother’s love, but it’s usually—

[00:53:35] AJ: Because—

[00:53:36] BT: Woo, not to knock some mothers but mothers enable sons to do bad things, I think, you know. Like, I think about this man who killed his girlfriend and the police found him at his momma’s house—I saw a show—and I said, “Wow. I can’t imagine being so blinded in ‘love’ that I would not allow my child to face the consequences of their actions.” Not saying that the police—you know, I’m anti-police, but just saying, like, that’s not love. That’s not love. That is something else. But I—

[00:54:21] AJ: They say you never really know until you have a child [laughs].

[00:54:25] BT: You never really know, but I just feel like—yeah.

[00:54:28] AJ: I asked my friend—she had a baby recently, and I said, “Is it like what everybody says, you know, that it’s just like this 00ndescribable feeling,” and she was just like, “I don’t know how to describe it.” But she was just like, “All I know is, like, I would die for my child. Like, I would die for her.” So—

[00:54:48] BT: Period. I love that.

[00:54:50] AJ: I think it’s something that is just—I don’t know! But by the time they get to be an adult, I can’t imagine it. I would be like, “Aren’t you responsible for your actions now? Aren’t you”—

[00:54:58] BT: Yeah. Well also you just—

[00:55:00] AJ: —But I don’t know! 

[00:55:01] BT: —You took a life. I think you need to be held accountable for that in some way, shape or form. I think people—this is my long-standing conspiracy [laughs] theory, I don’t know. Y’all may be like, “Wow, Brendane, you do a lot of thinking.” I really do. Um, so the other thing I be thinking about is like, “Is death a memory?” And I think people don’t like to speak ill of the dead because they don’t want people to speak ill of them when they die. But the whole catch to that is that you have to be a good person. Like, you have to be a good person. I can’t conquer the world and then be like, “Well, I just hope y’all remember that I was cute and five-two, you know, and that I had”—like, what? No, like, I don’t think that—I think fear of death keeps people from really, like, being able to speak the truth about a lot of things. and that’s one of them. But he deserves to have his name stomped, spat on.

[00:56:03] AJ: I—the thing—

[00:56:04] BT: Um, and the comparisons to Martin Luther King Jr.? 

[00:56:06] AJ: No. 

[00:56:07] BT: I said y’all are going to [laughs]—

[00:56:09] AJ: No. I have not [laughs]. 

[00:56:11] BT: —Going to hell. Straight to hell [laughter]. I don’t even believe in hell, but y’all goin’! y’all goin’, yo! 

[00:56:18] AJ: Listen, speaking of hell, this one guy—the reason I said “doesn’t clean his sheets” is because this guy said—he went on Twitter, on Elon Musk’s Internet, and said to the world, “I had a one-on-one session for $600 with Kevin Samuels. And he told me that I need to wash my sheets more often and spend more time with my son.” And I said, the bar is on the floor of hell.

[00:56:55] BT: And this—wow, spent—hmm. And I’m supposed to be— 

[00:57:00] AJ: You spent $600 for someone to tell you to wash your sheets more regularly and spend more time with your child. Why don’t you take that child support—why don’t you take that money and put it towards the arrears that you owe for your child support? Why don’t—why didn’t you do that? That would’ve been a better use of that $600. Wow.

[00:57:24] BT: And so—and I’m sure this man has heard those same pieces of advice from his baby mama. The other unfortunate people who are laying on those dirty bed sheets. The child probably has said, “Hey, Daddy! Can I see you more?” But it’s also very interesting to me, like, Black men—

[00:57:48] AJ: The bar is on the floor of hell.

[00:57:48] BT: —Literally can only—on the floor of hell. And it’s so interesting to me that we coddle men so much. Men even coddle each other. And so it’s just like, you know—

[00:58:03] AJ: But they go through so much Brendane. Their—

[00:58:05] BT: They do.

[00:58:05] AJ: Their life is just—it’s really hard.

[00:58:09] BT: Yeah, and “Black men aren’t men,” according to some gender theorists, and I’m putting air quotes around that. 

[00:58:17] AJ: Sounds gracious. I just—

[00:58:18] BT: They really can’t be held to that standard of patriarchy because they’re not men.

[00:58:22] AJ: I [sighs]—and the thing is, like, you can just see that these—that so many of the men who are commenting, they just—they want to be white men. 

[00:58:32] BT: They do.

[00:58:33] AJ: They are so homophobic, transphobic, colorist, all of these things. They want to be, like, the head of the household and blah, blah, blah. Because that’s what white supremacy told them that they should be. Instead of being like, “Oh, maybe things actually work well in this situation where women—where Black women are the heads of household. Maybe that’s how things are supposed to be.” And instead they fight against it because they’re like, “We just want to be like white men. We want to be like the men who took our power away.”

[00:59:11] BT: Right. “We want to be able to dominate and hurt you without fear of retaliation, without fear of that harm being reciprocated.” And the gag is no matter how many people you dominate, no matter how many people you harm, under the logics of white supremacy and anti-Blackness, you will always be proximate to death. And I—I don’t know it just really enrages me to see people dishonor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite how much I disagree with some of the things that he did and argued for—or fought for, right—he does have a legacy that is honorable, right? He was married to a Black woman. And yes, she was a light-skinned Black woman, but he was married to a Black woman. He has Black kids.

[01:00:18] AJ: And some bye-Rachel [biracial] ones [laughs]. 

[01:00:20] BT: You know, he has—and some other ones, you know. And to then say that losing Kevin Samuels is paramount to losing Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X, it just really, to me, shows that—um [laughs]. I don’t know you might have to, like, bleep me out on this one. But I was like, “You know what, honestly, Kevin Samuels in this moment is serving as an exemplar.” Like, I want you to understand that if you really believe in your heart that, like, hating Black women is how you should live your life, then, like, an untimely death, an excommunication from community, right, for people to disregard you, I think that should—that is the rightful outcome. Let’s stop making disrespecting Black women something that we can rehabilitate niggas from. I really—like, what if? What if we just leave them where they are with that and say, “Okay, well, where are the non-Black women who are lining up at your door to be with you?” [Laughs]

[01:01:34] AJ: Who are marching with you—

[01:01:35] BT: Who are marching—

[01:01:36] AJ: —And for you?

[01:01:37] BT: For you?

[01:01:37] AJ: Who are dying with you and for you?

[01:01:39] BT: Who are paying your bills? Who are feeding your son? Who are probably—who are probably washing your sheets behind your back? Probably helping you wash your clothes, helping—

[01:01:53] AJ: I mean—

[01:01:53] BT: —You eat your food.

[01:01:54] AJ: I think it’s interesting. You know, you talked about Martin Luther King at least having an honorable legacy. And legacy that Kevin Samuels has and will leave behind is not a positive one. You know, it’s not like when DMX died, or when Chadwick Boseman died, you know, people—people were sharing stories. People were coming online and being like, “I met Chadwick Boseman and, you know, he inspired me,” or “DMX, he did all of this stuff for his community. And yeah, he wasn’t perfect. But he did all of these things for his community, and he touched my life in some way.” None of the people who are coming to Kevin Samuels’s defense has said something like that. They’re not saying, “He helped me change my life or he helped me get my life together.” They’re like, “He said the things that Black women didn’t want to hear.” So that’s the legacy that he’s leaving behind. As you were saying, a legacy of abusing, debasing, denigrating Black women.

[01:03:01] BT: Yo. Didn’t wanna hear because we hear it everywhere else all the time. Yeah. We didn’t wanna to hear it. Yeah, someone also—

[01:03:09] AJ: They didn’t want to hear and it’s not because oh, it was something that was, like, hard to hear. It’s more just like this shit—this shit isn’t true.

[01:03:18] BT: It’s not true and what’s new as Megan [Thee Stallion] says—”What’s new?” Yeah, I saw someone compare him to bell hooks.

[01:03:28] AJ: Oh yeeeeaaaah. People were saying that bell hooks—oh, no, someone said, “Nobody made—nobody—women—Black women weren’t saying all of this when bell hooks died.” Or people weren’t coming for bell hooks when she died or something like that. And it’s like, “Y’all have never even opened up a book have you? You’ve never read bell hooks. bell hooks is someone who has actually [laughs] criticized and critiqued for being too nice to Black men, for wanting to rehabilitate black men. And y’all are gonna try and come for bell hooks because you haven’t read a motherfucking thing. All you know is that she’s a Black feminist and you think that something is wrong with Black feminism? [Sucks teeth] Gweh.

[01:04:09] BT: Yeah. She was about—she was like, “White feminism was gon’ have people out here tryna kill y’all. But let’s—let me bring y’all back. Actually we need Black men,” um, and woooo.

[01:04:23] AJ: That’s probably who they need to read. That should be, like, their transition text [laughs]. From Kevin Samuels to bell hooks to Combahee River Collective [laughs].

[01:04:33] BT: That would require them to read and, you know, I—the statistic is 40% of Black American men are functionally illiterate. When you put one-and-one together, you get two. You get two [laughs].

[01:04:53] AJ: I am sorry to hear that. I just think that’s awful. And I think it has so many broader and deeper implications for the world. But that’s enough about—

[01:05:09] BT: The dead [laughs]. 

[01:05:10] AJ: —Mr. Samuels.

[01:05:12] BT: Voldemort [laughs].

[01:05:13] AJ: We are gonna go to [laughs]—

[01:05:17] BT: The next thing. 

[01:05:18] AJ: We’re gonna go back to—we’re gonna go to the next thing, which is the Met Gala: The Gilded Age, which was the theme. 

[01:05:27] BT: Oh, that was the theme!

[01:05:29] AJ: Yes, Gilded Age—The Gilded Age was the theme. And Brendane has no idea [laughs]. She’s like, “I did not pay attention.”

[01:05:37] BT: Yeah, I was like, the way I absolutely have no clue. I think I saw—now that I’m, like, thinking about it even more—I saw Hillary Clinton’s thing, disaster. Apparently, the dress was modeled after Harriet Tubman and something else? 

[01:05:56] AJ: Oh no, it had had Harriet Tubman’s name stitched into I think the collar or something like that, it was embroidered. And I was just like, “This is another instance of the ancestors saying ‘Stop invoking my name!'” This was one of those situations. 

[01:06:16] BT: Wow. 

[01:06:17] AJ: Stop invoking my name. 

[01:06:18] BT: So it’s actually so much worse than what I thought. Wow.

[01:06:23] AJ: Really, that’s worse than her wearing an outfit inspired by Harriet Tubman? I can’t even imagine what that would be.

[01:06:27] BT: Because it’s like, yeah, you’re wearing—you have my likeness on you, my name.

[01:06:32] AJ: Oh, oh, and then, of course—I don’t know if you saw on Twitter, but people were talking about how Harriet Tubman used to knock out babies when they were running away. And everybody assumed that she was, like, punching them out or something when she was actually just using medicinal herbs to make them sleep. It’s like, “Of course, of course you would assume that the way that we would be—that a Black woman would knock babies out would be to bash them on the head.” Like, that makes a lot of sense. Anyways, that was going around. That was trending a little bit. On the Tweets, on the Tweeters. 

[01:07:08] BT: I’m telling you, no child left behind left all the children behind. All of them. [Laughter] All of them because it just—

[01:07:17] AJ: No, like.

[01:07:18] BT: But you saw some, I think—

[01:07:19] AJ: Medicine women! Medicine women and speaking of medicine women and the African ancestral arts [laughs]—Radha Blank! If y’all don’t know who Radha Blank is, you need to get on Netflix and watch her movie, The 40-Year-Old Version

[01:07:37] BT: I saw a part of that [laughs].

[01:07:40] AJ: She—it is so funny. There’s a scene where she’s rapping and she’s like, “My knees are writing checks that my back can’t cash,” and I was with—me and fiancé thang, we were like, “Ahhhhhh, we know that exact feeling. We know what you’re talking about.” [Laughter] But her outfit, it was inspired by African practitioners of ancestral art, so that’s what she called it. She had her fingertips dyed blue, like, you know, like the indigo of that era. She was carrying a machete, she had her hair wrapped up and I was just like, “Okay! I see you,” cuz that is where we’d be at in those years. I believe the Gilded Age was 1870 to 1900. So I was like [laughs]—I was like, “I would have gone there dressed like a slave.” [Laughs] Devin was like, “So how would you make that high fashion?” And I was like, “No, no, no, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. It would be a protest. And then I would never be invited again.” And he was like, “But you saw what happened when, like, AOC tried to do that kind of protest outfit?” And I was like, “Her outfit was Versace!” [Laughs] 

[01:08:58] BT: It also was not cute.

[01:08:59] AJ: Like, she deserved to be roasted for that just because she put “Eat The Rich” on a $20,000 dress, like she deserved to be roasted for that. 

[01:09:05] BT: Right, girl, we gon roast you in the dress.

[01:09:07] AJ: I want it to be historically accurate, okay. Not high fashion. Not that I was ever invited to the Met Gala, or ever would be, but if I did that, I would never be invited again. Because white people don’t like to be reminded of their past and present. I tell you that much. 

[01:09:28] BT: You know—

[01:09:29] AJ: Unless it was the emancipation part.

[1:09:32] BT: Yeah, I—actually, I watch this show called The Repair Shop. That’s what I do with my time. And it’s like set in Britain, England—one of them. And they have all these family heirlooms from like the 1800s, the 1700s, the First World War. And they’re like, “This is over 200-years-old. Can you restore this broken belt?” or this, like, table, and then you see them when they get it restored, the crying because they’re like, “There’s so much family history in this.” And I’m like, “Yo, this was around when people were enslaved.” And it’s just so interesting to see, um, European people just so attached to that history [laughter]. Yeah, no, they—there’s a particular kind of history that they love, right, like, that I think you showing up dressed as a slave would—high fashion slave would be—

[01:10:29] AJ: No, it wouldn’t be high fashion, that’s what I’m saying.

[01:10:32] BT: No, I know, that was my joke. 

[01:10:33] AJ: It wouldn’t be high fashion! [Laughs]

[01:10:34] BT: I put a little spin on it—high fashion slave, which is just [unclear]—

[01:10:37] AJ: [Laughs] I don’t know, maybe that’s completely inappropriate but—because AOC didn’t get roasted for going to the Met Gala, necessarily. It was because she tried to do this protest thing—well, actually, I guess it was because she went cuz I think it cost, like, $15,000 just to attend or something like that. 

[01:10:58] BT: It’s not a free?! 

[01:11:00] AJ: No! It’s a fundraiser. So you have to pay for a plate—I think—it’s a gala, so you pay for a plate, essentially, or you pay for a table and it’s quite expensive. But you also have to be invited. It’s, like, it’s the whole thing. So.

[01:11:14] BT: Wow, I’m over—[laughter]. Let me go back to my little—my little South Carolina. I’m like, “What in the world?!” You have to pay and then I gotta wear expensive outfits? Mm, I—

[01:11:29] AJ: I mean, usually the outfits are donated. I mean, then—surely you heard about the whole Kim Kardashian thing? And her wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress? Wow, you really don’t have the whites on your timeline.

[01:11:42] BT: Not at all! I saw a picture of the family and all of them looked like they were going to a different event. [Laughter] I’m like “Where—what’s happening?” And all the outfits looked bad. But I didn’t know that Kim K. had on Marilyn Monroe’s dress.

[01:12:04] AJ: Yes. So she—apparently she crash-dieted for three weeks—

[01:12:10] BT: Oh! Okay, I did hear people talking about that!

[01:12:12] AJ: —Because she couldn’t fit into the dress, initially. She still couldn’t fit into the dress, so they weren’t able to actually zip it all the way up. She dyed her hair platinum blonde, and just all of these unhealthy things. I’m just—yeah.

[01:12:27] BT: Why didn’t she just wear a wig? 

[01:12:32] AJ: I—I don’t know. I don’t know. But my—I just—yeah, people are—people—the thing is people act like it’s normal. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, she crash-dieted to lose 15 pounds in three weeks. That’s great.” And then still didn’t even—

[01:12:48] BT: Yeah, cuz, I mean—

[01:12:48] AJ: Well, that’s besides the point whether she fit into the dress or not. I think it’s just, you know, promoting these kinds of, like, unhealthy habits and—

[01:12:55] BT: Cuz Beyoncé has that—

[01:12:55] AJ: —I’ve just—I’ve been talking about this with one of my friends about, like, us not wanting to set this example for our niece—not our real niece, but, like, our play niece, you know [laughs]. 

[01:13:06] BT: Awww. 

[01:13:07] AJ: My god daughter that, like, it’s normal for you to constantly be trying to change your body. So, I dunno— 

[01:13:17] BT: Yeah—

[01:13:17] AJ: It’s just—that’s so fucked up. 

[01:13:19] BT: Yeah, I mean, Beyoncé—didn’t Beyoncé have to do one of those crash diets to be in Dreamgirls, too. There was like a whole—

[01:13:25] AJ: Yeah, she did the, um—

[01:13:27] BT: —that was a whole thing. The lemonade—

[01:13:29] AJ: The master cleanse? No lemonade diet [laughs]. 

[01:13:32] BT: Yeah, it was like lemon— 

[01:13:33] AJ: No, no, it was lemon, maple syrup and cayenne—

[01:13:36] BT: Yeah!

[01:13:36] AJ: —I think, that’s all she was drinking, something like that. 

[01:13:39] BT: The Lemonade Diet. 

[01:13:41] AJ: Then there was, of course, Blake Lively. I think she—people said that she had the best dress of the gala. She—it was basically inspired by the Statue of Liberty. So when she went up there, she—her dress was bronze. And then on the red carpet, it kind of got flipped and then it had the—that, like, green patina instead. So it was kind of like the way that the Statue of Liberty has been—has degraded and people were like, “Wow, so impressive that she was able to pay this much attention to detail with her dress, but not for where she got married, which was on a plantation.” So.

[01:14:24] BT: Yikes. And, I’m going to—woo. Okay, this is really going to make me look—so Blake Lively?

[01:14:33] AJ: You’re like, “Who is this?”

[01:14:35] BT: I am. Um, Gossip Girl? Is that…? 

[01:14:40] AJ: Yes! Yes, she was in Gossip Girl. The funny thing is, is I don’t associate her with that. I associate her with Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But yes, you are correct. She is in Gossip Girl.

[01:14:51] BT: You know, and honestly, I’ve never seen an episode of Gossip Girl but for some reason I’m like, “Blake Lively sounds like a Gossip Girl name,” so.

[01:14:59] AJ: The blonde one. 

[01:15:01] BT: Yeah, I—there was a period—before people judge me, okay, I was—a period of time in my life where I was—I went to seminary at 12-years-old. I studied the Bible for two years as the youngest minister in my church. For a minute, I did not listen to anything besides white Christian music. 

[01:15:25] AJ: That is why you preach the way you do—

[01:15:28] BT: Nineties R&B when I can sneak it in.

[01:15:30] AJ: —Up on this podcast. 

[01:15:30] BT: So I don’t know. There’s like, a period of the 2000s where I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know what the hell is going on?”

[01:15:37] AJ: [Laughs] Hang on, you were 12 when Gossip Girl was out? God, I feel old.

[01:15:41] BT: When did it come out? I was—

[01:15:43] AJ: I couldn’t tell you [laughs]. I know I was in high school. 

[01:15:46] BT: I was 12 in like 2005.

[01:15:48] AJ: I was in high school, so.

[01:15:51] BT: I was in middle school.

[01:15:54] AJ: Wow, you’re younger than my younger brother.

[01:15:55] BT: I was, like, one of those annoying people that would be like, “Do you know Jesus?” [Laughs]

[01:16:00] AJ: [Laughs] People would be like, “Do you know Blake Lively?” and you’d be like, “Do you know Jesus?”

[01:16:03] BT: Do you know Jesus? I have these cool pamphlets for you to learn more.

[01:16:09] AJ: Awww, lil’ Brendie. That is so cute. Is that why you’re into cults and stuff now?

[01:16:15] BT: Possibly, possibly. I think the cult stuff helps me understand my childhood a lot more. I think the church I was in operated a lot like a cult, in particular how they treated me especially. And, like, how I was demonized, literally, and that’s giving very much cult behavior. But, you know, freedom! Freedom. Freedom freedom.

[01:16:49] AJ: Well, if you all are into cult stuff, you can DM us for recs because we definitely have some for you.

[01:16:54] BT: I know. Deadly Devotion on Discovery+.

[01:16:58] AJ: Oh, thank you, adding that one to the list! 

[01:17:01] BT: Deadly Devotion, it’s not just—

[01:17:02] AJ: I watched every documentary about NXIVM, the sex cult. Ooh, it’s crazy.

[01:17:07] BT: I need to watch more about that one because the fact that celebrities were recruiting people.

[01:17:13] AJ: But I mean, that’s basically Scientology. I haven’t watched that yet, actually, the Leah Remini Scientology one. I haven’t quite gotten there. Deadly Devotion. The thing I’m watching right now is The Staircase. I’m watching that again. And I’ve watched both of the series on The Staircase, which is not a cult thing, but I’m into it. I started watching Tokyo Vice last night on HBO Max. Very good. And…I’m just kidding, professors! I’m doing my fieldwork [laughter].

[01:17:44] BT: I’m like, “Oh, yeah.” 

[01:17:46] AJ: But anyways to wrap up the Met Gala stuff. Again, we’ve talked about these kinds of things before. AOC wearing a very expensive dress at a very expensive event that then said “Eat the Rich” is kind of…hypocrisy. So you can check out our aesthetics episode, which was the beginning of this season, episode 1, called “Liberation Don’t Cost a Thing,” and then re: the plantation, fugitivity, and all of that, you can check out “Fleeing the Plantation,” which was season two, episode four, in which we are joined by the wonderful graduate student and educator Naomi Simmons-Thorne to talk about her essay that I cannot remember the title of, but was dope as hell. That’s all that matters. 

[01:18:39] BT: It was really good. 

[01:18:39] AJ: It’s on the website. It’ll be linked in the show notes. And, of course, it’s on the syllabus, which is on the website [laughs].

[01:18:49] BT: Yes, like, what will we talk about in season three?

[01:18:52] AJ: I know. Y’all this is actually going to be our last live episode of the season. We have one more episode coming out for you, which is going to be a slightly condensed version of the amazing roundtable that we did last week with professors Autumn Womack, Riche J. Daniel Barnes, who we had on the podcast, Kevin Quashie, and of course, the wonderful vocalist and composer Candice Hoyes. So you all will get a little taste of that and then we will have the video up as soon as—I was gonna say humanly possible, but actually it’s more like as soon as Alyssa-ly possible. So. [Laughs]

[01:19:40] BT: It’ll be at some point. Well, you know, we are so excited to, I guess, semi-sign off. Semi-get to our summers, get to other things and we just want to say that we love all of you. And thank you so much for listening, for riding with us! 

[01:20:02] AJ: Yes!

[01:20:03] BT: Wow! 

[01:20:03] AJ: Ridin’, rockin’, all of it. 

[01:20:06] BT: Rockin’. And you sat through us talking for over an hour on this one. But this is, like, an—basically an unstructured conversation between me and Alyssa, like, this is basically what we sound like when we’re just talking to each other about things. 

[01:20:06] AJ: Yeah, it’s basically how we sound before and after every single episode that we record [laughter].

[01:20:28] BT: For sure. But it’s just—it’s been such a pleasure and an honor. And so I just don’t want y’all to think we take it lightly because we don’t at all.

[01:20:40] AJ: And we just hope that this was just a space for you to listen and feel like you were a part of a conversation with the two of us and not feel like, “I gotta go read about what’s going on in the world. And I’ve gotta learn this new term,” and, you know, all of that stuff. Sometimes it’s okay to just discuss and hang out, you know? It’s not always about intellectualizing. Although, I mean, Brendane just does that naturally, because she’s brilliant, and always thinking, but.

[01:21:13] BT: Aww, that’s so sweet. I think I do it because, literally there, you know, there’s the Gemini, there’s all these things in my brain. I’m like, “But what about this? What about that?” But yeah, I guess this episode—last thing I’mma be like, is just, you know, please lead a life in which people will not rejoice when you die—and not rejoicing, like, “Woo, we’re celebrating!” But like, “Whew, we celebratin’. Thank God you are gone,” you know? And that is the life that—

[01:21:46] AJ: Yes, you want them to rejoice about your life, not rejoice about your death. I think that’s the key.

[01:21:52] BT: Right. And however, you can do that, do that [laughs].

[01:22:00] AJ: Absolutely. Well, that is our episode, everyone. Thank you all for listening. This episode was produced by Alyssa James and Brendane Tynes, and distributed in partnership with the American Anthropological Association. 

[01:22:15] [Music fades up]

[01:22:15] AJ: This season of the podcast is generously funded by a grant from the Arts and Science Graduate Council, and donations, and of course, Patreon support from listeners just like you.

[01:22:25] BT: Thank you all for all of that support, we would not be here without it. And so if you liked this episode, please, por favor, leave a rating and review on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. And we would love to hear what you have to say about this episode, so be sure to follow us on Instagram at Zora’s Daughters, and Twitter at zoras_daughters. And for transcripts, syllabi, and information on how to cite us or to become a patron, please visit our website

[01:22:54] AJ: Yes, that is it. Of course, of course, be kind to yourselves. Bye! 

[01:23:01] BT: Bye! 

[01:23:03] AJ: Toodle-oo. Ta ta. Goodbye. Farewell. That’s all I got, I don’t even know where I was going with that [laughs].

[01:23:14] BT: Goodbye, farewell, au biedazine—oh no, that’s not even a word [laughs].

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