Political Illusion | Crooked Media
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March 26, 2024
Pod Save The People
Political Illusion

In This Episode

Trump forced to pay the piper, Rio police chief arrested for murder, bittersweet news out of Wales, and Freaknik’s hidden truth.


Donald Trump hits $454 million bond deadline. Will Letitia James move in on his cash, buildings?

Boeing CEO to step down in broad management shake-up as 737 Max crisis weighs on aerospace giant

A message from Catherine, The Princess of Wales

Tammy Murphy drops out of NJ Senate Democratic primary to replace indicted Sen. Bob Menendez

Meet Europe’s first Black head of government — in Wales

Rio Police Chief Arrested for Killing Marielle Franco

‘Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told,’ Hulu’s Documentary on the Notorious HBCU Spring Break Tradition 






DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode it’s me, Myles, and Kaya, talking about the underreported news with regard to race, justice and equity. The news that you probably should have heard about but didn’t. And you will now. Here we go. [music break] 




Kaya Henderson: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. We’re so happy to be back with you this week. I am Kaya Henderson and you can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya. 


Myles E. Johnson: I’m Myles E. Johnson. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter and TikTok at @pharaohrapture.  


DeRay Mckesson: And this is DeRay at @deray on Twitter. 


Kaya Henderson: So friends, lots of interesting things happening this week. Um. Can we start with Candace Owens and the Breakfast Club interview that Myles sent to us this week? And I, I will confess that I knew Candace Owens was I know what her shtick is and all of that jazz, but I listened to that whole entire interview, and that was my first time really, you know, delving into the Candace Owens universe. Oh, my soul friends, I mean, I don’t even know where to start. What I will say is um, I don’t think that Candace believes a third of what she talks about. I think um, I think that she, like a lot of people, have staked out this place where she is controversial. She makes a lot of money, whatever, whatever. And um and I thought the most ironic thing about that whole interview was, you know, they were talking about her friction with Ben Shapiro because of her pro-Palestinian stance. And, you know, Charlamagne was like, well, you know, he shouldn’t he have fired you by now? And she said, Ben Shapiro doesn’t have the power to fire me. And then the next day she was fired. Um.


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 


Kaya Henderson: So I thought that was very interesting, but– 


Myles E. Johnson: Feeling Black now. [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson: My favorite meme was like– 


Myles E. Johnson: [?]. 


DeRay Mckesson: –when you complain about DEI and then they fire you. 


Kaya Henderson: Uh huh.


Myles E. Johnson: Right. [laughter] I’m always super fascinated with um okay, maybe not, I need to stop. I’m overusing some words. I’m not super, nor am I necessarily fascinated. That is just part of my [laughing] my [?] my lexicon. 


DeRay Mckesson: You’re like let me rein it in. Let me rein it in. 


Myles E. Johnson: I am I am a tidbit curiously peaked. [laugh] At um at with Candace Owens. I think the thing that is the most interesting is for me is when you don’t, that’s why I’m glad that you all um watched it is because I think she’s really interesting with how normal she sets things up. Like, I think that if you’re somebody who’s coming from a ignorant place, not even I might use it as a pejorative. Just you don’t know about a thing. 


Kaya Henderson: Right. 


Myles E. Johnson: Or anything like that. How she sets it up was logical. And she and she’ll she’ll, she’ll kind of connect it with logic and you’re like, oh, I kind of believe that. Me too. Why why why is everybody talking about chicken and and and their private parts in this in the songs. And then she’ll connect it with and this is how come insert conservative far right thing should happen. I’m like huh, that’s she’s an–


Kaya Henderson: Yes. She’s–


Myles E. Johnson: –interesting monster– 


Kaya Henderson: She’s dangerous.


Myles E. Johnson: –to watch. Yeah. [laugh]


Kaya Henderson: She’s dangerous because she’s very smart. She is very smart. She sounds quite reasonable. Um. She is gonna she gives you her pedigree and you’re like, okay, like she’s been to good schools and whatever. She’s also giving you a little, I’m Black. I was discriminated against in high school, I blah, blah, blah, whatever, whatever. And so it sounds very, very reasonable. But you’re right, Myles, if you if you don’t do your own research, if you don’t know a lot of what she’s talking about for your own self, you will go down a road that is not the right road child. But I think perhaps the most hilarious moment of that um interview. [laughing] Was was I mean, you got to revoke the Black card child because the people said God is good. And she said, Amen. 


DeRay Mckesson: It was the best. She said, God is good. Amen. You’re like what?


Myles E. Johnson: Amen. [?]


Kaya Henderson: For those people, for those people who have never been to a Black church in your life, it is our custom that when somebody says God is good, we say in response, all the time. And then the person says, all the time and we say God is good. It is like saying, God bless you after you sneeze, right? It is just that regular. And she says, oh, I’ve never heard that before. And they say, have you ever been to a Black church? And she’s like, I guess not enough, which was kind of interesting. Mmm.


DeRay Mckesson: I’ve been surprised to see people that I know just intrigued by her in a way. And I’m like, you know, it she to me is entertainment. But I think you’re right that like, she presents it well, there’s like, you know, the best liars always have a kernel of truth. And she has like a kernel of something true in what she says. I think what this reminds me of, though, is something we talked about, is that this is the like, wash, rinse, repeat cycle of what happens. Is that they were gonna throw that girl away. There’s like, we knew that on day one that she was disposable, that she will become famous off of criticizing Black people and being the Black woman who doesn’t like Black people, like she will become famous in white supremacist circles for that. And then they will throw her away when they don’t need her and they’ll replace her with somebody else. That is just we saw that coming 10,000 miles away. 


Kaya Henderson: And she showed up on grandma’s doorstep with, you know, now she’s coming back to the Black community. Now she’s on Charlamagne and Joe Budden. 


DeRay Mckesson: Oh she’s talking, did you see the, there’s another show where she’s like um, Black artists are so, Black people are so creative and Black art– 


Kaya Henderson: Oh, yeah. 


DeRay Mckesson: –is so powerful. You’re like girl.


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah she said that in an interview.


Kaya Henderson: Yes. [laughing]


DeRay Mckesson: Okay. She did that somewhere else too. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. Yeah [?] that’s–


She she’s back. 


Myles E. Johnson: –probably her running bit.


Kaya Henderson: She’s back and–


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: –cousin Candace wants to come back to the cookout, y’all. 


Myles E. Johnson: And I think also I’m super tinfoil hat when it comes to Black conservatism. Like I’m kind of I’m kind of all [?]. So um, I do think there’s something about her getting, like, getting thrown away. How, like she did. I’m a little concerned about, like, what she’ll end up finding next. And when I think about how, like, the far right is fracturing off, I just, I don’t know, I could see little like alliances of of of of just, like, transphobic but not totally accepted Black conservatives that make their own section. And I’m always um, I don’t know, sometimes it feels a little easier or safer when you’re just that token in the white space because you’re a weirdo. But if you get too many Black people who are believing the same BS at one time, and then all of a sudden there’s ten and it’s a group and it’s a movement, then it’s, oh, y’all came together made, um maybe I should stop talking, but I’m like, I don’t want Black Fox, you know what I mean? I don’t want [laugh] I don’t want um them creating a Black answer to that because then that creates a culture around it. Whereas when you’re just with Ben Shapiro, you’re just a token. 


DeRay Mckesson: I will say uh you know, the the thing that I found effective with these kind of people is actually, like, what I know it’s simple, but the question of like, God is good. It’s like the simple questions where they have to like ex- like what is racism? Like those sort of questions are where they is where it short circuits. Right? 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


DeRay Mckesson: Because you got to define the terms with these people, when you just go in as if there’s a shared understanding, she will flip the script every time and just run circles around you. And that’s what she does. And you, you notice that she never debates uh political, like she’s not on political podcasts. She’s on culture podcasts talking about politics. And that is for a reason that she’s not on a show where, like, you can pull up her old clips or they just aren’t doing that. And like, as much as I’m, I’m annoyed with all the people who’ve interviewed her, I’m also mindful that their expertise is the culture. Like that’s what they know well, they know music and art and fashion and sports. They don’t know what’s going on in the White House. They never know like, you know, they’re reading the article ten minutes before they interview. 


Myles E. Johnson: Uh Uh. 


Kaya Henderson: Uh Oh.


DeRay Mckesson: I don’t–


Myles E. Johnson: DeRay–


DeRay Mckesson: They are not experts on it. They aren’t. They [?]–


Myles E. Johnson: Charlemagne was at the White House. He interviewed the, he was interview [?] candidates. 


DeRay Mckesson: So was Sexyy Red Myles. 


Myles E. Johnson: Huh? 


DeRay Mckesson: So was Sexyy Red. [laughter]


Kaya Henderson: I love it. 


DeRay Mckesson: What did Sexyy Red say? What did they got an in? What was the–


Myles E. Johnson: No, that’s Glo, that’s GloRilla. Hold on. [banter] Your Black card, your Black card is up for review. 


Kaya Henderson: That is– 


DeRay Mckesson: No no no. 


Myles E. Johnson: You have fourteen days. 


DeRay Mckesson: That was Sexyy Red. That’s Sexyy Red!


Myles E. Johnson: That was GloRilla. That was GloRilla.


DeRay Mckesson: No, no, let me look. 


Myles E. Johnson: Oh, my God. 


Kaya Henderson: Oh Jesus. 


Myles E. Johnson: You ain’t gotta tell me. How many times I done watch that. That was Glorilla. Yes.


DeRay Mckesson: You know all of them. [banter] All the rappers, all the rappers, all the rappers went to the White House. And that– 


Myles E. Johnson: But I got–


DeRay Mckesson: –did not make them experts on politics. 


Myles E. Johnson: I guess what I, guess the only thing I was trying to push back on, just very, just very softly push back on, was the fact that Charlamagne individually has really pushed himself to talk about politics and be taken seriously there. So of course not just like a being invited to the White House, but he’s put himself in countless times in these very political, um conversations as a voice, and that it’s even been documented. I think that was a um, it was an article, I think, in the Washington Post, really um dissecting Charlamagne as um a go to voice for a lot of politicians, um both Republican and um Democrat. So I think, I think just dropping their responsibility. So, so having somebody like Candace Owens there and having really no, no pushback. No, no, no, no interruption to that, I think I think that sure yeah maybe GloRilla really doesn’t have that responsibility. But I think Charlamagne does because GloRilla did say that ain’t my business. [banter]


DeRay Mckesson: GloRilla. Yeah. I’m not. So I actually I don’t, we aren’t saying different things. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


DeRay Mckesson: I agree that the responsibility is there. I’m just saying that the expertise is not. So they have–


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 


DeRay Mckesson: –been in the room. I think that they are. I think that there’s a group of people who are bridging the gap between politics and culture for people. But, you know, Candace is no fool, like Candace knows her, she knows enough to twist it. 


Kaya Henderson: Yes. 


DeRay Mckesson: And I think they know. They know more than their listeners know, which is not more then or as much as Candace knows. 


Kaya Henderson: Candace, that’s right.


DeRay Mckesson: That’s what I’m trying to say.


Kaya Henderson: That is right. [banter] Um.


DeRay Mckesson: Did y’all see, though, today? I know this is uh, you know, I’m just bringing this up because I saw it today. Is that the see, the CEO of Boeing is going to step down like the leadership. 


Kaya Henderson: I did. 


DeRay Mckesson: Some of the top leaders at Boeing. Shout out to them because I’ve been nervous to fly. So I’m happy that whoever forced these people out, that ain’t got nothing to do with, you know, actually it has something to do with race. Because remember that they tried to say that the plane problems were because of DEI. Do you remember that? 


Kaya Henderson: Yes, yes, that was– 


Myles E. Johnson: What was wild. 


Kaya Henderson: –one of the things. That was [?]. 


Myles E. Johnson: That is wild.


DeRay Mckesson: And it’s all white people resigning. It wasn’t us. 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. It was.


Myles E. Johnson: Has there been a settlement about that um about what g–


DeRay Mckesson: The door coming off? 


Myles E. Johnson: [?] Yeah. 


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: Not yet. 


DeRay Mckesson: I think they got $1,000. No, I think they got $1,000. 


Kaya Henderson: What? 


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah, I think they got I’m pretty sure it was. It was like a thousand, every it was–


Kaya Henderson: Fo the people on the plane?


DeRay Mckesson: It was $1,000 per person. 


Kaya Henderson: Just stop it. Just stop. That’s ridiculous. You going to pay me way more than $1,000 if the if the door flies off my plane. 


Myles E. Johnson: Oh my God. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m just letting American and Delta–


Myles E. Johnson: And I’m–


Kaya Henderson: And whoever else I fly, know. It’s gonna push– 


Myles E. Johnson: Listen. 


Kaya Henderson: –upward of a thousand dollars.


Myles E. Johnson: And even when y’all pay me, I’m still calling Gayle King. [laughter]


Kaya Henderson: What about Princess Kate’s revelation? We talked about it a little bit last week, and I feel like, I I said I called it. I was like, what if she’s really sick and she doesn’t want to tell her kids and yada yada yada? Meanwhile, the world bullied the lady into saying whatever she said that she got the cancer. 


DeRay Mckesson: Oh Kaya, she was not bullied. Okay, I’m sad De’Ara’s not here–


Kaya Henderson: Listen! 


DeRay Mckesson: –because me and De’Ara are on the same page about this one. 


Myles E. Johnson: Our family will not be divided over–


Kaya Henderson: Listen. 


Myles E. Johnson: –the royal family. [banter]


Kaya Henderson: [?] I’m down with that. I don’t–


Myles E. Johnson: Our royal family is more important. So. [laughter]


Kaya Henderson: I don’t care much. I don’t care that much. Uh. But I will say that just because they sent out the janky picture does not give you a right to know all of her business. That’s my position. 


DeRay Mckesson: I just think they gave up. This is like the cost of imperialism. And they gave up a private life for the riches of imperialism. And here we are. And I think–


Myles E. Johnson: Right. 


DeRay Mckesson: –that honestly, it’s like the it’s the weird lie. It’s like the fake photo. So the fake photo is weird. Then and you know, if she has cancer, blaming the fake photo on her is weird. Y’all could have been like some random social media person– 


Kaya Henderson: But I think to me, this is a whole generational thing, right? Like there’s a huge generational divide that I think is what we see playing out, because what the Palace wants to do is what it’s been doing. Status quo stuff, smoke and mirrors, put out a picture, do whatever, whatever. These young royals have been very different, right? They have. They have, probably not a ton more, but they have gone out of their way to try to create a modicum of privacy for themselves and their families, even with Harry and Meghan moving away and da da da like, they’re trying to eke out a new thing. And I think what you are seeing is the culture clash, right? The, the the company is like, this is what we do. We deflect, we edit photos, we blah blah, blah. And she’s like [?] I’m out here getting chemo and trying to raise my kids, and we got to do this a different way. And so um but the the crazy thing that I heard this morning on the news was some the reporter said, well, now that she’s made this video and explained, you know, there’s an outpouring of empathy and people are super whatever. And do we think that, you know, the speculation is going to stop. And this reporter on the Today show said, um well, we we suspect that a lot of the um, a lot of the conspiracy theories and mean things that came out about her were coming from Russia and Iran. And so we don’t think that they’re going to stop. They’re meant to weaken the the British political blah, blah, blah. I was like, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait, wait a minute. 


Myles E. Johnson: No this is what Black folks call Russian [?]  [laugh]


Kaya Henderson: What? 


Myles E. Johnson: Because I know the negroes who did that. And they are not from Russia.


Kaya Henderson: Right. Russia or Iran? 


Myles E. Johnson: They are just nosey. [laugh]


Kaya Henderson: That’s what we doing? Mmm.


Myles E. Johnson: I think the cracks started um showing you know of course during the Meghan and Harry stuff. And I think one of the things about that um that Oprah interview that I found the most fascinating, which by the way, if you can find that Oprah interview with them, please send it to me because it has been washed. Like I’m like, I’m like, where is that interview? Why can I not find it? I can–


DeRay Mckesson: Really? 


Myles E. Johnson: I can not find it anywhere. Paid free nothing and I and let me and I’m a Limewire child. So I know how to pirate. Um. [laugh] So if I can’t find it, it’s unfindable. Um. But any who. Um. I thought what was so interesting was how um antiquated the palace was. I think sometimes when something’s really big and rich, I you know, just me being also somebody who lives under capitalism. I also associate that with sophisticated and complex and savvy. And, I’m shocked with the Meghan stuff. How unsavvy it is. Like it’s that, oh, like, even what they were doing and Megan was that old school um old Hollywood reporter. I’ll give you a scoop if you don’t do this like this old stuff. I’m like, well do you not know that a tweet can just set this off? Like, I don’t know, it was it’s like they’re living and operating in an old, old, old, old world and trying to apply that to this very new, new, new, new, new world. And um, this is just one of the, one of the many cases where I think we’re beginning to see, like, the crack of that, like, I mean, I don’t want to give the palace any tips. For obvious reasons, but they could use, um maybe. I don’t know if it’s a youth thing. I don’t know if any, if it’s a respecting and understanding the computer things and the internet stuff, but they can they can use some people over there who, who really get how this new culture is working. And it’s not just, you know, giving scoops to the gossip to cover up this and da da da da da.


DeRay Mckesson: Um. Let me just double back on the Boeing thing real quick. So I don’t know where I saw the $1,000 thing, but I can’t refind it. So maybe the thousand dollars is not quite right. But what I did find–


Myles E. Johnson: The $1,000 is right next to Sexyy Red. My [?]. [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson:  Right, right, right, right next to Sexyy Red. But Boeing is being sued for a billion dollars by a set of airline uh–


Myles E. Johnson: There we go. 


DeRay Mckesson: –passengers on that flight. 


Kaya Henderson: Those are my zeros. 


DeRay Mckesson: And being investigated by um, the Justice Department, actually, for violating a 2021 settlement that resulted in two plane crashes. So um, so hopefully there is a, you know, there might not be a Boeing soon. It might be renamed the last name of one of the people– 


Myles E. Johnson: Right. Right.


DeRay Mckesson: –who was on that. Who was on that flight. 


Myles E. Johnson: Hopefully it’ll be Jenkins airline soon. 


DeRay Mckesson: Right, Jenkins. [banter] [laughter] Jenkins and Jones. 


Myles E. Johnson: Let’s go, okay.


Kaya Henderson: Um. The other person who got to pay, pay, pay a whole lot of money is y’alls former President Donald Trump. Today is the day sister girl Tish James about to move on this thing. Honey, for people who don’t know, what today’s Monday, you’ll hear us on Tuesday. But, um Donald Trump is supposed to is due to pay a $454 million bond um. 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


Kaya Henderson: For uh the judgment in the case that Tish James won about them doing business fraudulently in New York and in fact, it was due 30 days ago, but she gave him an a 30 day extension because we’re gracious like that. And, as of, like, Thursday or Friday, he didn’t have any money. There were 30, um surety companies that wouldn’t bond him. And then over the weekend or something, he got this, he sold Truth Social. What’s the deal, DeRay? He did, he made some kind of a deal where he says he got 500 million liquid, and I don’t think so. But if he does not pay today, Tish James is seizing assets baby, the Trump golf course, Trump Towers and a few other things. Uh. So it’s about to go down. 


DeRay Mckesson: So Truth Social, the social media platform that, he and the right wing created as an alternate universe, he is a 58.1% owner of the common stock in the company, and they have wildly and it and it makes no money. It’s like a, it literally is like a non money making thing. 


Kaya Henderson: That’s called a money losing business. 


DeRay Mckesson: Right. It’s almost like money laundering is what it is. So they are selling it for um, for more than three billion, now he would get $3 billion in the sale. That’s how much they’re selling it for. So it’s a $5.7 billion deal so that he can come out a billionaire on paper. Again, this is all like fuzzy money, but it would give him enough money to pay for the settlement. Now, let me tell you, the social media money the uh Truth Social lost $10.6 million from it’s operations in the first nine months of 2023. On revenue have 3.4 million. And it has been funding itself by borrowing $40 million through convertible promissory notes that can be paid back in stock. Um.


Kaya Henderson: Isn’t this isn’t this what he is, what the judgment is about him fraudulently overvaluing his businesses in order to take out loans to make money? Like, isn’t that the whole crux of the thing? And here we are, right back at it again?


DeRay Mckesson: I hope she seizes the hotels, Trump Tower, all of it. Rename them, make them housing for the homeless. Like, I hope that Tish comes in and swoops up everything. 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. Mm. They notified the golf club, his Seven Springs estate, and a few other properties that uh, that, and she can go after property in other states as well. Um. And so I think that by tonight’s news or tomorrow morning’s news we’ll know what’s happening. 


Myles E. Johnson: Woo. How humiliating. [laughter] What he deserves. [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson: I love [?]. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, because everybody has, like, kind of the same um. You know, I don’t know anybody who has never had a bill or who had um and never had an era of any type of money concerns and, I don’t know, $500 million. You know, that’s just a lot of money. And then I would be I’ll be scared all the time I’ll just get– 


Kaya Henderson: What? He’s selling, he’s selling $300 sneakers, right? And the Blacks like the sneakers and they’re buying them. So shouldn’t that be okay? 


DeRay Mckesson: I’m not defend I’m not, I hope I we see it on television. I just I don’t know why when I hear this news, my mind goes to like oh goodness, like that that is just. And I know that he’s just going, you know, nuts. And I and because of his kind of like, declining mental state and stuff, I just, I just know it’s just it just is hell over there. So that’s where my mind went. But hopefully it’ll force him to do a reality show about it so we can just eat popcorn and watch his misery as a as a family. I will watch it. I will watch it. 


Kaya Henderson: Popcorn. Popcorn.


DeRay Mckesson: Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Stay tuned, there’s more to come. 




DeRay Mckesson: Okay. I’m going to say one thing that is not my actual news, but I’m fascinated by the measles outbreaks um that is happening. So measles has finally hit uh New York City. It is back because in Long Island, a midwife falsified 1500 vaccination records for children in recent years. She gave pellets instead of actual vaccines that would have protected them from a host of things like measles, mumps, and rubella. So not necessarily in New York City because it was Nassau County, but um, she was providing alternative immunizations and families did not know. And I just am floored by the anti-vax folks who have just done some really wild things. And like, now all these kids have to get revaccinated or vaccinated for the first time around diphtheria, hep B, rubella, chicken pox and all that stuff. And they can’t go back to school– 


Kaya Henderson: And they can’t go to school until that stuff is done. Take it from me. 


DeRay Mckesson: That’s how they do it.


Myles E. Johnson: So that means, that means that the people. So what probably happened is like the parents didn’t want the kids to be vaccinated. So they found this nurse who was willing to do this, or for this person who was willing to do this. Or she did it on her own?


DeRay Mckesson: No no, she she didn’t believe in vaccination. 


Myles E. Johnson: Oh, so the parents didn’t know?


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. So she did it and became um, she started it in the 2019, 2020 school year. Um. And yeah, she just made this up and she got fined $300,000 and has already paid 150,000 back. 


Myles E. Johnson: How much? 


Kaya Henderson: Which means she made a lot of money off her little fake vaccinations because she’s got cash on hand. 


DeRay Mckesson: Crazy. 


Myles E. Johnson: What? Wait. Hold on. Make sure, make sure. Because, you know, I am, I am, I am neurodiverse divergent child. So make, so let’s make sure I’m understanding this all correctly. Walk with me. This woman took other people’s babies and didn’t give them the vaccine. But these babies weren’t vaccinated because this woman didn’t believe in the vaccines, not because these are conservative or anti-vax or whatever, like anti-vax parents. And they were like, well, will you not give my child a vaccine, but still mark do the march? She just did this to make a buck and or because of her own political?


DeRay Mckesson: It’s like. It’s like it looks like a it’s a little bit of both. So that it looks like both she lied. 


Myles E. Johnson: Uh huh. 


DeRay Mckesson: And that people did seek her out and paid her to falsify their, the records. 


Myles E. Johnson: Got it, got it. Got it. Yeah. We we they they we we are five years from bringing leprosy back. So.


DeRay Mckesson: And it was across 300 different schools ages 4 to 18. Um. And what’s crazy is that–


Myles E. Johnson: What? 


DeRay Mckesson: –none of the fake records were for Covid. That’s what’s really crazy, like the anti vax had covid–


Kaya Henderson: Well because she started she started her thing before Covid got started. Right? Um. She started her, her um fraudulence before the–


Myles E. Johnson: Because–


Kaya Henderson: –covid vaccines were available. Right. And the way they were controlling the Covid vaccines, you couldn’t get it everywhere, right? Like, you had to check the list to see who had it and blah, blah, blah. So there was some control around that. But not measles, apparently. 


DeRay Mckesson: Measles, mumps–


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. And I think a lot of people connect those vaccines, anti-vaxxers connect those vaccines to like autism and stuff like that. So that’s like the– 


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. 


Myles E. Johnson: –conspiracy belief behind why they don’t do it, right? 


DeRay Mckesson: And now your kids are going to die from chickenpox because you know.


Myles E. Johnson: Well well calm down DeRay. [laughter] Jeez. 


DeRay Mckesson: Just saying. 


Myles E. Johnson: [?]. 


DeRay Mckesson: So my real news is, I don’t know if you all remember about um, the city council woman in Brazil, in Rio, who was murdered years ago. And her name was um, Marielle Franco. She was, she first came on the radar to me because she was investigating police misconduct. And she got very publicly assassinated, a young woman. They just arrested the people that they suspected of being her killers. And they arrested the former chief of police in Rio, a Brazilian congressman, and his brother, who is the state auditor. Now, this all came up because in 2018, the military took over the local city police in Rio. And when they took over the police, the military police replaced the civilian police officers and 8500 soldiers were deployed on the streets in the name of dealing with gangs, and that led to a 40% increase in killings by the police, and that was 1500 people were killed by the police in 2018 alone, the year that the military was in charge of the police. Now, when Bolsonaro, who was like the very right wing um president when he took over, he appointed this guy to be the head of the civilian police in Rio. Uh, when the city got it back and she was challenging all of the work that they had done, and she had just gotten appointed to be the head of the commission to review what happened in the killings of the police when she was assassinated. So that is the wild part of this, that the police killed her. They there had always been rumors about it. But we didn’t know. The even wilder part, though, is that it was the police who oversaw the investigation. One of the guys who got who has a [?] who’s like on house arrest. He wrote the book about her murder of being like, you know, we’re gonna– 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


DeRay Mckesson: –investigate it–


Kaya Henderson: That’s the grimy. And it was a bestseller. Like, that’s the grimy part. He made, he he’s one of the people who ordered the hit, and he made a zillion dollars off the book about it. What kinda hell, fresh hell is this? 


DeRay Mckesson: Wild. So I bring this here just because I was like, you know, we talk about the police in America, but they killed her because she was looking into abuse of police power. And I’m telling y’all, if only–


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. 


DeRay Mckesson: –we got to see what happened behind the scenes in all of these places with the police, people would turn this thing upside down. 


Myles E. Johnson: Whoa. That is just. Okay. You know, I’m not one to say, like, not all cops or anything like that, so. But I do want to make it clear that I’m not making, like, a blanket statement, but, you know, we’re a podcast, short on time. Um. [laugh] But it’s I think it’s interesting to investigate the people who are attracted to um police work. I do like, I think that there’s. I mean, like this is sociopathic, right? Like it like it, like it just has to be? Um. And I think that um even when you look at, like um domestic violence rates, um uh when it comes to police officers and stuff like that, the things that, I don’t know, it just seems like the people who are often I don’t want to say often, a lot, there’s people who are attracted to being uh police who are not right in the head. And I think that says something about the institution of police. And I also think it says something about what you need to be able to psych test in, in, in histories and all these other things you need to be able to pass to even be considered to be considered to be considered to be a police um uh to be a police officer um or to be a part of that because it just seems like a place where the most crooked of minds are attracted to as well. Um. Not just this kind of like brave soul copaganda narrative that we kind of always get. Do y’all disagree?


Kaya Henderson: I will say, as somebody whose kid is considering a career in law enforcement and as somebody who created the police cadet program here in Washington, DC for our high schoolers to explore law enforcement careers. One of the reasons why we did was we were like uh, [knocking aouns] when there’s a bunch of data and I think, DeRay, you know this stuff better than me, that when police come from the community that they serve um, you get different results when people are motivated to join the police force for different reasons. Uh. Because they want to help. Because they want it to be different. Um. And I got a kid who I’m really proud of who is committed to um thinking about law enforcement in new ways. And so shout out to the people who are trying to who want to change the institution. Um. And you not wrong, Myles. There are a lot of really sick and crazy people who are attracted to this absolute power. So both and um I thought this story was super wild. One, it just reminds me that, like, you know, lawlessness and assassinations, political assassinations, like, we don’t hear about them as much as we used to, but they are still a thing. Um. And, you know, not only was this woman young and smart, um her wife is actually a city councilwoman as well. And, like, that’s dangerous. Y’all both out here in these streets, you know, poking the bear, um and you know, this, this stuff, at least this was my first time learning about this, DeRay. So thanks for bringing it to the pod. But like Bolsonaro, the president dude, and the gun men are hanging out. They live in the same apartment building. Their kids date the, you know, the dude who ordered the killing goes to the widow’s house and comforts her and is on TV talking about, you know, we’re going to, you know, find out who this is. And and everybody seemed to know that it was these people. Um. And it took five years for them to figure it all out, but um, I just I was thinking a lot about the wife. And for five years, you’ve known that this didn’t go down the way it was, you know, it’s been told and you know, that these people who are smiling in your face are not your real people. And luckily, thankfully, it worked out for her. And we now know. But there are so many of these cases that are unresolved, and families never get the kind of closure that they’re looking for, especially in these political things. And so I just wow, this was this was just it I don’t know, it um, it was shocking. My news this week is also from overseas. This week my news is coming from Wales. Wales, you say where is Wales? [laugh] Wales is a very small country of about three million people that is part of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom is made up of four countries. I’m a teacher, so I’m I have to do you a little geography history where uh the United Kingdom is made up of four countries England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And Wales is putting it down for the culture. My friends, you can’t stop Brown people’s hustles. Wales now holds the distinction of having the first Black head of government, not just in Wales, but in all of Europe. Yep, we got us a Black, First Minister of Wales. His name is Vaughan Gething. He’s 50. He is a lawyer who was born in Zambia to a Zambian mother and a Welsh father, and he was recently elected first minister. Um. Cousin Vaughan is um is not just a politician. He previously served as the Welsh Health Minister for five years, including shepherding them through the Covid crisis. Um. Most recently, he’s served as the country’s economic minister. So um, Cousin Vaughan is a little smart, and now he’s the first minister, and he pledged to make Wales a place where, quote, unquote, “all citizens can celebrate our differences and take pride in all of those things that draw us together.” What a lovely message. Um. Interesting factoid. Currently, three of the four UK countries now have nonwhite leaders, the original imperialist country. Three of the four UK countries have nonwhite leaders. In Wales, we got cousin Vaughan Gething. In England, Rishi Sunak is the prime minister and he’s of Indian descent. And in Scotland, sister [correction: not a sister] Humza Yousaf is the first minister and is of Pakistani descent. And so I brought that because who knew that Wales would be the first European country, I’m going to say in current times because, you know, we still got some conversations to have about Queen Charlotte, but I’ll wait till Bridgerton comes back out and we can revisit that. But um, I just thought that it was interesting because who knew that Europe now had a Black head of state? Shout out to Cousin Vaughan. The global majority is coming, y’all. You can’t stop us. That’s all I got. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. Shout out to Vaughan. [laughter] Um. You going to need all the love and peace and security, because, listen, the beginning and end, in my experience, through experience and observation, the beginning and end of being the first or only Black anything is in these little podcast shout outs, little news clips. The actual job you like oh, God, these white folks are crazy. Um. When you actually are, you know, going to be doing it. So, you know, sending you all the strength that you need. And kind of also [?] This is this is a little kind of like a goofy comment, but I always feel like the UK’s um, like parliament minister. They just have such sexier names for the government than we do. [laugh] I always listen to these stories and I’m like, Prime Minister, Minister of Health. I’m like, yeah, I might I’m so vapid in certain areas of my life, it’s embarrassing. I would actually consider a career in government if [laughter] the names were a little– 


Kaya Henderson: If we called you, if we if we called you Lord Myles?


Myles E. Johnson: Oh, yeah. Oh, my God. Prime minister of Gay Activity of America. I would be like yes. [laughter] But but I’m so proud of um Vaughan and yeah. And I’m and and I’m also just interested to like, documenting and seeing how, um Vaughan’s you know, political like the things that he, he does politically too, because I think sometimes we can get um, a little too wrapped into um representation. So I love what he’s already done. So I’m just interested in seeing that. I mean, you know, hopefully being in, you know, he’s able to maintain the, the political grounding that he, that he’s established too. And it’s going to be interesting to see how he shifts as he um, serves his time. What is it? How what do you say? Serves his time, does his bid? That’s jail, huh? 


Kaya Henderson: As he–


Myles E. Johnson: It feels the same. [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson: Completes his term?


Kaya Henderson: As he completes his term in office. 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay. [laughter]


DeRay Mckesson: You know, shout out to this guy. I don’t know him. I feel like [?] being like– 


Kaya Henderson: You don’t know him, but–


DeRay Mckesson: Oh my God. 


Kaya Henderson: But, you know, most you most, you know, most other European heads of state? Why would you know him?


DeRay Mckesson: You know, well, Rishi Sunak, I do know him because he is a right wing politician who has proposed automatically lengthening criminal, people who are incarcerated and lengthening their time in prison by just an automatic year like he has proposed, lowering net migration in the UK, sending people to Rwanda to get process, like he has been, so I say all this to say that I, you know, these people are being the first when we finally are having a real, honest public conversation about the limits of identity politics and representation. So let’s see what old Wales guy got to say and do. You know, he’s going to get my I’m, he’s getting my benefit of the doubt on the front end, but they just chang– they just put a Brown face on white politics in the UK. That’s what or what they that’s what they did in England. So I’m not you know, he I’m not in the choir yet as a fan of Mr. Wales but I am interested in what what he got going on. 


Kaya Henderson: That’s fair. That is fair. Trust and ver but verify. 


Myles E. Johnson: He has not earned his place on your grandma’s uh– 


DeRay Mckesson: I don’t even know if trust it’s it’s like, I like you enough or not. 


Kaya Henderson: Okay. 


DeRay Mckesson: I’m intrigued, but I gotta see. 


Kaya Henderson: I’m down with that. 


Myles E. Johnson: Oh, I always think about my grandma’s wall. And how–


Kaya Henderson: He’s a oh, with Kennedy and Martin Luther King?


Myles E. Johnson: Martin Luther King and stuff like–


Kaya Henderson: And Jesus? 


Myles E. Johnson: Yes. 


Kaya Henderson: Mm hmm. 


Myles E. Johnson: And now, Barack. Barack owned it. So so I’m like he has not owned earned his place on that wall yet. 


Kaya Henderson: Oh no no, no, no no. 


Myles E. Johnson: We will see. 


Kaya Henderson: But he is a he is a he is a. Oh, don’t get me lying. I think he’s a Labor Party dude. Um.


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah, yeah. I yeah, yeah, yeah. 


Kaya Henderson: All right. Well, we’ll we will keep our eye on Cousin Vaughan. But in the meantime, I try to I try to operate with a sense of possibility about my cousins until they give me a reason not to. So, Cousin Vaughan, I’m sending you good vibes. Hold it down. Don’t embarrass us. Don’t make us have to kick you out the cookout. 


Myles E. Johnson: Cousin Vaughan, don’t prove us wrong. 


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Don’t go anywhere more Pod Save the People is coming. 




Myles E. Johnson: My news comes from some place uh just as, exotic and and and beautiful and and and royal in my heart, which is the land of Georgia. Um. The, Georgia is the place that uh helped raised me. Um. And that documentary on Freaknik. It just so I’m about to I’m going to give you a double, a classic Myles yin and yang. We’ll start with the light part. I forgot which light part is yin or yang? [laugh] We’ll start with the light part. Light part is, it made me so proud to be from Atlanta to watch that Freaknik documentary. Because, you know, being from well, I’m from Georgia, and I grew up a little bit in Atlanta, so don’t get me started. So I was Marietta and then and then um and then Atlanta when I, when I got into my teens. But anywho, um because you will get beat up. [laughing] Saying you from Atlanta, you were raised in Atlanta. Um but I was so proud of being from Georgia when I was watching that documentary, because that history of Freaknik just reminded me of how many things the South and specifically Atlanta, has given culture that are so significant. Um. Seeing OutKast in that documentary, seeing CeeLo, Goodie Mob, um in that documentary really just I don’t know, there’s just a special feeling that only Atlanta has that feels both like the barbecue, but like the barbecue on Mars. Like, it’s like, what is this, like, alternative um like universe we were that we’re existing in? I remember um years ago, over ten years ago, me and my um my friend, we were roommates, and we were um you know, smoking weed, and we were like, Atlanta feels like Atlantis. This is pre-Black Panther. I was like Atlanta feels like Atlantis like like a Black Atlantis or something. Like what, like we would just walk out and just only see Black people and I and I love that the documentary really documented that because that is something so special in Atlanta that even now living in Brooklyn, um I don’t I’m not going to go as far as to say I miss it if I’m being honest, but I do appreciate it about you going someplace and the person who owns the store is Black. The person who’s shopping in the store is Black, the police officer is Black. The person who does your nails is Black. The person who um you who robbed you is Black, but also the person you got to tell on tell and to get your money back is Black too. So it just creates this um, in your mind, it just creates this like diversity of um, of of what Black is and kind of makes you live in that multiplicity because there’s no um, there’s, there’s just, just like this insular Black uh culture there. So I loved it for that. And it made me feel good. And I love hearing the history of Freaknik and that it started in the ’80s, that it was branched into um from um the Le freak from Chic did not know that that um, that Chic’s Le Freak is what made them want to call it Freaknik because they wanted to bring the freak back. So here’s another way. You know, I’m always I’m always queering something. Here’s another way inadvertently [laugh] there’s there’s been there was queer contribution because, you know, freak disco, disco queer people. Yeah. I’m I’m taking the long way home. Um. With with with that. But the dark side is once they got to [?]’s sexual abuse allegations and got to the part about um what Freaknik ended up going into. There was I was shocked. I was like, how much, how much time is left on this documentary? And I looked and I’m like, 17 minutes left. And you just now talking about this. You needed to, you need a whole other. You needed a two part. You need a whole hour. You need to cut this thing in half. Because that is a huge part of Freaknik. And no offense to Marc Lamont Hill. So such a such a soulful, intellectual, beautiful, beautiful man on the inside and out. I love Marc Lamont Hill, but the minimizing of what happened at Freaknik, the abuse allegations and then also there being no feminist investigation as to why this party turned into what it turned into. And I think there was such an opportunity to connect patriarchal power. Um uh I think there was just such a opportunity to connect patriarchal power. What happens when there’s no what happens when um sexuality um amongst young people with no feminist lens happens, and they just didn’t do that work. It really just skated by those scenarios. And I was just kind of amazed that I think that that documentary really wanted more to just kind of like keep Freaknik um as this, as, as this, as this place in people’s minds that is warm and free, sexually liberated. And it didn’t and and it turned ugly. And we can’t just say that it turned ugly if you’re doing a documentary because a documentary is to investigate. So let’s investigate why it turned ugly. And if you don’t have the tools to explore why it turned ugly, then invite feminist voices on. Again, please do not conflate feminist voices with women voices because that is sexism, misogynistic too. So having women there who are not doing necessarily that feminist thinking on what happened is not the representation, you know, um goodness, I feel like I say this woman’s name every other day, every other um week on the podcast, but that Bell Hooks voice is so necessary to really talk about. This is something that I wouldn’t, I would have to write. You know, I would have to really get down and busy and really research and really, like, tease out my thoughts around this. So I don’t want to do a disservice about it on this podcast, but there is a feminist analyzation of what went on, and I’m, got really annoyed that that just didn’t happen. And we’re getting so many of these kind of pop up, I don’t know what to call them, like pop documentaries, like documentaries that are um, that, that are for public um uh consumption and mainly for public consumption. Um. And them not doing that kind of like necessary work of investigating like, and and and inviting complex voices to have complex conversations. Um. And just to zoom out. I think that that was also telling about to me how the Black community often deals with misogyny and patriarchal abuse and domination. Is that oh, that was an unfortunate thing. And, you know, most people weren’t doing it and da da da da. Cool. Most people weren’t doing that. What was the thing in the air that made people feel like this was okay to do? Like, you know, most people are not going to rob people. Most people are not going to kill people. But we still need to investigate what is in the air in these uh, in these spaces or in these communities that are making those things happen. We have to investigate those things. And Marc Lamont Hill talks about that. I don’t and I don’t mean to just zone in on on that when it comes to him, because it was everybody who was participating. But we always zone in on um, oh, it’s the poverty that makes people rob people. It’s this, it’s that. We have those kind of reasons, we do those type of investigations. Why did we not do that with Freaknik? Why do we just make it seem like oh these, these, these, these, these out of control bad men came out of nowhere and they just didn’t go. And I felt like the only scapegoat was like, oh, they weren’t in college. And they came. That’s um, there was no, you know, there’s this kind of, like, weird deification of Uncle Luke for bringing the freak in. There was no investigation in the song lyrics, all I heard was Rasheeda say, you know, this makes you feel good. That’s fine for Rasheeda to say. I want to hear what other feminist, what some feminist voices have to say about those lyrics too, and about what that meant and what that might have um influenced people to do or think was okay. I want to under I want to understand better about what was consent, what was happening. And, and in so many other um dimensions of Freaknik. So yeah, that’s just my little feminist rant on the Freaknik doc. Is that I’m really tired of things kind of presenting it, um themselves as intellectual um digs and and and like intellectual um investigations of Black culture. You know, this makes me even more scared about the Twitter documentary coming, the Black Twitter documentary coming up. Because if you’re not really doing the complex thinking and questioning, then you’re just making something extremely vapid and shallow and not doing the work of a documentary. Which to me, a documentary is a type of like visual film textbook. You know, most people, that used to be something you could rely on in order to get some information and for in, in, in order to, like, really have a record of how people think in our day and investigating these things. And that just did not happen. Um. And I want us to do a lot, a lot, a lot better when it comes to that. Um. And the last thing that I’ll say is that I hope that more feminist voices um talk about Freaknik, because I do think that what’s interesting about this generation is that there’s so many feminist voices who have YouTube channels and, and who um and who still like to write, unlike me. [laugh] But like, who still who still do all those things. Um. So I hope that there’s some push back on how the Freaknik documentary, um what and what it talked about. So that’s not just a singular um piece of content around Freaknik, is that I hope that there’s a lot of pushback. So those pushbacks could be part of that dialog, too. And I just hope that we do better when we look um back on our on our histories, and we’re able to look at the dark just as much as we, as we um, are able to look at the light. Like I just did. See, full circle. A yin and yang circle. [gasp]


Kaya Henderson: I’m trying to figure out how to enter into this conversation because there was so much happening in that documentary. Um. And, you know, full disclosure, I am of the Freaknik generation. Um. I was in college from from wait hold it hold it hold it. [laughter] I’m I’m I’m confessing all the things today. Um. [laugh] I was in college from 1988 to 1992. Prime Freaknik years. Um. But full disclosure, I was broke in college. Who had what? Atlanta? How was I going to get there? Who was going to pay? What hotel was you going to stay at? I’m not staying on nobody’s floor in the back of the rim shop. Um. And, in addition to Freaknik, there was also the Virginia Beach experience, Labor Day, um which was probably a knockoff of Freaknik. But for those of us who couldn’t make it all the way South. Virginia Beach, for Labor Day weekend was probably the exact same thing as Freaknik. And so I have walked the boardwalk of Virginia Beach and seen everything that my 19 and 20 year old eyes were not ready to see, I have watched us be joyful. I have watched us be um assaulting and assaulted. And, I mean, it was a time I think, Myles, your um, take down was absolutely right. But, I mean, I it was literally like three quarters of the way in that they were like, oh, and there was some bad things. And um, the number of women, I mean, they literally sort of asserted that there were like a couple of rapes and a couple of assaults. Um.  There were women and men who were, assault, sexual assault was rampant at, um at Freaknik and Virginia Beach and places like that. And if we gonna tell the truth, we just have to tell the whole truth. That is what it was. Um. And I think you are right. Just having women as executive producers and whatnot, um was is not does not guarantee you a critical analysis. I mean, these people have a narrative. There is like I’m conscious of, like who tells your story. And this, I think, was an attempt to reclaim a um, a popular narrative about what Freak ik was by going back to what Freaknik started out like. I didn’t know it was a group of kids from DC who started it when they, you know, couldn’t afford to go home um for spring break. And but from at least this telling of the story, it was all clean and wholesome and just college kids coming together for a picnic. Uh. Which I’m sure there’s probably some truth to, but I’m sure there was also a lot more. Um. And I think what has happened over time is, you know, the rap on Freaknik became pretty terrible. And so I think this was some attempt to reclaim the narrative and redirect the narrative. Um. They talked a lot about the economic power of Black people in this um documentary. And, and you know, how much money these kids had and how they were spending was a marketers dream. They talked about the impact of of Freaknik on hip hop and how hip hop moved, hip hop, basically, you know, took up residence in Atlanta and that became the hub of southern hip hop, moved up from Miami. And, you know, literally we the South has something to say and Freaknik enabled that to happen. Um. You know, it talked about how the white business people couldn’t do their business, and that’s when it started to go down. And and the Uncle Luke stuff was really um, problematic, also problematic because he’s an executive producer, but basically he sort of took credit for bringing the debauchery to Freaknik. Um. And, you know, problematic is an understatement when it comes to um Luke. But um, I thought that they were trying to do something that was complex and analytical and somewhat critical, and I feel like they failed by you know, as you noted, Myles, really minimizing. I mean, they literally were like, Black women are flexing their sexuality at Freaknik. Hmm. Okay. That is some of what happened. But there was a whole lot of other stuff that happened that I think they glossed over. And I think that is a problem. But I will just say, for all of the 50 somethings in the world who were at Freaknik, who were petrified that they children and they children’s children and they children’s teachers, we’re going to see them on the Freaknik documentary. I think they did a lovely job of blurring people’s faces and not holding people accountable for the crazy things that they did when they were in college. 


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah, I’ll just say, you know, there there seems to be this this really interesting moment where documentaries and documentary shorts are becoming just more, more commercially profitable and popular. So I remember a time where documentaries were things you had to, like, search out. And it was like they were tucked away on the platforms that you never see, you know, like that was and all of a sudden we’re in this moment where it’s like, Wendy Williams, there’s Black Twitter, there’s Freaknik, there’s the Nickelodeon doc, you know, like there are documentaries that are not um, they are not hidden. They are not we’re not trying to find them. They are like they are the conversation right now. And the question becomes, do you have the range to tell the story? And do you have the range to interrogate the story, which are two different questions and not the same? And I’ll tell you what I found, especially, you know, obviously I spend my most of my time in the criminal justice space is what I find is two things that trouble me. One is that our best storytellers often don’t know the content. They know putting images together. They know the arc of a story. They know how to craft the narrative. They know how to score it on the back end with the music. They know how to edit it and sequence it. The the facts, the critical interpretation of the content, rarely do they know super well. So they are either leaning on somebody or just sort of whatever. And like that. I’ve seen that a million times where like, I’m like, this person can tell a story, holes everywhere, but like they knew a narrative arc and that works. And I think we have to figure out how to bridge that gap to bring it much closer so that it’s not [?]. The second thing that I find, and this has always bothered me, and maybe we agree or disagree, but especially with things about race and certainly crime and justice, people don’t. I I found that a lot of people don’t take those fields as fields of expertise, so they use their experience as expertise. They’re like, well, I know Black people. And you’re like, well, I don’t really know if that’s enough for this thing. Or they’re like, well, I was on Black Twitter and you’re like, I don’t really know if that was. I don’t really know if that’s expertise. Just like both of my parents were addicted to drugs. That does not make me an expert on addiction. That makes me an expert on being the child of people, of these two people who were addicted to drugs. And like I just  don’t I found that especially I, you know, I deal with this a lot in the criminal justice space. People literally are like, well, I know I somebody in my, my family is in prison. And I’m like, well, I mean, I get that and that, that in no way makes you an expert. Like, this is actually a field of study. You would never make a documentary about physics and assume that you knew as much as a physicist like that would, you’d that wouldn’t even be the assumption that you bring into the room. And I feel that way about education. You know, people make docs on schools and you’re like, you have never even sat in a classroom for a whole day like you have popped in to film. You don’t even know what a day and forget a week or a month, but a day. You don’t know what an exhausted teacher looks like after teaching for eight hours standing up. That is crazy. You know, like. 


Kaya Henderson: You better preach. 


DeRay Mckesson: So. So that is what I’m– 


Myles E. Johnson: Okay Pastor DeRay. 


DeRay Mckesson: I’m interested in because I think that this will will continue to be an issue. And I don’t think we’re honest about it because we love the storytellers, that they are the people. They are people we know who have done really cool things in the fiction space. And, and there’s an there’s sort of an arrogance that comes when they move into the doc space, which is like, I know it. 


Myles E. Johnson: I totally, 100% agree with you on that, DeRay. Um. And I love when you get all Preacher DeRay on us. I felt that little [?] a couple of times I’m like, I’m like, yes! Hallelujah! Yeah, I I totally agree with you. And I think that when it comes to what my hope is, is I, I do think I’m somebody who’s a um, who is a expert when it comes to pop culture and Black culture and music and stuff. And I also think that sometimes people who are both experts in those type of fields aren’t the people who you like. And I really sometimes wonder if that is what’s creating things that are having some things that are out of their depth, meaning that um, the value of Bell Hooks being in a documentary, being in um Tongues Untied wasn’t just because Marlon Riggs was her friend or because he like or he liked Bell Hooks. Bell Hooks has a critical voice if you’re going to talk about Black people and women. She has a critical voice of some I do think some of it is just like having to get outside of the network of people um who you might like and bring people who make the best story. Because I have seen people I’m not just talking I mean, I’m extremely privileged because I’m you’re hearing my voice right now, but I have seen some people who I think have um complex thoughts and ideas. And maybe you don’t like them, and they are maybe getting excluded from some um essential storytelling, and it’s making worse art for it. And and I and I would like for us to investigate that too and sit with that. Um. Yeah. Thank y’all [?].


DeRay Mckesson: The only thing I would say is that one of the this is why I’m like, not necessarily laying blame anywhere is the the other thing that I struggle with and Kaya I think you’d probably agree with it in education. Myles, I think you’d agree with it on a host of things in culture and is sort of what you were saying about the don’t like them is that on the other side, there’s an intense arrogance too. I can think about the number of people I meet in education who are convinced that their thing is the thing. They’re like, no, if you don’t focus on this, if you don’t do class size, if you don’t do da da da, then you don’t really care about Black kids. And you’re like, okay, well, that might you’re like I don’t really know if that is the you’re like I don’t. So so I get why some of the storytellers are like not interested in working with them because it does become so wild sometimes just in the room. And that becomes or like the I think about the academic community, sometimes is so intense about a narrative and has not actually seen the thing in real like I think about the number of people who talk about the police or education who have who have never done a real thing. They’ve read about it, they have studied it, and then they come in the room. Not necessary with a lot of humility, but with a whole lot of intensity. And I do think that that creates this really weird thing. I can’t tell you the number. You know, Kaya led Human Capital. I led Human Capital. And I remember in Baltimore, people would be like DeRay, they would give me speeches about hiring Black teachers. And I’m like, how many teachers have you got? Like, it’s not like I’m like, trying not to hire Black teachers. 


Kaya Henderson: Right, mm hmm. 


DeRay Mckesson: But they would be like, you know, you don’t care. And I’m like, do you like the mechanics of it is what I’m trying to figure out. 


Kaya Henderson: Come come spend a day with me and let’s walk through what this really looks like. But people are, you know, armchair quarterbacks, people are, you know, internet experts. And they everybody wants to tell you how to do your job. And so um, yeah. That is right. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. And I, and I totally agree with what and I still okay. We we are two for two DeRay. I’m agreeing with DeRay on this podcast. You know, me, me and my big brother, we don’t always sometimes we– [laugh] [banter]


DeRay Mckesson: Everybody lets note this moment. 


Myles E. Johnson: Right. So. But I do definitely agree. But I do think specifically if we’re talking about documentaries, um whoever it says directed by, edited by, that’s the person who’s in control. So no matter what–


Kaya Henderson: That’s right. 


Myles E. Johnson: –you do, if you got me in a room and even if I talk all my, uh uh righteous feminist, annoying queer stuff for eight hours. 


Kaya Henderson: They can edit that [?]. 


Myles E. Johnson: And you only use eight minutes, and you know what I mean? 


Kaya Henderson: Right. 


Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, I so I just, I do think it’s just it’s just a push for whoever is editing and directing this, this to to push themselves and maybe retain some things that they’re not comfortable with. But those different colors make a really complex, beautiful story. Even if you have somebody who’s maybe even one of the more conservative side, you have Uncle Luke and you have a feminist voice. That’s it’s that’s a colorful story. So but I totally hear you on that. And even as I’ve gotten older, at this ripe age of 23, um I even have had to check myself when it comes to how I come into um, spaces. Um. Because that’s part of getting getting older. 


Kaya Henderson: The one thing that I wanted to I wanted to get you guy’s take on is the closing part of the documentary, sort of went out of the way to say, Black people need Freaknik. I think the the real intent is Black people need spaces of Black joy, and that I fully agree with. Places where we can be our oh oh yeah, we don’t need spaces. Wait, wait. The the, we don’t need spaces where we can be our authentic self? I’m not saying it’s Freaknik, um but, I think that the [laugh] it don’t matter what I think. Myles. Say it. Go ahead and say it. What what what.


Myles E. Johnson: No, I don’t have no I’m sorry Auntie Kaya. [laughter] I was just I’m just over here. Y’all can’t see me right now. But I was over here laughing because see okay, so here’s a fine example of diverse voices. So you don’t got to agree with me. I don’t know, I think that Black people have found enough spaces of Black joy. I think that we have created a lot of spaces of Black joy. I think that when there ain’t no Black joy, we will find a place to party and find a place to uh, we we have figured it out. And [?] and we have– 


Kaya Henderson: Okay. 


Myles E. Johnson: –figured it out. And we have figured out on budg– with with no budget, we have figured it out with millions of dollars, we have done it for the Afropunk alternatives. We have done it for the uh, the church goers, the the, you know, Hallelujah night we have figured out. Whatever you whoever kind of Black you are, you going to find a place to go party and go eat and go drink and maybe say something shameful. And you sorry, we should have left a little bit an hour earlier. I think that we have exhausted that, I think [laughing]. And I think.  [banter]


DeRay Mckesson: That is not what I thought you were gonna say. 


Myles E. Johnson: I think–


Kaya Henderson: Oh me neither, me neither.


Myles E. Johnson: So I might say we don’t need–


DeRay Mckesson: Myles. 


Myles E. Johnson: I’m not saying that we don’t need any more. Don’t do those things. But I think the um, the, I think sometimes when people try to use like, kind of like, like intellectual perspectives in order to say, this is why something was needed or right, or whatever, I’m like, I don’t know. I really think that we need a place for Black grief. I think we need a place for Black uh ugliness. I think we need a place for Black rage. I think that Black people tend to be able to do the sun people stuff. The sun stuff really well, I don’t think we do the lunar stuff very well. I think that we. I think we run away from the lunar stuff. So I, so, so so yeah, I, I push back on that and that’s just and I’m just one color of one hue of Black just one, one brush stroke on the complex portrait in Blackness. 


DeRay Mckesson: I’m here for this. 


Kaya Henderson: See. This is this is why I had to ask the question, because unless there’s some rock em sock em  action it’s not really interesting. And this is rock em sock em. I, I agree with with the fact that we are good at finding spaces of Black joy. I agree that we need more spaces for our grief, our rage, and the darker side of our feelings and emotions um, to, um manifest themselves, to express. Um. But, I’m I’m always going to be for more joy than less honey. So I want us to keep on finding spaces of Black joy. I want us to uh yeah. Um.


Myles E. Johnson: Keep on keeping on but I don’t want to create a, I didn’t like that they–


Kaya Henderson: You don’t want a new Freaknik. You don’t want a new Freaknik.


Myles E. Johnson: And I didn’t like the the the creating um this this this fake deficit of places for Black people to have joy like I feel like they create– 


Kaya Henderson: That’s fair, that’s fair. 


Myles E. Johnson: They created this fake deficit. Because I even went with my Auntie Kaya with the school teachers in Philadelphia. And they were having schoolnik. Not really. But– [laughter] But when I tell you, the people were partying and drinking and carrying on. And I’m like I said, I thought you all were the teachers. And I’m like y’all having fun–


Kaya Henderson: Educators educators need spaces of Black joy maybe more than other people.


Myles E. Johnson: And they deserve it and they have it. So I’m saying–


Kaya Henderson: And we got down in Philly. Shout out to BMAC. Woop woop.


Myles E. Johnson: Yes. So if the if the educators got it, the doctors got it. Everybody. I haven’t been anywhere where Black people have not been having it. So let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s figure out something new, Sadnik. 


DeRay Mckesson: I do, not SadNik. Shut– 


Myles E. Johnson: Griefnik. 


DeRay Mckesson: Griefnik, I do think that it is. It is interesting though, because oftentimes the way people levy that claim Kaya is um, it’s sort of a joy without it’s like uh, not without safety, but it’s like without any condi– like it’s a joy that sometimes can’t, you know, joyful for who becomes the question. Because you create these spaces. And it’s like, you know, like like how the Freaknik doc, documentary sort of glosses over the the conversation about abuse and assault. You’re like, I don’t really know if I don’t really know if that is what people need. And I think about a lot of places that have been sold as like I think about like all the church things [?] Vacation Bible school, like I think about a lot of things that we were told was like, this was where the kids go, so you can get a break and you’re like, well mm, that Vacation Bible School sort of was terrorized a whole set of people I know. Do you know what I mean? Like, so they got a you got a break from raising them, but they sure did not get a break for the rest of their lives, being told that they were going to hell and da da da. So, so, so as we talk about the conversation about joy, I do want us to make sure that we like don’t forget. And I think about like, you know, what’s going on with women. I know this is like a weird connect or it’s not weird because it’s about Freaknik, but did you see that story about the twin girls who got heckled coming out of the store by a guy? They were like–


Kaya Henderson: Oh and then they killed one. He killed one. At a [?]/


DeRay Mckesson: Yeah, he like stabbed one and killed the other? Yup. He’s 20 years old. They were like teenagers and they just, you know, like and I think they even gave him the number, but like, weren’t interested and they were just walking out. Twin daughters, one’s I think still in the hospital, one died and you’re like, they were just walking outside, you know what I mean? So like, if we don’t have this serious conversation about misogyny and and misogynoir and, you know, a whole host of other things, like, we got to figure that out before we start, just like willy nilly popping up new spaces and calling that good, you know?


Myles E. Johnson: Absolutely. Absolutely. 


DeRay Mckesson: Alright, I did want to shout out um, I didt want to shout out initials AK. Thank you for emailing us, about the conversation that we had on suicide in the past week. And what the writer did that was so beautiful and powerful was how it helped remind us that the research does say that and this is what we talked about on the pod, that when people sensationalize the death of celebrities who die by suicide, that there does seem to be a negative, reaction to that or response that comes from not simply sharing the information, but the sensationalizing of it. And I’ll read what they wrote. It is not the mere discussion of suicide that is the issue here. It is the way it is discussed that is the problem. And the news cycle isn’t generally very sensitive in how they discuss famous people’s suicide. There’s research that shows that when suicide is discussed more matter of factly, it can reduce the risk of suicide. Um. And then they went on to say that they appreciated our matter of fact way of talking about it. And this was good learning. There were some links in the email, and I both am proud that we had that conversation, because that was a hard conversation to do, an important conversation and thank you for AK for writing us. 


Myles E. Johnson: I would like to say thank you as well. And um, like DeRay knows, um especially and Auntie Kaya knows now that I’ve been her, um her nephew, niece for a few years now. Um. [laugh] Like, I, I’m very vo– I try to be very vocal about um, my mental health because it’s important and um, I don’t know, it’s just very validating because it’s, you know, it’s always scary to bring those things up. And it was very validating that I um, that I was doing it in the way that felt right for me and the way that felt um responsible. And and and it was just very validating to hear, like, that’s that’s how you talk about it. Because as somebody who deals with mental health um problems, I know what I need to hear. And sometimes people who are, you know, let’s say neurotypical can kind of push back. And I don’t know, it felt very validating. So thank you. Thank you so much for writing that. [music break]


DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Well that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning in to Pod Save the People this week. Don’t forget to follow us at @CrookedMedia on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. And if you enjoyed this episode of Pod Save the People, consider dropping us a review on your favorite podcast app and we’ll see you next week. Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media, it’s produced by AJ Moultrié and mixed by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Executive produced by me and special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger, and Myles E. Johnson. [music break]