Strange Fruit MUSINGS ON POLITICS, POP CULTURE, AND BLACK GAY LIFE
Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit

From 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

MUSINGS ON POLITICS, POP CULTURE, AND BLACK GAY LIFEMore from Strange Fruit »

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Strange Fruit #235: Mistress Velvet, The Dominatrix With A Syllabus

Chicago dominatrix Mistress Velvet didn't intentionally build her practice around dominating white men. But she was living in a predominantly white part of North Carolina at the time, and most of the people who could afford to hire her, fit that demographic. "It just happened to be that a lot of my clients were white men," she says, "and they were just really awful." One client said he appreciated that she was so well educated. "I've had black mistresses in the past," he told her, "but they were often ghetto." At the same time, she said he seemed to be struggling with a lot of white guilt. She figured he needed some education himself — and he happened to be paying her to tell him what to do. So she ordered him to read an essay by Patricia Hill Collins on the importance of black feminist theory. "It just gave me so much life," she says. "He was on his knees, at my feet, reading an essay to me, and I'm like snapping the whole time — at least internally. You know, I have to keep up my persona of being very cold." She decided she wanted to be doing more of that kind of work, and now Mistress Velvet specializes in dominating white men and teaching them black feminist theory. Depending on the client, she says the assignments can be used as a treat or a punishment. Mistress Velvet joins us to talk about her work, mainstream perceptions of BDSM, and how race and racism plays into intimate power dynamics. We also have a conversation this week with poet, teacher, and self-described "queer black troublemaker" Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Her newest book, "M Archive," is told from the point of view of a future researcher, looking back on the antiblackness of late capitalism. The publisher describes it as "a series of poetic artifacts that speculatively documents the persistence of Black life following a worldwide cataclysm."

Strange Fruit #234: Is The Black Barbershop A Safe Space For Queer Men?

It's not unusual to see homoeroticism in hypermasculine spaces - like the locker room, the wrestling ring, or the military barracks. But what about the barbershop? It's a social and community hub and where black masculinity is centered. But you"ll also encounter homophobia there, and for many queer black men, it doesn't feel like a safe space. So where does that leave LGBTQ black men who need that sense of community (or just a haircut)? We talk about the black barbershop - good and bad - on this week's show. Our guest is Da'Shaun Harrison, who recently tackled the subject in an essay for the Black Youth Project. Plus, actor Lee Doud joins us to talk about anti-Asian bias in the gay community, particularly when it comes to dating and desire.

Strange Fruit #233: DO NOT LISTEN UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN 'BLACK PANTHER'

Louisville photographer Sowande Malone joins us this week, because he doesn't just take pictures - he's also a huge comic book fan. Together we unpack all things "Black Panther," including how gender and sexuality play out in the movie. And since it's the movie that launched a thousand think pieces, we talk about those too - even the ones we don't agree with.

Strange Fruit #232: A Conversation With Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's Mom

The 45th Dr. Joseph H. McMillan National Black Family Conference is happening in Louisville later this month, and this year's theme is "Elevating the Health and Safety of the Black Family and Community." Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, will deliver a keynote speech at the conference, and she joins us on this week's show to talk about her advocacy work, and her son's legacy. We also check in with Monique Judge from The Root, about an article she recently published about homophobia and what she called "toxic black masculinity." And in a shocking Valentine's Day revelation, we learn that Jai still pokes people on Facebook.

Strange Fruit #232: A Conversation With Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's Mom

Strange Fruit #231: Art Show Imagines The Future As Female

What is after Earth for women? That's the question science fiction author Author Olivia A. Cole has in mind for her latest project, "Kindred: Making Space in Space." And unlike much of her previous work, this isn't a book. It's an art exhibition featuring poetry, short fiction, visual art, and even music and dance, all created by Kentucky women from ages 10-21. Cole joins us on this week's show to talk about the women writers who have inspired her, and how she hopes to encourage other girls and women to carry the science and speculative fiction mantle into the future. We also reclaim some time this week to talk with Clarkisha Kent about an article she wrote for The Root, "Top 10 Moments Black People Won in 2017." And our favorite fellow word nerd Grant Barrett catches us up on the American Dialect Society's Words of the Year for 2017, from covfefe to caucasity.

Strange Fruit #230: Is There A "One-Drop Rule" Of Sexual Fluidity?

This week we talk to author and poet Kyla Jenee Lacey, whose essay, "Why I'm Open to Dating Bisexual Men," was published last month on The Root. At first glance, it might seen biphobic that we even need a headline like that, but it's apparently still A Thing. Or as Lacey says, "It's 2018, in the year of our lord and savior Robyn Rihanna Fenty, and people are still 7-year-olds when it comes to sexual fluidity." Lacey calls it the "one=drop rule" approach to sexual fluidity, and here's how she describes it: "If a man has sex with one man and 100 women, we will still erroneously view him as gay and not bisexual, or sexually fluid, or even just a heterosexual man who experimented with a man and came to the conclusion that he didn't like men. Women, on the other hand can have a whole bachelor's, master's and doctorate phase of having had sex with women and then turn around and reclaim their heterosexuality." As you might imagine, there's a lot to unpack here, including ideas of masculinity, whether a man who has sex with men is less masculine in the eyes of straight women, and even what counts and doesn't count as "real" sex. Lacy joins us on this week's show to help us make sense of it all, and to talk about the very robust response her essay provoked online. We also get a visit this week from Sasha Renee, Louisville's premier femme-C (femme MC, for the uninitiated). She has a new single out called, "My City." She stops by the studio this week to chat about her work, her life, and how she negotiated coming out, as an already-active solo artist in the hip-hop world.

Strange Fruit #229: Racial Trauma And Mental Health

It happens, to some extent, every single day. People of color are exposed to racism in many ways — from watching footage of police shootings, to experiencing racism in our own communities. Psychologists call it "racial trauma," and it can change the way our brains and bodies relate to, and process, the world around us. Psychologist Dr. Carlton Green joins us on this week's show to tell us more about racial trauma, how to cope with it. and how mental health professionals are learning to treat it.

Strange Fruit #228: 'White Racism' College Course Prompts... White Racism

A class called "White Racism" started this semester at Florida Gulf Coast University. Its professor, Dr. Ted Thornhill, started getting angry messages and phone calls quickly after the class was announced. Campus police sat in on the class the first week, to watch out for disruptions. Thornhill had gotten message calling him the n-word, and saying things like, "You're what's wrong with this country." But he says the students in the 50-person class seem eager and engaged with the material. Ted Thornhill joins us this week to talk about the class he's teaching, how it fits into his larger sociology work, and how he and his students are dealing with the backlash. And Doc and Jai unpack the Aziz Ansari story from a queer perspective. What can straight, cis people learn from the ways gay and trans people talk about sex, desire, and consent?

Strange Fruit #228: 'White Racism' College Course Prompts... White Racism

Strange Fruit #227: With Your Family Around You, You're Never Alone

This week on Strange Fruit, Louisville activist Talesha Wilson joins us for a news roundup, including Oprah's Golden Globes speech and whether we want her to run for president. We also talk about H&M's racist hoodie and why you need black people on your marketing and design team. And finally, some facts: This is our 227th episode. '227' has one of the best TV theme songs of all time. Ergo, we devote a large portion of this week's show to which black shows have the best theme songs - old school and contemporary.

Strange Fruit #226: New Year, Fresh Fruit!

Happy 2018, y'all! This week we're joined by one of Doc's former students, Chelsie Griffin. Chelsie is now a teacher herself - of 5th graders in Louisiana's Ascension Parish. In her district, corporal punishment is still allowed in school. Chelsie and Doc talk about discipline techniques that work - and don't work - in their respective classrooms. And we all tackle the issue of physical punishment in black households. We also share some hair-raising stories from this past New Year's Eve, and talk about whether resolutions are worth making.

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