'No hay negros en el Tíbet' gives perspective on being a Black person in Spain No hay negros en el Tíbet — There are no Black people in Tibet — gives audiences perspectives on what it's like to be a Black person in Spain.

Three Black Spanish podcasters find humor as they deal with prejudice and stereotypes

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, as you may remember, we were in Madrid, Spain, earlier this month to cover the NATO summit and other stories. But while we were there, we visited a radio production house downtown to meet three entertainers who are doing something new in Spain. They're hosting a podcast about the Black Spanish experience.

Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED INTERPRETER: This is...

MARTIN: I'm Michel.

UNIDENTIFIED INTERPRETER: Michel.

LAMINE THIOR: Lamine. Nice to meet you.

MARTIN: Hi, nice to meet you. Hi...

ASAARI BIBANG: Hey.

MARTIN: ...I'm Michel.

BIBANG: Nice to meet you.

MARTIN: Hi. Nice to meet you.

It's called "No Hay Negros En El Tibet," or "There Are No Black People In Tibet." We'll have more on that title in a second. When we met the co-hosts, they told us that they started the podcast because of the scarcity of Black people in Spanish media, and they wanted to change that. So they developed a space where they could talk about their experiences to keep it real and to make it fun for an audience that might not be familiar with what Black Spaniards experience. I'll let them introduce themselves.

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) I'm Asaari Bibang. I'm a comedian, actress. I've been a columnist in El Pais, a Spanish publication. I have a book called "And Despite Everything, I'm Still Here" with Penguin Random House.

MARTIN: Wow. The title says a lot, doesn't it? Yeah.

BIBANG: It does, yeah.

MARTIN: Mmm hmm. Lamine, tell me who you are.

THIOR: (Through interpreter) My name is Lamine Thior. I'm an actor, comedian and content creator on social media. And actually, I'm also on tour with my show in Spain, and I'm also probably the most attractive of all three of us.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Oh. Well, OK. It's radio, so...

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: It's radio, so - Frank?

FRANK T: (Through interpreter) My name is Frank - artistically, Frank T or Frank Te (ph). I'm an old-school Spanish hip-hop artist. I'm also a music producer, and I'm a radio host. Those are what you would say - my primary occupations - my official titles.

MARTIN: Absolutely. Well, thank you all for being here. How did the show, "No Hay Negros En"...

FRANK T: En El Tibet.

THIOR: El Tibet.

MARTIN: ..."El Tibet," which means "There Are No Black People In Tibet"...

THIOR: Yes.

MARTIN: How did that start, and why Tibet?

(LAUGHTER)

BIBANG: OK. I think Frank can explain better why.

MARTIN: OK.

FRANK T: (Through interpreter) Well, everything started because I'm a huge fan of Dave Chappelle. And he was the one who invented the phrase in a freestyle he did at his "Block Party" video. Lots of artists from hip-hop and a lot of friends of Dave Chappelle were at this block party. And in between sets of musicians, he brought someone up on the stage, and they had this shirt that said, free Tibet. So in his freestyle, he said, man, ain't [expletive] in Tibet. And I loved it. I said, if I ever did anything, I'd name it, "There Are No Black People In Tibet." And so that's what we called it.

MARTIN: Did the show start in this way because you all knew each other, or is it that your work drew you together?

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) Well, we all knew each other already as artists. Not necessarily on a personal level, but, through our work, we knew of one another. You know, Frank is a legend here with rap, and Lamine - we knew each other somewhat personally, but there was a mutual admiration for each other's work. Aside from being comedians, we're both Black comedians, so there was this connection. It was almost immediate. So when Frank called me to do the show - which was an idea I had already had in mind because it was a space that was unoccupied - for me, it was obvious. And it was a common idea that I wanted to share with Lamine Thior so we could talk about our experiences.

MARTIN: What are some of the things that you deal with every day that you talk about on this show? Like, what...

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) I can give you a simple example. Yesterday, I was at the train station, and someone else was also waiting outside. A man started talking to me. He said, hello, how are you? And I said, good - you know, to be polite. I asked him where he was going, and he said Salamanca. And then he said, you're going to the coast? And I told him, no, I'm going to the north. Apparently, on the coast, by the ocean, there's a big tourist attraction of strip clubs.

MARTIN: Was this a police officer, or was it just some random man who you think may have been trying to imply whether you were a prostitute?

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) No, he was an older man who was assuming I was a prostitute and that I was headed towards the area where it's the season for tourism and prostitution on the coast.

MARTIN: Does this happen a lot? Does this happen all the time?

BIBANG: Yeah, but it's normal because, normally, here, (through interpreter) when you watch something like TV for a long time - and this is something that's starting to change, luckily - but here, a lot of the time, when you watch TV or movies, the Black women are generally vulnerable and at the mercy of someone who's acting as a white savior, or they're prostitutes. And I've done five films in my career as an actress. And in four of them, I've been a prostitute.

MARTIN: What about for men? What are the stereotypes that you're dealing with?

THIOR: (Through interpreter) There was a time span during a month where I was stopped by the police 30 times, all in one month.

MARTIN: You're not exaggerating...

THIOR: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTIN: You really mean 30 times. That's like every day.

THIOR: (Speaking Spanish).

FRANK T: (Speaking Spanish).

THIOR: (Speaking Spanish).

FRANK T: (Speaking Spanish).

THIOR: (Speaking Spanish).

FRANK T: (Speaking Spanish).

THIOR: (Laughter).

FRANK T: Wow. (Speaking Spanish).

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) He wins.

FRANK T: In one year? Twelve times...

MARTIN: Twelve times.

FRANK T: ...For me. This is my record.

MARTIN: For what? For saying what? What do they - what are they saying?

THIOR: For...

FRANK T: Be a Black man, right?

BIBANG: We're looking for someone who looks like you (laughter).

THIOR: For free, they think.

FRANK T: Be a Black man and arriving everywhere.

THIOR: (Through interpreter) There was a time where they stopped me four times in a day. It was always for different things. There was a car robbery somewhere around here, and you fit the profile - the Black profile.

MARTIN: But you can still laugh about it.

THIOR: (Through interpreter) Of course, because there comes a time where it's so absurd that it makes you laugh. Because it's like when they stopped me the 29th time - I'm just like, no, no, no, no, no. What do you need from me? Do you want me to pat myself down? And at the end of the day, it's the only way because, if not...

FRANK T: (Through interpreter) Of course. And besides, with the humor and sarcasm, it's the best way to tell it because people will listen to it. And when they hear us, they'll say, wow.

MARTIN: You know, I'm sorry that I've - we've taken this in a very serious direction. I don't want to ignore the fact that, you know, you try to have fun. So, like, what's been your favorite bit that you did so far?

FRANK T: (Through interpreter) The funniest thing I think we've done in "There Are No Black People In Tibet" - it's maybe not the funniest, but, in the last episode, where I brought up the idea of immigrants...

BIBANG: (Laughter).

FRANK T: ...(Through interpreter) They can come here and they don't have to do anything. They can just come here. They don't need to work. They don't need to contribute. You can just come to Spain and smoke joints, and that's it.

THIOR: (Through interpreter) I think one of the best things that happened is that, at the end of it all, we're like little kids, you know? We like to make fun of each other. For example, the audience doesn't know this, but Frank, despite sounding young, isn't young at all. And so he probably started his career when Beethoven was in elementary school.

FRANK T: (Laughter).

THIOR: (Through interpreter) So the good thing is is we're capable of talking about serious topics and be profound, and then afterward come out of it with no problem and then go right back into it again.

MARTIN: Oh, gosh - Beethoven. OK. OK. Mmm hmm.

THIOR: (Laughter).

FRANK T: You know?

MARTIN: I'm sorry, what's your...

FRANK T: You know?

MARTIN: Yes.

THIOR: (Laughter).

FRANK T: And the same joke all the time.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANK T: The same joke all the time.

MARTIN: Never gets old.

BIBANG: (Through interpreter) And to what Frank was saying about being able to come here to do nothing - to do nenes (ph) - to do nothing significant - no working, no studying - he says that because it seems like we only have a right to come here if we, you know, help the economy or pay into pensions. It can't possibly be just because we can. You know, I always say, bless people that have been given nationality. They have to run behind a lion, save a drowning woman from the water, or scale a building and rescue people from the flames and do all these physical tests.

MARTIN: That was Asaari Bibang, Lamine Thior and Frank T. They're the co-hosts of the podcast, "No Hay Negros En El Tibet," or "There Are No Black People In Tibet."

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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