What's Done in the Dark | Crooked Media
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May 21, 2024
Pod Save The People
What's Done in the Dark

In This Episode

Police guns used in crimes across the country, Congress members exchange insults during the House hearing, the first Black astronaut candidate reaches space at 90-years-old, Angela Alsobrooks beats the odds to win U.S. Senate primary, and the exploration of New Wave.

 

News

Jasmine Crockett backs claim calling Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘racist’

One of at least 52,529 guns once owned by police, but later used in crimes.

First Black astronaut candidate, now 90, reaches space in Blue Origin flight

New Wave is Defined By Whiteness

Angela Alsobrooks wins Maryland’s hotly contested U.S. Senate primary

 

Follow Pod Save the People on Instagram.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

[AD BREAK]

 

DeRay Mckesson, narrating: Hey, this is DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People. In this episode it’s me, Myles, Kaya, and De’Ara talking about the news with regard to race, justice, and equity that you might not have heard in the past week. We will be dark next week for Memorial Day, but stay connected to us via Instagram at @PodSaveThe People. Also, Monday, May 20th would have been Mike Brown’s 28th birthday. As you remember, he was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014. So we are celebrating Mike’s would be 28th birthday this week. Let’s go. [music break]

 

[AD BREAK]

 

De’Ara Balenger: Family, welcome to another episode of Pod Save the People. I am De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on Instagram at @dearabalenger. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: My name is Myles E. Johnson. You can find me on Instagram @at @PharaohRapture. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I’m Kaya Henderson. You can find me on Twitter at @HendersonKaya. 

 

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

 

De’Ara Balenger: Well, the thing that I’ve been sort of talking about ad nauseum all week. I mean, I feel like I should have gotten my thoughts together about how I actually thought about this intellectually, but I feel like my reactions have been as if I saw it on The Shade Room. But I’m talking about the confrontation that happened between Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jasmine Crockett, both Congresswoman in the United States Congress of these here United States. But they got into a confrontation earlier this week where it was so chaotic, it was them essentially screaming back and forth at each other. It started with some comments, some wild comments that Marjorie Taylor Greene said, who you know, she’s saying wild things and doing wild things all the time. I don’t even think it got started here. Like when I did read about it earlier this week, it actually the beef had sort of started in this House Oversight Committee meeting before this comment. But I think this the comment that led to it sort of having a viral moment, but Marjorie Taylor Greene talked about Jasmine Crockett’s eyelashes and then it sort of was havoc from there. And then AOC jumped in also and got very New York on them. So it just was an interesting back and forth. So I mean, I’m not going to like go verbatim, you know, what they said. But I think what it showed is that there’s such sort of now a lack of decorum that happens in these panels and these meetings. Much of the provocation is coming from Trumpy, right, Republican leaders. But it’s just an interesting thing. I think what’s stuck with me is I couldn’t tell you what they were actually substantively like, what was supposed to be happening in that panel. But I can tell you what went down in terms of the beef. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Do you know what we’re here for? You know we’re here about AG [?]–

 

[clip of unknown congressman] Oh just to– 

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] I don’t think you know what you’re here for. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Well, you know what I’m talking about. I guess you [?].

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.

 

No. Ain’t nothing. Listen. [sound of audience uproar]

 

[clip of unknown congressman 2] Hold on, hold on. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Listen. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 3] Order, Mr. Chairman. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman 4] That’s beneath even you [?]. [banter]

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 3] Order, order. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman 4] That’s beneath even you. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 5] –[?] your committee. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 3] Order.

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] I do have a point of order. And I would like to move to to take down Mrs. Green’s words. That is absolutely unacceptable. How dare you attack the physical appearance of another person. [banter]

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] Are your feelings hurt? 

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] Move her words down. 

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] Aw. 

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] Oh! Oh, girl. Baby girl. 

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] Oh, really? 

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] Don’t even play with me.

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene]  Baby girl?

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] We’re gonna–

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] I don’t think so. 

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] We are going to move and we’re going to take your words down. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 6] I second that motion. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 7] So. So who will have [?]. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Mrs. Greene agrees to strike her words. 

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] I believe she needs to apologize. [banter] No, no, no. [banter]

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Hold on. Then after [?], she’ll be recognized, then Mrs. Greene [?]– 

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] I’m not apologizing.

 

[clip of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] Well then you’re not striking your words. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 7] Okay, reserve the right to object. [banter]

 

[clip of Marjorie Taylor Greene] I am not apologizing. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 9] [?] Come on, guys. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Mr. chair. Point of order. I’m just curious, just to better understand your ruling. If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody’s bleach blond, bad built butch body that would not be engaging in personalities. Correct?

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Uh. A what now? [laughter]

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Chairman, I make a I make a motion to strike those wo rds. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8]  I don’t think that’s a part of a–

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Hold on. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] I’m trying to find clarification on what qualifies–

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Chairman, motion dismissed–

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] I didn’t, I have no idea what you just said.

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] We’re not going to. We’re not going to do this. Look, you guys earlier, literally, just said– [loud banter]

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman 2] You just you just voted to do it. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman] You all did it first so -?]

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman 2] You just voted to do it. [banter]

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Order, order. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] I’m trying to get clarification. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman] Okay. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Look it, calm down, calm down. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] No no no no. Because this is what y’all do. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] I would like to get through proceeding. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] So I’m trying to get clarification. [banter]

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Hey. Ms. Crockett, you’re not recognized. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Because y’all want to play games [?]. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] I can’t hear you with your yelling. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] And you don’t want me to be–

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Calm down. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] No. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Can you please calm down? 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Don’t tell me to calm down. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Calm do wn. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Because y’all talk noise. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Please calm down.

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] And then you play [?]. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] You’re out of control. 

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] Because if I [?]–

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Look chairman. [indistinct]

 

[clip of Jasmine Crockett] If I [?] if I come and talk

about her, y’all gonna have a problem. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman] Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman. 

 

[clip of unknown congresswoman] Order. Alright.

 

[clip of unknown congressman] Chair. Chair. Okay. Yeah. 

 

[clip of unknown congressman number 8] Order. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: [laugh] I think, you know, several issues here, but I just found this to be such a fascinating thing. And I also, you know, part of me is I can’t even imagine what it’s like for particularly Black women in Congress to have to deal with these folks. Like, I cannot even imagine what that day to day is like. And you’re trying to work in a body of people that is all supposed to be sort of focused on democracy and the advancement of. And it is this. Did y’all see this? I’m sure you did. It was all over the online. [laughter] 

 

Kaya Henderson: Uh. Yes, indeedy. So first of all, I’m here for the drama. I like watching British Parliament because they scrap it up all the time. And I think that makes democracy is messy. It’s messy. It’s messy. And first of all, I was just taken aback by how manipulative Marjorie Taylor Greene is. Like, she’s not stupid. She’s not crazy. She’s not just a loose cannon. She dropped a bomb, right? Fake eyelashes. And when Crockett started coming back at her, she started with the Black woman troops. Right? You’re so angry. I can’t hear you because you’re screaming. Stop being so angry. Right? And so you get the, like, layered racial stuff happening. The chairman of the committee is like, I can’t hear. I have two hearing aids. Like, I can’t. Everybody’s screaming and I can’t whatever. But, sir, when Marjorie Taylor Greene was acting a fool, you could hear everything. It was fine. You were presiding over the meeting. But as soon as AOC and Crockett started getting back at it, then it was just so chaotic. You can’t make sense of it. To me, the whole thing was racist, right? Like the whole thing was racist. One, I appreciate AOC for standing up. She was like, remove those marks from the record, right? And they were like, well, it wasn’t so, the Crockett lady was like, well, what are the rules, right? If I say boomp, boomp, ba boom, boompt, is that okay? And then everybody’s up in a tizzy, child, what a mess. Now again, it’s entertaining. I think people are now watching oversight hearings because something might jump off. And I think that’s better for our democracy. But you can’t tell me that this was not racist. You can’t tell me that this was not a coordinated attack. You can’t tell me that this wasn’t a continued attempt to make the colorful people look bananas. And what I think is most reprehensible is that we let Marjorie Taylor Greene say whatever, do whatever, and without any consequence. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, [laugh] I’m so glad Auntie Kaya, that you entered this talking about Parliament and British Parliament, because I can definitely be in my American bubble, because the first thing that I thought about is how exhausted I am of everything that is serious also having to collapse and collude with entertainment and how, again, I think the ’90s was such an interesting moment that I like kind of go back to in my head because the OJ trial was on television and you have judge shows, and then you have Jerry Springer and you have like, this kind of turning American life into entertainment. And then the meta creations that that comes out with. And then you see, like the first springs of like reality television, the real world and stuff like that of, of really trying to sell American mundane life back to us in a traumatized away. And now that we’re in some type of like afterlife of that, it’s really disappointing to see because, yeah, it’s entertaining. But we are on the precipice of a World War three, health care, people are still dying, like people are still homeless. There are real things to be addressed. And the fact that this feels like Andy Cohen should come out next week and have everybody talk about, that is not comforting. I find myself visiting museums not just because I’m a smart person who likes to visit museums and look at the arts in my in my holly toity voice. I visit museums because I really find myself thirsting for places where there is this like air of esteem and of maturity that’s expected in spaces, because it just seems that that is just not what we’re all agreeing upon now. We are just agreeing to wild out. The museums and Trader Joe’s. I feel like your, people in Trader Joe’s really [laughter] a lot of great people go to Trader Joe’s and know what’s up. [laugh] And are very respectful. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You know, it’s interesting because I think that this did remind people of how unserious so many of the elected officials are. And I remember growing up, I just knew this was like they were the most serious and da da da, da da. And then it was like, no, these people are less serious than my 11 year olds when I was a teacher. This is like fun and games and jokes, folks. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Right. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And it is so interesting, sort of echoing what both of you said, juxtaposed to the serious problems we got to deal with like record poverty, inflation, war is happening, protests. You know, the police continue to wreak havoc and she up here talking about somebody eyelashes. And I do appreciate Representative Crockett clapping back, if not only to force people to acknowledge the disparity in the application of the rules. Because, you know, what happens is, is that Crockett gets deemed crazy and ghetto like that’s what it becomes. But let’s be clear if she had popped off on Marjorie first, it would have been World War five. The Republicans would be running ads with her face right now. And Marjorie has been allowed to be just wild. And I do love the AOC, and I don’t know if you saw Senator Fetterman, he pushed on AOC sort of making fun of AOC, and she clapped back and was like, you might not defend people against bullies, but I do. And it’s like, I actually just like I appreciate her moral clarity in situations like this because it’s like, you know, he’s on your side, he’s joking you in public. And I appreciate you being like, I’m not even fighting with you, but what what I will not do is allow somebody to be bullied. That just I won’t do that whether the camera is there or not. And I respect AOC for that. I am, continue to be a fan and excited about her long career because even when people disagree with her, you will not say that she is not clear about where she stands and I respect that. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I guess we have to talk about it. I’ve been over Sean Diddy Combs a long time. [laughter] The last time I liked him is when he took Kaya to prom. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oooh, really did you just put that out on the [laugh]–

 

De’Ara Balenger: I did, I did because that is the last time we knew him to be [sigh] a just a decent regular, shmegular guy. 

 

Kaya Henderson: No–

 

De’Ara Balenger: You know? 

 

Kaya Henderson: You knew him to be a decent regular, schmegular guy after that. But I like your style. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I mean, for, like, maybe 18 months. And then we lost him. I just, I remember I got invited to Bad Boy for a meeting. Maybe it was like on some Hillary campaign stuff and the behavior of the people in this meeting. It actually was just like we were talking about. It was the same behavior that we saw in Congress actually this week. People were on they cell phones like taking calls during the meeting like, hello? What’s up? Okay. What? People smoking weed in the meetings. And it was like, what type of business is this, Sean Diddy Combs? And it was from there on I was like, this has to come from somewhere and it has to come from the top. And so that is when I really was like, I don’t know why it wasn’t when he had them kids walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to get a cheesecake. I don’t know why it wasn’t then. I don’t know why it wasn’t when Danity Kane was like, he [?] I don’t know why, but it was in that meeting that I had a personal experience that I was like, this does not feel good. None of this in here. So, I mean, I’m talking about him now. I don’t like this man. I haven’t for a long time. I don’t really want to talk about it. I hope he gets the things he deserves. But moreover, I hope the folks that he has brutalized over decades are okay and healing. Did I open that up for good conversation? [laughing]

 

Myles E. Johnson: I think that’s an interesting point that you made De’Ara, around your, like, personal experiences with him, because I also think when I reflect on Diddy and Russell Simmons, that part of their allure, I’m, I’m saying this as like a um, a picture of Basquiat is looking at me. I think a part of their like allure was the fact that they were able to, Jay-Z too, I will add to that, is the fact that they were able to attract such power and such fame, seemingly by not bowing their heads to respectability politics, and then also white supremacist forms of professionalism. And I think that resonates. I think about, like how Basquiat, that famous picture of Basquiat in the Armani suit, no shoes on with the dreads and how that, like, comports and signals something about what you have to do in order to gain access. I think that now. So obviously what Diddy did was disgusting and wrong and violent. I think now what I’m noticing and that in despite his apology, you have to think about the bigger culture is like how now, how we desperately need or maybe we don’t need it, maybe we don’t need those representations. But now I feel like there’s everything that he stood for was taken away because, look, he really was that. He really was a thug. He really was somebody who beats women. This is how come we expect these things? And I find myself not just feeling bad for Cassie, which I do, and feeling bad for the whole situation, but really feeling super resentful of Diddy because he really did forge this like Diddy, Russell, the countless abusers who have just like showed their ass in these last couple of years and have shown how violent they were. They really have made it so that pathway that they created is totally muddied now, and it just infuriates me. One of the reasons why I can’t articulate it, cause it really infuriates me, because even with me inside of even though that obviously we didn’t have parallels, there was ways where I re-imagined how I can show up in my own queerness in certain spaces, disrupt even hip hop spaces. My first job was at um in New York was at OkayPlayer and then going to Noisey, but I felt like I can be queer and disrupt those spaces because I’ve seen Jay-Z and Diddy and Russell do it via hip hop and white business, and now I do think that representation of that kind of fame comes with a responsibility. And I think the irresponsibility and the heinous way that Diddy has wielded his power, I don’t think we have even, like, touched. I think we just stay on the scandal part, but we haven’t touched how disrespectful that was to us as a community too, you know, and again, not trying to censor the whole culture when Cassie is obviously the one who was being brutalized. But I do think that I haven’t seen as many conversations around that echo effect as well, of how this can be used as a way to kind of reinforce things, that his image was made to dismantle. His representation was made to dismantle. 

 

Kaya Henderson: That is a really keen point, Myles. I do think that for a lot of people who grew up listening to Bad Boy music and watching Puffy’s ascent, it was in fact like total counter culture. It was authentic Blackness, challenging the status quo, being successful when people said, you shouldn’t do this or you can’t do it that way, like he did it his way. And I think for a long time and for a lot of people, even if you don’t consciously know it, you are empowered and enabled to reinvent yourself. You could change your name, you could be a different person. You could go from, you know, an intern to whatever liquor mogul and whatever, whatever rap impresario, all of these things. He created a sense of possibility, I think, in Blackness that is now dashed, right? And one of the things that I think is really important. So let me just start by saying I watched that video and I almost vomited, like it was reprehensible. Like people don’t treat their dogs the way he treated that girl in that one episode, in that one moment. And my guess is they raided his house because he got security tapes of lots of stuff, and there’s probably a whole lot of footage of a lot of other stuff that will come out. Or maybe it won’t, but I feel like, you know, whatever, there’s a lot more than this. But I think that there is also like rampant abuse, misogyny, rape, drugs, all of this stuff in the music industry. And we don’t talk about it. We every once in a while something bubbles up, right? And we’re like, ooh, but if you have been paying attention to the rumors over years, if you’ve been at the parties, if you like, this has been the biggest open secret in hip hop, and our failure as a culture to recognize that, account for that. There have been a few clarion voices, just like with all of our predators, right, from R. Kelly to Doctor Dre to whoever else, there’s always been somebody saying, look, look, this is happening, and we have not held these people accountable as a culture. And I think, you know, part of it, it’s all complicated because this is not just Black people doing this stuff. White people do this stuff too. White people do this stuff too. And you don’t see the coverage. You don’t see the whatever. Like there’s plenty of rumors about what Diddy did and didn’t do with white people that haven’t come out yet or whatever. And, you know, I was talking to the aunties yesterday and they were like, we can’t do what they do, which is you I mean, you seen and heard this over and over again. And so my heart goes out to Cassie and to everybody else who was abused by Diddy in this way and anybody else. Um. It has to be triply traumatic to have the whole world watching you get beat on a video that is literally just on repeat. And my prayer is for healing for her and Diddy, and everybody else has to be held accountable like we just. I don’t know. I don’t have much more to say than that. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I will say um there are a couple of things that stick out to me. One is there’s a generation of people who are like 40 years old and older who never imagined that the internet would be a thing and did a lot of stuff in a time where there were three people who controlled all the magazines and da da da, and they could kill a story with a phone call or an invite to a dinner or a quid pro quo, and just never imagined that the internet would democratize information the way it has. For better or for worse, for a lot of issues. But I feel confident that there’s no way that Diddy has a reckoning without the internet being able to amplify these stories quicker than he’s able to try and kill them. The second thing is Cassie’s lawyer’s top ten, top two, and they not number two, that going to the New York Times, that was a brilliant move. Because if this had shown up on The Shade Room first, it would have been received very differently. Even whoever leaked that video going to CNN and not going to the blogs was a brilliant move. It sort of took out any question, any doubt that it was true. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Legitimate. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Yeah. And I saw people, you know, ask all these questions. You’re like, okay, that was crystal clear and the middle of the morning. It’s not like a fuzzy video. You’re like, oh, is that Diddy? Got to zoom in. I don’t know, is that Cassie? Da da da. So it’s like, well somebody at the hotel saw that for sure and knew it was him. And you think about the sheer amount of people that had to, I mean, because Diddy, he been famous my whole life. It’s like, think about all the people that had to participate in hiding that video from the public. It’s sort of incredible. I mean, that is a stunning thing. And the way that abusers move, it was so gross to look back and think about Diddy thanking Cassie for her patience or whatever he said at that award show. Remember he gets the award and he’s like–

 

Myles E. Johnson: For holding me down during the dark times. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Cassie, I just want to thank you, you’re like, that is some nasty work. And even the apology was not an apology to the person you’re hurting. You know, I think somebody said it well, it was like you’re trying to just appeal to the lowest common denominator. The people who will be like, well, he said sorry. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And the last thing I’ll say, the organizer in me is always interested in what are the things that make people think deeper about the criminal justice system? And all of a sudden, I saw people thinking through why do we have statutes of limitation? Because in California there’s a three year statute for aggravated assault. And the reason for statutes of limitation is ideally around at a point, people question the reliability of witnesses or evidence might not be there. There are some crimes like murder that have either no statute of limitations or really long ones. We clearly know that sexual assault has some because that has come up recently. That is how Cassie was able to file the lawsuit in New York state. But it is interesting because you’re like, that was crystal clear. And the L.A. state’s attorney is like, I’m sorry, we there is nothing we can do. That is a wild thing to confront. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: To your point, DeRay, about the statutes of limitation thing, or I guess not even to your point, but a question that I have is are most statute of limitations like, not caught up with the surveillance state? Because in my head I’m thinking like, okay, I get why statutes of limitation that don’t exist when it comes to if we think about before there’s a surveillance camera and everybody’s phone has a camera and all these other and all these other um evidence created devices, but I’m like, what’s the use of a statutes of limitations if we’re not just going by what witnesses say and what a defendant is saying, but we’re also we can see what just happened. So what like what what’s the use of statute of limitations there, has the law just not caught up to technology in this case?

 

DeRay Mckesson: It’s interesting. There’s no one group that sort of leads the work on reforming statute of limitations. And probably the biggest advocacy in the space is around sex abuse victims. Like that is sort of where the reform is happening. You know, New York got that reform package that opened it for a window but did not open it permanently. Right. There are people who, you know, as you know, the Catholic Church is sort of quietly fighting against the statute of limitations opening for–

 

Kaya Henderson: Totally. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: –child abuse cases. But it is an interesting question because you’re like, you know, when we see these things happen, three who made up three years? Like this is all made up, right? Like and I think the reform community is split thinking about do we want people incarcerated or not? But it was interesting to see people have to deal with the real life implications of the Diddy, because people said they wanted a whole host of consequences that were potentially worse than prison for Diddy, and trying to think about what that means in the context of a better world. But I know we have to move on. But it was wild to see and wild to see his um fake apology video and interesting to see what happens next, because this is has to be the tip of the iceberg. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Can I ask our lawyer, like my first thing when I saw the apology video was, who’s your legal counsel? Because shouldn’t you not be saying a word right now? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: That’s his problem. You can’t tell him nothing. He’s probably the worst client to have because he’s going to do what he wants to do. And he thinks that he’s always going to win because he has. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Right. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: To better news. Let’s get happy. [laugh] Our dear, dear Simone Biles. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Come on, cousin Moni. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Okay. 

 

Kaya Henderson: She did a vault that took her to the moon and back, and we’ve never seen that before. Did you see that? [clap]

 

De’Ara Balenger: It was incredible. So she was at the 2024 Core Hydration Gymnastics Classic in Hartford, Connecticut, and she got an impressive all around score of 59.500, topping the score she earned last year. Because we got to we getting her accolades right. She dominated the event, so she saw a return to the competition for Suni Lee and Gabby Douglas, making the first time that three former Olympic all around gold medalists competed at the same time. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yeah, that is historic. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Incredible. So her scores for the event never dip below 14.55. I guess for people who know gymnastics, these are like these are high scores. Highest scores on the vault, floor events. What did she say? She was just happy to be back out there. She’s so sweet. Getting through the nerves again. Feeling that adrenaline. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Two main things. One main thing is that these three women competed together. And then I think the second main thing is Simone blew it out of the water like she killed it. Highest marks ever. Like she is the GOAT for a reason. I read something that says she has like 37, I don’t know, world championship medals or something like that, more than anybody in the history of gymnastics. And I’m so looking forward to the Paris Olympics because I feel like she is going to go there and show out friends. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Well, did you see that she performed the hardest of all in women’s gymnastics, the Yurchenko double pike, and she performed the vault that has her name. I think it’s called the Biles Two. And she got a small point deduction because her coach remained on the mat. And I love that they were like, this is about her safety. And she is so good that we can take the low point deduction for the coach standing nearby. Because she is still that girl. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Come on. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And I love that she took a break for mental health. I do think that she normalized for professional athletes. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Yes. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: You can take a break. You can acknowledge that you need some time away and you can come back and be just as good as you were before. And I love that she’s, you know, some athletes across all the sports really slow down a little bit before the Olympics, especially because she’s definitely going to qualify like it’s not there’s not a question of will she go to the Olympics, but she’s like, I’m a win all this. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: And I’m like, come on, Simone.

 

Kaya Henderson: Leave it all on the floor honey, she brings her best every single time, it oh gosh. Yes. Come on girl. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. I was just echoing what um, you were going to say DeRay because sometimes it feels like Simone Biles is also this patron saint of um millennial gen z thoughts around work. So it’s also good to see somebody who took those breaks, those mental health moments and still is able to be exceptional, showing that rest and and mental health and centering emotional mental health does not make one lazier, it doesn’t make one less valuable. And sometimes it can also it could actually lead to really exceptional result. And I feel like Simone Biles is also pushing a social, political, [laugh] um agenda too, by being this exceptional, that I of course project onto her, but it makes me feel better about the naps. [laugh]

 

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

 

[AD BREAK] 

 

DeRay Mckesson: My news is I’ll keep the description brief because I was fascinated by it. So CBS news, which I actually don’t think [?] was doing a lot of like investigations about criminal justice, but shout out to, uh CBS and The Trace, which is a phenomenal outlet. CBS news is does get stuff mostly on the news news, though, and then Reveal from the center for Investigative Reporting. They did an analysis of police departments who sell their guns. I didn’t realize that there are a lot of departments that when they do gun buyback programs with the idea of buying the guns to get them off the street, I had no clue that they were, in some cases, selling those guns to firearms stores. That blew my mind. So they report that the Philadelphia City Council boasts on their website of having collected 825 guns in buybacks since 2021. But the records show that the Philadelphia police resold at least 886 guns over the past two decades, including 85 guns in between ’21 and ’22. And in some cases, their records show across departments they looked at, that they added more guns to the marketplace than they removed. And the article goes through these instances, these like very specific instances where a gun that was sold by the police showed up at a crime scene or participated in a crime. The most shocking thing to me, though was just the scale of the firearms that they put back on the market. So CBS looked at 67 agencies. Mind you, there are 18,000 police departments in the United States. They only looked at 67 agencies. And in those 67 agencies, those 67 police departments had collectively resold more than 87,000 firearms over the past two decades. Now, what’s interesting about this is if you look at the research on gun buybacks, it essentially says that gun buybacks don’t work. And everybody’s been confused about it for a long time. And this article made it all make sense to me. I’m like, you’re right. If you take the guns off the street and then resell them. [laugh] Of course the gun buyback doesn’t work. That is wild to me and it makes me think of I was working on a case in a major city, and I talked to somebody in the firearms investigation unit who was leaving, who I knew through a friend, and she was like, we’re supposed to melt guns, so we send them to get melted. Inevitably, we will see that gun show up in another murder. And she’s like, I know the guns because we have to examine them. And you’re like, well, how did that show up in another murder if it was supposed to be melted by the police? I say all this to say that when we think about crack cocaine or we think about the drugs in communities. All of us grew up around Black people, Black people are not making guns in the backyard. That’s my [?]. They are getting them from somewhere. And who knew that they getting them from the police? 

 

Kaya Henderson: The police. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Y’all.I just had to bring this here. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I feel so dumb. I really do, because, like a lot of people, I thought that when police confiscate guns, they melted them. I really did, had no idea whatsoever. But this reinforces the fact that America does not want gun control. We, you know, as a country, are cool with flooding these communities because guess what? We know what communities these guns are being sold into. They are not selling to the pawnshops in Beverly Hills. They are selling to our communities. And so to me, this and this is what people don’t understand when we talk about systemic racism, like this is an example of systemic racism, where a system that is supposed to protect people actually works to undermine, annihilate whatever communities. This is a prime example. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: I think what also stands out to me about this and what I’m stuck on, is a police officer losing their firearm. And then I just googled, what happens if you’re a police officer that loses your gun? It’s like, [?] is like you get another one. Yay! So it’s I think it’s just [laugh] wild to me, the lack, I mean we talk about this so much, and DeRay so much of your work is just, like, around the lack of accountability with police. So even, like, it just seems to me if you lose your gun. Maybe you shouldn’t be a police officer. Like because where did you, did you put it down at the donut shop? Like, where did you lose– 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Not the donut shop. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Where did you lose the gun? That is wild, wild, wild, wild to me. And then you can then keep your job. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. Just echoing everything that y’all are saying. But then also just I think the thing that this article made me think about the most is just how cyclical it all is, which could be a little bit depressing of um how the violence that we experience in this nation feeds itself. So there’s, there are all these crooked, well oiled systems and ways that things can just keep, could continue to perpetuate itself at this point. And that like, with no actual like disruption to break that, it really is at the point where the organism of violence in this country sustains itself, is that making sense? Like there there are just ways that it just, self sustains itself that are really scary and depressing. And again, the like that just don’t exist in some places in the world. I think um American, I’m in America so sometimes it behooves me to remember that everybody is not dealing with this. Every nation is not dealing with what’s going on, but we’ve made it so we’re a nation that is about business and about money. And I think that what we’re experiencing is like a is a product of that, that even human life can ultimately have a price tag. And it’s extremely depressing and disappointing because, yes, I think about the places that these guns go to as far as Black communities, but also it’s still thinking about people who are being red pilled on the internet. And and I’m just thinking about all these other violent acts that we see in the radicalizations of the people that we see and how access to weapons can just help people execute the most vile and violent of intentions on, on to us. So, you know, no need to see a horror movie. 

 

Kaya Henderson: One more thought before I go into my news, which is they are selling the guns to like, gun sellers who have federal gun violations like they are not even selling to good actors. And so it’s not even perplexing. It is part of a coordinated effort. I have some good news though. I have some good news about our grandpa, Ed Dwight, who is 90 years old and eight months. That is what is allowing me to call him grandpa. I would have called him Uncle Ed, but I feel like he’s Grandpa Ed and he is a, to me, this is a hidden figure in Black history’s story, and so I’m bringing it because it is lovely and heartwarming. And we should know about ex-Air Force captain Ed Dwight. In 1961, Ed Dwight was selected by then President John F. Kennedy to be the first Black astronaut in training. He was scheduled to be the first Black astronaut. He started going through the astronaut training program and as systems do, even though the big boss said he was going to be an astronaut, all those mid-level managers who were haters made it difficult for him. They discriminated against him in training. They said he was not tall enough. They said he was Catholic and that was a problem. They said he was not Black enough. They derailed his training program and so he did not complete it. He did not become the first Black astronaut. Guion did some years later. But for 61 years, his dream of becoming an astronaut has been deferred until yesterday. Sunday, he was able to go into space on Jeff Bezos Blue Origin’s flight into space. You know, now the bazillionaires are traveling to space and taking crews of civilians. And they included Grandpa Ed in this. And Grandpa Ed said, I was watching a clip and he said, you know, I thought I didn’t need this anymore. I thought I didn’t want this, but he’s like, I did it and it was spectacular, and I want to do it again. And the light in his eyes of being able to accomplish something that he set out to do 60 years ago was heartwarming. He spent a decade after he left the Air Force in a training program as an entrepreneur, and then he became a sculptor, creating large scale monuments of figures in Black history. And he has more than 130 of his public works that are displayed in museums in Canada and across the United States. And so I appreciate him for funneling his talents into the memorialization and commemoration of our history. And now he gets to take place in our history at 90 years old, and eight months, as the oldest person to reach the edge of space. Grandpa Ed, I’m excited for you. I’m happy for you. Thank you, Mr. Bezos, for making one of those seats count, making it historical. And yeah, I just thought this was nice. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Well, thank you, Kaya, for bringing this story. It really warms my heart. I’m a Afrofuturist nut. I love, um stories like this. And I also think about um, to me, like, so there’s something that’s always been in my head since forever about Black people and flight like that is just from Igbo Landing and then the story, you know, a lot of people have read the children’s book um the people can fly like something about Black people in flight always just has moved me and also has felt like something that I kind of return to in a new moment, at any moment, if I’m going through something difficult, I always ask myself metaphorically, of course, am I walking or am I flying? Like, is that what I’m doing in my mind? You know? So sometimes I do selfishly look at these astronauts in these moments like this as these kind of huge poems to Black people culturally. Um. About what a Black person can do and and about possibility. And this did remind me of a Nikki Giovanni poem, Mars. I was gonna read like a just like a small little bit of it. But in her poem Mars, she says, we’re going to Mars because we have the hardware to do it. We have rockets and fuel and money and stuff. And the only reason NASA is holding back is they don’t know if what they send out will be what they get back. So let me slow this down. Mars is one year of travel to get there, plus one year of living on Mars, plus one year to return to Mars. And she kind of goes into this poem, was one of my favorite Nikki Giovanni poems, where she kind of goes into the reasons why we’re leaving Earth, the reasons why we’re getting um away from here and going to Mars. And I sometimes see these people who are actually Black people who are actually in space and actually exploring flight as these kind of walking flesh poems of remembering if you’re if are you walking in your mind, are you crawling or are you flying? So that is what this reminded me of. So thank you for bringing this to the podcast. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: Kaya, I didn’t know this at all. Um. I saw this first when you said it and was like, oh my God, this is great. So thank you for bringing it. I literally had never heard of it. He took me down a rabbit hole. I’m so pumped that he finally got to do it. And I think about that generation of Black people who had the talent and skill and energy and attitude and all the things, and were stripped of their dreams because of the racist world we lived in. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Y’all know when I see something like this, I’m like, who told Jeff Bezos about this Black man? Because, you know, it’s somebody like us that works there that’s like, what about this person? You know, when that email goes out, do you all know anybody of color that would be interesting? Yeah, yeah I do, yes I do know. Anyhow but so I got to dig in because evidently you need a ticket to ride on this spaceship. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Oh yeah. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: And it’s an expensive ticket. 

 

Kaya Henderson: It sure is. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: And so the person or entity that helped to cover [?] Dwight’s ticket is interestingly, I put it in the chat for y’all is Jason Robinson, who’s partner and co-founder of Dream Variation Ventures, a VC, a Black man. Now in his photo, his bio photo, he in space. Okay? Jason is passionate about space and extreme adventures. He went hiking for a week in Antarctica. He’s gone wing walking, I guess on a plane like the wing, you walk on the wing of the plane, I guess that’s what you’re trying to tell us Jason? He is the 623rd person to visit space and the 19th Black person in space. So I feel like [laugh] Jason is our spokesperson in the space space and was like, I have an idea. And also keep in mind, everybody, I’m making all this up just is what I’m putting together in my own mind. He was like, I have an idea for someone we could take. And so here we have it. So it’s just a curious thing so that we have, after decades, someone so deserving going to space. And then also this sort of advocate, Jason, who has clearly landed in a whole lot of money shout outs to you. Well, we going we going to find you. We know we got a cousin between us and is this is his thing. Adventure and putting Black folks into space. I can’t I’m not mad at that. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Each one, free one. 

 

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

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Myles E. Johnson: So my news is historical news. I want to um, take us to the late 1900s, specifically the late ’70s, [laugh]and the ’80s. Um. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Wait, wait. Those are the years that I was born and grew up, and you just made me feel like Bridgerton. Uh. [laughter] 

 

Myles E. Johnson: I was like, I’ll do you all a favor and not say it in my um, my PBS narration British accent. [laughter] I wanted to bring this because so a couple of things happened when I’m not doing this podcast, you know, for an hour. And one of the biggest things that happened is music making. And I love sounds and I love synths, and I love computer sounds, which really will always make me go back to the late ’70s and ’80s, specifically what we will call new wave music. So we’re talking Talking Heads and a plethora of other bands. Um. Blondie that are just known for being kind of post-punk in the way that they weren’t necessarily always using these kind of rock and roll instruments in order to make this countercultural music. But they were using synths, they were using electronic sounds and really trying to create the what’s called, like the the sound of the future and also embracing pop music formats in a big way. So this is when you do hear a punk band like Blondie make something like um Heart of Glass, which was seen as so countercultural because if you are going to be cool and from New York, you don’t make Heart of Glass and disco music. And if you are going to be saying something that is philosophical, you have to sound maybe more like a obviously like a punk band or even like a Bob Dylan. But then you have like artists like Elvis Costello who come in and still were saying things that were really um provocative and um really philosophical and interesting. So you see, you see all these different compromises happening inside of music. And then, you know, David Bowie’s a part of that too. So what I wanted to bring is this article that I found on Splice, where it is called New Wave is defined by whiteness. And it really made me think about things, because a lot of times when you get into certain spaces in genre, you look around and you’re like, oh, only white people seem to be interested in this space. When we start talking about Talking Heads. And I thought this article in Splice explained the reasons why we often, when we hear about New Wave, the reasons why we don’t think about Black people. One is race, genre, so what when Black people do it, when Prince does it, when Janet Jackson does it, it takes another form for whatever reason. And then also, which I thought was an interesting point too, is that what the esthetic of new wave was so future orientated, and we know that in um white culture uh has always had a hard time imagining Black people in any type of future, no matter how dark or bright it was. Where the future projected in new wave music was extremely usually a little bit darker and a little bit more cynical or camp if we’re thinking about the um, bands like the B-52s. So I wanted to read a quick quote from this article. Like classic rock and country music, new wave is a very white genre. Some critics have argued that that’s because it’s about whiteness. Philosopher of popular music Robin James, for example, claims that the herky jerky rhythms, robotic vocals, and alienated lyrics all create a musical disorientation which recenters conventional accounts of whiteness, specifically white men’s anxieties about their bodies. James isn’t necessarily wrong about the fetishization of white awkwardness in bands like Devo and Talking Heads, but New Wave isn’t just white because it takes whiteness at it’s subject matter. It’s white because the genre is defined by whiteness. Critics sometimes treat genre as if they’re built entirely around form. You categorize LED Zeppelin as classic rock because they use some electrified blues bass guitar licks. You categorize Nicki Minaj as hip hop because she raps rather than sings. New Order is a new wave band because they use stiff rhythms, mix rock with electronica, and sing lyrics about alienation, disjunction, and paranoia. But genres aren’t just a matter of formal characteristics, they’re also defined through category or time. So the fact that these things happened in the ’80s is also a reason why we should um, consult these things as um New Wave too. So I wanted to bring this here because I wanted for people to A, rethink the music that we were hearing that was coming out in the ’80s. And then also so here’s my interjected Myles opinion too, there’s something about the intelligence that New Wave rockers, not just the rebellion, but New Wave artists were seen as that I feel like have historically, it will be hard to project onto a Black person. So there was a way that in order to be a new wave artist, you had to be looking at culture, look at pop culture and be able to twist it in this very [?] way that I think people have a hard time believing Black people have capacity to do. And I think that’s one of the reasons why when you do see something um somebody like Prince or see something like what Janet Jackson was doing it’s not seen as that, even though it’s obviously that genre. Also, before I open it up for comments, is I do want to acknowledge Grace Jones, who just had a birthday on Sunday, who is one person who I think and maybe like, aside from um Poly Styrene who is just one of those people who is super associated with it, as a new wave artist who, when you look at her esthetics, when you look at what she was projecting, was doing the same things those white boys were doing. And she’s one of the few Black people who’s a lot of music she did make is considered in that new wave conversation, at least newly. When I was looking up stuff, specifically her album Nightclubbing. But she has such an interesting story, too, because she took her Black woman self and she introduced injected herself in the um in the future. And what happened? there was a putting down of gender. There was a repeated of her image. There’s one um, image of her in this minimalist space where there’s just three Grace Jones. So there’s this kind of proliferation of of just of just her and where also it could be seen as narcissistic, but it also kind of says that in this future that she’s creating, that her look is not odd. It’s normal. The fact that there’s so many Grace Jones’ around and stuff like that. So I do also want to use this as a way to honor Grace Jones, because we’re still having those conversations today around gender, around what is abnormal, how do we insert things into the culture and make them seem normal through image making? And I think Grace Jones has, like always been before her time when it comes to that. And I also think that when we have conversations about these intelligent music creations and these genius moments, I think that we, uh that happened in American culture. We have to be proactive about involving Black people and Black voices and rethinking about why was this seen as New wave and this not, and really um confronting the white supremacy inside of why why we are not thinking of certain Black musical creations as as certain things. Yeah. I wanted to know about y’all’s experience with New Wave in the late 1900s. Um. [laughing] And. Yeah. Yeah. What what what are y’all thinking? 

 

Kaya Henderson: Well, I will say that before today, I hadn’t thought a whit about New Wave at all in my life. Sort of subconsciously aware of some of these artists, but not my genre, not my music, and was thinking to myself, why does this matter? And the article says very clearly what I think is very important. And I’m also going to quote from the article, Myles, it says, I think it matters because it warps our sense of history. New wave in most popular accounts as a segregated movement, but it was only segregated because Black people who made New wave music were called something other than New wave by critics. And it takes me to the fact that Black people are always in any kind of cultural creation that happens in at least in these United States, but really all over the world, that, of course there were these artists like ESG who I’d never heard of before this article or, you know, some of the other people. And the writer goes on to say, these stories aren’t just racial, they are racist because of the point that you made Myles, which is that New Wave is celebrated as this innovative genre and there are no Black people, which consequently means that Black people are not innovative, which might be the biggest lie in the world. But that’s what people say about us all the time. So I appreciated you taking me to a new space, even though I was alive and kicking in the late, late, late 1900s. Um. Partying and clubbing and doing all the things in the late 1900s. But it really reminded me that we are concerned right now with being written out of history in like social studies books and things like that. We’ve been written out of history in every conceivable way and opportunity that people have, and it means that we have to keep on telling our own stories are the art is the thing that survives and we create the art. We innovate, we show up, we enable other people to be artists, and we can’t ever let the world forget that. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I’ll just say really quickly, I have never heard of New Wave before. So this was a learning [?]. [laughter]

 

De’Ara Balenger: I think the only thing I will say that immediately came to mind with reading this and reflecting on this and listening to you Myles is Jazz Fest. Because it’s always interesting to me how genres are represented at Jazz Fest and how so at Jazz Fest, they’re different tents, right they’re tents and stages, but gospel, blues and jazz are tents, right? So they’re almost smaller venues. But the acts that are there are literally the acts that have like set the course of like American music. And so when you think about people like Irma, Irma Thomas, and if you don’t know Irma Thomas, get to know Irma Thomas. She’s like Aretha Franklin’s contemporary. She’s like the soul person. They call her, like the soul singer of New Orleans. But Irma Thompson is one of those folks that always ends up on the mainstage, right? Because of her significance, because of her prominence. And so and also just in New Orleans. And obviously there’s a bunch of racial, all kinds of things happening. But in this context, it’s interesting. So even with the Rolling Stones playing this year at Jazz Fest, which actually could not stand because it just brought too many people to Jazz Fest. She was on stage with the Rolling Stones. You know what I mean? And so the conversation is happening. It’s not necessarily happening with equity in mind, but the conversation is happening. So it’s always such an interesting place to me where the appreciation is there, but still in the commercialization of it it’s still reflective of, like the progress we need to make. But I don’t know, it makes me think of that because it’s really the only place where I can where I’ve been to a festival with so many different genres in one place. But everybody sort of understood that, like, we know where we got this music from everybody, and we may pay more to see Rolling Stones than we would to see Irma Thomas, but we know that, you know. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: And before we closed out of this specific topic, another reason why it matters too is because a lot of these British New wave bands, American New Wave bands, cite Black artists as their–

 

Kaya Henderson: –Influences. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Hundred percent.

 

Myles E. Johnson: As their influences. So like when you see it, you see a lot of people because Black people were very innovative in embracing electronics–

 

De’Ara Balenger: Especially the Rolling Stones too yep. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah, and synths and stuff like that. So a lot of times white people are influenced by Black artist innovation when it comes to electronic music and and using electronics in the case of New wave and and using pop sensibilities in order to tell new stories, Donna Summers, and then they take on that influence and sell it back to white folks and are called geniuses. And we know that that happened in New wave music. But we also know that that’s happened with, you know, one Elvis. [laugh]So that happened with Elvis Presley and Elvis Costello. 

 

Kaya Henderson: The Kardashians. I mean, it continues to happen. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Yeah. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Isn’t, Myles, something with the drumming in New Wave, isn’t it like based on, like African traditional drumming or something like? I think I read that somewhere. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: In one of my favorite Talking Heads album is really uh influenced by Afrobeat, so when you listen to these albums, it’s Afrobeat music, and I’m sure I can send you a lot of music because a lot of this music is in the car commercials, you would just be like, oh, I heard this, but like, you’ll hear um, Afrobeat influences, Fela Kuti influences that are heavy inside of these sounds. So a lot of these things were so yeah, you’re totally right. Not just Donna Summers and that kind of like electronic disco pop music that Black people have done, but also things like Afrobeat and reggae and Fela Kuti are huge influences of this music. It’s specifically because, geek out for two seconds, but specifically because there was so much electronic music being made that there needed to be some type of soulful bass of a drum or, or something that kind of really grounds that music to not just make it sound like ethereal synth mush and Afrobeat was often used in that. So thank y’all for exploring it with me. New Black wave. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Talking about a new Black wave, Angela Alsobrooks [claping] is coming in hot, okay. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Woo woo woo. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: She won Maryland’s really contentious Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, defeating a well-funded, I should say, actually self-funded opponent. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Self funded.

 

De’Ara Balenger: [laugh] David Trone, but she would be Maryland’s first Black senator and only three Black women to have served in the Senate. Um. So she, just so impressed by her in her effort and how she built this so sort of her engine so smartly like got support of Governor Wes Moore, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and she just had so much momentum the way she built sort of her her coalition around winning this primary. So David Trone, her opponent, spent nearly $62 million in this race, portraying himself as independent and free from special interests. This man is co-owner of like, one of the biggest wine, alcohol, beverage. 

 

Kaya Henderson: Total wine. Don’t hate.

 

De’Ara Balenger: Total wine, total wine. I ain’t even go, I done bought. Everything–

 

Kaya Henderson: You can get anything you need there. And I like him running Total Wine. He should stay doing that. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Right Right. 

 

Kaya Henderson: How about that?

 

Myles E. Johnson: It looks like he’s going to have to. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: It’s so interesting when you read about this because sort of Democratic strategists talk about like how he was doing really well, sort of like the you know, if the campaign is four quarters and the first three quarters, he was doing really well. Then he came out with this ad on her that said, basically she needed some training wheels. And so Donna Brazile led the effort and others– 

 

Kaya Henderson: It said the Senate is no place for training wheels, right? That she basically was not qualified to be in the Senate, that she did not have enough experience, that this wasn’t the place to try this new thing, that you needed a seasoned whatever. And the place went wild. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: They went wild. So nearly 300 black women came to her defense and wrote a letter. Being like, that was ridiculous. He edited the video, but was like, oh, those edits don’t have to do with that. Okay. The other thing I read about him is he has said out his mouth jigaboo and was like, nah, I meant to say bugaboo. [laugh]

 

Kaya Henderson: He did say jigaboo. And I kept saying if I was her communications person and I could only make one commercial, it would just be him saying jigaboo on repeat. And that would be all I needed to do. 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Like what in the name of white circles are still call Black people jigaboos? What? Please, sir. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: That is [?], what? 

 

De’Ara Balenger: Please let us know the meetings you’re going to and all the people’s names in those meetings. Because we are we are terrified. Okay. So anyway, I just but it’s a huge thing. She’s going to face former governor Larry Hogan in this election and control of the Senate is on the line. So in addition to like there’s just so much wrapped up into this. Right. Like her as a great candidate. Her you know, winning this primary which there were so many things stacked against her and now she’s up against somebody who really sort of orients himself as a middle of the road Republican. He’s, you know, he doesn’t support Trump, being very moderate on things. He personally doesn’t support abortion but isn’t going to sign into law anything that denies women the right to choose. So, you know, sort of it’s going to be a tough a tough, tough race for her. And so I just wanted to call it out because I want us to follow this. I want us to figure out how to be supportive because it’s a big deal. And we got a lot on the line. And so as we’re thinking about the presidential election, there are a lot of things down ballot that are also going to be really, really, really critically important, including this race going down in Maryland. 

 

DeRay Mckesson: I’ll just say, I’m excited for Angela, and we are not out of the clear yet because Hogan was a surprisingly popular governor in the state of Maryland, which is a Democratic stronghold, and the Maryland Democrats, to their disservice, have always run an all boys club, which is what makes Wes’s governorship so important in that regard, and not only because he’s the first Black governor, but because it is the Dems have run candidates that you just cannot support. You’re like, well, this person can’t even complete a sentence, or this person is this person’s cousin. And like it just has been hard, which is how Hogan won because he ran against, uh who is now the attorney general of the state but was a hard candidate for governor. It was just I remember that race. I remember going to fundraisers, and I was like, Hogan, just as a better public speaker. Like, this wasn’t even, like a hard thing. It was like, Hogan just can tell a good story. And, uh we’re not out of the clear yet. And he’s already goading Wes more. You know, Hogan won’t change his Twitter handle from being Governor Hogan. So, you know, Wes calls him the old governor. And and he’s like, why is he, you know, it’s just like a hard, Hogan plays the game well. Hogan’s line about policies, uh but he was around for eight years and we all know him. And, you know, Wes is going to be a great spokesperson for Angela, but Wes is still new. Whereas we had eight years of seeing Hogan on the news every time something happened. And I don’t want to take that for granted. So we still need to get out to vote and make sure Angela gets him. 

 

Myles E. Johnson: Well. I ordered some crawfish in celebration when you dropped this. In the, in the group chat in celebration. Um. And also, I think what it also made me think about is how little people are moved by middle of the road Republicans and how that used to be a little bit of like like, oh, I’m not like Trump, but you can still like there’s just not a trust there when it comes to abortion um rights. If there’s ever been anything like that has just been totally stripped. So like, I don’t know, like I think a lot of Republicans are going to have to go ahead and just just Democrat it up. I’m like, Biden is a conservative Democrat, you know, so I think that space needs to be more open because I don’t think anybody’s trusting anybody who’s um running. And anybody on the left is not trusting anybody who’s still riding on that Republican ticket. 

 

Kaya Henderson: I feel like I had a front row seat to this race, because all the commercials are running in my neck of the woods. And I have three thoughts on this. The first two about David Trone and then the third one about Larry Hogan. So again, with this theme of debasing Black women, Trone’s major talking point was only he could beat Larry Hogan. Right? And so, like, of course, this Black women like, you got to send a white man in to do a white man’s job and beat this other white man. It was I’ve looked at all the polls, and I’m the only person who can beat Larry Hogan, and she beat the pants off of him, and she, didn’t nobody expected that. But she built a broad coalition. She did the work. I mean, he outspent her ten to one. She has $6 million, he has $62 million. And I think it reminds me that the people united can never be defeated. Like when we get our stuff together, when we build collectively, when we do the right thing, it doesn’t matter how much money you have. We actually can win. And so I want people to be reminded of that as we go into this election season. The other thing I want people to be reminded of is all our skin folk ain’t kinfolk. David Trone ran ads with Black people, Black elected officials from Angela Alsobrooks’ county, saying things like she doesn’t have any character and blah, blah, all kinds of terrible things about her. These are people who’ve worked with her. Who have you could disagree, sure. But if you don’t have something good to say about me, it’s one thing to just not say anything. It’s different to go out for my opponent, and at least all the scuttlebutt locally is how much David Trone was paying Black people to be part of his campaign and to appear against Angela Alsobrooks. And then the third piece is Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. You know, Hogan has now pivoted on his stance on abortion rights, and I think he’s going to say anything that he needs to say to try to win. But I want to remind people that Maryland is a blue state. And yes, you elected a Republican governor for eight years, but the coalition of leadership in Maryland is Democratic. Angela campaigned on solid Democratic ideals and has still represented herself as somebody who can lead all of the people of Maryland. And so I’m proud of her. I’m excited for her. I’m excited the way Black women in D.C., Black women in Virginia who couldn’t participate in by voting supported her in droves. Y’all, we can win. That’s my message. We can win. Angela reminds us that we can win. And so let’s go out here and win. 

 

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 @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 was 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]

 

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