We Want The Airwaves #4: Micia Mosley “My role as an artist really informs my educational work because we barter, I mean

smart artists barter. It’s a lot of how you’re able to get headshots or web stuff or graphic design, its like really understanding your skill set and really thinking how can I get the services I need using the skills and knowledge that I have. And let’s cut cash out of the equation.” Nia: That’s interesting. Very post-capitalist… (laughter) Micia: I mean, the way we’re headed, we gotta think outside of the box. [Musical Interlude] This is Nia King. Welcome to We Want the Airwaves: QPOC Artists on the Rise. This week I‟m very excited to share with you my conversation with black lesbian standup comedian Micia Mosley. I met Micia recently and - full disclosure - she is my boss; I‟m doing some freelance work for her currently around video and social media stuff. I received information that she was looking for a video editor through the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project and we had an interview at Woody‟s Café and hit it off smashingly. It‟s so rare that you meet someone from an ad off the Internet and just hit it off so, so, so well. (This was not a Craigslist ad for the record.) Her and I seem to see eye to eye on a lot of different things and it‟s really exciting to work so closely with someone that I really admire and is doing so many things that I wish I were doing. As we talk about on the podcast, in the past I‟ve had a hard time connecting with older queer and lesbian-identified women, in part I think because of a lack of awareness of understanding around trans issues. I don‟t want to say that like people over thirty, or lesbians over thirty, or whatever, as a blanket statement don‟t get trans stuff, but in my experience there does seem to be a generational divide in terms of thinking about trans identity and understanding trans identity; and not just trans but also genderqueer and sort of the broader idea that gender can be fluid. And we talk about that. I really appreciate that we have a relationship where we could kind of get into it and have this intergenerational dialogue about trans inclusion. We talk about gay marriage. We talk about black civil right, and yeah we get into it. Unfortunately, the one thing we didn‟t get into was talking about her work, which is of course is much of the purpose of this podcast, but my plan is too conduct a second interview and put up part 2 later because she„s a super brilliant artist and, as excited as I was to pick her brain about politics, I‟m even more excited to share with you how brilliant and creative she is in her work. So look forward to that next week and for now, enjoy the show. (Music) Micia: So 2007 I left my position as a school coach with the Bay Area Coalition of Equitable schools, and as a coach I worked with teachers and principals to help make sure schools were serving traditionally undeserved students whether they be black or brown, or English learners, special education students. Really folks in Oakland who had not been getting the services they wanted. I really enjoyed that work but wanted to focus on my acting and my career and decided to move back to NYC and kind of reinvent myself as an artist. I had my first career in education and had been known as an educator in the Bay Area. People knew I did art but it was more on the side. I left

New York when I was 18 so I wanted to live in that city again and just focus on my art. Nia: Did you feel like there was a support network for that? I mean obviously there are lots of people in New York doing everything, but I mean arts in particular? Micia: I found it. I wasn‟t sure I mean this was probably the first of what will likely be many leaps of faith on my part. I would say I had money saved and no plan and… Nia: One out of two things isn‟t bad. [laughing] Micia: Exactly. I really wanted to stay open and see what was there and I didn‟t have a place to live but I had friends, I had family and I wanted too really explore form a place of creativity and not have everything as regimented as school. You know, I knew what to do with teaching. I knew what to do in terms of grad school. Coaching actually opened up my mind because it was really, it‟s transformative work and when you‟re in the midst of transformation you don‟t actually always know what the process is like or what‟s on the other side. You have a vision but it‟s really messy so I was already used to that and I felt like taking that frame and applying it to my art and going to a new old city would serve me and it did. I was able to find WOW Café Theater which is the oldest women and trans collective theater, well we think the world, definitely the country and that was a home for me. When I first moved to SF there was a theater called Lunacy in the Mission which was a women theater that changed my life and created home and support and community for me here so joining WOW in New York I already had a framework for working with folks and trying to figure out, we‟re the same in this way but different in these ways and we‟re, this is theater and were trying to do things and they had different porpoises but it was a bit of a grounding from me both having that frame from Lunacy in SF and then finding WOW it felt really familiar in a lot of different ways. Nia: Was Lunacy also trans inclusive? Micia: Not explicitly, and even WOW wasn‟t specifically trans-inclusive when I got there. I feel like trans issues have come to the forefront of main gay media, I don‟t know if I would say mainstream, but I feel like in queer communities people get the „T‟. It‟s really it‟s a real letter and it needs to be addressed also. These are difficult conversations because many of us are coming off the heels of our foremothers who are doing this work around race within the women‟s community, thinking about the Combahee River Collective and This Bridge Called My Back, like all the folks from the 70s and 80s who helped figure that out and I walked into WOW which was a predominantly white space and I was like, “Well this is gonna have to change!” (laughter) Like, “We‟re in NY!” Even when I was at Lunacy, I came at a time when there were co-directors, one of them was white and one was black and, you know, there was a play called Skin: The Black and White of It, that was one of the first productions I worked on dealing with that issue head on. So I know I had a framework of dealing with those issues. I was also coming in where books had been written, people had gone to workshops and it was different for me with trans issues because people had a lot more personal stuff around it and felt I think a lot more entitled of their view points in both directions and like race, like race is not new. It didn‟t just come about in the 1970s

and 80s, and trans issues aren‟t new but I think they‟re new in the sense of people identifying and wanting to occupy spaces that don‟t explicitly say anything. It‟s not like these were, “No, you cant be here” spaces, it just wasn‟t talked about. So I think for me it was interesting to try to increase the number of women of color who were active in the theatre. First, I got there and was like, “Okay let‟s change some things. I know you don‟t know me but here‟s how I‟d like to help.” And then I had to deal with my own trans stuff because it was very new to me and trying to understand to me what was a women‟s theatre and be trans-inclusive if people coming to the theater don‟t always identify as women, you‟re talking about cis women who don‟t identify as…it got really complicated. I know that it was a great opportunity to have your politics and arts coming together because of course, people wrote plays and shows and had lots of meetings with lots of conversation because that‟s what we do. But in terms of support I really feel like the support really happened through work, and I often feel that way. I would say probably the majority of my relationships have come about through work. Either we were students and we were working together or we were teachers or something because it‟s…my work is really important to me and so when I‟m with people who are passionate about that thing you‟re working side by side with someone who shares your interests, even if not your viewpoint there‟s a bond that‟s created, and there‟s a support system that‟s created, because we‟re both trying to figure it out, we‟re all trying to figure it out. I think once you get to that, even if you have difference of opinion you‟re able to get some good work done and people can get open enough to truly hear different perspectives. Nia: Yeah. If you don‟t mind I‟d like to explore this issue of trans inclusivity in queer spaces and women‟s spaces a little bit more. Micia: Sure. Nia: Well, I guess you kind of explained a little bit already about how you became trans-aware and how your politics shifted around that. Is there anything more you‟d like to share about... [With trans issues,] was it like “this is something that‟s being brought to my attention because it can no longer be ignored,” or “Oh, like I need to educate myself about this,” or “ I want to educate myself about this”? Micia: Well, it happened before I left, before I went to New York. In the, I guess, mid-2000‟s I helped found an all black drag king troupe called Nappy Grooves and so I always wanted to be a musician. I wanted to sing, play drums, guitar, I wanted to play all the instruments and sing all the songs but I had no musical talent. None, not my gift and I‟m okay with it, but it‟s what I wanted. So drag let me do all the moves and act like I was singing and be all dramatic without having too harm people with hearing my voice (laughter). So it‟s a win win for everyone! But it also involved dressing up like a man and I was like, “All right.” You know for me it was fine and when I started, there were members of the group who were in their own process around transitioning and for me… Nia: When you say they were in their own process, you mean they were going through the process of transitioning, or going through the process of realizing that transition was a thing? Micia: They were going through the process of transitioning in various ways so, I say that because I don‟t know how they identify or if they‟d say they had transitioned or were transitioning; I think Matt would probably say that. But I know people were

exploring these issues in ways that I wasn‟t. I was just trying to be dramatic on the stage, (laughter) and so I recognized that it became a thing in the group, right? Not in terms of being a problem, but I became aware that we were relating to this performance differently, it was very personal for them. And that coincided for me [with] going through my own process of embracing my femininity and I‟ve always battled with being read as butch and the expectations. I joke about it, but for me it‟s… I wanted to be the kind of woman that I am, which I wear a lot of pants but when I put on a skirt, please don‟t freak out, and no I‟m not in drag cause I wear a skirt. That whole pushback has always frustrated me. Literally, if I wear a skirt or a dress it‟s like front page news (laughter) and I‟m likeNia: (laughing) Who‟s writing this paper? Micia: Exactly! So everyone makes comments about that and I don‟t know that people always understood the impact it had on me. So it was really during this time that I was playing with that and what that meant, but then I was also doing these shows and dressing up in drag and being in these spaces where people where, y‟know, some drag is better than others. Then as an all black drag king troupe, I think we were one of the, I don‟t think we were the only, but we were definitely one of the only allblack troupes and really focused on that our songs were all by black artists and some of them were explicitly political. Nia: So what kind of political songs were you doing? What were the issues you were talking about? Micia: So we had a lot of songs, we had like 4 or 5 songs total but one of them was African by Dead Prez. We all had shirts that we made ourselves with a big Africa on them. Mine was red with yellow on it. We had in the choreography infused Yoruban dances so we paid tribute to Shango and Batala and a bunch of the different folks. Nia: You don‟t do anything halfway. That‟s one of the things that I love and respect about you (laughter). You‟re like, “No, we‟re not just gonna throw on a hat and some suspenders, we‟re going deep with this.” Micia: Exactly! So you can imagine, “I‟m African. I‟m African,” and these shows were mostly white, and so were the audiences and other troupes. Nia: Were you mostly performing locally or…? Micia: Oh, and then there was New York. So we did Black Pride in New York, which was the first time that my mother and godfather got to see. We did another [song] by Ceelo called Closet Freak, not particularly black, but very freakish (laughter). It involved us stripping down to our underwear and swinging dildos in the air. I look back on it and I‟m like, “the part where you decided to invite your mother and godfather to that particular show…” So that‟s when I began doing standup, because I was like, “I need to start doing art where I feel more comfortable with my godfather [being there].” My godfather and I have a 40 year age difference. He‟s my mother‟s best friend and helped raise me so he‟s somewhere between like an uncle and a grandfather. You don‟t need to be swinging dildos in front of someone like that, it‟s just… and I love them because they are beyond supportive and were just like “All right, that‟s what you‟re doing now. Okay.” And they‟re clapping and it‟s Black Pride and yeah. So there it was more about the edge around sexuality for us because

everyone knew we were female dressed in drag doing these songs about being closet freaks, doing these moves. Let‟s see what else… No Diggity and Shai, If I Ever Fall In Love, and we might‟ve had another song but it was definitely those four. Nia: How long did you do this for? Micia: At least a couple years. It‟s, I don‟t know, at least a few years. And it was interesting because I was the first one to leave the group. It felt like it was time for me in part because it didn‟t feel comfortable for me. I didn‟t like binding my breasts, it felt really oppressive. It went from this statement around gender and gender expression too, and we had a lot of conversation. Two of us were at Berkeley at the time, Matt and I cofounded the group and were both Ph.D students at Berkeley. He was African American Studies and I was Social and Cultural Studies in Education. You got some theory-heads doing drag, so we couldn‟t just do it, we had to talk about it! So for me that gender expression piece, I wasn‟t expressing anything that felt good to me anymore. There was a time where I was more masculine of center than most, and a time when drag allowed that to come out for me and allowed me to play that out and sing when I felt like I couldn‟t, but again as my desire to really express my femininity began to increase, the dissonance was too much for me. I felt bad because I felt like I wasn‟t able to be supportive of folks who were thinking about, and questioning, and dealing with trans issues because I felt stifled, because I couldn‟t be my feminine self in this role, that‟s not what it was about. Nia: I‟m really interested to talk to you about - and I know this is a bit of a diversion from talking about your career and art - but I‟m really interested, but I guess I‟m really interested in having an – I hope you don‟t take this the wrong way, but intergenerational dialogue. Micia: No, absolutely. I think it‟s important. Nia: Because I, part of the reason I‟m doing this podcast is to look for mentors, like people who can tell me like, “How do you make it as a queer artist of color, as a queer woman of color not only trying to make art and make rent but also dealing with issues of racism and sexism and homophobia, transphobia, and whatever else?” I feel like in the past I‟ve had a hard time connecting with older queer-identified or lesbian-identified women, particularly because I feel like it can be really hard to talk about trans stuff… Micia: Mmhmm. Absolutely. Nia: I have this friend - and I don‟t want to lump people together or make her look bad - but she‟s an older black lesbian from Boston and I was super excited to connect with her because I felt like, “We have so much in common.” But she was like, “I don‟t know if I get this whole trans thing, this whole genderqueer thing.” Basically like, “Isn‟t dyke good enough for you people? We fought so hard for „dyke‟ and to be dykes.” I feel like there‟s a feeling that my generation is somehow like throwing it away. Micia: I totally get thatm and what‟s hilarious is I‟m thinking of two people who it could have just been in my brain just now that I picture them and I‟m like, yup. I do think it‟s generational. I absolutely think it‟s generational. I came out my senior year of high school April 21, 1991, called my best friend cause I liked this girl, and I had a boyfriend, and she‟s not gay (laughter) that‟s how it works. And I had a wonderful, lovely, blessed coming out. She talked to me on the phone for over two hours. That was back when long distance bills mattered and…

Nia: This is a friend who is also queer? Micia: No, this is Pat, my best friend since kindergarten. Now we call her the mother of my godson cause that‟s her main role, but as someone who is a child of Haitian immigrants and mostly hung out with her family, I was her one friend who wasn‟t part of her family. She has always been really supportive of me. She went to Brown a year before I left and had the orientation with the queer stuff and referenced that in the conversation. I think it‟s important to recognize the number of people of color who are collegeeducated and who have access, I think in the Millennial generation. I identify in the Gen X generation, roughly people who are born in „65-„80 and then Millennials being the generation who came after, many folks who are coming of age now, 18-29 now. I feel like my generation kinda got a little bit aware in the time we got access to info because we were coming of age in the “gay 90s” and I think the people who were older than us, the [Baby] Boomers, saw all of that, DADT and Melissa Etheridge… K.D. Lang was on the cover of Vanity Fair and Cindy Crawford, I was in college, and all that was happening then. I think that was really meaningful for my generation in feeling like we can be out. So the people you‟re seeing now in late 30s, 40s, we‟re a particular generation that came out of a particular time. And for older folks that all happened when they were in their 30s so they have a different relationship with that. I see the 90s as a pivotal time in gay/lesbian history because of access to mainstream media and being in conversation. Policies were passed, and the part where DADT gets to exist is because people were telling, and people were saying, “I don‟t all the way I hate you, I just hate you a little bit.” It‟s a different conversation than just, “I straight up hate you.” So it‟s progress, but I feel like the main progress was in the conversation being in the mainstream media. The current issues for some being debated around marriage, around trans-inclusion less so, but it‟s kind of an interesting battle of generations because I do feel like… the battle for marriage, I do believe its important and a hot issue for particular people for different reasons. There are some people who are like, “This is a civil right, this is about being equal,” whether it‟s their issue or not, it‟s like that larger piece, and for other folks it‟s about acceptance and fitting in conventional ways. I know many people who are against marriage but support the issue of [gay] marriage because it‟s about equality. It‟s like, “I want to be against you as well.” And then there are people who come from like, “We don‟t wanna be like them,” the us vs. them type of thing. Nia: You‟re talking about like, “We don‟t want to be assimilationist?” Micia: Yes, “we don‟t want to be assimilationist,” right. So we don‟t want to fall into the, or mimic straight relationships, so therefore we‟re not in favor of marriage, and others who say, “I may feel that personally, but my politics of equality outweigh my personal relationship with marriage.” I feel like that debate, many folks who want to fit in and feel accepted and maybe fall into civil rights category and maybe still have some of their own internalized homophobia. I don‟t think that those are overlapping groups. It‟s complicated debate, right? I think the older generation still hangs on a little to the “We‟re just like you,” and my generation is like, “Okay we‟re not just like you, but y‟all are way different!” I always say we‟re this bridge generation because I feel like Millenials are really pushing this frame in general. I didn‟t know what

hegemony was when I was in college but I feel like more college students have a critical analysis of what is happening with politics, with the institutions that oppress people than my generation did, so we understood it, but didn‟t talk about it on a theory level. And this goes back to what I was saying about the number of people who have access to college and information because I think those of us who were college-educated, many people chose to do different things with that education. So we have zines, we have the internet, [which] also jumped off during that same time period of the 90s. When I entered college, like if you had a computer, that was a big deal. We had very long email addresses. By the time I graduated college there was some sort of expectation of communication on email, and we know where we are now. So I think the transformation of knowledge and opinion has taken off, and people are digging more, we have access to more of all of that stuff, so I say that overall generationally Millennials are in a different place in the world. So I feel like when were talking about politics, and identity politics, and different issues around sexuality and gender, it‟s going to go deeper and faster because now you can have conversations across time and space in a way that you couldn‟t have with previous generations about these issues. Nia: Definitely. I feel like the generational resentment sometimes kind of goes both ways. And I don‟t know how you feel about this, which is why I‟m putting it out there for you to agree or disagree with, but I feel like from the older generation there‟s sort of a sense, and I don‟t want to generalize - I know that I am - but I feel like sometimes… like I‟ve heard people say we don‟t realize how much the older generations have fought to get here. That what we‟re doing, the ability to be so radical and so out there is because we are standing on the shoulders of those who came before them, and I think that is definitely true sometimes, that like there‟s this generational sort of… my feeling sometimes is that the older generation just wants us to listen and not talk, and I feel from the other side, the older generation feels like we‟ve just thrown them away and don‟t want to listen to anything they have to say, and don‟t acknowledge that they may have some wisdom to contribute, and I wonder… I mean is that something that you see? Micia: I see that, yes and I think it‟s more that the stakes are different. I feel like that happens with every generation. If you‟re 14-30 there‟s a thing about being young where you get some information from generations before and you have the energy and the passion, you have you‟re whole life ahead of you and you‟re not really looking back on a lot. And so I think every generation has that, where youth are in this position as the hope for the future, and the older generation is like, “If you‟d just learn about the lessons of the past before charging into the future!” I think that‟s about anything. I think the stakes are higher now, in part because of the speed at which change is occurring, and some of it you can‟t take back, so I think that there‟s an intellectual experience that I think a lot of young people have and, I don‟t know how to say this, I feel like technology has interrupted our ability to actually have substantive intergenerational conversations, and conversations in general. Nia: It‟s interesting, because generally the purpose of technology is to facilitate those kinds of things.

Micia: Exactly and there‟s so much… When I say there‟s certain things that we can‟t take back, a lot of it has moved beyond a specific issue. You look at something like where you live, how many people live in the same place they grew up, relative to 50 years ago? How many people stay in a job more than 10 years? So there‟s a transience, an acceptance of another way of being and I don‟t know if we can take that back. Maybe in a few generations but right now there‟s a quest for freedom. There‟s a feeling of I want to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it and I‟ve organized my life to be able to do that. Nia: Do we think we should take that back? Micia: Some of it, some of it. I mean part of me organizing my life the way it is… I need to talk to my godfather. He‟ll be 80 in June, and though he‟s been telling me the same stories since I was 5 there‟s wisdom that I still haven‟t captured, because I‟m still not really listening. I just saw him the other day and he‟s like going on about something political, I don‟t know what he was talking about. And I was like, I was talking about the Mets, I wanted to talk about baseball and keep it light. He was like, “We don‟t have time to keep it light, we‟re in the middle of a revolution!” (laughter) He was marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, and I‟m like, “Where am I going? To get a cup of coffee!” I don‟t feel like I‟m engaged in it the same way. I know my work is political, but he has tangible evidence of what he‟s done. I consider myself part of communities, but am I really part of movements? And that‟s a very intellectual question. When he‟s standing there with dogs and hoses, he‟s not intellectualizing, he is part of a movement. I feel like there‟s a disconnect, and I feel like we need to understand that, because we feel like we can be involved in something but not actually doing anything. I feel like in California… and I‟m not blaming the state or trying to stereotype, but I feel like there‟s more rhetoric here than there is in New York. I feel like people kind of said what they meant and did whatever they did, and there‟s a history of ways of being that are very different out here. I feel like now that people are reading more theory, and know how to put some words together and drop something with more then a few syllables it‟s like, “Whaaat?” But do you know who you‟re assembly person is? If you can‟t make it to the march, can you do anything? If you can‟t click the donate button… so I don‟t know that we actually… I sometimes lose a little bit of faith in terms of what‟s possible for us politically because I feel like during my godfather‟s generation and the Baby Boomers the steps were a bit clearer. You go, you march, you let your voice be heard. And I look at what‟s going on with Iraq. You had millions of people marching on the same day marching against the war that Bush was like, “Alright,” and carried on. So I‟m kind of like, that for me was a real blow. And the Arab Spring, everyone‟s really excited and I‟m like, “Okay… and Syria‟s like going through it right now!” But it‟s not in the news so people are like, “Whatever, what‟s new on Justin‟s album?” And it‟s that kind of short attention span that the older generations don‟t trus,t and it‟s not specific to queer issues. I think the generational divide is greater than it‟s ever been because of technology. So when you then overlay issues around identity, and who we are, and how we show up, and how someone identifies, it exacerbates that. I don‟t know the older generations can, depending on who they are and the relationships they have, they may or may not be able to open up to the possibilities that the trans conversation has. I

think for many older generations their struggle was for acceptance for the ways they already identify, and it‟s like, “You have a new identity? We‟re trying to get a pass for [old] stuff. You can‟t bring new stuff into the mix.” So that‟s a tension as well. Because if someone can come around and say, “I have a gay uncle, I can understand that,” but then with trans it‟s like, “I don‟t understand, and so you‟re gonna mess it up for all of us,” which I mean those types of arguments are as old as any other in identity politics, and given we‟re still fighting for the stuff they we‟re… like I don‟t know what it‟s like to have someone bust into my bedroom and arrest me. Nia: Yeah and thank god for that, thank the queers that came before us… Micia: Yeah, and that‟s their point. It‟s still not over. We act like because we have some treatment for HIV that the AIDS crisis is over. Nia: And who has access to that treatment? Micia: Exactly. And now that we‟re clear that it‟s not just about gay men, that‟s also changed the conversation. As black women, we‟re one of the largest growing populations of folks who are infected. What do you do with that? How do you come together? You‟ve got marginalized communities fighting over resources. Some people are trying to bring folks together. Some people… I feel like the way gay and lesbian issues got introduced in the black community was through the “downlow” movements, as I like to call it. It was somebody‟s agenda. I don‟t know whose, but it set us back. So the way we deal with intersectionality, it‟s complicated. And I feel like those who have access to words like intersectionality, it‟s like… sure we could go to a conference, have our friends, live our lives, but I understand that when I go to a family reunion it‟s like, “Oh that cousin that I haven‟t met is clearly gay,” and “Oh, that‟s her husband.” Mmmkay. “But why you trying to go to the club with me after the family‟s gone to sleep?” It‟s like you live in a different part of the world, and have set up a different life for yourself, and are more a part of that “traditional black community” than I am. I‟m more part of an interracial, multiracial community, and so the way sexuality plays out is different because the black communities I‟m more deeply entrenched in are black queer communities. So what are we talking about with intersectionality then? So, I think it‟s larger generational issues. I do think some of that is typical and some is very much about this moment in time. Nia: So you have two jobs, you work as an educational facilitator and then you also are a standup comedian, but not just that. You also work in the community and in theater. Micia: On my website I talk about education and performance, because even though I talk about standup, now it‟s comedic performance. Sometimes it‟s about burlesque, that came after drag, so there‟s always something I‟m working on that is out of my comfort zone. Drag is the first to do that, but performing in general… I‟ve enjoyed performing because I‟ve been up and down many different roads with it. So drag, and then when I went to New York I did more burlesque than I ever had before. I don‟t think I‟ve ever did burlesque until I went to NY…. And then now it‟s the hip hop project. So I think of it as performance because it gives me the freedom to do whatever I want to do whether it‟s MCing, or video work, or what have you. My focus is putting a humorous spin on important issues.

Nia: That leads to my next question, which is how do you see your… do you consider yourself as an artist? Micia: Absolutely. Nia: And how do you see your art and activism and politics as being related? Micia: That‟s a good question. I think that at the base level, the content that I deal with, being who I am, dealing with the content, makes what I‟m talking about political. I think having an equality focused and social justice focus has more to do with what I‟m doing with that content. I feel like gentrification is a big topic right now, you walk into comedy spaces and there‟s five comedians doing gentrification jokes. Nia: I feel like that‟s very Bay Area. Well I don‟t know, you travel? Micia: Yeah, and I mean its in New York too, those being the two places I see the most. But it‟s how it‟s treated, what you‟re talking about. One of the things I‟m really interested in is whether or not my comedy is reproductive. The thing with comedy is yes, it‟s about making fun of things. I mean the jester, the role of the jester was to deliver hard news to the king in a way that was comedic. The jester, if the king was feeling it, would live another day, and if not then smack. So the jester was not - like people don‟t get it - when they talk about sticking your neck out, it‟s serious business. If I had comedic interests back in the day, and if I had different skin, and I was that jester: having a bad night was having a really bad night. The stakes were different but to me the intention… and some jesters were very subversive, so they would make the king make decisions in certain ways, because the king was like, “Make me laugh and then make me think about what we need to do.” And so I take that role very seriously. I think, “How do I get you open enough to hear what I have to say.” But also, is what I‟m saying making fun of something that is inherently reproductive and not calling it out as problematic? Do I assume that in your laughter that you see the problem? Or are you laughing you‟re like, “Haha, yeah that‟s the way it is.” You‟re just like, “Whatever.” So I believe I get to count my work as social justice work when I‟m interrupting those reproductive forces and when I‟m offering a counter narrative, because it‟s not enough to make a joke about X or to be a black lesbian on stage with a microphone. There was a time when people convinced me that just doing that was okay. And I‟m not saying that‟s not important, but again it‟s 2013. The speed at which things are happening, the power that a phrase, a clip of a video… I mean everyone‟s recording everything now and it goes up, whether it is in context or out of context it has power. I‟m constantly thinking about, “How do I keep the funny and keep the message?” Not only play to my audiences or audiences who I know would agree, but opening up the possibility for others? I think with the two fields I‟m in, one is compulsory and one is kind of in the air, and so I have access. People like to laugh, and people have to go to school, so between the two I should be able to do some good work. But I have to check myself and make sure I‟m not just a cog in the machine that looks different. [Musical Outro]

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