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Strange Fruit

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Join Jai and Doc as they examine black gay life through the voices and stories of those of us who live it....and live it well! A new episode is posted every Saturday.

Join Jai and Doc as they examine black gay life through the voices and stories of those of us who live it....and live it well! A new episode is posted every Saturday.
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Louisville, Kentucky


Join Jai and Doc as they examine black gay life through the voices and stories of those of us who live it....and live it well! A new episode is posted every Saturday.






Black Queer Comics Lead the Way At Midwest Queer Comedy Fest

As the host of Strange Fruit we’ve often wondered why pants made for men have plenty of pockets while most pants designed for women are pocketless. This week we discuss about the problematics of the gender binary when it comes to fashion and clothing and speak with Washington Post writer Samantha Schmidt about a Washington, DC area sewing class designed to deconstruct the gender rules in fashion and reconstruct clothing that better meets form and function for the queer and trans...


Is The South A Safe Place For LGBTQ People?

This week we’re joined by writer and reproductive justice activist Quita Tinsley. In her recent piece "Why I Refuse To Leave the South as a Queer Black Person," Tinsley argues that while the potential for violence or discrimination against queer and trans folks in the South can be higher than other regions, the entire nation is unsafe for those same people. And when she visited northern “Gay Meccas” like New York and San Francisco, she felt isolated and experienced overwhelming levels of...


Tarell Alvin McCraney, And Black Art For Black People

This week we’re joined by Tarell Alvin McCraney, chair of play writing at the Yale School of Drama, 2013 recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant, and the 2017 Academy Award winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight. McCraney’s newest endeavor is his first television project, an original scripted series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network called David Makes Man. The compelling lyrical drama will premiere on August 14. David Makes Man centers on a 14-year-old prodigy from the...


The Bar Is A Traditional LGBTQ Safe Space. But What If You Don't Drink?

Sober spaces for LGBTQ folks to socialize are on the rise. With many of them facing social stigma, discrimination, harassment and violence, LGBTQ people are at a greater risk for drug and alcohol addiction than their straight counterparts. We wondered just how easy or difficult it is for queer folks to commit to sober living when so much of gay social is tied to parties, nightclubs and bars and many of our community’s biggest Pride Festival sponsors are beer and liquor companies. In this...


Mental Health Help For Students and Activists

In recognition of Minority Mental Health Month, we continue examining issues affecting African Americans and their mental well-being – or the lack thereof. In February 2016, 23-year-old Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn McCarrel took his own life on the step of the Columbus, Ohio courthouse steps. This March, the body of another social activist, 29-year-old Amber Evans, was found in a Columbus river, and her death was also ruled a suicide. JoAnne Viviano, Health Reporter for The...


Mental Health Matters

Because July is Minority Mental Health Month, we’re dedicating this entire episode to discussing the mental health and wellness of black kids and adults. Our first guests this week are Aaron Hunt, a clinical psychology doctorate student and co-author of “Depression in Black Boys Begins Earlier Than You Think,” and his partner Lee Dukes, a special education teacher and a second-year Master of Education student. They join us to discuss suicide and depression in black boys, how the school...


#MeToo Means Men, Too

Social movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought greater attention to the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault. These movements are largely focused on women and girls – so what about the nearly 1 in 4 men who have experienced sexual violence? Zeke Thomas is a music producer, deejay and the son of NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas – and he’s a survivor of sexual assault and rape. In 2017, Thomas revealed in a nationally-televised interview that he was sexually assaulted at 12...


The Decline And Resurgence Of Black Farmers

In 1920, black farmers in this country owned some 15.6 million acres of land, but by 1999 that number had fallen to 2 million. In 1910, there were nearly one million black farmers in America. In the year 1999, only 18,000 remained, and statistics showed that black farmers were disappearing at a rate five to six times that of white farmers. Leah Penniman, farmer and educator at Soul Fire Farm in the Albany, New York, area, attributes the virtual disappearance of Black farmers to decades of...


How Aunts Are The Unsung Heroes Of Black Families

Mothering within Black communities can take many forms. Dr. Patricia Hill-Collins coined the term “other mother” to describe a woman who cares for a child that is not biologically her own. In many Black families, the role of the aunt has fit this function. Sometimes aunts are blood or marriage relatives but many of them are chosen family – mom’s best friend from college or the elderly neighbor down the street who looks after the community’s children. She can serve as a quiet confidant or a...


How The Kentuckiana Pride Festival Can Be More Inclusive

In the US, June is recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month. Celebrations and festivities are held throughout the month to commemorate the rebellion that began at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, and to celebrate the social and legal advances for LGBTQ people in the 50 years since. This weekend in Louisville marks the return of the annual Kentuckiana Pride Festival, our city’s largest and longest-running annual Pride celebration. Our guest this week is the organization’s president and director,...


Strange Fruit: Mothering While Black

While becoming a mother is often a wondrous, exciting and joyous endeavor, it can also be wrought with anxiety, fear and even danger for many black women. We begin this week by speaking with author Dani McClain about the politics of black motherhood, and her TIME essay “I Won’t Let Racism Rob My Black Child of Joy.” In the essay, McClain recounts being pregnant with her first child in the summer of 2016 -- the same summer that Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota...


Marginalized Groups Need Spaces Just For Us

But it's not uncommon that once these social safe havens are created and made public, organizers and attendees are met with the inevitable barrage of interrogations and accusations regarding such spaces: "Why is this space just for black people?" "Why is this club just for Latinx people?" "Isn’t a black gay pride event divisive and 'reverse racist?'" Our first guest this week is Berkeley-based writer Kelsey Blackwell, who wrote the essay “Why People of Color Need Spaces Without White...


How Much Privacy Should We Give Our Kids?

Welcome to a new season of Strange Fruit! In her essay “'Children do not deserve privacy,' and other abusive myths masked as good parenting," Oakland-based writer and educator Amber Butts examines the complicated feelings she holds for the ex-stepfather who raised and provided for her. “His metric for goodness was stepping up and taking care of a child that wasn’t his,” she writes. “But my ex-stepfather is not a good man.” It wasn’t until Butts saw a social media post where a mother said...


Black Southerners And The Eviction Crisis

Affordable and stable housing has long been a precarious and stressful pursuit for many Americans. Housing costs across the country have risen, and evictions are becoming much more commonplace than in past years. In 2016, American property owners filed at least 2.3 million eviction claims. Princeton’s Eviction Lab, which recently released the nation’s largest eviction database, revealed that the Southern region is the area of the country’s most impacted by evictions and that Black renters...


Life After Conversion Therapy

The 2018 film "Boy Erased" brought conversion therapy to the attention of many film goers. Sometimes referred to as reparative therapy or ex-gay therapy, conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity through psychological or spiritual methods. This week we’re joined by Tanner Mobley, Director of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, and Mikhail Schulz (also known as award-winning drag entertainer Vanessa Demornay),...


Why Ellen Was The Wrong Person To Pardon Kevin Hart

With the 91st Academy Awards just weeks away, we decided to have one last conversation about former would-be Oscars host Kevin Hart, his violently anti-gay tweets, and his recent reconciliation appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Tre’vell Anderson, Director of Culture & Entertainment for Out Magazine, joins us to discuss why Ellen was the wrong person to pardon Hart. Later in the show we talk about the difference between simply fitting in and actually belonging within gay male culture....


'The Green Book' Comes To The Louisville Stage

Studies have shown that black students learn better in school environments where their cultural identities are reflected by the school’s curriculum, teachers and administrators. This week we talk about school culture and choices, with New York Times reporter Eliza Shapiro about her feature, ‘I Love My Skin!’ Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools. Later in the show, we are joined by co-Directors David Y. Chack and Karen Edwards-Hunter, and actor Tyler Madden from “The Green...


TV, Tech, And Trans Visibility With 'Pose' Star Angelica Ross

This week, filmmaker Billy Cliff joins us to discuss His new film, A Long Road To Freedom: The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years, which spotlights milestone moments in LGBTQ history through never-before-seen footage, and engaging interviews with such folks as Margaret Cho, Don Lemon, Gloria Allred, DeRay Mckesson, and Caitlyn Jenner. Narrated by Laverne Cox, with music by Melissa Etheridge, the documentary chronicles five decades of the fight for LGBT equality, and the magazine that covered it...


'Pipeline' Actors On Bringing Black Lives To The Stage

Monosexism is a belief that monosexuality (being straight or gay) is superior to bisexuality or other non-monosexual orientations. It's often paired with biphobia, and both are still pervasive within, and outside of, the queer community. This week we chat with loyal Strange Fruit listener Hayden Smith, who describes himself as, “a 28-year-old black, bisexual, writer, poet, and activist, happily immersed in a same-sex interracial marriage to my partner of five years.” Hayden joins us to...


Strange Fruit: Your Auntie’s Vintage Fur Is More Than Just A Coat

For many African Americans, style has never been simply about keeping up with the latest trends or adhering to what one would consider chic. After the Great Migration--the movement of millions of black Americans out of the rural South--style also signaled financial success and social clout, despite racial prejudice. This week, Chicago Tribune writer Lolly Bowean joins us to discuss her recent piece, “In handing down furs, black women continue a rich tradition." Later in the show we explore...