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In Episode 3.5 of The Turn On, we interview Carol Taylor, editor of "Brown Sugar 4: Secret Desires," and take a deep dive into the origin story of the groundbreaking "Brown Sugar" series.
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Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: Today we're blessed to talk to Carol Taylor, the creator of the "Brown Sugar" series, which is where we first ran loose at. A former Random House book editor, Carol is a 25-year publishing veteran who has worked as an editor, coauthor, book doctor, and ghost writer with literary and commercial writers, noted academics, public figures and celebrities. The award-winning author has given us 10 books, including the 2010 novel, The "Ex Chronicles," and the bestselling "Brown Sugar" series. Carol heads up editorial strategy and conceptual development as the editorial director at McKinnon Literary Agency, teaches in the public certificate program at City College, and has taught creative writing at New York University. Carol, thanks for joining this.
Carol: Thanks so much for having me. This is a real pleasure and an honor.
Kenrya: Yay. We feel the same way.
Carol: Thank you.
Kenrya: Before we dive in, what are your preferred pronouns?
Carol: She, her, Carol, Brown Sugar. Always happy with Brown Sugar, which I do sometimes get.
Erica: I love it. We read your bio and it's dope. You do amazing things, but we would love it if you could sum up what you do in one sentence.
Carol: I work with words in every incarnation, from editing to writing to ghost writing. I help people put their thoughts and ideas on the page in a way that helps them and others.
Erica: Wow. That even sounded beautiful.
Kenrya: Right? We're talking in paragraphs out here.
Erica: Take us back to a little baby Carol. What did you want to be when you grow up, when you were growing up?
Carol: I was born in Jamaica, so for me, the whole idea of writing books was just not something I was thinking about. We were thinking about getting out of Jamaica quite honestly. We left Jamaica and came here to the US, and then I found that I could disappear into books. I'm the youngest of four, but I was the one who was always under the bed reading a book with a flashlight. I found these worlds in books, but you don't know where books come from. I thought they came from the bookstore because that's where I got them. I always wanted to be a part of that process. I didn't know if it was writing them. I journaled, but I didn't equate that with being a writer, although that's a start. I assumed, okay, books come from the bookstore. I'll go and I'll work at a bookstore. I did that and very quickly found out that I am not a retail person. Man, that's when I found out I am not a retail person. It's a whole different world.
It occurred to me that, oh, books come from publishing houses and editors get to make those books. That's when I decided, this is way back in the day. God, I'm going to date myself ... when we still had to know how to type. I had to learn how to type 90 words a minute and I decided, okay, I want to get a job in a publishing house. I went to an agency in my little cheap polyester suit, 90 degrees out. I'm burning up and sweating every day with my little briefcase, nothing in it. I learned to type. By the end of that summer, I was sent for a job at Anchor Books. This was before they were a part of Random House when it was still just Random House and not a part of PRH.
I went for a job there in the editorial department and, unfortunately, I did not get that job, but I impressed the human resources person so much because I was nice in the elevator that when she got a job at Random House, she asked to see me. That's how I actually got a job as an editorial assistant at Random House, which was my preferred house. That's karma. That's how I became a book editor. No one tells you about the process of making publishing, producing, acquiring books unless you're actually in the book world. It was a real education for me.
Right now, I work at the publishing certificate program at City College, and it is a program that introduces students to the book publishing world, and it's taught by industry veterans. This is a program I wish I had 20 years ago, 25 years ago when I started.
Kenrya: That's interesting because one thing that I noticed is you didn't say I went to college and studied English or I studied journalism. It was really that you decided you were going to do it and the thing that you felt that you had to learn with typing. At that point, were you ever made to feel as if that was something that was a necessary part of the journey to becoming a books editor or was it never really an issue?
Carol: No, it was never explained. I never could conceive of ... We didn't know what that was. Ask a kid in college what a book editor is. They won't know what that is. We have no concept of it. I'm being really serious.
Kenrya: No, it's true.
Carol: What is it? Where do books come from? What happens in book publishing? We teach whole courses on this to adults who are writers because we really don't know the process. I'm a writer too, and the fact that I can write 10 books, a book a year is only because I was a book editor. I know the process. I know how it works. No. I went to school. I graduated. I was a literature major, creative writing minor, and I had no clue that I was going to work in publishing or be a book editor. I like books. This is interesting. I'm terrible at math. Economics, that's not happening. I wanted to ... I love literature. This was interesting to me.
No, I never connected any of those dots, never knew the questions to ask. Of course, I had a guidance counselor. It never occurred to me to ask them, so how can I work with books? I was like, oh, I'm content to read them. I had no idea of what I would do with that knowledge until ... I don't even remember how I figured out that I should be a book editor. I think I was reading something about the book world and it said book publishers and then I just did my research from there.
Kenrya: Wow. Now, you are.
Kenrya: Where you are is that you really created a genre that didn't, not in a really substantial way, at least to me, exist before. We started this podcast, The Turn On, because we want to explore erotica that centers Black women and femmes and really anybody that doesn't identify as a man and Black bodies and Black sex. I'm wondering what pushed you to curate and create this series. What's the origin story of "Brown Sugar?"
Carol: Well, on my home planet Krypton ... I loved the origin story. I loved the way you phrased that. It's an interesting story and it comes from publishing. When I was an editor at Random House, I did a lot of books that had to deal with the Black world. For me, that's my interest. I'm interested in immigrant stories, Black stories, brown stories because I don't center white culture. For me, Black culture is the center. Although I acquired, which means I bought books, not all editors acquire books, some acquire them and edit them. I bought books, acquired books, fiction, nonfiction, self-help, pop culture, for color books, lifestyle books, all under the umbrella of multiculturalism because that's my interest.
When I was at Random House, that was a huge house even before it merged with Penguin. There were about, I don't know, five editors of color. I did a lot of the books of color that were published, not only by the imprint that I worked at Random House but the other imprints as well. I was a reader for a lot of those books. You would call them now sensitivity readers, but I was reading books that they wanted to know if the Black market would be interested in them. In one of those meetings, I ended up actually publishing a lot of books by Essence editors. One of those books dealt with Black love. After I left Random House, because the culture had become very corporate and editors were doing far fewer actual editing of manuscripts than going to meetings and marketing, and it really wasn't what I had signed up for.
So when I left Random House, I acquired one last book from Essence on love, and I had done a lot of research from one of their editors to acquire it. I got a call from an editor who said, "Do you think that there is a market for a book about Black erotica?" I was like, "Who are you talking to? What do you think? You're a Black lady. What's happening here?" I was like, of course there is an audience for a book about Black love, Black sex, Black relationships, erotica because we are seen by white America as being monolithic, but within the Black world, we have so many diverse stories. Just the three of us are so different, and yet we're all three Black women. Of course, I knew there was a market and of course I had a lot of information from the research. She was like, "Okay, you're an editor. Put together a proposal."
I put together a proposal, and I called up an agent, and I said, "So and so wants to see this. Will you send it out?" She sent it out and the book was bought. It's an erotic anthology of Black fiction. Imagine back in '99, this whole concept is high concept, a collection of erotic-like fiction written by people of color for people of color, gay, straight, what have you. This is high concept. To me, I'm like this is Saturday night. This isn't high concept. This is just real talk. I was blessed to actually have them. This was Penguin. Plume did the first Brown Sugar. Put together a gorgeous package with a beautiful woman on the front, so tastefully done. I had amazing writers as you know.
We put together a really rich collection of stories that really told the tale of love in diverse communities, in many different voices. I had poets. I had novelists. I had nonfiction writers. It was just so raw and real that I think the first week it was published, it hit the LA Times bestseller list at number two. They were astonished. They had to just keep rolling out and rolling out books. They sent me on a 10-city book tour because of it.
Kenrya: Get out of here.
Carol: Get out of here. We created a genre with this package. I'm a book editor, so we created a package that I knew would suit the market. For me, that was a small format, trade paperback at a particular price point that looked a particular way, and it worked. You saw so many other different, I mean in addition to the three others that we did, there's Brown Sugar two, three and four. There were so many other erotic Black anthology collections that popped up. Some did well. Some did not. This is really the benchmark, I think, for these types of collections. I was thrilled they weren't competing with me. I was happy, very happy to see them.
Kenrya: You said that this is just what you do, but can you dig a little deeper and tell us why you think it's important to tell these stories and what draws you to this type of work?
Carol: Here's the thing. For me, erotic Black fiction was a way to encapsulate what it was as a category, but really these are stories about us, stories that were not being told in this way, in this voice, in this style. It's important to me as a Black woman to be able to talk about sex, sexuality, feelings and emotions around that and communicate that in a way that allows me to feel empowered and to tell my story and to let others do it. Black people and people of color were being depicted only as one dimensional, in one way. Women were like this, and men were like that. That is really not the full kaleidoscope or mosaic of our lives. In these different stories, we're showcasing those different worlds in really interesting ways.
For me, it's a reclaiming of my sexuality as a woman and being able to talk about it. There's nothing wrong with talking about sex. We're all having sex. We may as well talk about it. There's a way to write about sex in a way that is sexy as opposed to being "pornographic." I think Isabel Allende said erotica uses a feather and pornography uses the whole chicken. That's true. There are different layers to erotic writing. When you are able to convey those different layers in a really nuanced way, you can write something that is incredibly sexy, sexual and erotic without one sex scene. There's not a lot of sex in these books, but that's the funny part. There's not a lot of sex happening on the page. It's really erotic, sexual, sensual couplings between people.
Kenrya: Wow. You talked a little bit earlier about how you've acquired and edited books across several genres. Did you ever, and it sounds like no, but did you ever struggle with the decision to include erotica in your portfolio?
Carol: That's an interesting question. It really is because I think of all those nuances I just talked about. Here's the thing. Brown Sugar has made me a Times bestselling author. I've had a fantastic career behind it. These are books that I'm really, really, really proud of. My very first book was a collection of the best Black essays, the best 100 Black essays. That's my first book, Sacred Fire. I was writing nonfiction essays. I don't have any misconceptions or misperceptions about who I am or what I write or any of that. I was hoping to demystify the idea of a Black woman who is, I hope, sexy and certainly sexual writing about sex and intimacy. There's as much intimacy in these collections as there is sex, probably more, not a whole lot of sex actually in these.
I've published people like, gosh, I've published nearly every Black writer in these four collections plus Wanderlust literally. Edwidge Dandicat, Tananarive Due, literally almost everyone who has come up.
Kenrya: Folks that we don't necessarily associate with erotica.
Carol: With erotica. Because erotica is not what people think it is, erotica is not necessarily sex. Erotica is the eroticism around the act itself. The act doesn't even have to be there. Erotica is almost the buildup to it. Erotica has gotten a bad rap in many ways. It's really the art of writing about intimacy and emotion and maybe there's sex involved. It's almost all of that buildup to it without the sex on the page. I could probably count on one hand, maybe with three fingers, all the books in all four of the series that actually have the act of sex in them. Most of these don't.
To answer your question, my website is called Brown Sugar books. My company is called Brown Sugar Limited. Brown Sugar means so much to Black folks. I got Brown Sugar from D'Angelo. Brown Sugar is a saying that we have. It's an emotion. It's a way that we are. It's a feeling. When you walk down the street and someone calls you Brown Sugar, you know what that means. For me, there wasn't really any shame because, one, I'm kind of shameless in the best possible way. I am without shame. It's hard for people to shame you when you are without shame because you stand on your truth. I look at this collection, and they have defined a generation of writers. You look at the writers I've worked with, and every one of them is working in the industry right now.
Zane. When I worked with Zane, Zane wasn't edited. First she couldn't find a publisher and then her book sold so well that she was then pretty much packaged by her publisher now. She's not really edited. When I worked with Zane, it was the first time she had worked with an editor, and her story and Brown Sugar is very different from what you will find in things for self-published books and some of her books now.
There's a difference to working with a book editor, to be honest. Again, not at all ... On my website, you'll see all my books. Also, I'm a ghost writer. I write for a lot of other people, and they can go and see all the books that I've written. If someone would rather not work with me because I can work in a particular genre very well, then that's probably not someone I should work with.
Kenrya: Yes, that's fantastic. I think it's heartening at least for me to hear. I think when we first started talking about doing this podcast, I had a little bit of hesitation because it can be seen as a deviation from the work that I typically do. It really came down to, what you were just talking about, it's a part of a whole, and it is a way that you bring your whole self to the table when you do this work alongside all the other work that you do. Making that conscious decision to not shame yourself and not let anyone else bring shame into the equation is pretty powerful, I think.
Carol: I agree. It's part and parcel with who we are as women, as mothers, as sisters, as daughters, as wives. It's this emotionality, the sexuality, the sexual part of who we are is part of who we are. As writers, we have to be able to explore that as people. We have to be able to explore that and have conversations around it. That is actually what intimacy is. Quite often, that's what's missing from the sexual equation. I'd rather we bring more of that in than anything else, then everything else would be better.
I agree with you. Sometimes you do have to think a little bit about it, but honestly, it depends on what you're doing and how you're doing it and who you are. That's what informs your work.
Kenrya: Speaking of shameless, when we first met in person, I told you that I had Brown Sugar in my special pile in my room.
Carol: I remember.
Kenrya: How does it make you feel that your work is with people in some super intimate times?
Carol: I love it. I love it. It's been almost 20 years and I went on a 10-city book tour. This book speaks to 18-year-olds and 55 and up. I had women of every generation talking to me in a real way, and they would clutch my hair and say thank you. That's how I do know. Auntie and grandma, like thank you, for just talking about real relationships between Black people just told in different ways. We were so tired of these flat one dimensional characters and women only looking in a particular way and men only acting in a particular way. We know that's just not the truth. I feel at this point ... I got over it my first few readings and signings. Of course, you judge the crowd. They're going to be different in Atlanta than they will be in Houston or Dallas. You judge the crowd. I know what I'm going to read and I know what I'm going to talk about.
Inevitably, at the end, it becomes a discussion about relationships between men and women. That's exactly what I wanted it to be. That's very, very exciting for me, but that's what it's really about. Communication, talking about things that we don't talk about and didn't talk about or was only talked about in one way.
Erica: Let's just dive a little deeper and talk about the story that we're reading for this episode, Luzette. Why did you choose to include that story in the collection?
Carol: I think that I included that story in the collection more because I loved the writer, to be honest. I chose my writers and then they sent in the stories, to be honest. It just really resonated with me in a way that it was something I had not read before and really felt the voice was wonderful, the characterization was amazing. I hadn't seen anything like it before, and it was very exciting to me. Really that's what I did with all of my writers and their stories. Some names you will know and some names you will not know, but they brought something to the table that I had not seen, and that's what I saw in Luzette.
Erica: Cool. This story is a little different from some of the other stories that we typically read for the show. This one is written from a male porn star's point of view, but we were really interested in Luzette and her being a boss who just took what she wanted. Tell me a little bit. Do you relate to her, and can you tell me about maybe a time where you had to have something or someone and just went for it?
Carol: I think that's like all my life. It's all my life, quite honestly. I am the trifecta. I'm a Black immigrant woman. It's the trifecta. Leaving a place ... When I was in Jamaica, it was a third world country and there was curfew. There were militia. It was a place where you wanted to leave. Jamaica is beautiful. Please go. It's gorgeous. Back when I was a young girl there, it was a very different place. When you actually get out of a place and get somewhere else that you really want to be and you travel in a plane at five years old and you end up in a whole different country in a whole different place and then you have these struggles with language, with identity, with culture. I was Jamaican before it was cool to be Jamaican, and there were all of these dynamics between American Blacks and West Indian Blacks that is I don't think it's as bad as it used to be, but it was certainly there.
Ending up going to a school that was very white, I went to South Hampton College on Long Island, very white, and working in corporate America, which is also very white. I have always had to push myself in a way where not getting to where I wanted to be was simply not an option. I would get there by any means necessary. That's not this huge dynamic thing. It's really just keeping it going, like going and getting a typing test all summer and being able to get that other job because I didn't get that other job. Just keeping it moving. We're Black women. We know.
Kenrya: That's what we do.
Carol: We figure it out. We'll get it done. That's always been my MO. Whether it is a relationship, a job, an apartment, a situation, whatever that is, you just keep it moving and you get it done. Perhaps that's a part of my immigrant background, where things look really bleak but you just keep it moving. I have taken that background with me wherever I go. You just get it done.
Kenrya: It's actually one of my favorite things about you.
Carol: I do know if I can't get it done this way, I'll get it done that way.
Erica: A very important quality to have in an editor.
Carol: When you're a Black woman, absolutely. I like surprising people. I've learned there ... I seem really laid back, but I am a very strategic person. I read about strategy. I practice strategy. It is very interesting to me. I know all about Machiavelli. I know all about the makings of the court. It is really intriguing to me on many levels to see how people operate. I've read the 48 laws of power 48 times. This is a part of my character that I don't think people know a lot about, but I'm always working behind the scenes, getting things done. I love having a sense of purpose, and I love figuring out creative ways to get things done. As an editor, you have 50 different jobs all at the same time. It's good to know how to work and how you work best. Yeah, it keeps me creative and allows me to do what I love, as I said, in many different ways, in many different incarnations. It's exciting to me.
Kenrya: The story of Luzette is based in an optometrist's office. Our final question for you is what's the most unexpected place you've had sex?
Carol: Oh. You know I'm a Scorpio, right? I'm a Scorpio.
Erica: No such thing as an unexpected place for a Scorpio.
Carol: We are faithful. We are kind. We are the best friends you could ever possibly have.
Kenrya: That's true.
Carol: We've got you. Just don't fuck with us.
Erica: My mother is a Scorpio. I know that.
Carol: We got your back. Still waters run deep. Okay? We're cool, but I got my shank so I will shank you if you deserve it. If not, I will give you the shirt off my back. We get a bad rap. Yes, we're very sexual, but we can go without sex for a really, really long time because sex is important to us. I don't want to waste it. I've gone for two years without sex. I'm a Scorpio. I've gone for two years without sex. I nearly killed a man I got with. My point is I don't want to squander it. I would rather have no sex than bad sex. I'm not gonna lie to you. I have other things I can be doing.
Kenrya: You can be doing it yourself. Let's be honest.
Carol: Let's a lot of other things to do. Exactly. I can do it myself. The strangest place I have ever had sex. I really have to think about that because I'm not really prudish about sex. I started out that way. We were colonized so we have a lot of these British influences that I grew up with my parents. My mom was a prude, and I grew up with this idea that you don't have sex until you're married. Sex is not fun. Sex is a chore. You do it to get it over with. You do it to have kids. I came into it with all of these negative stereotypes. I was a virgin in college. Luckily, I started at 15 so I want to get that out. Yeah, I started at 15, thank God. I was a virgin when I got to college, but I wanted to experiment. I was like, what is all this sex stuff? I had no idea. Nobody talked to me about it. I didn't know anything about it.
I've had sex in a number of different locations. However, I have not actually had a lot of partners. I was that girl who was in a 10-year relationship three times.
Kenrya: Same. With niggas that didn't deserve.
Carol: For real. In the back of trucks. I went to South Hampton so we would drive out on to the beach and the back of a truck, at the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Carol: That's when we had to walk all the way up. That was something we wanted to try. On the pier at Red Hook. That was cool. I like water, so I've got a water thing. I am a water sign. During a birthday shower. Was it a wedding? A baby shower, during a baby shower, we were in the closet. We did that. For me, it's not really like I'm thinking about the place.
Kenrya: It's just what you want to do.
Carol: It's either a plan or the moment hit and we're like, where are we going? I can't really think of a place that was-
Kenrya: Those are great places.
Carol: To me, that's normal. The strangest place might be my bed. I've got so many other places to go and so many other things to do. For me, sex is about being comfortable, being intimate, experimenting, having fun. There's nothing sexier than having fun in bed. That makes all the difference.
Kenrya: That's dope. Thank you so much for joining us. That was our last question.
Carol: Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: Where can people find you and your work?
Carol: My website, brownsugarbooks.com, you can find all of my work there. You can also find me on Facebook as well. I post about writing. I post about editing. I'm always happy to chat about any type of book ideas. Please take a look at my website, and I hope you are continuing to read the Brown Sugar series. They're still out there and doing really well.
Kenrya: We have all four.
Carol: Don't forget "Wanderlust," which is about travel. These are erotic travel tales, "Wanderlust."
Kenrya: I might end up going somewhere from there too, just be forewarned.
Carol: Yeah, travel. That's a good one.
Kenrya: Your own Twitter @CarolATaylor117, right? I said two, as in also. That's my bad. Thank you.
Carol: That's my 117. Thank you, guys. I really think this is wonderful what you're doing. It's sad that we feel like we have to have a separate space or a safe space to be able to talk openly about sex and sexuality. That to me is just a part of hegemony. We need to be able to talk about anything that we want to talk about, especially something as intimate as sex.
Kenrya: Unfortunately, that's not there. Like you created it, we're trying to carry that on.
Carol: Keep it going. Absolutely. You are. Thank you guys very much for this. I do appreciate it. Keep fighting the good fight and doing the good work.
Erica: Thank you.
Kenrya: Thank you.
Carol: Thank you.
Erica: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya, and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. Every five-star review posted on Apple podcasts between now and July 31st, 2019 will be entered into a raffle to win a copy of one of the books we read on the show. We're giving away five books. Just post your review and email a screenshot to email@example.com to enter. Please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app. Follow us on Twitter @theturnonpod and Instagram @theturnonpodcast and find links to books, transcripts, guest info and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Holla.
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In Episode 2.5 of The Turn On, we talk to “Push the Button” author Feminista Jones about BDSM, labels and building community.
The Turn On participates in affiliate programs, which provide a small commission when you purchase products via links on this site. This costs you nothing, but helps support the show. Click here for more information.
Kenrya: Come here, get off.
Kenrya: So today, we're talking to Philadelphia based social worker, feminist writer, public speaker, and community activist Feminista Jones. Feminista is an award-winning blogger and author of Push the Button, which we're reading from today, a poetry collection called "The Secret of Sugar Water," and the newly released "Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing The World From The Tweets To The Streets." Feminista's work centers Black American culture, critical race theory, intersectionality, and women's health and wellbeing.
Kenrya: Hey, Feminista.
Feminista: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Kenrya: Thanks for coming on. We're excited to talk to you. I feel like we've been following you and like sending each other stuff that you've tweeted for years.
Feminista: That's dope.
Kenrya: It's cool to have you on.
Erica: Yeah, you're definitely my home girl in my head. So thank you for-
Feminista: Well, now I'm home girl on the mic.
Erica: Thank you so much.
Kenrya: So, first can you tell us what are your preferred pronouns?
Feminista: She and her.
Kenrya: Awesome. Thank you.
Feminista: And yours?
Kenrya: I'm she and her. Erica?
Erica: I'm she and her but I also appreciate all around bad bitch, so if that could be somehow incorporated.
Kenrya: Got it.
Feminista: I'm going to try my best.
Kenrya: Okay. I just read that long, like yes, bad bitch bio, but in one sentence, what do you think of what you do, like if you could sum it all up in one succinct sentence, what is it?
Feminista: I do bad bitch things.
Kenrya: Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Feminista: You know what, honestly I think at this point in my life I just am somebody who is trying to live out her dreams and help people along the way, if that makes sense.
Kenrya: It does make sense.
Feminista: I've had a lot of questions lately about "Is this what you've always wanted to do?" And for as long as I can remember yes, I've wanted to be a writer and I've also wanted to help people and this is like since I was like six years old, seven years old, and I've been lucky enough or committed enough to be able to do both and be successful at both. So, I think where I am right now, having recently turned 40, I am enjoying the fruits of my labor, being able to do both of those things.
Kenrya: Word. That's what's up. So okay, you're based in Philly now, where are you from originally?
Feminista: I am from New York City, born and raised. I was born in Queens, my mom and I, we moved around a lot when we were in Queens, but I went to public school there for elementary school and then we moved to The Bronx, and I really tell people that The Bronx really made me who I am. Queens was kind of an early introduction to things, particularly on the hip hop side because I always loved all the Queens artists from hip hop, but The Bronx really made me who I am and I lived most of my life in The Bronx. So everything from there, every time, whether I went away to school or college, every time I came back, it was always living somewhere in The Bronx. So I've spent the majority of my life in The Bronx and I definitely am a Bronx girl.
Kenrya: Word. Would you ever go back, like to live for real?
Feminista: I don't want to ever say never but that is not what I have. Living in New York City is no longer my ministry.
Erica: I was just about to say "not your ministry."
Feminista: No, it is ... I had this, and people ask me, why did I leave? And I said I feel like I have given New York all that I can and I have gotten from New York all I can get from it. A lot of that is under the context of being a social worker. I spend pretty much all my career there being a social worker in New York City and in a city that big there's all these different organizations, they're all kind of doing the same work. You're like just kind of drifting around but in Philadelphia where there are a lot of pressing issues, there's the opportunity to kind of be a big fish in a small pond and I felt that I could take a lot of what I had learned as a social worker in New York and bring that to Philadelphia and possibly help work on some of the issues going here.
Kenrya: Word. What made you choose Philly in particular?
Feminista: Well, I went to undergrad here. I went to he University of Pennsylvania for an undergraduate, and when I was here I had done some volunteering in west and north Philly and learned a lot about he issues, and I had friends here that were still here, I dated someone here for a few years, so I've always been closely connected with Philadelphia and so when I was thinking about where I wanted to move, thinking about proximity to my son who's still in New York City, Philadelphia really topped the list, cost of living is lower, fewer people.
But it's a Black city. A lot of people don't talk about Philadelphia in those terms. They always talk about Washington, D.C. is chocolate city but Philly is like 43% Black right now, I think, and we have the highest Black Muslim population, there's so much about this city that is just quintessentially Black and I just love that. It's really hard for me to be in spaces where I'm one of a few or the only one. That really destroys my spirit.
It's funny, funny story, I've been on tour for a few months for the book and I've gone to ... and also my speaking tour, and and I've gone to some really interesting places, and I remember going to Terre Haute, Indiana, to speak at Indiana State, and for the first 24 hours I was there I didn't see a single other Black person.
Feminista: And I was talking with students and professors there, I was like how do you do it? And they're like, "Look, you've got to find your tribe but it's still really taxing." I was like I just can't do that. I can't go a whole day and not see Black people. That's not the life I want.
Erica: And I notice it so much more. I'm originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to D.C. and I've been here since college. And now I'm so ... And I don't think I was as aware of being in such white spaces until you kind of get home and you breathe and you see ... you're so used to seeing so many Black people that you're so much more aware of the absence of them when you're not around them.
Feminista: I was just in St. Louis two weekends ago for a wedding and I had been there, like a few weeks before that, for a speaking engagement. I like St. Louis, I like the people there. The Black folks there were real cool. I really appreciated them.
Erica: It was a good place to grow up but I definitely had to leave and I love my family but I needed a little bit of space.
Feminista: I understand, I understand. I can see that. Yeah. But people were really nice to me there and I say that because that doesn't always happen. So I appreciate St. Louis.
Erica: Oh wow, wow. I'm glad they put their best foot forward for you.
Kenrya: I wonder how being in the city, living in a place that is very intentionally Black, like how much being in that space feeds your work?
Feminista: It feeds it so much. When I first moved here I worked for a university doing anti-poverty policy work and pretty much 99% of the people I worked with were Black, right? So we have the highest poverty rate in the country of any large city, and so it's a serious issue here. So Blackness and poverty are so linked up here, it's kind of ridiculous. Not to say that there isn't a Black middle class or upper class but it's obviously racialized here in many ways. So that definitely informs a lot of my work and particularly with activism and things that I do around the city still, working with women and things like that, that Blackness is always present.
Then as I'm connecting with different people and I'm sure we'll talk about more kink stuff but I've been able to find a very strong kink community here that is all Black people, and that's been really, really helpful, and finding those kind of even underground alternative kind of communities has been really great. So it's given me a lot of inspiration to finish the sequel to "Push the Button," which I've been working on.
Kenrya: Oh good, we were definitely going to ask you about that.
Feminista: No, it's actually been really dope. Hacking away, I cut my nails down, I was like I've got some writing to do. I was like, but definitely feeding in from that ... You know what it is? It's a comfort level. I think when I was in New York City I wasn't comfortable anymore. I was struggling. I was like I shouldn't be struggling. Making as much money as I was making I shouldn't have been struggling, like living paycheck to paycheck.
Kenrya: It's a hard city.
Feminista: I shouldn't have had all the mental health issues and struggles that I have. Not to say that I haven't had them here but in New York it was just a whole different level and then having to go outside and be around so many people all the time, it was just so draining. How do you go home and then be creative and be productive when you're just so drained? So Philadelphia here ...
And then you know, Black folks here are nice. So you walk down the street, Sisters will randomly be like, "Oh girl, I love your skirt. Oh, I love those earrings. Oh, I love that hair." And they'll start a conversation like it's kind of like what people say about the South, you know how that is, but here in Philly that's just how people are, and when they say like brotherly love and sisterly affection, that comes from the Black people here. So I've definitely felt more comfortable, I settled in, I got a house, like I love my home. So definitely feeling it.
Kenrya: Yes, that's dope.
Erica: So, we've been ... I've been following you, like I said, you were my home girl in my mind, so I've heard you talk on other shows about your Dominant/submissive relationships, and so my question to you is how did you realize that one of the hats you'd come to wear was that of a submissive? Like how did that come about? Because I think we all have a bit of that in us but how did you realize this is who I am and what I want to do?
Feminista: Well, it's a funny story because I no longer identify that way because I divested of the patriarchal bullshit, but anyway.
Feminista: There was another show I was talking about that. Listen, I've been in this lifestyle, this kink and BDSM lifestyle for 21 years now. Evolution is going to happen, growth is going to happen. I've always identified as a switch, to be quite honest because I-
Kenrya: Can you tell our listeners who don't know?
Feminista: Oh, sure. A switch is somebody who can function as a submissive type and can also function as a dominant type. For me, it fell along gender lines. Like, I would be dominant with women and I would be submissive with men. And I really had to critique that. Like, as a feminist, I could come up theoretically with all the ways in which it was fine to be a submissive and here's where ... You know, I've written about it, it's not an issue, and I don't have an issue with it, trust me, but what I had to do was really challenge myself and say, "Are you really submissive or do you just engage certain men this way?" Because when I would be out and about in the community I wouldn't be ... I wouldn't bow my head to any of them other dudes, like no, I'm not doing nothing you say, I ain't going to call you no sir, nothing. I was just like yo ...
Then it took a partner being like, "You don't have a submissive bone in your body." We said that, it was during an argument. I was like, "Well, that's actually true," and I started having to deconstruct that. Then what I realized ... And this is something that I actually now do workshops and stuff about, is I had to reconcile enjoying being a bottom for more of the physical things, like I identify as a sadomasochist so I do enjoy receiving pain, but that didn't make me submissive. And that's challenging a lot of the norms and the standards that we have in our community. Like, we equate a bottom with a submissive. And it's like, no, I actually just like the way these things feel and I like having someone else kind of inflict that on me or what have you. There's certain scenarios where I like to be choked, does that mean I'm a submissive? No. It means I like being choked. If I want a man to pay for things, does that make me a submissive? No. It means I like having men pay for shit.
So I had to challenge a lot of what I already believed, and I was like no, you know what, there's part of me that with a particular partner I may curl up like a little girl and do whatever, but that is not my standard or my general way of being. I am actually quite dominant and I would limit it only to women but then I realized, no, I can be dominant with men too and not just in the bed. I found that outside of the bed is when I really got the enjoyment of dominating men.
And so I allowed myself to evolve over the years and fully embrace the fact that I identify as a Dom who happens to be a sadomasochist.
Feminista: Yeah. So after 21 years, that's where I am right now.
Erica: So, just to dig a little deeper into that piece, did you deal with a ... I mean, when you thought for so long, I am this type of person, and then slowly come to realize no, that isn't who I am anymore, or who I ever was, how did you ... what was your thinking, what was your thoughts behind it? Did you feel like you were having some sort of crisis or ... I don't want to say crisis but how did you handle that?
Feminista: Honestly, I think my biggest concern, because I am so well known, because I'm well known in the community and also out, it's like how will people receive this? Like, will they think that I was a fraud or they think I was whatever, and that's why I'm very delicate about how I explain this process and for those who are maybe newer to this lifestyle or newer to kink, letting people know you have permission to change. Like, you may identify one way now and then a few months from now you're like you know what, that doesn't really work for me, and it's okay. Don't let anyone pigeon hole you.
So for me, I think that was probably the biggest concern because people look up to me, and then I wrote this book but then I realized when I started writing the sequel, I started writing the sequel three and a half years ago, believe it or not, and I wanted my primary character to be a Dom, a woman Dom. And I said, "I'm going to explore this." And I actually think through writing that I was like, you know you're writing yourself, right? And I'm like, but how am I writing myself? So it wasn't crisis, it was more like just let the spirit move you-
Kenrya: Get yourself that space, yeah.
Feminista: Get yourself that space, go with what feels good and what feels right, and I had fallen back from the community a bit, I was in a rather tumultuous relationship, and when I ended that I said, you know what? I need to reconnect with my people but I'm going to do it in the most authentic way. So people who had known me in my previous form, they accepted and they have embraced it because again, I've always identified as a switch. So there's always been that there, it's just now I fully embrace it and you'll see more of that with me.
Kenrya: That's awesome.
Feminista: But if you're the right person then you might bring that other part out a little bit, you never know. I'm just open to whatever feels good. Are we fucking right? Is it good? Who cares!
Kenrya: That actually makes me think more broadly just about your career in general, from addressing street harassments, writing erotica to speaking at colleges and advocating women's health, I feel like you do a really good job of being your whole self in public and reflecting all of those pieces of yourself in your work. I'm wondering what the biggest challenges that you face in making space for all the things that you are and all the things that you do.
Feminista: Honestly I think the biggest challenge has been the sex part, because that's how I came on the scene, right? That's how people knew me, from my early, early days, back 2010, 2011, and I really was trying to make this mark as a sex positive Black feminist. And I did. And that's what a lot of people came to know me for. And then I was like, but I do have all these other things that are really important to me too, and since now I have this platform let me start talking about these things too, and I started bringing more of my daily life as a social worker, as an activist online.
I was like, well, I also do this stuff too people, and realizing that social media specifically could be a valuable tool to help me in my day-to-day life. So I was like, I got to bring all of this. And I fell back a bit from the sex stuff as much because I was having my own personal kind of revolution. There's a lot of things ... Not a lot, but there are some things that I wrote or said about six, seven years ago that I wouldn't agree with right now when it comes to feminism and sex and things like that.
I talk about, in the book a bit, "Reclaiming Our Space," how I felt like it was my job to get more men to approve of feminism or to support it and I felt like sex would be the way to reach them. And it was very effective, I'm telling you, to this day I have just as many male fans and supporters as I have women. And in many things, the men support more than women. So it worked.
But then I was like why am I doing that? Why do I care about their feelings like that? Like either you're down with feminism, either you believe that we are equal or you don't. I shouldn't have to sugar coat things, I shouldn't have to spoon-feed it to you, I shouldn't have to make it appealing. And so part of why I fell back from the sex stuff was because I was like I don't want that to be the only reason you believe that women are valuable.
But I didn't fall back completely, it was just kind of like ... but the more public I became, things like that, I was just kind of like, this is risky. It is risky because now I'm out and about and sometimes when you talk about sex people feel entitled to you, you know what I mean? So that was a big thing and anybody listening, I feel like I've never explained this before, so you guys are the first to hear this but I started becoming concerned about my own safety because if I would look at my DMs, if I would look at the emails, all the unsolicited dick pics, all the things, I was just like, this is not what I want for me. And here I am posting where I'm going to be in these different spaces, the last thing I need is somebody who is infatuated with me or has been fantasizing about me to show up and we have a problem. So, that's another reason and one of the major reasons why I fell back from that.
But then in the last couple of years I was like, "yeah, man, I'll shoot you." I'm going to do me, and this is important to me. When we think about things like what's happening with abortion right now, all of that is related to sex and sexuality. So I feel like ... Especially because I retired from social work last year, I said you know what? This is the arena I need to get back into. I need to get back into talking about sex and sex positivity. I need to get back into talking about kink and BDSM, I need to get back into talking about sexual liberation because it is so relevant to what is going on right now in our country and across the world and I feel like I have a strong enough voice for that.
So I've been doing more of that lately and it's been good, it's been feeling good. So I think it all connects. When you are a queer Black feminist woman, it's hard to divest any part of who you are.
Kenrya: Right. That's one of the things we talk about on this show, it's never just sex, right? Everything is sex and, race and, all of these things are interconnected.
Kenrya: You can't leave any of them behind because they literally are you.
Feminista: It's sex and race, sex and gender, sex and class, sex and orientation, sex and religion, all of it is so intertwined, we can't divest. Here's the thing, if we're talking about liberation, like as a theory or a practice, we have to talk about bodily liberation. If your bodies are still in these kinds of theoretical chains, one of the biggest ones being related to sex, we're not getting any other type of liberation. You know what I'm saying?
So, I feel like I have a strong enough voice in this particular space, especially with SESTA and FOSTA stuff happening, like nah man. I think that renewed my vigors, too, like when they started cracking down, when they started cracking down and like you can't put nipples on Instagram and everything got to be family friendly and all the stuff like that, the porn folks in porn and sex workers are getting locked up and in trouble and all kind of ... I was like nah, we got to do something about this.
Erica: Got to come back out.
Feminista: Got to come back out.
Erica: So you talked about how your sexual self evolved over the past 20 plus years. As a mom and mentor, what do you think is the most important thing you want to instill in young Black people that are still trying to figure out their sexual selves and what that looks like?
Feminista: You know, it's funny because I feel the real work starts with their parents and I feel like we need to really get to young people, as young as five years old, maybe even four to really kind of educate them about sex and sexuality. My ex-husband was an adolescent health educator and he developed age-appropriate stuff. They were talking to kindergartners about this kind of stuff and it was working, it was making sense.
We have to get in early because a lot of times parents will pass on their own misguided notions about things and then we've got a whole other generation that's messed up. But I want young people to know that freedom, like personal freedom is about being able to enthusiastically say yes and having your no be respected. I think that that's a fundamental lesson that, as a parent, I have worked on with my son.
Let me tell you something, I tell parents because I do some parenting writing too, I've told parents, "Listen, when your child comes and asks you for a cookie and you say no, and he's like, 'Please, please, please,' and you're like 'No,' and then they're like, 'Oh, I hate you,' and they start screaming and then you give them the cookie, you just taught them about coercion. You've just taught them that all they have to do is push a little harder and they'll get what they want."
A lot of parents are just like, "Wow, I hadn't thought about that." Yeah, that's where it starts, don't even have to talk about sex. You just have to talk about boundaries, autonomy, and respect for other people. Young people have to know that they can explore things and feel free to, while at the same time understanding that it's important to talk to an adult who can give you context. That was an issue with my kid when he first discovered porn, right? He was like seven. I was like, so this is a no. But here's why, here's why. It's like Mommy does not think that this is appropriate for you to look at right now. Not that porn is bad-
Kenrya: Not this is dirty, not that you're bad for watching, yeah.
Feminista: I just don't think that this is appropriate for you to watch right now. Then it happened again a few years later and I was a little more stern, I said, "We talked about this. I do not want you watching this and getting your ideas about sex from this. If you want to talk about sex, talk to me and Daddy, we'll give you some more information." And I think he understood that. I mean, he's 12 now, like I got my first vibrator when I was 14, look I'm not going to hold my kid to some ridiculous standard, but we've raised him to know that if he has any questions he can come to us.
Feminista: We've also raised him very open. I've never once been like, "Is there a girl you like?" I've always asked, "Is there someone you like? Do you have a crush on anyone?" So a couple of weeks ago we were walking and he said, "Mom, you know, I've just got to tell you something." I was like, "What?" He was like, "I think I know that I'm straight." I was like, "Damn." I was like, "Well what does that mean to you?" He's like, "I like girls." And I was like okay, well that's fine. But he's like, "Not that being gay is bad, I just don't like boys."
And it was a conversation. I didn't have to pry or anything. Then he tells me that he likes this Puerto Rican girl and a white girl, and then I was like, "Okay, listen."
Kenrya: Let's have a conversation.
Feminista: "Let's have a conversation right here." I wasn't mad about anything else, I was just like ... I was like ... But do you know what it is? All his closest friends are Black girls. And the way he explains it is he's like, I don't know what's going on with these guys' heads, but girls are just smarter, and I prefer to have them as friends.
Kenrya: Where is the lie?
Feminista: So I was like, I feel you bro, like I get it. So I think that's something for him. I don't know if the girls that he likes being not Black kind of helps him juxtapose things, I don't know. But he does have love for Black girls and always has, so I'm not like mad or anything.
So, yeah, we talk about it, I talk about it, we talk about it all the time, I bring it up, I let him know, "You can talk to me about anything," his sister, I had talked about this publicly, his older sister had a baby as a teenager and she was only 14, and she's 16 now, and so talking to him about that, like what does that mean? Like your "Sister was having sex and she got pregnant and she had a baby very young." He's like, "I ain't doing that." And I was like okay, all right. But it's important to have those conversations.
Kenrya: Yeah. And to have them early. Awesome.
Feminista: Have them early.
Kenrya: So let's talk a bit about Push the Button.
Feminista: Yes, let's talk.
Kenrya: So we were definitely in from the opening line, "I want to see you." I'm wondering where the ... I mean so obviously we talked a bit about how the idea of it, the Dom/sub relationship at the core of it came from where you were at that part of your life, but where did the inspiration for this particular story come from?
Feminista: So the book is almost five years old, and I am blessed to say I get my little Amazon royalties every month, people are still buying it, I'm very happy about that. It came out around the time that 50 Shades of Gray had come out, and that garbage really infuriated me. It infuriated me.
Kenrya: So awful.
Feminista: It was terrible, it was poorly written, it was not about BDSM, it was about abuse, and in the community we were all just what the fuck is this? And I think for me I have this theory, and a lot of people may not agree, but I feel like if you're a good writer you can write anything. I said to myself, you know what, I can do better than this and I can represent for our community and I can represent for Black people in our community because so much of BDSM erotica is just so white. So I said I'll write a short story. My Aries brain, I can go for a short story, anything beyond that ...
Kenrya: Yes, Aries.
Feminista: Yes. I'll be like, all right man, you've got 2000 words, there you go. So I wrote a blog and that was supposed to be it, so chapter one was supposed to be it, and then people were reading it and I got ... the biggest question I got was, "So what happens next?" I was like, "There is no next." I was like, "That's it, what are you talking about?" I just wanted to prove that a story about BDSM with black people could be written better than that 50 Shades crap. But popular demand, the fans were clamoring and so I started releasing a new chapter every holiday.
So it got to the point where people would hit me up, they'd be like, "Yo, July 4th is two weeks, we getting another chapter? Hey, it's Easter, are we getting a chapter, because Easter's coming up. It's National Hotdog Day. Asian Pacific Month, what are we getting here?" It was really funny, but I would, and it held me accountable, I got to thank the fans because Aries in and out, we are over stuff really quick but the fans held me accountable and I just kept writing and developing these characters and developing this story until I got to all but the last chapter and by then my following had almost tripled and I took it off the blog. I said I'm going to make this a book. Why not, right?
And I waited a year, intentionally, to build it up and then by then more than half of my followers had never heard of Push the Button. They'd never seen, they went to my blog, it wasn't there, they'd never heard of it. So when I added the final chapter and released it as a book, the old fans were just like, "Yes, this is it! We love it, "Oh my god, I can't believe you did this, what is going on?" It was really great to see because what was happening was with every chapter I started having people download it so I could track it and I was there, I would have like 2,800, 3,000 downloads in the first [inaudible].
Feminista: Oh dropping it. So I knew there was a fan base there, and I was like, okay, this is going to do numbers. So when I created it, originally it was going to be just an ebook, but I said no, I made a paperback. The version that's out now that people can buy is actually the fourth version, I had to do a lot of editing. I had never done anything like this before, I had never self-published and everything like that.
Kenrya: That's impressive.
Feminista: Thank you. So I went back and I did a lot of editing, I actually changed some sentences and fixed the syntax, a lot of spelling and grammar things and stuff like that, but I cleaned it up. So what you have now is the fourth version and people just loved it. I was being asked to come places to talk about it, to speak about it, and that really helped launched my speaking career. First I was just kind of in kink spaces, but I was recording myself and putting it on YouTube or online and more people were like, "Oh, can you come talk about this? Can you come talk about ..." And it grew from there.
The best thing was I was at Weekend Reunion, and for people that don't know what Weekend Reunion is, it was an annual gathering of people of color in the lifestyle and they asked me to come and sell the book there and I had an elder in the community come up and she was just like, "Thank you so much for this, I've never seen us represented this way. Really appreciate it." That meant a lot to me because as they say, representation matters. Right? You want to see yourself in media, whether it's literature or film, TV, and so I felt like I'd done something special for the community and it went from there. This book has sold thousands and thousands and thousands of copies around the world and it's been a blessing and it's great and I love it and I'm halfway through the sequel.
Erica: So, do you have any tips or resources for our listeners that want to explore kink? I think that often we tend ... If you're not familiar, you tend to think that kink is that white people shit but somebody chokes you out during sex and you're like, "Can I have some more?"
Feminista: Yeah. That's the thing that I guess gets me all the time because people of color, we are very much obviously involved in this. We have huge communities across the world, especially in the United States, we have gatherings, we have all kind of conferences, I'm actually speaking at a conference called the Journey Con this August in Atlanta. We are there, but I think there's also that part of us that likes being underground a bit, and likes being in the margins because it still feels freer. The more mainstream something becomes, the more prying eyes you have and peering eyes, and so when the 50 Shades thing came, all the white mommy bloggers were just like, "Oh my god, I want to be spanked." And I was like, "You don't want me to spank you, child. I will send you right back to Mayberry and you'll never think about this again." You know?
So there was an explosion of our community around that, that was trickled off a bit. I would say folks could go to fetlife.com, F-E-T-L-I-F-E.com, FetLife is like Facebook for kinksters, you can create a profile, you can talk about what you're looking for, tell a little bit about yourself, what you're into, but there's also an events page so you can find events that are happening near you, everything from workshops to demonstrations to munches, what we call munches, and a munch is when you get together with other people in the lifestyle but you're not doing anything kinky, you're just having dinner or lunch or drinks or something, just to get to know people.
You can go to conferences, you can go to play parties, they list parties at the dungeons. For people that don't know what a dungeon is, it's where you go and there's all kinds of apparatuses around and people are engaging in their kink. FetLife I think is a really valuable resource, it can be a mess because there's always going to be some white dude who's going to come be like, "I just want you to sit on my face, I worship the Black Queen"
Kenrya: My face is all screwed up right now.
Feminista: Yeah, no, it should be, because it's gross, and I'll be like, not saying that having a white man ... But whatever, it's just a lot sometimes.
Erica: It's not your thing.
Feminista: Right. You get brothers whose default picture is a picture of their dick, and it's like, I don't need that.
Kenrya: Because dicks are abundant and low in value.
Feminista: They are so abundant and short. So they have an events page but then you also have groups, so you can check out the groups, there's a lot of message boards. Really just kind of learning. The other thing I would recommend for people is to go to workshops. I know in Philadelphia, for example, we have a number of groups and parts of the community where there's always a rope demo going on, there's always a flogging demo, there's always some kind of conversation about what it means to be a person of color in kink. There's always something going on that's either free or low charge that you can just go, and you don't have to participate, you can just sit in the back and listen because I think that the education is really so important, learning from people that have been doing that. And I would say going to munches, like I said, meeting people that are near you, you're a mess but meeting people that are near you.
Kenrya: No, she keeps laughing because ... So she calls my daughter, who is her goddaughter, Munch.
Feminista: Oh God. Thats awkward.
Kenrya: And she's also a child. So every time you say it, she over there giggling because it makes her think.
Erica: But the funny thing is I am Auntie Munch, so like I call her ... Because she was a munchie baby, so I called her Munch and I'm Auntie Munch, and I'm like, now I feel like that title is so fitting for me. However, I need to reevaluate it for her. But yeah. I am drunk Auntie Munch, okay.
Feminista: That's kind of funny. But yes, those are things, that's what we call them, and I think also there are people that maintain ... Facebook has a ton of kink groups, I'm in a couple of them in which people are discussing things all the time. It's one of those things like if you want to know, you need to go seek it out, you need to be proactive about it.
Then some people are not big on being involved in community stuff and that's fine, too. We are in the information age, you can go to Google, anything that you want to learn about related to kink, maybe you and your partner want to just kind of sit down, watch some videos, there's rope tying demos on YouTube, you can find stuff on YouTube, you can find blogs and read and experiment yourselves.
Erica: So we are rapping up but I do have one question, one silly question for you. So, I want to ask you a would you rather question. So, would you rather be a sub to someone with no short-term memory or a sub to someone who can only speak in whispers.
Feminista: Oh my god. Wait.
Erica: Have you watched-
Feminista: So no short-term memory or whispers
Erica: So kind of like Awkward Black Girl that got in the office that can only...
Feminista: Oh my god.
Erica: Like, "Get over here, bitch. Would you like me to speak up?"
Feminista: Oh wow. You know what.
Erica: Or he repeats everything.
Feminista: If I can them a portable microphone or like a bullhorn or something.
Erica: It'd just come out like a really loud whisper like, "HEY. LIE DOWN BITCH."
Feminista: I think actually I'd probably choose the no short-term memory.
Feminista: Because no short-term memory means they have long-term memory so if they don't remember it Monday at 4:55, they'll remember it Tuesday, so I'll be all right.
Erica: But if she or he says, "Go sit down, go get on your knees in front of the couch," and then goes and uses the bathroom and comes back he's like, "But why you on your knees?"
Feminista: I'd be like, "I don't know."
Erica: "I was looking for something on the floor."
Feminista: That's the first thing I thought of, is like, well I wouldn't have to do shit. I wouldn't have to do much of anything. But the if I was truly being a submissive type and really kind of connected with that I would say, "Well, you told me to be on the floor and so here I am." So we'd just kind of ... I feel like I would try a lot throughout the day. "You told me to ..." It'd be like, no, because like can you imagine being in bed, right, and they're getting out the paddle and the flogger and stuff and they put it on the bed and then they go to the bathroom-
Erica: Who's this for?
Feminista: And they come back and they be like, why are you laying there with all that stuff on the bed? When you said you were going to use it. And then they go and they use the paddle and they step away and they come back and use the paddle again, it's like, "You just used that! Like ow, man!" Oh my God. I would choose that, though, that'd be fun. I don't think I could deal with the whispering because eventually it would probably ... It would take me ... I would respect you but it'd take me about 20 minutes to be like, "Can you just shut the fuck up?"
Erica: That'd be it.
Feminista: Don't make me laugh, I just started going back to the gym, my abs hurt. I got so fat, listen, but I started back at the gym now, so when I laugh now that shit hurt.
Kenrya: It's just letting you know that the work is working. You're putting in ...
Feminista: But you know what, I'm going to put this in this group, I'm going to put that same question in this group that I'm in because I want to see the answers.
Erica: You've got to tell us what they say.
Feminista: I will, will. Oh my god. I'm going to be like, so I was recording a podcast about kink and they asked me ... That's hilarious. All right.
Kenrya: This is awesome. So, we're so glad that you were here. See? I didn't even know we was going to laugh so much. This is dope.
Feminista: Thank you very much.
Kenrya: So your newest book is "Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets." Where can people find that book and you and all the rest of your work?
Feminista: So the book is everywhere, you can go to a bookstore, library, online, anywhere, it's in a bunch of countries. People haven't had much issue getting it. A lot of times they've gone into stores and it's been sold out, so you can always request it. Just request it and they'll order it for you. I think it's ... I would actually tell people to order it at the library because libraries are the biggest book buyers so if you go and request it ... One woman told me there was a 30 person wait at her library for the book-
Kenrya: Because they probably had like two copies.
Feminista: Yeah. You should probably order more copies. So you can do that. I am on Twitter, @feministajones, Facebook is Feminista Jones Official, I am on Instagram, @feministajones, and my website is feministajones.com. If you want to know what's going on with me, you can go to my events page, feministajones.com/events and you'll be able to see what's coming up. Yeah.
Kenrya: Awesome. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us before you go on your break.
Feminista: Thank you. I appreciate you all having me. I always do. I love doing this stuff, it's fun.
Kenrya: This episode was produced by us, Erica and Kenrya and edited by B'Lystic. The theme song is from Brazy. Every five star review posted on Apple Podcast between now and July 31st, 2019, will be entered into a raffle to win a copy of one of books we read on the show. We're giving away five books, just post your review and email a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter. And please subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, follow us on Twitter, @theturnonpod, and Instagram, @theturnonpodcast, and find links to books, transcripts, guest info, and other fun stuff at theturnonpodcast.com. Holla.
The Turn On
The Turn On is a podcast for Black people who want to get off. To open their minds. To learn. To be part of a community. To show that we love and fuck too, and it doesn't have to be political or scandalous or dirty. Unless we want it to be.