If you follow hip hop news, you’ll know that this was a big week for Joe Budden and his podcast, The Joe Budden Podcast. Budden and his co-hosts signed an exclusive audio deal with Spotify that was announced this week — a really big move for a podcast. There have been a flurry of articles from a variety of publications, including The New York Times, which ran a profile of Budden and the podcast, written by Iman Stevenson. I’m quoted in the article and there’s a link out to one of my Medium pieces, which is a little surreal for me.
Last weekend, I received an email from Stevenson with the subject: The New York Times is seeking your comment. I re-read it several times, mistaking it for spam that had slipped through the filters. When I opened it, I saw that it was indeed a request for my comment.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a story on The Joe Budden Podcast. Budden and his co-hosts discussed it on one of the shows and read aloud from a bit of it. Stevenson saw the episode and emailed me. For those of you who don’t listen to the podcast, like a lot of popular content adjacent to the music industry, it’s problematic and can veer into misogyny. Stevenson wanted a woman’s opinion.
Here’s my quote:
“I think they’re doing the best that they can,” said Kitanya Harrison, a freelance writer based in Jamaica, who noted the sexism in a piece about the podcast. “I’m not sure if it’s enough, but I appreciate the effort, that they’re doing it in public.”
The “it” I’m talking about is the conversations men need to have with each other if misogyny is going to be undermined. When a man says something sexist and his male friend interrupts and checks him, that’s important. It’s also important for other men to see the guy who said something problematic stop and think and say, “You know what, I shouldn’t have said that,” then struggle a bit to find a better way to express himself. These kinds of conversations happen on The Joe Budden Podcast, and I think it’s a good thing. I don’t hold it against anyone who doesn’t think it’s enough, though. Like I said in my original piece, I wish we were further along on these issues, and it’s frustrating to see people who should know better continue not to get it.
Perhaps the reason I empathize is because I’m struggling to remove ableist language like “dumb” and “moron” and “crazy” from my vocabulary. People who are non-verbal are so through no fault of their own, so why am I using “dumb” as an insult? Why am I using language that stigmatizes mental illness to dismiss people? It’s a struggle. I internalized this behavior over a lifetime, and society not only excuses but reinforces it at every turn. It’s not as simple as realizing you’re doing something wrong. A switch isn’t magically flipped. It’s a process.
Part of the reason I’m sharing this is because I know many of the readers on Medium are also writers. I wrote the piece on The Joe Budden Podcast, because it’s content I enjoy. I wasn’t sure anyone would read it, but it’s been well-received, and it got me quoted in The New York Times. Write what you want to write, and let the chips fall where they may.
If you’re interested in why so many people like The Joe Budden Podcast enough for Spotify to ink an exclusive deal with them, you can check out my piece on it below.