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We Want the Airwaves

Nia King's trying to figure out if her dream of making a living as an art activist is beyond reach. In this podcast, she seeks advice from other political queer artists, trans artists, and artists of color who seem to have figured out how to make art and make rent without compromising their values. Find more episodes at artactivistnia.com.
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Jun 11, 2017

Indian-Canadian queer Muslim author Farzana Doctor and I discuss her three novels, achieving diversity without sacrificing quality, and being divinely inspired. Photo by Vivek Shraya.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

May 1, 2017

Chinese-Canadian trans poet and author Kai Cheng Thom and I discuss her new book, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir, her fear of loving violence too much, and using lies to tell emotional truths.

Transcribed by Joyce Hatton. Photo by Jackson Ezra.

Read the transcription at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Apr 3, 2017

Cherokee Two-Spirit artist, activist, and scholar Qwo-Li Driskill knows more about the history of indigenous people in the US than anyone I know. In this episode we discuss the complicated relationships between Black and Cherokee people in US history, identity policing in indigenous communities, and how sometimes your ancestors' culture gets passed down to you without you even knowing it.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Mar 5, 2017

Gay Muslim Iraqi-Canadian author Hasan Namir asked himself, “What would my life be like if I had never left Iraq?” He imagines the answer in his Lambda Award-winning novel, God in Pink. In this interview we discuss the double-lives of gay men in the Middle East, ISIS being on Grindr, and whether things were better for gays in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Read the transcription at scribd.com/artactivistnia.
Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Audio editing by StormMiguel Florez.

Transcription by Nadia Abou-Karr.

Photo by Bijan (mood.berlin).

Feb 4, 2017

Gay Muslim Yemeni-Canadian journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee traveled to ten different countries to report Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), his magnum opus on race, color(ism), labor, migration, and economics. We discuss his definitions of brown:

  1. as not Black and not white, and
  2. as cheap (immigrant/migrant) labor.

We also discuss the history of colonial powers using of brown people (specifically Indians) as a buffer between Blacks and whites places like Trinidad and Uganda, and debate whether Black and brown can ever co-exist peacefully in such places.

His book also includes reporting from Sri Lanka, Qatar, Hong Kong, the Philippines, the US, the UK, France, and Canada. Interview transcribed by Amir Rabiyah. Audio editing by StormMiguel Florez.

Dec 25, 2016

Usually on We Want the Airwaves I interview queer and trans artists of color about their lives and their work, but sometimes I get to interview an artist I really admire who is not queer or trans. Hari Kondabolu is one of those people. In this interview we discuss being on @midnight, his friendship with W. Kamau Bell, and why he loves Oakland and recorded his album Waiting for 2042 there. Intro music is Twenty Years On by Safe. Please support the indiegogo campaign for our East Coast book tour!

Dec 10, 2016

In this talk-show style live podcast recording, Nia interviews Elena Rose about how Sojourner Truth NEVER said "Ain't I a woman?", Juba Kalamka about meeting Kanye when he was fifteen, Lexi Adsit about running an all trans women of color comedy program, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha about the perks of making it "big time".

Read the transcription at scribd.com/artactivistnia.
Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Oct 31, 2016

Black trans woman musician and performance artist Star Amerasu discusses the ups and downs of her last few years, from sex working and living in a transitional housing program/SRO to touring Europe and North America and getting paid "coins" to perform her music for international audiences. She credits her success to cheap rent, good friends, and a job with flexible hours.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Oct 10, 2016

Star Amerasu is a queer Black trans woman in a binary art world. In this interview, she discusses overcoming trauma through performance art, growing up in six different states, and the politics choosing to live or die. She makes art to remind herself, in the words of Miss Major, that she’s “still fucking here!”

Read the transcription at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Sep 3, 2016

Hani and Uzma are the co-hosts of my FAVORITE podcast, The Bollywood Project. In this interview, we discuss our favorite women in Indian cinema, from actresses to directors to screenwriters and even fictional characters. We also discuss queerbaiting, colorism, and movies with missed opportunities for feminist endings. (We spoil a bunch of movies, including two of my faves: Gunday and Ishaqzaade.)

Read the transcript at niaking.tumblr.com.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Aug 8, 2016

Mixed-race Arab trans woman poet, educator, and activist Trish Salah has a lot of work to be proud of. In this talk, she maps out her trajectory, from being part of a militant labor union in graduate school to protesting pinkwashing at the World Out Games, to becoming politicized around trans issues in a Toronto activist community that was led by sex workers and poor folks.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Jul 16, 2016

East Bay Express-turned-Guardian reporter Sam Levin doesn’t consider himself an artist or an activist, but in this interview I try to convince him otherwise, while also trying to get him to teach me everything he knows about journalism. We debate whether “the truth has a liberal bias,” discuss the differences between covering the local news for an alt weekly and covering the Western US for an international publication, and talk about why people across the world should/do care about what happens in Oakland.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Jul 2, 2016

Sam Levin didn't chose crime. Crime chose him. The baby-faced Daily News intern-turned-Guardian reporter talks what makes a good reporter and his own journey to becoming one: talking to people on the worst day of their lives, dodging lawsuits, and running into people he's reported on at parties. Oh yeah, and that one time he chased Lindsay Lohan around a bowling alley.

Read the transcript here.

Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Jun 6, 2016

Multiracial, multigender, multimedia artist Neve Be(ast) discusses sex work, #branding, and being the disabled Black punk Lana Del Rey.

Read the interview here. Support the podcast here.
Apr 3, 2016

Sri Lankan/Irish queer disabled femme writer Leah Lakshmi and I discuss her new memoir, Dirty River, racism in the publishing industry, and whether it's better to fight your way into the mainstream or just do your own thing on the outside. Photo by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes.

Read the interview here. Support the podcast here.

Mar 4, 2016
  • Queer Black zinester and punk musician Osa Atoe discusses writing a Black punk zine (Shotgun Seamstress), touring with an all girl band (The New Bloods), and growing up Nigerian-American in D.C. in the 90s.

Read the interview at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Feb 8, 2016

Queer Chicano/Native filmmaker Rob Fatal and I discuss how we come to understand who we are when parts of our history are denied us. We also take an in-depth look at his film Mi Familia, about the Ute/Apache side of his family, and discuss why post-apocalyptic cinema appeals to him as a Chicano/Native filmmaker.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Jan 3, 2016

Cuban-American lesbian novelist and journalist Achy Obejas discusses growing up in the Midwest with her dad in a mental hospital, her racially-mixed mom trying to pass as white, and Confederate flag-sporting neighbors. We also discuss racism in the arts, corruption in Chicago, and the decline of print journalism.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Dec 28, 2015

Comedian W. Kamau Bell discusses his past FX show (Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell), his upcoming CNN show (United Shades of America), moving his family back to the Bay Area, and teaching his daughters "in this family, we stand up".

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Dec 22, 2015

In part 2 of my interview with tech activist Lynn Cyrin, we discuss anti-Black racism at Facebook, Google, Dropbox and Reddit. Lynn explains why Facebook won't change its "real names" policy and how Quirrel (the social network she is building with CollectQT) will be better/queer-friendlier.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Dec 5, 2015

Black trans woman tech activist Lynn Cyrin discusses being homeless in SF, crashing fancy tech events, and crowdfunding enough money to get a place her own (after moving to Portland).

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Nov 1, 2015

Indigenous multimedia artist Grace Rosario Perkins discusses Thin Leather, a series of paintings she collaborated with her dad on, the whiteness/maleness of the music program at Mills College, and UIUC's racist school mascot. She is part of the Black Salt Collective which has a show at SOMArts called Visions into Infinite Archives from January 14 to February 10, 2016. More info at http://www.somarts.org/blacksalt/.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Oct 9, 2015

micha cárdenas has been on the cutting edge of using technology for social change since the Myspace days. In this interview she discusses virtual sit-ins, designing an app to help immigrants find water in the dessert, and being one of few trans Latinas with a PhD.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Sep 6, 2015

Monica Trinidad is a Chicago-born, Chicago-based artist, activist, and prison abolitionist. In part one of this interview we discuss her work with Brown and Proud Press, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, and her impressions of protests in Oakland versus Chicago. Part two is coming later this month.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

Aug 17, 2015

Back in April, I had the privilege of interviewing (straight) Australian comedian Aamer Rahman while he was touring the US. Rahman is perhaps best known as part of the comedy duo Fear of a Brown Planet, and for the video that went viral of his joke about "reverse racism". In this interview, Aamer and I discuss growing up brown and Muslim in Australia pre-9/11 versus post-9/11, getting into comedy by accident, and selling out shows all over Australia.

Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

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