The Tight Rope

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Subscribers: 9
Reviews: 1

Joseph Fleming
 Aug 6, 2020
Thank you all for a stimulating discussion. I am skeptical that education alone can abolish racism as I understand that Germany was the most "educated" nation in the world at the time they were assigning human beings to the gas chambers.

Description

As we all navigate the balance between hope and uncertainty, we invite you to join Cornel West & Tricia Rose on The Tight Rope, a weekly podcast where we take time to welcome listeners and guests as thought collaborators with our revered hosts, public intellectuals Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose. The Tight Rope is rich in creative, unfiltered dialogue on topics ranging from pop culture, art and music, to the contours of systemic racism, philosophy, the power of Socratic self-examination, and the possibilities of a peaceful and just world. This new and interactive podcast format will highlight the professors’ combined expertise to encourage critical thinking, self-reflection, and human connection as we navigate The Tight Rope.

Episode Date
TTR 9: Jane Elliott on the Tight Rope Discussing the Semantics of Race
55:57

Episode Summary

In this episode, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose dance with their respected guest Jane Elliott on The Tight Rope. Known for her Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise and continued advocacy for anti-racist education and activism, Elliott debates with our hosts about the nature of racism and the language we use to discuss it. They wrestle with the inspiration of the present moment and the necessity to recognize the economic realities of the “lies” about race, along with the ever-importance of education. Join in the spirited conversation with “moral titan” Jane Elliott who emphasizes the possibility of change in our society on this episode of The Tight Rope.

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Jane Elliott

Jane Elliott is an internationally known teacher, lecturer, diversity trainer, and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education. Many will know of Elliott from the now famous “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise” she devised for her third-grade class of all-white students in Riceville, Iowa in 1968. Implemented the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the exercise was created to help her young students understand structural racism on a personal level. Elliott has spent more than 50 years as an anti-racism activist, educating people about discrimination and unconscious biases.   

 



Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies on white allyship and what to ask instead of “What can we do? How can we get involved?”
  • Details on Jane Elliott’s 52 years on the tight rope of fighting racial bias.
  • Reflections on the repetition of history and the dangers of an educational system that is meant to indoctrinate racial bias and systemic racism. 
  • Details on the racism of our language and alternative vocabulary for conversations on race. 
  • Strategies on how to effect change after education has taken place and keep fighting in the face of entrenched interests and white privilege. 

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “If you’re committed to spiritual integrity, if you’re committed to moral courage, you’re going to fight every evil. And white supremacy is an evil.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “I jumped off the boat a number of years ago when I said to my students, would you like to know how it feels to be something other than white in this country? That was the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. They all agreed that sounds fun because they had no idea what was going to happen.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9 
  • “If you want to learn about what’s going on today, in the last three and a half years, don’t go to a history book in a high school or a college. Go some place and find out the truth about what happened in those days [her childhood]. You’ll find out that it looks exactly like what is happening right now.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “The answer to this whole problem is education. In schools in this country, we do not furnish education; we furnish indoctrination: here are the ways you must act to be a good American citizen.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “With that cultural infrastructure, with that resistive tradition, we [Black Americans] were able to make tremendous strides that really weren’t logical to make.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “We need to stop using the phrase “white supremacist” because white people are not supreme. They are pale faces who have learned to play the game that will keep them on top and other people on the bottom. And we do that at our own peril.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “You are not born a racist. You are not born a bigot. You have to be carefully taught… It hasn’t been like this forever, and it doesn’t have to be like this forever.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “The evil… is not rooted only in ignorance. It’s rooted in interest. It’s rooted in power. It’s rooted in structures of domination.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “America isn’t in crisis. The United States of America is having now to come up with the penalty for what we have done to people for the last 300 years in this country.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “We believe what we have learned. We have learned the wrong thing. We need to re-educate policemen, instead of re-training them.” –Jane Elliott The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • On the outcomes of Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercises: “I don’t know if I believe people who say that. How blind can you actually be? ...They say out loud, “I just never knew. It’s terrible.” What they mean is, “I don’t like when this is happening to me.” So they’re languaging it as empathy because that’s what you’re asking them to do. But I don’t necessarily trust it.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #9
  • “The structure reinforces the ideology and the ideology reinforces the structure. You can’t break it on only one level.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #9

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: www.triciarose.com

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Jane Elliott

Website: www.janeelliott.com/

Twitter: @BlibriJane

Facebook: Jane Elliott

 

The Tight Rope

Website: www.thetightropepodcast.com

Instagram: @thetightropepod

Twitter: @thetightropepod

Facebook: The Tight Rope Pod

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Aug 06, 2020
TTR 8: Lecrae in The Deep End: Finding Restoration and Forward Motion
49:57

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, award-winning hip hop artist Lecrae joins Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose for dialogue about posturing in the world of rap, the meaning of being a revolutionary Christian in today’s world, and the importance of having moral courage no matter what your ideology. They critique the policing of genres and stereotypes of Trap music. Lecrae also speaks vulnerably about his healing journey from depression after the “American dream” failed him and all of America. Be sure not to miss this powerful episode of The Tight Rope

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Lecrae

Lecrae is a celebrated, award-winning, multiple platinum artist. As a rapper, author, activist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Christian, Lecrae has forged his own path combining his faith and hip hop talents. Houston-born Lecrae has earned two Grammys and a No. 1 album on the Billboard Gospel chart, a first for a hip-hop album. Lecrae’s seventh album Anomaly debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Gospel charts simultaneously in 2014, another first for any album. His 2016 memoir Unashamed inspired millions as a New York Times Bestseller, and this October, he will share more of his vulnerable honesty in his upcoming book I Am Restored: How I Lost My Religion but Found My Faith. Truly a revolutionary force in hip hop music and the Christian community, Lecrae remains true to himself standing for love, justice, and humanity. Lecrae’s newest album Restoration will be released in August 2020. Listen to his latest song “Deep End” now.

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Details on the sense of hope and connection to inner emotional worlds that people are looking for and are becoming more open to in hip hop music.
  • Secrets to transforming personal suffering into creativity.
  • Reflections from Lecrae and Dr. West on being artists, thinkers, and Christians, who speak truth, love people, and seek justice.  
  • Details on Lecrae’s journey to form his musical and activist identities, along with his inspiration for his upcoming album Restoration.
  • Secrets to handling backlash, standing true to yourself, and finding your path to spiritual, mental, and emotional healing. 
  • How to walk alongside people with differing views from you. 

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “[Hip hip] begins with this extraordinary intervention in the process of music making. It just dramatically changes what it means to make music. It brings the voices of marginal black and brown people right into the fore. It takes them from being completely spoken for in the 70s, for sure in the mainstream, to having a voice of their own. Just incredible storytelling that hip hop elevates… it’s individual, what my story is, but it’s also collective. It tells an experiential collective story.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “People are much more open in hip hop to a kind of interrogation of interiority.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #8  
  • “There’s no such thing as a Christian hip hop artist. The hip hop artist just got to tell the truth, and the truth just also happens to connect to Jesus.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8  
  • “What we’re seeing is young folk’s hunger for something real: spiritual, moral, political, economic, institutional, personal… inside all the wounds and bruises owing to the trauma they’ve been through but also connecting to the critiques of structures and institutions.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8  
  • “Art is not democratic. Everybody can’t be Toni Morrison. Everybody can’t be Prince. Everybody can’t be James Brown. Everybody can’t be Aretha. We can all love her, but we can’t all be her… We got certain folk who are called out, who have tremendous responsibility and a burden but also great joy because it’s a joy to serve the people. It’s a joy to be a truth teller. It’s a joy to move people at the deepest level.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8  
  • “Hip hop chose me. We’re talking about an art form that was created by disenfranchised black and brown kids in the Bronx. Black and brown kids all over the world who saw that felt like, man, we have a voice.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “I needed hip hop. I needed to talk about the things going on inside and what was going on in my community.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Many times people frown upon the South from the Northeast, and they said, “Oh they’re slow and they haven’t progressed and adjusted.” It wasn’t that there was a slowness, it was that there was a difference in how things were being seen and being approached. It’s like the blues and jazz. It’s not that one is better than the other. It’s that there are two different approaches in how they’re expressing themselves through music.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Hip hop initially started as a form of expression for a lot of young people. And then it was galvanized by suburban white folks, who kind of wanted to peer into this world that folks were talking about, but didn’t actually want to experience it. It’s like watching a Scarface movie-- you want to see all the gangsterism, but you don’t want to have to live through it.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Because there was money involved, now that muddied up the mixture because now you didn’t know how authentic you should be. Should I embellish these tales of trauma and terror because it sells more? I came up at the height of people embellishing these tales. So I wrestled internally.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • On his earlier music and his spiritual transformation: “I would kind of dumb it down because it wasn’t something that was exalted or highlighted in my community, being educated and knowing about what’s going on in the world. So I dumbed it down and talked about the usual, typical stuff-- the money, the cars. But I think after my spiritual transformation, I came to the resolve that if I have worth, if I have purpose, if I have dreams, then I was purposed for something and there must be a greater being that gave me purpose and I need to investigate not only who this being is but what I’ve been purposed to do. And then there became a conflict in my life, which made me say, okay, I’ve got to start using my voice for more than the normal party, get drunk, get high.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “When that kind of spirituality connects to your genius, brother [Lecrae], you can start soaring like an eagle. We ain’t talking about no peacock. A lot of these hip hop artists are just peacocks, look at me, look at me, look at my foliage. We ain’t interested in your foliage; we interested in your fruit. You shall know them by the fruit that you bear, not the foliage that you display.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • On white consumption of hip hop: “They want to define what it means to be Black by asking Black performers to perform a very narrow set of stereotypical ideas about what it means to be Black. It becomes another reinforcing mechanism, “Well, we’ll recognize you as Black, but not you as Black, because you’re telling me what I already know about what it means to be authentic.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • On merging hip hop and his spirituality: “It takes a instant to remove a person from slavery, but a lifetime to get the slavery out of a person. So for me it was a process.” –Lacrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Peacocks strut because they cannot fly. You got to be an eagle… We’re glad that you’re successful and you got money and you got wonderful artistry, now what you going to use it for? …Martin was broke as the 10 Commandments financially, but everyone remembers him. They don’t remember the most successful Negro in Atlanta in 1968. Malcolm only had $151 in his pocket when he was shot. We shall forever remember Malcolm. He didn’t have no cash. He didn’t have any success. He was in the world and not of it. –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “[Vulnerability] always drew them closer. It made them more endearing to me, and in some ways it was helpful… I want to show off my scars, so they know their wounds can heal.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “The trap house is an articulation of systemic racism… Wall Street is part of the gutting of Black communities and banking fraud and destroying people’s opportunities to create even a poor stable neighborhood. So the trap house become a terrible articulation of what’s left. But trap lyrics that people normally attach to that is sort of a hedonistic acceptance of the very circumstances that trap has grown out of based on the conditions. [Lecrae] says this is a trap sound, this is a trap reality, and here’s an alternative reality to that trap circumstance.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “We are very nuanced. But people hate nuance… They don’t want to wrestle with our nuances to see the beauty of who we are as a people and to see the trap for more than just where the drugs get sold and where the boarded up houses are.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “As a Christian, from my own community, I’ve got to navigate people to understand I’m not shucking and jiving because I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m not embracing white supremacy or a slave master’s philosophy or belief. I’m talking about something that predates slavery. It’s an Eastern religion if there ever was one… I’m following a brown Palestianian Jew.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “I continued to stand up and say something, and, man, I’ve never been met with so much visceral hate in my life. It was just constant and consistent. It drove me to one of the darkest places I’ve ever been.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Curtis Mayfiled not looking to the Grammys for his point of reference. He wants to know whether in fact those who came before-- what do you think about it, Jerry Butler? What do you think about it? The tradition becomes the lens through which he views himself. So it ain’t about these prizes. It ain’t about the establishment. We want to put a smile on grandmama's face. Grandmama never questioned your worth, ever. She love you to death. So if you put a smile on her face, it don’t make no difference what these white supremacists and neoliberals who act like they lovin’ white folk who got their own little programs and agendas, that’s not the point of reference. That’s how Black sanity and dignity is persevered.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Pessimism is the belief that based on the evidence, nothing’s going to change. Optimism is the belief is based on the evidence, things will change. But hope is the belief that with or without the evidence, God is faithful, I’m going to be consistent, I’m going to keep pushing.” –LecraeThe Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “There’s a layer of restoration that is simply your mental and emotional health. You don’t have to embrace any of the spiritual health. If you do, awesome. But some people need it-- you’re just hungry. I’m just trying to make sure you’re getting fed today.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • On community: “That’s going to be the skin on your faith--  seeing actual people who love you, who walk with you, and who care for you.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “You can’t police Black genius and Black talent.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • On people with different views from him: “Disagree does not mean dislike... A rainbow is beautiful because of the multitude of colors within it, and not because it’s one color, one shade. It’s learning how to appreciate those nuances. We’re so quick to dismiss people because of these broad strokes that people get painted with.” –Lecrae The Tight Rope Episode #8
  • “Each human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, they have a dignity that is never reducible to their politics. They have a preciousness that is not reducible to their ideology. And they also have the capacity to choose and go another way.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #8

 


Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: www.triciarose.com

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Lecrae

Website: www.lecrae.com

Twitter: @lecrae

Facebook: Lecrae

Instagram: @lecrae

Youtube: Lecrae

Apple Music: Lecrae

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Instagram: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Twitter: The Tight Rope Podcast 

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.




Jul 30, 2020
TTR 7: Happy Birthday Breonna Taylor with Michael Moore
46:59

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Academy Award winning filmmaker Michael Moore joins Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose to shine light on the current state of crisis in America, white privilege, white fear, and citizen filmmakers. They emphatically connect the catastrophe of the criminal justice system to larger issues and discuss ways to move into a “new normal” that challenges bystander sensibility and police accountability taken out of the larger context of democratic accountability and multiracial solidarity. This is an episode of The Tight Rope that you do not want to miss.

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums, including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (BA) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality, and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Michael Moore

Michael Moore, one of America’s best-known documentary filmmakers and political provocateurs, has for over 30 years produced controversial and award-winning films and TV series that tackle critically important political and social issues in American society, including big business, corrupt governments and politicians, capitalism, and health care. Host Cornel West describes Moore as a “towering artist, prophetic figure, activist to the core, [and] a witness.” 

Moore, from Flint, Michigan, won the Academy Award for best documentary for his 2002 Bowling for Columbine. He continues to produce successful and controversial films, most recently Planet of the Humans (2019), an eco-documentary and “full-frontal assault” of the failures of the environmental movement, directed by Jeff Gibbs. Moore examines and jokes about current issues on his own podcast Rumble with Michael Moore.

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies on remaining hopeful in turbulent and violent times.
  • Responses to the question “Now what?”
  • Details on how to change the American police system and police accountability  to empower communities.
  • Strategies on shattering a spectatorial stance and avoiding being a bystander citizen.
  • Strategies on creating universal solidarity without downplaying individual suffering.
  • A call to commitment and sacrifice in the struggle for freedom and equality.

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “In the time of Trump, in the time of pandemic, have we been turned into a nation of bystanders?” –Michael Moore (quoting Cornel West) The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “If you want to end crime, end poverty. If you want to end crime, empower women.” –Michael Moore The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “The very first thing in terms of saving Black lives is we have to defund the police departments across the country. We have to demilitarize the police departments. And I want a racism review board in every community.” –Michael Moore The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “No self-respecting, self-loving people can sit and see a policeman publicly lynch and kill somebody for nearly nine minutes.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • On recent arrests of protesters: “[There’s] a marvelous new militancy around affirming the rich and precious humanity of Black folk.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “The focus on extreme cop violence actually normalizes the idea that police can be functional… The whole logic of the police are designed really to extract resources and contain the poor, and contain people of color, from segregated white spaces.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • On white fear: “If we don’t examine it and expose it, we don’t stand much of a chance of deeply transforming the role of the police because what drives people’s investment in the police is to keep Black people away.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • On systemic and structural racism: “The police are just one little cog in a whole set of systems.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “I want this woman [Darnella Frazier] on the stage of the Oscars next year, and I want to honor her and all the other young people who can be citizen filmmakers, and to always pull your camera out and start filming that which you see which is wrong because you then expose it to the rest of the world.” –Michael Moore The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • On white fear: “If they [white people] have to actually share or maybe even give up some of that privilege, wow, that’s a bridge too far. And that’s what they’re afraid of.” –Michael Moore The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “The long-distance win is only going to happen if the short-distance survival takes place.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #1
  • “Revenge is always blinding. We need people who have broad vision, so that people can see things that other people don’t see and feel more deeply with love that other people don’t feel and most importantly to act more courageously for people who are too conformist and complacent and cowardly.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #1

 

Documentaries from Michael Moore:

Planet of the Humans (2019)

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

Trumpland (2016)

Where to Invade Next (2015)

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009; on Netflix)

Sicko (2009; on Netflix) 

Slacker Uprising (2007; on Netflix)

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004; on Netflix)

Bowling for Columbine (2002; on Netflix)

The Big One (1997; on Netflix)

Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint (1992) 

Roger & Me (1989; on Netflix)

 

Stay Connected:

 

Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Michael Moore

Website: https://michaelmoore.com/

Twitter: @MMFlint

Facebook: Michael Moore 

Instagram: @MichaelFMoore

Youtube: Michael Moore

Podcast: https://rumble.media/ 

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetightropepod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetightrop...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetightropepod

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 6: Beyond Basketball with Isiah Thomas
47:26

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose extol the excellence and creativity of Black athletes, along with their special guest NBA legend Isiah Thomas. They discuss the role of education in and out of the home and how to bequeath to younger generations the tradition of having the courage to be the best. Thomas shares his experiences growing up in the 60s in the West Side of Chicago and the spirituality of taking care of people. Dr. West, Professor Rose, and Isiah Thomas take this episode of The Tight Rope back to the neighborhood with this “lane-crossing” conversation you won’t want to miss. 

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas is a 12-time NBA All Star, 2-time NBA Champion, and NBA Hall of Fame point guard, who played his entire career with the Detroit Pistons. Born and raised on Chicago’s West Side, Thomas is not only known for his contributions to the NBA as player, coach, manager, executive, and analyst, but also for his successful business initiatives and philanthropic endeavors. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Thomas also earned a Master’s degree in African American Studies from Berkeley. 

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Reasons why we must not forget the importance of Black athletes, with their inspiring moral courage, in social justice movements.
  • Explorations of the mind, time, and body connection athletes must harness in their pursuit of excellence. 
  • Secrets into the science and music of high-performance athletes.
  • Personal reflections from Isiah Thomas on the “absence and presence” of growing up on the West Side of Chicago.
  • Strategies on creating structures that provide more access to stories and critical historical frameworks. 
  • Strategies on “crossing lanes” in an effort to build up and fortify communities, individuals, and our oral histories. 

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “Black athletes and artists have been so important in coming out of the community and giving people a sense of hope and possibility, but they understand fully the struggles that Black communities face.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “I always try to situate our precious Black athletes, male and female, within the context of the Black freedom struggle, [which] tries to convince us to love truth, love goodness, love beauty, love excellence, and myself as a Christian, to love God. Now we think of the athletes, they love beauty, they love truth, they love excellence. And many of them who are religious, they love God, they love goodness.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “The status quo does not want to connect athletic excellence to moral courage, to spiritual engagement, to political activity.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #6 
  • “The presentation looks so effortless that people think it’s just some natural talent. Part of that is one of the ways that these creative individuals and community members are not just discredited but devalued, even as they’re celebrated.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “It’s in athletic context that Black people for the first time in the history of America could be in a structure of fairness, given the fact that every other site in the society was a structure of unfairness… Black excellence could flower and flourish because finally we had a structure of fairness.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • On growing up on the West Side of Chicago: “If you couldn’t find a meal, there were always people to give you some good advice and to always give you some good music.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “The things that you weren’t learning in school, you were actually learning in music.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “Most of the gangs, when you read their charters and you read what they were established for and brought into existence for, it was to protect against police brutality, which we’re still dealing with today, and it was also to educate and teach you about civics and constitutional rights. That’s why the gangs were formed, and they were community based organizations trying to move away from racism but trying to also build up our communities.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6  
  • “When you talk about the love on the West Side, what I grew up in is a spirituality, and I really didn’t realize it, a spirituality of just people looking out for each other. In particular in the sports world... the athlete, he or she who happened to make it or be a champion, their responsibility was to speak for the voiceless.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “We were taught to look within. When you look within, then you can rise above.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “What they would describe as instinct, my father would always tell me, no, you just think faster than the average person.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “As we've moved away from our base, in terms of our roots and our foundation, we’ve gotten singled out into one lane. We may just go strictly into the academy, we may just go strictly into sports, we may just go strictly into music. We do not have the well-nurtured or well-rounded embrace of all the lanes.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • On his decision to return to graduate school: “Knowing what my mom and dad and that generation before me and all of us had truly sacrificed… they would not pay the rent, so you could go to school. They would not eat food, so we could go to school. That’s how important education was to that generation.” –Isiah Thomas The Tight Rope Episode #6
  • “When we think about the 60s, we think about just very visible leaders. We don’t think about this deep infrastructure of love, support, re-education, and commitment on the ground that really is the source of the survival.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #6 

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Isiah Thomas

Website: Isaiah International, LLC

Twitter: @IsiahThomas

Facebook: Isaiah Thomas

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Instagram: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Twitter: The Tight Rope Podcast 

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

 

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 5: Daveed Diggs: Despite Everything I Have Been Through...Watch My Joy
01:00:49

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose connect with Tony award winning actor and rapper Daveed Diggs to dive into his career, upbringing, influences, and playing the “fool.” They wrangle with the nuances of hip hop past and present, colorblind ideologies in theater, and the healing power of Black creativity. Get ready for the twists and turns in this episode of The Tight Rope!

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Daveed Diggs

Daveed Diggs, Oakland native, is a rapper, actor, singer, songwriter, and producer. He graduated from Brown University (B.A.), and after his Tony and Grammy Award winning performance as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s widely-acclaimed Broadway production of Hamilton (Best Featured Actor in a Musical (2016) and Best Musical Theater Album (2016)), Brown University conferred Daveed an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. As a member of experimental hip hop group, clipping., Daveed has released multiple albums including their third full-length record, There Existed an Addiction to Blood (2019). He continues acting with roles in Black-ish (2016-2018), Wonder (2017), Velvet Buzzsaw (2019), and Snowpiercer (2020). Daveed wrote, produced, and starred in Blindspotting (2018), a performance that earned him a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead. 

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies for collective healing to massive collective trauma. 
  • Details on Daveed’s recent and upcoming creative projects, including reflections on growing up in Oakland and filming Blindspotting
  • Behind-the-scenes look into how Daveed picks roles and his Black-Jewish heritage. 
  • Reflections on diversity in the theater and its audiences. 
  • Strategies on exposing children to new music to generate curiosity.

 

Quotes from the show:
 

  • “How do you step into the unknown in such a way that you bring the best of the past with you? You bring all the love and all the joy and all the memories that’s gone into the shaping of who you are.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “The vicious legacy of white supremacy has been one in which it has tried to convince Black people that we are less moral, less beautiful, less intelligent, and ought therefore feel intimidated and never have anything really safe and never have a home. So we had to create home in our language, we had to create home in our music, we had to create home in our relationships that are always dynamic. It’s a way of being fortified that is dynamic.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “We’re going to have to get highly creative because Black folk without hugging… somehow we’re going to come up with creative, virtual, abstract ways. We got to have some way of affirming, enabling, and ennobling each other.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “I’ve been making art for as long as I’ve been alive… The work hasn’t changed that much honestly, which I’m grateful for. Just more people watch me do it now.” – Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On Hamilton: “Its success is directly based on the fact that it was brown and black bodies portraying the founders of our country-- and also that the music was great... The buy in from America that I felt while I was working in Hamilton was a particularly hopeful version of it… It really is a product of the Obama era.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On Hamilton’s “colorblind” casting: “If you don’t make sure to contextualize some of the things in it, there are some dangerous assumptions there. It is about the building of a financial system, [but] it doesn’t contextualize it as one that is fundamentally racist. The revolutionary act is having black and brown bodies portray that moment in history. And that makes a statement that we should and we deserve to be able to participate in it, and in fact, it was built on our bodies. But you gotta make sure to really put that at the front of it, in a way that honestly [Hamilton] was always scared to.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On Hamilton’s delayed public support of Black Lives Matter: “So what does that say? That a show built on black and brown bodies about giving black and brown bodies a sense of ownership over a financial system that was built on black and brown bodies refused to publicly support black and brown bodies.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On Hamilton’s delayed public support of Black Lives Matter: “That’s just a matter of moral courage versus cash making.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “You have to view art in the context of the moment you’re viewing it in, especially theater. Theater takes place in a time and a place. So if you’re going to revive a play, you should have a reason for reviving that play now. What are you saying now that either speaks to the original motive for it or that reframes it in a different way?” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “The thing that has always worried me about Hamilton [is] a colorblind ideology that drives people’s enthusiasm for what is going on. That is to say, on the one hand, everyone gets to be black and brown, but on the other hand, “I don’t see color! Thomas Jefferson can be black, or can be played for a black person because I don’t see color in the first place” But you’re celebrating it because you see color, because you know there’s a racial hierarchy and you know this illusion of colorblindness creates racial privilege. But then you’re going to tell me you don’t see it at the same time.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “For me, it’s not color blind; it’s color specific… Turning Thomas Jefferson into this comic, foppish, uber privileged character, there’s an element of cakewalk in there. This is like being able to imitate the slavemaster in front of the slavemaster.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “In a Broadway audience, there's like four Black people in the audience every night. We can see them. I can see who they are. And we are having a different experience than the rest of the audience is having all in the same space… The nuance of this conversation doesn’t come through on a large scale until you also diversify the audience in a better way than Broadway has managed to do… Are we really interested in Broadway anymore? Or do other spaces do this better?” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “I love playing a fool, but I like the fool to have context for their decisions. I like there to be a choice being made.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “When you’re less known, you choose things and you happen to become known for them. Then at a certain point, the fact that you are choosing something becomes an event. At that point, I feel like I have to be a lot more careful about what it says that I choose [a role].” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On the cultural differences he experienced at Brown University: “I could not for the life of me understand why every Black person I saw wanted to shake my hand… because I had never categorized my Blackness as being part of an endangered species.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “The thing I appreciate most about Judaism is that analysis and argument are baked into the religion. Talmudic scholarship is really about just arguing about what the Torah is about.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On his role as an actor: “I’m responsible for this character’s portion of the story. It’s all about the story. If the story doesn’t come across, every piece of it failed... We all have to work together to make sure that the story comes across in all its nuances and it can raise all the questions it’s trying to raise.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “August Wilson used to say, “When Black people perform, they authorize an alternative reality.” To be able to be in the water and not wet, to be on the mothership away from a white supremacist world that is putting you down but you’re still preserving your sanity by, not being stupid, but being foolish in the most profound sense of what it is to be a holy fool.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • On the Hyphy Movement: “You’ve been calling me dumb for so long, I’m going to go out and show you how beautiful dumb is and show you what exactly dumb looks like. We’re going to act the fool in this incredibly profound way... We would all hop out of the car at a stoplight and just hold up traffic and party in the middle of the street. And it’s this performance of despite everything I have been through, that you have put me through, watch my joy. You have to stand on the sidelines cause you’re actually never going to feel it.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “Artists are interpreters of data… cultural data analysis is what we do. So we can see something out there and break that down and take a number or an observed behavior and break that down into something that can be felt.” –Daveed Diggs The Tight Rope Episode #5
  • “When popular culture, to me, is really making its own generational mark, it’s in conversation-- it doesn’t have to be with elders-- but with other musical traditions in a way that respects something bigger than what’s going to be consumed in a short-term way.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #5 

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Daveed Diggs

Website: Deveed Diggs

Twitter: @DaveedDiggs

Facebook Fan Page: @daveeddiggs 

Instagram: @daveeddiggs

Playbill: Daveed Diggs

IMDb: Daveed Diggs

Apple Music: Daveed Diggs

 

clipping. 

Website: clppng.com 

Twitter: @clppng

Facebook: @clppng

Youtube: clppng

Soundcloud: clipping.

Bandcamp: clppng.bandcamp.com

Apple Music: clipping. 

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Instagram: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Twitter: The Tight Rope Podcast 

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 4: Gina Belafonte: Carrying forth Harry Belafonte's legacy
49:00

Episode Summary

In this episode, things get heavy on The Tight Rope as Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose, with their special guest Gina Belafonte, navigate the balance that artists must keep to be accessible and also stand resolutely for social justice. Spotlighting the importance of lyrical vision and imagining, they uncover paths to hope and sustenance in today’s music and its role in social movements. In the context of her father Harry Belafonte’s legacy, Gina Belafonte deepens the conversation on the necessity of intergenerational connections, personal commitment, and the arts in every arena of our lives. Don’t miss the next steps to evolution in this episode of The Tight Rope

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Gina Belafonte

Daughter of Julie and Harry Belafonte, Gina Belafonte is an actress, director, award-winning producer, artivist, and cultural figure. She serves as the Executive Director of Sankofa.org, a social justice organization that educates, motivates, and activates artists and allies in service of grassroots movements and equitable change. A native New Yorker, Gina is Producer of internationally acclaimed documentary film Sing your Song (HBO), as well as The March (PBS) and Survivors Guide to Prison (Netflix). Also a member of Daughters of the Movement, she co-chaired the 2017 Women’s March Los Angeles and co-founded the non-profit organization, The Gathering For Justice, a multi-cultural, multi-generational organization that focuses on youth incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. Today, Gina lives in LA and New York and works with diverse artists, activists, and organizations worldwide to promote cultural and civic engagement in the 21st century. 

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Personal reflections from Gina Belafonte on honoring family legacy and forging her own path in the fight for Black freedom. 
  • Details on the life, struggles, and revelations of Harry Belafonte.
  • Benefits of critical engagement within families.
  • Strategies on overcoming fear and pressure in the face of radical decision making.
  • Strategies on how progressive Black artists can move into a deeper imagining of our future and speak truth to power. 
  • Reasons why evolution, not just revolution, is needed during this time. 

 

Quotes from the show:

  • On the “upside” of COVID-19 lockdown: “People are listening in groups. Families are listening together and sharing things together in ways they might not have been as easily able to do before we were on collective social lockdown” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On Harry Belafonte and his music: “A crucial part of this longer tradition that goes back hundreds of years, and it’s the expression of deep humanity and creativity of a hated and haunted people still dishing out love and justice” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “[Gina Belafonte] comes from political and artistic royalty both in the Black tradition but also the American and really the human tradition. But she chose to be an artist and an actress who rendered her services to freedom and truth. She chose to be connected to organic organizations on the ground… she’s there because these are choices… Families provide the exposure, but the children have to follow through and decide for themselves which way they want to go –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “What breaks the back of being intimidated? It’s love, it’s compassion, it’s being tied to something bigger than you.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “As you grow and mature, lo and behold, you start to have relationships with the dad you never knew. You fall in love with Frederick Douglass, you fall in love with Harriet Tubman, you fall in love with Sojourner Truth.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “Fear does not often show up as fear... When you’re afraid to be devalued, to be marginalized, to be laughed at, to be shamed, to be accused of being irrelevant, then that shows up in very indirect ways in terms of a fear, but necessarily a fear that you recognize. It’s so important to remind young people that that fear shows up in so many different ways. And so does the courage we need.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “I’m not going to allow white supremist authorities, capitalist authorities, imperial authorities, patriarchic, homophobic, transphobic authorities to make me so fearful that I consent to their domination. So in that sense, the courage is something that never eliminates the fear. It allows us to work through the fear.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “All they can do is kill you though. That’s all they can do! ...The question is how are you going to use your death to the service of something bigger than you?”  –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “The best of our tradition reminds us that there are virtues higher than survival.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On Harry Belafonte’s rendition of “Oh Freedom”: “That song is so deep into the core of my marrow and really exemplifies so much of the struggle and the resiliency and proclamation that we make when we enter into social justice activism… It straightens my back up, and I feel like I’m ready to move forward and get busy.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “The systems of our country, in particular our capitalist system, have really suppressed and put a tight control over the airwaves and what we’re able to hear and find as our cultural heartbeat. Right now, it’s a very interesting time how many musical artists in particular, who are looking to the legacy of my father and others like him, are using their platforms as a megaphone for social justice activism. And yet, I still am seeing a sort of trepidation in their lyrics. I’m not seeing them really full on saying “Let’s Get It On”... and having a deeper imagining of what our future should and could and will be and look like.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “I find a lot of what we’re telling is our history, which we need to. We need to reclaim those stories for sure. But where are some of the inspirational love stories of Black people that are true and really ancient? ...showing love and celebration and resilience and how not only the way in which that world is but also how it could be.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “You can describe what is and not get into much trouble. But if you start making claims about what that circumstance means and what you want instead of that circumstance, now you really do stand a chance of losing lots and lots of people.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “If all we do is provide some fascinating descriptions and don’t have enough courage to really radically project something different, then white supremacy still remains a point of reference even when we are resisting.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On reformist versus revolutionary imagination: “People talk about revolution and they get all nervous… Revolution is going to make you insecure because it is something that is an alternative to a present that is unknown. So you have to re-equip and re-prepare yourself. It’s not going to be a matter of just trying to incrementally patch up a status quo that has shown to be so unjust and cruel. –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “What we need is not only a revolution, but we need an evolution.  An evolution of our human existence, an evolution of our humanity, our moral values, an evolution of how we consider and view the opposition opposites of right and wrong.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On Jay Richard Kennedy, an FBI informant and Harry Belafonte’s business manager: “For the rest of [my father’s] life, there was an underlying sense of paranoia, balancing who do I bring into the fold that I can trust, and how do I maintain my artistry and my cultural contribution?” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On Harry Belafonte: “He never really wavered from his desire to elevate voices and the consciousness of his fans, he would never compromise his artistry for the status quo or the bottom line.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “As Paul Robeson said, or as my father put into the mouth of Paul Robeson...  artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are the civilization’s radical voice. We have the opportunity and the poetry through dance, through music, through theater, through film, to transform perspective, to transmute ideas, to bring not only the past but the future together in one.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “So art plays a huge role, which is why it’s always defunded first. This world would be so different if it was art-centric.” –Gina Belafonte The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • “Artists are the vanguard of the species. Artists are the moral and spiritual antenna of the species. So we have to look to them because they’re the ones that tend to have the vision. Where there is no vision, the people perish… So artists in this sense become essential workers, in the most fundamental sense of who we are, not just as Americans, but as human beings.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On Harry Belafonte’s legacy: “It’s the concrete loving and shaping he’s had on so many young brothers and sisters of all colors, including myself.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4
  • On their friendship: “I could not walk out more fortified. What I got from Harry Belafonte fortified me for two or three lifetimes.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #4

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Gina Belafonte

Website: Sankofa Biography

Twitter: @GinaBelafonte

Facebook: Gina Belafonte

Instagram: @peacegina

LinkedIn: Gina Belafonte 

IMDb: Gina Belafonte

 

Sankofa

Website: Sankofa.org

Twitter: @Sankofa

Facebook: Sankofa 

Instagram: @sankofadotorg

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Instagram: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Twitter: The Tight Rope Podcast 

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 3: No justice, no peace: Rapsody on Art, Activism, and the Power of Music
48:26

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose engage in an honest and invigorating conversation with Grammy nominated emcee Rapsody. Calling in from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Rapsody speaks about current and future projects and her role in today’s young generation and music industry. Together, they wrestle with how to protect one’s creative spirit in a fad-driven, consumerist market. Tune in to this vulnerable and unforgettable episode of The Tight Rope

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Rapsody

Rapsody is Grammy nominated emcee, lyricist, rapper, and recording artist. This multi talented North Carolina native is celebrated for Laila’s Wisdom (2017), her breakthrough album that earned her two Grammy nominations including best rap album in league with Lamar, Jay-Z, Migo, and Tyler the Creator. One of the greatest female rappers of all time, Rapsody continues to share her awakened, bold voice and creative rhyme schemes in her 2019 album Eve, dubbed a “masterpiece of hip-hop feminism,” released by 9th Wonder’s Jamla and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Each track of Eve is named for an influential Black woman, including “Michelle,” “Oprah,” and “Sojourner.” Rapsody works with the biggest artists in the industry, including Chance The Rapper, Erykah Badu, Raekwon, Anderson .Paak, Estelle, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes and Mac Miller, among others.  

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies on supporting youth activists, empowering their voices, and harnessing improvisational creation.
  • Benefits of intergenerational connections and opportunities in preserving musical traditions, sounds, and legacies. 
  • Details on Rapsody’s fight against the pressures of the commodification of the music industry.
  • Behind-the-scenes reflections from Rhapsody on her inspiration for Laila’s Wisdom and Eve, including songs that did not make it onto the album. 
  • Details on Rapsody’s future projects.
  • Secrets to defining your own path— true to your identity and goals— and forming habits to improve your life.  

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “Almost every emcee and producer I interviewed back in the 80s and early 90s talked about their parents’ record collection as an amazing archive of sound and experience that they were both being bequeathed and also being held away from. They said, “My daddy said don’t get in my record collection!” ...It was about really having a cultural archive that the generations wanted to relate to and connect to. That is probably [hip hop’s] most important intergenerational legacy.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “There’s so many connections to the Panthers, to the Civil Rights Movement, in hip hop... Through hip hop, [Rapsody’s] connecting Tupac to his mom but also to the legacy of the politics of respecting Black women and really just respecting ourselves and each other.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “You cannot box up black genius, black creativity, confined to any genre.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “What hip hop really did was try to make music in a context in which [its] tradition was being completely undermined…. the schools are not teaching the Black music tradition, and then they’re not getting access about it. So hip hop had to work with the shards of that legacy.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On young leaders: “We appreciate you. We see you. We hear you. You should be celebrated for being fearless, for using your voice, for being young leaders. [And we want to] give them a space to learn how to be activists.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “There’s never been and there never will be a Black freedom struggle without Black music being at the center of it to keep us fortified, keep our souls determined, and also just keep a sense of humor and laughter along with the tears.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “Music is the soundtrack of the times” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On the commodification of the music industry: “Artists like [Rapsody] who become the real conduits and caretakers of the best of our tradition, which is the best tradition in the modern world— the Black musical tradition— you have a heavier burden.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “The pressure that an artist who wants to be free, like [Deniece Williams’ “Free”] really expressed at its core is about how to be yourself, how to take the art form seriously, not cave into faddish sounds, not cave into basically white supremist thinking about black subjectivity. That is very hard to do.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “Improvisational creation is a way of putting to music and putting to words the experience and condition they’re facing. It’s in that act of creation that I think a lot of that market pressure can be pushed off… it’s in that place that you imagine new things. It’s when you’re not doing exactly what is being expected that you have your own political surprises, emotional surprises.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “A lot of times, the industry likes to narrow the scope of what we’re supposed to create, how we’re supposed to look creating it, and the voice that we have. Back in the days, we had so much ownership. We had mom and pop stores, we had our own radio stations, we had the Chitlin’ Circuit.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On maintaining her creative spirit: “The greatest thing I had was 9th Wonder and Young Guru, who were my mentors. And the first thing they did before I put out any music was they sat me down and they said, you have to define your line right now. You have to define what you won’t do, what you will do, what you won’t compromise. Know what you want out of this business first, so you know how to maneuver and make the best decisions.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “We first knew it was going to be a marathon. Anything you want to last 20 years, you have to build a strong foundation of.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “I didn’t want to be a cookie cutter version of anyone… how I am is enough, I don’t have to change that. I don’t want to become this sexual rapper. That’s not my lane, that’s not honest to who I am.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “You have to be willing to fall on your face, and then see what your bounce back is like because creativity goes hand in hand with a certain vulnerability and invincibility.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On inspiration for Laila’s Wisdom: “One quote [my grandmother Laila] would always say… “Oh you came to give me my flowers.” It made me think what flowers do I want to give to the world? What generation do I want to inspire? What seeds do I want to leave behind? …I took that and used that as part of the album. I want to give you these flowers. I want to give you the best of me that I can give you and hope that it inspires you to be the best in you.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “I know what Lauryn Hill meant to me, and what Queen Latifah meant to me, MC Lyte, without them I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Without Phylicia Rashad, without Cicely Tyson, without Nikki Giovanni. So I had to show up as myself and be that person that they were for me but for the next generation. That’s why I can’t compromise my art, I can’t afford to for the culture.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On compromise: “I have to go against the grain… even if I fall flat on my face and fail, I’m willing to take that risk because I have nieces, I have young girls that I know, that need to see what a woman in hip hop looks like, to see the rainbow and spectrum of what we can be. I know people want it. I just have to stick with it and knock down the door.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “Who cares what the Grammy’s think? The Grammy’s could have done left you [Rapsody] behind, and we’d still be behind you. That’s the point, to have our own standards.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • On reaching a younger audience: “[Parents can make sure their children] have a good palate and good beginning of what good music sounds like. When they grow up, of course, you’re able to like what you like in your generation, but you also know and are connected to the sound you grew up in… that’s one thing that you can always do, is expose them to a wide range of music, just to lay the foundation.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “The best habit for improving my life was figuring out how to keep the rage that white supremacy produces at bay, figuring out how to keep it at enough distance that it doesn’t circulate in my body literally. It’s a disposition that allows my habits to thrive.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “Cultivate at the highest level the capacity to listen, the capacity to serve, and the capacity to find joy in fighting for freedom.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #3
  • “We haven’t done the best job of protecting our culture that is hip hop. We give it away too easy. And they use that against us. I’ve heard of plans to take control of our culture. And they’ve done it by taking control of the radio and the mediums, and allowing us to give our art away, and our ownership away, and our voice away, and our creativity away. And we have to find a way to get that back because it is sonic warfare at the end of the day.” –Rapsody The Tight Rope Episode #3

  

Music from Rapsody:

The Idea of Beautiful (2012)

Laila’s Wisdom (2017)

Eve (2019)

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Rapsody

Website: https://genesis320.com/

Twitter: @rapsody 

Facebook: @rapsodymusic 

Instagram: @rapsody 

Youtube: Rapsody 

Apple Music: Rapsody 

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetightropepod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetightrop...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetightropepod

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 2: Purple Rain: Prince's Legacy Lives On
51:31

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose unravel the Black pain of the present in the context of the tremendous legacy of African American creativity and music. They connect Black musical tradition to the current political moment and pay special homage to Prince and his iconic “Purple Rain.” Discover how you can transform this current moment in this important episode of The Tight Rope

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget, featuring Prince. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Insight from this episode:

  • Recollections of Dr. Cornel West’s first impressions of and ensuing friendship with Prince. 
  • Reasons why Black music is important and the role it plays in social activism. 
  • Strategies on generating a new sound for the current moment, extending and elaborating on the Black American musical tradition.
  • How to leverage the current “tipping point” as a catalyst for lasting social movement. 
  • Details on the need for creative, interactive spaces for BIPOC.
  • Strategies on utilizing technology to create impact and effective change.

 

Quotes from the show:

  • On the Black musical tradition and its relationship to historical trauma and suffering: “To look unflinchingly at all the hurt and the pain and yet still dish out the compassion and creativity, the style and smile-- that’s the great gift to America.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “Any time you lyrically express a catastrophe, the catastrophe does not have the last word.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “Music touches the hopeless, and it can heal, sustain, equip, fortify… Once you get oppressed folk fortified, woo, Lord, that’s like Sly Stone’s “Stand!”” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “Part of the contemporary spiritual war against young folk, especially young Black folk, is to get them to consent to a capitalist economy that’s shot through with wealth inequality. You get them to consent to a militarized nation state that will contain them or incarcerate them if they step out of line. But also you get them to consent to a commodified culture so that they’re distracted into things that are superficial: status and spectacle.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “[C]apitalism and neoliberalism have destroyed local urban cultural spaces for people of color to create.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “Every month should be African American music month. That should be in our curriculum.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • On Prince’s inspiration behind “Purple Rain”: “Purple rain is the blood in the sky. The red and the blue produce purple. And so that purple rain is rooted in the blood, sweat, tears, but you’re looking up. It’s visionary. It’s in some sense grounded in the most painful situation, but it’s visionary because it’s looking up… rooted in the most visceral responses to the most vicious kinds of treatment which is bloodstained, and yet it’s still looking up, like being in a dehumanized gutter, but one has one’s eyes always looking towards the sky.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • On Prince: “He knew it, as Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us that “Every genius is a highly indebted person.” [Prince] knew his debts to James Brown, his debts to Little Richard, his debts to a whole host of folks who came before him. He was grounded in precisely this great Black musical tradition.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • On the boundarylessness of Black geniuses: “There’s no reason that we should be segregating genres along the lines of the spatial segregation that the country has constantly been invested in producing.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • On Prince’s gender fluidity and non-binary performance: “It was a neither/nor, a both/and. He was just able to elevate above the binaries, and the boundaries, and the questions of who belongs where on the ground.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “The ways in which our bodies are fashioned and presented are integral to the way in which our sounds are both produced and received.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • “Conformity can get you a lot of company. You don’t want your goal to just have good company.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #2
  • On despair and despondency: “Use it in such a way that in the end it becomes a source of giving to other people.” –Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #2

  

Resources Mentioned:

Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America by Professor Tricia Rose (1994)

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: http://www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: http://www.triciarose.com/

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetightropepod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thetightrop...

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thetightropepod

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.

Jul 23, 2020
TTR 1: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Not Understood For Who She Really Is
01:07:51

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, Dr. Cornel West and Professor Tricia Rose ask their esteemed guest Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) the right questions for her to share powerfully about her journey, politics, and thoughts on social justice in an electoral framework, the discipline of non-attachment, and intentional vulnerability. Together they “pull the curtain” on power and explore what it will take to heal our nation. Find out how AOC walks the tight rope of being authentic and “acceptable” along with a special segment on defunding the police during Office Hours in this episode of The Tight Rope.

 

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Serving the 14th district of New York in the Bronx and Queens, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez touts a 100% People-Funded Democratic Socialism platform. She is an educator, organizer, service worker with a deep understanding of income inequality. As a third-generation Bronxite, AOC believes in combating systemic problems by fighting for systemic solutions, like Medicare for all, federal jobs guarantee, the end to mass incarceration, and the Green New Deal. She attended Boston University and previously worked as Educational Director with National Hispanic Institute where she helped Americans, DREAMers, and undocumented youth in community leadership and college readiness. AOC serves working-class people over corporate interests and advocates for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice.



Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies on not being “locked in” while on lockdown. 
  • How to respond and intervene in systems that are impoverished of empathy and compassion. 
  • Behind-the-scenes look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise in politics, including the impact of her education, time abroad in West Africa, and close relationship with her father. 
  • How to remain true to your morals, values, politics, and spirituality when faced with pressures to conform or be reduced down to a niche. 
  • Benefits of the discipline of non-attachment to work, money, social acceptance, and ego. 
  • Details on what “defunding the police” really means to Dr. West and Professor Rose.

 

Quotes from the show:

  • “I am one point that is a result of waves of generational inertia.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7

  • “You can’t let your identity be subsumed with this superficial political identity of red or blue or this tribe. [It’s] not what do you want to be but how do you want to be? ...People always try to analyze my actions in a strictly political context… I was already here. I didn’t know this was a political way of being. I just thought it was a moral way of being.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • On her time in Niger: “That level of enjoyment just does not exist in American life. [Enjoying tea with friends] is something people do on a Friday night, maybe once a week, if they aren’t exhausted by work. But this is a way of life in Niger… that interaction was the sun around which life revolved. It’s our fellowship and connection to one another.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • On switching majors from Pre-Med to Economics: “What you are treating and what you are healing is a result of systematic outcomes. And I knew that people would continue to be sick if our systems continued to be sick.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “The interesting thing about economics is that there may be an equation, but the real quest is discovering the story that has led to a number.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “In the tradition of my parents, I never was like, “I’m a Democrat with a capital D. If it’s got a blue sticker, I’m going to be for that.” I always grew up with this idea that you need to have an independent analysis of each and every individual and look at things in context.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “Politics ultimately is about the scaffolding of our relationships to each other. And the reason our politics are so broken right now is because our relationships to one another as a society are really deeply broken.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “I cannot be attached to keeping my seat as a member of Congress if I’m going to do my job because [my mission] is not to be the Congresswoman of New York’s 14th district. My mission is to advance principles of a better world and to advance a better world.” –Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “How has AOC gotten inside of [the system]? People are so hungry and thirsty for something deeper than the legalized bribery and normalized corruption.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • On being intentionally vulnerable on social media: “I needed to break the mythology of perfection in people who hold power.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “The police have already been thoroughly been defunded in terms of the police that are supposed to regulate Wall Street… they are as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #7
  • “That hyper funding of police ended money for social workers and mental health facilities and drug treatment centers… a complete gutting of the safety nets that allowed people to have problems. And we’re interested in helping solve them. We’re not interested in making every response a punitive punishment, profitable response for others… to defund is to invest in communities.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #7 

 

Stay Connected:
Cornel West

Website: www.cornelwest.com

Twitter: @CornelWest

Facebook: Dr. Cornel West - Home

Instagram: @BrotherCornelWest 

Linktree: Cornel West 

 

Tricia Rose

Website: www.triciarose.com

LinkedIn: Tricia Rose

Twitter: @ProfTriciaRose

Facebook: Tricia Rose

Instagram: @ProfTriciaRose

Youtube: Professor Tricia Rose 

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Website: www.ocasiocortez.com

Government Website: ocasio-cortez.house.gov/contact

Twitter: @AOC

Facebook: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Instagram: @AOC and @RepAOC

 

The Tight Rope

Facebook: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Instagram: The Tight Rope Podcast 

Twitter: The Tight Rope Podcast 

 

This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry.




Jul 23, 2020