I Weigh with Jameela Jamil #93 January 13, 2022
Author Candice Brathwaite joins Jameela this week to talk about her experience as an outspoken advocate for black motherhood and women. They discuss Candice’s family role as being more “paternal,” and how the pandemic made her reckon with a more maternal role. They commiserate over frustrations with eurocentric beauty standards for black women, Candice shares her wisdom on learning when to stay silent if dealing with online attacks/controversy, Candice walks us through the challenges black women have with the medical system, and more.
You can listen to Candice on her podcast Pillow Talk with Papa B and Candice Brathwaite
You can follow Candice on Instagram @candicebrathwaite
Hear the Episode
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil. I hope you're well, but if you're not, I hope you're persisting whatever it is that you're doing in order to just get by through this terrible month, I support it and I'm with you and I just want to quickly say thank you so much for listening to the podcast in the last month and absolutely inundating me with lovely messages about how much you've enjoyed the episodes we put out. I picked those guests very, very carefully and specifically for that time of year, and it makes me so happy to know that you it all resonated with you and that you felt heard and seen or inspired or energized and and less lonely. These are all the things that I feel, and what I love about doing this podcast is that, you know, I hate experiencing anything really great on my own. You know, like when you stay in like a nice hotel room, when you see a beautiful sight and then as you turn around, there's no one there to experiencing with you. It just feels just a little bit shitter. And even though we're not with each other, it feels like we're experiencing something together. We're learning together, we're hearing these fascinating guests together, and that makes me feel less alone, makes me feel very connected to you in a weird way. And and I also just so appreciate your wonderful and thorough and kind and thoughtful letters that you write to me in DMs. I call them letters because I'm very old fashioned and English. They're DMs. Anyway. It's really kind of I mean, this isn't the image anyone wants, but sort of like shoved a lightning bolt or something up my ass made me just feel extra galvanized to bring you as many inspiring speakers as possible. And today's guest is no exception to that. She's really fucking fantastic and a breath of fresh air, and she is frank on this podcast. And I mean, I thought I was frank, and I hope other guests I've had on here were frank. But she is so authentic and it's so refreshing, and I just completely fell for her during this episode, just what a unique voice. Her name is Candice Braithwaite, and she's a bestselling author, a fucking excellent influencer, and changes how I feel about the term influencer because she really does use her platform to try to influence meaningful change, and she's just an excellent voice in our generation. I became familiar with her because of how much she's meant to so many of my friends and how inspiring they find her. And so I've been trying to track her down to be on this podcast for a while, but she's so busy. And finally, I was able to, and she did not disappoint. And this is such a loving, joyous conversation. We talk about so many things. We talk about the fact that she's in a very modern marriage. She is in a marriage where she goes out and she is the career person and she is the breadwinner and her husband stays home and takes care of the kind of house and parenting duties. And we talk about what it's like to be the one who goes out and has the career who kind of maybe resented the person at home beforehand before the pandemic and then during lockdown finally realized, Oh, fuck, this is what it's been like for them. This is how hard they work. This is how much shit they have to deal with and do every single day. And we talk about her new found appreciation and how they manage that dynamic and and the fact that it is modern. But it shouldn't be something that we consider so remarkable. But I think it's really important for people to hear about and to hear how wonderfully and respectfully they manage that dynamic in a world that is still inherently toxic, masculinity and patriarchy just riddled. They've kind of beaten it. It's amazing. And we also talk about what it's like for her being a black woman online and a dark skinned black woman who has to deal with colorism and racism and sexism and and how she uses her position to show like a black nuclear family who are thriving together and doing everything as a team. And and she's filling the space that has been previously quite empty when it comes to the kind of mommy blogger space where there just aren't enough black women in that space. And so she's filled up that space and she's come up against resistance for doing so. And we talk a lot about that and the really refreshing way in which she handles that. She's so clear and so smart and so cool, and I feel like I learned so much from the way that she talked about that. We talk a lot about beauty standards, we talk about mental health, and we talk about the wisdom of learning to stay silent when attacked online and how that is the fastest way to win. Which obviously I needed to hear. And I learned a lot from her about that as well in this episode. She's she's really special I think. The way she talks about motherhood and giving birth and the experience of being a black mother in this world is fascinating regardless of where you're from or what gender you are. I think this episode is such an important lesson because it's just. I just haven't had anyone like her on this podcast before, I hope she comes back. I hope you love her. Please message me and tell me how you feel about this episode and if it inspired you or surprised you, or if it made you maybe want to be like realer? I think that's what it's made me want to do. It's made me want to push myself to be even more authentic and back myself even more the way that she does. She's so great. I think I'm going to shut up. Just listen to her yourself, see how you feel. But this is the excellent Candice Braithwaite. Candice, welcome to I Weigh. How are you? Candice [00:05:48] I'm good, thank you. I'm I'm I'm okay actually. I'm just I'm trying to do that British thing of being like yeah yeah yeah. I'm feeling a bit slumpy. Definitely feeling it. I'm OK. Jameela [00:06:00] What does the slumpy mean? Because, you know, so some people listening are from America or they're from Australia. They might not know some Candice [00:06:08] What does slumpy mean, a bit tired, a little bit lethargic. Having, you know, one of those moments where you're like, I'm so blessed, I've got good food and a house, and I've been able to maintain a job and a house during a global pandemic. But still, being that egotistical little girl was like, I really wanted that job this year or that really annoyed me. And just like those two people fighting, it's making me quite weh weh weh. Jameela [00:06:35] Oh, I know what you mean. I like the fact that you're a British person admitting to that feeling rather than just stiff upper lip. Yeah, I think a lot of people are still dealing with that, and I think a lot of us are making sure we check our privilege. But in many different ways, people are a bit like ah fuck. The last two years really fucked me, and I really wish it hadn't happened. Candice [00:06:55] Yeah. Jameela [00:06:56] And I've been speaking a lot about trying to find the positives and how we've grown and how strong we are and how and how much endurance we have. But there's only so you can't really download that feeling into your brain. It's quite it feels quite intellectual, quite surface level of like, OK, well, I know we've lived through the last two years of hell, and now I know I can survive things I never thought I could survive before, like being in lockdown or being isolated or being away from the people I love or the things that I love, or losing my job or doing my job that I love from home in an awful, isolated way. But gratitude isn't something that's always possible to access on a soul level, especially when you're still kind of processing the trauma of what just happened. Candice [00:07:42] Yes, yes. And I saw something the other day. I'm very woo woo for people that don't read my book, so don't know me that way. So I'm very I manifested it and it's like, Yeah, I do believe in that stuff. But also just from a human level is really hard sometimes to be like, I'm so grateful. I'm so happy. I'm so OK in this moment. So I'm getting into the practice of when I'm asked, How am I just being a little bit more honest and being like, I'm I'm just all right, to be fair. Jameela [00:08:13] How has the last I know I know you're very grateful and privileged, but how has the last two years been of your life? Candice [00:08:22] It has been extremely cathartic, I think, for the years before that. So I'm 33. I'm really bad at math. So for the first thirty one years, I spent a lot of time people pleasing or trying to maintain many different people around me manage them. Also I will go on to say in some ways, provide provide for a lot of people. And then in many ways,. Candice [00:08:48] Do you mean financially sorry? Jameela [00:08:49] Yes. Financially, emotionally and in many ways, COVID came along and gave me a hard out. It's like, I can't. I can't really pay those bills for you. COVID. I can't really. I can't really carry all your emotional baggage covid. And I would say for the first year, that was really, really helpful and really, really necessary because I would be in every way, financially, emotionally, mentally bankrupt if I was continuing to live my life how I was pre-pandemic. And so in some ways, as hard as it's been, yeah, it's hard being locked down. It's I've got two kids homeschooling just took me to a different place mentally. In order for me to have a better quality of life across the board, so many problems of things that came out of COVID had to happen when they happened for me. If not I would be in ruin. So yeah. Jameela [00:09:50] That's I mean, I think again, a very relatable answer. I think it taught so many of us that what we thought was normal was so abnormal and unsustainable. And you're a parent. So. Candice [00:10:00] Yeah, yeah. Jameela [00:10:02] For lockdown to be easier with small children than what your life was before means you really you really needed a change because that must have been working hard. What about the parenting at home? How was that? Candice [00:10:18] it was a major test of my patience. I don't have much patience. I'm also in a in a in a in a non-COVID world. I'm not home a lot. I exist in the realm of what society would call daddy. I'm out of the house. I am quote unquote the breadwinner. So my husband knows about the dishwasher. And if we're running out of bin bags. So to now be thrust into this space where the kids are like, what's for dinner, I don't bloody know. I don't even know if we have the right ingredients for dinner. I had to unpack so much and I had to maybe even ask myself, What is it about mothering that offends you so much? Because this isn't particularly a role I planned for in that, you know, those girls, when they sit down when they're five and they're like, I'm going to get married and have three kids. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Like, I stam the girls on Tik Tok, who are out in Dubai every other week and I'm like, Oh my God, that was meant to be my life. This is great, don't get me wrong, but it's not necessarily what I planned for. And so having to homeschool and be with them twenty four seven made me really reevaluate the kind of mom I want to be and the kind of mom I'm going to have to be in order to get through a time like this. And that's been really hard because that's pulled on parts of me that many people listening. If you've ever had a hand in perhaps raising younger siblings, it's not something you want to get back into like that. I'm like, I've been doing that for a while you know. I I was very happy to just be the mom that saw you in the morning and and kissed you good night when I came in at 11 and you were fast asleep. But to see every emotional turn of these children has been astounding, astounding and really humbling because it made me like, look at my dad's photo and my dad's been dead for 11 years now and be sincerely apologetic because I was like, You had no fucking idea what you were doing. And there I am as a teen being like, Oh, you know, you're messing my life up, you're getting it wrong. He had no idea. I never know what I'm doing. And being with them all the time really highlighted just how much I'm I'm bluffing all the time. Jameela [00:12:26] Did it also like really change how you felt about, like your husband who I'm sure you already loved and respected so much? But were you just like, fucking hell, this is what he's doing everyday? I feel like obviously there's a gender reversal where because we live in a fucked society, it's been a lot of men finally being home in lockdown with their wives and seeing what their wives are dealing with every single day. And it's been very humbling for a lot of my friends, and I'm like, Yeah, it's just that. That's that's her life. And now, yeah, has to now that's going to have to be a shift now that you see what she's been struggling with. You got to. Candice [00:13:02] Yeah, yeah. Jameela [00:13:04] Jump like, scrap in a bit more. Did that make did that like was it was a shock to your system about that? Candice [00:13:11] Completely. And it was also a shock to my system how much I didn't value him for that. So when I say I'm like the masculine energy. It was shocking to see how much of that was present in me because, you know, when we would argue in moments maybe about a certain job I had to do, and I would always be like, Well, you know, someone's got to go out and work in this way to bring that money in. He's like, You have to respect the fact that I'm cooking and cleaning and making the school runs and going to PTA, and I'm in these fucking WhatsApp chats with all these chatty mums. And like, you need, you need to be like, you need to value that as much as, like, Jameela [00:13:55] Oh my god that, you know the WhatsApp chats are literally why I don't want children. Candice [00:13:59] He's like, dude, I am dealing with a lot, and I was like, You're absolutely right, and it did make me. And you know, there's a middle ground. It made me respect and love him more. But I was also like, the reason why I don't want to overdo that privately and publicly is because it then leans into the whole, Oh man changes diaper. Jameela [00:14:21] What a king. Yeah, yeah. Candice [00:14:24] Yeah, yeah. I was like, Oh, I've got to find the middle ground. But yeah, I respect him highly because I've had a pinch of that. A taste of that. And it's not a game. And on top of that, he does the things that I was never very good at. Like, I don't know what kind of mortgage we have. I don't know when the VAT is due. So he does all of that as well. I literally just go and find these nuts, and he has to divvy them up by the laundry tablets. It's like he does way more. And I had I learned that. Jameela [00:14:54] And so now what's the is there going to be like a shift going back out into the world or? Candice [00:15:01] Definitely. And it's insane. The reason why there is going to be a shift is actually Sex and the City's fault. Funnily enough. Jameela [00:15:09] Oh now what's that show done now? It's really caused so much trouble. Candice [00:15:13] Oh mate. I don't know if people are watching the reboot, but basically so Big's died. The love of Carrie's life has died. And in yesterday's episode, which I watched with my husband, she didn't know that what the internet password. She knew nothing about the house in which they lived. And I saw something similar happen to my dad's ex-wife. And I thought to myself, watching that episode, I was like, Shit, you've really got to get your act together, not just for now to take the load off of him. But for the future, life is what it is. And if it ever throws you quite a heavy curveball, the last thing you want to do whilst grieving this man is not know who your mortgage is with or not know the code to the safe, like deal with those things like be an adult. And we went to pick up a new car of mine today, and he was very shocked that by the time he'd gone for a piss and come back I'd set the car up. He was like, Oh, so you can do stuff like this. I was like, Yeah, you just enable me like way too much. So like last night when you went to bed early, I read the whole fucking manual and I went on YouTube and I watched the videos that I did the stuff and he was like, OK, I'm going to be less of a dad to you, and I'm going to allow you to take more responsibility for your life, which is a bit like Jameela [00:16:30] How long have you two been together? Candice [00:16:32] 10 years. Jameela [00:16:33] Wow. Well done. Candice [00:16:36] I know, right? Jameela [00:16:38] I always say, if you add another like seven on for the pandemic so that's 17 years, that's incredible. And so was that always the dynamic? Was it always was. Did you want? Did you want children? Candice [00:16:48] No I didn't want children. Jameela [00:16:48] I know you didn't grow up thinking of yourself as a mom, but like in this marriage, were you like, I don't want children and then you had children or what happened? Candice [00:17:00] We had I had my daughter really early on in our relationship, maybe like two years into our relationship. And so. Yeah, I was when we started dating, I was like, I really don't want kids, and I don't I don't even want to be with you long term. I was like, This is just like a fucking run. This is like, I'm just having some fun. We'll see what happens. He used to be the guy that would throw stones at my bedroom window because I've not answered the phone. So he's like, hopeless romantic. I always knew this was going to happen and and it is taking a lot of cajoling. He would say for me to soften my heart and become this person. But I even said it in the car today. I'm not living the life I expected. It doesn't mean it's bad. I just didn't expect any of it. And so, yeah, I didn't expect to even be a mom now. Jameela [00:17:50] So was it an unexpected pregnancy at two years in? Candice [00:17:52] Defo. Jameela [00:17:52] And what made you carry like carry on? Candice [00:17:58] What made me carry? I wrote about this in my first book, but I had an abortion when I was twenty two there about for a really not so good guy who I think has like twenty two kids by 85 women now, and I still stand by that choice. And something about being pregnant with our first born just felt different. I just kept looking at this guy thinking, I don't think you're the stereotypical black male. And by that, I mean the definition of black British male that is sold to me. As in a guy that's just going to make me a baby mom and leave, and I'm going to have to carry my buggy up 72 flights of stairs because the lift is broken. Jameela [00:18:39] So that's also just to be just so just for anyone else who's listening. If you haven't grown up with British television, you you wouldn't know that we have almost no big roles for black people. And when it comes to black men in particular, I mean, for fuck's sake. At one point I was asked to host Black History Month, for one of our main channels. I'm Indian Pakistani so. One of the craziest things that's ever happened, but I would. The only programing you can find is if it involves black youths, is that gangster stuff or like Top Boy and that sort of thing. And those shows are amazing and have tremendous that broken such tremendous talent and and and represent something real that is happening in the UK, but only one fraction you can't find very much and LondoH hughes has spoken about this before. You can't find white middle middle class programing around like, you know, or just like I think, she said, like Moesha goes to uni or something like Keisha. So that was like Keisha goes to uni. You can't find just like a normal story about a young black kid growing up in. It's always just like immigration or or gangs or drugs or. Candice [00:19:54] It's always trauma porn. Jameela [00:19:56] It's always trauma porn. And so it's so you grow up. I imagine growing up never seeing anything else because I was only really American shows that I would watch where I would see because I didn't see any Indians anywhere, like outside of Bollywood growing up. But if I wanted to do kids who looked a bit like me, it was young black kids. And so I would only watch stuff like Moesha or One On One or Sister Sister, all those things. But that felt like a very American version of it felt like a whole different world. And so I can't imagine growing up as a young black woman not ever seeing any other portrayal. Candice [00:20:34] None. I mean. Jameela [00:20:34] Idris had to leave to make it. Candice [00:20:37] And this is the thing. When I was coming up, there was a very popular show in the UK called Desmond's a nuclear family running a barber shop in Peckham and Desmond's run for ages. And I sometimes feel like British TV has gone backwards in its portrayal of the British people because that was in the late 80s, early 90s and we had shows like The Real McCoy, and all of those things now cease to exist. But I will say this, I will before I even say like, so I had no media representation of the idea of the kind of family unit I'm in now. I was raised solely by my maternal grandfather. So this makes this story very interesting. I was not like women were present. My mum and my grandmother were present, but I was taken to school every day by my grandfather. He washed my ass. He even ironed my ribbons. He read all the reports, did all the things. And then on the weekends, I spend that with my dad. So I had personally a very positive example of being raised by black men who were just stand up dudes who love their kids and get the job done. And even now, when I watched my husband like, I don't know, dust the fucking baubles? I see my granddad, I'm like, I've literally just ended up with my granddad, which is quite soothing considering how you turn on TV or I even speak to my mates who are still dating or on Hinge. And it just feels like a bottomless pit of fuckery, especially for black women in terms of dating or settling down. Jameela [00:22:17] Will you further elaborate on that? Candice [00:22:20] Uh yeah. I'm obsessed with TikTok. I'm a little too old to be obsessed with TikTok. For some reason, my algorithm is raked to this conversation around black lovelessness, where black women are feeling very set aside by black men. It's like a massive conversation in the black dating community right now. In my second book, Sister Sister, I can't remember what it is. I recount seeing a tweet where this black boy was like listing in preference the kind of women he dates and he put corpse above black women. So he was like, I'd date a dead body before I date black women. Jameela [00:23:00] God. Candice [00:23:01] And so when you are being when this information is being pumped to you or pressed to your phone or whatever. It's made black women's hearts really heavy and despondent. And whilst I, on the younger Candice understands it because Jesus Christ, the way black boys used to speak about me, I just makes me shudder. This new Candice in the middle of this very public black nuclear family is like, Don't give up hope. And I'm saying that very half heartedly because I say this as a joke, but I do mean it. I'm like, if my husband ever died, the likelihood of me marrying a black man again is pretty slim to none, given what I've seen is on offer or on show. And I can only use social media and traditional media as like a line up for what would be on offer. And I'm like, Yeah, I'm not about that life so. Jameela [00:23:51] And it's such a yeah, it's such a hangover of of white supremacy to look at whiteness ever as something that is superior. And we have just endless media examples of a dark skinned black man with a white woman, even in modern life. You know that that TV show, I don't know if you watched it, but it was only ever a Dark-skinned Asian man or a dark skinned black man with a white woman. We didn't see the reversal. In season one and all these different examples of different types of relationships, and we don't really see that in media, it's always it's always a lighter skinned or a biracial woman with a dark skinned man. Candice [00:24:27] Always. I remember seeing that really Jameela [00:24:30] in media, not in the world. Just to be clear, Candice [00:24:32] Yeah just in media. I remember seeing that really powerful like Hollywood photo of like Kim K and Kanye and Beyoncé and Jay and Alicia Keys and de de de de de. And you know, the conversation was, why is it when these particular black men ascend or get to certain heights in their celebrity or financial status, they do lean towards a woman who with who has more Eurocentric beauty ideals. This is a conversation that exhausts me because I am. I'm I'm at the end of the scale that bears the brunt, always often told you're overthinking it or, quote unquote it's not that deep. I also try not to get too involved in these conversations publicly because I'm living a life that many women who look like me don't. And I understand that privilege also. It doesn't mean, though, that when I come across these TikToks or these images, there is not a tiny Candice in me is not still like a little bit wounded and bruised and constantly questioning how, as the mother of a very black son, I can be present in molding his mind to the idea that it is not only acceptable, but am encouraged for you, perhaps to fall in love with someone that looks like your mom. Jameela [00:25:47] Deeply. Yeah. And there's so much I love about you, Candice, I like what you put out into the world, and I think you've kind of touched on a lot of those things that I now want to talk about in the fact that you are. I don't want to call you an influencer, not that influencer is a bad. It's not a bad name. I don't mean that in any way, but I think what you're doing is so above that. But you are you are a very public kind of representation and representation of a different reality to what people are shown normally online. And what I'm trying to say is that the way that you show your life, the way that you talk about your life on podcast, the way that you have made such an intentional decision around the way that you show your family, you know, you talk a lot about being a black mother. You have, like, hit the headlines so many times for talking about the experience of black motherhood and the erasure of the black about the side of black motherhood that isn't all trauma. And being a single mother and being like failed by the state. But you also talk about the ways in which the state does fail you in the way that I learned so much about the medical experience of black women in the UK from you. I had no idea that the mortality rate was something like five your five times more likely to die in childbirth as a black woman. So my first question is what made you decide to start to use your life to teach and support so many people? Candice [00:27:29] What made me decide to use my life? I'll be utterly frank, sincere capitalism. I was stuck in this really no, it wasn't a shitty job. Everyone wants to work in publishing. It's one of those magical jobs. I was working for a really good publishing house. I was working in the marketing team. This was late 2014 early 2015. Bloggers were just like coming up off the surface and marketing spaces were starting to pull their advertising, spend away from magazines and TV and place it in the hands of bloggers. I my job was to spend most of the day on the phone to these bloggers, asking them how much it would be for them to feature new authors title on their blog. When they told me the going price, I was like, Bitch, you're in the wrong job, go and how how are you going to leave this little desk and do that? The reality is I needed to build an online platform and I met. I'm a data geek. I'm I'm a gap in the market geek. And when I looked at the peer, the parenting space online, I was aghast with how white it was. So white, so middle class, so blonde, shiny bobs, striped horizontal T-shirt, Jameela [00:28:39] yoga bodies, Candice [00:28:40] yoga, white converse, generation X bugaboo, all of that. I was like, and this is this is so far away from the version of motherhood I know, and not just in a sense of class and money and what we have, but just how we look at how we raise our children. Why is there no mom in the UK online that I can point and be like, I get that. And so I was like, and that's the community you're going to start building. That's that's what's missing here. And that's how that journey began. And darling, very quickly it became less about capitalism and more of like a fight for my life and a fight for the representation of black motherhood culture. Because once I decided to commit to doing that, claws came out. People were not happy about the fact that I was very vocal that something was missing from this parenting landscape. And so the first few years in being so vocal or building this platform, it was rough man. Because I think as people are, when you're just like waking up every day being robotic and no one is questioning your privilege or your entitlement when someone does come along and this person is a five foot black girl from Brixton, you're just like, Who the fuck is that? And why is she so noisy? And more importantly, why do I now feel like I'm racist or are missing something? Or my eyes aren't open to the world so I can actually empathize with how I perhaps annoy people building this platform in the early days. But someone had to stick at it. And I'm glad I did. Jameela [00:30:19] Yeah, I mean, you. I remember you receiving pushback from white mummy bloggers who actually use the a-word. They called you aggressive. Candice [00:30:31] Mate. Jameela [00:30:34] I can't. I just can't believe it. I really like. I really can't believe. And also, this wasn't that long ago. This hasn't been happening that long ago. I mean, this was. Candice [00:30:42] No. Yeah, this was Christmas. This or that but that conversation became public Christmas twenty nineteen. That was yesterday, basically. Jameela [00:30:53] Yeah we knew better back then. I imagine still being so threatened and not being. Imagine hearing, oh, there aren't enough black mummy bloggers out there, and just thinking, Yeah, oh my God, you're so right. Let's let's welcome you in. Let's let's diversify this for the sake of us, for the sake of our kids. Let's make this a more representative world of what the actual world looks like, but instead trying to silence you and punish you for having called out that lack of opportunity and then essentially made you feel like an uppity black woman, Candice [00:31:24] basically, which is so funny, like a black Hyacinth Bucket kind of vibe. I was ready for it though, and I don't think people and they wouldn't because they don't know me personally. And that's the thing about internet friends or internet connections. They don't know you personally. And I don't think people were people were caught off guard by how ready for it I was. But again, like, I come from a space where this is pre gentrification of Brixton. So you're like hustling, going home. Trying not to be like stabbed up or get involved with the local crack head. There's that. I'm in school systems where I'm constantly having to fight my way through them. I go to performing art school, which just blew my head off in terms of competitiveness and and you having to like stand your ground. So this was just like another way for me. And I was like, I've been on these seas time and time again, and this tiny boat always comes out on top. But what has to happen in moments like this? And this is something that I tell all my friends now an old friend I have. We're not friends anymore. But her mum was brilliant. Her mum once said to me, silence can never be misquoted. And so when those storms come along, when these women were coming for me or calling me aggressive or being out and out racist or trolling me, I was just like, And you're never going to get a public response to that, because the minute you do as the black woman, as the dark skinned black woman, in this scenario, I become the aggressor. I become the problem. And all I want for you to be able to say is, she said, nothing at all. And I've got to be honest that did anger the black community because they were in my DMs at those times being like, bitch, say something like, how are you going to just let this happen? Like you not standing up for you is you not standing up for us? And I was like, You guys don't have a bird's eye view of how this all ends. The minute any woman, regardless of race, usually, but the minute any woman of color puts her head above that parapet to defend herself. She's in the wrong. You just are. Jameela [00:33:31] Candice, where the fuck were you when I needed you two years ago? I can't believe we weren't friends. I responded. I responded to that white woman and then her Instagram blew up, and everything I said was taken out of context. And I wish I'd just heard that sentence. And and the feeling when you want to defend yourself is very human. It's a very human instinct is not even to do with ego so much. I mean, sometimes it isn't. That's also fine. But you want to like, defend yourself. But then also there's a part of me that's like, if I don't say something, then people are going to think that what they're saying about me is true. So you're just wrestling with so many different things, but you're fundamentally ultimately when it's all over, as you said from the bird's eye view of what what it looks like at the end of the rainbow. Silence can never be misquoted. I blew that shit up and made it global when I could have just shut the fuck up and carried on with my life and continue doing everything. No one would have really heard about it. Maybe a couple of maybe 100000 people have heard about it. It was the Streisand effect. It was just I honestly like when you said that to me the other day about like silence can't be misquoted. I spent like an hour banging my head on the table. Candice [00:34:48] But you know what? You live and you learn because I've had moments before that that we're not very silent, but that, you know, I'm really, really grateful for the flow of my life. I'm glad that that scenario with those bloggers happened then because there have been a billion times since then that maybe 10 people have known about 15 20 people that have even DMed me and been like, Have you seen this video about you by such and such? And I just like, put the DM to unread and I never say anything. And the 20 people that saw it just go, OK, she doesn't care. Simple. And it dies such a horrible death because in the situations we are in that are very public, you cannot count the amount of people who want to suck that energy or your platform or the people you speak to and get them to turn their minds against you. That's a very, very expensive thing, like people plan to do that all the time. Jameela [00:35:43] Yeah, and it's it's a disturbing part of internet culture like the way that I see people, someone will say something maybe about a public figure or a politician or an actor or whatever. And then the people in the comments will tag the person that's being spoken about. Candice [00:35:58] Uh huh. Jameela [00:35:59] And it's because they want to see what is essentially a cockfight. It's something that we have to stop as a society because we're we're turning very like public turmoil into a sport and we're not you're not actually doing someone you might think you're doing someone a favor by being like, Oh, no, they should know this is being said about them. Candice [00:36:20] They absolutely shouldn't know. Jameela [00:36:21] But I don't think it's better for us to know. But just let's just leave it alone. If it gets big enough, it will come to someone's attention. Don't be the bearer of that news. Just leave it alone. Don't like give it that energy. If you see something horrible being done or said about someone, just leave it. Just leave it alone. Honestly, you've had a kind of, I don't know, like a a change of heart in how you want to lead your life publicly. Candice [00:36:47] Yeah, defo. Jameela [00:36:49] So talk to me a little bit about that because you really like, put yourself really out there at the start. And I think a lot of us did. And I think a lot of us are having the kind of reckoning of, you don't have to tell people everything about the way you feel all the time. That that was a sign of like, you were kind of given brownie points for oversharing and being as vulnerable as you can. And this isn't just for public figures. This is everyone online. I must tell everyone about every like bad thing I did or every nervous breakdown I had and and I'm not in any way trying to stigmatize doing that. I think the more open we are, the better. I'm still very open on this podcast, but I have chosen to take my my my biggest openness to this podcast, where I feel like there's a community of people who actually give a shit about real conversations rather than online where it can just be used as fodder. But that purging era of of social media where you just say every single thing and leave yourself wide open and vulnerable. I think we should now start to simmer down because it's it's leading to a lot of dangerous situations for people. Candice [00:37:50] Completely. I had this conversation just the other day. I thought back to when that decision was made for me. I stupidly made a public conversation on whether I would or wouldn't circumcise my kids. Don't ever fucking do that. Not just for the future of your kid being like, Why are you discussing my willy online? But also just like that moment just left me, my my entire family so open and so vulnerable, and it became a race war, a religion war. And looking back on that, I think that was like the immediate shift. But I'll be honest, I posted about this a couple of days ago, of course. Black Lives Matter happened, and I found myself in the middle of that conversation by a stroke, perhaps of bad luck, my first book came out that week and my name was brought up as one of those people you should be following to unlearn your racism. La la la la. Now what happened? And I've not seen anyone else be honest about this, and that's up to them, but I thought it was interesting. Someone asked me the other day, You know, you're not speaking about race the way you used to do what's up with that? And at first I brushed it off. I was like, Mind your business. I'm not the local town crier. Get it together. I sat on that question for a week and I came back to the internet and I was like, I don't speak about race anymore because I have to understand that I was using that as a quick way to boost engagement, gain followers and likes. Mic drop. Like, let's get really fucking real about what can happen and how these likes and and this big following overnight can just turn you into an absolute monster. And I was like, That's not to say that matters of race don't matter to me. I'm a black woman living in the UK. Of course they do. But I had to realize that whenever I felt there was a dip in engagement on whatever I felt like, Oh, what can I do to cause a conversation? I'd always come back to race. I'm not going to use that as a fucking crutch anymore. And I think that for me, that realization and that honesty is only happened this year. So it's like ever evolving. And so I've just been like, I'm really going to scale it back with what I shared online. A bit like you saying, you know, you save those conversations for your podcasts. If you want to know the innards of my life or how I'm thinking buy my book man like, put your money where your mouth is, don't just expect to open this free app and for me to, like, slam my tampon down on the table and be like, I've been bleeding for seven weeks. Like, I don't owe you that. We don't owe each other that. If you really care about the way the people you follow are diving deep on their creativity and given their talents back to the world buy their work, engage with them in a way where guess what? You perhaps don't have the chance to shout back at them. Jameela [00:40:38] You are astonishingly honest. I love you. You're just like honestly it's like being waterboarded with fresh air. It's ridiculous. I love you so much for how blunt you are about yourself, about human nature. And also just to add to this, and I'm not going to try and put this in your mouth. But I imagine talking about race all the time is fucking exhausting. Candice [00:41:05] Exhausting and boring. Jameela [00:41:06] And also like it invites like really scary people in your DMs. And also just like, Oh, I live this life every day. I don't want to now talk about it all the time. I wanna talk about my family, I want to show this happy black family. I want to show the supportive, present black father who's fully chipping in with fatherhood. Like, I want to show you this is a possibility. I want little boys who are on Instagram to see this man or see me having a job or see me a dark skinned black woman like with love with a black man, like like you. I completely understand just being like, I don't want to just only be doused in the in the trauma that we douse every public black figure in like you want to, you want to show thriving. And it's not like you don't. It's not like you shy away from the important conversations which we'll get to in a minute. But I do also understand that like the shouldn't be expected of people, I've stopped talking about certain issues because I'm just I'm fucking exhausted. This is my daily this is my daily existence. I kind of also want to just bleed out on social media all the time. Candice [00:42:10] All the time, all the time. And I remember a white woman messaged me. I think she thought she was being kind whatever. She was like, You know, you've really changed my mind about certain things because when I first came across your work, I was like, And how the hell does an activist afford so many designer bags? Something's not right here. Like, you know, for all the hardships you talk about, I don't think I don't think you should have been dressing so nicely. I was like, Oh my God like please. Like, I just I just, yeah, the the with that whole, with the whole Black Lives Matter wash on social media came this idea that we can only engage with black work if it's doused in trauma and it's painful and it's black people telling us over and over again how hurt and sad they are. And that's not to say that those elements of my life aren't true. But yeah, I do have a steady Chanel collection man like, put some respect on my name. There are other things happening, you know? And um, I also have to acknowledge that my class, the class I'm in now now separates me from a lot of the conversations I was having five 10 years ago. And there are a plethora of black people who will quickly remind me of that. They're like, Don't you dare cry with that Rolex on your hand. You don't get to have those tears because those tears were OK five years ago when you were signing on, or 10 years ago when you were a druggie. Those tears are not cool now. And so even if I feel a certain way, day to day, I understand that someone like me living the life I do now, my own community may be a bit like, you're not the one that should be leading this conversation. Shut up. Jameela [00:44:04] Totally. Yeah, a friend of mine, who is an activist, once explained to me that it doesn't matter if you're a person of color. As soon as you become rich, you're seen as white. And it was one of the most amazing things I've ever heard. It does it doesn't matter how much melanin you have, as soon as you have money you are looked at as a white celebrity and it completely checks out with the way you see stuff online. And that's and that's fine. And and we don't need to be at the forefront of anywhere where there are people who are more valuable to that conversation where they should be speaking. One aspect of race, you have spoken about a lot and written about a lot, and you have become kind of one of the faces of that conversation, not in a sad or awful way, but in a very empowering way. And that is, you know, we touched on this earlier the conversation of black motherhood. When it comes to the medical system, that's an imperative conversation that you do not seem to, that you're obviously not doing for clicks and you're obviously not doing for engagement. That was a conversation you started to save the lives of, like future generations of black girls and black mothers. Candice [00:45:21] Yeah, yeah. And it's data you don't know about unless you are a black woman who ends up having a child and is, for whatever reason, treated really badly by the systems here in the UK. I didn't become aware of the data until 2018, but I had a near miss with Esmé. She was born in 2013. I got horrendously sick after. I had like four different midwives who were like, You're overthinking it, stay off the internet. We think you're overdoing it. Two days later, rushed back in. I'm 70 percent septic and I'm on my way out and the surgeon is very much looking at my family doc. Sign these papers, please, because we're going to take her in. It's highly unlikely she's coming back out. And that time I've got a three day old baby at home. I'm very committed to dying. I'm like, I'm really tired. I've had a C-section. I'm kind of over this. So I was going into that emergency surgery like peace out, dudes. Look after this kid. That's clearly what I was sent here for, and I come out of that and I survive and I try to rehabilitate. But what happens is I end up making all these great black mommy friends who someone's son is disabled because he was pulled out the wrong way. Another friend was cut from front to back with no anesthetic because they were in a hurry, and she just needs to pipe down. Another friend had a really, really bad infection and has now had a hysterectomy. So even if we're not dying, even if we're not in the data of dying, we are being left horrendously scarred as black women. And this then became a universal conversation because the data is very, very similar in the U.S. So the back end of 2018 comes along. Something called the Embrace report gets released in the UK, where they're like, yeah, black women are five times more likely to die under our health service when giving birth. We don't really know why. And as time has gone on, there have been like, Oh, it's because black women are fatter and unhealthier and poorer, and that's why they're dying. And I have often had to sit in front of a very big medical boards and be the only one who who has nothing to lose. So I can just cuss these doctors and our health service because I'm like, You're chatting shit. It's the systemic racism within our health service that looks and frowns on black women who come through the door. I remember being induced with Esme and really crying because it's really painful. And a nurse would be like coming to my little section and being like, Could you keep it down? There are other mothers laboring, and there's a white woman diagonal from me being washed down with cool cloths by like three nurses like this is a visual representation of how different we are treated in that moment. So it's like it's not just diabetes, dudes. It's because for millennia, you know, since slavery, black women's bodies, especially in a health service sense, have only been used for the use of. And we are not going to care about you. We are not going to see you as soft and we're not going to be pleasant and nice with you. And then I decide to have my son. That was really scary because he almost wasn't born, considering the trauma I went through with Esme. And I remember like being really afraid and and we'd left London by then. So we were in Buckinghamshire and I walk in and the surgeon's like, Oh, you know, don't worry, you'll be safe this time because you almost died the last time. We do not need that as data. Jameela [00:48:49] What? Candice [00:48:53] Woah. Like. Jameela [00:48:53] He said we don't need that as data? Candice [00:48:54] We don't need that as data like you're in safe hands this time round. It's like shit, man. Jameela [00:49:02] So you almost had to die just to be treated with the sort of basic humanity. Candice [00:49:08] Now I'm at a place in my life where and this is maybe the first time I've ever said this publicly. But if I ever had another kid, I tell my husband all the time, I need to work a bit harder because I just can't see myself doing that for free. Like, I'd feel safer in the arms of private healthcare, where just maybe my voice will be listened to more. But then again, maybe not because we look at cases like Beyoncé and Serena Williams, who have way more money than me, and have still come out of birthings saying, Wow, I really have to fight to not die. Jameela [00:49:43] Yeah. Candice [00:49:43] So, you know, Jameela [00:49:45] Yeah it's also the gas. It's the gaslighting of black pain as well, you know, which dates all the way back to slavery of the dehumanizing of black people in order to justify what was done to them. They don't feel pain, which is why we can we can hurt them so much and we can push them so hard and they can work these hours and carry these heavy things and tolerate all of this abuse. There is this kind of just clinical decision that has been made about the pain threshold of black people, which is no different. I mean, for for ages, they thought that the skin was literally thicker just because it's dark. And I mean, I'm not telling you this, just to be clear. Candice, do you know about racism? No, I'm explaining just to anyone out there who might not have had this conversation before, as we always have. I'm learning on this podcast. Lots of other people are learning. And so just things that I learned from Candice and other people who have bravely spoken out about this. I'm just saying this so you don't have to basically. And what's so interesting as well is that, you know, when it comes to the history of like gynecology and all these different things and a lot of medicine as it there are many sources, the site that it was black bodies that were used for those investigations. So a lot of the science that we have around medicine, a lot of that comes from this the study of black bodies. So then to plead such ignorance all these years later, all these centuries later that, well, you know, we don't know how their bodies work. You only know how their bodies work cos it's the same. It's the same as ours. And you know that because you've been all the way inside of people who didn't even probably give their consent. Candice [00:51:19] Right, right. Jameela [00:51:21] That's just astonishing. And we've had a few doctors come out and bravely speak, but as in like non-black doctors come out and talk about the fact that there is there is a very genuine difference in the way that black people are seen, the way that their threshold is considered, etc.. And thank God, we've had some whistleblowers because up until now, it's just been. I just can't I can't imagine how terrifying it must have been. Candice [00:51:50] Yeah, you don't. You don't want to. You don't want to. And just how, Jameela [00:51:54] it doesn't help the pregnancy either. Just wondering what the end of the road is going to be like the whole time. Candice [00:51:59] This is it like I had a great pregnancy with Esme, I had I had a fun pregnancy, pain, trauma free nothing. And RJ's was just so riddled with anxiety because I was like, I've seen how this can go the other way, you know? And thankfully, I've lived to tell the tale. But living to tell that tale means that I'm if I'm in the position to have this conversation on a global scale, it's literally the hill I'm prepared to die on. And because I've been told and I've seen how having this conversation and writing certain books has encouraged black women to go into motherhood, ready to defend themselves from the minute they walk into that doctor's surgery and say, I think I've got a positive pregnancy test. Jameela [00:52:43] And this is not just a British problem. You said that I think in America, black women are three times more likely than white women to die during labor. Can you offer any advice for anyone who's listening to this right now? Candice [00:52:59] Can I offer any? Jameela [00:53:00] Might be might be a young black woman or young black person is pregnant and might be the friend or lover of one? Candice [00:53:09] You know what? From a from a financial standpoint. If you have the money to employ, say, a do not do so like don't skimp on your health or your mental health during pregnancy and labor if you don't have the money for that where possible. Never, ever, ever, ever go to any antenatal appointment alone. Never go by yourself. Never go into if you can don't go into the situation of birthing by yourself. I remember them waiting for my. He was my boyfriend then to leave and he'd been with me for two nights, and it was the moment he left to walk home to take a shower. They decided to break my waters. Alone, alone, anyone who's had their water broken, they come at you with a Peter Pan hook about 13 inches long. And it's just like, Oh my god, no way. He's just going to have, Oh yeah, yeah. You know, by the time he comes back, you'll be laboring fine. Hush hush. Let's just go and do it. And I'm thrust into a room with like doctors in white coats who are literally just throwing my legs open and breaking my waters. Where you can, as a black woman, never, ever be in a situation where you are by yourself. Because even if things don't end badly, you're going to need someone to advocate for you. So make sure that your birth plan is airtight and that you have an understudy for the understudy. Because if there is no one to prove that you were done wrong by, they will literally just take you to the morgue. Jameela [00:54:46] I'm so sorry you had to say that. Thank you for saying that. That's just so, so fucking depressing and terrifying. And and I hope that anyone who is the support to someone who's expecting who is a black person. I hope you will consider these words and remember not to leave them alone and for them to be there all the way throughout. And if it's your mate, go to their, go to their appointments with them. If their partner is there or isn't there just to support show up, advocate, come ready. Learn the stats. Be be ready to shame a doctor. You know, that's how I now feel is like if any of my black friends get pregnant, I'm learning all the statistics. I can come in and show them your book and tell them I could see what's happening. I think this is so fucking it's so fucking important. It's so fucking overdue. And as you said, Serena Williams and Beyonce, they both also being victim of this kind of phenomena of of a lack of humanity just shows how far up this goes all the way up. Candice [00:55:57] Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I don't want women, you know, it's it's a double edged sword because I don't want to go too far the other way and scare black women or scare pregnant women, because I've known some black women who have had beautiful births at hospital or at home. But the moment you become the parent to a black child, you kind of get how the world is like, very set against you from the word go. And we have to remember how these systems don't even want us reproducing black children. And that's the truth. So I would rather incite a little bit of fear if that means that lives will be saved then be like, you'll be fine, and then it's not. And then I feel really bad. Jameela [00:56:41] Yeah. It's it's changed, I think quite a lot of people's lives, and it's changed a lot of people's understandings. What you have said out there and it's been supported by so many people and when you start talking about it, I saw so many people come out and say the same thing. And I think it was a huge wake up call because again, I think especially in England, we have that issue of, you know, England is still saying this and they're just like, no, no, no, no, America is racist, but we don't have a racism problem and an 80 80 page report pretending not to have a racism problem. As worse, that statistic in the UK than it is in the US. Candice [00:57:16] Yeah, yeah completely and I'm the kind of black person who and my husband's the same. We like to know what version of racism we're dealing with. It's the cloak and dagger racism that that that completely scares me. Jameela [00:57:30] Who was it? Who was it that said, I like my racists racist? Candice [00:57:35] No, but I like that. Basically, yeah, it's you know, it's you know, it's it's this trolling racism that does one thing at night and then goes to work the next day to birth babies. That scares me. That's the version that scares me. Jameela [00:57:48] Yeah, one of the people who gave you a really hard time online was actually someone who she was. She wasn't a do lower. She she was. Candice [00:57:57] She was a midwife. Jameela [00:58:00] Midwife that was so you're like, Oh God, you are talking to me this way and then going to your day job where you may be helping a black woman through her pregnancy? Candice [00:58:10] Definitely. The hospital she was stationed at the time was in the depths of South London. So yes, she's definitely most of her patients are black women, for sure. Jameela [00:58:18] Fucking terrifying. I really appreciate. I really appreciate your work there. And while I also don't want it to be something that you are solely known for, it's something that you will always be remembered for in a good way for how honest and brave you were, where a lot of people tried to shut you down. And I love the way that you put your family out there, and the last thing I wanted to ask you is as raising two young black children with everything we've seen in the last couple of years, what is most on your mind? I suppose like not just like the negative stuff, but also the positive stuff, like what are you looking forward to and what are you thinking about for your kids growing up considering this, this moment of reckoning that we've had? Candice [00:59:08] I'm looking forward to being the kind of mum establishing myself in a way that my kids can in 10 years just be like, Do you know who my mum is? I think, Do you know who my mum is? Do you know who your dad is? Has propped up white society for so long that I'd love my children to have a taste of that, that just she's Candice Brathwaite, you know, type nepotism. Like, Yes, you go get that internship that you're totally shit at and not worthy of. You you go do that thing because there's been such an imbalance for such a long time that I'm like, That's one positive thing. I'm like every time I'm like having a slump or there's little internet issue, I'm like, Oh, no, no, no, you are going to keep moving forward because you are trying to offer your children a sense of ease. And whilst you cannot buy them out of their blackness, you can get yourself to a point in life and in history where may be uttering your name makes it a bit easier. And that's something that I would just love to give them. On the negative end I speak, I speak about this a lot. I'm very obsessed with the data coming out of the entire of the UK surrounding knife crime, and I've got a three year old black son and the average age of like black boys being shot to death this year was 14. And I'm not going to lie sometimes I'm like giving him up or reading him a story, and I'm like, in some ways, we might only have 10 years left. Jameela [01:00:36] Oh my God. Candice [01:00:38] And I just that weighs heavily on me, and we left London because of that data. And recently, the area, we wanted to move to first, but we couldn't afford at the time, a birthday party for a 14 year old. There was a double stabbing and the birthday boy and his friend died in that house in that area. And it's like where we live now is it's a drug pipeline. So the drugs go from like, say, Manchester and come through Milton Keynes and then into London. And I see these young boys being sucked in by these faceless rich men who care not for their lives or their bodies. And that's that is a that's a looming terror for me. And online, I communicate with a lot of women who have lost their sons to knife crime. And that's the thing. That's my next hurdle. Like, if I can get this boy to 21, 25, Jameela [01:01:38] I'm sure you will. I'm sure I feel very confident that if anyone. If anyone can do it, you're raising your kids to the value of going to therapy again, something that we don't see a lot of, especially in the British community, but also specifically black British communities like having a therapist, you opening, we're talking about your therapist at the top of this podcast talking about like understanding of and empathy for black mothers, talking about having the nuclear family, the black nuclear family that is thriving and happy and together, and that's a supportive dad. There's so much goodness that you're putting out there for your children to see and for everyone else's children to see. And you're an amazing woman. And so as I said earlier, fucking refreshing, I can't wait to have you back again to talk to you some more. Candice [01:02:21] Thank you! Jameela [01:02:21] To drop some more truth bombs on me. Candice, before I let you go, can you please tell me, what do you weigh? Candice [01:02:29] I weigh the end of generational trauma. Jameela [01:02:34] Wow. Well, I love that. I love you. It's been so fun getting to meet you. I really like I'm really sad that we didn't get to know each other all that time that I was in England. Candice [01:02:46] Oh, but don't worry. Jameela [01:02:47] Let's go get food when I'm home. Candice [01:02:50] Yeah. Jameela [01:02:50] All right, though, lots of love. Candice [01:02:51] Thank you for having me. Jameela [01:02:53] What a pleasure. All right, bye. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode. I Weigh, with Jameela Jamil is pretty used to research by myself Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnigan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson, and the beautiful music you're hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven't already, please rate review and subscribe to the show. It's a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month Stitcher Premium by going Stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly, over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543 or email us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners. Listener [01:03:48] I weigh being passionate about helping people. I weigh being resilient, even in times when all I wanted to do was give up. I weigh loving people who may not love me back. I weigh, showing love to people who don't show love to me.