May 28, 2020
Host of Legendary and “King of Ballroom” Dashaun Wesley joins Jameela this week to discuss the history of ballroom, the importance of chosen family, Legendary’s controversial announcement, and all the poses you need to know.
LEGENDARY is out now on HBOmax
9 — Dashaun Wesley
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of “I Weigh” with Jameela Jamil. I hope that you are well and rested because I’m bloody not. No, because last week I got a puppy and I, while I admit that he is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I already genuinely love him and he’s a great addition to our family. Christ, it’s a lot. They don’t really warn you about how much a lot it is. And all the videos you see on social media and Tik Tok and YouTube are all of a puppy’s cutest moments. They don’t really warn you about how much they bite and how much that hurts and how much pissing there is. There’s no sleeping at night, only during the day. So therefore, I haven’t slept in about five days, which is why I might be a bit loopy and ramble-y today. I apologize in advance. It’s only going to get worse over the next couple of weeks. I think by week four, I’ll be speaking in tongues if this dog does not let me sleep. And he’s already at 8 weeks shagging everything he touches, which I didn’t think happened that young. I thought there’d be some innocence, but no, his blanket, his dinner plate, his crate, his bed, my leg, shagging everything. It’s like having a crazed, horny teenage vampire in my house who’s just incredibly cute. I still do recommend getting a dog. Just brace yourself because it’s three or four weeks, I’m sure, of chaos before you then get man’s best friend. Right now, he is man’s absolute biggest liability. But he’s very sweet and I will be posting pictures of him online very soon. I’ve just been too busy cleaning up piss. Anyway, moving on. So today’s show is one I’m very excited about because I love the guest and he’s someone I’ve become very good friends with this year. While we’ve been filming a show together, it’s called “Legendary”. It’s out now, it’s on HBO Max. It was just released the first two episodes. And it’s really, really, really fucking good. And I’m really proud of it. And I hope you watch it and enjoy it. But also, he’s such a special man with such a special life story, and it feels like I am getting in early on the future biggest star of the world. So I feel so lucky to have him on this, on this podcast because he’s so special. So we’ve been making the show together called “Legendary” and it’s a celebration of the ballroom community. So that’s where vogueing comes from. Some people think Madonna is responsible for voguing. She isn’t. She was just paying homage to the ballroom community. It is essentially a safe space for young people of color who are often queer or trans to be safeguarded and to be, to experience acceptance and love and to be able to celebrate their identities and really be who they are. So it is such a special community. And what I love about this show that we’re making. It’s a reality TV show, dance competition is the fact that it’s not your average competition show. It is. It’s also kind of documentary style, taking us back through the history of ballroom and also these people’s real life stories. You know, so many of the stories that we see about young people of color, especially those who are queer and trans, they are devastating stories of their murders or, you know, the their ostracization or death penalties around the world and, and different ways in which their rights are consistently being removed by the government. And what I love about shows like this or shows like “Pose” is that while we acknowledge that, we also just show the, the side that the media never tells you, which is the beauty and the glory and the win and the love and the passion of ballroom. These are, these are not your average people. They are better than your average people. They are more accepting, more interesting, more inspiring, more resilient than anyone else I’ve ever met or come across. And so it’s really, it’s really exciting to be a part of a show that is showcasing that to people who maybe didn’t understand this culture, didn’t know about it. I hope that some kid who lives in a community where maybe they don’t feel accepted or safe to be themselves knows that these people exist and there is a world for you where you will be accepted and loved and honored. And, and I hope that this show will galvanize you to go out and find those people, find your real tribe, find your chosen family if you aren’t supported at home. And but also, it’s exciting for us to be able to see that so much of the things that, so many of the things that we love in music and art and dance and hair and makeup and language and particular language, all of it comes from ballroom. And no one knows that because it gets siphoned and stolen from by other more mainstream communities, which is really frustrating. And, you know, ballroom kind of lives underground or it has done until now with shows like “Pose” on FX and now this show, “Legendary”. And I think it’s really great that finally the money, the recognition and the stage goes to the people who created so much of what we love. At long last, they can no longer be stolen from and no longer be exploited. They can just be celebrated. The show is, is one of my favorite things I’ve been a part of. But it’s also been been an interesting journey for me. Before we get into Dashaun’s interview. It would be a bit weird for me not to address the fact that when it was announced that I was a part of the show, people responded in a very mixed way. I’d say there was a lot of backlash, a lot of rage to, about my involvement in this show, because I am a cis woman, I am not black or LatinX, which is predominantly what the ballroom community is made up of. And also, I’m not part of ballroom. I’m someone who’s been a spectator, someone I used to go to balls but never walk in them or be a part specifically of the culture. And I completely understand that they would wonder why someone like myself or Megan Thee Stallion, who’s another one of the judges on the show, alongside also Law Roach and Leiomy Maldonado, why in particularly us two were involved? It is incredibly annoying that community is or marginalized people needs, need people who are more mainstream and more accepted and more privileged to be able to leverage their ability to get onto a mainstream network or show it’s something that is a problem still in our industry. And I totally empathize with the fact that no, no one should need an ally. No one should need someone with millions of followers to be able to justify them being able to have their own TV show celebrating their amazing culture. But unfortunately, this is an industry that runs on advertising and it’s a money industry. It’s a business industry where people who pay for it want to guarantee numbers. They want to guarantee viewing figures and the things that guarantee that are people with big platforms. And because our society is all so backwards, most of the people from ballroom do not yet still have millions and millions and millions of followers and the ability to be press household names. And so having someone like Megan Thee Stallion in particular being, you know, history making superstar is so great for the show. And I myself am able as an ally to just bring my audience to come and learn about this culture with me on the show. So in addressing it, I’m just saying that I totally get it. And, and I, and I’m still happy to be a part of the show because without big names, this show couldn’t have gotten made. And I’m glad it’s been made because I think it’s really special and it’s something that I’m really proud of. And I and the window in for those of you who don’t know anything about ballroom culture, I’m learning Megan’s learning and you get to learn alongside with us. So it’s on HBO Max, it’s out now. And the thing that is the most special I would say about the show is DaShaun Wesley, my guest today. He has never hosted a TV show before. And there were cameras and rowdy audience members. We were shooting into the early hours of the morning. He’s got an earpiece, an audio cue, and he just delivered like a boss. He is so cool and charming and charismatic and sexy and talented and graceful. I think maybe I’m in love with him. I don’t know. James is okay with it. He gets it. I think he’s in love with him too. I think I must have proposed to DaShaun at least three times during the filming of “Legendary”. And he is my, is my new TV husband. So please join me in celebrating the unbelievable talent and human that is to DaShaun Wesley. So I am joined today by the king of vogueing. It is DaShawn Wesley. Hello.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:08:52] Hello. Hello, Jameela.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:54] Are you putting on an extra sexy voice right now?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:08:56] I am not. I just have this daytime voice.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:00] Wait. What’s your nighttime voice?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:01] It’s more like. Let’s go. Let’s bring in. Rrr.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:04] Okay, fine. You’re one of my favorite voices in the world.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:07] Oh, thank you, love.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:09] So we know each other because we are working on a TV show together. It’s called “Legendary”. It’s on HBO Max.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:16] “Legendary”.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:16] It is a ballroom competition, not the kind of ballroom that you’ve heard of back in the day. It’s voguing ballroom. Would you explain to people what the world of ballroom is?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:27] What the world of ballroom is? I mean, you know, I think everyone have a slight idea of where it came from, where derived from. But-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:35] Well, I think a lot of people think of voguing, they think of Madonna.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:38] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:38] And actually, this goes way back to Harlem.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:09:41] Way back before that. And I’ll take it back to where they had, you know, during these pageantry years and like back in the 60s where, you know, people of color were in pageants and they felt like the treatment wasn’t being fulfilled equally between everyone. So this one contestant, Crystal LaBeija, felt like things weren’t right and wanted to-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:02] I’m beautiful, darling.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:10:02] I’m beautiful, darling, it’s not your fault, sweetie. It’s not your fault. And she, took-, took a walk away in a stance that, you know, for everyone to say that we all matter, no matter what color, size, you know, race, anywhere we come from, we can do it. But, you know, let’s start our own and this ballroom culture sort of derived from there. So it really started before Madonna. Madonna’s found it in a club, picked it up, got some voguers in a community and brought it on into her platform. And that was kind of exposed to what-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:30] Was it Willi Ninja? Who was working with Madonna?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:10:34] Well, you know what? Willi Ninja was actually one of the people in the forefront who brought it to the mainstream, if you want to be honest.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:40] Right.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:10:40] He, if we take it back to like a music video that was out before, music that was out before Madonna, you have “In My House” with Queen Latifah and Willi Ninja was a part of that. Michael MacLaren, “Deep in Vogue”, you have these videos that was out representing what Vogue was and showing the authenticity of it. You know, Madonna just put it on that platform for it to be seen. So it didn’t start with Madonna.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:04] No, I know. Massive misconception.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:11:06] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:08] I’m so happy to now be allowed into this world just as a spectator. I’m one of the judges on this show. It’s a proper competition. DaShaun, you are the voice. You are the commentator. You are the king.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:11:20] Gorgeous.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:22] And we have eight incredible houses. House is kind of how you describe a crew or a family of Voguers. And so it’s all kinds of wonderful high fashion names like the house of St. Laurent, house of Lanvin, house of Escada. And they dance for their lives on this show. And so what made you want to bring the show? And there’s been a lot of conversation, I think, you know, on the Internet about how people worry that shows like “Pose” and shows like this are commodifying, I guess, the ballroom scene and that the ballroom scene is supposed to be this very safe place for black queer, black trans or LatinX people to exist and have that freedom and exhibit self-love and love for each other when the world outside does not let them in. So how do you feel about these shows becoming mainstream? I personally think representation is incredibly important.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:12:20] Of course, of course.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:20] And that if you can see it, you can be it.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:12:22] Definitely.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:22] But I also I’m not the person to comment on this.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:12:25] Well, I mean, I can definitely start by saying, yes, it’s, I can always say that this is a place for people who look like me, act like me and sort of work or move like me to come to a place in its surrounding to let this side out. You know, this is why I always, we kind of like use that floor, the runway, as a way to express the talent or what we have to say without actually saying it by movement. And I do it with movement, a dance, with voguing. And I always tell people there’s a difference between knowing how to do it and why you do it. The reason why we exist so hard in a ballroom culture, because we know why we do it, you know, compared to, you know, how to do it. And I put these into forefront because we have these platforms and I say kind of like, I bring it back to like 10 years ago where I had a vision that this was gonna happen for today. I don’t know why. I don’t know what taught me. I don’t know what told me. But, you know, ten years ago, I knew that, you know, this ballroom platform will be where it is today. And we have television shows like “Pose”. We had television shows like “My House” or films like “Kiki” or “How Do I Look” and “Paris is Burning” to actually bring the sort of, the control back to where voguing was going or where ballroom as a whole was going.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:13:38] Do you consider it empowering to the ballroom culture to be able to tell your own story?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:13:43] Definitely. I mean, it’s, it’s very, I’m, I’m proud that, you know, you have some representatives of the culture to go out there to make sure that we are being represented correctly, because it’s, you know, we spent so many years underground and, you know, from the small little details of people watching us on social media to as big as people who are showing up as just being spectators and understanding what we do as a whole, it’s, it’s very unique that, you know, it’s existed for so long, but now we’re being put on the forefront. But I’m glad that we still have representatives to bring it back where we’re from.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:16] Something I love about the world of ballroom. And I’ve always been an outside spectator and going to like Jack’s Voguing Nights back in the day. But I, I love the fact that I kind of am dumbfounded at how this, like, level of peace was found within the community. But a community that experiences so much emotional and physical violence from the outside world, the way that you guys choose to settle your disputes, no shade, no shade-.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:14:48] No shade.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:49] Is on the dance floor.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:14:51] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:51] And then at the end, do you hug each other?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:14:53] Mmhmm.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:54] I mean, I’m sure you don’t always hug each other.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:14:57] Yeah, I was about to say, sometime, some people. But still.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:00] I’m sure earrings are taken off.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:02] Oh, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:03] And shit gets real, but the judging is so fucking harsh. Oh, my God.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:08] It is.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:08] So basically, for anyone who doesn’t know who’s never been to a ballroom scene or a ball, basically, you, all the judges have to give you 10s. So it has to be 10s across the board. Unanimous.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:21] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:21] Anything. Even a 9. Even a 9 and a half. You are chopped. You are cut. You are done.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:25] Yes. Anything below it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:27] It’s so brutal. And it creates infighting.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:30] It does.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:30] You know, I’ve like, I’ve been, I’ve been very upset with some of our other judges.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:35] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:35] And some of the decisions that they’ve made because they’ve just gone up, we’ve all given 10s. And then, it’s just one person having a bad fucking day. Why so fucking brutal, though?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:44] Oh baby. Baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:45] Why 10s across the board? That’s so intense.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:47] I mean, it is. I mean, this is, again, that that’s that kind of way to say you did exactly what you needed to do to get past. So that and it sucks because there’s only one chop that can ruin the whole thing, you know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:58] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:15:59] And sometimes with, in ballroom, we have moments where we change sometimes the rules and and flip things to make the competition more interesting. So maybe at another function we meet, we may be like a two chop rule. You know, one person may chop you and it may be like, OK, maybe it was shade, maybe it was real. But if two people chop you, something ain’t right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:17] Okay, fine.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:16:18] But at these functions, we really go with one chop majority at a time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:22] I mean, it makes for the most extraordinary drama. I’m amazed that this culture hasn’t been more mainstream until now. I just it’s so, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The drama, the passion, like, and also, I think what people don’t understand is the, the lives a lot of these community members live like a lot of these you know, you have these houses. That’s what they’re called, these different groups. And you have a house parent. And that can be a he or she, a mother or a father. And they have their own kids. And I, would you explain how they recruit these kids?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:16:56] Well, being a father of the scene, I am also in the house. I also I am a Los Angeles father and I’m also an international father because I travel internationally a lot.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:08] And you’re from the house?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:09] Lanvin. So I am exclusive Lanvin. So, I mean, when it comes to recruiting, you know, it’s very unique and interesting. If you see someone definitely in ballroom, you can tell what category they can walk, just like a snap of a finger. Once you’re in this lifestyle, because I can look at you and go, oh baby, I got two categories for you just by looking across the table.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:28] What are my categories?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:29] Well, I know you got a stern walk so you can walk runway and you have a beautiful face and you can walk face.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:36] Thanks.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:36] So these are the categories that, you know, you can like immediate, from me telling you just by looking. And it’s about ballroom and how we recruit.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:42] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:42] We see, we have categories selected, not only just voguing, we have fashion categories. We have realness categories.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:48] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:49] We have-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:50] I try to do, I try to you know, do the good hands.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:54] Hand performance?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:54] Yeah. I should try to do some hand performance and I slap myself in the face twice.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:17:57] Oh OK.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:58] So I’m not allowed to do that.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:18:02] We gonna have some lessons. We gonna have some lessons.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:06] And so you find people via their talent. But also I’ve heard that some people, I think there was a young person called Angel who was talking about how they were homeless on the street. They’d had to leave because of their sexuality and being a young black person in America who is not straight, they had to get away from their family and were sleeping on like I think maybe it was a bench or something like that, sleeping outside, and a house Mother approached them and after talking for a little while invited them into the house and taught them how to dance, taught them how to give face. And I think that that’s also a really beautiful part of this community that people don’t understand is that these, some of these people are so fuckin disadvantaged and they find family, they find cho-, they define ballroom defines chosen family to me in a way that no other culture does.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:18:55] Well definitely.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:55] And that’s what I love about it. You know, as someone who needs that in my life.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:18:59] It’s immediately and I’m sure you probably have been mothered already now because when we come around, we’re like, oh, you’re my daughter, come here. So it’s just like that moment where you have someone. And I can, I can be an example of, of, of a situation that I’ve been through, not saying that I’ve been kicked out, you know, but I had a family members and mother and father who didn’t believe in a sexuality I lived.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:23] I’m sorry.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:19:23] So I know what it’s like at a young age to go out and go find, you know, shelter and not meaning shelter as a home, but shelter as in find out who I am as a person.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:34] Where was home?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:19:35] Home was Brooklyn, New York. It was between Brownsville and Bedford Stuyvesant growing up, you know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:41] 90s was a fucking hard time in New York, right?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:19:44] Oh baby. She was unique. You know, again, you had these moments where, you know, at 14, my family in my community was telling me that I didn’t mean anything. I’m gay, I’m black. I shouldn’t do this. I’m feminine, boys shouldn’t act like this. I need to hang around boys than girls. You know, I would, I, you know, I would have to do things so I wouldn’t be kind of spooked. What we call it in ballroom scene. And spook meaning like no one can tell about your sexuality. So I had to walk a certain way, talk a certain way in order to be like that until 15 hit. And I’m like, I can’t do this, baby. This is not my life. But again, you have people who either experience who’ve been kicked out of their homes. I’ve had friends growing up, you know, in my teenage years who was in shelters and, you know, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender shelters that they stayed in and, you know, because their parents put them out. And one thing that we did have with this life of family when we came together, definitely in ballroom and, you know, we had that mother, that father, that sister, that brother that we created this bond. We hang out every day, we went to school, we went to after school programs. We went to balls.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:47] Amazing.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:20:47] We were doing outreach. You know, I was a outreach worker, peer outreach worker, handing out condoms, making sure we all stay protected.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:54] Amazing. And so Leiomy is another judge that’s on “Legendary”. Leiomy is Wonder Woman, is how she’s known publicly. Leiomy and you met at a competition and you had to battle against each other. And you both got chopped. The ultimate sin. And then was it? You just became friends?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:21:19] No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:19] Because I hear this is like a 15, 17 year friendship.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:21:22] Yeah. We’ve been, you know, it was this after school program and New York City called Hetrick-Martin, we would call it HMI and we used to go there to practice. And, you know, we had, this was a place where if I was trans, if I was openly gay or if it was, I can go here and be myself and not worry about anything 14, 15 years old. They provide us with, you know, feeding us everyday, giving us information, a resume building, and-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:49] Does this place still exist?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:21:50] Yes, it does. It’s right on Astor Place in, out here in New York City.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:53] Say the name again.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:21:54] Hetrick-Martin Institute, also HMI. And again, it’s a drop-in center. And they used to let us, as long as we went to programs and, and attended some of the meetings and some of the groups that they had, we can have our fun afterwards, get fed, play some music and, you know, do what we do. And I’ve had the great opportunity of meeting my sister, Leiomy, there as teenagers before we even started becoming who we were. We were there battling it out, in this like lunchroom area with lockers and anything. She’s probably laughing if she hears about this because we take it that far back. And it’s so weird to know, you know, we all came from this place of, I can’t say of not having but not experiencing, you know, a normal life because we were told that, you know, we didn’t matter. Definitely in our own communities, you know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:41] Yeah, I definitely know. And so, so this is a podcast where we often talk about shame. Is that something that you ever resonated with around your sexuality or skin color or anything with community?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:22:53] Yes, of course. I mean, I still experience some things to this day and I have overcome a lot of it, you know, but-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:58] You experience shame now?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:00] I mean, I can’t say shame now.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:02] But you’re a God.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:02] I’m a God, but you know what? I still experience what people were telling me, you shoud not-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:06] I can’t tell you what to feel.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:07] You cannot do this, you can’t show people how to vogue. That’s too feminine for a masculine, masculine male. I was too feminine for black kids and youth. What are you doing to our youth? Like, it’s so crazy. And I actually read something online that said, you know, oh, your kid is feminine. Then you weren’t putting as much of this power onto him that you have to show him. You wasn’t scolding him right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:30] The power of never crying.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:31] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:31] When you want to.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:32] Oh, my gosh. I cry.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:33] The power of fighting when you have a problem with someone rather than just fucking talking it out?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:37] That stuff don’t work.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:38] What great power.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:39] I’m sorry that stuff didn’t work as I was being scolded as a kid not to be who I am today. You know, no, that does not work and it doesn’t help. It doesn’t help.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:48] No, absolutely.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:49] They didn’t teach me who I was. I learned who I was by being around the people I felt comfortable being around with.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:54] I’m very glad that you got to that place. Your pronouns, I believe, are he or she.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:23:59] He. I’m a he, yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:01] You go more towards he. Yeah. Ok, cool.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:24:03] He/him. I don’t mind the she because it comes on the scene. If somebody says “she”, I don’t mind it because we know we use that as a jokingly manner. But like hear my voice.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:11] Everyone and everything’s a she in ballroom, I notice.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:24:12] Yeah in ballroom.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:12] Like my dress. They were like, “She’s amazing”.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:24:17] She’s amazing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:17] And I was like, “Am I”? And they were like, “Not you. The dress”.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:24:19] The dress. We acknowledge everything as she. You know, it’s like even if the mic is acting-, that’s oh, child, that she, she actin’ up. And you’re like she, the person or the microphone is acting up?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:30] Ok good, that’s, that’s good to know. Thats so funny.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:24:33] Fabulous.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:33] I’m gonna stop you there because we’re just gonna have a little break. We’re back. I’m so happy that you are finding this place. What, can I ask? Because a lot of the people who listen to this podcast are young people and they are young people of color and they’re young people who are on the rainbow. And they don’t know how the fuck to get out of the prison of shame that they are in. The prison that they were put in by our society or by their own parents or by their school.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:25:03] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:03] Can I ask you, is it too personal to ask you?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:25:04] No, go for it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:04] How you kind of worked through this journey of becoming comfortable in who you are.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:25:10] One thing I realized once I got on my own, I kind of like no one can dim my shine. No one can take me to a place that I didn’t put myself. I always kept that in my mind as a kid. So when-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:23] How did you learn that?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:25:24] I don’t know. It just. I honestly just it’s just something that that just soaked in me. Like it, it takes me a lot. A lot. A lot. A lot to get mad when I’m there. I am. And I don’t get there often.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:35] I can’t even imagine.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:25:36] I don’t because I don’t, because I have these opportunities to express myself and I do that through the microphone with, with the culture. But how do I get out of that shame? You know, what’s the one thing I did was kept a smile on my face because can’t nobody dim the shine, can nobody shift this, this person that I am. That I’m, I’m living to be, you know, I wake up every day in this body. I wake up every day seeing this face in the mirror. Like, why should I change how I feel or, you know, shift how or what I believe in? Because some one else tells me that they don’t believe in it. That’s just you. And if I let you into that, I’m giving you more power to shift how I feel. So I’m always about like, you know, self, self joy, self abundance of who you are and how you feel and what you do. No one can shift that unless you allow them to. And one you do, you already given them the power.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:26] Especially not when they look like you, DaShaun. For fuck’s sake.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:26:29] I’m just saying, you know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:30] I mean, what do you have a ten pack and cheek bones? I feel like unsafe around ’cause they could hurt me?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:26:36] Well, you know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:37] I’m afraid, when we go in for a kiss, I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my life.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:26:41] These cheek bones are so sharp, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:42] Gonna slit my throat. Yeah. It’s not. It’s not okay. But yes. No, I know. Outside of the fact that you are outrageously gorgeous. There is so much that is set up against you in this country, even outside of I understand your sexuality, just I’ve only been in America for the last couple of years and I just didn’t know. Obviously, we have a set up of a racist system in the UK, but it’s more kind of like, I’ll tell you, it’s a bit more. It’s, it’s generally horrific, but it’s kind of spread across different marginalized groups a bit more. Whereas here it is a very, very severe indifference.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:27:16] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:17] Like it’s very extreme how much it lends into black people, African-Americans. There’s more kind of Islamophobia to sort of dilute a bit of the anti-blackness in England in a way that I, I didn’t expect when I got here. And so I, I so applaud how when already feeling unsafe in this world, your community just kind of banded together and stood up to openly be yourselves in a world that told you that was absolutely unacceptable.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:27:46] Definitely.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:47] So that’s why I feel so excited to try and like lift the world up and show. For me my involvement in “Legendary” was just A, the show wasn’t getting made for some reason. You’ve been involved from the beginning like two years and it couldn’t get sold. And I just wanted to help in any way I can. I think it’s the same for Meg Thee Stallion to make sure that this unbelievable show with these unbelievable people definitely gets to air. But also, I wanted to be a part of just showing that the stories that we hear about black queer people or trans people in general of any color are always these sad, sensationalized stories of murder or crime or one of them commits a sex crime.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:28:29] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:29] So how many fucking sex crimes have we read about straight fucking people?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:28:32] Oh my gosh. Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:33] You know what I mean? Like, how many, how many crimes have been committed by people who do not identify as trans, queer or black? How many serial killers are black trans women? None I’ve fuckin heard of.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:28:47] Exactly.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:47] But these are the only stories we hear are stories of life expectancies of 35 and just devastating stories. And actually walking into ballroom always feels like this is not a sad community. It’s up, it’s a community up against a lot. But this is a, a joyful, powerful community. And that’s why I’d love the idea of this show of just showing the most victorious side of this community. So when they’re being sensational, it’s in the most fabulous-.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:29:14] Definitely and we-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:16] Powerful way.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:29:16] We can do that no matter what. And that’s the one beautiful thing about the culture and the scene. Is that-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:22] Resilience.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:29:23] We can go anywhere and we will turn the show up. And it’s nothing and the fact that, like you said, you know, I continuously thank you for this opportunity because again, two years ago when we were going through something with a different network, who was just trying to tell us, no, we can’t do this. No, you can’t do that. We want to do this and we’re like, no. Then this is what we’re experiencing now. You know, we don’t have the opportunity to sit in places to tell our own stories. And sometimes these stories aren’t as sad as people think they are. And things have shifted. You know, how they weren’t now than what they were years ago. You know, I’ve been a part of ballroom culture, oh my gosh, for 20 years. I’m only 35. You do the math and I’m going to put the first few years on me learning, so, oh gosh. So that brings it to earlier year. But what I’m seeing is the fact that, you know, we are open to everyone. We have categories that’s open to all. We cover every gender inside the ballroom culture. And if we’re missing something, we’re going to argue it out until we find another, you know, way or pass and so everyone can feel included. So this is why. So and we had celebrities judge our balls before. We’ve had people come into our culture and shed light and show love in and let us know what we can do in order to, or give their platform and give their opportunity to take us to another place with it. And I’m just thankful that people were, had that open eye.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:45] Yeah, I’m thankful to be allowed in because I think this culture is so beautiful.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:30:49] Yes, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:49] Tell me about your platform.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:30:52] Oh.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:52] This platform tat you’ve been building.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:30:55] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:56] What’s it called?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:30:56] Well, I mean, one thing. I mean, I’m al-, I’m a dance teacher. I’m a Vogue instructor.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:02] Soon to be my dance teacher.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:31:04] Oh yes, baby. I got a teach her a catwalk of soul. I also, I have like a dance team in Los Angeles. I have. Oh gosh. It’s just so much is going on. I also host dance competitions in America and also outside of the country. I also teach full classes outside of the country and also teach the, about the ballroom culture itself because different countries are picking it up as well too.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:29] Are you ready for how busy you’re going to be when “Legendary” comes out? You, no, I’m genuinely serious. I can say this now because I’ve worked with you for a couple of weeks. You are one of the best hosts I’ve ever seen. Aside from being an amazing, amazing emcee and an amazing commentator, your hosting skills, your way to just control the floor, to control the crowd, to elevate the energy in the room, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been doing this as a host for 11 years. I am shit on your shoe and I am happy to be.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:01] I’m going to tell you a shockingly secret right now.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:04] Go on.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:04] You know, that was my first time ever working a teleprompter.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:06] Yes, I fucking do know.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:08] Did you really?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:08] I do know it’s your first, I can tell from the look on your face when you hear the earpiece. You’re working with an earpiece for the first time.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:14] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:15] And it looks like someone is stuck a finger up your ass. That’s the face that you make.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:19] Oh gosh. And I will make that face every time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:20] The face I make when someone is talking in my ear. This is the face that people make generally is, for those who aren’t watching. And how dare you. They, the face that you make is when someone is talking to you while you’re both in the sea and suddenly they start urinating, you can tell the look on their face because they stop listening. So it’s like. So just talk to me and I’ll be like.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:46] Jameela, how are you feeling today? Everything’s great. Oh, my gosh. I think that-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:52] Did you see it?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:32:53] Yes. You guys are not seeing what I’m seeing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:57] It’s the exact face someone makes when they’ve started pissing in the sea.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:01] Oh, my God. So you’re one of those, so I see yours and you see mine.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:04] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:04] Because I’ll be catching you up. Oh. Oh, yeah. Okay. I know what’s happening right now.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:08] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:08] Oh that’s funny.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:09] I mean you look like you’re doing a shit in the sea. You’re still not used to it.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:13] I am not. And then it’s like two voices that go back and forth like “Hey De-“. Then “Hey DaShaun”. And I’m like, whoa.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:20] I’m so happy to, to, to get to be a part of watching the world, the world discover you. ‘Cause I know that your world knows all about you, but my fucking God, I’m excited. So tell me about this platform. It’s called Tenz.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:32] Oh, yeah. Also, yes. So I run the online media print and like, sorry excuse me, I run online media and print magazine called Tenz Magazine. We cover ballroom culture, but we also cover all surrounding queer culture. So if you ever go to our platform, we talk about everything that we fear that, feel that queer culture don’t discuss.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:54] Like what?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:33:55] Or that we miss out. So, you know, one thing I do mention is like, for example, and I use the ballroom culture as an example that like there’s been industry balls that we call and these are balls that happens at W hotels or there’s a ball where celebrities are judging it, like a Naomi Campbell, a Cardi B, a Tiana Taylor. They all sit on the panel at like these events and, you know, these sorta like benefits sometimes. And they will have these events in, you know, everyone sits on these panels and the ballroom culture will come in and participate. They’ll get hundreds of, you know, hundreds of dollars, thousand dollars for a competing. But when media talks about us, they immediately go, well, Cardi B sat on a panel and Naomi sat on the panel. Well, what about the person that won that event? That’s where Tenz pop up, we’re there like, well, we have the ball person, who from the ballroom culture, this and that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:47] This is By the way, exactly what fucking happened with our fucking press release.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:34:49] Exactly with our thing. This is what I’m going to lead into that. And it’s stuff like that, we’re like, well, you know, what about the people participating? What about the legends who took their time to sit there?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:58] What about the people that set it the fuck up?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:35:01] Set it up. Yeah. So we forget about that. And this is, you know, we go to media and we say we understand and it is nothing bad towards media. We just have to have a better communication with each other. So, you know, with media and my platform with Tens magazine. We make sure we cover it all. We talk about, you know, drag race and we talk about everything surrounding drag culture. We talk about everything surrounding every skin tone-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:25] And what’s the difference?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:35:25] Ethnicity, of everything.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:26] What’s the difference? For those who don’t know between the kind of drag culture, the, the RuPaul Drag Race vs. ballroom community, because I can imagine at first when this comes out, some people will wonder what the difference is.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:35:39] So it’s always gonna be that kind of thing coming and beginning right now because it shows similar dynamics. And one thing about RuPaul drag race in the culture. Yes, in our culture, we include drags as well to whether it’s gonna be for performing a lip sync. Whether it’s before a runway. What we do for realness, a face or whatever it is-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:59] I mean, that’s where Crystal LeBieja started.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:36:01] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:02] And then left and started her own thing.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:36:04] And it’s, I think it’s similar qualities that they use that kind of like takes away from the extra dynamic where it comes from. So when they talk about, oh, my God, this table is given me wood realness. And in the ballroom culture, we like what the heck is wood realness? Like what’s wood realness, you know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:19] Is there a slight appropriation? Like for example, like a dip. A dip is when you see someone in vogue kind of like throw themselves back with one leg under them and like, like a delicate like neck tilt. And the head almost touches the floor, sometimes the head does touch the floor and it scares the fucking shit out of me.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:36:37] Ah, yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:37] But that is called a dip. And then other people, because of the appropriation, call it the death drop.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:36:42] The death drop.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:43] Anyone who is taking part in participating in the ballroom community. I have learned it is not a death drop. It is the dip.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:36:52] Thank you, Jameela, because I don’t have to say it now because we again, educating everyone about our culture, because people are coming to us like, well, oh, sheblam and death drop and we’re like, no.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:00] And fierce. Fierce is not good. Fierce is a fashion term, for like fierce. Fierce with you is like it’s it’s beyond shade, right?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:08] It’s beyond. It’s like if someone’s fierce. You’re telling me you are the gum at the bottom of my shoe, like in our culture, fierce is used as a bad thing. So when people coming up to us and like, oh my God, that outfit is fierce, we’re looking at you like, excuse me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:20] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:21] Oh, you don’t know. OK, let me let me school you, honey. Fierce is bad. You break it down, kind of situation. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:27] Shade. No shade, as you call it.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:27] That’s my thing. You know people like, no shade and, you know, this time has been out for so long.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:34] And you said shade is a way of being mean without really being mean.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:36] Oh yeah. Being mean. Telling you the truth without being, oh gosh, it’s just so many things.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:40] Without having a cruel intention.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:42] No. Some people can have cruel intentions. Shade can mean many things baby, but it really depends on how you deliver it, which makes sense.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:51] OK, so, I’m so glad you have this, this editorial magazine. And is that, would you say that’s your one of your main pursuits outside of ballroom?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:37:59] Yes. If I wanted to. You know, I know I have a Dashaun Wesley focus, but I also want to give back to my community in any way I know how. Me and my co publisher, who helps me work with Tenz magazine, you know, we started this many years ago and try to figure out how in what ways we can definitely bring all cultures into one, because there hasn’t been anything that rounds everything into one. Talking about trans issues, talking about, you know, drag culture, talk about gay and lesbian issues and problems, talk about the issues we have between the gay and lesbian that we really kind of don’t discuss.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:38:31] And then by the bis.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:32] Yeah, the bis, and so we cover every queer culture there is. If there’s something going on in the Pacific island culture, culture we’re posting about it, if something happen in a drag culture, we’re posting about it. There’s event going on. We’re posting about it. We cover every last significant thing. And we’ve been reaching amazing people. And they love our stories because we’re so truthful and real.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:52] I love it. I’ve never seen this magazine. I can’t wait.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:38:57] Don’t worry about it. I got you, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:58] Yeah. We should do something together.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:38:59] Yes, yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:59] I would love to participate. That’s fucking cool.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:39:02] It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:03] And I know that you have a lot of passion towards awareness around HIV.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:39:07] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:08] Where does that come from?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:39:09] Oh OK. So this is this is where hits home. You know, definitely being in this culture where I see a lot of people go through this, this struggle of not having and, and I’ve seen so many people pass from this virus and how it hit home because I actually lost my mom to HIV and AIDS.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:27] I’m sorry.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:39:28] And I lost her, you know, before I hit the twenties, you know, so it was something I knew about because it was in my culture, but is really interesting when it hit home.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:36] And also people don’t realize that that can happen to straight women.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:39:39] Straight women. A straight black woman in Brooklyn, New York. Like, wow, to me, this is something I feared as a teenager growing up, not sure if this is something I’m going to get in life or if something is going to happen. But when it happens to your, like your a family member, when it hits home. And not only just did this happen to my, my mom, it was my aunt. And it was like how much it’s grown. This threw me inside there, without a doubt. There’s no way I could not experience it. It educated me to know how to work with my mom, you know, and it’s so weird that you would think it would happen to me because I’m gay. And this is something that, you know, it’s been instilled in my, my self as a kid that this is coming my way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:19] It’s a gay disease.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:40:19] A gay disease, you know, and but to see your mom. So, again, my, my education, my love towards it definitely came from my culture and also my home because I was able to share this information with others. I used to run youth support groups and have these conversations and run street smarts and have these, you know, talks with kids and youth and young adults about how to make better decisions.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:42] And it’s also weird how because less white gay men are perhaps experiencing HIV, we’ve started to treat it like it’s a problem that’s kind of, of the past. As if we’ve left it in the 80s and yet the numbers are coming way back up, especially amongst the black trans community. I’ve been talking to young sex workers, who are black trans women, and they tell me that they don’t necessarily choose sex work as their first option. I’m not to say that others can’t find it empowering, but they personally are in a situation where no one else will hire them.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:41:15] True.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:15] And so they end up in sex work. And there is a fucking rule in NYC where you, if you are found with more than three condoms on you, you can be arrested and taken every.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:41:29] Really?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:30] Yeah. So it’s a three condom rule. So therefore, they go out without three condoms.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:41:34] Omg, I’ve never.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:34] And if they have more than three customers. This is what I’ve been told by the sex workers.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:41:38] Oh, no, I mean, I mean this, they are privy to information because I have friends who currently still, you know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:42] Yeah, they’re in and out of, they’re in and out of of jail. And then once you fucking come out of jail in the American system. No, there’s no one to rehabilitate you. So what are you going to do? You’re gonna fucking go back to the thing that you do that got you there.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:41:55] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:55] Be that selling drugs for any person from any background or sexuality.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:01] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:01] If you come out of that prison system here.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:03] Yeah. I mean-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:04] You are imprisoned for life emotionally and financially.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:07] Yes, I have trans sisters who go through this still to this day. And this is why my support, my love, like, will always go in, in a helping hand, because, again, this is, I’ve had tran sisters since I was a teenager, at 14, my mom brung in one of my tran sisters as her daughter, and took her in. And I didn’t even know much information.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:28] Your mother, your family mother, not your house mother, yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:32] My biological mother took my tran sister in as her daughter.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:35] That’s so sweet.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:35] And this is back in like the early 2000s.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:37] That’s amazing that your mother was accepting in a community that wasn’t yet ready for that.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:41] In the beginning it was difficult.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:43] I know, I’m sure.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:44] In the beginning. Yeah, no, no, it’s okay. But in the beginning-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:46] How did you work around that?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:42:47] I don’t know, you know, and I always say this, this is how, this my coming out story real quick. Like my mom literally found, I came out because she found ball fliers in my top drawer and I had to be about like 15, 16s year old. I used to collect them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:02] Right.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:43:02] It was a souvenir for me. And, you know, moms are gonna be moms, came in, found the fliers and I came home one day. She’s like, what the hell is this? What is Butch Queen Vogue Femme? What is Butch Queen Up in Pumps? Why does this say Fag Out? And she lost it and after she lost it-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:17] Fag Out is amazing.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:43:19] Exactly. Oh baby. You haven’t seen nothing for that category yet. So it was just that, she was like, what, what the hell? And she did understand and I went through something traumatizing with her doing that more because she didn’t understand. But at the same moment, I think it taught her something because I had the amazing opportunity to bring her to a ball. I brought her to one ball, and she passed that same year-, the next following year. So. But I brought her to a ball.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:45] You brought her to a ball.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:43:45] Yes, I showed her some tapes and she loved it. But again, like it, you know, the love that came from there, that coming out story. My mom found ball fliers. I was like, I was freaking out because she was asking all these questions.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:56] I’m sorry, but with straight boys there’s worse shit.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:43:59] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:59] Mothers are finding in their fucking, I wish, I hope if I have boys one day I find ballroom fliers. Then some of the crazy shit my friends are finding in their son’s drawers.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:11] Baby, if you find a flier in your kid’s drawer that said Sex again, Fag Out, throw your fabulous heels on. You’re like, what the hell?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:21] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:22] Talk about a man here.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:23] So. So what I was trying to say, though, was within the trans community, if you are, if you are afraid of taking three condoms out with you, then you take less.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:33] That’s crazy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:34] And if you have extra customers beyond two, you’re risking your life.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:40] Well, I can say that I’m around some very smart girls.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:44] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:44] Right? So, you know a lot of things. You know, that I know there used to be times-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:47] I’m purely telling you this from the point of view of people who-.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:49] Yes, no.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:50] That’s how they contracted HIV.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:44:51] Yeah. Well, there’s different ways of getting, you think about it sometimes. We, were, we have to be very mindful of the choice that we do make because we know what comes with the work. We know it comes with the territory. And sometimes we have to make these choices in order to survive. And I know my sisters make choices to survive. And it’s choices sometimes where you have to look back at and say, you know, I know I did what I had to do in order to be who I am or be where I am today. And no one should have to go through that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:19] No.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:45:19] No one at all. No one should have a terrible experience of, you know, filling out a job application of being told no, because you’re trans. That’s crazy. And I support my sisters in whatever they they do to step forward, to be bigger and better and to let the world know that we all, we all, you know, have a place in life, a place on this earth. We’re put here for a reason. So we have to teach others. And I’m glad I’m able to help my sisters teach, to teach others, you know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:52] Absolutely. I love what you’re doing. How could other people support what you’re doing? How can people support Tenz? How can people support your work for HIV awareness?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:46:02] Well, I would say these platforms, Tenz, you can always go follow us. It’s TenzMag on Instagram. We, we are like totally there. Also we have TenzMagazine.com but also follow me. I’m always like a part of the community so you can always if you know, you come to the ballroom coach, you can learn that. If you want to learn about the HIV AIDS in stick-, about supporting the youth and young adults who are stepping up to be the new leaders and how our world of today, like, again, Hetrick-Martin, is always a place. We have place like GMHC. We have people like, oh, my God, what’s the place in Brooklyn like the Heat program or Housing Works that’s in Brooklyn. These are the programs. I always say go there and, you know, contribute your, your love, your time, if you have. ‘Cause you never know you may reach.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:49] So you’ve been a kind of growing king of ballroom 15, 20 years.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:46:57] 20 years. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:57] What the fuck are you going to do next?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:47:00] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:00] You kind of conquered.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:47:00] Baby, I want to hit every corner I can hit.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:07] What do you want to hit? You’re in “Pose”.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:47:07] I’m in “Pose”. I’m an actor on “Pose”.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:11] You play Shadow Wintour.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:47:11] I’m Shadow in the House of Wintour. Which is fun. Oh my God. Shout out to the “Pose” family. It’s friggin amazing. I actually-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:18] Tell me how you feel about what that show has done.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:47:20] I mean, that show, it’s, it’s sort of “Paris is Burning” and, and put into that series, that show phase. You know, it’s letting you know what happened during that time rather than seeing a documentary. You can now see what occurred when, you know, that story of the ballroom people who broke into a museum and stole outfits and wore it at a ball and got arrested at the end of the runway at the ball. You know, these are the experiences we have. You now get to see, you know, who was the person who walked for 5,000 dollars for face and won it because of their production. You know, this is, these are those ways you can sort of get in. So “Pose” teaches that these, these stories that we once lived the way it was or how people experience their lives, definitely in the 80s and 90s and in ballroom, you know, we, we were sometimes having balls at 5 in the morning because that was the perfect time for us to start. Imagine going to a ball at 5 in the morning in 80s. Crazy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:17] I’m 34, I don’t know about this sort of thing.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:48:21] So “Pose” really teaches and educates everyone about ballroom culture and where the beginning started, not whether the tippy toe beginning, but where we were definitely during this time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:29] OK, before I ask you our next question, we’re just going to have a little break.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:48:33] OK.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:38] And we’re back. Amazing. And where does ballroom draw its inspiration? Is it just everywhere? I mean, there’s a fucking thousand categories.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:48:46] Everywhere.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:46] I can’t. I was trying to learn them, and my brain can’t hold them all in.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:48:50] Baby once you’re in it, you just, it, it comes like clockwork. Now I can tell you any category. And we can probably create one right now if we were to think about it, you know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:57] What would our category be?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:48:59] I don’t know. I knew you was going to say that. We could do anything. However, if we want to create a nail category, we can create some nail category. Who have the best creative nails? You can create anything if you all create it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:12] Don’t look at my nails.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:13] Don’t look at mine either. You know, I need to get her clipped.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:16] So you’re an actor now.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:18] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:18] And you’re a magazine editor and you are a soon to be worldwide famous, very, very successful TV host.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:26] Oh yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:27] I’m serious. You should be hosting everything. I think you should start hosting my podcast, if I’m honest.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:32] Oh, baby. Hey.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:34] But I’m in a contract. Do you have your own podcast?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:39] No, I do not have my own podcast.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:41] That’s stupid. Let’s deal with that.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:43] I know, right? Now we’re gonna to have a conversation.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:45] I’ve got all kinds of ideas for you.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:47] Oh gosh, I’m here for them, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:49] Yeah. And what next?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:49:52] What next? I will say this. You know I’m excited to see what the outcome is going to be for “Legendary”.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:59] What do you think it’s gonna be? I’m so afraid. I’m so afraid.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:50:03] No, don’t be afraid. Welcome to ballroom, baby. There’s so many different feelings you’re going to go through. You’re gonna be afraid. You’re gonna be excited. You’re gonna be happy. You gonna be sad and definitely, you know, never like hide your emotions about ballroom. It is always to confirm to how you feel. And definitely let others know that that’s just what it is, you know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:50:23] And will you tell everyone who exactly is involved, like from the inside out?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:50:29] I mean, we have a wonderful and fabulous Scout Productions. Thank you guys for, you know, the two years of hard work to put this together. And that goes out to David Collins. That goes out to Rob Eric and Michael Williams, who had the great opportunity to put houses together for this television show, “Legendary” like the House of, of Balmain and the house of West and house of Lanvin and Escada and house of Ebony and the house of St. Laurent. Like, it’s, it’s so many houses that they picked from ballroom culture and given us the platform to do so.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:01] I feel like they’ve done their best and knowing that they are outsiders of the ballroom community to bring people in. We have Jack Mizrahi. He’s been involved from the beginning.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:51:09] Yeah. No Jack, he came on as a writer, like just about like a year ago.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:13] Okay.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:51:13] As a writer, I believe so, like a year ago.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:15] So Jack Mizrahi and Syd.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:51:16] Jack Mizrahi and Syd. And Jack also is a part of “Pose” as well too as a writer. So, you know, that just came hand-in-hand is like, you know, it worked its way out. And you had Sid who was a writer as well, who wrote a great article about Realness Ballroom and how it’s different from then compared to what it is today. You know, so if you ever had the opportunities in New York Times article beautiful. And Syd Baloue. Yeah. And-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:39] And I know we had, I mean, it’s very public. A lot of backlash against the show, most of which was directed at me because of how stupid fucking wrong press release that was left up for 48 fucking hours.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:51:50] I know, two days.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:51] That sent to the show. And it made it look like Jameela Jamil’s journey through becoming a ballroom star and then taking over the whole world of ballroom and then getting endorsements about ballroom.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:00] All those titles.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:00] And there are no other people from ballroom anywhere in the show.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:03] Anywhere, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:04] it’s just Jameela Jamil. That’s what it fucking looked like. Whereas I’m actually like, I’m a fairly small part of the show. Willingly. But aside from that, I think, again, the controversy of like you are gentrificating a community that is like a safe space that should be left alone to save space. And a lot of this, a lot of this negativity came from people who had tried to be in the show. And weren’t brought in like they didn’t make the cut for certain reasons.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:35] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:36] And so I remember when we were talking about, you were so, so kind to me when it happened, like you got on the phone and you were just like, you’re staying.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:43] Yes. You’re not going anywhere.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:47] And you were incredibly kind and incredibly. Like you became my parent a bit. Like my house parent.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:53] I told you, baby, we start to recruit baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:58] Yeah.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:52:58] Yeah. I mean, overall. I mean, you know, we’re gonna receive backlash and I’ll tell you this because we’re, we’re the ballroom culture we’re, we’re getting hit from different ends everywhere.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:06] For sure. And also, I just want to add that I also understand that some of the criticism was like totally understandable and necessary. And people haven’t seen the show yet. They don’t know what it is.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:53:14] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:15] I’m not saying that everyone who complained was just bitter. I’m just saying that a lot of the biggest noise came from people.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:53:20] From people.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:22] Who are ballroom performers.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:53:23] And of the culture. But here’s the thing where I get to those. You know, we all are given opportunities and given a job. And some people feel that they need to be a part of a job. But when you’re given this job to represent a culture, you take, you sit there and you represent the culture and sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to do so, there’s other people in ballroom experiencing different opportunities, and they have to do what they have to do to make sure it’s being, you know, received in every, the right information is going through. So everyone has a job here to do. And it’s so funny how we can sit here and run the ideology of something without knowing what’s happening behind scenes. How do you know what’s going on? And then they mention, we do get the mention of the people of the culture working on this. But yet, you know, we still have to realize-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:10] It’s like you and Leiomy and-.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:54:11] Yes. And Jack and our involvement because of the culture. We’re also a part of this. You know, we need to celebrate one another of those were going there. And sometimes we feel left out from something which we don’t know. We start to complain about it. So this is where we go to the media outlets who, those headlines. Jameela la la la, Jameela’s-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:30] Also, by the way, Meg Thee Stallion has ten times the amount of followers. She’s not even from ballroom culture so she shouldn’t be centered either. But like I couldn’t help but feel it was also like a fuckin element of not in the press release, but in the press. Like a, an inherent anti blackness to not censor any of the black talent when the show. I would say is what, like 85 percent is black.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:54:53] 85 close to 90 percent black participants.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:56] Yeah, black talent. Like fun for me to be centered, like one of the only nonblack people in the thing was just like Meg Thee Stallion is one of the most famous people in the world right now.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:55:07] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:07] Fuckin put her picture at least instead of mine, if we’re gonna show a non ballroom member.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:55:11] True. I mean, understandable. This is where we get everyone in. I can name numerous amount of celebrities that came to balls and supported us. And if someone else is interested, why aren’t we opening our doors and figuring it out? Because before we actually sat on that stage, Jameela, we had talks. So what makes people think that we’re not getting the right information for those people on the outside, the allies, the ones who support us, the ones who’ve seen and wanted to support us for many years, who never had the opportunity to do so. And now is the time to do so. We’re gonna shun them out? No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:41] I know. And then there were actually people like I won’t name names.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:55:45] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:45] But there was a certain housemother who within her thread, there were people calling to boycott the show. But like, let’s all just not watch the show and then it’ll get canceled. And then someone else will do it right. And it’s like, no, that’s not how it works. If this show fails, no one else is going to try to make this show.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:05] And we’ve been trying for two years.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:07] This is how it works. Right? It’s like it’s been trying to be made for two years. It’s a perfect format. I’m sure it was the same format all along.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:14] Right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:14] There’s no reason other than the fact that advertisers feel afraid to sign on to any show about any group in particular, obviously, a marginalized group, where there aren’t names that they can guarantee will bring in advertising and money and audience. Right?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:28] True.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:28] And I think a lot of people to understand that. And they’re just so fixated on, on who’s taking space.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:34] Who’s taking space.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:34] And I understand that. But they don’t understand that like two or three of us in the show of 50 people are not from that culture.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:42] Even, the so interesting part is, like I said, and I, when I made that tweet about like, just wait and watch, you’ll see.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:48] Exactly.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:48] We are including our own culture on this show.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:52] Centering it.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:56:52] So we do, centering everything. I can also say this when it comes to media, we taught media that ballroom came from, you know, the LatinoX, that African-American culture. And we also need to still and sort of like educate them about our inclusion with other people. Like and when I mean, other people, other people of different colors, sizes, you know, anything. We don’t care about anything. And everyone immediately pulls it right back to, oh, it’s for black people, it’s for black people. And it’s so interesting how you go within this. You have people supporting others who know no information about ballroom culture. So how are you saying. Yes, it belong, it started and it, and it began with the African American and black and Latino culture. And yes, we’re still there. And yes, we still support that, but we’re not blocking out anybody else, because if you come in our culture and our community, you are a talented mofo and you sit there and do what we are expecting. You are, you, we will praise you. We don’t care what you do, how you do it, we’ll praise you.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:49] I was surprised when I saw the House of Ninja who were on the show, and this is five cis white women who I think might even be predominately straight. I don’t know of their sexuality.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:57:59] No, we have some that’s you know, mixed.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:01] Yeah, sure. So but the point is, I was very surprised to see their rise. And I, I’ve, I’m happy to see them. They’re also really impressive. It’s like they know that they’re going to have to fuckin earn their stripes to stay.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:58:13] Because they are part of the culture. And it’s so interesting and they’re not from America. They’re from, you know, different parts of the country, all over. Italy, Japan, Taiwan. And they know the culture. They’ve been involved in it and-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:24] They’ve really learned it.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:58:25] Yes. Overall, I can honestly say, you know, we we support everyone who comes into our culture. As long as you’re doing it right and you’re representing the right information, you are accepted here, baby. Like in and-. Have you had a good time on the show?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:39] I’ve had a fucking great time on the show. I didn’t have a great time on Twitter.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:58:43] I know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:46] But I had a great time. I’ve had a great time on the show so far. I’ve also had a great time at balls before. I’ve always been a silent spectator in the back. But I, I’m so excited to be able to learn more with you and to share what I already know with other people like me. I’m here as the outsider. I’m the window in for the other people who are also like, what is this ballroom?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:09] Exactly.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:09] What is this vogueing? I will do everything in my power to try and support you. And not bring you more bad press.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:14] We, I know, listen. To be honest, your press actually did great for puttin’ the buzz it, as well too.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:20] To be fair, everyone is like, now I know what voguing is.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:23] Now I know. Yeah. Now I know ballroom. Oh, I want to watch this show now. Again, we’re making sure nothing’s going to happen incorrectly. This is all going great. And we’re also including people from our culture. So just wait and you’ll see.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:34] Before you go, will you give me five key expressions from voguing and what they mean?
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:40] Key expression.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:41] You are the king of the vocab-, vogue-cabulary.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:44] OK, I’ll break these down for you. Right? So has three parts to voguing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:49] Right.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:49] There’s three specific styles in voguing, So there’s old way. And that’s more so what we’ve seen with the whole Madonna phase.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:57] Recreating Vogue movement.
DASHAUN WESLEY [00:59:58] Recreating Vogue movement. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:59] As in like movements from Vogue magazine.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:00:01] Yeah. You’re doing those old, you know, the stiff, old, you know, asymmetric movement, pop dipping and spin-, spinning. That’s old way. Then we have a new way that’s more of a flexibility, acrobatic splits in, you know, oh my gosh, straddles someone who can take their leg and put it behind their head like it’s no problem and just flip it around like it’s milk. And then there’s Vogue Femme. That’s that feminine essence. And I believe you, you’ve seen some of this so far with someone take this feminine style of voguing with the poses in and putting it to the music and how it works. That’s exciting. But then we already made it clear about the dips. So we know what dips are. We cannot change that. It’s dips, baby. We already know it dips. But we also have, you know, things like a catwalk and a duckwalk. So those are my five things is the old way, new way, Vogue femme, catwalks and duckwalks. Catwalks is this movement that you have in sort of like a lower stance that you bend in your knees to a certain size, a certain height? I called it a five one, and you’re doing like the expression kind of walk forward and it’s more like a, yeah, there you go. Because we taught you how to catwalk a little bit forward. It’s so weird to like, break it down, via, you know, verbally.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:06] No, I understand.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:07] But.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:08] And then duckwalk is almost like a, it’s almost like the Russian style.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:13] The idea. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:14] Being on your knees.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:15] You’re down. But like-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:16] I can’t do that, I’m very old.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:18] Given that the idea, that idea that just sort of walking like a duck but there’s a movement to it that actually flows. So your back gotta be straight. You got to make sure you kick your toes. You’ve got to make sure the opposition in your hands.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:28] Oh my God. I mean, I don’t have a single muscle in my body. So I can’t do that. I’m, I. What about gagging?
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:34] Gagging OK. So when you’re gagging. Right?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:37] ‘Cause it can have two different meanings.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:38] Yes. Again, like if I like I, I’m gonna make you gag like that’s sort of like you’re going to like oh. Clutching your pearls like, oh my God. What? What?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:01:46] In an amazing way.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:01:47] And well, child, it can be amazing and could be a bad way like I can tell you like, oh my God, I’m about to tell your story and you’re gonna gag and you’re like, oh my God, tell me this story. Let me gag. I want to I want to be excited. I want, my, I want to stop my breath. But you can be real shady. And be like, oh, bitch, you’re about the gag. And you see, you felt that, right?
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:06] It was really tense.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:02:08] It could be intense or it can be playful. That’s why we love this whole world, because we have our own lingo.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:13] I love, I love you. Thank you for being here. I’m really happy that we met.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:02:19] Jameela. Oh, my God. So emotional.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:22] I’m really, like, not in a patronizing way, just so proud of how you’ve taken to, to owning that stage to television, to how technical and ridiculous it is. And I think that the future is so bright for you. And I’m really glad I got in before you get extra famous and forget me and you think I’m your cleaner.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:02:40] Oh no! You are the bestie from the westie now. Don’t play now, baby. I’m excited, but thank you so much. I’m excited for the world to see this man.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:50] So, okay, so before you go, I have to, I have to ask you, are you familiar with my platform? I Weigh.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:02:57] Yes, I am.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:02:58] So I was wondering if you would tell me what you weigh.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:03:02] I weigh the man that I become tomorrow and also enjoy who I am today. I weigh the community that I support and still am a part of. I-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:03:14] The king of.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:03:15] The king of. I weigh the representation of how we are definitely explained in our stories and how it can be put in the forefront. I also weigh the style of dance because I’m a dancer and I cannot let it go without the best dancers being, you know, sort of told right and explained in such a way that people can get it. The king of, I love that the king of. And the last thing is I also weigh, you know, if I haven’t talked about our weigh family, I weigh, you know, my friends, I weigh of creating a better tomorrow with those around you. If I can’t talk to my friend and tell them how I feel without them either supporting or also letting me know when I’m wrong because I love for a friend to be like, no, no, no. Do not, stop it. No, that’s not what. No. Yep. OK. OK. Work. You know. Work bitch. You’re telling me something. But I weigh my friends and my family because I, again, you know, the support have to be there from somewhere. And I, my family and friends has been doing it for the most.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:18] And finally, you weigh your cheekbones that put Maleficent to shame.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:04:21] That cuts the thing. Even our special guest judge was like, oh, what’s going on? You’re about to cut me with those cheek.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:29] One of the biggest supermodels of all time.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:04:31] Oh my gosh, I gagged. I gagged. He told me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:34] Thank you so much. Thank you so much for giving me your time. I’ll see you at work.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:04:37] I’ll see you at work, baby.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:40] Bye.
DASHAUN WESLEY [01:04:40] Bye, boo boo.
JAMEELA JAMIL [01:04:41] Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. I just want to give an extra massive thank you to people who helped me make this. Sophia Jennings, my producer and researcher, Kimmie Lucas, my producer, Andrew Carson, my editor, James Blake, my boyfriend who made the beautiful music for this show. And now I’d like to leave you by passing the mic to a member of our community, sharing their “I Weigh”.
I WEIGH COMMUNITY MEMBER [01:05:03] I weigh the fact that I’m in the class of 2020 despite the pandemic and the self awareness I’ve gained from it. I weigh my ability to speak up for what I believe in and that I can lend an ear to even those who I don’t necessarily agree with. But above it all, I weigh my friendships that have taught me patience and unconditional love. Love you and all that you do, Jameela. Sincerely, Mia.
September 28, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by crime journalist and activist Isla Traquair and they cover her long spanning career reporting on true crime to recently becoming a victim of emotional violence and stalking herself.
September 21, 2023
Jameela is joined by campaigner and writer Gina Martin, and in this optimistic conversation about creating change for equal rights around the world, they discuss how anyone can show up and support activism (especially offline in real spaces) and what this activism work can look like.