"Where intersections collide is where culture happens."- Anna DeShawn discusses the challenges of being Black, Queer, and a Person of Faith in Media. The conversation covers a wide range of topics, including the pressure to conform to different spaces, the importance of amplifying unheard voices, and the power of storytelling.
Anna talks about their experience working on the award-winning podcast series "HIV in the South," which aims to inform people about what's happening in the south and how to support efforts to get to zero new infections. Anna also discusses the lack of funding and intentionality in addressing HIV in black and brown communities and the importance of showing the humanity in people affected by the epidemic.
The episode also touches on the importance of embracing intersections and creating safe spaces for people to be their whole selves. Join us for a candid and uplifting conversation about amplifying unheard voices, creating change, and living at the intersections of different identities and experiences. Listen in and join the conversation.
Connect with Anna:
Listen to the Podcast series: HIV in the South
Facebook: Anna DeShawn
Other Episodes you will enjoy listening to:
Exploring Power, Identity, and the Power of Your Voice
The Battle for Ordinary Equality
Radical Permission to Speak
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Hello. Welcome back to the Razer Volume podcast test. I'm Tiffany Cain, your host. And as you know, this podcast brings you stories of people that are making huge changes. They're social change makers. They are disruptors. They see a problem and they go out there and they change it. And today's guest is no exception to that rule. In fact, I think she raises the bar. Today's guests saw a huge problem in her community, a huge deficit of representation, and she said, you know what? This is a problem I can change. And then from there, she went on to change bigger problems and put a spotlight on issues that many people are not talking about, but they should be. Who's my guest today? It is none other than the incredible Anna Deshaun. Anna Deshaun is an award winning podcast producer podcaster. She created a network, e three radio, the cube. She is absolutely incredible. has her own app. And she's an award winning podcaster. Her queer news podcast won an Ambi Award in Las Vegas just a couple months ago. I had the privilege of being in the audience when she won, and this was such a big deal. You should have heard the audience erupt into cheers and shouts of applause because Here is an independent podcaster winning a huge award, an Ambi Award, when everybody else that won was from a network. You know? And and network podcasts, they have a lot of money and a lot of production power, big teams behind them. And here's Anna. Yeah. Doing what she does and doing it so well and being recognized for her incredible work. So we were all cheering my hands hurt, my voice hurt from cheering so loud for her. Let me tell you a little bit about some of her work. Like I said, she won an Ambi for her queer news podcast. She has a radio station called E 3 radio, an app called the cube app. And what I am most excited about is a series podcast that she did about HIV in the south where she really shed light on telling people's stories real people that have been affected by HIV, hearing stories of basically when the AIDS epidemic started, and where they are now. It is a beautiful, compelling, wonderfully created series that I listen to pretty much holding my breath the whole time. I was so touched. I'm absolutely thrilled for you to hear her story today to hear this conversation, and I really want you to interact with us. Reach out to me. Let me know what you think of this conversation today? What stands out to you? And do you wanna hear more stories like this? Let me know. Now I do wanna let you know this episode was recorded when this podcast was still radical Audacity. Still here are some references to Radical Audacity, which I still stand behind. I mean, when we raise our voice, we show an incredible amount of radical audacity. So you'll hear references to that. Thank you so much for being here, and enjoy this incredible episode. Anna, I told everybody in the introduction how excited I am about today and how thrilled I was to see you win an Ambi Award. And I'm just you are doing such incredible work in the podcast space, but also in, like, the human being space, and I'm just thrilled to have you here today. So welcome to radical Audacity, Anna. It's a pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me for being such a big supporter. I think it means a lot. So thank you. That's it's yeah. I'm I'm on cloud 9. When you said yes, I will be on the podcast. I did a happy dance. I'm a pretty, like,-- effusive person, and I definitely effused. I'm so excited. So I've been following your work for a while, and follow you on Instagram and just just really have so much respect for what you do. So I'd just love to dive in -- to what you do. You are somebody that sees a problem and says, well, I don't like that there's not representation. I don't like that these conversations aren't happening, and I'm gonna do something about it. And that's what That's what I I I really want to have those stories told of when somebody says, but I don't like this, and then they do something about it. And so you do that. Can we start with thecube and e three radio? And then we're gonna move into my favorite, which is your HIV in the South podcast. But let's start with The cube and the e three radio? because I think those are cool stories how you got there. Absolutely. I love talking about both of them. They're like my babies. Yeah. I don't have physical children. So these businesses are my babies. e three radio started in 2009, as an online radio station. And at that time, I'm almost certain I was talking to myself. That is for sure That's kinda how we all start out. You know? Literally talking to myself. I I saw a need in undergrad to tell stories that were not being told. Mhmm. And I never let it go. And so anytime an undergrad or during my master's program that there was a course or a class like you got an idea, write it around this. It was always around the station and telling stories. I would that would always be the project. And so it just it just never let me go. And in 2009, I was like, I wanna start a show where I can play my own commercials. and tell the stories that I think folks need to hear because folks were not telling the stories of Black and Brown and LGBTQ life in general. happening in Chicago. And there were so many things happening, but there was no source. And I was like, well, let's see if we can be the source. And we started with multiple shows, reducing lots of different shows over the years. And then about 5 years ago, decided, hey. Let's just go on all day. Let's just do this, had a station on all day every day versus saying Thursdays. Every other Thursdays, 7 PM. You know? That's very difficult to market. So we decided to go on 247 playing queer music and high rotation. And It has just evolved so much over the years. It's queer radio done right. And I I love it so much. I think this great potential around what the radio station can always be for the community. And a few years ago, what happened was we were talking with a couple of our I was talking with a couple of friends about how we keep the station relevant. Like, how do we in this ever on demand media engaging society, how do we have a successful radio station? And my contention was we needed an app where folks could go on and listen anytime they wanted to from their phones. Right? We're online. And so ask people to listen at their desk or something was just odd and not being able to listen from a an app just seemed challenging. Right? It was a challenge that they couldn't. And for I wanted to solve that. Well, then the conversation became, what about podcasts? And, like, can we should we get into the space in a very intentional way? And that evolved into what we now call the cue. And The cube even the name is born out of e 3. So e to the power of 3 mathematically is to cube something. And so I stabbed a queue on it. And I was like, it's called the queue that hit me in the shower. So there is no cube without e 3. And so the cube is an expansion of the work we were doing at the radio station, being very intentional about being in the podcasting space and in a brand new way. Because we were always online, and so we always had RSS feed. But there was nothing intentional about that RSS feed. There was not a promotional necessarily of that RSS feed. It was just that every show we did was always archived as a podcast. Right? But then it was just like, we should be intentional. Like, we want to hear from Black queer folks. So we should create the content by Black queer folks. We wanna hear from brown queer folks, and what's happening in our world and we need a space for that. And there's so many stories and there's so much to say. And and now we've found ourselves in a with a podcast reduction company and building a platform where people can discover the best black and brown and queer folks of color podcasts all at one spot. So It's it's all happening. That's so exciting. I love the I I think everybody listening can really just enjoy that arc of growth -- Mhmm. -- of the idea that you you bore while you were in school. What were you studying, by the way? I was studying radio TV production. And I was getting -- Okay. -- my mote my minor in multicultural studies at Drake University, and then I went to Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York and got my masters in organizational communication. And that's really where I The that's really where the broadcast and the Internet came together for me -- Mhmm. -- was during my master's program. Mhmm. Amazing. I love that. So it a couple of things stand up to me. A, you had an idea in you saw it through and then allowed it to grow and expand wherever it needed to go, which I think so many of us get these ideas, and then we are like, yeah. That would be nice, but I don't know how to do it, and we let them go. Right? Like, I kinda call Elizabeth Gilbert calls him, like, idea fairies or opportunity fairies. Right? Like, you gotta bring them in and sit down and have a cup of tea and, like, shoot the shit with them a little and go like, okay, idea. Like, what could this be? And how could we do this? And some work and some don't. But, like, when you actually invite them in, then work out them. Right? So I love that you did that. I think that's really exciting to hear. But the other thing I I am really excited about, and this is why I reached out to you, is I know how hard it is. Like okay. When I say I know, I know from my friend, not personally. How hard it is to be a person of color and also be a person that is queer or lives differently than, quote, unquote, should's norms that society especially in those communities. And so the fact that you are saying, alright. Well, we're gonna amplify these stories. We're gonna get them out there. This is I love when shame can be smashed, when life can be normalized. We can say, like, hey. There's so many ways to live a gorgeous, perfect, beautiful life that and you're telling those stories. So I'm actually getting, like, very emotional thinking about this. So I want to really dig in more to your inspiration for that because I think that took Massive amounts of courage. And I would just love to hear, like, your courage part of that. Like, what What drove you with that? And I didn't always have it. So I also wanna say that and speak that because is it is a journey to get to the place where you're okay with all of the intersections that are happening in your life that it is a journey to get there. So I love telling the story there was a sister here in Chicago. We had big lunch or an after work situation, probably after work situation. that career I had was intense. So we met after work, and it was in the start of the beginnings of the radio station. And this was before the radio station had a rainbow in the logo. Their logo was purple and white. k? And she was like, you should just make the radio station clear. And I was like, nope. I don't wanna do that. I don't think I wanna do that. I don't think I wanna have a queer radio station. I wanted to be for black folks and folks of color. And, you know, we all just fall under that. She was like, yeah. But I think I really, really think you should do that. And I was not about that life at that point because Even today, I notice it. When I say that I'm doing something for queer folks, people forget all about the fact that I'm doing it for people of color as It just goes out the window. It's just like Anna's the queer one, you know. And and I'm okay with that. But at that time, I'm okay with that now. But at that time, I was not. I was not okay with that because I know what I knew what that would mean, that people would just label me as that LGBTQ, you know, person. And so often in my experiences, people wanted me to show up how they wanted me to show up. Mhmm. So if I'm in a black space, that means I need to be black here and you just lead the queerness at the door. And if I'm in queer spaces, they were often white, and you can just leave all the black stuff that you got going on at the door. And what happens is is that you never show up as your full self. And when you continually never show up as your full self, you really don't know what it's like when you do. And I had this amazing experience. I went to this church here in Chicago and it just changed my life as to how we have how we had it changed my life in how I could show up in the world because I'm also a very spiritual person. And so I could be in black spaces and queer spaces and not talk about god ever because there's nothing that we're gonna talk about in these spaces. And so I had the opportunity to be in a space where I could be all of who I was and all of who I was was accepted. And once you start to get that type of reinforcement and love that all of who you are is okay, then you choose to they begin to build the courage to say that I could show up that way every single day of my life. And that in and of itself is a journey. So yo yo. I hope maybe somebody, one of your listeners, can find the old logo Like, literally, there is no rainbow. I did not I didn't want it to be that, but I just couldn't help it. Everything that I was doing was queer. Everybody I interviewed was queer. They and and usually a person of color, or they were working with people of color or looking to serve folks of color, and they were just all queer. And at some point, you just gotta give in to what's happening that that this is what it is, Anna. This is what it is, and it is okay. And so It has it has totally been a journey, especially as a kid who grew up in church, grew up in a religious family, And also a family that today supports me a 150%. Right? And that type of love and that that the fact that I'm privileged enough to be able to say that and experience that, I have everything that I need to be able to be out here and to be public, and to be considered a public figure and to say, I am all of these things. And so are all these other amazing people? And here are some amazing stories because I think What's missing today is that people do not see the humanity and other people. Everything is this politicized issue, and it's all wrapped in around things that people do not understand. And so when people do not understand something, there is automatic fear and I wanna push it away. And we saw that with the gay rights movement, right, in the early eighties, seventies eighties, push you away. Eventually, we get marriage equality. Right? Nothing. The same thing is happening today when as people begin to learn what the trans experience is. they are trying everything they can to push it away. I think that what people will come to understand is that who you are and how you show up in the world is your choice. and there's nothing there is no negative effect of that onto any other body into onto any other person. And so we have to fight in these moments for rights. But eventually eventually, the needle will move. as people began to understand exactly what it means. There's no there's no either or. I think also And when you're growing up as a kid, it's it's either or. You you teach kids to be black and white. But as you because that's all they can conceptualize. That's all their brain can handle. As adults, we have to understand that there is a lot more gray area that life is so much more of a spectrum and that all of it all of it is beautiful. Right? And that we all have a right to be here and live full lives. If I gotta pay all my taxes, I wanna have all my life too. Okay? So I think we have to give people time and space to get to get to that point. But I believe it is possible, but it's a journey. The courage is the courage part of what you asked is just it's a complete journey. Yeah. There's so much about your story. I think I could probably talk to you for about 27 hours and still have so much of your story I want to uncover because I'm I'm a naturally curious inquisitive person, and I love stories. So there's so much I wanna ask you about. I I wanna touch like, stay with this courage idea because one of my big things I'm passionate about is that we need to to raise the volume of our voice. We have the opportunity now. Right? The gatekeepers are gone. Right? You're able to start your own radio station. When in history, could somebody say, I wanna start my own radio and do it. Right? Like, there's not gatekeepers stopping us. We can start a YouTube channel. We can be vocal on social media. We can own radio station. We start our own podcast. We can put our own music up on Spotify. Like, whatever it is, we can do it, but there's so much fear that holds so many of us back. Right? I was raised in a cult, and there's so much unlearning I had to do to get rid of my fear to be able to say, here's what I believe in, and here's what I'm passionate about. And I I get so excited by people that are saying, okay. gatekeepers. Bye bye. I am amplifying stories and raising voices. getting stories out there that never got told before. And this brings me to your HIV in the south. podcast series. Mhmm. I am probably gonna tear up as I'm talking about it. I feel like this is one of the most important pieces of work, the most important stories that have been told because you're telling stories that nobody's heard. and you're telling perspectives that people haven't considered and haven't heard. And it's so important, especially you you brought up the point, and and I'm gonna be quiet in a minute and let you talk about it you brought up the point that 52% of the black HIV cases are happening in the south. And yet the south is only 38% of our population in the United States. Like-- Mhmm. Okay. I'm gonna be quiet now, and I am going to let you talk about this project, how it came to be, and what it means to you. Black HIV in the South, how do we get here? That podcast series, is divine. And I say divine. I use that language because it was not something I thought I would be doing. So As founders, entrepreneurs, we have plans. k? We plan things out in order to be successful. Right. You are always ready for the opportunity. You never know an opportunity show up. I went into 2022, not knowing I was gonna be creating a podcast called Black HIV in the South. How do we get here? All I knew is that I want to create a set of podcasts for the queue, and Black HIV in the south was not one of them. And so when I say that it was divine, it's because things fell into place where it was clear that I was supposed to be telling this story. Mhmm. And it was things that I had no control over. They just fell into place. They fell into alignment, and I kept showing up. and saying yes and other things kept happening. And this story originated because I had reported on the fact that the AIDS' quote was gonna be a display in San Francisco. honoring the 35th anniversary, and it was gonna be the largest display in San Francisco's history because the the quote had been in Atlanta for quite some Tiphany the the next biggest one was what happened in DC in, like, the nineties. And so this was gonna be a big deal. I had never been to San Francisco and had seen the AIDS quilt in person. And I'd sit on my quick news podcast, like, yo, they'll be pretty dope if I could go. And I had a listener hit me on TikTok, like, I'll give you a $1000 to go. And I thought she was kidding. And I said, email me, you know, if you're serious. And she did. And then that got me to thinking, well, maybe more people will maybe more people will also support me in going. to cover this story, and they did. They did. We're calling the cue crew today. That's not the cue crew was born in this way. I've always used the cue crew. But I was just waiting to see how I was gonna use it in this stage of my life, and it's now our financial donors for the creators podcast. I call them the cue crew. And they funded me to go to San Francisco and cover the story. And when I went there, I knew I wanted to talk to two people. And we hit it off. It was like it like I said, it was just divine. So Jada Harris and Dwayne Kramer, and they began telling me why the work was so important to them. And I wanted to talk to them because they were the 2 black people on the website who were doing the work. And I wanted to know why why they kept doing the work and why it was important to them. And when Jada told me her stories of why the call my name prior is so important to her. And Dwayne told me his story about his father and his own story of living with HIV. And I met these incredible people. who were there for the 35th anniversary in San Francisco and listening to their stories, I knew what I left there that I needed to tell those stories. And the way things align to connect with the guests that are on that podcast and for them to trust me enough to interview with me and talk with me about their stories, It was just I mean, we could do a whole podcast about how that about how that series came together. But what's happening in the south is an epidemic. It's a pandemic, and black people are dying and there there is not the funding necessary to be able to curb what's happening. And so much of it is systemic racism. Because, honestly, once HIV stopped killing white gay men, right, the news went away. Mhmm. But HIV and AIDS has not gone away. Right. The science has come a long way, but the science is not meeting black and brown people. They just aren't. When we look at the stats around who's taking pep and prep. Right? they are just not reaching black and brown people. And so there has to be some intentionality around it. And part of it for me is telling the stories so people can see the humanity. and also know where the science has has led us and how far we have to go. And so so much of this series was me figuring all of that out. It was learning so much from so many people who are doing the work on the ground. When we talk about HIV criminalization, I didn't even realize that was still a thing. I didn't realize people could get trumped up charges still for for having HIV. That's wild. And the fact that law has not met science. Right? It's so dangerous. And there was just so much to talk about. There's still more to talk about. I that feed exists because there's more stories that I wanna tell as well. We're just figuring out and thinking about what that looks like. But there are some amazing people doing some amazing work in the south to help get to 0 new in new infections. And I wanted to amplify their work because there's ways in which all of us Everybody listening can help support the effort to get this 0 new infections. You just need to know the information. And so my hope is that this podcast could be a vehicle of information. that people can learn about what's happening because we aren't talking about it. No one's talking about it. I think it's such a great vehicle on on so many levels. And you talked about so many pieces of it. Like you said, the systemic racism piece of it. The even church bible belt piece of it, the -- The church is a big part of it. Mhmm. The fear of medicine piece of it that's widespread in the the black community in the south. With good reason, there's a fear of the of the community. The the stigma that often the community places on just being gay. Right? Like, there's so many pieces to it. And then there is the medical establishment. We all know. I mean, it is no secret that people of color don't get treated the same way in the medical establishment. And so just We could probably go on on all of the the many faceted pieces that go into making this epidemic pandemic so terrible in the south. And just you the way you approach it in your series, You approach it with so much humility and empathy and kindness and curiosity, and it's just so refreshing. So refreshing. So I just wanted to tell you. I really wanna tell you, You're just doing just beautiful work with that series, and you can tell that your heart is really in it. What is your favorite story that you got to hear on that series? And how did it change you? they all got a story. I could some people have asked me that before. I I can't choose one favorite. because I have a favorite from each of the guests. Mhmm. I will say so for for me, for Jada, it is hearing her talk about Michael Felton and Michael Felton's story and why it's so important and why we need to amplify it. When it comes to Daphne, it's when she talks about systematic racism. and comparing the lynching map that the NAACP put together in comparison to the HIV map. Right. When you talk about those maps and they're the same map, when it's the same map. Right? We can't deny that. When I was talking to look and I went, oh, my god. Like, absolutely out loud. What? Yeah. You can't help but be like, what? Yeah. Mhmm. We must know our history so we can understand how to solve our today. Right? Then we got Nathan who talks about how he almost died, how he came back to life, and he talks about how his friends were going to the mountains to die, and how he didn't have any hope. Right? And how he he cashed out his life insurance because he didn't he didn't think he was gonna live, and then he lived. Right? And how today, he's empowering others. I mean, it's mind blowing. When I talked to Johnny and he shares how he went to nursing school, him and his friends, so they could take care of people. That's the thing. I never knew that that was a thing people were doing. Mhmm. And they had careers, and they were like, we gotta go take care of our people so they went to nursing school at so that they could do that. And then when they felt like things were better, they went back to their normal lot, what they were doing before. amazing, like -- Mhmm. -- mind blowing. When we talk about Deidra Speaks, and she talks about the work of decriminalizing HIV in Virginia and then how other states are now using that as a black print for how they can do it in their own states, that work is so important. And then her also living with HFE and how Her life story is also the testimony in all of this, advocacy that she's doing. I don't got a favorite. They're all amazing. I Because you can see the humanity because this that's what it's about. It's about seeing the humans. Because when you see a human, and not an issue. That is when change happens, especially when you're not in relationship. So for me, at the core, I believe, real change happens in relationship with others. But when we talk about podcasting, it's about building a relationship with the voice that you can hear or or the person you see if it's YouTube situation. But when you see them and you hear them, that you understand that they are a person. This isn't an issue, and we shouldn't treat it that way. So I appreciate that. I also gotta give mash out out to the team because amazing producer, Latrice Sampson Richards, and then our amazing editor, Experian J, just listen They came together on this project with me and took it to a whole another place. and I'm so grateful to have been able to work on an all women led team all black women led team to put this project together. I mean, I didn't that's just that's just made it extra special. Oh my goodness. It is it is a very, very special project, and I hope everybody listening will go check it out and listen. It just I feel like the more we can -- get rid of fear and get rid of shame. The less things we have to fight with people about Right? Like, there's so much fear and shame going around in the world right now that is bleeding over into so many so much violence, so many political decisions being made that just cause harm. And it's just because People are finding reasons to be afraid of other people, whether it's the color of their skin, their religion, their country of origin, their gender identity, their you know, like, the list could flip and go on. And I know you look at the news every single day and report on the news every single day, and you're living. You understand just the piling on of the violence and the issues that are happening because people just aren't taking the time to understand each other and see the humanity in each other. And I think that the work you're doing is is going a long way to helping that. and I want everybody to listen to you. I really do. Everybody to listen to you. Thank you. Absolutely. So what's next for you? There's always something next time right now. You're not a woman that sits still. I do not do that well. Next thing is for us to go on tour. So I believe that we have to take our podcast to the people-- Mhmm. -- that they're saying of if you build it, they will come is a complete and utter lie. If you build it, you better tell somebody about it. And so We've started in building this thing called The Cube, and now it's time for us to take it to the people. So we're gonna go on tour We're looking to get to 10 cities this year and play our podcast, create these immersive listening experiences. in community and see what we can see what we can build. Right? This is we're in deep. We're out here doing this ourselves. And I believe there's a beautiful opportunity for us to tell the stories of not only our podcast, but the other podcasts I'm curious well. So we're gonna be partnering with some of our partners on this tour in these cities And I hope folks will come out and join us and listen to some great content and enjoy being in a community with us. Well, if you come to Southern California on that tour, I will help you find a venue in a place and be there tearing you on. Alright. I I've been talk I was just talking about Callie because Callie is the one spot that's not currently on the tour, and it's the only spot that I'd be willing to add. It's probably Oakland Bay Area. Mhmm. I just haven't yet, but If it if I was to add 1, I'd definitely be Oakland or the Bay. Yeah. Yeah. In the Philippines. Alright. Love it. Well, at this point, Like I said, I could talk to you forever. The work you're doing is so great. We're gonna take this opportunity, though, to shift the conversation a little and let people get to know you a little bit of a different way. I do this with all my guests. It's really fun because we end up having totally different conversations. So We're gonna shift now into three questions I ask every guest. And the first question is because I'm a giant book nerd, and I'm always looking for new books to read. So are the people that listen. So what book are you reading and tell us about it? Well, I'm not reading anything at the moment, which I probably didn't face. busy or something? I know. I know. And even when I say I'm reading, I'm listening. It's always an audiobook at this point. That counts. That absolutely counts. Absolutely. I think so. I think so. So To answer your question, I would recommend The Big Leap because that's the a book that I need to be listening to again. So the big leap is about what you do when you're ready to take the big leap, whatever that looks like for you. For me, that was me leaving corporate and coming out here and being a full time founder and entrepreneur. And so he talks about what it means to take the big leap. And what stops us from taking the big leap? And how we can get past those things that are stopping us. And so he calls it upper limiting. He talks about how so many of us work in our zone of excellence. But what does it mean when we get to our zone of genius? And are we willing to take the leap to get to our zone of genius? And what does that mean? And that spoke to my spirit so much the first time that I read it and the second time. And, literally, every time I listen to it again, because I was. I was working in my zone of excellence in my corporate career. I was really good at my job. And I'm sure people listening into this are also very good at their jobs. Right? Mhmm. You have made your stake. It is comfortable. Okay? No one questions you about anything. You get things done. You have great relationships with not only your coworkers, but maybe your clients as well. You're making great money. You you life is good. You got the life that people told you you're supposed to have. Oh, yes. But it's still not what you're supposed to. It's supposed to have. Supposed to use? Absolutely. Because What about the life that you were called to do? That is often not the same thing. That is often not the same thing. And so this book talks about what's stopping you from getting to your Zona Genius? And I wanna get to my Zona Genius, and I feel like I'm working at it now full time. and trust in my faith along the way. So the Big League is the one I would recommend for people to really dig into. Alright. That sounds great. I haven't listened to that one yet. No. I I usually listen to nonfiction and read fiction. That's just the way my brain works. I'll I'll fall asleep if I read. non fiction. I get a couple pages in and I'm out. It's a great but listening, I'll just listen forever. So I will listen to that one. It sounds really good. Cool. Alright. Our next big question is they're making a movie of your life as they should. And you get to pick 3 songs for the soundtrack. What would you pick and why? So I'm picking bless me by Maverick City and Kurt Franklin Joint. I'm choosing -- special by Lizzo. Mhmm. And I am choosing very black by Jamilla Woods. Okay. Tell us about those. Like, What do those choices mean you? So I'm forever listening to gospel music. So bless me is a gospel track. -- that just hits on so many levels. There's a line that goes like, bless me, bless me. There's a line that goes, bless me so that everyone around me can't have everything they need. And that is exactly why I'm doing this. Mhmm. And why I'm pursuing this zone of genius is so that I can be blessed, but that I can bless other people. I think that there is some power in when we can what Rachel Rogers, in her book, we should all be a millionaire cause building your own, like, social your own economy, your own micro economy. And what does it mean to support others around you? So my blessings become somebody else's blessing. So bless me is that track for me. Like, what you said, you have a whole female production team on -- Yeah. -- the your podcast. Like, that is absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Like, that's the dream. Yeah. That's the dream. Right? And then and then Lizzo's special -- I mean, come on. I mean, it's just period. The the title says it all. And it's just a beautiful reminder that we are special that you are you are special. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Like, we must remind ourselves of that because otherwise, life will live you. Okay? Life will live you. talk about a good example of living in your zone of genius. Like, what if she wasn't getting her music out there and saying the things that she was saying. I I do I feel like Lizo, -- has been this one woman force on helping just just these conversations she starts on so many levels. Anyway, we could go off on that. But, yes, Lizzo. Absolutely. And so that's the power of it. Right? Mhmm. But it's also very much so a privilege. Yeah. And when I talk to people about raising money on crowdfunding workshops that I do, I talk about how people wanna give to you because oftentimes, they are not doing what they're called to do. Mhmm. And so if they are not in a position where they feel like they can take a big leap or feel like they can do what they're called to all the day, all day every day, then they wanna invest in you who the person who is choosing to try and do that. Right? Because because everyone doesn't have the privilege to do so. But when you have the opportunity to live in your zone of genius and to really do what you are called to do, what you were probably telling other people that you could do when you were Tiphany three and four years old. And, you know, no one knew what to do with it, that thing. Mhmm. When you can do that thing, it's it truly is it's a real privilege to be able to do it. And then very black Badgemilla Woods, it is just that it talks about being very black at what very black means, and I am that. And it's being black and queer and being a woman and living at all of these intersections. And when they collide, It is like the most beautiful thing. It is the most beautiful thing. And I believe life at the Intersections is where culture resides. And it's not just about being a person of color. It's not just about that. We all have some intersections. And when they collide, that's where culture happens. And so whether that's what city you're from, whether that's your level of ability or non ability, whether that is the the sports team that you that you got go hard for, whatever that intersection is, it makes you your unique self. And for me, very black speaks to that. It speaks to the intersections of being black and and being here. And also she's from Chicago and I'm a big fan of Jamilla Woods. So that's that. I I think the quote for this episode is where the intersections glide is where culture happens. Oh, yeah. That's where culture lies. -- so gorgeous. It's so gorgeous and important to think about, and I think well, we'd probably do a whole podcast episode just about that. So -- We could. -- that. We could. This was all good. -- time gonna have a podcast called the Intersection of of voice and story. That was gonna be the I love the idea. Yeah. Okay. Last question. This podcast is all about Radicloud -- capacity. It's those people that, you know, go through life and other people are like, how do you have the audacity to do that? Oh, fantastic. You know, like, not everybody understands. And it's it's radical. Like, you are making the steps and doing the hard things that, like you said, not everybody feels comfortable doing. So I always like ending with what is your latest act of radical audacity. It's such a great question. Looks like it's making you emotional. I don't know. I don't well, I don't feel emotional, but I'm I'm thinking about what my active radical audacity could be. Well, I will say I will say that I've been trying to find joy outside of my work. And that's tough, and it was a challenge from my therapist. because my work does bring me a lot of joy. But it is also my work. Mhmm. And so I have been working to find ways to find joy outside of my work. And one thing one thing that I have been doing in that regard is being intentional about watching bad movies with my wife and my puppy on the couch and not doing any work while we do it. And I found that this is actually where I can relax and laugh and All my puppy wants is rubs, and all my wife wants is for me not to hit pause when something uncomfortable or odd happens because it makes me wildly uncomfortable. So this is I guess that's probably one thing I've been doing is looking to find the joy outside of my work. because for me, I work a lot. But work is what work for me is not what work means for other people. Mhmm. So that's what that's what's coming that's what's coming up for me right now. I think that is a beautiful example of radical audacity. We don't all have to jump out of buildings or planes or whatever, you know, for it to be radical. It is in in today's hustle culture, the the taking the time to be quiet and present with the people you love. is pretty radical. And for those of us and I I'm lumping myself with you in in this I love what I do. I love my I I will work 247 and dream about it. Right? Wake up in the morning, talk about it. And my partner and I are in business together, and it's like for us to take time and not work. We had that conversation last night. So do you wanna sit and talk about business, or do you wanna eat pizza and watch a show. And we opted for you know what? Let's let's eat pizza and watch a show. We were both a little on edge. Like, let's do it. And that's Not easy. It's not easy. And it's so important. So I'm I'm really glad you told that story. So thank you. Thank you. Yeah. It's been it's this has been the conversation of My dreams what I've been hoping for, and I thank you for taking this time and giving me this gift of this conversation today. How can people find you? So votes can votes could follow me tune in to the career news podcast every Monday by 7 AM. We're dropping a new episode so you can find me there. And then you can absolutely follow the radio station at e three radio, e the number three radio across all social media as well as e three radio.fm. And then we got the cube, Right? Which is up cheqube.appacrosssocial, tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, you can also go to the website today and begin discovering we've accepted 94 podcasts into the platform. So you can start discovering new black and brown pots that you probably couldn't find anywhere else. That's exciting. That's exciting. 94. Wow. Yeah. Nice job. Nice job. Congratulations. Well, thank you so much. This has been an absolute pleasure and joy. I'm so glad that you're here. And I know we're gonna be interacting a lot more in the future, and I'm excited about that. So -- Yeah. Look forward to seeing you as she podcast. She podcast live. Woo. Yes. Indeed. I think I could have talked to Anna for hours upon hours. There were so many parts of her story. that I wanted to dig into and hear more about, but there was also so much I wanted to talk to her about. So I will probably be having her back on the podcast or collaborating with her on something in the very near future. because I am a big fan of Anna's work. I wanted to talk about a few things that really stood out to me about her work. The first thing is she's somebody that had an idea. She saw a need, and she had an idea. and she followed that idea. She went for it. And she's followed that idea on a journey, right, like, on a path, and she doesn't always know exactly where it's gonna take her she makes plans, and she says, okay. The I'm doing a, b, and c. And then the idea says, well, no. You're actually gonna come over here and you're gonna do this. And she listens and she does it and because of that, her work is so meaningful and so heartfelt, and it's just opened up doors for her. And so that's you know, that's really exciting and applies to really everybody, all of us. How can you do that? How can you listen to the ideas? that are coming to you and make them come to fruition. Number 2, she is amplifying voices and stories that have not been told before or that not many people have heard before. And she's telling these stories, and she's getting these people together and doing such important work. Her HIV in the South podcast series. I've gotta tell you all. I've been listening to it, and It's it's very emotional, very emotional. It is so important, you know, as somebody who grew up when the the HIV epidemic was at its height and knowing what it was like just with the the general same conversations that we're having around HIV anyway. And looking at where we are at to day and where we're at with HIV and how science has brought so much relief to people, but how so much of those shame conversations are still happening and still happening in certain populations, you know, in the black population, especially. And I love that she is having these difficult conversations, and she's doing it in such a beautiful, wholehearted way. I I I've I've really asked every one of you to listen to that podcast series. It won't take you very long to listen to it all, and I do think it will change a lot of your ideas and understanding about issues like HIV. And then the third thing that stood out to me, was Anna when she said, where intersections collide is where culture happens. And when she finally said, I'm a black woman. I am a queer woman. I am a woman of faith, and I am going to show up with all sides of me. That's where she found herself, and she found her genius. And when she just really started showing up. And so this makes me think of 2 things. a, how do we do this for ourselves? How do we show up Radically authentic as to who we are and all of our intersections because we all have multiple intersections. So how do we allow those intersections to show up and truly show up as who we are? And b, How do we give space, safe space for people around us to show up as they are so that they don't feel like they have to leave parts of them at the door when they come into our presence. How do we create a space where we say you as you are in your whole human humanness, you are welcome here. And we all have shadow sides. We all carry shame baggage. We all have things that we have hidden. So how do we create spaces that are safe where people don't feel like they have to hide and post things around us and where we don't feel like we have to hide it either. I don't have all the answers for that. But, man, is it fun to dig in and try to find some answers for that. So I would love to hear what you think about that. How do you create that safe space where people's intersection can come together and wear a culture can thrive. Reach out to me. Let me And if this episode meant something to you, if it struck a chord with you and you think, oh my goodness. I know a friend of mine who needs to hear this message. Please. Please. Please. Share this episode with them. you sharing episodes of this podcast is the number one way this podcast grows. And so I really appreciate when you shared the episode with a friend. Alright, everybody. I hope you have a beautiful day. Remember to raise volume of your voice. I'm listening.