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We Want the Airwaves

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

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43: Indira Allegra

Indira Allegra explores issues of violence against people of color and LGBTQ people through her video and textile work. In this episode, she discusses losing her hearing while working as an ASL interpreter, getting her first film picked up for distribution in Canada, and developing a disability justice political framework. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia. Find more episodes at artactivistnia.com.

41mins

5 Apr 2015

Rank #1

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52: Lynn Cyrin, pt 1

Black trans woman tech activist Lynn Cyrin discusses being homeless in SF, crashing fancy tech events, and crowdfunding enough money to get a place her own (after moving to Portland). Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

36mins

5 Dec 2015

Rank #2

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29: Totally Radical Muslims

Totally Radical Muslim zine editors Shenaaz Janmohamed, Aliya Karmali, and Roxana Dhada discuss how to enable prisoners to participate in zine culture, tensions between Sunni and Shi'a Muslim communities, and building solidarity between Muslims across racial and ethnic lines. (Aliya Karmali is not pictured.) Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

57mins

18 Apr 2014

Rank #3

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107: Ignacio Rivera

Black Boricua Taíno queer and trans artist Ignacio Rivera is a poet, performer and activist working to end child sexual abuse, or CSA. They are also a grandparent. In this interview, featuring their baby grandson, Ignacio discusses growing up in Brooklyn, becoming politicized in Massachusetts, and the connections between sexual liberation and ending CSA. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

45mins

10 May 2020

Rank #4

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58: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

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

1hr 4mins

3 Apr 2016

Rank #5

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108: Anna Vo

To say that Vo, a nonbinary trans masc Vietnamese immigant, is an artist is to dance to the arrhythmic tune of understatement: they are a traveler, social worker, and wizened anarchist soul who not only dabbles in various artistic media, but transforms each discipline they encounter. Their galvanizing work in the zine underground with the international BIPOC [Black/Indigenous/People of Color] zine "Fix My Head" and the political perzine "The Swan, the Vulture," in comics, contemporary visual art, experimental fabric manipulation, and their ever-evolving musical explorations with textural metal-inspired folk, is astonishing. Vo brings their experience as an activist to their work, imbuing their many endeavors with radicalism, emotional intensity, and humor, all hallmarks of a wandering spirit whose work leaves a lasting impact on those touched by it. Nia sat down with Vo and explored the chaos, beauty, and radical potential of living an eclectic life shaped and molded by all things. (copy written by Alex Smith, alexoteric.com) Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

1hr

1 Jun 2020

Rank #6

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77: Gabby Rivera, pt 1

Queer Puerto Rican writer Gabby Rivera writes a series for Marvel Comics called America. The protagonist, America Chavez, is a Puerto Rican lesbian with two moms who punches star-shaped holes in time and space. In this interview, we discuss the challenges Gabby faced while trying to complete her debut novel, Juliet Takes A Breath, and how she was able use the success of that novel to launch her comic-writing career. Photo by Julieta Salgado. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

31mins

5 Nov 2017

Rank #7

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69: Qwo-Li Driskill

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

1hr

3 Apr 2017

Rank #8

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8: Julio Salgado

It's the radicals versus the assimilationists. But wait, are we talking about the queers or the DREAMers? In this case, it's both! Undocuqueer activist illustrator Julio Salgado discusses his political progression from painting a picture perfect portrait of undocumented students to a framework that recognizes even if your record isn't squeaky clean, you don't deserve to be deported. Highlights include a date with a gay Latino Republican, using art to combat fatphobia and body-hatred, and the "privilege" of being undocumented in California. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivitnia. Find more episodes at artactivistnia.com. Photo by Jesus Iñiguez

52mins

21 May 2013

Rank #9

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22: J Mase III

Let's be honest. Relationships between queer communities and communities of faith are often icy at best, and outright antagonistic at worst. So where does that leave queer people of faith? This week, We Want the Airwaves' new East Coast correspondent Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes interviewed transqueer poet J Mase III to find out how being raised by a Baptist mom and a father in the Nation of Islam shaped his art and his activism. Originally posted on 10/17/2013. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia. Find more episodes at artactivistnia.com. Photo by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes.

44mins

9 Oct 2013

Rank #10

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48: Aamer Rahman

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

46mins

17 Aug 2015

Rank #11

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60: Sam Levin, pt 1

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

31mins

2 Jul 2016

Rank #12

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76: Paradise Khanmalek

Paradise Khanmalek draws fat, hairy, brown goddesses. In this episode, Paradise and I discuss the way capitalism segments the art world, the way Iranians are racialized in the US, and the spiritual side of graphic design work. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

41mins

2 Oct 2017

Rank #13

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78: Gabby Rivera, pt 2

Queer Puerto Rican novelist and writer of Marvel Comics "America" series Gabby Rivera and I discuss white feminism, cis feminism, writing for X-Men's Storm and making a living off of writing and speaking (by learning how to budget and save money)! Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

34mins

20 Nov 2017

Rank #14

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5: Magnoliah Black

Magnoliah Black hates Tyler Perry. This week I sat down with the burlesque performer, writer, and speaker to discuss media representation of plus-size black women, living next-door to your heroes, and having a Dom that buys you gift certificates to Whole Foods. Listen in to find out how she went from awkward black girl to Rubenesque Burlesque sensation! Originally posted on 5/1/2013. Read the transcript at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia. Find more episodes at artactivistnia.com.

35mins

15 Apr 2013

Rank #15

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87: Venus Di'Khadijah Selenite

Black trans dyke poet Venus Di'Khadijah Selenite discusses finding her voice in the Baton Rouge slam poetry scene, moving to DC to transition, and performing at the White House. STAY TUNED UNTIL THE VERY END to hear her perform two of her poems. Photo by Pink & White Productions. Read the transcript at scribd.com. Support the podcast at http://kck.st/2LaHzVi.

48mins

4 Jun 2018

Rank #16

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Hari Kondabolu Re-release!

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

1hr 3mins

25 Dec 2016

Rank #17

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55: Achy Obejas

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

1hr

3 Jan 2016

Rank #18

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90: Jackie Wang

Queer mixed-race writer Jackie Wang and I lived parallel lives in different parts of the country. In this first half of the interview, we reminisce about our teen years, spent listening to punk, reading/writing zines, and volunteering at Food Not Bombs. We also discuss her trajectory from zinester to blogger to published author and from dropping out of a poetry MFA program in the desert to becoming a PhD candidate at Harvard. Read the interview at scribd.com/artactivistnia. Support the podcast at patreon.com/artactivistnia.

58mins

3 Sep 2018

Rank #19

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64: Star Amerasu, pt 1

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

27mins

10 Oct 2016

Rank #20