Essence McDowell is a communications strategist, organizer and co-author of Lifting As They Climbed: Mapping a History of Black Women on Chicago’s South Side. Working in collaboration with AirGo alum Mariame Kaba, Lifting As They Climbed maps dozens of locations across Chicago's South Side and connects them to the Black women who have shaped the histories of Chicago. She talks about the project, understanding her role in relation to the archive, and much more!
Odinaka Ezeokoli is a comic, actor, and writer who came into the AirGo studio ready to talk, dig deep, and laugh. He starred in an episode of Easy, the Netflix series by Joe Swanberg that takes place in Chicago; was a central cast member of Brown Girls, the hit web series by Sam Bailey and AirGo alum Fatimah Asghar; and performed in Nothing to Lose But Our Chains, the hit Second City show written by and starring AirGo alum Felonious Munk. Damon and Daniel’s faces hurt from laughing by the end of the episode–true story.
Charlene Carruthers is with the shits. She has served as the founding National Director of BYP-100, an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people, for the last five years, and is the author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. She talks about stepping out of her role at BYP-100, stepping into the next chapter, and much more.
Krista Franklin just might be a whole-ass genius. She's definitely brilliant. The Ohio-born spirit is a poet, visual artist, curator, educator, mentor, and semi-professional hermit who has supported and shaped so many of the people we've interviewed on the show. Her humility and commitment to herself and the people she loves shines through in her poetry, collage, and mentorship. Her transgenre book Under the Knife was released Fall 2018.
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Mister Wallace is glowing up, out, and all around. They're the cool mom and founder of Futurehood, a collective spaceship full of emerging Chicago hip hop artists who are queer, which has reached a new level of visibility in recent months with a showcase performance and spectacle as part of last November's Red Bull Music Festival Chicago. Wallace also recently dropped a new project entitled Cool Mom, which is available everywhere.
Alex Fruchter is the man behind Chicago independent label Closed Sessions, the founder of hip hop blog Ruby Hornet, and a writer and DJ. His work has helped bring forward multiple waves of Chicago hip hop, from the Napster days into the streaming age and beyond. He talks about the industry, the role of a label, his own shift in perspective in the last year, and Morgan Park Academy, which is both his and Damon's alma mater. Soak up some Chicago hip hop history!
Wow. Hoda Katebi is a brilliant style designer, organizer, and writer who comes through for one of our favorite episodes ever. She's the founder of JooJoo Azad, a radical online fashion publication; the author of Tehran Streetstyle, a street fashion book of photos taken on the streets of her home country; and the founder of the newly launched Blue Tin Production, a fashion production co-op run by immigrant and refugee women here in Chicago.
David Stovall is a professor at UIC whose work focuses on reshaping education and the school-to-prison nexus (which he explains, don't worry). He's also just a very good dude. We take a deep dive into classrooms, shaping our definitions of abolition, and much more.