98 episodes

Busy Being Black with Josh Rivers is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives.

Busy Being Black W!ZARD Studios

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.9 • 114 Ratings

Busy Being Black with Josh Rivers is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives.

    Travis Alabanza – None of the Above

    Travis Alabanza – None of the Above

    My admiration of Travis Alabanza runs deep. They were one of the first people to say yes to me and Busy Being Black at a time of tremendous uncertainty for me, and our 2018 conversation remains a firm favourite with listeners. The wisdom and insights Travis shared on art, gender, race and self-awareness are as relevant and salient today as then. I find them refreshing, not least for the ways they engage with the spectacle of curiosity that confronts them and trans folks daily. Travis reproaches with sass, or critique or silence: a questioning back that asks, ultimately, whether the rest of us know the role we play in the ongoing hostilities facing trans people. But Travis’ work is not only, always or forever work about their experience as a trans person in a transphobic world, nor do they create to explain; which is perhaps most beautifully expressed in a statement made to Travis by writer and friend Kuchenga: "This is for us, baby, not for them." At the heart of Travis’ new book, None of the Above, is a call to keep questioning who we are when no one is watching. 
    None of the Above is available to pre-order from Gays the Word, the UK's oldest LGBTQ bookshop.
    This conversation was recorded live at Shoreditch House in East London in May 2022, in front of an audience of friends, family and Busy Being Black listeners. A special thank you to Khaleel Johnson at Soho House, and to Matt Noades and his team at Anvil Audio.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. Thank you to our partners: UK Black Pride, BlackOut UK, The Tenth, Schools Out and to you the listeners. Remember this, your support doesn’t cost any money: retweets, ratings, reviews and shares all help so please keep the support coming. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the LGBT+ business community.
    Thank you to Lazarus Lynch – a queer Black musician and culinary extraordinaire based in New York City – for the triumphant and ancestral Busy Being Black theme music. The Busy Being Black theme music was mixed and mastered by Joshua Pleeter.
    Busy Being Black’s artwork was photographed by queer Black photographer and filmmaker Dwayne Black.
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #busybeingblack
    Busy Being Black listeners have an exclusive discount at Pluto Press. Enter BUSY50 at checkout.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min
    Jafari S. Allen – There's a Disco Ball Between Us

    Jafari S. Allen – There's a Disco Ball Between Us

    2015 and 2016 were big years for me: in April 2015, I was shocked into my political awakening by the Baltimore riots, which erupted after the funeral of Freddie Gray. The rage and grief expressed through the riots inspired me to action: how might I be part of a solution? And a year later, in 2016, I stumbled on No Tea, No Shade, an anthology of nineteen essays from scholars, activists, and community leaders doing work on black gender and sexuality. No Tea, No Shade helped focus the fire stoked by the riots towards something generative, rigorous and tender. Busy Being Black is a product of these two events — and a life of searching and questioning before, during and since.
    So, you can imagine how honoured I am to be in conversation with Dr Jafari S. Allen, whose essay "Black/Queer Rhizomatics" opens No Tea, No Shade and was the first piece of Black queer theory I ever read. We discuss his latest book, There’s a Disco Ball Between Us, a sweeping and lively ethnographic and intellectual history of what he calls “Black gay habits of mind.” We explore the impact of the church and Black folk on his lyric use of language, tussling with the wisdom offered by our ancestors and forebears, his beautiful friendship with freedom fighter Sister Nehanda and how inhabiting or embodying a Black fullness can make space for all the ways we’ve decided to, or need to, show up in the world – for protection, survival and thriving.
    About Jafari S. Allen
    Jafari S. Allen is the Director of Africana Studies, Inaugural Co-Director of the Centre for Global Black Studies and Associate Professor of Anthropology at University of Miami. Dr. Allen’s scholarship and teaching has opened new lines of inquiry and offered re-invigorated methods of Black feminist narrative theorising in anthropology, Black studies and queer studies. His latest book, There’s a Disco Ball Between Us, was released on 1 March by Duke University Press.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. Thank you to our partners: UK Black Pride, BlackOut UK, The Tenth, Schools Out and to you the listeners. Remember this, your support doesn’t cost any money: retweets, ratings, reviews and shares all help so please keep the support coming. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the LGBT+ business community.
    Thank you to Lazarus Lynch – a queer Black musician and culinary extraordinaire based in New York City – for the triumphant and ancestral Busy Being Black theme music. The Busy Being Black theme music was mixed and mastered by Joshua Pleeter.
    Busy Being Black’s artwork was photographed by queer Black photographer and filmmaker Dwayne Black.
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #busybeingblack
    Busy Being Black listeners have an exclusive discount at Pluto Press. Enter BUSY50 at checkout.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Da'Shaun L. Harrison – An Invitation to Pleasure

    Da'Shaun L. Harrison – An Invitation to Pleasure

    This week, my conversation is with Black, fat, queer and trans theorist and abolitionist Da’Shaun Harrison. Their new book, Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-fatness as Anti-Blackness is an important addition in the fields of fat and Black studies, which offers us all necessary knowledge and insights to help improve how we relate to one another and ourselves. In this bonus episode, Da’Shaun and I explore the erotic and how the many barriers society forces us to erect around ourselves, preclude a deeper, necessary and potentially world-ending intimacy. Content warning: sexual violence.
    Da’Shaun Harrison is based in Atlanta and is the author of Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-fatness as Anti-Blackness.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 35 min
    Da'Shaun L. Harrison – Belly of the Beast

    Da'Shaun L. Harrison – Belly of the Beast

    I’ve long admired the work of Da’Shaun L. Harrison. Like many of those I’ve come to encounter and adore over the past few years, Da’Shaun’s work came across my timeline on social media and their incisive and invigorating intellectual offerings have had me hooked since. Da’Shaun is a Black, fat, queer and trans theorist and abolitionist, and in their debut book, Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-fatness as Anti-Blackness, they argue that to live in a body that is both fat and Black is to exist at the margins of a society that limits us in ways we may have never considered.
    In our conversation today, Da’Shaun expands on the connection between anti-fatness and anti-Blackness, explains how diet culture persists as a tool of social control and offers up ways of thinking about how the policing each of us might do of our own bodies invariably impacts how we interact with – and even judge – those around us. Like all of the best intellectual work, Da’Shaun’s intervention is grounded in a political awakening that took place at the community-level, where they say they felt safe and brave enough to explore who they wanted to be in the world; and so we also discuss how community-building has shown them what the future – or, a beyond as they call it – could look like, and they make a compelling case for the power of our imaginations to help us think beyond what we know.
    About Da'Shaun L. Harrison
    Da’Shaun L. Harrison is a Black, fat, queer and trans theorist and abolitionist in Atlanta. Harrison is the author of Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness, and a public speaker who often gives talks and leads workshops on Blackness, queerness, gender, fatness, disabilities and their intersections. Da'Shaun currently serves as the Editor-at-Large for Scalawag Magazine and is the co-host of the podcast Unsolicited: Fatties Talk Back.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. Thank you to our partners: UK Black Pride, BlackOut UK, The Tenth, Schools Out and to you the listeners. Remember this, your support doesn’t cost any money: retweets, ratings, reviews and shares all help so please keep the support coming. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the LGBT+ business community.
    Thank you to Lazarus Lynch – a queer Black musician and culinary extraordinaire based in New York City – for the triumphant and ancestral Busy Being Black theme music. The Busy Being Black theme music was mixed and mastered by Joshua Pleeter.
    Busy Being Black’s artwork was photographed by queer Black photographer and filmmaker Dwayne Black.
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #busybeingblack
    Busy Being Black listeners have an exclusive discount at Pluto Press. Enter BUSY50 at checkout.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 58 min
    Zinzi Minott – Ancestral Interference

    Zinzi Minott – Ancestral Interference

    In the face of the ongoing and various violences experienced by Black women in the UK and across the world, Zinzi Minott wonders why more people don’t ask, “What do Black women’s bodies need?” It’s a question I’ve been sitting with since we recorded our conversation, which includes us exploring what our duty of care is to each other. Zinzi is a dancer, artist and filmmaker and she’s interested in ideas of broken narrative, disturbed lineage and how the use of the "glitch" can help us to consider notions of racism one experiences through their life. She is specifically interested in telling Caribbean stories, highlighting the histories of those enslaved and the resulting migration of the Windrush Generation.
    In this sweeping conversation, we explore her work commemorating the Windrush Generation, how we might show up better and more meaningfully for Black women and how her queerness kicked the doors open to her acceptance of what she calls her weirdness. Zinzi also explores her rearing in both the Pan Africanist and Black Radical traditions, and credits her belief in abolition with helping her hold space for those she encounters among her archival work and artistic practice. As she makes clear, the generations who came before us may not have had the attitudes or the language to hold who we have become in the world, but no one is to be discarded.
    About Zinzi Minott
    Zinzi Minott’s work focuses on the relationship between dance, bodies and politics. Zinzi explores how dance is perceived through the prisms of race, queer culture, gender and class. As a dancer and filmmaker, she seeks to complicate the boundaries of dance, and sees her live performance, filmic explorations and made-objects as different but connected manifestations of dance and body-based outcomes and inquiry.
    ​​BLOODSOUND is Zinzi’s latest work and features newly commissioned prints, moving image, sound and sculpture and expands on her durational film work(s) FI DEM, released annually on 22 June to commemorate the Windrush Generation.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. Thank you to our partners: UK Black Pride, BlackOut UK, The Tenth, Schools Out and to you the listeners. Remember this, your support doesn’t cost any money: retweets, ratings, reviews and shares all help so please keep the support coming. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the LGBT+ business community.
    Thank you to Lazarus Lynch – a queer Black musician and culinary extraordinaire based in New York City – for the triumphant and ancestral Busy Being Black theme music. The Busy Being Black theme music was mixed and mastered by Joshua Pleeter.
    Busy Being Black’s artwork was photographed by queer Black photographer and filmmaker Dwayne Black.
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #busybeingblack
    Busy Being Black listeners have an exclusive discount at Pluto Press. Enter BUSY50 at checkout.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Shrouk El-Attar – The Dancing Queer

    Shrouk El-Attar – The Dancing Queer

    For many of us who’ve grown up in the so-called West, our understanding of what belly dancing is has been shaped by colonialism’s legacy. What we’ve learned about or encountered as belly-dancing is actually a white-washed mishmash of several cultures, designed to play into the West’s fascination with and manufactured fear of those designated Muslim. My guest today, Shrouk El-Attar, is an LGBTQ rights campaigner, electronics engineer and belly dancer from Egypt. She is currently working on a piece of interactive art – a belly-dancing robot – which troubles the line between technology and human, and between the east and west. Her desire is to return belly-dancing, or more accurately Egyptian dancing, to its roots – which, she reminds us, has little to do with the movement of the belly and was never a practice restricted to women. 
    Today we explore her experience as an asylum seeker, her fascination with technology and the moment she learned the people in her television set were there through the magic of engineering. She shares what she’s learned about nations and borders and citizenship, the joy, refusal and revolution enabled through dance, and how she’s turned her life experience and passion into both art and activism.
    About Shrouk El-Attar
    Shrouk El-Attar is an LGBTQ rights campaigner, electronics engineer and belly dancer from Egypt. She was named one of BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women in the World 2018, UNHCR Young Woman of the Year 2018, and one of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Top 6 Young Women Engineers in the UK in both 2019 and 2020. She is one of two artists taking part in Watershed’s Winter Residences programme, which offers artists the opportunity to develop their ideas with the financial, critical, and technical support of Watershed.
    Watershed is the leading film culture and creative technology centre in the South West of England and champions engagement, imagination and ingenuity, working locally, nationally and globally from Bristol.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is the podcast exploring how we live in the fullness of our queer Black lives. Thank you to our partners: UK Black Pride, BlackOut UK, The Tenth, Schools Out and to you the listeners. Remember this, your support doesn’t cost any money: retweets, ratings, reviews and shares all help so please keep the support coming. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the LGBT+ business community.
    Thank you to Lazarus Lynch – a queer Black musician and culinary extraordinaire based in New York City – for the triumphant and ancestral Busy Being Black theme music. The Busy Being Black theme music was mixed and mastered by Joshua Pleeter.
    Busy Being Black’s artwork was photographed by queer Black photographer and filmmaker Dwayne Black.
    Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram #busybeingblack
    Busy Being Black listeners have an exclusive discount at Pluto Press. Enter BUSY50 at checkout.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
114 Ratings

114 Ratings

😍😍😍😍😍👆🏾 ,

Incredibly educational content for all humans!

I’m a heterosexual woman with a huge interest in social justice. I stumbled upon this podcast in 2020 and I have learnt so so much not only about the adversities and triumphs of many Black LGBQTIA+ people but I’ve also learnt a lot about history in general. Each episode is not only thought provoking but I feel a greater sense of compassion towards people whose stories do not resemble mine. Josh asks all his guest “how’s your heart?” My heart of full with love and a sense of belonging after each episode. Thank you for Busy Being Black ❤️❤️❤️

Black London Gay Boy ,

Healing for my sensitive gay black heart

Currently my fav podcast. Been listening for just over a year now. Such an insightful, educational and kind listen.. very grateful for all of the diverse black voices especially in terms of queer voices too. Thank you so so much!

@black_history_buff_777 ,

Wonderful stories, listen and enjoy

It’s so great to hear black voices sharing their stories. Listen, learn and love black stories. Great job keep it up

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