126 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
    • 3.8 • 83 Ratings

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

    Julian Joseph – Living Music

    Julian Joseph – Living Music

    Julian Joseph is acclaimed as one of the finest jazz musicians to emerge this side of the Atlantic and his career has been characterised by many ground-breaking advances: he was the first Black British jazz musician to host a series of concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall and the first to headline a late-night televised performance at the BBC Proms.
    We explore how jazz and life are both animated by the art of improvisation, the methodology that undergirds the educative offering of the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy, the instruments and symphonies that enchant him, the artists and composers he recommends to inspire us to adventure, and his message to those who feel like they have music within them, but aren’t quite sure how to get it out.
    Julian plays Gershwin with London Philharmonic Orchestra on 22 November – and subscribers to Field Notes have an exclusive discount on tickets.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black with Josh Rivers is the award-winning podcast that centres and celebrates queer Black liveliness. Help these enlivening conversations reach more people, by leaving a rating and review.
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 50 min
    Elijah McKinnon – Becoming Undone

    Elijah McKinnon – Becoming Undone

    Questioning and then breaching our limits is a salient and consequential concern — and a quest Elijah McKinnon undertakes as founder and executive diva of Open Television (OTV), a platform and media incubator for intersectional storytelling. Elijah’s insights into how their imagination is supported and encouraged by their pragmatism made me think and reflect on how I engage with my own; and we wax lyrical on a shared desire to become undone. We explore the difference between surrender and intentional release, the differing demands of and confusion between transparency and vulnerability, and refusing to be bound by other people’s ideas and labels. Elijah reflects on their stewardship of OTV, the care required to sustain artistic vitality, and how an entitlement to softness has transformed their sense of duty to themselves and the communities they love.
    About Elijah McKinnon
    Elijah McKinnon (they/them) is an award-winning entrepreneur, strategist and visionary from the future currently residing on planet earth. They are the founder of Chicago-based consultancy and creative studio People Who Care, which specialises in campaign development and management, brand strategy and identity and cultural productions exclusively for non-profits and grassroots initiatives. Elijah is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Open Television, an Emmy-nominated non-profit and web TV platform for intersectional artistry.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black with Josh Rivers is the award-winning podcast that centres and celebrates queer Black liveliness. Help these enlivening conversations reach more people, by leaving a rating and review.
    Sign up for Field Notes – Busy Being Black's newsletter offering to encourage your wonderlust.
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 3 min
    D Smith – A Provocation for More

    D Smith – A Provocation for More

    Help me shape the future of Busy Being Black by filling out this short listener survey: https://forms.gle/y7y3iQ7RPievyGFP8
    Kokomo City takes up a seemingly simple mantle — to present the stories of four Black transgender sex workers: Daniella Carter, Liyah Mitchell, Dominique Silver and the late Koko Da Doll, who share their reflections on desire, confronting taboos, gender’s many meanings and the ways Black trans women are harmed by both structural and cultural impositions that render their lives less valuable than any other. The film is the directorial debut of D Smith, a veteran of the music industry who was shunned when she came out as trans. In creating Kokomo City, D Smith has captured an unapologetic and cutting analysis of Black culture and society at large from a vantage point that is vibrating with energy, sex and hard-earned wisdom – and tenderness, intimacy and humour.
    We explore how the artistic process that made Kokomo City possible reflects what D’s learned through her own survival, thriving and liveliness; the role of forgiveness in clearing room for creative expression; and creating art about Black LGBTQ lives that intentionally extends beyond the confining limits of mainstream LGBTQ media narratives. D says she was inspired to create a work of art that not only calls us to imagine and produce more and better options for Black trans women in the world, but also one that cis Black women, her brothers, uncles and father would encounter and which might provoke necessary and life-sustaining conversations about the world we want to inhabit together.
    About D Smith and Kokomo City
    D. Smith is a Grammy-nominated producer, singer and songwriter. She is the director of Kokomo City, which was executive produced by Lena Waithe, and the film won the Sundance Film Festival’s NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award, as well as the Berlinale’s Audience Award in the Panorama Documentary section. Kokomo City is released in the UK and Irish cinemas on 4 August, 2023.
    A special thank you to Campbell X for always advocating for Busy Being Black and thus making this conversation possible.
    About Busy Being Black
    Busy Being Black is an exploration and expression of quare liveliness and my guests are those who have learned to live, love and thrive at the intersection of their identities. Please leave a rating and a review and share these conversations far and wide. As we continue to work towards futures worthy of us all, my hope is that as many of you as possible understand Busy Being Black as a soft, tender and intellectually rigorous place for you to land. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. Thank you to my friend Lazarus Lynch for creating the ancestral and enlivening Busy Being Black theme music. Thank you to Lucian Koncz and Stevie Gatez for helping create the Busy Being Black artwork.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 27 min
    Leon Benson – I'm Living Like I Died Before

    Leon Benson – I'm Living Like I Died Before

    At just 23 years old, Leon Benson was sentenced to 61 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. At 47 years old, Leon is a free man after his case was taken up by lawyers at the University of San Francisco Law School’s Racial Justice Clinic. Over 25 years, Leon consumed as much knowledge as he could get access to, which helped him explain the complex dynamics of not only his physical form in relation to confined space, but also of how his mind made sense of the injustice of his experience and the experiences of those like him. We explore the parallel experiences of those confined within and beyond the walls of prison, the awakenings and reckonings that helped him build emotional and psychic resilience and the near impossible task of embodiment in a place that traffics in sensory deprivation. We discuss the moments and people in 2020 that would be instrumental in his release and how people born guilty in America maintain faith in the idea of justice, which he believes is a natural human impulse and, like hope, is also a spiritual practice.
    About Leon Benson
    Leon's case was championed by The Racial Justice Clinic at the University of San Francisco’s School of Law and led by all-star attorney and author Lara Bazelon. The particulars of his case are the focus of season three of investigative podcast series Suspect. Leon performs as EL BENTLY 448 and shares his survivor's journey on Innocent Born Guilty, an explosive hip hip record full of poetry, philosophy and world history, inspired by Black-led social justice movements. Innocent Born Guilty is available now from Die Jim Crow Records.
    Throughout his incarceration, Leon was supported by family, friends and strangers on the internet, like Shannon Coleman and Steve Willet. For those interested in supporting charities in the UK addressing miscarriages of justice and prison reform, please consider supporting the work of Appeal and the Prison Reform Trust.
    About Busy Being Black
    Help me shape the future of Busy Being Black by filling out this short listener survey: https://forms.gle/y7y3iQ7RPievyGFP8
    Busy Being Black is an exploration and expression of quare liveliness and my guests are those who have learned to live, love and thrive at the intersection of their identities. Please leave a rating and a review and share these conversations far and wide. As we continue to work towards futures worthy of us all, my hope is that as many of you as possible understand Busy Being Black as a soft, tender and intellectually rigorous place for you to land. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. Thank you to my friend Lazarus Lynch for creating the ancestral and enlivening Busy Being Black theme music. Thank you to Lucian Koncz and Stevie Gatez for helping create the Busy Being Black artwork
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 57 min
    Kenyon Farrow – A Modern Black History Hero

    Kenyon Farrow – A Modern Black History Hero

    Writer and organiser Kenyon Farrow is fighting for better infrastructures of support for queer Black people vulnerable to and living with HIV. He trained as an actor before he pivoting to activism in response to the fault lines he saw emerging as gentrification, criminalisation and healthcare inequalities began to rock his personal and extended networks. He has since coordinated campaigns large and small, local, national and global at the intersection of public policy, public health and social justice.
    Today, we explore his upbringing in Cleveland, Ohio – including watershed encounters with gay Black film and literature – and the events that led to a hard pivot from acting to activism. He shares how his work at the policy level is work that centres queer Black liveliness, and speaks lovingly about house music and house music spaces as evidence of the ways queer Black communities create for themselves that which is often structurally denied: spaces of love, care, spiritual renewal and healing.
    About Kenyon Farrow
    Kenyon Farrow is a writer, editor and strategist working at the intersection of public health and social justice. Kenyon has a long and distinguished track record working in communities impacted by HIV. BET named Kenyon a "Modern Black History Hero".
    About Busy Being Black
    Help me shape the future of Busy Being Black by filling out this short listener survey: https://forms.gle/y7y3iQ7RPievyGFP8
    Busy Being Black is an exploration and expression of quare liveliness and my guests are those who have learned to live, love and thrive at the intersection of their identities. Please leave a rating and a review and share these conversations far and wide. As we continue to work towards futures worthy of us all, my hope is that as many of you as possible understand Busy Being Black as a soft, tender and intellectually rigorous place for you to land. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. Thank you to my friend Lazarus Lynch for creating the ancestral and enlivening Busy Being Black theme music. Thank you to Lucian Koncz and Stevie Gatez for helping create the Busy Being Black artwork.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min
    Rikki Beadle-Blair – Yearning into Creation

    Rikki Beadle-Blair – Yearning into Creation

    Earlier this year, writer, actor and director Rikki Beadle-Blair gave an electrifying and affirming keynote speech at Let’s Debate, a conversation about creativity and culture in the UK, produced by arts commissioner Mediale with the support of Arts Council England. As Rikki does, his speech centred his insistence that marginalised communities create art unashamedly; and at a time of increased cultural and political disregard for queer life around the world, Rikki reminds us all that art-making is life-giving. So it feels like the right time to resurface our 2018 conversation, in which he asks us to pay closer attention to the beauty that abounds around us and within us, and to our role as creators of the worlds we want to inhabit.
    Watch: Let's Debate Keynote for Inclusivity and Relevance
    About Rikki Beadle-Blair
    Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE is a British actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, singer, designer, choreographer, dancer and songwriter of British/West Indian origin. He is the artistic director of multi-media production company Team Angelica.
    About Busy Being Black
    Help me shape the future of Busy Being Black by filling out this short listener survey: https://forms.gle/y7y3iQ7RPievyGFP8
    Busy Being Black is an exploration and expression of quare liveliness and my guests are those who have learned to live, love and thrive at the intersection of their identities. Please leave a rating and a review and share these conversations far and wide. As we continue to work towards futures worthy of us all, my hope is that as many of you as possible understand Busy Being Black as a soft, tender and intellectually rigorous place for you to land. 
    Thank you to our funding partner, myGwork – the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. Thank you to my friend Lazarus Lynch for creating the ancestral and enlivening Busy Being Black theme music. Thank you to Lucian Koncz and Stevie Gatez for helping create the Busy Being Black artwork.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5
83 Ratings

83 Ratings

Kidd97 ,

The Art of Creating Space.

In searching for the words to describe this authentic and beautiful way of storytelling - the word that came to mind for describing this oeuvre’s embodiment was nuance. Nuance in the same way that a photo might have many different shades of gray. Rivers uses his lived experience, as well as those of others, to frame and articulate what it is to be a black queer body in this world. Being black and queer is not a monolithic experience and these in depth, evocative, conversations are a testimony to just that. There is something for everyone to glean and hopefully in that process you can learn to live in the fullness of your identity.

drrondotcom ,

A Must-listen Podcast

Josh Rivers and this podcast is my respite from the foolishness that is in this world. I feel heard, seen, and understood! Please listen and let Josh and his guests show you what doing the Lord’s work really is!

LazEli ,

The best black queer podcast ever

I stumbled upon “Busy Being Black” while researching black and queer content, and my ears and heart could not be more satisfied. Josh Rivers, the smart, curious, and dynamic host, curates a wide range of black/POC queer experts discussing a diversity of issues from race and sexuality, empowerment and liberation, to self-care and spirituality. Rivers takes listeners on a journey, unpacking so many layers to the black queer experience. Rivers also shares his personal stories with listeners, offering a richer texture to the interviews and dialogue at large. Nowadays, when people ask me how I’m doing, I often find myself saying “living my best black queer life,” or simply “busy being black!” Thanks to Josh Rivers for doing such culture-shifting work and for sharing light, one conversation at a time.

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