Commentary Strange Fruit

Almost as soon as the new Dave Chappelle comedy specials hit Netflix, it was clear there were problems.

Twitter lit up with unhappy fans talking about homophobia, transphobia and jokes about sexual assault. We watched, and we agreed. Whatever Dave’s been doing for the last 12 years, it didn’t involve evolving along with the rest of us.

Elsewhere, RuPaul spoke about something that’s been a scourge of gay bars pretty much ever since straight people found out about them: bachelorette parties. Ru was asked about it on The Dinner Party Download’s “How to Behave” segment, and drew an incisive line from thoughtless brides-to-be to the overall dehumanization and fetishization of LGBT people:

“People who live in the mainstream and the status quo think that everyone else is there to serve them. They think: ‘Oh, you must be here to make me look good. That’s what gay guys are, right? You’re an accessory for my straight life.’”

Also this week, Bill O’Reilly had the nerve to come for everyone’s favorite Auntie, Congresswoman Maxine Waters — not by challenging her policies or political positions, but by saying she wore a “James Brown wig.”

The collective clap back could be heard from outer space and continues to reverberate through every dusty corner of the internet and cable TV. Waters herself went on MSNBC to let us all know a few things.

“I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated,” she said. “I cannot be undermined. I cannot be thought to be afraid of Bill O’Reilly or anybody.”

Every time that woman speaks, Aretha throws off her coat in our hearts.

Finally, closer to home, the Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up its session this week. One bill that made it through the session was SB 120, which seeks to address some of the challenges faced by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. We learn more this week from Holly Harris, executive director of the U.S. Justice Action Network.

Listen to this week’s episode in the player above and subscribe to Strange Fruit wherever you get your podcasts.

Laura is the producer of Strange Fruit, a weekly talk show focusing on race and gender, and oversees WFPL's Curious Louisville project.