Arts and Culture

Louisville native Tracy Clayton has gained national visibility as one of the hosts of Buzzfeed’s hit podcast “Another Round,” but her Kentucky roots are still strong.

When Muhammad Ali passed away, she knew she had to find a way to be in Louisville for the funeral. She convinced her bosses at Buzzfeed to send her back home for the weekend, where she visited Ali’s boyhood home, watched the funeral procession pass by, and attended the public memorial service.

She wrote an essay for Buzzfeed, published Tuesday, called “Here’s What Muhammad Ali Meant to Black Louisville Natives Like Me,” in which she reflects on the way the city has changed and what Ali’s legacy is today.

Here’s an excerpt:

The visibility of black Louisville is an issue inside the city, too. I was born and raised in the West End of the city, which is predominantly black, and it often feels like we’ve all been tossed inside a box and left to fend for ourselves as the murder rate creeps ever higher. Louisville is one of the cities regularly featured on A&E’s true crime show The First 48, and I have lost count of all the times I’ve recognized a street or house near my own in an episode. When I’m driving through the same streets, the asphalt crumbles into potholes because all the attention is focused on the other end of town. Factor in a history of tense race relations with the police and that feeling of invisibility increases; when the ones who are supposed to protect you are the ones killing you, whom do you appeal to for help?

I spoke with Clayton about the essay. Listen to the interview in the audio player above.

Tara Anderson is the host and producer of Five Things, a podcast about the objects that tell our stories.