Community Strange Fruit

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Author Frederick Smith knew he wanted to be a writer since he was a little boy, watching soap operas in Detroit. But folks around him didn’t necessarily see him as the writer type. “I had friends say, ‘Black boys from Detroit don’t write soap operas–we go to work at the auto plant like our dads did.'”

Frederick Smith pull quoteLuckily he kept at it, spent some time in academia, and eventually made the move to writing novels. His writing tells the stories of black and brown people, he says. “[P]eople living lives that don’t make the six o’clock news.”

His new novel, “Play It Forward,” centers on secrets. The leader of an organization for mentoring gay youth has to deal with an embarrassing part of his past, and a closeted R&B singer and professional basketball player hide their relationship to preserve their careers.

In Juicy Fruit this week, you know we had to talk about all the tea from the Grammys! From Ledisi and Bey to Kanye and Beck, we cover the winners and the losers (with a pit stop to chat about Kanye’s bravado and why white America finds it so alarming).

Speaking of winners, charges were dropped this week against Louisville activist Shelton McElroy, a Louisville activist who’d been arrested after being asked to leave Fourth Street Live for violating their dress code. Shelton says plenty of (white) people were violating the dress code, but he was the only one asked to leave (and the club let him come in for long enough to collect his cover charge, which they would not give back). Local listeners will know this is just the latest in a long line of racism accusations against the Cordish-owned entertainment complex.

Laura oversees WFPL's podcast strategy and produces Curious Louisville, where listeners submit questions and our reporters find out the answers.