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Truth Be Told

KQED

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Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told

KQED

2
Followers
1
Plays
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About Us

Truth Be Told, from KQED, is an advice show made by and for people of color. It’s like the friend you call after a long, exhausting day – the one who will laugh, cry, bitch and moan with you. The one who gets it. Through unfiltered advice, host Tonya Mosley takes on listener questions, digging into what it means to not just survive, but thrive, as a person of color in our country. If Miss Manners tells you how to blend in and behave, Truth Be Told explores how you can be authentically you in a world that doesn’t always want you to be.

Latest Episodes

Holding on to Joy

We yearn for glimmers of joy as we dismantle racist systems and consume traumatic news updates, all while sheltering at home in a pandemic. So, we’re revisiting our very first episode, Holding on to Joy, with an updated conversation between host Tonya Mosley and her grandmother, this week’s Wise One, Ernestine Mosley. Our question-asker is Dr. Seema Yasmin, who is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, poet, medical doctor and author. She asked: “How can I feel joy when the world is burning?” This episode was recorded before COVID-19, so Tonya was able to travel to her hometown of Detroit. There, she talked to her grandmother and New York Times bestselling author, adrienne maree brown. Tonya asked her grandmother how she continues to find joy. Her response: “There is a difference between joy and happiness,” said Ernestine Mosley. “I am happy right now. I am just happy to see you. That’s different from joy. The joy is in your heart and it stays with you.” For Ernestine Mosley, she gets joy out of helping people and getting involved in change-making. “When I can talk to someone and lift their spirits, or do something for them to help them in spite of everything in the world, it is still beautiful. We have a beautiful world here and we have to change it.” The self-identified pleasure goddess, adrienne maree brown, also distinguishes joy from happiness. “Joy is not extraneous. .. something you have to earn, or off to the side.” For brown, joy is a freedom journey that allows for pleasure. So much so, that she wrote a book about how to make social justice the most pleasurable human experience, called “Pleasure Activism”. She references Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power” which emphasizes that in order to keep your eye on the prize, you need to experience your full erotic self. How do you do that? Brown suggests starting with getting to know yourself — learning what your calling is and what work you are supposed to be doing. Next, practice “attention liberation” which is taking your attention away from what you cannot change and focus on the helpers. Then, do an inventory of your life. Specifically, identify the spaces you feel in absolute alignment with yourself and out of alignment (i.e. “I say I care about food justice but I buy McDonald’s every time I’m at the airport” says brown.) Finally, brown emphasizes, “Joy is a practice.” While our world is undergoing a transformation that some may even dub an apocalypse, brown reminds us communities that have survived genocide do so through laughter, intimacy and connection. “Laughter is important. Joy is important. It’s not a guilty pleasure, it is a strategic move towards the future we all need to create. One in which our children are laughing, our children are free. They can go wherever they need to go. There are no borders holding them. That is what I am living and loving for.” Brown leaves us with a powerful quote from Bobby Sands, an Irish nationalist who led a hunger strike in prison in 1981: “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” Tonya checked in with her grandmother recently to talk about joy in this moment. Ernestine lives in Detroit, one of the places hardest hit by COVID-19. And for the first few weeks of the protests,

33 MIN1 w ago
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Holding on to Joy

Coming Out While Staying In: Dealing With Homophobia At Home

June is Pride month and COVID-19 has altered the ways the LGBTQ can celebrate together. For many, the uprisings have been a reminder that Pride started as a riot and that Black Lives Matter includes Black trans, queer, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people. In this week’s episode, host Tonya Mosley is joined by Steven Canals, the co-creator and executive producer of the FX television show “Pose” to answer this listener question: Hey, Truth Be Told, I’m actually the president of the LGBT POC organization here at Michigan State. I did come out to my mom. I feel like every time we have the conversations, I’m coming out again. But the issue that I’ve been dealing with is not blatant homophobia, where she’s just like calling me names like dyke or faggot or something like that. It’s more of a you know, “You think that girl is pretty?” It’s that stereotype or you know, “are you looking at the girls in the locker room?” or “let me not change in here because, you know, wom...

29 MIN3 w ago
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Coming Out While Staying In: Dealing With Homophobia At Home

Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement

We have been watching the uprisings across the country calling for justice, not just for George Floyd, but for all black Americans. It has been 53 years since this country experienced unrest of this magnitude with the Long, Hot Summer of 1967. Writer and podcaster Carvell Wallace wrote on Timeline about these riots and how for black Americans they were a spiritual impulse rather than a political strategy. In the summer of 1967, the city of Detroit burned. Milwaukee, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Newark were engulfed in flames. Even forgotten towns like Cairo, Illinois and Cambridge, Maryland descended, for some nights in that torrid summer, into anarchy. The havoc seemed to be catching. The fire in one town sparked the fire in the next. America seemed to be coming undone. Yet for most Americans the riots of that summer were viewed from afar, through the lens of the evening news and front-page headlines. They were not seeing their own homes burned, their own streets occupied by uniformed troops. From this safe distance, the uprisings looked like senseless violence, the reckless and shortsighted actions of a damaged people, a people with no strategy, no hope. But the truth of riots is something entirely different, something entirely more sacred. America is an unsettled land. And it remains so because it was founded on white supremacy, and white supremacy is, by nature, an unsettling force. The centuries-long attempt to subdue the continent and nakedly ransack its resources only for the benefit of some creates a vast army of angry people who will forever — for the sake of their children, for the sake of themselves — be forced to resist. Far from an ugly side effect of our nation’s character, white supremacy is a core American principle. In Mein Kampf, Hitler even identified the United States, with its Jim Crow laws and forbiddance of interracial marriage, as the “one state” that knew how to effectively create a second class of citizenry. That the American experiment provided the primary source material for the same violent German regime from which it claimed to be saving the planet is the contradiction between what this country says it is and what it does. It is, at its very core, the uniquely American distinction between ideals and action. This country didn’t just end up this way. It was made this way. To be black in a country like this is to forge your entire life in the dank valley between America’s ideals and actions. We are told that we have been created equally, but we are treated as a separate class. We are told that we live in a nation of laws, but we watch as violence is visited upon our families with no hope of legal recourse. To be black (and survive) in America is to be of dual consciousness. On the one hand, you must believe what all humans must believe in order to survive: that you have a future, that your children will be safe and cared for, that things will, somehow, some way, get better. On the other hand, your very survival depends on never trusting, on seeing the ugly truth for what it is, on remaining ever vigilant for where and how precisely you are being conned. To keep safe you must expect to be attacked. To be black and live is to constantly expect to die. This is a fucked-up forced duality. And an unsustainable one. “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude,” Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” For black people in America, the psychic toll of having to tie your fate, the fate of your family, to a world designed to subjugate you can only be withstood for so long. Eventually, inevitably, a truer, more direct action calls. And often that action is abrupt.

35 MINJUN 4
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Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement

You’re OK, I’m Not: Black Men and Therapy

We don’t discuss enough the emotional and mental health needs of black men. So in this week’s episode, we make space for it. Tonya Mosley sits down with three Wise Ones to answer our listener’s question: “Dear Truth Be Told, why is therapy so taboo in the black community, especially amongst black men?” In order to answer this question, we need to talk about what it means to be a black man in America. Poet and writer Prentice Powell kicks off the episode by performing a poem he wrote in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Being a black man in America means being my brother’s keeper. Being a black man in America means being my brother’s keeper while keeping a distance from my brother because I don’t trust him further than I can see him. It’s believing the cops don’t care about you. It’s learning how not to doubt yourself because when you’re born everyone else already does. It’s a love you have for your mother regardless of her flaws in dealing wit...

39 MINMAY 21
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You’re OK, I’m Not: Black Men and Therapy

Mom, We Need a Break

The global coronavirus pandemic is bringing mixed emotions to Mother’s Day this year. Many are grieving the loss of a mother and the inability to mourn or celebrate in person. Many are trying to reconnect after being estranged. And those who are estranged from their mothers or have strained relationships, the shelter-in-place mandate has not necessarily helped. On this week’s episode, Tonya Mosley sits down with comedian, actor and director Kulap Vilaysack to answer a listener question: “How can I honor the respect and love that I have for my mother while also acknowledging that the relationship isn’t healthy for me?” Vilaysack was embarking on her own journey of motherhood when she decided to revisit her past through her documentary, “Origin Story.” At age 14, Vilaysack found out her father was not her biological father, and 20 years later she traveled to Laos to meet him for the first time. In the process, she keeps coming back to the complex relationship she has with her mother. “A lot of us Southeast Asian kids, we have similar tales. We stand on the shoulders of some very hurt people and that is not easy,” Vilaysack says. In the episode, Vilaysack addresses the trauma immigrant and refugee families experience, which is passed on to children through culture and family environment. For both Vilaysack and our question asker, love from their mothers has existed amid addiction and abuse. Vilaysack says some hard lessons she has learned include the need to be a good mother to yourself, understanding parents are not the gatekeepers to culture and that mothers are flawed individuals. Therapy has been essential, Vilaysack says, in order to mourn the loss of the mother-daughter relationship she wished for but never really had. “It’s truly a rewiring that needs to occur and it has to do with dealing with your side of the fence first,” Vilaysack says. “Meaning, going to therapy, doing the hard work on yourself before you can get to a place where things don’t affect [you] like they did before. Where things don’t cut anymore. You have to help yourself first before you can help other people.” Vilaysack offers this mind exercise she’s done herself to start the process of mothering yourself and self-healing: 1. Revisit a difficult memory that you have with your mom and your younger self. 2. Picture that memory and series of events. 3. Enter that memory as your adult self. 4. Step in front of your younger self and protect that version of you. 5. Your adult self tells your mom to go away for a little bit. 6. You hold your younger self, console her and tell her, “It’s not your fault.” 7. Do not deny what happened but let your younger self know that it’s going to be OK. 8. Take your younger self into a room where she feels safe and hand her a stuffed animal she loved. 9. Take a picture of this image. Vilaysack says this mind exercise is not to erase the past but heal the open wounds that still exist with your own love for yourself. For more context, listen to Vilaysack talk about the exercise in the episode. In addition to therapy and self-mothering, Vilaysack says it’s important to be surrounded by people who can affirm and love you how you want to be loved. But, what if you get to all of this and your decision is not to have a relationship with your mother? Our Wise One affirms that’s OK – the decision is not final. “You are the architect of your life and what this relationship is going to be,” Vilaysack says. Episode transcript can be found here. Episode Guest:

37 MINMAY 7
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Mom, We Need a Break

Deportation Wounds

Many of us are feeling isolated right now as we rely on Zoom and FaceTime to see our friends and family. When this will end exactly is unknown, but for some it will remain their reality. Households impacted by family separation and deportation see this long-distance digital relationship as “normal.” This week’s episode, “Deportation Wounds,” brings our host Tonya Mosley in conversation with Isabeth Mendoza, our producer and question asker. After 11 years, Isabeth is seeking help to begin healing from her father’s deportation and the traumatic experience. “I think that the pain and the tragedy of family separation is so deep and so unique that even if it happened to you a month ago or six months ago, or for myself, 11 years ago, the pain is very fresh. I don’t know how else to explain it aside from it’s very painful. I think the conversation ends with the person [being deported] or it’s kept alive by a legal proceeding. But life continues, the family keeps going, and I don’t see resources or places that I can go to learn about what to do after this. How does anybody move forward? What is the future for families like mine? And how do we get to live our future and not just imagine it?” Truth Be Told called upon Adriana Alejandre, licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and founder of Latinx Therapy podcast as a Wise One. Alejandre says that while struggle, resilience and survival dominate the immigrant narrative, healing does not. “… those are some of their pillars that help [immigrants] to keep going, to survive their day-to-day, hour-by-hour lives sometimes because of the lack of resources. I think healing is sometimes, understandably so, one of the last things that they have to think about, because most immigrant communities come from a collectivistic culture, and they’re taught to prioritize others versus themselves. It doesn’t come very naturally and so I think that’s one of the reasons why healing gets put on the backburner.” Family separation and deportation illicit pain, confusion and fear. Alejandre also points out that anger holds hands with these feelings. “We are taught that anger is a secondary emotion. But through my clients, my clients of color specifically, I’ve learned that that’s not true,” Alejandre says. “Anger is valid. If we can learn to expel it and release it in healthy ways when we’re aware of it, then I think that it translates into another emotion.” Alejandre suggests individual or group therapy but if therapy is not accessible, there are also self-help books, podcasts, diaphragmatic breathing exercises and friends who might be able to relate. Alejandre’s bottom line is “ask for help because I know that we’re taught to be independent, to be resilient, to blossom on our own. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.” If the process becomes overwhelming, pausing is essential. Alejandre says, “The only red flag is to just be aware of your avoiding tendencies … come back to your journey.” The episode ends with Isabeth speaks with her father about how he feels about their long-distance relationship, his processing of the deportation experience and how he imagines his future. It leads to Isabeth attempting to answer that for herself. “I think part of the dream is to just be together doing nothing — breathing a little easier because we’re together — and that is a privilege. I imagine laughing, and honestly, not living in fear. I realize what I imagine is us basically living together back in Los Angeles, that’s the ideal right? But no matter what happens, we’ll need to spend more time together, bridge our lives more intentionally and I’ll need to remind myself that this situation is hard, it’s shitty, but us laughing and having joy and sharing love will be my way of taking my power back.”

32 MINAPR 23
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Deportation Wounds

White World, Black Body

This week we’re talking about diets, separating weight from health and navigating white spaces as a big woman of color. “White World, Black Body” brings our host, Tonya Mosley, in conversation with two Wise Ones, Virgie Tovar and Chloe Hilliard, who have each bridged personal journeys with body image and food with their professional work. Tovar is the host of the new podcast Rebel Eaters Club and author of the upcoming book, “The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color.” Hilliard is a journalist-turned-comedian, spinning her unique experiences into laughs and a new book called, “F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me.” All three women come together to help a Truth Be Told listener with her quandary: Being both overweight and black makes me feel invisible. And that I’m occupying too much space at the same time. The goal, of course, is to lose weight. But, until then, how can I maneuver in the non-black world, in my body? This idea that body image and weight is a lifelong project is why this conversation transcends time. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, push-up challenges are being circulated alongside memes about gaining weight while physically distancing, dubbed the “Quarantine 15.” Amidst a global health crisis, we are still worrying about our bodies and weight. “It’s important to understand that diet culture primes us to accept discomfort, shame, self-denial, a sense of failure, gaslighting and financial exploitation,” said Tovar. “These are things that share characteristics with racism, sexism and misogyny.” Hilliard agrees. “Dieting — I don’t do that anymore,” she said. “It felt like I was suffering and punishing myself for something I didn’t know I did.” The Wise Ones suggest that instead of spending brainpower on worrying about the scale or meticulously planning meals, instead redirect that energy to activities that bring you joy or peace. They suggest writing, going outside, doing yoga in front of a mirror or simply drinking tea. It’s about finding your own happiness rather than trying to identify with other folks’ version of happiness. “I think it’s really hard trying to be a strong black woman and at every turn in society, someone’s attacking you because they feel that you are this impenetrable human being. It is taxing,” Hilliard said. “Because of that, you start to emotionally eat. And so it is a cycle [that] needs to be broken. I have stopped trying to appease a society that doesn’t acknowledge me.” The message both Tovar and Hilliard drive home is one that takes practice and constant reminding: Nothing is wrong with you and it’s not your responsibility to appease others’ insecurities. Episode transcript can be found here. Episode Guests: Chloe Hilliard, Author of

39 MINAPR 9
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White World, Black Body

'Rona and Racism: A Survival Guide

On this episode of Truth Be Told, we gathered your questions and lived experiences during the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Tonya Mosley talks to Dr. Seema Yasmin, journalist, author and infectious disease detective. She’s seen what the migration of diseases like COVID-19 can do to communities and how racism rears its ugly head during times like these. “There’s a long history of scapegoating people of color as the carriers of disease,” Yasmin said. “This goes back hundreds of years, and so this isn’t anything new. We’ve even seen it during recent epidemics. Whether it’s Ebola or Zika, non-white people are blamed [for] introducing disease into places.” The uneasiness comes from a long history of racializing health in America. At this moment, the racialization of COVID-19 with Asians and Asian Americans is unfurling in front of us. Accompanying headlines of the spread of infection are also instances of discrimination, harassment and attacks on the Asian community. Mosley and Yasmin responded to concerns of increased power for law enforcement during the pandemic, and the current status of how the illness affects people who are homeless, incarcerated or detained. Yasmin also offered validation for the myriad feelings being experienced. “We have the right to feel whatever we feel,” Yasmin said. Yasmin was our Truth Be Told question asker for “Joy,” the very first episode our first season of the podcast. Her question was, “Is it OK to feel joy when the rest of the world is burning?” In this episode about how the coronavirus is impacting people of color, Mosley asked Yasmin if she is currently using any of the advice she was given. “You know, thinking back to that question, it was about joy, but I think it was also more broadly about the permission to feel things — anything. And so I think in a moment like this, where you feel so many emotions, including anxiety, fear, anger, that advice that I got, reminds me that it’s OK to feel whatever I feel. So I feel very honored right now. You’re having me on as a wise one, but truth be told, this wise one is struggling also … it’s a lot.” So, let’s revisit the sage guidance offered by two wise ones from our very first episode – adrienne maree brown and Tonya’s grandmother, Ernestine Mosley. 1. Faith/Spirituality: Set intentions, pray, worship, meditate. Reacquaint or deepen your relationship with nature. 2. Rituals: Care for your body (baths, exercise, adornment). Feed your soul (read, write, create, cook). Do anything that brings you joy. 3. Look for the helpers, and help the helpers: Find ways to be generous with each other or lift another’s spirit. Redirect your attention on the solution-makers in a crisis. Find ways to support those helpers for the collective good. 4. Connect with the self: Go on dates with yourself, take an inventory of yourself and your life, write down the spaces you feel in complete alignment with yourself in your life (i.e. my role as an auntie), or walk around your home naked while looking at your miraculous body. 5. Connect with those you love and who love you: Reach out to people who make you feel loved and check in on someone you’ve been thinking about. Also, try to laugh as much as you can. Laughter,

36 MINMAR 26
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'Rona and Racism: A Survival Guide

Healing for Black America

Listen to this week’s episode to hear our host Tonya Mosley and Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, unpack the question: “How are black Americans expected to overcome and thrive in this country without the necessary mechanisms of healing?” This question comes from actor Boris Kodjoe, who you may have seen in shows like “Code Black,” “Station 19” and the movie “Brown Sugar.” Kodjoe was born and raised in Germany, and ever since he arrived in the United States he’s thought, “I never understood how African Americans were expected to thrive.” Laymon said he found the answer in Mississippi where he was born and raised. “I actually think that our healing mechanisms – and this is scary – are a little bit better than white folks,” he said. “At least down here in Mississippi.” Mosley and Laymon’s conversation flows through topics like mothers and children, isolation and protests. And, of course, it ends with therapy. “What I need to do is be able to accept ...

36 MINMAR 12
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Healing for Black America

Truth Be Told is Back Y’all!

How many times have you paused and asked, Is it just me or — Yeah, us too. We all experience life in our unique bodies and skin. And yet, we’re alone in surviving, growing and thriving. The world we live in gaslights us into thinking anything to do with identity is in our imagination. Well, Truth Be Told is here to tell you it’s not. You are not the only one, you are not alone and guess what? There’s a podcast for that. Sometimes we are sitting with questions that we can’t even talk about with those closest to us. Truth Be Told is the friend you call after a long day to cry, bitch and moan. The one who gets it. So grab a seat on the couch, pull up the podcast and put your earbuds in. We got you. Truth Be Told explores your dilemmas, reaches out to Wise Ones for advice, and deliberately digs deep — because your questions, your story and your existence matters. In our first season, we talked about the guilt of feeling joy when the world is a mess, we interrogated who we grew up crushing on and who we ultimately ended up dating. We scrutinized being enough within our own communities, the complications of working and living with well-meaning white folks and handling family dynamics with estranged fathers or debating whether or not to become a mother. For the past two months I’ve waited patiently for each Thursday to come, knowing that the @TruthBeToldShow crew would spark a conversation I needed to hear. Thank you for making this space for me and all POC people to thrive ️ https://t.co/359T0ghdCX — bebé llora (@shaylynmartos) June 23, 2019 This week’s @TruthBeToldShow is essential listening for those of us who are white-passing or hold other kinds of passing privilege. It unpacks where, why & how we ask to belong, and the different places of marginalization or privilege that desire can come from. https://t.co/aBWiNXCZvL — Ariana Martinez (@MartinezAriana_) June 1, 2019 Now we’re back with season two! Our host, Tonya Mosley, will delve into your questions, unearth the layers of your quandaries and pull in a Wise One for advice. This season will be full of growing pains, joy, laughter and collective thriving. And don’t worry, we’re still the place where hard questions meet understanding ears. Where people of color can be candid with each other and work through the messy parts of life. Season two starts on March 12! Listen on Apple, Spotify, NPR One or wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to submit a question you can email us at truthbetold@kqed.org, call us at (415) 553-2802 or use the hashtag #AskTBT on social media.

1 MINFEB 26
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Truth Be Told is Back Y’all!

Latest Episodes

Holding on to Joy

We yearn for glimmers of joy as we dismantle racist systems and consume traumatic news updates, all while sheltering at home in a pandemic. So, we’re revisiting our very first episode, Holding on to Joy, with an updated conversation between host Tonya Mosley and her grandmother, this week’s Wise One, Ernestine Mosley. Our question-asker is Dr. Seema Yasmin, who is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, poet, medical doctor and author. She asked: “How can I feel joy when the world is burning?” This episode was recorded before COVID-19, so Tonya was able to travel to her hometown of Detroit. There, she talked to her grandmother and New York Times bestselling author, adrienne maree brown. Tonya asked her grandmother how she continues to find joy. Her response: “There is a difference between joy and happiness,” said Ernestine Mosley. “I am happy right now. I am just happy to see you. That’s different from joy. The joy is in your heart and it stays with you.” For Ernestine Mosley, she gets joy out of helping people and getting involved in change-making. “When I can talk to someone and lift their spirits, or do something for them to help them in spite of everything in the world, it is still beautiful. We have a beautiful world here and we have to change it.” The self-identified pleasure goddess, adrienne maree brown, also distinguishes joy from happiness. “Joy is not extraneous. .. something you have to earn, or off to the side.” For brown, joy is a freedom journey that allows for pleasure. So much so, that she wrote a book about how to make social justice the most pleasurable human experience, called “Pleasure Activism”. She references Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power” which emphasizes that in order to keep your eye on the prize, you need to experience your full erotic self. How do you do that? Brown suggests starting with getting to know yourself — learning what your calling is and what work you are supposed to be doing. Next, practice “attention liberation” which is taking your attention away from what you cannot change and focus on the helpers. Then, do an inventory of your life. Specifically, identify the spaces you feel in absolute alignment with yourself and out of alignment (i.e. “I say I care about food justice but I buy McDonald’s every time I’m at the airport” says brown.) Finally, brown emphasizes, “Joy is a practice.” While our world is undergoing a transformation that some may even dub an apocalypse, brown reminds us communities that have survived genocide do so through laughter, intimacy and connection. “Laughter is important. Joy is important. It’s not a guilty pleasure, it is a strategic move towards the future we all need to create. One in which our children are laughing, our children are free. They can go wherever they need to go. There are no borders holding them. That is what I am living and loving for.” Brown leaves us with a powerful quote from Bobby Sands, an Irish nationalist who led a hunger strike in prison in 1981: “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” Tonya checked in with her grandmother recently to talk about joy in this moment. Ernestine lives in Detroit, one of the places hardest hit by COVID-19. And for the first few weeks of the protests,

33 MIN1 w ago
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Holding on to Joy

Coming Out While Staying In: Dealing With Homophobia At Home

June is Pride month and COVID-19 has altered the ways the LGBTQ can celebrate together. For many, the uprisings have been a reminder that Pride started as a riot and that Black Lives Matter includes Black trans, queer, non-binary and gender-nonconforming people. In this week’s episode, host Tonya Mosley is joined by Steven Canals, the co-creator and executive producer of the FX television show “Pose” to answer this listener question: Hey, Truth Be Told, I’m actually the president of the LGBT POC organization here at Michigan State. I did come out to my mom. I feel like every time we have the conversations, I’m coming out again. But the issue that I’ve been dealing with is not blatant homophobia, where she’s just like calling me names like dyke or faggot or something like that. It’s more of a you know, “You think that girl is pretty?” It’s that stereotype or you know, “are you looking at the girls in the locker room?” or “let me not change in here because, you know, wom...

29 MIN3 w ago
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Coming Out While Staying In: Dealing With Homophobia At Home

Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement

We have been watching the uprisings across the country calling for justice, not just for George Floyd, but for all black Americans. It has been 53 years since this country experienced unrest of this magnitude with the Long, Hot Summer of 1967. Writer and podcaster Carvell Wallace wrote on Timeline about these riots and how for black Americans they were a spiritual impulse rather than a political strategy. In the summer of 1967, the city of Detroit burned. Milwaukee, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Newark were engulfed in flames. Even forgotten towns like Cairo, Illinois and Cambridge, Maryland descended, for some nights in that torrid summer, into anarchy. The havoc seemed to be catching. The fire in one town sparked the fire in the next. America seemed to be coming undone. Yet for most Americans the riots of that summer were viewed from afar, through the lens of the evening news and front-page headlines. They were not seeing their own homes burned, their own streets occupied by uniformed troops. From this safe distance, the uprisings looked like senseless violence, the reckless and shortsighted actions of a damaged people, a people with no strategy, no hope. But the truth of riots is something entirely different, something entirely more sacred. America is an unsettled land. And it remains so because it was founded on white supremacy, and white supremacy is, by nature, an unsettling force. The centuries-long attempt to subdue the continent and nakedly ransack its resources only for the benefit of some creates a vast army of angry people who will forever — for the sake of their children, for the sake of themselves — be forced to resist. Far from an ugly side effect of our nation’s character, white supremacy is a core American principle. In Mein Kampf, Hitler even identified the United States, with its Jim Crow laws and forbiddance of interracial marriage, as the “one state” that knew how to effectively create a second class of citizenry. That the American experiment provided the primary source material for the same violent German regime from which it claimed to be saving the planet is the contradiction between what this country says it is and what it does. It is, at its very core, the uniquely American distinction between ideals and action. This country didn’t just end up this way. It was made this way. To be black in a country like this is to forge your entire life in the dank valley between America’s ideals and actions. We are told that we have been created equally, but we are treated as a separate class. We are told that we live in a nation of laws, but we watch as violence is visited upon our families with no hope of legal recourse. To be black (and survive) in America is to be of dual consciousness. On the one hand, you must believe what all humans must believe in order to survive: that you have a future, that your children will be safe and cared for, that things will, somehow, some way, get better. On the other hand, your very survival depends on never trusting, on seeing the ugly truth for what it is, on remaining ever vigilant for where and how precisely you are being conned. To keep safe you must expect to be attacked. To be black and live is to constantly expect to die. This is a fucked-up forced duality. And an unsustainable one. “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude,” Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” For black people in America, the psychic toll of having to tie your fate, the fate of your family, to a world designed to subjugate you can only be withstood for so long. Eventually, inevitably, a truer, more direct action calls. And often that action is abrupt.

35 MINJUN 4
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Protesting for the Soul of America: The New Civil Rights Movement

You’re OK, I’m Not: Black Men and Therapy

We don’t discuss enough the emotional and mental health needs of black men. So in this week’s episode, we make space for it. Tonya Mosley sits down with three Wise Ones to answer our listener’s question: “Dear Truth Be Told, why is therapy so taboo in the black community, especially amongst black men?” In order to answer this question, we need to talk about what it means to be a black man in America. Poet and writer Prentice Powell kicks off the episode by performing a poem he wrote in 2014 after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Being a black man in America means being my brother’s keeper. Being a black man in America means being my brother’s keeper while keeping a distance from my brother because I don’t trust him further than I can see him. It’s believing the cops don’t care about you. It’s learning how not to doubt yourself because when you’re born everyone else already does. It’s a love you have for your mother regardless of her flaws in dealing wit...

39 MINMAY 21
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You’re OK, I’m Not: Black Men and Therapy

Mom, We Need a Break

The global coronavirus pandemic is bringing mixed emotions to Mother’s Day this year. Many are grieving the loss of a mother and the inability to mourn or celebrate in person. Many are trying to reconnect after being estranged. And those who are estranged from their mothers or have strained relationships, the shelter-in-place mandate has not necessarily helped. On this week’s episode, Tonya Mosley sits down with comedian, actor and director Kulap Vilaysack to answer a listener question: “How can I honor the respect and love that I have for my mother while also acknowledging that the relationship isn’t healthy for me?” Vilaysack was embarking on her own journey of motherhood when she decided to revisit her past through her documentary, “Origin Story.” At age 14, Vilaysack found out her father was not her biological father, and 20 years later she traveled to Laos to meet him for the first time. In the process, she keeps coming back to the complex relationship she has with her mother. “A lot of us Southeast Asian kids, we have similar tales. We stand on the shoulders of some very hurt people and that is not easy,” Vilaysack says. In the episode, Vilaysack addresses the trauma immigrant and refugee families experience, which is passed on to children through culture and family environment. For both Vilaysack and our question asker, love from their mothers has existed amid addiction and abuse. Vilaysack says some hard lessons she has learned include the need to be a good mother to yourself, understanding parents are not the gatekeepers to culture and that mothers are flawed individuals. Therapy has been essential, Vilaysack says, in order to mourn the loss of the mother-daughter relationship she wished for but never really had. “It’s truly a rewiring that needs to occur and it has to do with dealing with your side of the fence first,” Vilaysack says. “Meaning, going to therapy, doing the hard work on yourself before you can get to a place where things don’t affect [you] like they did before. Where things don’t cut anymore. You have to help yourself first before you can help other people.” Vilaysack offers this mind exercise she’s done herself to start the process of mothering yourself and self-healing: 1. Revisit a difficult memory that you have with your mom and your younger self. 2. Picture that memory and series of events. 3. Enter that memory as your adult self. 4. Step in front of your younger self and protect that version of you. 5. Your adult self tells your mom to go away for a little bit. 6. You hold your younger self, console her and tell her, “It’s not your fault.” 7. Do not deny what happened but let your younger self know that it’s going to be OK. 8. Take your younger self into a room where she feels safe and hand her a stuffed animal she loved. 9. Take a picture of this image. Vilaysack says this mind exercise is not to erase the past but heal the open wounds that still exist with your own love for yourself. For more context, listen to Vilaysack talk about the exercise in the episode. In addition to therapy and self-mothering, Vilaysack says it’s important to be surrounded by people who can affirm and love you how you want to be loved. But, what if you get to all of this and your decision is not to have a relationship with your mother? Our Wise One affirms that’s OK – the decision is not final. “You are the architect of your life and what this relationship is going to be,” Vilaysack says. Episode transcript can be found here. Episode Guest:

37 MINMAY 7
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Mom, We Need a Break

Deportation Wounds

Many of us are feeling isolated right now as we rely on Zoom and FaceTime to see our friends and family. When this will end exactly is unknown, but for some it will remain their reality. Households impacted by family separation and deportation see this long-distance digital relationship as “normal.” This week’s episode, “Deportation Wounds,” brings our host Tonya Mosley in conversation with Isabeth Mendoza, our producer and question asker. After 11 years, Isabeth is seeking help to begin healing from her father’s deportation and the traumatic experience. “I think that the pain and the tragedy of family separation is so deep and so unique that even if it happened to you a month ago or six months ago, or for myself, 11 years ago, the pain is very fresh. I don’t know how else to explain it aside from it’s very painful. I think the conversation ends with the person [being deported] or it’s kept alive by a legal proceeding. But life continues, the family keeps going, and I don’t see resources or places that I can go to learn about what to do after this. How does anybody move forward? What is the future for families like mine? And how do we get to live our future and not just imagine it?” Truth Be Told called upon Adriana Alejandre, licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and founder of Latinx Therapy podcast as a Wise One. Alejandre says that while struggle, resilience and survival dominate the immigrant narrative, healing does not. “… those are some of their pillars that help [immigrants] to keep going, to survive their day-to-day, hour-by-hour lives sometimes because of the lack of resources. I think healing is sometimes, understandably so, one of the last things that they have to think about, because most immigrant communities come from a collectivistic culture, and they’re taught to prioritize others versus themselves. It doesn’t come very naturally and so I think that’s one of the reasons why healing gets put on the backburner.” Family separation and deportation illicit pain, confusion and fear. Alejandre also points out that anger holds hands with these feelings. “We are taught that anger is a secondary emotion. But through my clients, my clients of color specifically, I’ve learned that that’s not true,” Alejandre says. “Anger is valid. If we can learn to expel it and release it in healthy ways when we’re aware of it, then I think that it translates into another emotion.” Alejandre suggests individual or group therapy but if therapy is not accessible, there are also self-help books, podcasts, diaphragmatic breathing exercises and friends who might be able to relate. Alejandre’s bottom line is “ask for help because I know that we’re taught to be independent, to be resilient, to blossom on our own. But it doesn’t always have to be that way.” If the process becomes overwhelming, pausing is essential. Alejandre says, “The only red flag is to just be aware of your avoiding tendencies … come back to your journey.” The episode ends with Isabeth speaks with her father about how he feels about their long-distance relationship, his processing of the deportation experience and how he imagines his future. It leads to Isabeth attempting to answer that for herself. “I think part of the dream is to just be together doing nothing — breathing a little easier because we’re together — and that is a privilege. I imagine laughing, and honestly, not living in fear. I realize what I imagine is us basically living together back in Los Angeles, that’s the ideal right? But no matter what happens, we’ll need to spend more time together, bridge our lives more intentionally and I’ll need to remind myself that this situation is hard, it’s shitty, but us laughing and having joy and sharing love will be my way of taking my power back.”

32 MINAPR 23
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Deportation Wounds

White World, Black Body

This week we’re talking about diets, separating weight from health and navigating white spaces as a big woman of color. “White World, Black Body” brings our host, Tonya Mosley, in conversation with two Wise Ones, Virgie Tovar and Chloe Hilliard, who have each bridged personal journeys with body image and food with their professional work. Tovar is the host of the new podcast Rebel Eaters Club and author of the upcoming book, “The Self-Love Revolution: Radical Body Positivity for Girls of Color.” Hilliard is a journalist-turned-comedian, spinning her unique experiences into laughs and a new book called, “F*ck Your Diet: And Other Things My Thighs Tell Me.” All three women come together to help a Truth Be Told listener with her quandary: Being both overweight and black makes me feel invisible. And that I’m occupying too much space at the same time. The goal, of course, is to lose weight. But, until then, how can I maneuver in the non-black world, in my body? This idea that body image and weight is a lifelong project is why this conversation transcends time. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, push-up challenges are being circulated alongside memes about gaining weight while physically distancing, dubbed the “Quarantine 15.” Amidst a global health crisis, we are still worrying about our bodies and weight. “It’s important to understand that diet culture primes us to accept discomfort, shame, self-denial, a sense of failure, gaslighting and financial exploitation,” said Tovar. “These are things that share characteristics with racism, sexism and misogyny.” Hilliard agrees. “Dieting — I don’t do that anymore,” she said. “It felt like I was suffering and punishing myself for something I didn’t know I did.” The Wise Ones suggest that instead of spending brainpower on worrying about the scale or meticulously planning meals, instead redirect that energy to activities that bring you joy or peace. They suggest writing, going outside, doing yoga in front of a mirror or simply drinking tea. It’s about finding your own happiness rather than trying to identify with other folks’ version of happiness. “I think it’s really hard trying to be a strong black woman and at every turn in society, someone’s attacking you because they feel that you are this impenetrable human being. It is taxing,” Hilliard said. “Because of that, you start to emotionally eat. And so it is a cycle [that] needs to be broken. I have stopped trying to appease a society that doesn’t acknowledge me.” The message both Tovar and Hilliard drive home is one that takes practice and constant reminding: Nothing is wrong with you and it’s not your responsibility to appease others’ insecurities. Episode transcript can be found here. Episode Guests: Chloe Hilliard, Author of

39 MINAPR 9
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White World, Black Body

'Rona and Racism: A Survival Guide

On this episode of Truth Be Told, we gathered your questions and lived experiences during the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. Tonya Mosley talks to Dr. Seema Yasmin, journalist, author and infectious disease detective. She’s seen what the migration of diseases like COVID-19 can do to communities and how racism rears its ugly head during times like these. “There’s a long history of scapegoating people of color as the carriers of disease,” Yasmin said. “This goes back hundreds of years, and so this isn’t anything new. We’ve even seen it during recent epidemics. Whether it’s Ebola or Zika, non-white people are blamed [for] introducing disease into places.” The uneasiness comes from a long history of racializing health in America. At this moment, the racialization of COVID-19 with Asians and Asian Americans is unfurling in front of us. Accompanying headlines of the spread of infection are also instances of discrimination, harassment and attacks on the Asian community. Mosley and Yasmin responded to concerns of increased power for law enforcement during the pandemic, and the current status of how the illness affects people who are homeless, incarcerated or detained. Yasmin also offered validation for the myriad feelings being experienced. “We have the right to feel whatever we feel,” Yasmin said. Yasmin was our Truth Be Told question asker for “Joy,” the very first episode our first season of the podcast. Her question was, “Is it OK to feel joy when the rest of the world is burning?” In this episode about how the coronavirus is impacting people of color, Mosley asked Yasmin if she is currently using any of the advice she was given. “You know, thinking back to that question, it was about joy, but I think it was also more broadly about the permission to feel things — anything. And so I think in a moment like this, where you feel so many emotions, including anxiety, fear, anger, that advice that I got, reminds me that it’s OK to feel whatever I feel. So I feel very honored right now. You’re having me on as a wise one, but truth be told, this wise one is struggling also … it’s a lot.” So, let’s revisit the sage guidance offered by two wise ones from our very first episode – adrienne maree brown and Tonya’s grandmother, Ernestine Mosley. 1. Faith/Spirituality: Set intentions, pray, worship, meditate. Reacquaint or deepen your relationship with nature. 2. Rituals: Care for your body (baths, exercise, adornment). Feed your soul (read, write, create, cook). Do anything that brings you joy. 3. Look for the helpers, and help the helpers: Find ways to be generous with each other or lift another’s spirit. Redirect your attention on the solution-makers in a crisis. Find ways to support those helpers for the collective good. 4. Connect with the self: Go on dates with yourself, take an inventory of yourself and your life, write down the spaces you feel in complete alignment with yourself in your life (i.e. my role as an auntie), or walk around your home naked while looking at your miraculous body. 5. Connect with those you love and who love you: Reach out to people who make you feel loved and check in on someone you’ve been thinking about. Also, try to laugh as much as you can. Laughter,

36 MINMAR 26
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'Rona and Racism: A Survival Guide

Healing for Black America

Listen to this week’s episode to hear our host Tonya Mosley and Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir, unpack the question: “How are black Americans expected to overcome and thrive in this country without the necessary mechanisms of healing?” This question comes from actor Boris Kodjoe, who you may have seen in shows like “Code Black,” “Station 19” and the movie “Brown Sugar.” Kodjoe was born and raised in Germany, and ever since he arrived in the United States he’s thought, “I never understood how African Americans were expected to thrive.” Laymon said he found the answer in Mississippi where he was born and raised. “I actually think that our healing mechanisms – and this is scary – are a little bit better than white folks,” he said. “At least down here in Mississippi.” Mosley and Laymon’s conversation flows through topics like mothers and children, isolation and protests. And, of course, it ends with therapy. “What I need to do is be able to accept ...

36 MINMAR 12
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Healing for Black America

Truth Be Told is Back Y’all!

How many times have you paused and asked, Is it just me or — Yeah, us too. We all experience life in our unique bodies and skin. And yet, we’re alone in surviving, growing and thriving. The world we live in gaslights us into thinking anything to do with identity is in our imagination. Well, Truth Be Told is here to tell you it’s not. You are not the only one, you are not alone and guess what? There’s a podcast for that. Sometimes we are sitting with questions that we can’t even talk about with those closest to us. Truth Be Told is the friend you call after a long day to cry, bitch and moan. The one who gets it. So grab a seat on the couch, pull up the podcast and put your earbuds in. We got you. Truth Be Told explores your dilemmas, reaches out to Wise Ones for advice, and deliberately digs deep — because your questions, your story and your existence matters. In our first season, we talked about the guilt of feeling joy when the world is a mess, we interrogated who we grew up crushing on and who we ultimately ended up dating. We scrutinized being enough within our own communities, the complications of working and living with well-meaning white folks and handling family dynamics with estranged fathers or debating whether or not to become a mother. For the past two months I’ve waited patiently for each Thursday to come, knowing that the @TruthBeToldShow crew would spark a conversation I needed to hear. Thank you for making this space for me and all POC people to thrive ️ https://t.co/359T0ghdCX — bebé llora (@shaylynmartos) June 23, 2019 This week’s @TruthBeToldShow is essential listening for those of us who are white-passing or hold other kinds of passing privilege. It unpacks where, why & how we ask to belong, and the different places of marginalization or privilege that desire can come from. https://t.co/aBWiNXCZvL — Ariana Martinez (@MartinezAriana_) June 1, 2019 Now we’re back with season two! Our host, Tonya Mosley, will delve into your questions, unearth the layers of your quandaries and pull in a Wise One for advice. This season will be full of growing pains, joy, laughter and collective thriving. And don’t worry, we’re still the place where hard questions meet understanding ears. Where people of color can be candid with each other and work through the messy parts of life. Season two starts on March 12! Listen on Apple, Spotify, NPR One or wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to submit a question you can email us at truthbetold@kqed.org, call us at (415) 553-2802 or use the hashtag #AskTBT on social media.

1 MINFEB 26
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Truth Be Told is Back Y’all!
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