In the wake of 101.5 DJ’s being suspended for making racist statements on the air New Jersey Revolution held a panel discussion with Lark Lo (Black Kids in Outer Space), Devon Bowers (Hampton Institute Podcast A Different Lense), and Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion. The discussion gives us different viewpoints of how we talk about race in New Jersey media. All of these points need to be heard and more discussion needs to happen! We are very honored that these activists chose to come on NJRR to speak out.
Unfortunatly the audio from the livestream was inaudible for the majority of the show. So, to make up for this tech error we present this transcript, and we look forward to having all these guests back soon for more lively and important discussions from the grassroots activists making change happen in NJ. Solidarity!
Brian : Hi everybody. Thank you for joining us here on New Jersey Revolution Radio, live streaming also on the web at www.njrevolutionradio.com. I’m very lucky to be joined with what I think we’ve put together the best panel we’ve had yet, and we’ve had some really great panels. Not to knock our other guests, but I’m really excited to be joined by the Hampton Institutes Political Science Department Chair, Devon Bowers. He also does a podcast on the Hampton Institute. Lark Lo, producer of “Black Kids in Outer Space”. And a man that doesn’t need a whole lot of introduction when it comes to New Jersey activism, “New Jersey Weedman”, Ed Forchion. Thank you for joining me everybody. Welcome to the program this morning.
Lark: Thank you for having us.
Ed: Yeah, thank you.
Brian: Yeah. So Ed, I do wanna start off with you, because I think you’ve got the unique perspective here, and more of an inside. ‘Cause you have a relationship with 101.5 for a number of years now. And I think everybody’s pretty much heard, but just to bring everybody up to speed, two of the DJ’s made some derogatory comments about our State Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal. Saying that he was “turban man”, and they kinda didn’t recognize his existence because he wore a turban. It was really bad stuff. Everybody I think acknowledged … I haven’t heard anybody directly defend those terms here in this room. Although I did hear callers on their show defend that as just being a joke. Ed, what was your initial reaction when you heard those comments? ‘Cause I know you heard them live when they actually happened, right?
Ed: Yeah, I listen to them almost every day. I listen to 101.5 every day, I kind of bounce around. Sometimes I listen to Bill Spadea in the mornings for a little while. Jeff Middlesteen, or Jersey Guys’ in the afternoon. But I’ve been actually listening at 2 o’clock to Dennis and Judy], who I’ve been calling for 20 years. He has known me for 20 years, actually 20 this year. And when I heard him say it, I said to myself, “oh they’re gonna get shit for that.” I didn’t expect it to turn into what happened. Over the years, they called people names. It’s kind of entertainment, and I have to admit as a person of color, I knew that it was gonna cause problems, but I really don’t think they are racists. I have a relationship with them. I don’t think they’re racist. I think they lean, as far as politically, they’re a little bit to the right, but they’re not in “We are not being right” right-wing conservative. They’re pretty mainstream. I don’t know, I hate to get very, very offended. I didn’t get offended. I’ll admit, Ihave dreds, I have been called “Dredhead”. It just didn’t seem like their intention to me was a racial slur, or slur on his vision.
Ed: Gurbir Grewal, his name is kind of hard to pronounce, reading it. If you look at it, you don’t really know how to say it. And I remember thinking the same thing, how I say his name. The topic they were talking about was one that is geared towards me, people inclination of marijuana. They were talking about this new more moratorium that he instituted. Which they were praising him for doing it. I really wish that they could replay the show, because they were praising him. And then Dennis couldn’t pronounce his name, and he called him “turban man.” And then he made a joke something to the effect that Trump, Trump calls Kim Jung-Un “Rocket Man”, and then Judy said, “Is that offensive?” And he goes, “Yeah somebody’s gonna be offended.” And then he said it a couple more times. The rest is history.
Brian: We do know that you’ve had a personal relationship with this crew. And that they have supported you while you were in jail. This station had you on the air, so there’s a personal tie there, that not most people have. And that’s why I’d like to bring in Devon here, to hear your thoughts that you … Have you ever dealt with 101.5 on any kind of level with the media or anything?
Devon: No, I don’t dealt with them, or listen to them at all.
Brian: So for a guy that doesn’t have that insider perspective, what was your reaction when you heard this?
Devon: To me they were ridiculous. The point of the matter is he not a [inaudible 00:05:20]. Literally all you can do is Google, NJ State Attorney General, boom you will get the guys name [inaudible 00:05:37]. I think that he used, the terms that were used were ridiculous. While they [inaudible 00:05:57]. [inaudible 00:06:15], still I think, you can still make racist comments. I think that you should be held accountable [inaudible 00:06:20].
Brian: I think so and I want to start with Lark on this question, but I’d kinda like to hear everybody’s thoughts on it after she’s done. We see this regularly, how often, I mean this isn’t an isolated incident. My opinion isn’t that they slipped up and made an error on 101.5 but living in New Jersey and hearing this stuff over and over, they create an environment where the people on air are comfortable saying this stuff.
Lark: That’s what I was going to say, me being from Los Angeles and seeing the constant casual racism in New Jersey and with the acceptance of it, not by just white people, by the people of color is kinda like this idea that it’s almost like, “I’m so used to being treated like in a horrible manner,” that as long as you’re not listening, I’m kinda uncomfortable with you talking about me in this way. He’s the attorney general of New Jersey and they called essentially a racial slur, and the thing is they are supporting institutional racism that is institutionalized in New Jersey is the reason why black people are arrested at five times the rate for marijuana use, in places like by Jersey city, 9.6 times the rate of black people are arrested for marijuana use, misdemeanor, just ridiculous charges. There standard rate between black and white people regards to incarceration is huge, but the media just goes to casual conversation by major radio station it’s just magnifies the complete lack of respect that New Jersey has for anyone who is not a white cis gender male.
Lark: I do feel as though they are racists, I feel like the station is racist, I feel that media has a real problem in regards to how it characterizes people who are not white, who are not middle class, who are not men, who are not cis gender, I mean to think you can get to the point when you are the attorney general of new jersey and be called a racial slur and everyone thinks it’s not a big deal. It’s a huge deal, and the thing is that cause New Jersey is becoming a place where people outside of new jersey come here, you cannot behave in that manner.
Lark: It is not acceptable and other parts of the rest of the country to use, to think the way people think in New Jersey.
Brian: I heard a lot of this defense coming on the air and Ed, I know there’s lessons to be learned here, but is 101.5 gonna learn those lessons? Or are they going to work on their culture and not treat this as if it’s a one time incident, cause quite honestly man, I look at Spadea’s twitter, and I see a whole shit load of retweets from Donald Trump, the guy is a prominent republican, he’s run for office, he’s a supporter of this president. They gotta change their culture and that’s what I think, can they? Can they?
Ed: No and I don’t think they have to. And listen, I have fought against racism all the time. Right now, I’m talking about if we should boycott the ATC’s, which I call the Caucasian Cannabis Corporations. Now I’ve been listening to this show, 20 years, I don’t think they’re racists. They call people names all the time. The current Governor, they were calling him names about his speech. I don’t remember what it was, but they were just doing that last week.
Ed: Governor christie, they called him fatso, they called him all kinds of names, and the problem is you have a million people who never heard this show, never saw, never listen to this show, they have no idea what this show is about or what they do. And this conduct, that really the Governor made more of an issue of it than the Attorney General, but the Governor put it out there that this is racist and everybody yells and gets choked up and says “this is racist.”
Ed: But we all listen to the show, it’s an entertainment show [inaudible 00:11:13]. I’ll admit that I don’t listen to Bill Spadea that much cause he’s a Trumpster, but yeah know it’s a radio show. He’s a trumpster, he’s a trumpster, I just turn the thing off.
Lark: Well I think if Dennis and Judy wanted you to say these things in regards to making comments that people make, people size, people’s appearance, and they’re going to get called out by the public.
Lark: That’s the problem, people feel, I think that’s the issue. You are a public radio show, and you talk about public figures. People are going to say, “you are not okay, it is not okay for you to say that.” And then they’re going to have to understand that if they want to make those comments about people, there is going to be a consequence to it, you can’t just go around talking about people’s size.
Ed: Why can’t you?
Lark: You can totally do it, but there will be a consequence, just like, if you’re on the air making fun of people’s appearance, people are going to say, “hey, guess what I’m a person of that size, and I don’t appreciate that.” I’m Indian American, I don’t people making fun of my name, so that’s why, that’s what’s going to happen to you.
Lark: If you want to continue to make these kinds of comments, you’re going to have a consequence and that consequence might be boycott. That consequence might be people saying, “I don’t like you.”
Ed: Twice my consequence is to say what I say, was jail. I’ve been in jail twice for talking.
Lark: You think that you’re the same, you think that you’re the same as them? You’re putting yourself in the same category. You think you fighting for your rights is the same to them fighting for racial slurs, that’s the same? I don’t think it is.
Ed: I do. It’s called the first amendment. It’s called free speech.
Lark: Yeah it is, well.
Devon: You’re right, people do have free speech.
Brian: Let me get, let me get Devon in here because he has, I noticed he wants to say something about free speech.
Devon: As far as I’m concerned, free speech . Here’s the thing, when people say free speech, [inaudible 00:13:21]. Free speech directly relates to government and what you can and can’t say, so it’s not a free speech issue, it’s more important.
Ed: No everybody has.
Devon: Hold on, hold on.
Ed: But you’re saying.
Brian: Let’s let him finish his point and I’ll come right back to you Ed, I promise.
Devon: Calling people names in casual manner, it’s like, “okay whatever,” but if you, for example, if we had a politician rather than attack him or her, play attention to the policies, policies, focus on that, that’s where the substance is, not attacking them for the way they look. You’re not focusing on the meat of the issue.
Ed: Two things real quick, if this thing on CNN or a political show, or happening on Fox News or similar show, we’d say Ed gets his story, this is an entertainment show. Like it’s, I don’t know, do you guys listen to it, do you listen to it, that’s why you’re not getting the jist of how it was said. Free speech, everyone has free speech, and I do understand the different between free speech and the governments prohibition on punishing you for free speech.
Ed: You can say whatever you want, but the government is not allowed to punish you for what you said. Which has happened to me, that’s why I can’t even believe I am defending what they said, I want these, because this happened to me, I do turn around and I think to myself, what if some trumpster, I don’t even like trump, I don’t like trumpsters, but they can say whatever they want to say and I wouldn’t throw them off the air, I wouldn’t.
Ed: I just wouldn’t listen. And that’s the problem, I think here with the Dennis and Judy, they were thrown off the air, they were called racists, all these things, and it was a skit, it was their shtick, and this is what they do all the time, and the Governor made it a national story and turned it into something that I don’t think it is, it was.
Lark: Well I think it speaks to a large issue of not just 101.5, but it’s speaking to a larger issue of the culture of the acceptance of institutional racism in our media. And I think that’s what we’re talking about, not just this one issue, but this continuation of an acceptance of white supremacy within the media in New Jersey. It’s the reason why you were in jail Mr. Weedman.
Lark: It’s the reason why we have lots of black men in jail in New Jersey because the narrative of black people, of people who are undocumented, of women is one of where we are dehumanized, we are not human beings and this is why it’s so easy to make laws that are racist, that are oppressive, that let people who are white sell marijuana and make money on it, but yet people who are black are still going to jail for it.
Lark: And that’s the thing that’s so sad. They were mocking a person who’s actually trying to go, “hey, we’re not going to arrest people for marijuana.” And you’re defending the people who would have you arrested, who would call the cops on you, over a man who saying, “let’s not arrest people anymore for marijuana because this is wrong.”
Ed: They were praising that.
Lark: Even though they took your side, you still think it’s okay to accept them. This is a problem with the law in New Jersey.
Ed: I was listening to the show, they were praising the attorney general.
Lark: And they still mocked him. They praised him and yet still dehumanized him.
Ed: 99 percent of what you just said, I agree with, I say it myself, but just because I listen that show, and I’ve been accepting of that show because I take it as more of an entertainment show, a place where people can voice their opinions. It’s a call in show. I call in and voice my opinions all the time. And I know people don’t agree and I hear it all the time. It’s a talk show where people voice their opinions. And they make fun of people and they say things, they say goofy things. Judy the other host, I’ve gotten in to little bickerments, little arguments with her where I’ve said something on the air she didn’t like and then we’d go back and forth and email each other over and over again. But I don’t think she’s a racist.
Brian: So we started this Facebook group and if you want to check us out on Facebook and go to the page and message the page that you’d like to be on the Facebook group, we’ll add you and then you can kinda contribute as we prepare for these stories. Madeleine Hoffman, a comrade of ours, sent me this picture. She said it was from a presentation she was at a few years ago.
Brian: We see in this one picture, a couple of white people treading through water, bringing some bread and it says, “two residents wade through chest deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store.” And then right next to it, a picture of an African American person carrying some stuff, and it says, “a young man walks chest deep in water after looting a grocery store.” And this was after Hurricane Katrina.
Brian: I mean I don’t think anybody here is trying to deny that there is racism in our culture. But that’s a stark difference in the way they were reporting for white people doing one thing. How often do you see that and what steps can we take cause we’re all in media. What steps can I take, what steps can Lark, can you take, Devon, what steps can you take? To make sure that we start reporting without promoting without supporting white supremacy because we all have to agree to do that right?
Devon: So the first one we can do, and I’ve talked about it before, for example, with [inaudible 00:19:54] of [inaudible 00:19:58] news is going to be creating our own media because the thing is so much of us are dependent on the mainstream media which does not do a good job on reporting, forget white supremacy and what not, they just don’t do a good job on reporting, period. So, one of the main things we can do is create our own media.
Devon: If you can blog, if you can write, if you can podcast and vodcast, whatever, go out and do it, you know. That’s what I think.
Brian: Yeah. That’s what we all did, right?
Lark: Also, important, when we are sharing things on, unfortunately, we’re sharing things on Facebook cause that’s what we have for distribution, we have to be mindful of like, “oh lets try to share a story by a person of color or woman or a person who is not part of the corporate media system,” we should also be mindful, when we are kinda like, “oh, lets think about a book or citing people, let’s site people of color, lets site woman, lets site working class people.” When we’re talking about books or even shows, anytime someone asks me, “oh do you have a suggestion for someone to do something?” I always think, “okay who are the black people I know who can do this with me?” And I always make sure that I’m never the only black person on the stage or in a room. Like that’s kinda like my policy, like if you bring me, I’m bringing somebody else with me.
Lark: Also, when we have our media, share our people’s media. Like, Devon has media, Edward, he has something, he has a column that he writes. I’m going to share it. Even if I don’t agree with everything you say, I’m still going to support you in regards to what you do.
Lark: I mean even on my show, I have people who are developers, I have people who are anti-defamation. I feel the need that everybody needs to voice, we need to do more than the single story. You need to show all perspectives.
Brian: And that show, of course, is Black Kids in Outer Space, let’s make sure we let everybody know that. Ed this is an important question for you because if you’re saying that we shouldn’t come down so hard on these DJ’s for promoting white supremacy or being racist, what can we do to make the situation better? How do we reduce support of white supremacy in media?
Ed: There’s a lot of things that go on that is white supremacy. And like that example you just showed about the two depictions of people doing the same exact thing. Like I see things like that all the time. Sometimes when I’m watching the news, I can tell just by the face they put on, if the story is going to be a positive story or a negative story.
Ed: Say welfare, if they’re talking about a story that their praising some sort type of welfare program, they’ll put a white woman on. If it’s a negative story about welfare, say it’s about somebody leasing the system or something, they put a black face on.
Ed: And I notice things like that. Sometimes when I’m watching the news and I see some image about somebody shooting somebody and if they don’t put a picture on and they don’t put a name on it, I sometimes say to myself, “that must be a white person,” because they always put a picture of a black man up there if it’s a black person shooting somebody.
Ed: I don’t know how I would do it. I’m not the media God that would change everything, it is a culture, it is institutional, I think a lot of times these people are doing these things and they don’t even know they’re doing them, but they’re doing them, so we know that’s wrong. In this instance, because we’re talking about Dennis and Judy’s show, maybe it’s because I have this long personal relationship with them, that I don’t think they are racists so I’m kinda like denying it. Maybe I’m in denial, I don’t know. I just don’t see how we can fix it because it’s so big, it’s so huge.
Brian: I think one of the things we can do is by using our platforms. I mean you are New Jersey famous. There’s a reason why I sought you out after your release, it’s because you’re an important figure in activism so by calling it out, even if their friends and I’ll think irt ok to say, everybody is racist. It’s the way we think. And that’s not a bad thing, people gotta stop being defensive about it. There’s something called schematic thinking, it’s how we learn, we learn by associating with things we already know. And I’ll give you this example. I went to college and took some psych. I didn’t get a degree, but they taught us a little kid sees a dog every day and he sees this thing with four legs, and it’s furry and it barks and he knows that that’s a doggy. The first time that kid sees a pony, he looks at it, he sees a thing with four legs, and it makes funny noises and he looks and he points, and he says, “doggy.” And then you correct him, and you say, “that’s a horsey, or a pony.” And he eventually learns to split what they call that schema.
Brian: Now when you live in a country that constantly portrays people who aren’t white as the bad guy in films, or shows them committing crimes in media, we associate, regardless of own race, creed or color, we start associating that imagery with what we know about somebody when we first meet them because of the color of their skin. Doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a human being whose learning as human beings were designed to learn. So I think that’s what’s so important about our platforms and how we speak in media because we are essentially creating those schemas in people’s minds to associate with things they haven’t run into yet. I hope everybody, maybe, can keep that in mind, something I learned a long time ago, I love to pass it along.
Lark: I think another thing you have to understand that, even people who are black, or Latin mix, they still have this idea of white supremacy. If you look within the black communities, especially communities where there’s no black media, like New Jersey, where’s there’s kinda like no big black media presence. No historical media the way we have in Los Angeles, we have the LA Way, we have the “Our Weekly,” we have huge papers, out here there’s the Amsterdam news that mainly covers New York City. So when black people, something happens, they go to the white media. They have to appeal to the white media.
Lark: When they’ve done something great, they go, “look I’m in the white media.” That shows that what I have to do is important, and I think that the other thing we have to do is view our media as just as important. If you get in Amsterdam News, be just as stoked about that, and spread that around, just as if you got into New Jersey.com. How is USA Today, how is that more legit than the Amsterdam News?
Lark: I remember when the USA Today first came out. We all made kinda fun of it because it’s like, “oh it’s like TV, but it’s on a newspaper,” it’s not like legit, it wasn’t like the New York Times. Now because it’s mainly, predominately a white media, you’re just more legitimate because it’s white. I think that’s something that we, people of color, also have to kinda like, not I don’t want to say get over it because we know that we live in a country where, where whiteness is valuable, so we want to get our message out and we want to take a shortcut, and we wanna go, we want to go to the white media.
Lark: So it’s kinda like, we’re only even get legitimized if the white media feels that we’re important and I think that’s the thing too, we have to stop allowing white people to pick “who are the people that are the [inaudible 00:27:52] people? Why did they get to pick? Why did they get to decide whose story is worthy to be written about? I feel like just cutting them out completely, cut out people who are obsessed with capitalism, cut out corporate america. They shouldn’t have a say in what working class people do and what people do who are working for a living. And what we are doing in our lives.
Lark: People of privilege, the one percent should have nothing to do with who are our leaders, who gets written about and who is important. And I think that’s something we have to keep in our head.
Brian: Thank you for that, I appreciate that.
Devon: We can’t be afraid to say [inaudible 00:28:29] internet. The internet, that’s where a lot of people are getting their news, people don’t really trust the mainstream media now per se, and so they go on the internet. Definitely go and look at places online, like Lark was saying, like [inaudible 00:28:48].
Devon: For example, you have a very prominent left black media space called, Black In General Report. Reach out to them, I’m sure they’d be willing to talk about stories and what not. If you just want to do local stuff, go, and make you’re own [inaudible 00:29:07]. I know this one individual, not personally, but I know of him, who has a blog Facebook page where all they do is cover Maplewood News. Share the local news.
Devon: Don’t be afraid to be that person, to be like, “you know what, I think there’s something missing here, or there’s something I could offer.” And go and do it yourself.
Ed: I want to say something. Lark, a few minutes ago, you said seeking out black media or alternative media. Now over the years I used to really seek them out, I mean I’ve been in the field of the Tribune, I’ve tried to get into the Amsterdam news, but I have to tell you something, and it goes to black groups too, where we’re talking about the NAACP, or the black clergy of New Jersey, or some of these other, a lot of them rejected my issue about marijuana and they wouldn’t put it up there, they just wouldn’t do it no matter what.
Ed: The Philadelphia Tribune once or twice did it, like I’m a talk show caller, I call talk shows all over the country. WURD 900 in Philadelphia occasional would take my calls, but if I call a black talk show, Detroit or Chicago, about marijuana, they kinda looked at it like I was goofy. Even if I just used my real name, not even NJ Weedman, I made efforts to do that, and still nothing. It was totally rejecting.
Ed: I noticed lately now, it’s more acceptable. But all the way up until I would say the last five years, the black media rejected the issue of marijuana, it was drugs, its was the churches. [crosstalk 00:31:09].
Lark: I completely understand what you’re saying, and I do. The sad thing is that a lot of our black media, if not really black media is actually a black face with a white person behind it, so white people viewed it as okay. Now they want to talk to you because white media has said, “oh, weed is okay now.” So now they want to talk to you.
Lark: I should say, I don’t like to kinda differentiate, but I should say, progressive black media, I would have covered you, if you would of called Englewood, I had a newspaper for three years, I would have covered you. But that’s the whole thing.
Ed: I lived in LA for a few years, I don’t know if you know that, I lived in LA.
Lark: I heard that, but that’s the whole thing, I tried not to fight with the more conservative parts of the black community cause we got other things we have to do, but I also try to tell people, “hey I’m a progressive black person, I am trying to cover things, I’m trying to get away from respectability, from politics.” I even try to explain to people about the black church, about the history of the black church.Lark: I’ve written or a truth dig, counter punch, talking about how the face that the black church, the baptist church was actually a way to watch black people after slavery was over. So those big black churches, those baptist churches are actually still run by very conservative white baptists. And those are the people that helped fund the whole war against drugs.
Lark: Other than Maxine Waters, a lot of people voted for the war on drugs. All that stuff, because they were getting paid by these people. So I mean, I’ve gone into this in a more, so I understand what you’re saying, I’m not discounting that, I’m not really part of that world, but I’m saying it’s like we need to not only think about legitimizing progressive politics, we need to legitimize radical black people. We need to legitimize people who don’t have to go to their white handler.
Lark: Like I’m an autonomous black woman. I do want I want to do, nobody owns me, nobody’s running me, but there are people out there who have like black media and you go, “who actually really owns the media?” Like when you go, like who is giving them money? Especially the nonprofit industrial complex has really destroyed the black media.
Lark: Unfortunately, the LA Los Angeles which used to be autonomously black, is now really kinda run by USC, which is a tool for gender fication, you probably have, in New Jersey, you probably have Rutgers involved in a lot of black media. So of course, you’re going to have, somebody like you come up, if you’re not part of the machine, they’re gonna be like, “Who are you, are you from Rutgers, are you connected to us?”
Ed: Which church do you go to?
Lark: Exactly, “what church do you go to?” So the thing is, what you’re saying, you’re not matching things, you’re right, you’re like, “I’m going to step in, they’re still not listening to me.” You’re right, because their not autonomous, and their job is to stop people like you from talking. That’s their job, they pay a lot of black people just to stop people like you.
Lark: They will pay other black people a lot of money just to stop you.
Ed: Oh trust me, I 110 percent agree with you on that one. It has happened to me. I’m watching right now, I don’t know if you follow anything in New Jersey with this marijuana issue, but we have Senator Ron Rice. Senator Ron Rice is the impediment to the legalization her in New Jersey and he’s coming from the church. He’s coming from that black conservative side of black people. He is stopping legalization, and somebody like me, I’m like, “dude, do you understand that marijuana laws are; the longest lasting Jim Crow laws there is, it causes more problems in the black community ever and you, as a black senator should be welcoming legalization and ending that.” Instead, he wants to continue it because he has these thoughts from the 30s or the 40s or 30s. It’s the temple of your body and it’s all this goofy stuff that he believes in but he’s a senator and he’s well respected in the black churches and he’s well respected in certain black areas of media and politics, but he’s totally wrong and no one calls him out.
Ed: I wrote a column a couple weeks ago, and I put it out on the internet and I was trying to poke him, which I know he read it, but it was called, “Negro Please.” I sent it to him, I sent it to his office, I posted it on Facebook and all that. I was specifically saying, basically what I just said to you just now, he is keeping this Jim Crow law in place and I just can’t believe it, but that’s what’s going on.
Devon: [crosstalk 00:36:23]. In a situation like that, what goes through my mind, is [inaudible 00:36:30], how [inaudible 00:36:34]. Who is funding them because [inaudible 00:36:38] is politicians. They hold the views and will anyways bow down the whims of people who are funding [inaudible 00:36:52] goes back to, fought over money.
Devon: So I’m sure that if you, I don’t know if you can do this on this [inaudible 00:37:01]. You could try to find out who is funding those two. I’m sure that there are groups or organizations that work in the black church, the white group, whatever, [inaudible 00:37:16], it doesn’t’ matter, who are funding them. That had to be his persistence of these views.
Ed: I want to say one last thing.
Brian: I was just gonna ask you to say one last thing so that works out well.
Ed: Lark, I can tell you something, when you talked about the media, I’ve gotten pretty good at, I don’t want to say manipulating the media, but making sure i get my voice out. Calling myself NJ Weedman was a gimmick in 1997. That gimmick has worked. Nobody would know my name if I was just Ed Fortune, this guy who sits on his couch and smokes weed in New Jersey. No, calling myself NJ Weedman was my gimmick. This is why 101.5 has talked to me for 20 years. This is why I got on the Rush Limbaugh show. This is why the Star Ledger has written about me. The LA Times, it’s my gimmick. And I have to look at it, I wasn’t looking at really as race issue because at the time, like I said, most black media wouldn’t even cover that issue anyway. But these gimmicks I used to get into mainstream media, I’ll call it mainstream for now, but white media, but it was my gimmick to get in there and the face of the matter is, I’ve successfully done it, where it’s like 101.5, the biggest radio station in the state of New Jersey has basically, I’m like the friend of the radio station. The Star Ledger, NJ.com, pretty much the same thing, I’ve probably been in 100 articles in NJ.com over the last 15 years. Everybody in the state knows me cause of NJ.com constantly writes about me. What I’m saying is, instead of rejecting it, I totally understand what you’re saying, I totally get it, and I have a different perspective, but I’ve used that for me. I turned it around and tried to use it to my advantage with gimmicks and it’s not just calling myself NJ Weedman, I mean I’ve called them up and said, “hey listen, I’m getting ready to get a civil disobedience act at the State House tomorrow.” They want to be there and they show up. And I have different media and will hit me up and say things like, “what do you got planned, what do you got planned?” Make sure I get the scoop.
Lark: I don’t think that it’s bad that you’re using it for like you’re individual self, I’m just saying on a larger more universal scale, understand the ramifications of us as anybody, anybody who are not of the privileged class. Understand the limitations of us not having our own media.
Lark: It’s very dangerous that we don’t have our own media and while, like I said, for people like yourself, and even someone like me, I can get in the media owing to my personality, but the thing about, I’m one person, I’m like the person they talk to, but is me being the person they talk to, will that have systematic change?
Lark: For everyone? I mean maybe that’s not your purpose. I mean I always think about how can we help everyone in regard to our media outreach. Yes we need people who have personalities but regards to the system, do you, we need our own media in order to push for the narrative, because if you think about, for 20 years, if we had a media that we owned that covered marijuana, something like High Times for black people or a legitimate media.
Lark: So the community was educated, or not educated, but given information on the topic so then when things like this came up, Ron Rice couldn’t go, “oh yeah, people of faith, [inaudible 00:41:45], sex or Jesus or marijuana.” I don’t know what do you think?
Lark: And I think that because we don’t have a media that covers it, that’s the first thing the black community hears about marijuana. There’s nobody actually writing; I remember when I was in Englewood, and I had a newspaper, I had a print newspaper for three years, weekly newspaper, I was educating people, actually I hate saying educating, I was giving people information about the environmental impact of automobiles. I was giving people information about fracking. There were people like, “oh this is horrible, fracking, I don’t want fracking.” I had a little 85 year old black women from Mississippi, well I’m in LA, who in Louisiana who asked me about fracking.
Lark: Asking about environmental impact reports and they were just kinda like, “where’s this coming from?” And they’re like, “oh it’s her newspaper.” Because I’m giving people information that they weren’t getting before and so they actually gave half a million dollars to get back on script to talk about Jesus and putting people in jail. That’s why media important. Not so much for our own, like, “yeah to get your name out there, that’s great,” but in regard to information for the community, we need our [00:43:01], cause this is why they confuse, they can go and get one person that they pick, or the one person who has a name, pay them enough money. Cause that’s a whole thing, you can pay off one person if you only pick one person for the community, “oh we picked Ed,” and Ron is the Senator. So you don’t know [inaudible 00:43:21] community, you just gotta get one dude, and so that way you can take down the community because you got that one dude that matters.
Lark: But if everybody knows, you can’t pay off everybody. If everybody has information, you couldn’t pay off everybody. And that’s [inaudible 00:43:33]. Not only did it stay white, it stayed anti-black. They have things, they have people of color covering in the black communities but they’re not black, they’re not [inaudible 00:43:50] New Jersey. If I wanted a job that said, “New Jersey.com,” I bet they’d give me a job before they’d give Dev a job even though Devon’s from New Jersey because they don’t want people who know. They want people who are a little bit ignorant so they can shape what they write about, so that’s my opinion.
Brian: Very true. Devon. Let’s get some last thoughts from you, and I also want to make sure we get plugs from everybody cause I know we want to support your work individually. So Devon, last thoughts and then please tell our audience how they can get a hold of you and how they can follow your work as well?
Devon: Sure. Last thoughts on the whole situation and of course what Lark and Ed were just talking about, I want to say that personal media them kinda choosing black people. [inaudible 00:44:43]. They will choose a black person who just more importantly, “you’re the black person who’s only going to talk about this one issue.” They’re not gonna talk about black people, [inaudible 00:44:57] this one thing or two things.
Devon: It’s never a situation where a statement by a black person and allowing them or really any person, allowing them to build or talk more broadly about a number of different issues, a one issue type deal [inaudible 00:45:16]. I think people may have the issues and things they care about that are [inaudible 00:45:23], but I’d like to say a lot of people are just surely solely issue one people.
Devon: In regard to plugs, hamptominstitution.org or The Hampton Institute and watch the work we do, we’re working with [inaudible 00:45:39], our podcasts, different [inaudible 00:45:46].libson.com, so our podcasts there. Me, personally, you can check whatboutpeace.blogspot.com. That’s my blog where [inaudible 00:45:57] writing, [inaudible 00:45:57] book recently on amazon. You can find the link to that book on the blog spot or you can contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian: Thanks man, if you want to add those things to the thread on this live stream on my Facebook page, please feel free so that people can click on it and get to you. Ed, you’re back in business right man?
Ed: Well I got my business license yesterday.
Ed: I actually haven’t started business yet, I’m hoping toward the end of the month. I’m having a fundraising party next Sunday, the fifth, and I’m hoping to raise enough money that I can open. That’s where I’m at.
Ed: I want to add one last little thought. I knew in 1997 when I came out talking about legalization and talking about this that and the other, that I was viewed a lot by media as the village idiot. I totally understood that calling myself Weedman, that I was the village idiot.
Ed: But despite my idiocy as they thought, throughout the state and over the years, times have changed, I’ve gone from the village idiot to the village hero. I kinda feel good about that. Even this last thing, the government throwing me in jail for what I said.
Ed: I think that vast majority of the public thought of me as the victim. That’s pretty much how it is. So I’ve written a book that I plan on announcing, you’re getting the scoop here, but I’m announcing everything, as far as going on amazon on the fifth, but I’m calling the book, “My Legal Lynching” the book is basically about what just happened to me. The book will be on amazon, I have other books on amazon too, but it will be on amazon, most of the time people can contact me just by going to Facebook and NJWeedman. I have a couple Facebook names, but either way, NJWeedman, my real name, Edward Fortune is the one usually use, but I have a couple of them on Facebook. And I’ll leave it at that.
Brian: Cool. Alright thanks a lot. And of course, Lark, I’m really excited we did a little bit of coffee shop revolution in the last week, that was a cool conversation. You know we hope to see you more here on New Jersey Revolution Radio. What else you got going on in the World of Black Kids in Outer Space?
Lark: I’m just interviewing some great people. I’m interviewing the head of [inaudible 00:48:49] metro transportation department next week. I’m actually going to do some on the groundwork in Detroit and Pittsburgh looking at infrastructure and I’m also getting a new office in Newark, so I’ll be covering Newark more closely.
Brian: Oh boy.
Lark: I’m debating what I’m gonna do, you know, in regard to infrastructure because black kids in outer space is about environment, urban planning and transportation and getting our streets, not just safe, but comfortable so that [inaudible 00:49:24] communities, you know, black communities won’t be, you know because we have some of the highest death rates in regard to being killed by traffic.
Lark: Trying to get bike lanes, trying to get good public transit, I know in Camden, where Edward is, is that right, you’re in Camden?
Brian: He’s in Trenton.
Lark: Oh Trenton, I’m sorry.
Ed: I’m from the Camden County area, I’m very familiar.
Lark: Okay, they just got rid of their bike share because [inaudible 00:49:56] used them as guinea pigs and then they didn’t like, just kinda pulled up, and that’s one of the more, economically oppressed communities in New Jersey, with 40 percent of people below the poverty line, so in regard to transportation options, they are limited, so that was very disappointing, so I’m about getting black people their fair share of good transportation and good urban planning, not just in New Jersey, in the United States, the UK and in Canada. So that’s what black kids in outer space is, sorry, that was way too long.
Brian: Amazing. No, no, it’s amazing work.
Ed: Maybe you want to enjoy black kids in outer space?
Lark: You seem like an afronaut to me.
Ed: Devon, where you at?
Devon: I’m in Maplewood, I’m in Northern New Jersey.
Ed: Well actually right now, I’m actually in Morristown right now. I think we should get together, we should put some of these things together.
Devon: Sure put it together.
Ed: And Lark, you’re coming to Newark at some point?
Lark: I am in Newark, actually right now, I’m in Halcyon park in Bloomfield.
Ed: Oh okay. I want to link up somehow.
Ed: I can really talk about other issues other than marijuana. I had a column in the [inaudible 00:51:26], I do talk about other issues. People just know me because of the marijuana issues, even when I talk about anything else, I can be talking about foreign affairs and I’ll still throw a marijuana comment in there, but, you know.
Lark: Same with me, I can talk about everything and ill throw a bike in there.
Brian: That’s great, you’re all great guests. I wish we had more time, I really hope this isn’t the last time. We may have some disagreements here and there, but Ed, I didn’t think of marijuana on this, I thought of media and I thought of you because of your experience and I certainly admire your “sticktoitavniss” when it comes to working for the activist community.
Brian: Lark, it’s great as always and Devon, thanks for joining us, I hope we see you back there. It is important that we build independent media. You can go to www.njrevolutionradio.com, you can make a contribution to this network there, just so you know, we’re our content providers to produce whatever they want, so if we can be a part of building this independent media, whether it be for the larger New Jersey area, whether it just be for a particular community, we’re here for those content producers and we don’t exercise productive control over them. This is an independent network, so. Appreciate anymore people that want to come on and start to get into media and start that counter culture that we need so badly. We hope we’re here for that community.
Brian: Thanks a lot again to my guests, have a great weekend everybody.