cover art for I Love My Black Doula

The Angry Africans

I Love My Black Doula

Season 1, Ep. 6

We love Black doulas, and in this episode, we unpack why they are so vital to the Black birthing community. What we know is that Black people are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth-related complications than anyone else. What we know is that infants born to Black people are dying at twice the rate as infants born to anyone else. And no, these statistics are not due to the lack of education or socioeconomic status, research supports that no matter the education level or socioeconomic status of the black birthing person, they are still more likely to experience life-threatening trauma during their birth. 

I gave birth to my first child last May, and even being a trained birth doula, being able-bodied, being "educated," of a particular economic bracket, and having a firm understanding of the English language, I still experienced a doctor yelling at me while I held my baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (continued shame on you George Washington Hospital) and felt rushed into an "emergency" cesarean which was traumatic with a long a lengthy recovery.

I, unfortunately, did not have a birth doula at my birth, but my team of post-partum doulas saved us (hi ZaynabJoAn, and Vanessa!) and in today's episode I chat with one of my post-partum doulas Leah Hairston of Sweet Bee Doula Service! Leah is a full spectrum traveling doula who supports mostly Black families in envisioning a birth that feels safe and peaceful. We talk about why birth in the community is our ancestral right, why white parents are not thinking about dying during birth in the same way we are, and how liberation is at the core of her doula and life philosophy. 

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  • 7. Black Folks Deserve Orgasms

    The Black body is political and thus it is a revolutionary act of reclamation for us to unlock whatever brings pleasure, particularly when it comes to sex, a topic that has been difficult for Black people to discuss in affirming and abundant ways. In this episode of The Angry Africans podcast, Stephanie unpacks the stigma attached to sexual exploration within the Black community globally, a stigma informed by a traditionally white supremacist, colonized frameworks. From breaking the burdens of the gender binary to shedding ourselves of harmful cycles of shame, there is so much in store for Black people who can begin to decolonize our perspectives on what's acceptable or "normal." If to decolonize means to return to indigenous belief systems rooted in a desire for collective liberation from systems of oppression, then what does it look like to decolonize sexuality across the Black community? Penda N’diaye has an idea, and that is why she started Pro Hoe, a community discussion space and podcast pushing to eradicate stigmas surrounding sexual freedom and identity in Black communities. Penda talks to us about why the gender binary is colonized as fuck, how societal, racial, and religious constructs stifle our sexual liberties, and how she's getting into the business of masturbation with her upcoming sex toy brand.
  • 5. Cannabis Culture Is Black Culture

    Cannabis culture is Black culture, and in this episode, we explore the depth of that truth, because even with today's very white and very wealthy cannabis industry, it's critical that we include the story of how Black liberation and cannabis have been historically linked. For many, cannabis is ritualistic, it's a practice and a portal to rest and creativity, it's an herb that has been consumed by Black ancestors for hundreds of years, yet the stigma of consuming cannabis in a Black body has been an unfortunate barrier for most afro-descendants. And this is by design because as we know, cannabis has also traditionally been at the center of the policing and imprisonment of Black folks in the United States, and of course, this is tied to race and racist policies which hunted down and labeled Black folks as criminals, poor parents and government leeches all in support of the ideology that when Black people use cannabis bad things happen. But for many Black people, reclaiming our space in cannabis culture is necessary and our right. One of those people is Mennlay a writer, creative, and entrepreneur who melds her creative vision with her love and respect for cannabis into Xula, the innovative brand she co-founded that "infuses ancestral herbal knowledge and modern scientific knowledge understanding" into each CBD product they offer. We discuss the anthropological connections that prove Black people have always consumed cannabis, how she loves to enjoy her weed, and what have been the highs and lows of running a cannabis company during a global pandemic.
  • 4. Hollywood's White Agenda

    Hollywood has a serious white agenda, meaning their penchant for pushing the typical white savior stories, with a sprinkle of "funny Black support to the white main character" for good measure. Or how you'll have 5-10 seasons of a show with an all-white cast, with no mention of diversifying their characters until their absolute last season. Or how you hardly ever see two dark skin people loving each other on camera without their being a slave narrative attached. Unless you've decided not to notice, it is pretty clear that the entertainment powers do not love Black people, particularly the fullness of our stores, realities, and existences. By this I mean TV + movies have historically painted Black people as drug addicts, thugs, slaves, victims, criminals, and other anti-Black troupes which have gone on to color the imaginations of populations of people watching. That's what I call an agenda when wealthy white power structures use their money to ensure that only one story is told forever and ever and ever.Insert Felicia Pride, TV + film writer/director who is no longer making the case for why Black people and our love stories should be told, she's writing our stories for us and no one else. From Queen Sugar to Netflix's Really Love, Felicia talks to us about why cultural specificity is important (Black love is unique,) what it will realistically take for Black creatives to bring the spectrum of Black stories to the big and small screens (MONEY,) and why Black revolutionary playwright Dominique Morisseau is her favorite Angry African. 
  • 3. Y'all Can't Have Black Hair

    In this episode, Stephanie unpacks the world’s love for Black style, richness, swagger, and beauty esthetic, but not the Black people attached. Particularly, she dives into the politics of Black hair, and how its infinite spectrum of styles has been traditionally seen as unattractive, untamed, dirty, or downright ugly, but when you add baby hair or beaded braids (or worse...both) onto a white woman or her adjacent peers, it becomes the most coveted and influential style out. Why is the world trying to erase Black people from Black hair? What's particularly enraging is the erasure of Black women and gender non-conforming folk from the global beauty scene, knowing that the most impactful hair and make-up styles have been born and honed in Africa and her diaspora. To further unpack this conundrum, Stephanie brings in celebrity hairstylist and global hair educator Ciara Costenoble, whose influence on the beauty world can be seen in editorial covers, major digital campaigns, and iconic red carpet moments from movie stars to Grammy award-winning artists, and politico. Ciara shares why she won't just "stop putting braids on white girls" but would rather focus her attention on informing the most powerful and well-resourced beauty brands on how to recognize and elevate the history of the styles being worn globally.
  • 2. Wellness Ain't White

    In this episode, Stephanie dives into everyone’s favorite new year’s resolution: to be well. Unfortunately, wellness has become a very expensive destination to visit, often times conflating wellness with white supremacist (and capitalist) ideals of beauty and fitness in particular. Stephanie discusses her issues with the word wellness, and introduces entrepreneur Sinikiwe Dhliwayo believes everyone should have access to “physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.” It’s why she founded Naaya, an online community providing resources and guidance for people of color looking for empowerment when it comes to holistic well-being. You can also learn more about Ilanga, an app intended to "carve out an innovative and inspiring space for Bodies of Culture in the wellness industry" (you can support their iFund women campaign here!)
  • 1. Welcome To The Angry Africans Podcast

    The Angry Africans podcast is a guide to celebrating Black anger. Host Stephanie Kimou shares the stories of Black people who, whether in their schools, communities, or governments, have let their anger guide them towards change. Through intimate one on one conversations with Black creatives and activists, this 30-minute monthly podcast aims first to dismantle the myth that Black anger is something to fear + silence by elevating the idea that Black anger is something that could lead to necessary change through the transformative stories of angry Black people from our past and present. For more, follow The Angry Africans on Instagram @theangryafricans.