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Good Ancestor Podcast

Author: Layla F. Saad

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An interview series with change-makers & culture-shapers exploring what it means to be a good ancestor. Hosted by globally respected speaker, anti-racism educator, and New York Times bestselling author of Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad.

62 Episodes
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I’m thrilled to share our final bonus episode of 2021 Good Ancestor conversations.(You can find our first bonus episode here)As you listen to these wonderful excerpts from Episodes 50 through 59 you will find all the joyful emotions come to surface. What a glorious way to end our podcast listening year with our special guests who have uplifted our spirits and showed how to continue to live the life of a Good Ancestor.
As we close out this year it is my honor and pleasure to bring you the first of two bonus episodes highlighting our memorable episodes this wonderful year.We wanted to close out this year with a celebration of all of the wonderful guests we've had the pleasure of speaking with this year. Thank you for sharing your time this past year, which as Layla mentioned in the introduction of this episode is the most valuable thing in the world. We are grateful for our Good Ancestor community.Happy listening to our Good Ancestor Podcast highlights from Episode 41 through 49. Here are their respective links as we bring you the first of our special bonus podcast:
In this episode, I speak with best-selling author, lawyer, filmmaker, educator, and civil rights leader, Valarie Kaur.Valarie Kaur’s debut book, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love is our Good Ancestor Book Club selection for the month of November 2021.Valarie Kaur is a renowned civil rights leader, lawyer, best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker, educator, innovator, and celebrated prophetic voice. She leads the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice. Valarie burst into American consciousness in the wake of the 2016 election when her Watch Night Service address went viral with 40 million views worldwide. Her question “Is this the darkness of the tomb – or the darkness of the womb?” reframed the political moment and became a mantra for people fighting for change.In the last twenty years, Valarie has won policy change on multiple fronts – hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, solitary confinement, Internet freedom, and more. She founded Groundswell Movement, Faithful Internet, and the Yale Visual Law Project to inspire and equip advocates at the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and justice. Valarie has been a regular TV commentator on MSNBC and contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, the Hill, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post. A daughter of Sikh farmers in California’s heartland, Valarie earned degrees at Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School. Valarie’s debut book, See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, was released in 2020 and expands on her “blockbuster” TED Talk.
In this episode, I speak with Black poet, Jasmine Mans.Jasmine Mans is a poet from Newark, New Jersey. Her recently published book, Black Girl, Call Home (Penguin Random House) has been named one of Oprah’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books and a TIME Magazine Must Read, to name a few; and Jasmine herself named as Essence’s #1 Contemporary Black Poet to Know.Jasmine’s poetry has gone viral many times over on YouTube. She has opened packed shows for Mos Def and Janelle Monae; and performed at such esteemed venues as the Kennedy Center, Broadway's New Amsterdam Theater, the Wisconsin Governor’s Mansion, and the Sundance Film Festival. Mans also participated in "Brave New Voices", an 8-episode poetry documentary on HBO. Jasmine is a contributor to the 1619 Project and co-hosted the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series alongside renowned poet Jason Reynolds. Jasmine is also the voice behind Ulta Beauty’s MUSE campaign. Jasmine created the company Buy Weed From Women, where she sells her own designs in support of women working in the cannabis industry.
In this episode, I speak with embodiment practitioner and leadership coach, Thérèse Cator.Thérèse is a mother, a trauma-informed embodiment practitioner, leadership coach, artist, and founder of Embodied Black Girl, a global community that stands for the embodied liberation of Black women and femmes and women of color everywhere. Embodied Black Girl is devoted to creating a safe space for Black women and femmes and women of color to heal from intergenerational trauma, racialized stress, and colonial conditioning in service of our individual and collective liberation and healing.Her work deeply explores the shadows and gifts of humanity and bridges leadership, spirituality, healing, somatics, mindfulness, decolonization, and social change. Thérèse deeply believes that healing is both personal and political; spiritual and corporeal.In 2020 alone, Thérèse led many healing circles for the Black community, attended by nearly 5,000 folks. She also led Becoming Human, a series of lessons for white people to dismantle white supremacy, for thousands of people. Thérèse’s work has been featured in Forbes, Motherly Magazine, Mind Body Green, and Women’s Health Magazine.Thérèse grew up in Brooklyn, New York. These days you can find her hanging out with her son watching or building trains and tending to her plant babies.
In this episode, I speak with writer, speaker, and lawyer, Savala Nolan.Savala Nolan is a writer, speaker, and lawyer. Her first book, Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body is our Good Ancestor Book Club selection for the month of October 2021. Savala is executive director of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She and her writing have been featured in Vogue, Time, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the Boston Globe, and more. She served as an advisor on the Peabody–winning podcast, The Promise. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.Don't Let It Get You Down is a powerful collection of 12 memoiristic essays - lyrical and magnetic in their cadence - that offer poignant reflections on living between society’s most charged, politicized, and intractably polar spaces—between black and white, rich and poor, thin and fat.Content warning: in the opening of this conversation, Savala shares her connection to her second great grandmother who was murdered at the hands of racist vigilantes in the 1890s.
In this episode, I speak with the anti-bias facilitator and mental wellness advocate, Leesa Renée Hall.Leesa Renée Hall is an anti-bias facilitator who has helped over 65,000 leaders with quiet, gentle, and highly sensitive personalities go on an Inner Field Trip® to explore their unconscious biases so they protect their energy, stand on the side of justice, and become better ancestors.In 2017, Leesa embarked on a personal journey of writing half a million words over 365 consecutive days. Over that year she used questions to help her unpack her own unconscious biases around her race, gender, religion, ancestry, and nationality. This led her to the work that she does today, leading thousands of people through her signature body of work called the Inner Field Trip®, a process of self-reflection using guided questions and reflective writing.Leesa is also the host of the Inner Field Trip Podcast where she hosts conversations with those who have advice on how to Stumble Bravely, and the creator of the Inner Field Trip card deck, which includes 40 guided prompts to help people uncover their hidden stereotypes so they can be more courageously on the side of justice and create a future without bias.
In this episode, I speak with author, speaker and behavioural & data scientist, Pragya Agarwal.Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist, who has worked as a consultant and speaker for the United Nations, UNESCO, Environment Agency, NHS, UK Police Commissioners, Cabinet Office, and US Defence Services, and various international universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, Koblenz, Imperial College and more. Pragya has held a Leverhulme Fellowship and senior academic positions in US and UK Universities for over 12 years. She has also held fellowships at University of California- Santa Barbara, University of Melbourne and Johns Hopkins University.Pragya is the author of a number of academic books and numerous scholarly articles, and three non-fiction books and many articles for a general audience. Her writing has appeared in Guardian, Prospect, Forbes, Huffington Post, BBC Science Focus, Scientific American, WIRED and New Scientist, Wellcome Collection, as well as magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Elle and so on. Her creative non-fiction writing also appears in a number of literary magazines. Besides non-fiction books for adults, she has also recently written her first book for children. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and has appeared as an expert on many international podcasts and shows such as NPR, BBC Women's Hour, BBC Radio 4 'The Spark' and Darren Brown's podcast 'The Bigoted Brain'.Pragya moved to the UK from India 20 years ago, and now lives in the north of the country, near the sea, with her family. She has three children, a dog and a cat.
In this episode, I speak with the co-authors of 'What's your Story? ', Rebecca Walker and Lily Diamond. Rebecca Walker is a bestselling author, editor, and cultural critic who has contributed to the global conversation about race, gender, culture, and power for over two decades. She has spoken at over four hundred universities, conferences, literary festivals, and corporate campuses around the world, and is a co-founder of the Third Wave Fund, an organization that supports women and transgender youth working for social justice. Rebecca has won many awards, and was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential leaders of her generation. She lives in Los Angeles.Lily Diamond is a writer, educator, and advocate working to democratize wellness through storytelling, accessible practices for inner and outer nourishment, and revolutionary acts of self-care in relationship to our earth and human communities. Lily is the author of the bestselling memoir-cookbook Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, VICE, Healthyish, Women’s Review of Books, Refinery29, and more. She lives in Maui, Hawai‘i, where she grew up, on occupied native Hawaiian land.
In this episode, I speak with Novelist and Journalist, Dawnie Walton.Dawnie Walton was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2018) and holds a journalism degree from Florida A&M University (1997). Formerly an editor at Essence and Entertainment Weekly, she has received fellowships in fiction writing from MacDowell and the Tin House Summer Workshop.She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband.
In this episode, I speak with Sunday Times and Irish Times best-selling author, academic, and broadcaster, Emma Dabiri.Emma Dabiri is a teaching fellow in the African department at SOAS, a Visual Sociology PhD researcher at Goldsmiths and the author of Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair Culture and What White People Can Do Next. Both books are Sunday Times, Irish Times and Waterstones bestsellers.Emma is a regular presenter on the BBC and a contributor for The Guardian. She has presented several television and radio programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s critically acclaimed documentaries Journeys into Afro-futurism and Britain’s Lost Masterpieces. Her writing has been published in a number of anthologies, academic journals, and the national press. She lives in London.Emma's bestselling book Twisted / Don't Touch My Hair is our second book selection for Good Ancestor Book Club. Find out more about the book club at
In this episode, I speak with the meditator, writer, and speaker, Diego Perez, also known as Yung Pueblo.Diego Perez is the writer behind the pen name Yung Pueblo. The name Yung Pueblo means “young people.” It serves to remind him of his Ecuadorian roots, his experiences in activism, and that the collective of humanity is in the midst of important growth.Diego’s favorite word, liberation, took on a deeper meaning once he started meditating vipassana. Through writing and speaking, he aims to support the healing of the individual, realizing that when we release our personal burdens, we contribute to global peace.Diego has over a million followers on Instagram who connect deeply with his poetic words of wisdom and self-reflection. His work focuses on the reality of self-healing, the movement from self-love to unconditional love, and the wisdom that comes when we truly work on knowing ourselves.His first book, Inward, quickly became a bestseller on Amazon and his second book Clarity & Connection is now available.
In this episode, I speak with Xicana medicine woman and decolonial healer, Dr. Rocío Rosales Meza.Dr. Rocío Rosales Meza, is a Xicana/Mexicana seer, decolonial healer, speaker, writer, mother, & Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Dr. Rocio’s path is that of a medicine woman, she is not a Licensed Psychologist, as she is not aligned with the colonial field. Dr. Meza’s work is at the intersections of decolonizing, spirituality, and wellness. She walks and works in between the earthly and spiritual realms and often feels her work is “too decolonial for the spiritual world and too spiritual for the decolonial world.” She lives at the intersections to bring in the new that is being asked to be birthed in this space and time.Dr. Meza deeply believes in dismantling the white colonial capitalist patriarchy as she believes it is these very systems that have made us unwell. She believes that this work begins with self in decolonizing the mind to unlearn harmful colonial programming because it is people that uphold systems.Dr. Meza primarily works with Black, Indigenous, womxn and femmes of color in her sacred virtual community, The Decolonial Healing Collective. She also offers teachings to all folx wanting to learn about decolonizing the self and decolonial healing. Dr. Meza has also recently made space to work with white folx wanting to deprogram and unlearn white colonial programming so they can serve as accomplices in the movement.As a medicine woman, Dr. Meza knows that collective healing and liberation begins with healing self so that we can then act in ways to bring back the times of harmony and balance with all of humanity, Mother Earth, and all of creation. She honors her Indigenous lineage and Elder Pampamesayoq Don Alejandro Apaza from the Q’ero Inca Nation for opening her heart to do this work with all folx to help birth the new world we are seeking.
In this episode, I speak with New York Times bestselling author, Robert Jones, Jr.Robert Jones, Jr. is a writer from Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned both his B.F.A. in creative writing and M.F.A. in fiction from Brooklyn College. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Essence, Gawker, and The Grio. He is the creator of the social justice social media community, Son of Baldwin. He is currently working on his second novel.Robert’s instant NYT bestselling book The Prophets is our first book selection for the brand new Good Ancestor Book Club. To find out more about the book club visit
In this episode, I speak with climate justice and antiracism activist, Mikaela Loach.Mikaela Loach is a climate justice activist, the co-host of The Yikes Podcast, writer and a 4th-year medical student based in Edinburgh, Scotland.In 2020, Forbes, Global Citizen and BBC Woman's Hour named Mikaela one of the most influential women in the UK climate movement. Her work focuses on making the climate movement more inclusive and focusing on the intersections of the climate crisis with oppressive systems such as white supremacy and migrant injustices.Her activism has been featured in the BBC, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle and VICE. She uses her Instagram platform and The Yikes Podcast to communicate the need for system change, climate justice and the dismantling of white supremacy.
In this episode, I speak with award-winning British science journalist and broadcaster, Angela Saini.Angela presents science programmes on the BBC, and her writing has appeared in New Scientist, The Sunday Times, National Geographic and Wired. Her latest book, Superior: the Return of Race Science, was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and named a book of the year by The Telegraph, Nature and Financial Times. Her previous book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, has been translated into thirteen languages. Angela has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Oxford and was a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.In 2020 Angela was named one of the world's top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine, and in 2018 she was voted one of the most respected journalists in the UK.
In this episode, I speak with creative, entrepreneur, educator, and speaker, Sinikiwe Dhliwayo.Sinikiwe Dhliwayo is steadfast in her belief that Blackness and humanity are inextricably linked. She is driven daily by a deep desire to change the narrative of what it looks like and feels like to be well. Whether making yoga and meditation accessible to those who need the practice most or telling stories of marginalized folks through elevated photo and video, Sinikiwe is dedicated to creating a more equitable and just society. Her work and efforts to make the wellness space more equitable can be found in Beyonce, Byrdie, Dame, Goop, Well and Good, and Refinery29. Her previous teaching and speaking engagements include The Re-Treat, Create and Cultivate, The Wing, Unwell Conference, Lululemon, Goop League, Summit, Faherty Sun Sessions, and Girlvana.
In this episode, I speak with British-Nigerian media executive, writer, and satirist, Nels Abbey.Nels Abbey is a British-Nigerian media executive, writer, and satirist. Prior to any of the above he was a senior banker in the financial district of London. He is a former BBC executive, a Clore Fellow, a Penguin Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and sits on the boards of various companies. His writing work has been published in every major quality British newspaper and many magazines.He is a social and political commentator and regularly appears on Channel 4 News, Newsnight, Radio 4, Times Radio, LBC and Sky News. He is also the founder of the Black British Writers' Guild. Think Like a White Man is his first book.Think Like a White Man is a satirical self-help book which explains the rules by which mediocre white men continue to get ahead. It is one of the first satirical books on race by a Black British author, and is an incisive and timely examination of racism today.
In this episode, I speak with American novelist, Kiley Reid.An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her New York Times-bestselling debut novel, SUCH A FUN AGE, is currently in development by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures.The novel was longlisted for The 2020 Booker Prize and a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2020 Young Lions Fiction Award, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author, and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. Kiley’s writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, December, Lumina, where her short story was the winner in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest, and Ploughshares, where her short story was the winner of the 2020 Ashley Leigh Bourne Prize for Fiction.Kiley lives in Philadelphia.
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