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Reparations: The Big Payback

Author: The Black Effect & iHeartRadio

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Reparations: The Big Payback is an immersive, narrative podcast, hosted by social justice filmmakers Erika Alexander (Living Single, Get Out) and Whitney Dow (Two Towns of Jasper, Whiteness Project). Erika, a black woman, and Whitney, a white man use their unique storytelling skills and experiences to explore the argument for and against reparations for Black Americans.

10 Episodes
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Erika and Whitney ask the trillion dollar question, “Who qualifies for reparations?” To find answers they take to the streets of downtown Brooklyn. They also consult ‘who gets it’ experts, Killer Mike, Dr. William Darity, Mary Frances Barry and ADOS co-founder Yvette Carnell. But if you’re still unsure you’d qualify, they reveal a helpful service that with a ‘ding!’ or a ‘dong!’ can tell you if you qualify for the big payback. Cool, right? You’re welcome Black America!  For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
Erika’s mother, Sammie Alexander, grabs the mic and tells the story of her Black experience, growing up, raising Black children and facing racism, but she drops the mic to deliver a dire prediction for Black America’s reparations in a red, white n’ blue future. Then billionaire Tom Steyer rolls his ‘money ball’ to expose the financial barriers that continue to limit the economic growth of Black Americans. And Dr. William Darity returns to teach a master class, on how reparations can make our country a more perfect union. Finally, former Flint, MI Mayor Karen Weaver, tells a dark water story about the challenges she faced getting compensation for Flint residents and why it may never be enough.  For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
Welcome to Reparations: Fight Club! A quick reminder folks, ‘snitches get stitches’! Let's go! In part two Erika and Whitney are back, ringside, calling the shots, as the battle heats up. When we last left off, The Case Against Reparations landed a surprise-whammy that floored The Case For Reparations. As we resume this battle we discover the reason the match flipped n' flopped. Then our next match pits The Big Easy’s Marc Morial, history buff and head of the National Urban League, against artful dodger and proud Evanstonian resident, John Foley. And finally...cue the bass note ya'll...our Thrilla! Heavyweight genius, Michael ‘Killer Mike’ Render, delivers a first-class, Black-BBQ-Roasting to White separatist, and 'man of constant White sorrow,' Jared Taylor! Will the case FOR reparations finally prevail? Or will the case AGAINST reparations remain undefeated? For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
Welcome to Reparations Fight Club!The only rule about Reparations Fight Club is that in America there is no Reparations Fight Club! Erika and Whitney settle in ringside to call the shots, as the stakes are raised in this bare-knuckle bout between: The Case Against Reparations and The Case For Reparations! Evanston, IL history-maker, Alderwoman “I-got-it-done” Robin Rue Simmons, squares up against conservative talkie Larry “Get-out-my-face” Elder! And Houston’s favorite, Sheila “Action-Jack-you-up-son” Lee, delivers a flurry of HR40 flavored uppercuts to reparations gainsayer, Louisiana’s own Mike “Hell-no” Johnson! Folks it’s a blood feud, and a close match, but in the end is The Case For Reparations too weary to withstand the centuries of quicksand, inertia and f*ckery from The Case Against Reparations?!...Let’s listen!  For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
Oh say can you FreakShow! Erika and Whitney become minstrel characters, “Mista’ Tambo n’ Mista’ Interlocutor,” to present the perverse-circus-sideshow oddities of America’s institutional and corporate racism. Star experts join them to bear witness and unveil slavery‘s toxic legacy, woven within modern corporate policies and legislation. Professor Adam Rothman chronicles the sordid history behind one of America's finest educational institutions, Georgetown University. Voting rights activist Desmond Meade disrupts the panhandle circus with Florida Amendment Four to restore voting rights to 1.4 million people with felony convictions. Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee illustrates how the sad perversities of fighting for systemic injustice persists. And the MLK of tipped wage workers, Saru Jayaraman, nails the corrosive tradition of tipping to slavery and the ongoing fight for fair wages within America’s largest private sector workers. Finally, Erika croons a new Swanee tune that makes the White Superiority hit list! “Step back Beyoncé!” For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
The History of Slavery

The History of Slavery

2021-03-1849:00

Whitney commandeers the slave narrative along with a motley crew of allies, to prove that Whites can own and tell the truth about slavery. But first, the duo ‘forge a new nation’ in media, as Erika revisits a role she played on a miniseries - Ona Judge, the “beloved” runaway slave girl of George Washington. Later, New England patriot Katrina Browne owns her grisly, family legacy as the largest, slave-trading family in America. And bestselling author, Edward Baptist, describes the human cost and atrocities built within the industry of slavery, by conjuring up the lore of the dreaded “whipping machine.” Meanwhile, Erika reclaims the narrative, calling in a favor and advice from the ultimate disrupter, Rev. Al Sharpton. Finally, it’s Dow versus Alexander, when the pair asks, “What's in a name?” Whitney compares his centuries-long, British-American family history, from The Book of Dow to the smoky, white shroud covering Erika’s African-American history, and slave name, Alexander.  Clips from "George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation" are courtesy of MGM Media Licensing. For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
In this episode, Erika and Whitney use their Hollywood skills to explore the history of reparations through the lens of three Black women trailblazers in the reparations movement. Whitney channels his best Richard Attenborough, in a Jurassic Park-MrDNA mashup, and gets a colorful history lesson from a Reparations Mosquito; played by the illustrious actress Cree Summer. Erika bends space time to posthumously interview Queen Mother Moore about her life and dedication in “the struggle.” Professor Mary Frances Berry uncovers the brave work of Callie House, whose fight for a pension for ex-slaves got her thrown in jail. And finally,  reparations star Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons defies gravity to change American history in Evanston, Illinois. This inspires the duo to imagine what it would be like to live, “In A World…” Guest voiceover appearance: Cree Summer The Queen Mother Moore audio was Courtesy of the Tamiment Library at New York University. For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
In this episode, Erika and Whitney address the reparations elephant in the room when they ask, “How much, and who pays, the debt of reparations?” They get answers from business titan Bob Johnson, uber economist Julianne Malveaux, and everybody’s favorite reparations professor, Dr. William Darity. To illustrate the effects of privilege in their own lives, Erika and Whitney recruit MSNBC’s top anchor, Joy Reid, to help them play The Privilege Walk. Finally, Morningside Heights gets a wake-up call, when the duo's visit to Riverside Church is interrupted with an urgent plea from the past; as civil rights leader James Forman demands “$500 million” or “$15 a nigger!” in his historic 1969 Black Manifesto. To kick it all off, we get a special definition of reparations, from none other than Wu-Tang Clan impresario, RZA. Written credits: Audio of Jim Forman’s “Black Manifesto” speech provided by Riverside Church Archives. Music: “Hall of the Mountain King" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
Why Now?

Why Now?

2021-02-1830:205

In the premiere episode, Erika and Whitney ‘show us the money’, as they travel to the American crossroads of business and slavery, Wall Street. They get personal when they unearth the pain and shame of human bondage, hidden at the site of New York City's notorious African slave market and lost burial ground. The duo makes their argument in Black and White, when they crash a congressional hearing for Reparations Bill HR 40 and introduce the Rosa Parks of the reparations movement - Evanston, IL Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons. This groundbreaking episode concludes with a reimagining of a post-reparations America, that would allow for new possibilities, new leadership, and a new direction.  For more info about this episode, please visit https://reparationsbigpayback.com
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