Body Liberation for All
Body Liberation for All
Queer People of Color and Mental Health with Britni Andrews, MA, LPC | Episode 23

Queer People of Color and Mental Health with Britni Andrews, MA, LPC | Episode 23

After graduation from Prairie View A & M University, Britni D. Andrews became a queer counselor intern based in Houston, TX.

Britni has utilized an artistic medium of language and an eclectic approach to wellness to sculpt their role as Creative Director of @TheKIDDORG, a community initiative. They have produced creative workshops in collaboration with Covenant House California (CHC), Covenant House Texas and Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD). @THEKIDDORG has a mission to push the state of change forward in conversations about mental health, community engagement, criminal justice reform and LGBTQ+ community support.

Recently named as an Idea Fund Round 12 Grantee, Britni is producing “The Session: LGBTQ+ Mental Health feat. QPOC”- a short film composed of private unscripted dialogues with Queer People of Color (QPOC) reflecting on their unique identities within their cultures, the LGBTQ+ community and the challenges faced in expression of their gender, sexuality and development of affirming and inclusive relationships.

This episode we discuss

🌈 Being called to create resources that we once needed 

🌈Destigmatizing mental health 

🌈Connecting to the wisdom of our Black Queer History

🌈Managing the stress of holding multiple marginalized identities

🌈How and when to tap in to therapy as a healing tool 

Episode Resources

Order your copy of Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Health Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation 

Connect with Britni

Queer Black History 

Hello and welcome to another episode of Body Liberation for All. I'm your host and decolonized wellness and body image coach Dalia Kinsey. I help queer folks of color heal their struggles with shame and self-acceptance through nutrition and self-care so they can live the most fierce, liberated, and joyful version of their lives.

After about two years of counseling, I had a strange realization. Had I needed therapy for being Black? So many of the themes that came up in therapy were related to my experiences of racism, homophobia, and misogyny. Because I still live in an environment that's hostile to so many of my identities, the insults to my wellbeing continue. Therapy isn't the only tool in my toolkit, but it certainly is a powerful one.

Minority stress is a real thing. And in addition to the regular stressors that all humans experience like living through a global pandemic, changing jobs, dealing with uncertainty, facing loss, facing death in the family, stacked on top of that, people with marginalized identities deal with daily experiences of racism and homophobia.

When you have multiple marginalized identities, you're even more likely to have trouble finding safer spaces where you can relax and feel seen. I'm so happy to be joined today by a licensed professional counselor, who is both queer and a person of color.

Today, we are joined by Britni Andrews, the creative mind behind The Session, A Queer BIPOC Mental Health film project. I'm sure you like I will find their perspectives, validating and affirming. Britni has experience working on the front lines and mental health and has experienced firsthand what it's like to live at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities.

And as a bonus, Britni also dropped some knowledge on us about queer Black history. All right, let's get into it.


Yeah. They might try to put you in a box. Tell them that you don't accept. When the world is tripping out. Tell them that you love yourself.

Hey, Hey, smile on them. Live your life just how you like it. It's your party, negativity is not invited. For my queer folks, my trans people of color, let your voice be heard. Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You were born to win, head up high with confidence. This show is everyone. So I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.

Can you tell me the story of how you became interested in working as a counselor? And does that have any connection with your identity?

It’s actually my second career choice. So I started out in higher education, working in student engagement and student activities, which I loved because I didn't have to grow up.

I was like a forever college student, but semi-professional, you know, but in that space, being able to work with college students, specifically working at a HBCU (Historically Black College/University), I got to nurture myself as a young professional that was budding within, you know, the higher education community learn more about myself as an adult in the professional sense as well as my personal societal standing.

And then I was able to mentor other young Black professionals coming along. And through that journey, I went to grad school and I majored in counseling. During that program, I was able to kind of do both. We were doing therapy, but we were still doing student engagement because I really had a passion for people and being involved in my community.

And then I settled into, you know, the wonderful career path that I have now.

Did working with the kids give you that clarity that that was the next step for you professionally?

No, I thought at one point, like I would stay in higher ed doing a student engagement. I kind of toyed with the idea of going into academia, but really what pushed me into counseling is going to be my passion is when I started working with Covenant House California, like I volunteered with them for the first year that I was living in LA and being able to be with people within this other community that I was a part of, you know, on my everyday professional journey is, you know, like with young Black professionals it was more so a heterocis community, but in this community, I got to see even more of myself and the struggle for what I find in a day-to-day basis, but also how to help people that were in the earlier stages of that struggle, you know, and seeing how they were heavily impacted by their environments, whether they were dealing with the homelessness at the time, job insecurity and just really being a safe space for them to be able to talk about what that process was like that experience.

And they'd be able to share also in that space so that they could grow and thrive. That's what pushed me into mental health.

Was there one incident that you can remember or a specific day where it suddenly became clear?

Yeah, it was the second program series that I was running and the program was at the time when I first started, it was called It’s Just a Bow Tie.

And the idea of the program was a montage of so many things, but more so, just a tangible program for the youth to be able to have an end result of something that they were proud of and themselves. So the program we would make like unique bowties because fashion or experimenting with fashion was the first way that I was able to express like my gender identity, my gender expression, and get to know myself better.

And so we would make, they would turn the bow ties into and hair clips, lapel pins. We even turned them into buttons at one point. But they were able to create something that was a true expression of themselves, you know.

And then on the professional side, we were able to talk about what it's like to be a queer person in the professional world. Like, you know, how do I dress for interviews that are coming up, but stay true to myself. I’m istening to what my guidance counselor at school is saying, and they're trying to put me into this binary structure.

What do I do? You know? So when we had those conversations at the very first time that I hosted that event, that's when I knew like I'm sticking with this. This is what I'm going to do.

Oh, I love that. And you mentioned that you went to an HBCU and that that was a positive environment and that it allowed you to feel at home with part of your identity, but that it still was kind of a cis heteronormative, dominated type of environment.

Absolutely. You know, not to age myself, but I was in undergrad and the, like their early or mid two thousands, you know, 2005 to 2009 is when I was in like undergrad. But that was a different time for us as Black culture. You know, when we think about some of the mechanisms for power and control within our largest society and music was a lot different back then, our governmental structures, political views, a lot of things were changing at that time.

You know, we were getting in gear for the era of like Obama coming in, right. So things were changing from the way that I grew up in the eighties and the nineties as a young child, and then coming into the professional world at that time. And then of course my professional career after that was monumental being able to see us as a people for Black people, thriving here, but also having a space where I was able to learn about Black queer people and discover myself there, you know, like learning about Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, you know, these individuals that inspired me, Barbara Jordan, you know, is from here, Houston, Texas and the pivotal impact that she had within our society, you know, and how that resonated with me and was something that I, I can't even like put into words.

Were you already in touch with your queer identity and your non-binary identity when you were in college?

Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I was definitely still walking in the culture that we have as a society, you know, trying to do the heteronormative things. You know, that my parents were telling me that church was telling me that society was telling me us as a Black culture, you know, during that time.

And even now we still know that it is a very tense topic of conversation about the place that the LGBTQI community has within Black culture. Right? And while we've made a lot of progressive changes, we still hear a lot of this same rhetoric. They kind of kept us oppressed at the time. So that's why I say in that time period in my life, it was an opportunity for exposure in so many different areas of my life.

I became who I am as a Black person, you know, person first in that experience. And that experience is like branched out into so many other areas of my life.

Did you ever feel like there was a question about whether or not you would go to an HBCU or you knew that was going to be a crucial part of you really stepping into being your full liberated self?

When I was a young kid and I tell people this all the time, when I was five years old, my mom took me and my sister and probably one of the most pivotal vacations of my life. You know, we went on a Black college tour that summer.

For who? Cause you were five. Was it for your mom?

No, like my mom wanted us to be able to go and see Black institutions. Period, you know, so it was an organization that she was working with at the time. They did the charter bus states. We're literally driving through, you know, like the south to go to all of these like HBCUs. So we hit the whole east coast coming down, back into, you know, Texas and on that trip I made the decision at five that I was going to go to Tuskegee. You know, I already started to hear about the Tuskegee Airmen and this is, you know, I was like, oh, this is it. This is it. You know? So I knew that I wanted to go HBCU, my mother, you know, is a graduate of Texas Southern not once, but twice, you know?

So I had that rich culture always around me. My God Parents were professors at HBCUs. So it was something that I knew, but I was also very aware of the influence of going to a PWI (predominantly white institution), how that kind of crept in, in those middle school and high school years, you know? Talking to my friends about a lot of HBCUs that I was aware of that maybe they weren't because their parents just weren't familiar with the school systems or it just wasn't something that was on their radar at all.

And hearing the difference, you know, when you tell somebody, oh, you know, you're doing really well at school, they know you're at the top, you know, 5% of your class, they're expecting to hear you saying that you're applying to like these Ivy League schools, you know, so all, are you applying to Brown or you're applying to Yale or are you wait listed anywhere.

And it's like, oh no, I'm not waitlisted. I already got in, like I got into Clark Atlanta, I got into Spellman, Tuskegee, I'm weighing my options. And you're like, I've never heard of those schools, and it was like, dang, but you know, say, oh yeah, you know, I actually, I did apply to Yale or I submitted an application to Harvard or I applied to USC and they're like, oh, okay.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, it sounds good. So I did have that moment of stutter step. Like I got into these schools, but do I really need to consider, you know, those other options that I have, but at the end, I said, no I gotta stick with my people.

That's really crucial because I think almost everyone raised in the states has been raised to think that proximity to whiteness is proximity to success and to safety.And so for a lot of people, myself included -  you go through these decisions where maybe you're drawn to do one thing where you feel like you'll be more enriched as a person, you'll get the individualized care that you need in an environment where your humanity is not questioned, but then you wonder, oh, well, if it's not recognized by most people, because the dominant culture is everywhere. So that means it's not even necessarily going to be as recognized among other Black people, other folks of color. Literally everyone is basically only consistently aware of what the dominant culture is up to. So that has been an ongoing part of my decolonization journey is when I'm drawn to a platform that's led and dominated by whiteness or centered on whiteness weighing out - is that really what I want? Is this really going to be part of success by my standards? You know, maybe it will be great for someone else, but is this going to be great for me? How do you make that decision? And do you kind of have a framework that you could pass on to other people? How do you decide when you're making a decision based on what's truly best for you and what you're conditioning makes you think might be the better decision?

Oh yeah. I think this is where those opportunities for mental health come into play. Right? Learning the ideas behind mindfulness, you know, taking a moment, you know, and I think anytime that we're making decisions for anyone's life, it's always going to be, take a moment and decide, you know, what's going to be best for you.

And that sentence ends with a period there. It's not a question, mark. You know, it's not a combo. We don't have a parentheses opening and an asterisk, you know, what is going to be best for you, right? Like whats gonna, whats gonna feed you as a person so that you can truly become, you know, the highest version of yourself, right.

Weigh your opportunities in front of you. Right. And we can be mindful of, you know, the ways that systemic oppression has infiltrated so many aspects of our lives. Right? Whether we're still talking about, you know, children choosing the white doll over the, you know, the Black doll or we're comparing HBCUs to PWIs.

It's a part of our culture. Even right now, people are talking about decolonizing food. When we're talking about vegan communities and you know, what's great to eat, right. Collard greens and kale still good right. Now the way that we are accustomed to preparing those foods we might've taken away some of those nutritional benefits. But we prepare it in a different way. It's just as good. So when we talk about even attending a school, is a HBCU better than a PWI, a PWI better than HBCU? I don't think that's an adequate conversation on either end of the spectrum. Right? Because I have a lot of friends that went to PWI and they got great educations. And they're doing well. I have a lot of friends that went to HBCUs. They got great educations and they're doing well. It’s what do we do with the experience at the end? Right. Because we can always talk about the differences in those experiences. Right. But what are we doing to make those differences not as loud for the next generation? you know, like we can have conversations about, oh, I've never heard of that school. What is that? You know? And it's like, oh, excuse me. The way that I say the name of my institution, like, I am proud to tell you that I went to this school and I invite your questions.

Please do ask me about it so that I can educate you about this institution. Because I'm sure you would be so willing to educate me about whatever institution you came from and the history of your class ring. But I can also do the same. At those, institutions that might not be considered an HBCU, okay, you're walking in there with your legacy, leave it, you know, leave it for all of the wonderfulness that you as a person or leave it there.

That's a really good framing. And PWI stands for private…??

Predominantly white institutions.

Ah, there you go. Okay. It's interesting. Even the language that you won't be exposed to, if you're not able to be in educational environments, dominated by folks of color.

That term right there does not sound like it comes through a dominant culture lens because the assumption is whiteness is the default. So why would you ever say predominantly white?

I didn't even see any even think about that. Like as somebody that did. And it's like, yeah, I can tell that that came from, you know, it’s like, wow.

Oh, that's fascinating. I know that one of the teachers that I had in high school who went to an HBCU, really encouraged everyone to seek out that experience because she said it helped for her anyway, and she was from generations before us. She probably was 50 when I was. 15. So that's a while back. And in hindsight, she was clearly LGBTQ. I don't know what she would say about her gender identity, because again, she was raised in a different time and a lot of the language that we have to identify ourselves now, people weren't using before, but she said that it really helped her detangle a lot of lies she was told about academics and Black folks about academia in general. That it's not for us, that we don't have a legacy with that. So when you were in your college experience, how did you have the clarity to seek out additional information about queer history in our community? Since that wasn't maybe openly being presented to you, how did you start to detangle maybe some of the things you'd been told about queerness among Black folks?

I guess it's another weird roundabout kind of thing. Right? So when I was speaking about the session, when I was at the grant acceptance for it, I kind of talked about how I, I think my mom gave me a solid effort of showing me somebody when I was a kid, you know, we can always say, you know, your parents know you. But during Black history month a challenge that my mother always gave to me and my sister was, we could not have the Black history month project.

Like ours could not be about Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, or Rosa Parks pick somebody else. She wasn't, she wasn't here for it. So I think I was maybe in like third or fourth grade, and I was like struggling to find my person for my project, you know?

So my mom was like, I got somebody for you. And so I was like, ooh, because I can't find nobody. You know, she was like, Barbara Jordan, look her up. Right. But you know, this is back in the day we still had like, you know, what was it, the old school encyclopedias and whatnot.

I was going to ask, did any of this research involve the Dewey Decimal System.

Yes you know with a little notepad and you're walking through the library. Yeah. Okay. So I remember the first time that I saw a picture of Barbara Jordan, I kind of paused, you know, and it was something about it that I was like, I like her, you know.

And I was like, I want to see more about whatever it is that she did. You know, that you're important enough to where you should be a Black history month project. So what is it? Sis, like clue me, but as an adult now, I recognize that I saw her for being queer, but I didn't know what that was. Right. I saw her as having like a masculine edge to her, but also a level of femininity that I liked.

And I was like, that's, that's it. Cause that's not what I see everybody else doing. Right. And so that was the first time that I truly can say I saw myself in someone else. And so me chasing her history is what led to it, you know? And then of course my mother didn't mind cause she's a Texas Southern graduate, you know?

So the more that dug into her life, I said, huh. And I was like, yasss. You know, and then that just opened up the door. It was like James Baldwin too?  You know, you know, you just kind of bounced on down the rabbit hole. And I went from there and then I was blessed to be in an environment where I had firsthand access to other people.

You know, all of our professors are standing here. Y'all are, you know, again, this is living Black history, you know, me sitting in a class and I can learn from you right now that is Black history. Our university was built on a plantation, you know? This is ancestor's wildest dreams. So I was in a  constantly renewing space.

Can you for the people who haven't had this experience, which is a lot of us, can you just off the top of your head list off some other of your favorite queer Black ancestors?

Well, off the top of my faves, of course, Barbara Jordan, James Baldwin, and then always round out my top three for Audre Lorde, you know, her autobiography Zami was life-changing for me, you know, to be able to read and listen to someone else, you know, and of course you don't talk about ours and Pat Parker comes up, you know, so I think I would start there.

And then of course, like everything else, everybody's always friends. So when you're going through all of their history and their works, right, they're always intertwined and you just go from there and then you bounce in like Langston Hughes. So you can just kind of create your own little network.

And it's like, dang, like I can really imagine like all of them hanging out, you know, like this is. This is what we need. This is good for the culture.

I mean, it's fascinating because I remember reading Langston Hughes in middle school and no one ever acknowledged that he might be anything but straight.

Yeah. You know, same thing, Bayard Rustin, like you'll see images of these people. And it's like, you'll see this image. And it's like, well, I know that person, you know, and I can kind of make out, this is, you know, with these figures, we lose their, their weight. You know, their names are kind of like left off.

And it's so wild. You really start to kind of piece it together. It's like, no, no one ever said anything. Like, I didn't realize that all of this was happening at the same time.

It feels to me like a lot of the culture that's recognized by the whole world as, oh, this is Black American, it frequently is tied to queer Black folks. So to be erased or to have that part of your identity erased seems next level disrespectful when so much of what we have can be linked to queer folks.

Oh yeah, I think absolutely. But the, the larger picture from it really comes down into, when we talk about systems of oppression. Right. Systems of oppression, they don't just stop at one layer. You know, it isn’t like we're just going to make a sandwich here and you know where we're going to lay this, cheese here, that's just going to be our one little layer of oppression. Absolutely not. It’s going to seep through the whole thing. This was tainted soil, everything that prospers from this place will be tainted by this, you know, it's like radioactive, like you laid this foundation, but you know, queer people as a whole in society are being oppressed.

Right? So if we look at a global scale, queer people are being oppressed, right? You can take that same oppression and apply it into individual communities. So we're just mounting the layers. So yes, I'm being oppressed within my own community in which I should feel accepted. I'm being oppressed within this global community also.

Right. So again, that's kind of what pushed me into doing the session. Cause I think that's something that we need to talk about what that feels like on a day-to-day basis. When we're talking about microaggressions, when we're talking about imposter syndrome and we're making these assumptions about people's experiences, or we're not really queuing and asking, what is it that you are experiencing?

Tell me more about that. What is the origin story behind The Session?

I was at like a true crossroads. I had just finished my master's program that spring. Then I decided to be an overachiever and I went back for an extra semester to do like consultation and like all this other stuff.

So I was like a pseudo grad student. I was leaving, higher ed, and I was deciding that, you know, I'm going to do mental health like full-time, this is going to be my full career. So I'm leaving one major career field, getting ready to switch into another one. And then I'm studying, you know, and it's like, oh, I got to study on my school.

I got classes. Plus I got to study for this, you know, national exams so I can become a counselor. This is the whole thing. Right. And then I decide to journal because so many things were going on. So I mean now, okay, I got to give myself a little mini therapy. We got to journal this out. So I did it, in the month of July.

And I journaled during that month about like what my experiences are right now. Like the different challenges I was facing, as, you know, trying to start this career, what it's like for, you know, somebody like me with all of my identities checked off, you know, this is what my experiences have been like, this is what it's been like, weighing on me mentally.

This is how it's been weighing on me professionally, spiritually, you know, in all of my relationships. And then I was like, dang, I wonder, like, am I the only one? And there will be some days or weeks where I'll be writing. I'll be like, ooh, this is a bit much. Is it just you? Or like, is it other people too?

You know? And then that's why I was like, we should. We, there should be like, we need to really have like a session to talk about this, you know, and that's where it came from. So I did, uh, like a little virtual program through The Kidd and I kinda like picked a week where I posted like four different like programs that were geared towards mental health.

So the first one we started out with just explaining, like, how do you go about getting a therapist right at the time people were talking about mental health was starting to become important. Everybody's talking about it and I'm drained. I'm drained. What is burnout? Okay, let me tell you how you go about getting a therapist.

Cause that would always be the question when people would find out that I was a counselor or a therapist, you know, you're out with your friends and you're like, please don't tell people what I do because you, I just wanted to ask you a question, you know, and it was like, I thought you just said just your belief, but you slide over here, add to meet his question about, you know, such as that person that, you know, right.

And so we just kind of walked through that, finding the therapist, what to talk about when you're interviewing a therapist, what are some techniques that you can use in between if you're struggling with your mental health and then trying to educate people about the different types of mental health providers.

But at the end, I decided that I wanted to do the project. Like let's try to do a film, you know, to sit down and let's have this conversation with other people. And so once I kind of put that out into the universe, I really just kind of stuck with it and started like writing out a plan, a plan. Okay, this is what we can do.

Maybe I could do this. Maybe we could do that. And then I ended up applying for the grant and here we go.

During the experience was there a moment where it was so, so obvious to you that all of your intuition was right? This is so needed. You're not the only one. And this is something people are hungry for.

No, cause I think that I still have like those moments, you know, like self doubt, like, is it -you are, you don't do, you're not in film. This isn't a thing you didn't go to school for this. This is not what your loans are for. I mean, I think I have those times, you know, and slowly when you start to allow yourself to kind of just accept that it is what it is, you know, and that's one thing that I can say working within this, this space of, of different professionals, right.

Working with other artists during this time, and being able to speak to other creatives, it's really helped me with that idea of, you know, you create it and you just let it be, you know, what is going to be is going to be. You're giving your best and you just walk away from it.

And so as I'm kind of walking through those things and having those teachable moments, then yeah, it does come when I have conversations with other people that are like, yeah, Yeah, let me know when that happens. Cause I really want to see that or like, let me know what you want to do. Cause that sounds, you know, game it's like you think so too. Cause I'm glad you think so too, like let's, let's really try to make it happen then, you know.

It can be really hard when, what you want to do, hasn't been done before and you can't look at another example and say like, oh, this makes sense. Because look at this person, they modeled this for me. And especially when you're trying to serve people who have a marginalized identity or multiple, that it's going to be even harder to find an example of who has already done this.

Maybe it has already been done, but maybe it was so difficult to get traction and publicity that it's a buried project somewhere on some old school medium that you and I would never stumble across. So how have you strengthened your belief in yourself to keep pushing, even when you can't prove to yourself or to other people that what you're doing is worthwhile?

It’s exactly what you just said. Like, there probably is a project out there somewhere that's similar and it's maybe gotten buried and there is no traction, right. Or there could be, you know, a project that's really out there is thriving on the forefront and is doing a lot. But the reality is no, I don't have like a blueprint on like, somebody else.

Show me exactly what you did. Like, I need somebody to give me a crash course in my direction of film. How do you edit, like, you know, all of that, I got the therapy side down, you know, just a little bit when school, but you know, the rest of it, I don't know. But, it would be like a sense of falsehood if I, you know, as a person in the mental health professional speak to, you know, my community, my consumers, my clients, about the effort that we extend and how that is so monumental in energy for systems of change that we want to see.

And so if I'm simply just giving my effort right, then that will come out into the community in the way that it should be. So the lives that are supposed to be impacted by it will be impacted by. And I have given, you know, my true earnest energy and effort into it. And that in itself is what makes it a whole project would makes it something that's worth doing.

It sounds like there's a worldview or a philosophy that's supporting you as you go through this. Now, do you find that there's a difference in how members of the dominant culture frequently position themselves as saviors or as people that are equipped to serve people with marginalized identities that they don't hold, in your experience what is one of the major differences between how someone who shares these identities serves their own community and how people who are just popping in to visit and sometimes doing the work o kind of bolster their own ego? How, what is a major difference that you've seen between how somebody from the dominant culture might serve marginalized communities and how members of these own communities serve themselves?

Yeah, it's an interesting question. And the first thing that kind of like popped into my mind, as you were asking, it was like directly related towards like social media, you know, like what do we see? What do we see? And people are seeing, and they're hearing, you know, Black lives matter as a movement, right?

As a social justice and abolition movement was polarized on social media to its greatest heights and also to some extreme lows, right. We've watched how things can be pushed to so many different end points on spectrums. And we've seen a lot of conversation come forward with people directly confronting, you know, whether it's organizations, individuals, institutions about their practices, as well as their performances, right?

Performative, allyship, what it looks like to be responsive to these situations. All you want to donate money now, but you know, just a year ago or a couple months ago, or before this became super popular, we couldn't really get you to give us a conversation in either direction. But all of a sudden, now you're willing to help. Why?

You know, we want to have clear conversation about it, but the way that it looks different, I think when you can tell if it's performative is just by, let's make some, some general observations, you know, like if you're talking about diversity, equity and inclusion, then what does that actually mean for you?

How do you want that experience to be shown within your organization, within your culture and how are you practicing it? It's more than just simply making a couple choice hires, you know, you can't have a poster child for something and say we're doing it. But then when we asked you, like, okay, what's it, you know, they're like, you didn't see our picture that we posted?

What do you mean? You know, like, did the check clear? You know, you're like, okay, I hear you with the financial backing, but sometimes it could be really analyzing the way that you've done things. Like, for instance, it kind of reminds me of, there was this clothing brand a couple of years ago. I can't remember the name.

It's probably for the best, but at any rate, it was like an early startup, like in like little indie company. And it, it got a lot of traction because social media, you know, people post things everybody's following. So eventually, you know, you get a couple choice celebrities kind of, you know, showing up in their fashion, many kind of becomes bigger.

So as they were starting out, they were doing like these pop-ups, you know, like a pop-up here, you can come buy stuff from us. We'll pop up over here. So they're a little pop-up events. Of course they would try to have things to make it, you know, cool, fun. Some people spend money, you know, so they want to have a DJ at their event.

And there was  a young artists, I want to say the person was doing like henna art. And they asked this person to come out like, hey, can you do a couple pieces for us? Like when the people come in, they're like, oh yeah, cool. Cause you know, I'll get free, press promo.

But remember, we're not paying you for this. So, you know, just come in and do your thing. Okay. But this is like a two hour, three hour function. You got 50, 60, 70 people rolling through here and you want them to do henna for all of these people.

Right. But if we calculate that. Is the reward fair? You know, at the early stages, you want this free labor from these individuals that are budding, you know, oh, you know, BIPOC, little small companies, right. Come, and we're going to help you, you know? Cause we have a big following. Right. But now that you're thinking about it, you're like, oh yeah, that is kinda messed up.

We basically made you do like three hours of free work. And all we did was like host you. We're not creating a fund for small businesses for you guys to come in and you know, a portion of our proceeds will buy or purchase from you or give you a small grant opportunity.

We're not, you know, offering you space, you know, for you to come and do your services. You know, it's for you. Since we know you're a small, you know, business entity, you don't have access to funding.

So I think the, the narrative, it looks different. It sounds different. It smells different. It feels different. You know, like, it's just, you can tell when something is out of sheer performance and response, you know, because you're seeking a potential response from society versus this is something that you're doing genuinely because you've listened to the concerns of the people.

And you've really sought out what they are asking for as assistance.

That's such a good point and that experience really resonates. And I'm sure this feels very familiar to a lot of Black professionals in different industries that are not diverse, especially recently people in an effort to, I personally feel like in an effort to look like they're keeping up or to not draw any ridicule for doing nothing in response to this growing awareness.

And I say growing awareness among the dominant culture, only because none of this was news to us. It was heartbreaking. It was disgusting on many levels to hear how many people were more concerned about property than the loss of human life. But none of it was surprising. None of this is new. We have literally been talking about this since my entire childhood.

I remember hearing like, oh, well look out, you're driving while Black. And just remembering like try to stay calm, staying in your seat if you get stopped. I remember when we were going on vacations through unfamiliar areas, like we just, we got to stick to the speed limit. We can't give anybody any reason to stop us because it's a matter of life and death. That was understood in my childhood.

And I'm an eighties kid. So to hear people saying in 2020, oh, I thought racism was solved. And then to start hearing from other folks of color, how many of our experiences that we thought like, is this just me? Am I being paranoid? Because the people around you, gaslight you and most of us, well, at least most of the folks I was raised with, we were raised in majority white communities.

You went to majority white schools. You didn't have anybody validating your experience. And the question is always, oh, how do you know that's about race? Constantly questioning people's lived experience. And I think about how many times as a kid, I was told, don't go into the store if you don't know you're going to buy something.

Don't carry your purse to the store. Don't put your hands in your pockets and then when they stop you on your way out, just give them the receipt and just, don't worry about it. It's not worth the trouble because even in the eighties and the nineties, it wasn't strange to harass a Black child and to call the cops on a Black child, when they literally didn't do anything wrong, you are paranoid because you're full of bias and white supremacy. You have issues, but that affects everyone around you that affects every customer that comes into your store. And then to be told by other people who really hadn't worked on their internalized white supremacy, how do you know that's not because you're wearing a tie dye shirt. I literally had somebody say that to me once and I was 12. A tie dye shirt is not why I was stopped. I was stopped because of my Black skin.

Yeah. That's all there is to it. Like you can try and imagine another explanation, but it's just not real, but it felt like in 2020, the more people shared their experiences and people started hearing the validation that time's up feeling just got to a boiling point.

Oh yeah. I had a coworker. Right. I'm not a parent, but I do have nephews. My sister and my brother-in-law have four sons, you know? So those are like my kids. I have a coworker and she has a, a son who's like in middle school, he's like sixth, seventh grade. And so last summer, you know, kids are the summer. What do we all do?

We don't have anything to do his house. I want to walk around the mall, you know, shop what our parents' money. So she let her son go to the mall and her and her family, they do live in a neighborhood. Aware is not, it's not a lot of African-American people in their neighborhood in general.

Right. So the boys were going into the store and they had gone into like the Nike store or something like that. And they bought t-shirts or whatever, but they wanted to change, you know, like, oh, we came from home, we got these new t-shirts. We want to wear our shirts, like in the mall, you know, trying to impress whoever.

Right. So Carson obviously was African-American but his good friend is a young, Caucasian male. They go into the store, they get these shirts, no bags, you know, we're walking out the store and they're switching the shirts. Right. All of a sudden mall security, the store, everybody, you know, has her son jammed up, you know, like they got him by his, you know, little hands and they're, you know, putting him down cause you know, you're stealing and all this other stuff.

So he has this experience with his friend. The parents, you know, comes to the mall to pick them up after, you know, they call him and tell him what happens because of course they have receipts. So the little boy he's, you know, obviously shaken up and his friend, you know, is like shook up also, like, I didn't know that this would happen, whatever.

So they talked to their son and they were like, how many times have we had that conversation with you? You know, that you cannot do what, whatever these young, you know, child's name is, you cannot do that. And that was a very hard conversation for them to have, you know, with their child, but on the other end of the spectrum.

So where I know that this is a conversation that can be had globally. I have, you know, a really close coworker who is Caucasian, right. And her and her husband have a very open and loving home. So their daughter was dating an African-American boy in high school. Right. You know, Texas culture. They go to the football games, they hang out, you know, they're out all hours and everybody would be home by 12 o'clock, whatever.

So the kids are coming home. He's dropping her home. They enter into the neighborhood, the cops pull them over. Get out the car, you know, all this stuff is going on. And so the police officers asked her daughter, you know, like, are you okay? Ma'am why are you riding in the car with his boy? Are you okay? You know, like asking her all these questions.

And so she got really upset. She's crying. Why are you accusing him of these things? And so who is her parents? So my coworker, her husband came up to the front of the neighborhood. This is our daughter. This is her, you know, her boyfriend. We want to talk to your supervisor. You know, this is what's going on.

And to listen to the conversation that her daughter had with her, when she came home, she was like, mom, you know, I knew that this could be something to happen, but she was like, the way that I felt, you know, as they were asking me, like, am I okay? Because I'm in the car with him. So I was like, it's not that people are oblivious to this.

You know, you can see it. If you want to, you can talk about it with your children, if you want to. I think it's just a matter of sometimes if people just truly having other rose tinted glasses and these hedges of that have turned into concrete walls where you just, you can't see it.

I'm in the south too. And there are a lot of people here who don't want to see it because they still believe a lot of these negative things. They still think it's a good idea to stop someone every time you see a white woman with a Black man, you need to make sure she's okay. There are a lot of people who still think that, and there are so many mixed couples in Georgia. You know, a lot of white women are partnered with Black men. And when I talk to, because some of my coworkers are in these relationships, they say they see a minor improvement since the nineties that they're not stopped as frequently, but that it gives them rage. When they think about their kids, you know, their safety isn't anyone's priority, right. They know that if their dark skinned daughter is in a car with a white man, no, one's going to stop to see if she's okay. There's so many layers. And then we think about the history. If we really look at the numbers, who's more likely to be in danger. People don't want to face that they low-key love white supremacy.

It goes back to what we were talking about before, like those systems of oppression and how they can kind of stand on top. Right? So experiencing racism, and then you add, you know, individuals that have a heteronormative viewpoint of the world. And so we started talking about homophobia. If you still want to use that terminology, right. Xenophobia Islamophobia, right. It can be a lot to take in. And that's one thing that I learned from the project too, dealing with systems of oppression throughout the intersections of your identity and how devastating that can be. You know, I'm going through all of this. So, you know, in my culture, I'm taught to lean heavily towards religion, but I can't lean too hard on it because, oh, you know, we have so many heartbreaking stories from, you know, individuals being in particular religious communities.

Right. And African-American community, most of the time is dominated by like a Christian sense, whether you're Baptist, Catholic, you know, Methodist, Episcopal, whatever. But we also have individuals that. Practice other faiths too, you know, like individuals do practice Islam. We do have, you know, African-American folks that are Hindu or, you know, it's a lot of things there, right?

And then we cross into like, you're talking about relationships with other ethnicities too, right? And now we're adding into those intersections and then you at work and everything else. And it's like, where do we go? Right. To have some sense of positive reflection of self. If everything around me is so negative towards who I am.

And that's a really important conversation to have, because if you're looking even now for resources, that address multiple identities, that aren't being celebrated on a massive scale, you don't find a lot of resources that acknowledged that people hold more than one marginalized identity at a time and finding safe spaces can be tricky.

So in your experience as a professional who works with mental health, you know that a lot of times in the Black community, because people have a lot of stigma about mental illness and therefore shy away from mental health services. Sometimes even if they don't have a diagnosis, that would be a stigmatized. Like if you just have anxiety, which to me means you're a person who's breathing. That some people still are really reluctant to get any kind of support. What do you feel the role of community can be? What's the line between when you absolutely need to see a counselor?

And how much support can you get other, if we're, if we're talking about a very hard line within the mental health profession, and especially here, the way that things are set up as a society within the United States, right? If we're ever having ideas so harm ourselves or someone else, right. Then we need to seek immediate medical intervention, right? And national suicide hotline is available. 911 in all areas, you know, is available for psychiatric a mobile support. Another good thing I know that most people have, you know, the national suicide hotline, but depending on what community you're living in with city, they're usually like individual city crisis lines also.

So you can kind of dial in that support to kind of come in a little bit faster. But as far as if we're not talking about emergency psychiatric or mental health needs, right. If we're talking about, you know, I think I'm dealing with some concerns for depression or anxiety. You aren't really having a hard time focusing and things like that.

I think that it's healthy to have a therapist at all points in life. Things are going great, right? It's cool to go to therapy and like, bro everything is going amazing. You know, like it's a good thing, safe space to really be able to celebrate the things that are happening in your life. Right. Really be able to play the next level of things that you want to do.

Right. It's okay. Like therapy doesn't have to be the place just associated with really bad things, everything in there is probably crying and needing a whole bunch of Kleenex boxes. That's not what it has to be, but while we're going through some major adjustments or any life adjustments, it's okay to step in and get some additional support.

Having a connection to spiritual resources is not a negative. Right. It's a positive, but we do want to make sure that we're aligning with professionals that understand your spiritual practices too. Right? If you are not practicing, you know, the typical religions recognized, if you're not a traditional Baptist or Catholic or something like that, maybe you're practicing an ATR (African Traditional Religion)

It's good for you to have those conversations with your provider. Right. But then that goes back into us, educating ourselves on how do we select a therapist, right. How do I decide which counselor is right for me? And do I get to decide the answer to that is absolutely. Yes. Like interview them, you know, it's, it's no hard feelings if you're like, I don't like the vibe.

I don't want to talk to them. Fine. Choose someone else, you know? Cause there's a lot of people out here. What you want to make this, the best decision for you to process whatever's going on.

I think that is something a lot of people struggle with too. Sometimes I think it's tied back to that whole don't even show up if you're not going to spend money that a lot of Black folks have been, you've had that drilled into you. Like we don't get to show up and loiter, we don't get to window shop. And so you feel like, oh, once I'm in this waiting room. I am locked in.

Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. And that's another thing that we have to talk about, right. Again, how that oppression shows up, you know, and all those aspects of our lives, how it seeps in.

And we're talking about, like, we don't get to window shop, like once I'm in, I'm in, you know, like, and I ain't got no money, but these people, you know, they gonna be looking for something then, you know, that's that trauma coming in, you know, to speak up for us. Right. But it works a little bit different. And it's okay to ask questions. That's another part of normalizing mental health, ask questions about how it works. You know, like everybody's not a 1-800-THERAPY genius. It’s okay to say, well, how do you go get one? You know, what are the costs?

I've had people say to me, I can't afford it. You know, like I'm not, I'm not in any pockets, I'm not in your pockets, but ican I ask you a question if you had to go and it was something that has to do once a week, what would be too expensive?

$500. That's expensive. You know, if you're talking about $500 a week, you got to go once a week and it's four weeks in a month. I don't have it either. If it's $500, I'm at it, you know, but when you talk to people about it, like, okay, well, did you know that there is a sliding scale?

Did you know that there are therapists that do pro bono work, right? You can be on a waiting list for somebody’s pro bono side, right? There's community mental health, where the services might actually be $0 because you're a resident of this community it’s already given to you. You know, one thing that I do want to make sure that we make clear is that that idea of depriving ourselves, right?

That's an idea that kind of comes in. And in my opinion, it, it stems from those systems of oppression, like who determines what is disposable income? If we're talking about the upkeep of mental health that is upkeep of self. So if said person needs to go and have their hair done, because this is the one opportunity that they have each month to care for themselves, it gives them an opportunity to disconnect from the things at home.

I'm at peace during this time. Pay for that, get it right, because we live in this capitalistic society that tells you, well, if you want more than you should deprive yourself of the things that already make you happy right now, there's nothing wrong with saying, you know what maybe cause I love a good Starbucks. Okay, I love a good Starbucks, but maybe I don't go every day, three times a day, but it is okay for me to go and say, you know what, today I really do need that iced caramel macchiato upside down venti. I need that right now today, please. Thank you. I need that. But when we have those conversations about expenses, that's why I say, I always ask, what is your definition of too expensive?

Because again, that system of oppression has already told you that you're boxed out. You can't afford it. It's for white people. It's not attainable for you. You don't get to go to therapy. You don't talk to other people. What happens in this house stays in this house. You don't talk to white people about our concerns.

Ain't no such thing as a Black therapist, them people will take you from us, keep this inside. So there are so many layers that were put between you and this service before we even started talking about the money, right? So when I asked you what is expensive, tell me. Because expensive might not be money expense might be, I don't have the physical time to pick my child up, get home, get dinner started and be able to be to your office for therapy by six o'clock. I don't have that type of time because I got an hour and a half in traffic. So expense in this case, it's time. That means, let me tell you about my tele-health services.

We can do your session in the car while you're waiting to pick up your child before you come and get him, or maybe after you scheduled this, you know, time for them to go to sleep. My office is open for tele-health until eight o'clock that's my last slot. Cause now we're talking about expense for you expense for you, based on your intersections of life does not always come with money.

And that's one thing in our global society that we have to start understanding because you took away opportunities from me, right? We're red lined. And if we're gerrymandering, then no money was never a bargaining chip for me. Because you took away my opportunities for access to education and took away my opportunities for access to home ownership, to build a system of wealth.

So money was never a bargaining chip that I was given and for the working class,working class sells their time for money. Time is always going to be a problem.

I don't know how much things have shifted or improved because of the pandemic, but a lot of providers in my area never offered tele-health because the closed systems that were actually going to be HIPAA compliant were cost prohibitive for them.

And there were some health insurance companies that were not reimbursing if the session didn't take place face-to-face so that was always a barrier.

Oh yeah. But even with that, right. When we're talking about not having access to telehealth services, insurance companies, not making this accessible, right.

That again, plays into those larger systems of oppression. Right? Most individuals that can afford private pay therapy, right. They're not billing through their insurance. Hence why they're private pay client, right. They're paying for whatever it is that they're needing. So I don't need to consult with the insurance company about whether or not the service that I'm going to provide for you is billable.

Right. We do this over the phone. We can do this, you know, via the different networks that we have set up for that we can do this. This is your therapy session. We're going to do what we're going to do and make sure it's HIPAA compliant because you're already paying for it. Right. But if I am using community mental health services, if I'm relying on Medicaid or Medicare and they set up these barriers, let's think about how that works.

Cause again, I'm telling you that this service that you're providing to the people that need it, the low socioeconomic community that needs that you are understanding that they already have these certain restrictions in place. And it's not always children. We can talk about individual's ACE scores.

The ACE (adverse childhood experiences) survey is something that's been accessible since the 1990s. Nadine Burke Harris made it extremely popular after she gave that phenomenal TED talk right after she became, you know, the surgeon general for the state of California. But before that, you've had this information about how these individuals were being affected right.

In the best of society, as well as, you know, the, the lower socioeconomic communities. But you have not done anything to truly help them. We've set up a lot of barriers. I gave you insurance. Okay. You gave me insurance, but why can't you have tele-health if I'm telling you that I work on this side of town, I got to get here.

This is what I need to do. My kids just need to check up. They're not sick. We're not coming in. They could just get on a FaceTime with the doctor so we can get the little scripts on so they can play basketball with the kids down the street.

You know, so many things, all of a sudden magically became possible during COVID that before everybody said could not be done. So many people who were told no, you have to work in person. This can’t work otherwise now magically, look, it's not a problem. Oh no you have to come in, even though it's clearly just pink eye. Oh, all of a sudden, yeah, we can do that remotely. It's really interesting when the desire isn't there everything is impossible.

The motivation, it has to be there for preservation of self. But if it's not something that immediately impacts me and you know, it's like, I'm not worried about it. Right. And again, as a society, we should not want to be reactive to things. You know, once it becomes an issue for me, then I have a response or comments on it, you know, but it's like, well, you know, if the rain forest is burning down, you know, in the Amazon, that's not really affecting me right now in my house today. So no, I don't really want to talk about it. But maybe in the next five or 10 years, when everybody is truly walking around with gas masks on, and it's a whole big thing. Now I'm going to act. If you made it to that point, right. But we don't want to be that way or we should aspire to be better as people.

So being proactive and truly just listening to people, again, asking somebody about their experience. If you don't know something, then it's okay to go into a space, with a closed mouth and two ears open. That's why we got two years of one mouth, right. Listen twice, before you speak.

So listen to what the community is saying, listen in for the challenges and barriers. And before you offer up a solution, why don't you ask them, if they have any solutions. Because they've been experiencing this for so long, they might've already seen something that can be very beneficial before you jump and say, oh, I know how to fix that already, but you haven't even experienced it, so how would you know?

When it comes to finding ways to be proactive in a system that prioritizes profit above people and looking for ways to be part of the solution within the existing structure, how do you create a vision for things like that? Because what I keep running into is people who, for different reasons, because they can't imagine anything beyond this predatory, very, very capitalistic way of doing everything, people are boxed in by that, because they haven't seen it modeled, they don't seem to know another way to do it.

Like you said about not paying folks of color when you're a small startup, because you feel like you just don't have the money to do it, but is that really true or is your concept of how business must function holding you back from being more ethical? What do you do?

How can you be ethical and a system that has trained us not to be ethical and that doesn't present us with a lot of alternatives?

Well, I think the, the first thing is that my vision keeps me on, on the right path. So that’s the idea behind the KIDD, it stands for keeping individuals driven towards their destiny.

Right? So if we're staying focused on our destiny, right, what our pathway is. I'm mindful of my surroundings. So I can tap in for areas of support and resources, right.

Because I might not be able to pull to bulldoze my way through this barrier. But if we work together and then we can build this bridge, you know, so what is it that we can do as a community. Cause again, like I said before, we're all holding on by our last thred, everybody, you know, between just the day to day what it is to be Black in America, you know, James Baldwin said it best, right?

I'm in a constant state of rage, a constant state of rage. And I don't think that there's anyone that can put it in a better way. Cause, how is it that you function in day to day life and you are in a constant state of rage, everything around me, I see the problem that it poses to my sheer existence.

So I'm developing the community around me so that I can make sure that whatever path that I leave behind me, it's better than how I found it. That's really what it is working in community and space and being open and honest, right. Working with other Black creatives, working with other creators that are people of color working with other individuals that are within the LGBTQ plus community and being very direct with people that present themselves as allies.

Taking up that space to really do a little bit of investigative work, you know, what is it that you want to do? How is it that you want to be helpful? Listening and really checking in with myself? How do I feel about this interaction? Do I feel like I'm just going to be in put up as a poster child for something, and then afterwards we really not going to do nothing?

Cause if I'm kind of getting that vibe, then this might not be the best space for us to, you know, to do business, you know, or it might not be good for us to collaborate. I'll move on and do something else.

And that can be a really difficult skill to learn because who's been taught that? Maybe some lucky kid out there somewhere, but I certainly was never taught that it's safe to talk back to white folks. And especially now with a lot of pseudo allies using, weaponizing tears and getting, just doing the most, when it comes to reacting to someone saying, ooh, I see your white supremacy is showing maybe this isn't what you want as a person like this runs counter to your conscious beliefs, but that doesn't mean it's never going to be manifest. Like it’s never going to come through you. If I have internalized white supremacy, you're out of your damn mind if you think you don't have any. That makes no logical sense. But I have had very few experiences where I've been able to identify something that was problematic and harmful and it not have turned into like this really uncomfortable situation that I didn't feel emotionally prepared to have.

Oh, yeah. And I think that even that, like having those experiences it's sucks, you know? Cause that's draining on you as an individual, as a person, as a being right. I questioned my value within this, this business relationship that we had or this collaboration, this partnership, I questioned my value in my community space.

Right. Then you start questioning in all spaces, your professional space, what am I doing? You know? So it really takes a huge toll on the being that we are as a person. But like I said before, developing that community around me, you know, and sometimes, honestly the community doesn't necessarily have to be someone that I have a direct conversation with.

I'm very particular about the information that kind of shows up on my social media feeds a lot of it, it can be filled with a lot of community activism and things like that. But I also make sure that I tie in some of the funny stuff, like the dogs that, you know, dress up. So like, I watch those too when I need a break. But really just having a community of people around me following other creators accounts.

People that are doing projects that works and things that, you know, I didn't think of that. It was never on my mind, but I'm so glad that you're doing it. So let me, you know, watch that project flourish and grow.

So I can kind of see what you're doing and who you're connecting with. And maybe at some point we might be able to do something together, but in the meantime, I'm rooting you on from the background, double tapping and making sure that I, you know, posted to my stories or what have you.

So it's just really developing that community with people that are experiencing the same thing, because it can be very isolating. It's sad that we can say that something that we've all experienced, but it normalizes it. It helps us to grow and create that confidence. It's uhuh, we don't have to deal with it.

So that's very helpful to hear from someone who is working in a professional mental health space, because I've heard some people criticize folks of color for just trauma dumping, but in some contexts, people are looking to have their experience validated and mirrored back to them. And I find that a lot of folks of color do that extremely well, because this is a skill that you've been using for years. If you have the, the benefit of being around folks of color on occasion, which not everybody does.

And I think that also it shows up, like you said, not everyone has that opportunity, right? Me and my partner were just talking about that the other day. And that is a big part of Black culture is my cousin and them you know that's my cousin, that's my cousin. I don't know what your parents look like. But we have been going to school together for the last three or four years. You know, we down, you know, having a community, you know, I have play cousins that are like my real cousins, you know what I mean? Like they've been so integrated into my family and people don't even know that we're not blood related.

You know, they’re at all family functions, funerals, birthdays, weddings, whatever. Right now you asked a couple of people that are like close to me. They'd be like, oh yeah, you know, that's their cousin. And these people have known me for years. You know, you've been my friend for 20 plus years and you really think this is my cousin.

You know, I have no blood relation, right. Not a single blood relation, you know, but this is my cousin. The having community is important. And I think that's one thing that really hinders us sometimes, you know, we aspire to grow and to get more right. Right now I’m rereading Our Kind, it reaffirms sometimes that conversation that we have within our own communities, or we talk about classes and our culture, or how people are segregated within, you know, these small micro communities.

But it also really speaks to how we maintain a development of community. You know, when we talk about community organizations like Jack and Jill or the Greek organizations that were started in college, right. That is for us to maintain a sense of community. You know, like I'm here navigating this space and it might not really be a lot of us there, but I know where I can find us when I see you just in the same way, you know, you wore this particular class ring.

When I see you with this particular lapel pin on, I know you got me, right. We don't even have to talk about it. It's already understood, you know, because I'm within these communities of people. Right. And I think it's important. It never goes away. That's a part of our culture. And that's something that we have to learn how to rely on again, especially in our society we're so focused on the individual, you know, in school is you gotta do this, you have to do this, you have to do that. But that's not the way that we grow. We as a people, us y'all, we as a people grow as a community. So you have to find your people, you know, and if you're not connected and plugged into your community or you are not developing a community, then no, I don't think that we're going to have any sense of growth.

Hmm. I think that's pretty crucial. And because that's so different from what the dominant culture says and how the dominant culture operates with that extreme individualism. Like I'm all for people being self-sufficient, if possible, if they want to, whatever. But the level of individualistic thinking that you see exhibited and taught by the dominant culture is such a departure from most BIPOC cultural inclinations that it's so unrelatable.

But if everything you've ever been taught is through that lens, like businesses like this projects must have one kind of leader. One person has to make all the decisions and one person has to stand to lose more than everyone else. It's tricky sometimes to feel truly comfortable when you start operating in a way that's more community centered and you wonder, oh, is this how we do this?

Am I doing this right? Can this possibly be sustainable? Is this okay?

Yeah. Yeah. But that's why I say that's the good thing about community though. You know, dictatorship doesn’t work because you just have a whole bunch of people around you telling you what you want to hear. And then we all know that when the king goes to bed at night, you know, everyone else has a whole full-blown meeting about how we gonna get ready to king, you know?

It doesn’t work. But community, it does work. And like you said, the history of us as people, people of color, indigenous people, Black people, brown people, you know, the Asian community, we are historically by sheer nature, community driven, you know, it's something for us to just reaffirm with one another.

And I think it’s a great time, now is always a great time, I don't care when “now” is, but now it's always a really great time to do that. And especially in the face of all that we've been going through since, you know, the Panorama started up until now.

What is your vision for the future of The session?

My vision is to show it more, you know, get more opportunities to show the documentary, have more opportunities to have community dialogue. And it's a become a living piece, you know, information for individuals. You know, if people use it as a topic of reference when they're having diversity equity and inclusion trainings, or if we're talking about cultural humility towards working with the LGBTQ plus community, that I think that the experiences that these individuals were able to share in the session is very, very reflective of our communities as a whole and their stories I think are gonna impact a lot of people that get to hear them.

Awesome. And if people want to work with someone who is a counselor of color and LGBTQIA+, is there a resource for that yet?

There are thankfully a lot of directories that center of Black or indigenous cultures. The Latin X therapist is a therapy network for Latin X therapists. You have therapy for Black girls is a really good therapy resource.

There is the national queer and trans registry for counselors. So counselors from all across the US that are within the LGBTQ+ community are registered. There's a lot of different applications that are out now to help you get connected with a therapist of color, truly, truly, truly I tell people all the time we're living in the day and age where you can ask Google anything.

Anything, anything, you know, like, so you can literally type in, how do I find a Black therapist, how do I find a queer therapist, how do I find, you know, a trans therapist because it's going to give you, you know, some type of answer, but if you're interested in getting more information, I'll be updating my website soon that I have like a little mini breakdown on, you know, just some basic FAQ's on how to find a therapist.

Ah, that's exciting. If there was one thing that you could say and magically, everyone would understand it and hold it close to their heart. What's one thing you would want everyone to know?

I don't know. Cause I have so many things, but I do think that it is important for every person, every being to have the experience of being seen and heard and to just experience how extremely validating that can be.

And if that's something that you're interested in doing or something that you feel like it's an experience that you, your partner, your family, your community, you know, society as a whole needs then I encourage everybody to research how they can support their own mental health.

That was such an informative conversation. If you missed any of the names of the queer Black ancestors, don't worry. I have all of those names and relevant links in the show notes. Just visit And you'll find that under the podcast link, if you are already subscribed to the mailing list, that will be delivered straight to your inbox and you won't have to lift a finger.

I really appreciate how specific Britni's advice was about how you can find a mental health care provider that's perfect for you. So, if you need more support and the first person you come into contact with is not for you. Please follow the advice they shared and keep looking and feel free to advocate for yourself.

Please reach out to Britni, check out their work and check out The Session. I love the idea of breaking down the stigma that we have around receiving the support that we need when it comes to mental health care. If, you know, someone else needs to hear today's message, please be sure to share the episode. Anytime you like review or share the podcast, you're helping this message reach other people that need it, I thank you so much for your help.

Just to reminder that I do have one-on-one spots available and the coaching program right now. If you are ready to heal your relationship with your body and learn how to use nutrition as a self-care and personal empowerment tool, check out the show notes and you'll find the link to apply to the one-on-one coaching program.

Thanks again for joining me. I will see you next time.


Yeah. They might try to put you in a box. Tell them that you don't accept. When the world is tripping out. Tell them that you love yourself.

Hey, Hey, smile on them. Live your life just how you like it. It's your party, negativity is not invited. For my queer folks, my trans people of color, let your voice be heard. Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You were born to win, head up high with confidence. This show is everyone. So I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.

Body Liberation for All
Body Liberation for All
Holistic Registered Dietitian Dalia Kinsey created Body Liberation for All as a resource for QTBIPOC folks who are ready to become the happiest version of themselves, using healing tools tailored for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folx. Since wellness is multi-factorial each season covers a broad range of tools (sexual expression, indigenous medicine, mindfulness etc.) for the pursuit of happiness. Special guests and healers join throughout each season to share their journeys to inner peace and fulfillment.