Episode 73: Year in Review
Published December 16, 2016.
Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.
Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.
Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman. On this week's agenda we're bringing you some highlights and a few lowlights from 2016.
Ann: Do you remember when Amina had to explain to me what the hell was happening with Blac Chyna and the Kardashians? I do and it was brilliant.
Ann: Step-by-step, what happened first?
Aminatou: [Sighs] Let's start way back when. In 2007, 2008, Kanye West, a rapper, now a Kardashian, started dating this beautiful woman named Amber Rose. [Music] Amber Rose is awesome. She's a feminist. She's so down for a lot of lady causes and she was his muse.
Ann: She's also sharp as a fucking tack, it should be noted.
Aminatou: Oh yeah. So Kanye and Amber date for like two years, very tumultuous. When it ends he writes an entire album about her, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Important Amina/Ann album. [Laughs]
Ann: So much drunk dancing to that album.
Aminatou: Oh, like I can't even start. It's all about Amber Rose. So it's like listen to it to get in the mood. So Kanye and Amber break up. Amber starts dating this rapper called Wiz Khalifa who has some hits but mostly is popular for being the second coming of Snoop Dogg and how much pot he smokes.
Ann: Yeah, he's like a pot GIF icon on Tumblr.
Aminatou: Yeah, you know? But he's done some good shit for the culture so we let it slide. They have this really cute son, Sebastian, a.k.a. Bash. Amber and Wiz are married for like two years and then got divorced I think in 2014 because of cheating, but they're still friendlyish. Amber obviously still loves Wiz and they're in each other's lives.
Ann: And they have a kid together.
Aminatou: I saw that Christmas morning photo on Amber's Instagram and definitely Wiz probably spent the night. It was crazy.
Aminatou: But anyway, pause on that relationship. In the meantime Kanye West had a kid and married Kim Kardashian-West. [Music] The whole thing is just a beautiful affair. Concurrently happening, Blac Chyna who is a model and eyelash entrepreneur is dating this rapper named Tyga who we don't like but they have a son together named King Cairo. King Cairo and Bash are like besties.
Ann: Also Amber and Blac Chyna, besties.
Aminatou: Yes, Amber and Blac Chyna are besties. But plot twist, in this era Blac Chyna and Kim are besties. So anyway, Blac Chyna and Tyga break up. And even after the break-up Blac Chyna and Kim are really good friends. There's much Instagram, taking pictures of their butts side-by-side and trips to Paris. When Tyga and Blac Chyna break up he starts dating Kim's little sister Kylie Jenner. Kylie is a minor. Tyga is not. It's like the day she turned 18 they were like "We're dating now," and we're like the last year of seventeen . . .
Ann: [Laughs] I got a boyfriend for my 18th birthday.
Aminatou: Yeah. As previously noted Blac Chyna and Amber Rose are incredibly close, like to the point where they wear matching outfits on red carpets together. Earlier last year Amber goes on this show called The Breakfast Club, talks about Tyga and Kylie, and she makes the observation that Kylie's underage. I think she said something like "Kylie's a baby. She needs to go to bed at 7 and relax. Why is Tyga -- why did he leave his girlfriend and baby to be with a 16-year-old?" True observations and also in this timeout I want to note that Amber had never talked shit about the Kardashians and even then she responded to something that she was asked. And also, real talk, we all agree.
Aminatou: Anyway, Kylie has this older sister named Khloe Kardashian. We love Khloe but Khloe, problematic for so many reasons including this reason: she's always the one getting into fights. The Kardashians, you can hate them if you want, they always take the high road. They'll talk shit about each other all day but they never discuss . . .
Ann: Keep it in the family.
Aminatou: Keep it in the family. Khloe goes off-message and on Twitter tries to come at Amber and it was like an epic Twitter day. So Khloe's just talking all this smack. She's just like "Amber is a stripper. Stop talking about us in your interviews." Amber comes back at her so strong. She's like "Well, I'm a whore kind of like your sister so don't slut-shame me." I was like fair, point Amber. But at the end of the day Amber won. It was not even close. She goes "Lesson of the day, children, please don't try Muva," that's what she calls herself, "because I will humble you. Remember this."
Ann: Important lesson.
Aminatou: She has predicted that she will humble you so don't come at her. Days after Amber's interview Kanye also goes on the aforementioned Breakfast Club and he talks about his relationship with Amber and he says this really awful thing about how he had to take 30 showers after being with Amber to get with Kim which is awful. And Amber, she defends herself. She slips in a couple of shots at Kim. Like she's obviously hurt but she still says that she used to love him so she's not going to talk shit about him and then also famously tells him that she's not going to humiliate him because the Kardashians will humiliate him when they're done with him.
Ann: Too real.
Aminatou: Anyway, Amber and Blac Chyna have like the best friendship. They keep going to award shows. They wear matching outfits, like at the VMAs they wore the one that has all the derogatory stuff about women on their bodies. Amber hosts a slut walk in LA. It was amazing. You know, the entire Internet is there for her. At the slut walk she famously forgives Kanye for what he said about her. Everybody is like okay, everything is fine. I'm sorry this is taking so long but I had to give you the entire background to this crazy story.
Ann: I am living for this right now. Do not apologize.
Aminatou: Okay. And then what happens this week? Blac Chyna Instagrams a picture of herself and there's like a man's arm around her body. The entire Internet full of investigators like me noticed that that arm that is around her, the tattoo looks very similar to one Robert Arthur Kardashian.
Aminatou: Brother of Kim, Khloe, Kylie, and the rest of the family. So Blac Chyna is hanging out with Rob. Khloe starts tweeting all these dumb, cryptic messages. Nobody cares. Pause. Rob for the last three years has been one of those Japanese reclusive kids and just been in hiding.
Ann: He's been like off-camera.
Aminatou: He's going through some sort of depressive episode and they hint at it on the show a lot and Kris Jenner cries a lot because she's very devastated. So anyway, Rob comes out of the woodwork on Instagram and then there was -- he posted this beautiful picture of Blac Chyna with no makeup on his Instagram, you know, clearly hinting that they're a thing now. The Internet is freaking out. It's like what is going on? This all brings me to last week's events. Are you hanging in there? Are you sitting? This is a lot.
Ann: I'm here. I'm actually gripping the sides of this weird desk thing that I stand at in my closet.
Aminatou: Okay. Okay. Kanye has been, for the last year, has told the world that his album that's coming out in a couple of weeks is called Swish. But he's now changed the name from Swish to Waves, presumably because there's a wave emoji and he can use that for marketing.
Ann: That's true, no swish emoji. I don't know, also something about swish feels very, for example, like you might use it as a slur or as something positive about a gay man.
Aminatou: Yes, exactly.
Ann: And we've all heard those rumors about Kanye. Maybe you wouldn't if you were worried about people making that association with you want to title your album . . .
Aminatou: But like it's Kanye. So anyway, he announces that he's changing the name of the album. He takes a picture of a legal pad with his awful handwriting. It's like we can't read half of the track list. I'm like did Nori write this? Unclear. He always talks about how he gets no respect in the design world.
Aminatou: My man, stop using legal pads. Like get a Moleskine or a field notes notebook or something. This is so embarrassing. Anyway . . .
Ann: [Laughs] It's like a sharpie and a legal pad.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's so bad Ann.
Ann: Way too thick for the font size he's writing in.
Aminatou: Oh my god, and you literally can't read it.
Ann: That makes everyone look like a child as well. Like if you have a really thick marker and are trying to write small, no one looks sophisticated.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's so bad. And on this legal pad everybody who's in the studio is leaving notes. It's like Kylie was here. Kim never left. Koko is here. You know, like so embarrassing. So embarrassing. He posts this on the Internet so everybody is like "Oh, Waves, this is what we're excited about." So remember Wiz Khalifa, Amber Rose's ex-boyfriend?
Ann: Barely, but yes. [Laughs]
Aminatou: So Wiz makes this comment on Instagram about how he doesn't want Kanye to take wavy. Wavy is a style of music that Max B who's like a political prisoner now, he's been in jail for a long time -- political prisoner is how I refer to any rapper in jail, PS -- that was his style, and Wiz is just like "Don't take wavy away from us." And then that's it, and that's fair. Wiz says on his Twitter, he's like "Hit this KK and become yourself." Anybody who peripherally follows Wiz knows that KK is Khalifa Kush. It's like his brand of weed or whatever. Kanye interprets KK to be Kim Kardashian.
Ann: Because he's paranoid?
Aminatou: Because he's paranoid and he's crazy. All of these tweets are now deleted but he went on this crazy rant and was like "Don't put my wife's initials on Twitter, Wiz Khalifa." Whatever.
Aminatou: Ann, seriously the rant was like 20 tweets.
Ann: I know! All of these tweets, these now-deleted tweets to me are one giant, cautionary tale against doing a thing that I think is tempting even for mere mortals but is apparently a crippling temptation for Kanye which is assuming that everything that everybody else does is about you.
Aminatou: Oh my god, preach. One of his things in the rant is how he made it cool -- him and Kid Cudi made it cool for black people to wear tight pants. False, that was Lil Wayne but whatever Kanye. He says to Wiz, he says "You let a stripper trap you." The stripper is their mutual ex Amber Rose.
Ann: Bad choices, Kanye. More bad choices.
Aminatou: Bad choices. And he even has a dig against the kid in there because he's just like . . .
Aminatou: He's like "The only reason you have a kid is because of me." And I'm like hmm, way to see your exes as property Kanye. Bad. So bad. So bad.
Ann: Way to see all the women involved in this as your property, Kanye.
Aminatou: Exactly. He praises Kim for the same reasons that he disparages Amber and it's like . . . then there's this weird intersection of class and race. It's like it's because Amber is black that people feel comfortable saying that to her, but people say the same things about Kim and how her career got started and all of this stuff. Surprising to me, Wiz Khalifa takes the high road and he's like "KK's a weed." He's like "I'm just stepping out of this."
Aminatou: And then Kanye realizes that he's made a mistake and he's like "Please excuse the confusion."
Aminatou: You think the whole thing is over, but that's when Amber Rose who is like a stealth Twitter ninja fighter steps into the ring at this point and goes -- in fact I'm just going to read it. She goes "Aww," at Kanye West, "are you mad I'm not around to play in your asshole anymore? #fingersinthebootyassbitch." And then the index finger up emoji. This is the point that I . . .
Ann: Can I confess to something here? Which is when I saw that tweet I verbally out loud was like oh! But, however, I also felt a certain amount of shame because you should not be shaming Kanye for being interested in butt play.
Aminatou: I know, but here's the thing. Here's how I felt about it: if you bring up her kid and you shame her again, there are no rules. Nobody has to fight fair anymore because he has not been fighting fair.
Ann: I mean my personal rules which is not to shame someone for being into having their butt fondled. That's all I'm saying. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Oh, no, I think that's totally fair. I feel the same way. But at the same time I'm like literally when I saw that tweet of hers, Ann, I almost passed out.
Ann: I mean fair enough. Me too.
Aminatou: And I was like I can't handle this. And then Kanye deletes his tweets and she goes hashtag Twitter fingers, hashtag you're getting bodied by a stripper which is an amazing Drake callback. Died.
Ann: Best use of hashtags in the past two years I think.
Aminatou: Yeah, I know. It's like the whole thing is crazy. The feud is obviously not over because since this has happened there's an amazing picture on TMZ of Kris driving over to Blac Chyna's house because that's where Rob is living now and furious in her car. And because Blac Chyna was flying to LA that day, so it'd be just her and Rob at the house. And then get this, as soon as Blac Chyna lands at the Austin airport she got arrested because Kris Jenner is in the Illuminati and made that happen. So Blac Chyna also a political prisoner for a couple hours.
Ann: 2016 was the year we started doing live events, and in one of our more memorable we sat down with Rebecca Traister in Los Angeles and talked about her book All the Single Ladies and the important and transformative power of women's friendships.
Ann: Do you want to read us something from the book?
Ann: Story time?
Aminatou: Story time.
Rebecca: One of the reasons that I think I get to be here tonight is because this book contains the origin story of Amina and Ann. [Laughter]
Aminatou: Don't do that.
Ann: We don't want . . .
Rebecca: They told me their stories before they even had this podcast.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: Separately we told you.
Ann: It was like when you separate people to see if they're lying. Like you actually interviewed us separately.
Rebecca: I did interview them separately, yes.
Ann: And then checked our stories. Yeah.
Rebecca: And so I'm going to do hopefully three brief readings about the story of Amina and Ann. In 2009 two women living in Washington, D.C. were invited to a Gossip Girl viewing party. [Laughter] Ann Friedman, then 27, arrived with a boyfriend. Aminatou Sow, then 24, was wearing a homemade Chuck and Blair shirt in reference to two of the show's new vile protagonists. They noticed each other right away.
Amina said she knew immediately that Ann, funny, tall, loquacious, was someone that she wanted in her life. Even as they left the party that first night she hoped that Ann and her then beau would be walking in her direction. They weren't. "I remember being really heartbroken," Amina said. It is weird to read your voice when you're next to me. [Laughter] I'm going to say that. I've read this passage now a couple of times at readings and it hasn't happened before that you were next to me.
But when she got home, she discovered that Ann had already friended her on Facebook and knew then that they were meant to be. In a bit of social kismet both women were invited to another event the very next day. They started hanging out all time, discovered they shared pop culture and fashion interests. Ann was a journalist, Amina a digital strategist. As a way to get to know each other they started a pop culture blog called Insta Boner. [Laughter]
Ann: I think it's still up.
Rebecca: Check it out later. That chronicled their literary, political, and stylistic obsessions. "We learned to speak the same language," said Amina. "We were instantly close," agreed Ann in a separate interview. [Laughter]
Aminatou: That's so awkward.
Rebecca: They tell the truth. Though their connection wasn't sexual, the process of falling for each other was almost romantic. With Amina, Ann said, she found "The thing I always wanted but didn't get from relationships with men, pushing me to be better without seeming like they were constantly disappointed in me." [Laughter]
Ann: We might have to leave.
Rebecca: She very quickly began to rely on Amina for emotional support, personal advice, and professional counsel. "All of the things that people say they turn to a partner for I turned to Amina for," said Ann. Among the largely unacknowledged truths of female life is that women's primary foundational, formative relationships are as likely to be with each other as with the men we are told since childhood are supposed to be the people who complete us. Female friendship has been the bedrock for women's lives for as long as there have been women. In earlier eras when there was less chance that a marriage entered early, often for practical, economic, and social reasons, would provide emotional or intellectual succor -- I hate saying that word out loud . . . [Laughter] Female friends offered intimate ballast. Now when marriages may ideally offer far more in the way of soulful satisfaction but increasingly tend to begin later in life if at all, women find themselves growing into themselves, shaping their identities, dreams, and goals, not necessarily in tandem with a man or within a traditional family structure but instead alongside other women, their friends.
Ann described her friends, Amina chief among them, as "My emotional support, my everything." And Amina said "I always tell Ann she's the single most important relationship in my life, not to put pressure on her [Laughter] but because it's true." Is this less fun than it seemed like it was going to be when you . . . [Laughs]
Aminatou: This is so painful.
Ann: I'm sweating a lot.
Rebecca: A couple of years after Ann and Amina began -- here's where we get to Call Your Girlfriend. A couple of years after Ann and Amina began to twine their lives around each other, Ann decided to leave Washington to pursue a work opportunity. The separation was devastating. Amina remembered in detail the things they did together to gear up for her best friend's departure: the packing and the de-accessioning of Ann's stuff and the goodbye partying. On the morning that Ann set off across the country, moving first to Austin, Texas and then on to Los Angeles, Amina called how hard she cried. "I went and got coffee at 7 in the morning and I was hysterical," she said. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever done."
The sadness Amina felt when Ann left didn't dissipate quickly. She started going to therapy again since "the person I would talk to wasn't there." Feeling that her social fabric in Washington, D.C. had unraveled Amina began to make plans to leave the city. "Ann was the center," she said, "and without her there was not a lot there for me." There was little chance that Ann, who had a big job in Los Angeles and was falling in love with her new city, was going to return east.
Amina recalled a road trip they took together out west. Ann had gotten California plates and was glowing with affection for her newfound home. Amina remembered telling her "It's stupid beautiful watching how you fall in love with California. It's like watching the Grinch's heart grow." [Laughter]
Ann: I was really grumpy on the east coast.
Rebecca: And then I'm skipping a little bit. "She's the person I text all day," said Ann. "If she didn't hear from me for a day you could basically assume I was dead." When Ann spent a year as a boss she was careful never to talk to her colleagues about her romantic or her sex life, but she said "They all knew Amina was my person." "It's really important that my coworkers know Ann," said Amina. "You have to know the place that Ann occupies because people only talk about their significant others. I don't even think I say she's my best friend because it's so much more than that to me. She is the person I talk about every day. She is my person."
Aminatou: Ann, that was really intense. You know, I remember Ann and I were on a trip in New York when she told me that she was having lunch with you and you were writing this book and I was like oh, I love Rebecca Traister. She's so cool.
Aminatou: And like two days later you emailed me and I did a little dance around my computer. And I really remember talking to you about that but it was also such a specific moment in time, you know? And the book process takes forever and years later some fact checker calls you and it's like "Do you still feel this way?"
Ann: It's like if married couples had to answer to that the way we did, yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah, and the thing is Ann and I had really never talked about talking to Rebecca and so when she was reading the parts that she was fact-checking for you I got really hot and uncomfortable. I'm like I can't handle this right now.
Aminatou: But thanks for having us in your book. [Laughs]
Rebecca: Their story is . . . so I mean those were just little bits of it. Their story really is so moving and they both tell it so beautifully and with such care and wit, I think it makes the book.
Ann: Okay, so you know we talk about our periods a lot. You know we love weed. And so Whoopi Goldberg starting a weed products company dedicated at soothing period woes was exactly what we wanted to hear.
Aminatou: You know who else just got into the period game? Whoopi fucking Goldberg. Whoopi, yes! Whoopi I am not happy with for a lot of things these days because her opinions on issues such as rape and sexual assault on The View can be really problematic but I feel like she's coming back to the right side with this. So Whoopi got into the medical marijuana game by launching this new line of medical marijuana product that's designed for women. She's doing it with this woman who's an edibles maker which dream job maybe? Maybe, called Maya Elizabeth. And the line is called Whoopi and Maya.
Ann: Yeah, so basically the point is weed-infused products for cramps and PMS and period pain and all of that stuff which those of us who live in the great state of California and other places where it is pretty much legal to consume marijuana for this purpose have been aware of for a long time. I am really curious about science-wise what are you doing that's different that is specifically great for cramps that my wonderful dispensary is not telling me about?
Aminatou: Right? I'm just like I really want to know because the problem is there's not a ton of research on the benefits of medical marijuana because the federal government won't let people research what's going on. So most of your research has to be personal and figure out what it is. But I'm really curious to see what some of these oils do because in all of the press that I've seen about it Whoopi and Maya really push home this idea that marijuana can be super helpful for period pain. And for those of us who have debilitating cramps, it's like who knows? Anecdotally I can tell you that I believe this works but I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice so . . .
Ann: You know there's that Drake lyric in What's My Name? where he says weed, white wine, I come alive in the nighttime.
Ann: This is like what happens when you've had a day of cramps.
Aminatou: I know, right?
[Music - Drake]
Ann: Or is it good weed, white wine? I'm not sure. Anyway, but Whoopi is basically monetizing a Drake lyric which I 100% support.
Aminatou: I know. One of the reasons too that I'm kind of excited about this, as a small aside, by Whoopi being a lady ganjapreneur, is did you read that thing in BuzzFeed by Gina's lady friend Amanda Lewis that wrote about . . .
Ann: Shout out Amanda Lewis, yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah, that wrote about how black people are shut out of the weed boom. And that's true. It's like black people disproportionately go to jail for selling marijuana that white people disproportionately smoke.
Aminatou: In fact I want to look it up because she had my favorite line in the whole . . . I like died when I read this. Oh, here it is. She's like "The few black people who have managed to start cannabis businesses or apply for licenses have sometimes found themselves subject to discriminatory law enforcement." Ugh, America. "They've been followed by the stigma that black people who sell pot are dangerous criminals and white people who do the same are goofy hippies." So real with the goofy hippie line.
Ann: Oh, totally.
Aminatou: So, so, so real. So it's like Whoopi and Montel are essentially the only two public black people who are going into medical marijuana and might maybe make money out of it.
Ann: Well there's Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg and a couple of other names but they're all people who have gotten famous in other ways.
Aminatou: Yeah, they're not selling volume, you know what I mean? They're selling like marijuana accessories; they're not selling marijuana, which is different.
Ann: I mean KK, I heard all about it on this podcast.
Aminatou: [Laughs] KK.
Ann: 2016 was also a year that was filled with gun violence and so we dedicated an episode to grappling with that issue and interviewing some women who have been directly affected.
Aminatou: You know, it's like how do white people get away with shooting black men? But also so much of it is about race and so much of it is about guns and your relationship to them and your reaction to them.
Ann: Right, and how they enable someone who feels -- feels threatened for something that is based in essentially racism to act on that.
Aminatou: Yeah, I know.
Ann: Plus, P.S., the guy who shot him was totally permitted and within the bounds of the law to carry a gun.
Aminatou: Yeah, exactly.
Ann: You know, it's definitely -- yeah, exactly what we were talking about.
Aminatou: And all he had to do was think that this black, normal middle-class teen was a thug and that's how he got away with it, right? And so it's called Three-and-a-half Minutes, Ten Bullets, and you should watch it if you haven't seen it. But it's also been really interesting to watch Jordan Davis's parents become these spokespeople essentially and just fighting for justice for their sun. I remember an interview that Lucia McBath, his mother, did with Ta-Nehisi Coates where Ta-Nehisi Coates took his son and at the end she has this excerption for him, I'll link to it in the document, but that was definitely one of those Internet reading made me cry days. So yeah, you know, and it's so unfair that this is what his parents have to do now but they're essentially fighting for black lives everywhere.
Ann: Yeah, so we actually talked to Lucia McBath for this episode. She's been working with Every Town for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America doing outreach to faith-based communities but also general advocacy and legislative work on this issue.
Lucia: I am Lucy McBath. I'm the mother of Jordan Davis and I'm a national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and faith and community outreach leader for Every Town for Gun Safety.
Ann: Maybe you can start by talking about how you got involved with this issue?
Lucia: I got involved with gun violence prevention, which I absolutely had no clue about the gun culture or the gun epidemic, gun violence epidemic, I really didn't have that much of an idea about what was really going on in the country until Trayvon Martin was murdered. And then, you know, Jordan was murdered very shortly thereafter, seven months after. And so I just out of my angst and my anger I wanted to know why the faith community was not standing up and speaking out about morally and ethically what was happening in the country and I wanted to understand a little bit more about the gun culture and the gun laws and how under our existing gun laws people were dying in the streets disproportionately. You know, young males of color.
I wanted to address the nation, not just the black community, because I wanted the nation as a whole to understand that this is their problem too. So I'd liken my work to be a bridge builder. I talk to all audiences and around the country I talk with our legislators, I talk with our civic leaders, academia, the faith community, and I engage them into gun violence prevention work.
Ann: And so how do you . . . I mean obviously a lot of people who are going to listen to this have not had a personal experience with gun violence that is so devastating or have not really had it affect someone in their family. How do you talk to people kind of like the folks you were describing who don't seem to think they have a personal stake in this issue and how do you convince them that this is really all of our problem?
Lucia: Well I basically say that if you think that you are immune to gun violence then you're sadly mistaken because I for one thought that we would never be affected by it. We weren't living in a community that was ensconced by gun violence. We never had guns around the house. You know, Jordan was afraid of guns. Jordan was in an environment, a very safe environment, and I thought I'd done all the right things. I homeschooled him and laid a really good grounding in faith for him. You know, we were believers and just doing so-called all the right things. And you think because you believe you're doing all the right things that you are not likely to be a subject of gun violence but that is absolutely not true because our gun culture has become so expansive. Our gun laws have become so loose and ambiguous that people are using their guns anywhere that they want to. People are deciding for themselves to take matters into their own hands. They're shooting first, asking questions later. People are using their guns as a means to silence people that don't look, think, or act like them. You know, people are acting out their implicit biases and racism through gun violence and if you think that you are immune to it, no one is.
You know, gun violence has infiltrated the church. Gun violence has infiltrated the LGBTQ community. Gun violence has infiltrated every facet of society. And so we are all stakeholders in this because people are innocently dying in the streets every single day. We've got 91 people in this country that are dying every single day and hundreds more are injured by gun violence and no one is safe. We're supposed to be one nation under God. Everyone is responsible for trying to create a safer environment for all of us to live in, and you cannot turn a blind eye to the communities that are disproportionately affected by gun violence because as I tell people all the time, as you've seen, the so-called gun epidemic in the urban community is no longer just the urban community's problem. If we do not care about communities outside of our own, if we do not care about people and individuals outside of our own reality and our own community, then we are taking part in really the demise morally and ethically and violently of our own people and our nation. And as I say all the time maybe you can't do what I do. I'm not asking you to. But I'm asking you to use your voice and to stand up and let your legislators and your community leaders know that they are accountable to you, your safety. You can do that and very easily make your voice known. Make a phone call to your legislator. Sending a letter to your legislator. Sending a Facebook post or a tweet, or better yet the best thing to do is to march yourself up there to their offices, go to the capitol, and demand that they pay heed to our safety.
I talk to these legislators all the time and I'm sitting there and I'm imploring with them as a victim of gun violence, of having lost my own son to senseless gun violence, and they say to me all the time "Okay, well if this is true that most people -- that 90% of the people in this country believe as you do and that 90% of gun owners believe as you believe then where are they?" And what can I say when I'm sitting there by myself and I don't have anybody there that is supporting what I'm telling the legislators? What I'm telling the civic leaders?
What they say to me is they hear all the time from the NRA gun lobby. They're pounding down our doors the minute any kind of legislation comes forth. They're sending in petitions. They're sending in hundreds of thousands of phone calls. Where are the people that believe like you? Yes, it's important to have prayer vigils. Yes, it's important to rally in the streets. But if you do not go beyond that nothing changes. And we have to vote at our state and local elections. That's where all the gun laws are created and passed through the state legislatures and that's where the power is.
Federal law does not mirror state and local law. You know, you could perish too. I tell people that all the time. You never know when someone within your community or your family is going to be affected by gun violence and then you're going to be kicking yourself saying why didn't I do something? Why did I only pray? Why did I just say "Jordan, we have to pray for those families?" Why did I not stand up and do more?
Ann: So this year we obviously talked a ton about the election including an incredible interview with Huma Abedin who's Hillary's right-hand woman followed by a snippet of us processing the news of the election results.
Aminatou: Can you tell us about the first time that you met Hillary Clinton? Like what is it like meeting this iconic figure in politics?
Huma: So this wouldve been in the fall of 1996 and I was working in the First Ladys office as an intern for her then chief-of-staff Melanne Verveer who did all of her policy and every intern session the interns had an opportunity to meet whoever was the head of their office. Now the First Lady was very good about meeting all the interns in her office.
And so the first time I met her was during that this small session. She would come over, take a photo with all of us, thank us all for our work, take a couple of questions. And I confess I was really . . . Ive thought back about that moment and I remember I feel like I was really nervous. It was the midst of a work day. I was trying to figure out what I was going to wear and how I would look and I was just shaking I was so nervous. And it was kind of a blur and we did it in the diplomatic reception room which is in the residence and its this really beautiful, oval-shaped room with this spectacular wallpaper. And its like so just being in that room in the residence, its kind of one of those awe-inspiring moments. And here I am this 21-year-old intern in college thinking wow, this is really cool.
That was the first time. But my moment, and I think Ive talked about this in the past, I think, when President Clinton had his reelection a few of us interns went to Little Rock. And so that was in November obviously. And I remember being at the rally in Little Rock and it was election night and obviously he was reelected and I remember being on the rope line and there are thousands and thousands of people. And I was with a whole bunch of my friends. And, you know, I had met her before like I said in this photo for 30 seconds. They come out and the crowds electric. I dont know. You know these things that happen in your life that just stick? That she walked by and she shook my hand and our eyes connected and I just remember having this moment where I thought wow, this is amazing. And I just . . . it just inspired me. You know, I still remember the look on her face. And its funny, and she would probably be so annoyed that I say this, but I remember thinking Oh my God, shes so beautiful and shes so little!
Aminatou: Aww. [Laughs]
Huma: You know, its just sort of . . . because people look different on TV. And I just thought wow. And I had such a fangirl moment and I was hooked. I mean, and that sort of was my . . . thats my first kind of my memory.
Aminatou: I'm just alternating between deep sadness and deep rage also which the rage has been good. It's like once I moved on from being sad and I started angry I was like yes, we are cycling through the grief. [Laughs]
Ann: Oh man, I haven't hit rage phase yet, although I just pulled myself a very adult-sized glass of tequila and I'm hoping that helps me get there. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Yeah. Well why are we so sad, Ann?
Ann: Oh, okay. Well, America had an election this week. It was a presidential election that was fairly important in which a fascistic, sentient Cheeto was running against a very accomplished, motivated woman who wants to make the world a better place. And guess who won, Amina?
Aminatou: [Sighs] We are never saying his name on this podcast.
Ann: You can't Voldemort him though.
Aminatou: We already did. We already did. I'm not saying his name. It's the only thing that'll make me feel better is if I never say his name.
Ann: All right. All right.
Aminatou: Hearing Obama today at the press conference call him like President Elect Ivanka's Dad, that's when everything hit me and I couldn't handle it.
Ann: I know. Like his name on Obama's lips, the worst.
Aminatou: I was like no way. So yeah, the election's over. Hillary Clinton lost. I'm gutted. That's the appropriate word.
Aminatou: While all's not lost, there was still some very good news and some signs of progress in the night and so maybe we can spend some time talking about that because that makes me feel a lot better.
Ann: Definitely. So the overall number of women in Congress is going to stay the same as of January but women of color had a really good night in Congress.
Aminatou: Yeah, quadrupled our presence in the Senate which is really exciting.
Ann: Yeah. Yes, and also can we talk about the Senate is a pool from which we pick future presidential candidates so very, very important.
Aminatou: Hell yeah. So let's see who had a good night in the Senate? Kamala Harris, favorite and friend of the podcast.
Ann: [Laughs] Are we preemptively friend of the podcasting her?
Aminatou: No, we're like -- no, Kamala Harris is a friend of the podcast. Hello?
Ann: Interview list 2K17.
Aminatou: Hello? Totally, yeah, that was really good. She was a California attorney general and she won her race which is exciting. Tammy Duckworth kicked some serious butt.
Ann: Oh my god, so much butt.
Aminatou: Love. Ugh, love Tammy Duckworth so, so, so hard. Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada also.
Ann: First Latina senator ever.
Aminatou: I know. Beat the heck out of Joe Heck. Hello?
Aminatou: So exciting!
Ann: And there's also Oregon has the first openly LGBT governor in US history. Good job, Oregon. What else? Oh, Minnesota has the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker.
Aminatou: I know, shout out.
Ann: Who happens to be a woman. Hey!
Aminatou: I know! Very exciting. California really did its part, legalized weed, sending a woman to the Senate, delivered 55 electoral college votes. Thank you California.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: Some states pull their weight; some states do not. But you know what? It's fine.
Ann: Yeah. Anyway, so I don't know. In many ways I'm celebrating the victories for these women as pipeline victories because with both houses of Congress having a Republican majority and we all know what's happening in the Orange House as I'm going to call it from now on . . .
Aminatou: [Laughs] The Orange House. To make me laugh on this day. Literally only two days have made me laugh today and that is one of them. Thank you.
Ann: You know what? I made a fart joke to someone earlier and she was like I can't believe I'm laughing so hard at this.
Ann: And I was like you know what? You really have to go back to the basics of humor on a day like this. Zero. Zero. Ground level. Anyway, so it's a tough environment for these women. I don't really know how much amazing legislation they're going to be able to pass. However it's like remember their names, support their campaigns, think about them when someone is like "Oh, but there's no one left after Hillary and Elizabeth Warren." These are women to watch.
Ann: And finally we talked about some coping strategies this year including the personal philosophy the joy of missing out and the chillout hoodie which it seems like will be relevant all the more in 2017.
Ann: If there is someone or something that makes you feel bad consistently, that's an easy unfollow.
Aminatou: I know. I'm also such a proponent of the opposite of this, jomo, the joy of missing out.
Aminatou: I hate . . . you know, it's like sometimes you'll see a party on social media that all your friends are at or some vacation that everybody went on or whatever. And the truth is if you're really honest you know exactly how it went. You know what the good things and bad things were. Looking back and saying this is great, but I didn't need to be a part of it, you know?
Ann: It's true. Oh my god, I'm totally adopting jomo because you know there's also -- it's really interesting, too, if I think about my own life and the things that I post, some of my best weeks where I'm like oh, I'm just doing good work and I'm living my life at home and I'm having a great time, nothing Instagram-worthy happens. You know what I mean?
Aminatou: Right. That doesn't translate to the Gram.
Ann: Exactly. And other times where I'm really busy and stressed and running around doing a million things, for some reason, maybe it's how I process stress, there are things to Instagram. It's weird. It's like the Internet is not -- this corner and this vision of the Internet is just not reality.
Aminatou: Yeah, it's just not representative of who people are. It always makes me laugh when people have terrible social media presences because I'm just like oh my god, this is all theater. This is the one place. It's like your friends and your families know that you're a jerk, but literally Internet strangers don't have to know that. You can just charm them with pictures of avocado slices and Coachella and all of this stuff. Strangers don't have to know any of that stuff about you. All of that stuff is very well-curated. It's like if you want to be really earnest about it, you can do that too. That's fine. But I think that in terms of taking a really hard look at somebody's life, technology just makes it easier for people to catfish you.
Aminatou: That's like all of what technology is, you know? So I don't know. And maybe for me it's where I work so I'm so hyper-aware of it.
Aminatou: People make really hard choices about -- and sometimes not so hard choices about what they want to portray and who they want to be online. And again this is why the emphasis on your real, close, IRL friendships is so important because you can feel this false sense of intimacy with how you interact with people online. And that's not to say that real friendships don't come from the Internet because I have amazing Internet friends and people who have transitioned into becoming real IRL friends. It's just taking all of it with a grain of salt, and if you don't do that hard work of actually asking people "How are you doing? What's going on in your life?" All of this stuff that's beyond the artifice, you won't really get to know someone ever.
Aminatou: So Ann, I want to confess something to you. There is this item of clothing that I want to buy and I know that it's ridiculous but I think that it will help with my anxiety.
Ann: Tell me.
Aminatou: It's this pink hoodie that's legit a restraining jacket but they don't talk . . .
Ann: Like a Temple Grandin hugging thing?
Aminatou: Yeah, it's like a Temple Grandin hugging jacket. Google it. It's the Baker Miller Pink Hoodie.
Ann: And it just gives you a tight hug and you're calm again?
Aminatou: Yeah. So it's like I was reading about it and it was like oh, this is the performance hoodie. And I read it and I was like oh my god, this is the strait jacket I need. Whenever I'm feeling anxious I like to do the heavy blanket and I was like maybe this hoodie will help. I feel like this is my version of people who wear that stupid ostrich head to nap at the office.
Ann: Oh my god, I know exactly what you're talking about. The one that looks like a deep sea diver only stuffed?
Aminatou: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I found the version of that for me and I think it's this. Have you found it?
Aminatou: It's crazy. They're like engineered to chill you out and I'm like I need to rewrite this copy. Engineered to not freak out.
Ann: I mean it's absolutely terrifying. It looks like you are going to be walking through radioactive waste while wearing it.
Aminatou: I know. I kind of really want it. You know I don't believe in owning performance wear but if I ever made an exception in my closet for something it would be this.
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: Because I put my shirt over my face all the time already.
Ann: I know you do. It's what you do when you can't handle what's about to happen.
Aminatou: I know. Also, Ann, these are so funny. The mesh visor floods your vision with a shade of pink designed to lower your heart rate. It allows you to see out but no one to see in. [Laughs] It's 100% a strait jacket and they're just like hey, fashion.
Ann: This is like a really high-end version of putting pantyhose over your face to rob someone.
Ann: You're like well, I'm actually into performance burglary and I need the Baker Miller Pink Hoodie.
Aminatou: You're so right. In my heist movie this will be what everybody is wearing.
Ann: Oh my god, completely. And you'll just be like so calm, cat burglaring.
Aminatou: I know. You know what really did it for me though is the pockets. It's like putting your arms in the asymmetrical sling pocket helps you minimize movement, limit oxygen consumption, and focus on deep stomach breathing.
Ann: My god.
Aminatou: That's what I need!
Ann: See, now all you have to do is learn how to do some Mission Impossible acrobatic things while your hands are in the asymmetrical pockets and you're good. This is how your crime career -- this is how you take back the professions from evil men.
Aminatou: I need clothing that will make me less anxious and I want to believe this hoodie is it.
Ann: Maybe this is the solution to the pay gap problem. All women just start wearing these, or all people who are in solidarity with women.
Ann: And you can't tell who's a woman and then you can't cut their pay in the profession. It's like we all just wear these hoodies.
Aminatou: I'm going to tell you now though if I see a man on the street wearing this hoodie I know I found my soulmate.
Ann: Oh, I thought you were going to say I know to run.
Aminatou: No, I was reading all this research about how pink calms you and it's my least favorite color in anything. And apparently that's what I need.
Ann: Oh man, I just ordered some pink trousers. I'm getting into pink for Rose season.
Aminatou: Man, like frat boy pink?
Ann: No, no, like a mauve kind of . . .
Aminatou: I like how I say frat boy pink and we all knew where I was going.
Ann: Oh yeah, like yacht club salmon? That pink? Yeah, no.
Aminatou: Yeah, my daddy's a lawyer, that uniform. Yes.
Ann: Oh completely. Like I hang out with a guy named Trip? That?
Aminatou: First of all that really hurts. You know I have a Trip in my life. I would've gone for something like Thatcher.
Ann: Okay, great. Thatcher.
Aminatou: A Megyn Kelly child name.
Ann: Yardley. Her daughter's name is Yardley.
Aminatou: Yardley. That just sounds like a very expensive Lilly Pulitzer pantaloon.
Ann: And she has another son named Edward Yates.
Aminatou: Edward Yates and Thatcher Brae. Oh my god.
Ann: And Yardley Evans, wow.
Aminatou: These are amazing. Yeah, Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump at it again.
Ann: Oh my god. He just keeps being rewarded for not quitting on this.
Aminatou: I mean he's going to get rewarded all the way to the White House. It's not cool.
Ann: Oh my god, currently zipping up my chillout hoodie. I can't even handle that.
Aminatou: I can't wait until I buy this pink restraining jacket hoodie and then this is how I'm going to record the podcast every week.
Ann: That's how we'll survive the Trump White House is in those restraining hoodies. It's how we'll survive everything.
Aminatou: [Laughs] Ugh, one day when I'm Oprah rich I'll buy these for everyone I know.
Ann: Thus concludes our tour through 2016 in the land of Call Your Girlfriend.
Aminatou: You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at email@example.com. You can also find us on Facebook, look that shit up by yourselves. [Laughs] Or on -- yeah, don't send us a message there. Or on Instagram at callyrgf. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. I am so thankful that this podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.
Ann: So grateful for Gina every day.
Aminatou: Ugh, the best. All right, booboo. I will see you on the Internet!
Ann: See you on the Internet.