The popular radio show “The Breakfast Club” has sent people into a heated frenzy after one of the show’s guests made a violent, transphobic joke. When DJ Envy asked comedian Lil Duval what he’d do if he found out he slept with a trans woman, he said the woman would “be dying.”
The blatant transphobia has sparked outrage.
Black trans women Ashlee Marie Preston and Blossom Brown alongside co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors led a demonstration, interrupting Charlamagne Tha God’s discussion with MSNBC’s Ari Melber.
While Brown was invited to Politicon to protest Charlamagne’s talk by Preston, she told CASSIUS she originally did not plan on doing anything other than video recording.
“I told Ashlee, let me just record and you guys do your thing,” Brown said. “Social justice has never been my platform because I felt like I was never able to be a leader. But something just came over me and told me, ‘you need to be there for your sisters.’ I had to let him know that trans women are not a joke. It felt really powerful as a Black trans woman to stand beside Patrisse and my trans sister Ashlee and be able to be heard because trans women are almost never heard. We’re killed more than anything.“
The demonstration was recorded and posted to Twitter where the video went viral.
Currently, Preston says she’s reaching out to the ACLU and FCC to take charge against WWPR-FM and iHeart Radio for The Breakfast Club’s actions.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute released a petition with a list of demands, including an immediate apology. They’re also looking for a neutral network to host a conversation between them and Charlamagne about Black trans misogyny in order to clarify things for those involved and the Black community at large.
“There’s this antiquated idea of what the Black agenda is and oftentimes Black trans women are not seen as a part of the community,” Preston said. “To me, if I’m a Black trans woman and my transness is being attacked, in some respect it’s a form of anti-Blackness because I cannot separate my gender identity from my race. It’s an affront and an attack on my intersectional identity.”
Moving forward, Cullors says she would want Black cis people to learn from these events. She told CASSIUS she wants Black cis people to support Black trans people by donating to resources such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute or Wear Your Voice Mag (where Preston is Editor-in-Chief). Lastly, Cullors said cis people should be calling others out on violence against Black trans people.
“The issue with what happened on the show is that Charlamagne was a bystander,” she explained. “He said ‘I’m not going to apologize for another man’s acts.’ How has that gotten us anywhere? When we see our family members make fun of trans people, we need to be interrupting that shit. It’s this larger conversation around all Black lives mattering.”
As far as what Preston would like from Charlamagne and the rest of The Breakfast Club team, she wants them to recognize how Black struggles and Black trans struggles are under the same.
“When you make it easier for trans people to come under attack, then you make it easier for the Black community at large to come under attack — if they’re able to come for us, they’ll come for you,” she said. “I do a lot of work around police brutality and the murder of African-American men and women and how the industrial prison complex has driven that agenda. To be someone that advocates for Black men in the way that I do and not get that back from our community, that’s problematic and needs to change.”