Back in America

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February 27, 2021  

Listen again: Eric Marsh - Being a Black man today in America

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First published on November 18, 2019

 

When a French journalist returns to live in the US 25 years after leaving it as a student, he struggles to recognize the country he loves. He embarks on conversations with Americans of all backgrounds in a quest to understand what America means today.

 

This was the first installment of Back in America.

The episode is part of a series on masculinity in America.

Here I speak to Eric Marsh a Black activist and a social worker in Philadelphia. 

We speak about being a Black man in America; the impact of slavery. The impact of the Trump election; consumerism.

We discuss an art piece by Hank Willis Thomas, Branded Head, a photo of a Black man’s head with the shape of the Nike swoosh, and what Thomas called commodifiable blackness.

February 11, 2021  

Witchcraft and Feminism: Three American witches share their experiences

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Witches are everywhere! Your neighbor might be a witch, you can run into one at the farmer market, the organic food store, the alternative medicine section of your bookstore, and definitely at feminist rallies––you could even be a witch without knowing it!

Since the 1960s, the historical stereotype of the witch has been reclaimed as a feminist icon. 

In their everyday lives, American witches act just the same as anyone else. While it is forbidden for outsiders to enter certain covens, many sell protection spells on Etsy for $15 a pop. They post pictures of Midnight Sabbaths on Instagram and Livestream Tarot readings on YouTube.

Beyond the folklore and the spells, the modern American witch is taking a stand against the patriarchy. 

You will hear from three witches in this episode: Amanda Auchter, an American writer, professor, and editor. Amanda has won several literary awards and is currently working on her third book of poems which focuses on how witchcraft and faith empowered women.

Then, Cabra Woodwell, a witch “dedicated to changing the narratives of magic to decolonize, decarcerate, and liberate” comes in.   

The third witch is Pixie from Salem, Massachusetts. The interview with Pixie was recorded live and can be watched in full on YouTube

If you want to learn more about Amanda, her books and her new witchcraft store, and if you want to explore what Pixie and Cabra are up to, see this episode's note.

To explore even further witchcraft and feminism check out Back in America's Newsletter on Substack!

Amanda Auchter

Amanda is about to open an occult-based shop, Midnight Apothecary, on March 1, with her creative partner, Eddy Roberts. Their information and stories are available on Instagram, here: https://www.instagram.com/midnight.apothecary/.

Pixie

Pixie’s Instagram account is https://www.instagram.com/thisisreallypixie/

Cabra Woodwell

Cabra Woodwell on Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/garlicwitchzines/

Their astrology school can be found on https://starsdanceastrology.com/mystery-school/

February 4, 2021  

Tricia Baker: “My Dog Saved My Life” - Inside Dog Therapy and Mental Health Education

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This episode was originally recorded live and you can watch the entire interview on our YouTube channel.

Trica Baker was the VP of Marketing Services at Merrill Lynch for 13 years before leaving her job to take care of her teenage son who was struggling with severe depression.

After battling this disease for three long years, her son tragically committed suicide. In the aftermath of those dark days, Tricia fell into a terrible depression and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress, barely able to leave her bed.

Yet, her dog Miki, guided by a mysterious instinct, helped her deal with her depression and got her out of bed each day. “Miki saved my life,” says Tricia.

 

In this episode of Back in America, the podcast we hear from Tricia who has since dedicated her life to training dogs to prevent suicide.

 

You can find Tricia’s suicide prevention organization, Attitudes In Reverse, at  https://air.ngo/

20 Paws is her dog training business: https://20paws.com/

 

If you or a loved one is depressed or having suicidal thoughts, the suicide prevention text line can be found by texting ‘AIR’ to 741 741. To speak to a counselor call 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) or go online: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

January 28, 2021  

Zionism, Mysticism, and the Law: Sam Shonkoff and his students on American Judaism today

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What is really at question is the American way of life. What is really at question is whether Americans already have an identity or are still sufficiently flexible to achieve one. This is a painfully complicated question, for what now appears to be the American identity is really a bewildering and sometimes demoralizing blend of nostalgia and opportunism. ––James Baldwin

In recent months, shows about Jewish thought and theology (Pretend it’s a City, Unorthodox) have populated Netflix’s “Trending Now” tab. But what does it mean to be an American Jew in 2021? Why are many Jews today turning towards Hasidism and more conservative forms of religion in a time of unprecedented secularism? Are spirituality and personal faith compatible with traditional Jewish precepts? Why is it the case that Jews have both benefited from and been victimized by white nationalism? And how does Zionism, Jewish nationalism, fit into this story?

To think about these questions, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner spoke with Sam Shonkoff, Professor Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California as well as two of his students. Sam’s research delves into the intersection between secular spiritual practices and the contemporary Hasidic movement, especially in the thought of not-quite theologian Martin Buber. For Buber, religion was less about acting according to the letter of the law than cultivating a sense of “embodied theology” in the everyday––faith as less of a regulating authority than source of spiritual transformation (tiqqun). His students, Eva Sturm-Gross and Jonah Gelfand both took Sam’s Jewish Mysticism seminar at Oberlin College and became fascinated with the downright odd and weird mystics in Jewish thought. Eva is a junior from Vermont who works at a bakery and is majoring in Studio Art and Religion with a minor in Jewish Studies. Jonah just graduated from Oberlin last June and has followed Sam to the GTU and hopes to continue his personal and professional engagement with Jewish thought. Both Eva and Jonah grew up as secular Reform Jews, yet have decided to become more seriously devout. 

While their experience cannot speak for all American Jews, Sam, Eva, and Jonah tell a story about their return to a practical faith in a time of uncertainty and doubt.

To find out more, listen to the episode on Podbean, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you usually find your podcasts!

 

Links: 

Sam’s latest book on contemporary Hasidism, edited with Rabbi Ariel Evan Mayse: Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World

 

The book on top of Sam’s desk at the time of recording this episode: The Obligated Self

Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought by Mara H. Benjamin

 

Eva’s art Instagram

Martin Buber’s I and Thou

January 22, 2021  

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings: On her Late Husband Elijah Cummings, Black Feminism, Civil Rights…

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In this episode of Back in America, I speak with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, political consultant, and activist. She recently ran to represent Maryland’s 7th District in Congress after undergoing a double mastectomy.

 

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is the widow of Congressman Elijah Cummings, a good friend of former Congressman John Lewis. When Lewis died in 2020, hundreds of Twitter account accidentally posted memorial photos of Cummings since the two looked so much alike!

 

On Back in America, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore. Cummings discusses the ongoing fight for civil rights. “I fight for the right to exist. I fight for the right of everyone to be recognized on the level of our common humanity. I fight for the history in this country that has been suppressed. I am the fourth generation from slavery in this country. My parents grew up in the Jim Crow South. My late husband, Elijah Cummings grew up in the Jim Crow South. They were born into a world that denied African Americans the right to exist,” she said.

 

We also spoke of Black feminism and the importance for Black women to take charge of their struggle against racist and institutionalized patriarchy.

In recent months, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has been working to publish We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy, her husband’s final, unfinished book. The book came out last September and she talks to me about the importance of getting her husband’s voice out there.

We're Better Than This - My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy

 

January 7, 2021  

The Promise of a Better Human: James Clement on our Transhuman futures

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In this week’s episode, Podcast Editor Josh Wagner takes a look at transhumanism, the philosophy, and ideology that the next stage in human evolution will arrive through artificial enhancements. Started in the early 1990s in Silicon Valley, transhumanism has accrued a wide variety of adherents, ranging from Ray Kurzweil and Elon Musk to Jeffrey Epstein, who believe that the human body itself needs to be upgraded. In their minds, such technological enhancements will increase the quality of life and abilities of every human being––“if nature is unjust, change nature!”

 

But, are such transhumanist dreams even possible, and would such biological enhancements actually help transform the human race rather than reinforcing the social, racial, and economic divides which are tearing at the foundations of our democracy?

 

Joining us this week is James Clement, director of BetterHumans, the world’s first transhumanist-oriented biomedical research lab. A former international tax lawyer and brewpub founder, Clement now works on the scientific side of anti-aging, often collaborating with Havard geneticist George Church to discover why certain humans are able to live for more than 100 years. At the heart of his transhumanism rests a fundamental belief in human capabilities and their liberation, beliefs which motivate his biological research. For him, transhumanism is a real technology, fundamentally linked to medical vaccines, stitches, and contact lenses. The only difference is that, like any new technology, transhumanism is not fully understood, especially by Americans who are resistant to such changes.

 

At the core of this interview lies a concern that a so-called transhumanist utopia, while possible, may not be entirely desirable. Like Odysseus’ searching beyond the limits of human cognition in Dante’s Inferno, transhumanism crucially aspires to alter our relationship with our own bodies, potentially increasing carbon emissions, overpopulation, and racial/social inequalities.

 

James Clement: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwclement/ 

 

Transhumanist Manifesto: https://natashavita-more.com/transhumanist-manifesto/ 

 

Humanist Manifesto: https://zelalemkibret.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/humanist-manifestos.pdf 

December 17, 2020  

Divers from the EPIX/ BBC Docuseries “Enslaved”: Diving on Shipwrecked Slave Ships

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In this episode, I interview three crew members of the EPIX / BBC docuseries Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

While 2020 has been a year of intense examination of racism in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Enslaved takes a deep dive at the historical realities of the Middle Passage. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, The Guardian’s Afua Hirsh, and investigative journalist Simcha Jacobovici, the series travels across the globe to sites of slave ships to uncover what these sunken graveyards can reveal about life onboard––lives of which there is little historical record or archive. 

Our first guest is the British marine archaeologist Dr. Sean Kingsley who served as a historical advisor to the series’ diving crew.

 

Then two of the divers will join me: Kinga Philipps and Kramer Wimberley.  An award-winning journalist, writer, TV host, and esteemed member of the Explorer’s Club, Kinga provided a European perspective to the shoot, and also was one of the few non-Black divers for Enslaved. Next, Kramer will introduce himself as the series’ lead diving instructor who also leads “Diving with a Purpose,” a maritime archaeology program which protects the legacy of the Transatlantic slave trade shipwrecks.

Each of the three interviews was broadcasted live and can be watched in full on the Back in America’s YouTube channel.

 

As I conducted these interviews, I wanted to understand two things. First, what did diving on the wrecks of slave ships  us about the history of slave trade. Then, I wanted the divers to speak about their own experiences as they dived and explored these sunken mass graves, especially in light of recent activism in America.

 

Dr Sean Kingsley Wreckwatch Mag 

 

Kramer Wimberly Diving With a Purpose

 

Kinga Philipps

This episode was partially edited by Back in America’s Podcast Editor Josh Wagner.

 

Read the Transcript

December 11, 2020  

Richard Heinberg: Has America Reached Its Limits? Biden, Climate, The End of Fossil Fuel

Richard Heinberg

Richard Heinberg is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is regarded as one of the world’s top advocates for a shift away from our current dependence on fossil fuels. He is also the author of thirteen books on climate and energy.

Today, in this episode I am releasing the complete interview I had with Richard on November 11. This interview was broadcasted live and you can watch it on Youtube

Richard and I talk about the election and what impact the new government might have on the environment.

Richard asks, who's going to cleaning up the fracking mess as the oil and gas companies go bankrupt? 

We wonder if Trump in the time he has left at the White House can do more damages to the climate and Richard warns that Biden will need to prepare Americans for the hard change looming ahead.

If you enjoy this podcast please share it with your friend and leave us a review on Apple podcast.

I would like to wish you all a happy holiday and to thank you for your incredible support in 2020. A big shout out to my top fans: Celine, Missy, Jon, Caroline, Natja, Nicolas, Mark, Aurelia, Ben, Zoe. 

Our Intern is Josh Wagner and he is busy editing the episode on the BBC Series Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

I hope to be publishing it before the end of the month. make sure you listen to it as we are working on a new no linear format mixing the interviews with great soundtracks. Bye for now and have a great day.   

December 3, 2020  

On the Frontlines of the 2020 Election with Poll-worker Josh Wagner

Joshua Wagner

The 2020 election cycle has been wracked with scandal, accusations of fraud, and uncertainty. Fearing the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans voted by mail, and have little idea what in-person polling looked like in this historic year. Join us this week as Stan sits down with Back in America’s new Podcast Editor and poll worker Josh Wagner. 

 

A native Los Angeleno, Josh worked the polls in Downtown Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, site of the Los Angeles Opera. Amid a startling amalgamation of modernist and abstracted artworks, voters took to the polls, casting their ballots in the decisive 2020 presidential election. To make sense of the opulence of the polling station alongside the monotony of the democratic process (not to mention the scores of unhoused people living just blocks away), Josh spoke with several of his fellow poll workers––comic Chistine Medrano, high schooler Emilee Salas, and assistant lead Harrell Greene––as well as several voters. 

 

How were poll workers kept safe? Who voted at The Music Center? Listen to find out what it was really like to vote in the 2020 election downtown!

You can find Josh’s published works here and make sure to look out for future episodes with him.

November 24, 2020  

Listen Again: Sheri Kurdakul CEO of VictimVoice tells her story of abuse that started when she was a toddler (with Nov. 2020 update)

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Today is The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

In this episode, first published a year ago, I speak with Sheri Kurdakul the CEO and founder of VictimsVoice an app that provides a legally admissible way for victims to document abuse incidents.

 

Sheri speaks with Back in America about her father’s abuse that started when she was a toddler, her recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD and how she reclaimed her life to become who she is today.

Since I first interviewed Sheri Kurdakul the pandemic has struck and VictimsVoice experienced massive growth.

“The law enforcement officers that I've spoken with have said that while the number of reports has decreased, the severity of the incidents, by the time they do report, they are pretty much at the life or death stage,” says Sheri.

 

She adds, “You have people who probably have lost their jobs, money is tight, the Feeding America saw a double increased need in food distribution, for people needing food. You have people that normally are being watched all the time when their spouses or significant others are home. And now they're forced to be home all the time. So whereas an abuser may have gone to work, or, left the house for any length of time, that was an opportunity for a victim to be able to talk to a nonprofit and put together a safety plan to get out or be able to just have some downtime, where they're not being controlled and abused. They don't have that anymore. They don't have the luxury of having any downtime at all. And if the victim is also employed, now they must act professionally in a space where they're being abused."

Sheri says, “We saw six states between January and February. And then we compared it to March and April. We had six states in the US that had triple-digit percentage increases, Utah saw a 450% increase in usage. And we had over 30 states that had double-digit percentage increases as well. New Jersey is one of those.”

 

For more information about Victims Voice https://victimsvoice.app/

November 12, 2020  

How do you feel about the election? Six Interviews with Democrats and Republicans

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Twenty-four years ago, I was living in Washington D.C. while studying at the University of Maryland. I came back to America in August of 2016, this time with my family. It was just a few months before Trump's election. As I settled in the US and tried to understand why Trump got elected, I noticed how much the country had changed.

I believe that two major crises have determined the shape of what the country is today: the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the subprime economic crisis in 2008.

Then came Trump. A man loved by half the country for being anti-elite, playing tough, and speaking his mind and hated by the other half for pretty much the same reasons. Trump has polarized America and the world at large, pushing what we thought was politically possible. Lies and mediocrity became the new normal.

For a year now, with this podcast, Back in America, I have been exploring and questioning America's culture, values, and identity. In every episode, I ask my guests “What is America?”. Quite often, they say that America is a story, an idea in the making.

By many standards, the 2020 election is historical and will once again help define what America is. The pandemic, the foreign interferences, the mistrust in the democratic voting process, and now the legal attacks against Biden's victory. 

I have asked Americans what they thought of the outcome of the election.

Here they are: 

Jake Hoffman, the president of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans.

 

Mark Charles, an independent candidate who ran in the 2020 Presidential Election who holds dual citizenship to the United States and the Navajo Nation.

https://twitter.com/wirelesshogan

Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/a048d and https://pod.fo/e/a048e

 

Richard Heinberg, a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.

https://twitter.com/richardheinberg

Live Interview

 

David Treibs, a Constitutionalist, Christian, and gun-rights activists from Fredericksburg, Texas.

Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/a2f78

Live Interview

 

Chivona Renee Newsome, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Greater NY.

https://twitter.com/newyorkvonni

Live Interview

 

Majid Padellan, social justice warrior, social media expert, Twitter celebrity, an author, a digital designer, and a proud father of 5. His Twitter handle is BrooklynDad_Defiant.

 https://twitter.com/mmpadellan

Previous episode https://pod.fo/e/9f4f2

Live Interview

 

Read the Transcript

October 30, 2020  

Listen again: John Michael Greer an American Druid on Americans Individualism, Societal Collapse, and the Values of the Frontier Period

John Michael Greer podcast back in america

 

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I am publishing this episode once again for all of the listeners who might not have heard it yet. 
I find it strangely prophetic and visionary which if you know my guest shouldn't be much of a surprise.

John Micheal Greer a widely respected author and blogger in the fields of nature spirituality and the future of industrial society.
He is the author of more than fifty books and his blog, Ecosophia. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Sara.
John, a look at your Wikipedia page made me realize that you are a pretty complex person. The most striking aspect of your life for a layman is probably that you are a Druid. When I realized, thanks to you that Druids made their way from Europe to the US was a surprise and I want to learn more about it. 
The reason for my reaching out to you, however, is that you’re one of the leading minds, in the US, behind the concept of societal collapse.
You were quoted on this topic back in 2008. In 2016, you wrote Dark Age America: Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead. Since then you published 8 books and countless articles on collapse.

Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail.
As our world is going through an unprecedented pandemic and is bracing itself for recession I am delighted to get your view on the situation.

John’s blog can be found at https://www.ecosophia.net/

Here is a link to his books on Amazohttps://amzn.to/3cANDom

 

Read the Transcript

 

October 29, 2020  

Thierry Sauvage — COVID, changement de vie : de Shanghai au Croisic

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Aujourd'hui, et une fois n'est pas coutume,  Back in America est en français et contrairement aux épisodes précédents nous n'allons pas traiter de la culture, des valeurs et de l'identité des Etats-Unis.

Mon invité, Thierry Sauvage, va me rejoindre dans quelques instants. Si je lui ai demandé de partager son expérience avec Back in America c'est qu'à l'image de beaucoup de mes invités interviewés depuis le début de la pandémie de COVID, cette période a été pour lui l'occasion de réfléchir sur sa vie. 

Eric Marsh nous disait que les Américains ont profités du confinement pour réaliser l'ampleur du racisme systémique aux Etats-Unis. Glenda Wrenn de son côté à redécouvert ses enfants et l'intérêt de diner ensemble chaque soir. D'autres ont été confrontés à la dépression et aux violences domestiques. Positivement ou non, le COVID n'épargne personne.

A New York, depuis mars, plus de 246 000 personnes ont quittés la ville ce qui représente une augmentation de presque 100 % par rapport à la même période en 2019. En France, d'après le magazine Capital, 1 cadre parisien sur 2 envisage une mobilité régionale. 

Pour mon invité, la COVID 19 a été le déclencheur d'un changement de vie radicale. En février il vivait avec son épouse chinoise et son fils de 4 ans à Shanghai. 

Cadre de l'industrie automobile, il est également DJ et producteur de musique électronique pendant son temps libre. Il est booké un an en avance pour jouer dans les plus grands clubs de Shanghai !

 

Quatre mois plus tard et après de nombreuses nuits blanches, c'est au Croisic, petit port de 4000 habitants en Loire-Atlantique, qu'il vit avec sa femme et son fils.  

Retrouvez la video de l’entretien en direct sur YouTube.

October 23, 2020  

Guns, God & the 2nd Amendment in America - David Treibs Christian & Guns Activist - Prof. Robert Spitzer Constitution and Gun Control Expert, SUNY Cortland

gun right 2nd amendement podcast back in america

 

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The following interviews are edited versions of live interviews that were recorded on October 20th and 21st. You can what the entire broadcast on Back in America's Youtube channel.  

Welcome to Back in America, the podcast. I am your host Stan Berteloot, and in each episode, I trace America’s identity, culture, and values back to its source: its people.

A few weeks ago Jon, a good friend from college visited us for the weekend. At night we were joined by a couple living next door and we started to talk about politics as we drunk beers by the pit-fire in the back yard.
You had two French persons: my wife and I, and three Americans.
I can't remember exactly how or why Jon started to speak of gun rights but the conversation became intense when he said that not only did he support the right to bear arms but that it was essential to the protection of civilians against the tyranny of the government.

This made me dig further into the gun debate. I've learned that many support the idea of owning guns, any types of gun and that in the US some people believe that they have a God-given right to carry a gun.
What has God to do with guns? How can a democracy work when its citizens trust their guns more than their votes?

To try to make sense of all this we are going to hear from 3 persons: first Jon Phebus, my friend will clarify his views; then David Treibs a Christian and Gun Activists will talk about what he believes is a god-given right to bear arms. Finally, Professor Robert Spitzer from SUNY Cortland, an expert on constitutional law and gun control will give us his interpretation of the constitution and bring some historical context to the debate.

Book Recommendations

David Treibs

Love Letter to America, by Tomas Schuman

The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov 

Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand

Professor Robert Spitzer

The Politics of Gun Control 8th Edition
by Robert J. Spitzer

Casablanca 
by Michael Curtiz

October 2, 2020  

BrooklynDad_Defiant: Liberal Online Activist Majid Padellan Talks About his Fight to Elect Joe Biden

majid padellan podcast back in america

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This episode is an edited version of a live interview that was recorded on September 16, 2020, and streamed on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

My guest, Majid Padellan might be better known under his Twitter name BrooklynDad_Defiant and his handle @mmpadellan.

He is a social justice warrior, social media expert, and Twitter celebrity, an author, a digital designer, and a proud father of 5. And I will add that he is pissed off!

He has been upset at the politics of this country since November 8, 2016, and the election of Donald Trump. So upset that he decided to change his twitter handle to BrooklynDad_Defiant.

When asked if his online rage could be polarizing Majid Padellan said, "If if what I say is polarizing, so be it, but you have to you do have to pick aside, [Trump] is not somebody who is a regular leader. This is not a George W. Bush. This is not a Ronald Reagan. He's not a Jimmy Carter. He's not a Gerald Ford. This is a guy who has lied 20,000 times."

He rapidly grew his Twitter fans to over 682K followers (665K at the time of the interview) becoming one of the most popular anti-Trump commentators on Twitter. BrooklynDad_Defiant has been quoted across the globe from L’Obs in France to Newsweek and CBS in the U.S.

"I realized that not very many people have an audience the size that I have. I understand that I have a responsibility to use that audience for good. And I think the best good I can do right now is to help not only elect Joe Biden but elect as many Democratic candidates across the country so that we can give Joe Biden a helpful Congress so he can actually get something done," said Majid Padellan.

In this episode of Back in America we will try to go beyond the Twitter persona to understand who’s the man behind the handle.

 

Majid Padellan's Book

The Liddle'est President can be found on Amazon 

 

His website is brooklyndaddefiant.com

 

 

September 29, 2020  

Derrick Cobb - From New York Homeless Teen to Hollywood Music Star

Derrick Cobb podcast back in america

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The podcast is an edited version of the first live interview of the podcast Back in America. 

 

The original can be seen on the Podcast YouTube or FaceBook page.

 

My guest is a model, a dancer, a singer, and an incredible performer. Look him up on Spotify or wherever you listen to your music and you will understand why he is such a rising star in this industry.

 

Getting where he is today has been a long and challenging journey. A Journey that started in New York with a drug addict father and abusive stepfather. A journey that took him through homeless shelters and psych wards. Despite the pain and humiliation he somehow managed to make it to school, to rehearsals, and to castings. His determination and hard work paid off. 

 

The Alvin Ailey Theater hired him to do a series of recitals. He won a modeling contract for 7 for Mankind and for Marc Jacob, which lead to his now 8th year as a  professional model. 

While working as a dancer and a model in New York City, He teamed up with Nate Beats, and D.Gatez, who produced and released his early singles. 

 

Now living in Los Angeles he is working with Grammy award-winning producer Ebonie Smith. He’s recording his latest music at Atlantic Records and Warner Music studios. He was even invited to become a member of the Recording Academy and is now recognized by the Grammy Board as a recording professional.

 

Derrick Cobb can be found:

https://www.instagram.com/d_cobb

https://www.dcobbnow.com/

September 23, 2020  

Dr. Glenda Wrenn on COVID, Remote work, Mental Health & Corporate America

Glenda Wrenn covide mental health podcast back in america

 

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"COVID-19 has created a worldwide public health crisis, and the resulting lockdowns and social distancing measures have sent most country’s economies into a severe downturn. But we believe these crises are only the tip of the pandemic’s iceberg," writes Mario Iacobacci and Mathieu Laberge in a recent Deloitte study.
"There is another crisis looming – a human crisis," they add.  "Our past research ... has revealed a potential for increased incidences of mental illness, poorer educational outcomes, an increase in substance abuse and crime, and the weakening of the community fabric."
 
The researchers called on the governments to get ready for the looming crisis. It is particularly striking that they stressed the need for employers to address employees' mental health, reviewing the mix of employee benefits and to see how to better accommodate employees in this stressful period, sometimes by introducing flexible benefit options that respond to different needs from employees at different stages in life. 

Since 1989 in France, employers must 1989 ensure the physical and mental well being of their employees. This is in line with the European tradition of social class differences and community solidarity. 
The American tradition is influenced by the like of Locke, Jefferson, Smith, and Mill, and favors individual freedom and economic freedom.

In the US, a country of hard work, individualism, and personal privacy culture, many corporations are hesitant to tackle employees well being.

Indeed, The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted our lives as families sheltered in place and juggled homeschooling, work from home together with keeping their household afloat. According to a poll conducted in mid-July, by non-profit 
Kaiser Family Foundation 53% of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This is significantly higher than the 32% reported in March.

In this episode of Back in America: corporate America, COVID and Employees well being, or lack of.

Back In America speaks with Glenda Wrenn a psychiatrist, chief medical officer for Franklin, Tenn.-based 180 Health Partners, and previously the founding director of the Kennedy Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine.

"I think we are addicted to working in our culture," said Glenda Wrenn. "it is promoted by our work environments. What is the incentive for your employer to get you to slow down? You're rewarded for working more. I know this from personal experience as a true recovering workaholic. I love working. I do. I really love working. And it has been such a process for me to redirect that energy to my home. The same excellence that I put into doing mental health policy work, now I'm just redirecting it at home. I'm giving it to myself and my family. I was honestly incapable of doing that before this pandemic."

Glenda's Book Recommendation

A People's History of the United States 
by Howard Zinn 

Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America
by John Lewis

 

Read the transcript

September 12, 2020  

Don’t miss the two live interviews on Sept. 14 and 16th

Monday at 3 pm EST with Derrick Cobb a singer, model, and performer.

Wednesday at 1 pm EST Majid M. Padellan known on Twitter as @BrooklynDad_Defiant!. Majid who has over 260K followers is an anti-Trump political commentator.

The event will be streaming live from Linkedin, Twitter, and the podcast Facebook page.

 

Facebook @backinamerica.podcast

Twitter @Back_in_America

Linkedin @Berteloot

 

 

September 4, 2020  

Part 2/2 - Eric Marsh, Black Activist on the George Floyd’s Mural

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Back in America is a podcast exploring America's culture, values, and identity.

After my interview with Cadex Herrera a lead artist of the memorial mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis, I asked Eric Marsh a Black community leader and activist in Philadelphia what he thought of controversy around the mural.

Some black activists, including Keno Evol, the executive director of Black Table Arts, have voiced their concern about the fact that Black artists had not been invited to participate in the mural creation. 

September 4, 2020  

Part 1/2 - Cadex Herrera Lead Artist of George Floyd’s Mural

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Back in America is a podcast exploring America's culture, values, and identity.

The death of George Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer has triggered protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. Three days after Floyd's death a group of artists painted a mural on the Cup Foods building at the corner where George Floyd was killed on May 25. 
The artists started at about 7 a.m. on May 28 and finished the mural at  5:30 p.m. the same day. 

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Most of us have seen an image of the mural since almost every American TV station live-streamed the George Floyd funeral whose backdrop was a digital version of this mural.
Inspired by this work, artists across the globe started producing similar tributes to George Floyd, and a digital database of such art has gathered a repository of 1324 pieces of art so far.

In this episode, I speak with Cadex Herrera a co-artist behind this iconic memorial mural of George Floyd. Cadex immigrated to the United States from Belize when he was 19. Today at 45, he works as an elementary school behavioral specialist and social justice art is his passion.

Cadex can be found on Instagram 
His website is www.cadexherrera.com

He recommended the following book and movies:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

The Platform
FOUTAISES (THINGS I LIKE, THINGS I DON'T LIKE)

 

Episode's Transcript

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