Join ‘Beyond Black History Month’ as they dive into the influence of Black comedy, the Black LQBTQ+ nightlife scene, and more

Society & Culture February 17, 2022
Listen to ‘Beyond Black History Month’

“Beyond Black History Month” is a podcast diving into Black history year-round, not condensing the Black community’s impact on America to a measly 28 days. Host Femi Redwood takes us on a fascinating trip through history, diving into topics like the legacy of Black comedy, the Black hair industry, the impact of the Black LGBTQ+ community on pop culture, and more.

A new podcast from Audacy, 1010 WINS, and WCBS News Radio 880, “Beyond Black History Month” has only released three episodes so far, but each one is filled to the brim with nuanced conversations, historical documentation, and compelling interviews that make each 30-minute episode feel like a lifetime of information.

With a wide variety of guests, ranging from historians and professors to movement leaders, experts, and people who lived this history, “Beyond Black History Month” is taking it all the way. Redwood provides incredible context to assist in her already brilliant storytelling around these histories, walking us through a timeline of influential people whose impact can still be felt today.

“Beyond Black History Month’s” third episode looks at the Black LGBTQ+ people who influenced American nightlife. Undeniably, clubs and parties have been around for millennia, but historians say that massive parts of nightlife are an evolution of the subcultures created by Black queer people. And, actually, this influence has entirely surpassed nightlife, as Black queer influence has become a huge part of pop culture.

Despite all this, the Black LGBTQ+ community’s contributions to all facets of culture often goes overlooked, even within the LGBTQ+ community. To fully understand how the Black queer community influenced the world, the impact of racial divisions within the LGBTQ+ community needs to be discussed. Redwood takes us back to 1960s New York, Chelsea to be exact, on the West Side of Manhattan. Now a borough of town houses, low-rise apartment buildings, luxury high-rises, and attractions like the High Line, 1960s rent was less than $100 a month, and Chelsea was home to large swaths of Black queer people. While Chelsea is still home to a large percentage of gay bars in New York City, it’s no longer a bastion of the gay community.

Eric Gonzaba, a historian of race and sexuality, and professor at California State University, Fullerton, joins this episode of “Beyond Black History Month” to discuss the further impact of the Black queer community. They dive into the disco craze of the ’70s, which started as a musical genre in Black clubs and bars and was eventually usurped and white-washed in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. While the Black community got very little recognition as the creators of this musical genre, the Bee Gees eventually becoming the public embodiments of the disco movement, the fact that disco saturated the ’70s market shows how important disco was to people.

Learn about Larry Levan and his 10-year-long residency at the Paradise Garage that served as the prototype for the modern dance club. His post-disco sound served as a stepping stone for modern-day house music, while the Paradise Garage is now historically known as a place where LGBTQ+ and nightclub culture thrived. Learn about the deeply influential ballroom scene, a subculture of uptown New York City that went from being known amongst only Black queer people to being celebrated (and copied) into the present day.

“Beyond Black History Month” focuses on the massive influence of Black culture across all of America. While American history is Black history and vice versa, the great accomplishments and impacts of Black culture are often overlooked and misrepresented. Sometimes, this can be melancholic, knowing that there are many Black cultural leaders who were never credited with these achievements in their lifetimes. But, “Beyond Black History Month,” while not erasing racism deeply embedded in U.S. culture, joyfully celebrates all that the Black community has given the world.

Listen to ‘Beyond Black History Month’

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.