Phoebe Robinson is Writing Her Own Rules (on TV and in Life)

Please note: This transcript has been automatically generated.

Brittany Packnett Cunningham: Hey, y’all it’s Brittany. I gotta tell you something. I have two therapists. I’m not gonna lie. I kind of think everyone should. Like, I have one for the everyday stuff and she is excellent. And one to help me specifically rewire my trauma responses. I started seeing her on a limited basis ahead of giving birth because I knew that there were some habits that I did not want to pass on.

Like my tendency to be a can’t-say-no-people-pleaser or my very serious, very loud penchant for self criticism. Like I dragged myself twice as far and twice as hard as anybody else ever could. You know what I mean? Like I’m gonna go over my life and personality with a red pen all the time. You might be like this too.

Every mistake you ever made, every feeling you ever hurt you carry around and magnify it times 10, thinking about it obsessively for days, even years if you’re like me. Half the time, the person involved doesn’t even remember or the mistake has already been corrected and forgotten about by everyone, except me. And my therapist reminded me that this too is a trauma response and a result of the systematic socialization of women to be in a word perfect. 

Cross that intersection with my Blackness and it turns out it’s not all that hard to internalize the strong Black woman trope that I truly despise, but I subconsciously think I’m supposed to be her. Thankfully, I’m unlearning that. And frankly, my exhausted postpartum fog-for-brains, jelly-for-joints body is forcing me to unlearn it.

Honestly, half the time I’m too tired to obsess. And I don’t want my son to expect me or any of the Black women he encounters to be perfect either. We’re gonna break that thing right here, right now in this household. And hopefully the rest of the world follows suit. 


On the show today, I’ll be talking to the hilariously fantastic comedian Phoebe Robinson about her new show portraying Black women in all their complexity and what it’s gonna take to stop Clarence Thomas from confiscating all our civil liberties. 

Phoebe Robinson: He’s, you know, T-1000 in Terminator 2. Like, he’s just gonna go until you fucking just like melt him in lava. 

Brittany: That’s coming up, first it’s the news.

Queer folks in 20 states got a clear message from last week. America will not protect you. Last Friday, a judge blocked federal protections for LGBTQ students and workers in a suit brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general. President Biden announced a policy last year to extend federal anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ folks and prohibit employers from firing anyone for being queer or trans. Critically important policy.

It also dictates that trans people shouldn’t be barred from playing on teams or using bathrooms that conform with their gender identity; the Republican attorneys general, however, did not love this. They claimed that the government is infringing upon their state’s ability to regulate their public schools and workplaces.

So they filed a lawsuit to allow their states to discriminate against their own citizens and the judge agreed with them. It should come as no surprise that judge Charles E. Atchley happens to be a Trump appointee and the roll call of AGs on the suit sounds like a bigotry remix of “Fifty Nifty United States.”

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia all joined the suit. It is unclear if the suit will make its way into the Supreme court, but the message the suit sends is chilling. 

Conservative states are ready to proactively strip people of their rights. And the next targets are our LGBTQ+ siblings. 

Now I wanna use our next item as a teachable moment. Over the weekend, a video surfaced of a character at Sesame Place, a Sesame Street theme park in Philadelphia, ignoring two little Black girls. The kids just wanted a hug or a high five, but you can see the character gesturing “No” at them and then walking away.

Now I could go on mama bear and say exactly what I think about people who treat our kids like that, but instead I wanna put a name on this. What happened to those little girls and the response of all those folks who say this wasn’t a big deal at all, well, that’s called a microinvalidation. Micro is in parentheses.

The Journal of American Psychology defines a microinvalidation as communications that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person of color. It’s a type of microaggression or macroaggression, and here’s why it matters. Children’s brains are miracles. They’re constantly on swivel, looking for information and making meaning. Formulating questions and coming up with their own answers, but kids are terrible pun here, indiscriminate when it comes to absorbing that information. 

So when something like this happens children are making meaning and laying down frameworks that everything they learn going forward will scaffold off of. So what does it mean when you see all those white or light hands get high fives and you get a no? What comparison do you notice and what do you internalize about what people think of you?

These are core memories and centralized lessons, and to be clear micro here doesn’t mean minor. It means that it’s perceived as minor and that it happens so often that it can easily be diminished even by the person who’s suffering it. It’s death by a thousand paper cuts. I’m glad the mother of these girls and their aunt, my friend Leslie Mack, said something first because it led to more videos of the same character being released, doing the same thing to other Black kids. Patterns don’t lie, people. 

But also because that mom is teaching her kids that this is not alright. It’s not invalid and it’s not micro. So the takeaway here isn’t that what happened to them was normal or no big deal, because it might seem low stakes to you but if we wanna teach kids about justice, we wanna teach them that they’re valuable.

We have to start with the injustices they experienced and what their mom did was an important lesson for them. Never take this lying down.

Let’s pivot to a triumph. Mother, advocate, olympian and history-making icon Allyson Felix has run the last race of her career, picking up her 19th world championship medal in the process. One nine, we cannot be more proud of her for all she has accomplished for Black athletes and Black mamas.

Allyson Felix: I’ve been blown away. It’s more than I could have ever imagined. I’m just so touched.

Brittany: Between her world championship medals and her 11 Olympic medals. Allison is the most decorated woman in track and one of the fastest athletes in running history. She’s also an incredible advocate for mothers, especially for Black mothers and mothers in sports.

She made powerful public statements about Nike, her former sponsor, after they refused to support her during maternity leave. And she’s provided grants to athletes for childcare, so they can stay on their grind while being parents. And as a result of Allyson’s activism Nike backed down, it added an 18-month grace period to contracts for birthing athletes.

After Allyson’s last race finished, she received a standing ovation and we wanna join in—yes, girl. Allyson, we applaud you not just for your incredible athleticism, but for changing the game. Now, girl, I can’t run very fast, but as a mama, thank you.

We are never, ever going to forget all you’ve done.

Coming up, my conversation with Phoebe Robinson, creator and star of the new series “Everything is Trash” right after this short break.

And we are back. I know the show has been heavy for the last few weeks, y’all. The world is heavy right now, so I wanted to bring in some light. And for that, we’re gonna turn to Phoebe Robinson. Phoebe is a multi hyphenate, an essayist, a producer, a standup, an actor, a podcaster, but most importantly, she is funny as hell. But you already know that if you’ve listened to her podcast “2 Dope Queens”, or seen the HBO show of the same name, or read her books You Can’t Touch My Hair or Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes.

So when we decided we wanted to try to process some of the current moment through humor, Phoebe was the first person we thought of. 

I’m so excited that you’re talking to us because your new show “Everything’s Trash” is coming. It was adapted from your collection of essays Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay.

I noticed that you dropped the “But it’s okay” when you took it to television. Is that like a comment on the state of our trash world, because if it is, I mean, I definitely wouldn’t blame you 

Phoebe Robinson: It was more, I just feel like it was just too long for a TV show title. 

Brittany: Yeah. 

Phoebe: So I thought let’s just keep it those two words.

Brittany: I mean, an essay collection isn’t necessarily the most straightforward thing to adapt into television. Talk to me about when this idea really came to your mind. 

Phoebe: Yeah, so the book came out in 2018 and then I launched my production company under ABC Signature in 2019. And I was meeting with different showrunners cause I wanted to, you know, have my own half-hour sitcom and my agent in the studio, like I met with a bunch of people, but they’re like, you should meet with Jonathan Groff who, you know, show ran “Blackish”,  “Happy Endings”; was a head writer on “Conan O’Brien”; worked on “Scrubs”, “How I Met Your Mother.”  Like, he’s just kind of like a guy who just like is a hit maker.

And I was like, I don’t know, he’s like a dude. I really want like a Black woman to be the showrunner. But I met him and we just really hit it off for big old dorks and, you know, have a lot in common in terms of what we like comedy wise. He really loved my book and he loved “2 Dope Queens.”

And he was like, I really, you know, the essay you wrote about the Women’s March and your money struggles really resonated with me and maybe that could be a jumping off point for a TV show. And I was like, yeah. So it’s a good mix of I was a broke, you know, podcaster in New York. My brother is, you know, a politician, a local politician in Ohio.

And so we use a lot of those things and then we added on top of it. 

Brittany: I love it. And you’ve described this character that you built, like you said, from personal experience, from a collection of stories from the writers, you’ve described her as a Black Carrie Bradshaw, which as like an original “Sex and the City” kid I absolutely love. What’s the connection? 

Phoebe: Yeah, I mean, I really love “Sex and the City.”. For me, it’s one of my favorite TV shows, it’s cannon. I think they really nailed the comedy and the romcom and some things like haven’t aged that well, but that’s, I feel like the case with every single show. 

Brittany: Yeah. 

Phoebe: You know and one of the things I really love about the show is like, the friendships are really central, but I still felt as though it was so much of it was predicated on like, am I gonna find my husband? Am I gonna have my kid? And with my show, I really wanted to be like, the, for me and as well for Groff we felt like the central relationship is the one between Phoebe and her brother Jayden. 

Brittany: Yeah. 

Phoebe: And I really want a show about a young woman that isn’t about her finding like her one true partner and sort of showing other kinds of love, whether it’s like sibling love, family, love, friendship group love. And I really feel as though the relationship between Phoebe and Jayden is sort of a love letter in ways to my brother and our relationship because he and I are wildly different people. You know, he watches C-Span for fun.

He wears sweater vests on the weekends, so he’s just like such a lovable geek in a way, but even though we’re so different, we love each other and we make each other better. And I just thought, I haven’t really seen a lot of that explored on TV in a sitcom. So why don’t we try and go for that?

Brittany: Well, I also have a brother. We are also both very dorky. And so I am grateful to see us represented a little bit on television. Okay, let’s get back to this title for a second, “Everything’s Trash.” The New York Times asked you if you were still quote trash, now that you’re successful. And I want everybody listening to understand we’re talking about this in a, you know, a tongue in cheek way, right guys, like, come on.

So here’s what you said. You said “Of course I’m trash. Listen, everyone’s trash.” You said “MLK Jr. was trash. Let’s be real. He was great. He did lots of great things. He was also trash.” Okay. So explain to the people who are clutching their pearls right now. What did you mean? And now was he trash ? 

Phoebe: And so what I mean by everything’s trash is just sort of, as you said, like the world is a nightmare, it’s a shit show.

It seems like it’s just an endless loop of, you know, depressing information and horrific acts. And now that we have our phones and we have the internet, like, it just seems like we could just get access to so much negative information. And, you know, when I wrote the book, it was sort of me trying to understand this new world post, you know, Trump getting into office and the women’s March and how people were sort of invigorated, but you know how that only lasts for a short amount of time.

Brittany: Right.

Phoebe: I really was just sort of like, yeah, the world around us is a shit show. I’m not denying that, but it’s going to be okay because I think we can figure this out. And part of it is like acknowledging the ways in which we are also trash in big and small ways and sort of like acknowledging those flaws.

I think we very much are living in a sort of toxic positivity where like, yes, I’m amazing, slave, blah, blah, blah. You know, all those things like I’m perfect. And it’s like you can love yourself and still have a bad day. You can love yourself and still acknowledge your flaws. And so that’s really what the show is about.

And especially, you know, I’m 37 and I really think. 

Brittany: Same, same, same. It’s a good age. 

Phoebe: It’s a great age. I love it. And I just feel like when, like when people turn 30, there’s sort of this expectation that you have everything figured out, that you will not make any more mistakes, that you will be flush with cash. You will find your dream partner, you will have your kids, all these things.

And I’m just sort of like adulthood never ends. You never stop learning. You never stop making mistakes. And sort of taking the pressure off of that and showing how, you know, TV Phoebe, that’s what we call her is sort of like a hot mess. And then her brother who on paper is married, you know, has a kid has a great career, is a nonprofit lawyer. He can also be messy too. So there is no like good or bad, it’s sort of we’re all trying to figure this shit out. And life is hard and getting to be your most high self is like the hardest thing to do. Yeah. We’re all kind of trash and sort of figuring it out, you know. 

Brittany: I do think that these portrayals of, you know, messiness and like mistake making are just really humanizing. To your point, they send the message that it’s okay to be confused, especially as Black women. Right? It’s okay to slip up, it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay not to be the Instagram version of ourselves. Why do you think it’s important to showcase those really honest depictions of Black womanhood and us being clumsy and imperfect on our screens?

Phoebe: You know, obviously the media has such a limited sort of understanding about Blackness and certainly about Black femaleness. It’s always these extremes, like, you know, baby mama, you know, sex pot, strong Black woman who like saves a day, like all these things really sort of trap us, you know what I mean?

And sort of create these unnecessary and false expectations of what we’re supposed to be. And I just think complexity is always more interesting. We have to keep pushing the, you know, the wall forward in terms of showing all the different ways in which Black women can exist. And what I like on the show is you have my character, Phoebe, you have my best friend/podcast producer Malika, and you have Jessie, my sister-in-law and we call ourselves Destiny’s Child, but we’re all Kelly.

Brittany: I mean, I would kill to be Kelly. So I feel you.  

Phoebe: Kelly’s amazing, but you know, what I love about the show is like, you know, we have Jessie who is first gen Nigerian, comes from a lot of money, is sort of like always put together. And then Malika, who is like from Brooklyn, and like, you know, she’s just like the Sandra Bullock that sort of like.

Brittany: Girl next door? 

Phoebe: Girl, next door! Yes. Malika’s that girl next door meets Brooklyn. And then TV Phoebe is like messy and really enjoys life and is adventurous and all these things. And so I’m like the more we can see multidimensional, juicy Black women on screen I think it goes a long way. Cuz I think people like to pretend like, oh, television is frivolous. It’s whatever. It’s like so much of like film and TV shapes how people think about other groups of people.

Brittany: That’s right. 

Phoebe: You know, like if you look at like what “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has done, like that’s massive. That’s like exposing like people, middle America, wherever to drag queens. And going like, oh, okay. I understand. I see them as human now. And so that’s what we’re trying to do with this show, but also we wanna have a lot of fun and have it be really funny and all that stuff. 

Brittany: I mean, there’s another way in which you are shaping those cultural perceptions is with your production company and your book imprint Tiny Reparations. So the mission behind Tiny Reparations is to tell stories where queer folks, people of color, women get to be the heroes. First of all, Tiny Reparations, fantastic name until we get the big reparations cuz we meet those too. I’m really interested in what it’s been like building something like that from the ground up.

Phoebe: Yeah. I mean, I sort of had no idea, like when the studio, they had reached out to me months ago about starring and a pilot for ABC and I liked the premise, but you know, I didn’t write it and there was just talk about me not being a producer on it. And I was like, well, I just don’t know if it’s gonna really work if I can’t sort of add my voice to and have, you know, some sort of say, so I was like, this sounds cool, but I’m gonna gonna pass and just try to work on some other stuff. 

And they came back and they were like, well, would you wanna have your own production company? And I was like, so you could say no, and then come back with an even better offer.

I love it. I like accidentally played hard to get and like, it worked. I’m like, oh, 

Brittany: We’re just gonna pretend like you had that plan the whole time. 

Phoebe: Yeah. Cuz I’m, you know, I’m from the Midwest, so I’m just always like, I am available. I’m like, I’m just like fully present. And I was like, oh, playing hard to get is kind of cool.

And so when I started the production company, I head up some people for advice. And I just sort of thought about what I loved most about doing “2 Dope Queens” and it was like providing a platform for creatives and artists who I felt didn’t get enough love and have it be something celebratory, because I do think as dark as things are, we do need some levity.

Cuz if we just stay in the muck and feel like every day we just have to do the work of undoing the evil empire when are we ever feeling joy? What are we working towards if we’re always down and out. And so with both the imprint and the production company, like, I really just wanna tell different stories that are very voice driven and are inspirational and make people laugh and make people feel good, but also are rooted in reality.

Brittany: So speaking of it being rooted in reality, our home states are a little bit of a mess right now. I’m from Missouri, so I understand both Midwestern nice and I also understand Midwestern nast. And both Ohio and Missouri on the political front have been engaging in a whole lot of Midwestern nasty.

Is there anything you wanna say about Ohio generally right now? I mean, obviously, they’ve been in the news a lot about this abortion ban, which resulted in a pregnant child being forced to go to Indiana for abortion care. I know there’s an Ohio school board that is trying to ban anti-racism from schools.

Is there anything you wanna say on the state of your home state right now? 

Phoebe: I mean, it just feels very sad, you know? It feels very like, to look at a 10-year-old child who was sexually assaulted and just try and like spin it as some like positive well, you got pregnant. It’s like she’s 10, she’s a child. And it’s bizarre how people can claim to be so loving and like it, we wanna protect kids. We wanna protect the future, but then you have this moment where you can rise to the occasion and protect a 10-year-old child who is going through something that most of us cannot even fathom what it is like to be in her body and to be going through what she’s going through and to, in my opinion, it’s a softball, like the right thing to do is so glaringly obvious and to still not do it because of some belief that you hold. 

There needs to be nuance. There needs to be a moment where everyone uses their fucking brains for a second and go, we don’t have to make the most horrific decision here. We can actually do what’s right and if we say we’re gonna protect children, we need to protect children in a real way. We need to, I’m so sick of guns. I’m this is, it’s a joke. I’m like, you can’t say you care about kids and then you just let this, these school shootings happen continually. Like it’s just so mind numbing. 

So all that is to say like, as much as you know Ohio raised me and I have a lot of love for it, there’s a lot of disappointment. There really is. It’s sort of like you, like when you spend time apart from a person, you go back and you hang out with them and you’re like, oh, I feel like I don’t know you at all. That’s kind of how I feel about Ohio right now.

I’m like, I kind of feel like, I don’t know who you are. Like, I don’t understand these decisions and I’m not trying to be judgemental, but it just seems to be a real lack of empathy and sympathy and a total disregard to people’s humanity. 

Brittany: I mean, when you talk about some things that we thought were, you thought that you knew, right? I’ve felt like I thought that things like same sex marriage, right to contraception that these were settled law and a settled part of the culture. Really not because America is perfect, but because these decisions had been made and, and we were living, like we understood this was the way forward.

And then, you know, you get Clarence Thomas and all of his infinite jackassery coming and saying, oh, we should reconsider those things. You wrote on that day that it was absolutely horrifying when he said that you said “Not only because this is happening, but that so many of us are not surprised it’s happening.”

Phoebe: You just, I mean, like you just see over time, the way that things are sort of eroding and how everything is becoming not only politicized, but weaponized and this sort of people like Clarence Thomas enjoy inflicting pain on other people. And you know, when someone is motivated by that, like it’s almost like there’s no stopping them.

And I think, you know, people who like wanna do the right thing or wanna look out for others or wanna make society better, they could get ground down to the point where they’re like, I cannot do this anymore for my sanity. And Clarence doesn’t have that. He’s, you know, T-1000 in Terminator 2. Like, he’s just gonna go until you fucking just like melt him in lava. Like that’s the only.

Brittany: I’m laughing, but I fully understand what you’re saying. Yes. 

Phoebe: Yeah. And so I think that’s what we’re up against. And I think that that’s a scary fight. But I also feel like we outnumber them, that’s the thing that I think we sometimes forget is like, we’re going, oh fuck, like Clarence Thomas or, oh, fuck Ohio.

But it’s like, no, no, no, no. We can rise up and outnumber these people and push back against them and push history forward the way that it should go, because yeah, we should. Like the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I’m like, that is absolutely. Absolutely insane that we’re living during this moment, but we could push back and fight back.

And I feel like, you know, we just sort of have to kind of unite in a way for this one cause, and just be like, listen, let’s just get this sorted out and then we can fix our shit a little bit. 

Brittany: To this point about reproductive rights, it also makes me think of another riff of yours where you warn against, and this is a great word fauxminists, right? So you call them feminist party crashers, women who use the term feminism and like to live under that auspice, but they really use that as cover or an excuse for just really awful racist self preserving behavior. I want you to name some names. Who are the feminist party crashes, like who do we have to look out for?

Phoebe: Well, I think, you know, we’re living in such an interesting time with social media and a lot of people are posting things that they don’t live by, you know? And I think there’s a lot of it’s, you certainly saw it in 2020 with Black Lives Matter. And you saw a lot of people saying like, yes, you know, I support Black people and Black people shouldn’t be murdered, but I’m just like, you don’t want them in your neighborhoods.

You don’t want to shop at their store, you don’t wanna read their books, you don’t wanna watch their movies. You don’t wanna listen to their music and unless it’s like Beyoncé and you feel like you can, yeah. I’m like, I identify with Beyonce. Stop. You know what I mean? Yeah. And so for me, that’s what I mean by that.

It’s like, if you have a Black Lives Matter flag in your window, but you are living in a predominantly white neighborhood and don’t wanna have Black neighbors, then what is the fucking point? It’s not enough to say, you have to live it, you have to be about every day, you know what I mean?

Because you and I have to be about our Blackness every day. We don’t get to just like take the day off. And so what I want by these sort of like feminist party crashers is like, I don’t need you to say anything. I need you to do the fucking work, and I need you to do the work without waiting for applause because you buying something from Black-owned business doesn’t warrant applause. It does not. You, you know, living in a neighborhood with Black people or with Asian people, doesn’t warrant an applause, you should fucking be able to do that. 

And so where I’m sort of sitting from is like, it’s nice to see that some white women are very in, you know, excited about participating, but I wanna see that level of participation lasting another five years, another 10 years, another 15 years, because that’s what it’s about because otherwise we’re just gonna have those moments where like people sort of come together and then it goes away and they have to start over again and then it goes away and I really want people to examine their lives and examine the way that they move through the world and see, how am I helping and how am I harming?

And you can listen to Lizzo, you can listen to Beyoncé, you can do the, all those things, but on a day to day level, how is that helping your community? It’s not.

Brittany: So do the work. 

Phoebe: Yeah. 

Brittany: Let’s end on a more fun note. 

Phoebe: Okay. 

Brittany: If we’re blessed with the season two of “Everything’s Trash”, which I absolutely hope that we are, who do you wanna bring in the, into the cast? Do you have people that you really, really wanna work with? Like dream cast members, either that you know, or don’t know? 

Phoebe: That’s a good question. No one’s asked me that, you know, I think I would love to have like Maya Rudolph involved somehow even just for like an episode. I think she is one of the funniest people ever. 

Brittany: She is. 

Phoebe: She’s so underrated. I think she’s absolutely brilliant. I really like Bevy Smith. I like people who like I could, they could do like a walk on role. Like I just think she, Bevy’s so funny. And so, so sex positive in a way that’s exciting. And you know, with my character being sex positive, like while the overwhelming majority of comments have been positive on Twitter there has been some pushback about a Black woman having a healthy sex life and people are like, you’re just, if you’re a ho, just say you’re a ho, I’m like, eh, that’s what we gotta stop doing. We gotta stop saying that if a Black woman has sex she’s a ho. 

Brittany: Yeah. Maybe she just likes sex, cuz sex is really great. 

Phoebe: Exactly, exactly. And that’s sort of, one of the things that I’m fighting against is like, I also wanna go, even if she’s a ho, ho deserves to have their own stories too, you know what I mean?

Brittany: Like, but like even in real life, right? Like you do Thirsty Thursdays on your Instagram. Do you have people reacting the same way to that? Are there ever men that get like publicly lusted after on Thirsty Thursdays who have some kind of reaction? 

Phoebe: No, I will say every once in a while I get a comment where someone will be like, now, if the roles were reversed and a guy was writing about a woman this way, it would be so inappropriate.

And I’m just like [sigh] 

Brittany: But there’s a historical precedent to why that is problematic and why actually women taking back their sexuality is empowering. 

Phoebe: Yeah. And also I’m like, if you look at any profile of any actress written by a man, eight times out of ten, they’re gonna talk about what they’re eating, they’re gonna talk about like how beautiful they are. They’re gonna just objectify them and then they’ll be like, oh, okay, tell me about your career after they just spent a page, basically talking about how they wanna fuck them. So yeah, I’m like it’s happening and they’re getting employed. So I think they’re fine.

I do this for fun. No, one’s paying me to write these. These are just cuz I just wanna have fun and I’m sitting in my apartment, so. 

Brittany: They are very fun, they’re not safe for work, but they’re very fun. 

Phoebe: No, no. 

Brittany: Thirsty Thursdays is very fun. “Everything’s Trash” is very fun. You are very fun, Phoebe Robinson.

Thank you so much for spending time with us here at UNDISTRACTED. We’re so excited for every single thing coming your way. 

Phoebe: Thank you. This, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. I think what you’re doing is fantastic. So I’m happy to have my moment with you.

Brittany: Phoebe Robinson is the mind behind the Tiny Reparations productions company and the Tiny Reparations book in print. Her new show, “Everything’s Trash” is on Freeform and her comedy special “Sorry, Harriet Tubman” is streaming on HBO Max.

So many of the policies and politicians we’re fighting these days seem to be vocally afraid of the kind of woman Phoebe is and challenges us to be, sex positive, unashamed, unbridled, and above all free. It seems to offend supremacist sensibilities that intentionally exploited people would dare exercise any ounce of the freedom or joy that we’ve not only earned, but is our birthright.

But I think culture generally and film and television specifically help us exercise our muscles of imagination and help us see people living as we could, as we can. As we should. There’s nothing frivolous about a free Black woman telling her story and welcoming us all to do the same. Maybe one day that’ll stop being TV fiction and start being all a reality.

That’s it for today, but never for tomorrow.


UNDISTRACTED is a production of The Meteor and Pineapple Street Studios. 

Our lead producer is Rachel Ward.

Our associate producers are Alexis Moore and Marialexa Kavenaugh.

Thanks also to Treasure Brooks, Hannis Brown, Davy Sumner, and Raj Makhija.

Our executive producers at The Meteor are Cindi Leive and myself, and our executive producers at Pineapple are Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky. 

You can follow me at @MsPackyetti on all social media and our team @TheMeteor.

Subscribe to UNDISTRACTED and rate and review us on Apple podcasts and most places you check out your favorite podcasts. 

Thanks for listening. Thanks for being. And thanks for doing. I’m Brittany Packnett Cunningham.

Let’s go get free.