Happy New Years everyone! I wish you had time for peace and reflection as we head into 2019. For this coming year, I am excited to release and share a whole batch of new interviews with you. Just as a reminder, Ariel Jackson, who I interviewed in the previous episode, has her show opening this week at Sculpture Center on Long Island City. So please go and see her show if you are in or around New York City.
Moving on to today’s episode, I thought about what to release as the first episode to mark 2019 and I felt it would be a good idea to look back, as in all the way back, to the first interview I ever conducted for this podcast in February of 2018. As I edited the audio, I could hear myself still figuring out how I wanted my podcast to function and sound as I tentatively talked to my guest. At this point, I had not even made the website yet or figured out what to call my podcast.
With all that aside, my first guest ever is Umar Rashid, a Los Angeles-based artist, storyteller, history buff, musician, and poet. Umar was born in 1976 in Chicago and he earned a BA at Southern Illinois University in the year 2000. Umar’s work focuses on the colonial history of the Frenglish Empire—a fictionalized empire of his creation that combines France and England. His portraits, drawings, flags, maps, battle scenes, and other artifacts continue the long history of Frengland, a project Umar has been working on since 2006. Our talk hits many different topics, ranging from why it can be important to learn about white history to philosophical questions about power and corruption. The episode feels very raw to me compared to my later episodes, so I hope you enjoy this.