Tracy Clayton

The Feministing Five: Tracy Clayton

Hi everyone, my name is Senti Sojwal and I’m thrilled to be taking over the Feministing Five column and building on Suzanna’s amazing work bringing you closer to dynamic and committed activists, artists, creators, and feminists each week. For this week’s Feministing Five, I caught up with Tracy Clayton, writer, humorist, and co-host of the popular Buzzfeed Podcast Another Round.

The show, which just celebrated its one year anniversary, has been a mainstay on Top 10 lists all year for its fresh, boozy, and decidedly feminist exploration of everything from female sexuality to youth activism, natural hair, and the revolutionary act of loving yourself.

Alongside her co-host, Heben Nigatu, Tracy has interviewed big names like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Queen Latifah, and Ta-nehisi Coates with the trademark humor and sass that has earned her over 65,000 Twitter followers. Prior to Buzzfeed, Tracy, a Louisville-to-Brooklyn transplant, wrote for Uptown Magazine, MadamNoire, The Root, Post Bougie, and the Urban Daily. She’s also made waves with her tongue-in-cheek blog, “Little Known Black History Facts”, which has become a recurring segment on Another Round.

I had the pleasure of talking with Tracy about slaying the podcast game, her openness about her mental health, and which feminist issues she hopes to tackle with her platform in the coming future. Read on to learn more about this fierce feminist!

Senti Sojwal: First, happy belated birthday to Another Round! It’s been a whirlwind year with the success of the show. What’s been the biggest surprise of it all? 

Tracy Clayton: It’s always a surprise when people write in saying that because of our show and our openness with our mental health struggles that they’ve finally decided to take the plunge and start therapy or talk to their doctors about medication for the things they’re going through. No matter how many times I hear it, it always feels like the first time. I was also surprised to hear that Lin-Manuel Miranda actually listens to our show! When we interviewed him the first thing he said was “Wow, you sound just like yourselves!” and I said, to myself, “OMG Lin-Manuel knows what we sound like!”

Senti Sojwal: People really gravitate towards the fact that “Another Round” is so unapologetically black and so women of color-centered in its exploration of everything from pop culture to politics. What does it feel like to be part of a media movement that’s moving beyond the straight white dude status quo?

Tracy Clayton: It feels great! It feels good to have created a space that so many people don’t have, and we’re thrilled just to see it existing. But to know that we were instrumental in the creation of that space is an incredible, humbling honor. All my life, the only thing that I’ve known I’ve wanted to do, other than become a writer, is make something that is good to someone. It makes my job easier knowing that as fun as it is, it is helpful, too.

Senti Sojwal: You’re open about your experiences with anxiety, mental health, and ADD, and talk a lot about self-care. Were you ever hesitant to discuss something so personal in a public way, or did you always know you wanted to share that part of your life with your listeners?

Tracy Clayton: I didn’t necessarily always know that I wanted to share that part of myself; I just discovered, once I joined Twitter, that sharing openly really helped me to deal with the things that I was going through. In the beginning I had like 20 followers and nobody paid attention to me, so it made it easy to treat Twitter like a journal that nobody was ever going to read. I think that’s one of the things that drew people to my account; making yourself vulnerable helps people to form a real, human connection with you. That wasn’t my intention, but it’s a by-product that I am happy to have.

Senti Sojwal: “Another Round” has addressed a variety of feminist issues from cultural appropriation to women’s health and white privilege. What pressing topics in feminism do you hope to explore, or dig deeper into in the future of the show?   

Tracy Clayton: There’s a ton that we’d like to talk about: we really want to talk more about finances and money management, information that isn’t usually made purposefully available to women or people of color; we want to dive into colorism, have more conversations about global women and feminism, and talk more about our physical bodies. There’s so much ground to cover that isn’t covered in other arenas that I don’t think we’ll ever run out of topics!

Senti Sojwal: You usually end your interviews with a rapid fire segment. For our last question, we’re going to turn the “Pew Pew Pew!” tables on you!

  • What’s one thing New York could learn from your hometown, Louisville?

Tracy Clayton: HOW TO MAKE PROPER SWEET TEA AND MACARONI AND CHEESE. I like this place, but those are two things that I just cannot and will not forgive.

  • What’s your summer cocktail of choice?

Tracy Clayton: I have recently fallen in love with rum–like GOOD rum, the fancy dark stuff aged forever and ever–and this summer I’m all about a nice Cuba Libre, which, of course, is rum, coke, and a twist of lime. So refreshing! The bourbon isn’t going anywhere though; that will stay in rotation.

  • Who’s one feminist you’d like to buy a round for?  

Tracy Clayton: Beyonce! I feel like capital-F feminists are so reluctant to admit her brand of activism into their sacred halls because it doesn’t look like theirs, and it’s maddening. She deserves so much more praise than what she’s gotten from mainstream feminists, so my feminist round is for her.

NYC

Senti Sojwal is an India born, NYC bred writer, reproductive justice activist, and feminist organizer. She graduated with a BA from Hampshire College in Gender Studies & Politics, and has worked with NARAL, The Civil Liberties & Public Policy Program and its sister program PopDev, and has written on feminist issues for Mic, Bustle, and What NOW, the blog of the National Organization for Women's NYC chapter. She currently works at Sakhi for South Asian Women, an advocacy organization that supports immigrant survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through an array of culturally competent services and programs. Senti loves 90s pop, a bold lip, and is always hunting for the perfectly spicy Bloody Mary. She lives in Brooklyn.

Senti Sojwal is a writer, reproductive justice activist, and feminist organizer based in Brooklyn, New York.

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