Pittsburgh-based writer Damon Young releases new podcast on Spotify | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh

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Damon Young

Damon Young, a Pittsburgh-based writer and cultural critic, has had great success over the years, especially with his acclaimed memoir What doesn’t kill you makes you blacker. And now he has another highly anticipated project under his belt.

Young announced the release of Stuck with Damon Younga new Spotify-exclusive podcast about being black, having money, and the day-to-day decisions and tense conversations that come with those two things.

Young started the podcast with Crooked Media, a network that hosts many popular podcasts like Keep it! and lovett or leave it.

Young says Pittsburgh City Paper he was first approached by Crooked in 2018 after hosting a show in downtown Pittsburgh. Crooked wanted him to do a podcast with basketball star Carmelo Anthony. This podcast didn’t take off, but Stuck with Damon Young was the next project they approached him for.

Interviews for the podcast began in 2020 but, like many things, the pandemic put its release on hold. The first interviews were conducted with Jason Reynolds, Samantha Irby and Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Young says he was initially not interested in a podcast.

“The idea of ​​doing a podcast was not appealing. People asked me about it and I thought about it for years, but it was never something I found very interesting. Because I know the work that comes with it, don’t I? says Young. “I mean, it takes so much editing and so much reading and research and making sure you get the right tone. And I have some anxiety about that because with writing you have more control.

In the first interview, Young talks with Hannah-Jones about schools, specifically the debate over where to send your black children to school: a school that can be a better educational experience (usually private schools with majority students white) or send them to a school with more children who will look like them.

In the episode, Young also talks with his father about his own educational history in an effort to shake up some ideas about where to send his kids to school. He says he had already made up his mind by the time the conversation with Hannah-Jones happened, but the conversation was still valid.

These kinds of topics are no stranger to Young, as his career stems from exploring his own experiences with racism in his hometown. He wrote regularly on the subject on platforms like Very Smart Brothas, the blog co-founded with another writer, Panama Jackson. Young left VSB in May 2021 after helping run it for 10 years.

Another episode goes deeper into the subject of sex and sexual anxieties. In this episode, Young is his usual candid and funny self, while balancing the seriousness of the subject matter. He says sharing his own experience with others helps everyone involved feel less like an island.

“When I give myself the space to be uncomfortable and to explore some of this self-awareness and these really deep anxieties, then other people start raising their hands, like, ‘Holy shit, I’ve felt that too. I’ve been through that too,” he says. “And there are a lot more of us who have felt that to some extent than there are people for whom that has just been easy all the time, their whole sexually active life. Validation of this vulnerability is therefore important. It has an effect. »

Both episodes were sharp, funny and complicated. They didn’t hesitate to say the embarrassing things. It’s an incredibly vulnerable project that I can’t wait to learn more about.

Who would be Young’s dream podcast guest? His late mother, who was the subject of essays he wrote for publications like Squire.

“That would mean she was still alive, right?” said Young. “Then I would just ask him about parenting and school choice and the decisions you make as a parent.”

Stuck with Damon Young will be officially released on Tuesday, March 22 on Spotify.