‘2 Dope Queens’ Host Phoebe Robinson On Why You Can't Touch Her Hair
She talked with Nerdette hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen about why people online flipped out about Sooo Many White Guys, how being a black feminist is a full time job and what she loves about interviewing people.
On her relationship with her hair
I just feel like society has never really embraced black women’s hair, and they’ve decided what it should mean to black women. If you wear your hair natural, you might not get hired for a job. If you straighten your hair, there’s this ridiculous notion that, ‘Oh, you’re trying to be white. You don’t love yourself.'
So I think for me, why I change my hair so much--I’ve done all these fun hairstyles--is that I want to take it back and have it not be this serious thing that was running my life. Instead, I own it now, and can wear my hair however I want, and it’s beautiful no matter which way I style it. And I hope that’s a takeaway. We should embrace our own differences instead of beating them out of people.
On whether or not being a black feminist is a full-time job
I do notice the platform that I have, and I know it’s getting bigger, and I do want to do a good job with it. I really just try to not be a dumpster fire. I try to always be learning, and I think that everyone can always grow.
For me, I’m really great on certain issues, and there are other things that I’m teaching myself about more now. So I don’t feel the pressure. I just keep doing the things I’ve always been doing. I don't feel like I’ve had to change myself that much.
On why there are three Os in Sooo Many White Guys
Two would be be like, ‘Sue?’ People would be like, 'How do you say that?' And you don’t want to have too many because that would be obnoxious. Three felt appropriate.
On how Sooo Many White Guys got its start
WNYC just said, ‘You have a book coming out, would you want to do something else?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, this might be a cool idea, because podcasting and stand up are both very white male dominated. And that’s how I came up with the show. I told Ilana Glazer from Broad City about it, and she loved it and wanted to jump on and wanted to be an executive producer, and we just went from there. It’s been great.
On what Sooo Many White Guys is all about
I just wanted to have a great conversation with people I admire. Like, [transgender activist and author] Janet Mock was on the show. So many times you read an interview with her and they’re like, ‘So you’re trans. When did you have your surgery?’ Just an obsession with that as the only thing about her that’s worth talking about.
I noticed that a lot of times in interviews, there’s a tendency to otherize a person if they’re not a straight white dude and that would be the only thing they’d talk about. I just felt like there are a lot of interviews that weren’t getting to the heart of people.
The above conversations were edited for clarity.