First and foremost, I owe the existence of this book to Elon James White and Emily Epstein-White, who, when a random white lady from Wisconsin contacted them in 2012, responded by inviting her into their home studio. I am particularly indebted to White, with whom I spent many hours talking about TWiB!’s operations and who was not only open to, but excited about this project. I am also grateful to all the TWiB! personnel I met and spent time with—Aaron Rand Freeman, L. Joy William, Dacia Mitchell, Imani Gandy, Dara M Wilson, Bassey Ikpi, N’Jaila Rhee, Shane Paul Neil, Robyn Jordan, and Amber Flame—who were kind and generous from the first day. I also want to acknowledge Feminista Jones, David von Ebers, Anthea Butler, Fahnon Bennett, and Rachel Parenta, all of whom I became acquainted with over the course of my research and whose contributions I appreciate.
There are so many podcasts and internet friends that contributed to this project that I am sure I will leave someone out. I am grateful to Rod and Karen Morrow, whose generosity of spirit is unmatched. I appreciate all the people who took time to look at and respond to the drafts I sent—Phenom Blak (who even alerted me to a typo in a draft of the first article I published from this research); Nic and Reggie from What’s the Tea?; Ashlee of Graveyard Shift Sisters; Amber P. of Black, Sexy, Geeky, and Mental; Blair L. M. Kelley (who provided insightful feedback); Feminista Jones; Darryl from Straight Outta LoCash; Aaron B. from The Black Astronauts; Kriss from Movie Trailer Reviews; Whiskey, Wine, and Moonshine; Kalief Adams and Shareef Jackson of Spawn on Me; Coqui Negra, and P Funk of MTR’s Molecules & Shit; De Ana, JP Fairfield, Jamie Nesbit-Golden, Kia, and Roxie_Moxie of Nerdgasm Noire Network; and Patient C.
I’m grateful to André Brock and Catherine Knight Steele, two of my most generous and rigorous scholarly interlocutors without whom my thinking would be undeniably poorer. I am grateful to Miriam Sweeney, (p.206) whose sharp insights always help me cut through to core issues, and Kishonna Gray, whose positivity and pragmatism always keep me on course. It is difficult to overstate the impact these four scholars, trailblazers in the study of race and technology, have had on my work and in simulating and pushing my thinking. They, along with Jenny Korn, Khadijah Costly White, and Lois Scheidt have been my metaphorical and literal backchannel, serving as sounding board, peer-reviewers, and support system.
I want to thank Mary L. Gray for pushing me to nuance my engagement with the concept of affordances, which strengthened my core argument tremendously. I’m also grateful to Bambi Haggins, who helped me think through the racial shifts that occurred after the 2016 presidential election and whom I can always count on to nerd-out about pod-casts with me. I owe a debt to Yeidy Rivero. When I transitioned to my doctoral work, fresh from an MA in musicology, and knew nothing of media studies, she mentored and supported me. Without her, I doubt I would be where I am today. I’m also grateful to Jane Goodman, who shepherded me through my dissertation, and to Portia Maultsby, who taught me to understand the aesthetic nuances of Black American music in new and profound ways that shaped my thinking.
I am grateful to and humbled by the scholars who have supported me. I owe much to Lisa Nakamura and Anna Everett. I am thankful for their support and for their pioneering work on race and digital technologies. Without them, and their willingness to forge a path, this book and my career would likely not exist. I’m also grateful to Aswin Punathambekar, whose dedication to supporting scholars doing work on race and media invaluably enriches our profession and whose feedback strenghtened this project. Thank you to Lisha Nadkarni, who guided this project, and me, through the editorial process. Finally, the senior women scholars of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Black Caucus have had a greater impact on me than they might know.
This book would not exist were it not for the support of the A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The fellowship provided me with two years, without the tenure clock ticking in the background, to develop this project. Without this time, I doubt I would have taken the risk to turn what started as a chapter about Black podcasting into (p.207) this monograph. While in Wisconsin, I also benefited from the input of Robert Glenn Howard and the other postdoctoral fellows—Brian Goldstein, Deagan Miller, Mary Murell, Amanda Rogers, and Jerome Tharaud. The input of the faculty in the Department of Communication Arts at UW-Madison also shaped this project considerably. I am grateful to Karma Chavéz, Jonathan Gray, Michelle Hilmes, Eric Hoyt, Derek Johnson, Jenell Johnson, Lori Kido Lopez, Sara McKinnon, and Jeremy Morris, who all in various ways aided my thinking and my work.
The revisions for the final draft of this book were done in large part in the co-working space of the Nexus Digital Research Coop, spearheaded by Jacque Wernimont. I am grateful to her for creating this space and introducing me to so many amazing women and femme scholars on the Arizona State University campus. I also want to thank Liz Grumbach and Nikki Stevens, whose friendship, feedback, and encouragement saw me through the last push of the revision process.
Finally, I want to thank my family and friends, without whose support I would be lost. I am grateful to my sister, Beth, and father, Bob, for their ongoing support and encouragement. I owe a profound debt to my mother, Barbara, and my grandparents, Melvin and Francis Fesser. Though I cannot share this with you, I know you would be proud. I am grateful to my longtime friend Bianca Mandity. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Thank you to Kasia Chmielewska, Konrad Budziszewski, Jeremiah Donovan, Bryan-Mitchell Young, and Meghan Midgely, who saw me through graduate school and without my life would be poorer. Finally, thank you to my husband, Rob Kolhouse. You know what you did. (p.208)