Podcasts, as an artform or type of media, work best when they offer the listener something intimate. It could be a laugh, it could be solidarity, and it could be enlightenment. A few weeks ago when listening to the back catalogue of episodes available from a great podcast called The Nod (that has since moved to a new format over at Quibi), I encountered that intimate connection during an episode called “The Cowboy of the West Village”.
During Pride Month, many interesting, emotional, and powerful queer stories are being told across podcasts everywhere. But this story about performer Stormé DeLarverie, born to a Black mother and white father in New Orleans 100 years ago this December snuck into my ears when I was not expecting it.
Before moving to Quibi earlier this year, The Nod had been using podcasts as their medium of choice since the summer of 2017 to tell stories of Black life in America. Each episode takes you somewhere new, winding through history and geography, covering facets of everyday life and the pop culture that influences it. In amongst their first twenty episodes is the story of a drag king from the deep south who moved north in the 1940’s and lived her young life as a straight man.
Stormé’s journey, including her time as the only woman in a traveling drag show called The Jewel Box Revue, is staggering. Anyone familiar with the history of the Stonewall Riots may know what she went on to become an integral part of New York City’s queer scene. But if you don’t know anything about Stormé, or about the intersection of queerness and race, you need to give this episode a listen.
The team behind The Nod, Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, weave masterpieces of quality podcasting in every episode. In the case of “The Cowboy of the West Village”, Brittany guides us through the life of a mixed-race lesbian who was born into a deeply unaccepting time and found a way to fight not only for herself and her queer community, but to love unendingly. That is the takeaway, to keep fighting and to keep loving with your whole heart.