Transcript: Season 2 / Ep. 4 Returning West

Returning West.png

Transcript: Season 2 / Ep. 4 Returning West

// Transcribed by Lauren Beck, Edited by Jia Lian Yang

(Intro music, guitar, percussion and rhythmic melodic repeating, Aysia BerLynn’s smooth voice singing:

You raised me to be-- yeahhh

You raised me to be-- ohhhh

You raised me… to be…

You raised me to be strong

You raised me to be loyal

You raised me to be free


[bass guitar enters]

You raised me to be bold,

You raised me to be happy,

And I owe it all to you yeah

{Music fades out}



This is Paul Tran and I am reading my poem, “East Mountain View”:


Found in a dumpster: folding table, can of Pringles. Half full,
    half empty: it doesn’t matter. Perspective’s no good

to the stomach, which, unlike the mind, is indentured by habit,
    by imperative. Blame evolution. Blame the gods

from which we absorb our preference for dominion, mimicking
    what we misinterpret as power unaccompanied

by consequence. This is how we become new Americans:
    five-finger discount, Midas touch. Transfiguration

as anti-assimilation, my mother fashions dining set and dinner
    with the loot she lugs into our apartment while I,

months old, not even potty-trained, dream of cities shorn
    and shores away, where a daughter barters her mother’s

last gold bangle for guaranteed passage out of the Mekong Delta,
    where a daughter barters the last thing she owns:

her body, her crow-black hair parted down the middle,
    the length of nights lost in the South China Sea,

nights she relives whenever their faceless forms, like sudden
    lightning, surprise her in the flesh of ordinary things—

the coyotes, the pirates, the virgins vaulting into bottomless dark,
    nourishing sharks and not their captors. I suppose

that’s survival: to appropriate what annihilate us, to make use
    of what appears useless. I know this despite what it took

to know it. I know this despite the conceit of knowing. It sucks
    belonging to anywhere, to anything. Even in Heaven

we’re trespassers, told we don’t speak English well enough.
    Even in Heaven we apply for citizenship and wait.

Heaven’s a lot of waiting. So we master the grief of geography,
    severed from a life that persists as shadows of shadows.


(music with synth beat fades in and out)


TREASURE: The Blasian Sensation is ba-ack!


JIA: I'm Jia Lian Yang, Jia for short - I'll explain later. Last season, I was going by Karen, it's still me. People change their names, it happens. 


TREASURE: I’m Treasure Shields Redmond. Same name, same mission: To hold space for the voices that mainstream media ignores. Who Raised You Podcast is back, baby!


JIA: And better than ever!  We’re the 2018 – 2019 Startup Competition Winners for the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. They gave us ten thousand dollars,


TREASURE: Woo-woo!


JIA: …and office space to transform the Who Raised You Podcast into the Who Raised You Listening Collective. 


TREASURE: This year we’re creating a digital audio archive to combat our region’s historical amnesia.  We’re bringing together artists, poets and change-makers of all kinds to record stories of ordinary wisdom.


JIA: Stories by citizen sound agents. Coming to a city near you at


TREASURE: In the meantime, enjoy Season 2 of Who Raised You Podcast, a traveling conversation between Jia Lian Yang and Treasure Shields Redmond, as we explore how culture, family and intersecting identities pave our way towards liberation.  We want to know: who raised you?  Dig deep. We’re finding our roots. 


JIA: Today Who Raised You Podcast goes to Seattle for PodCon 2017.


TREASURE: And while we were there, we asked other podcasters of color, “Who raised you?”


JIA: Then we hopped on a plane to the Bay Area and stopped by Oakland, Treasure’s old stomping grounds, on the way to San Jose, where I grew up.


TREASURE: And at PodCon we talked to Franchesca Ramsey a.k.a. Chescaleigh, comedian, Youtuber and host of MTV’s “Decoded.”  We also talked to Bacon and Rashani, two black podcasters, about who raised them. 


[sounds of Podcon’s busting conference]


JIA: So Who Raised You is here with Franchesca Ramsey, Hello!




JIA: We just did a workshop on podcasters of color.  We’re all unicorns in that space.




JIA: We want to know: Who raised you?


FRANCHESCA: You know, my mom is somebody who I think it’s cliché to say, ‘cause I think, of course, you would hope that you would have parents who were involved in your rearing.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that. I acknowledge that. 


TREASURE: [chuckles] Truuue.


FRANCHESCA: My mom is really wonderful and it’s great because growing up with divorced parents, I did not have the best relationship with her as a child.  My dad definitely played the ‘good guy’ and my mom had to be the ‘bad guy’ because she was actually raising me and being both parents. 


So as an adult, it’s really nice to be able to look back and realize that a lot of the times that I was mad at her or thought that she did not know what she was talking about, she actually did.  And now I have a relationship with her where we talk on the phone every single day and I count down to when I can go home to see her.


So, I consider myself to be very blessed to have a mother who was not setting out to be my best friend as a kid, but now has become my best friend because the things that she taught me made me the person that I am today.


(music with synth beat fades in and out)


JIA: Can you say your name and any podcast you are affiliated with?


BACON: My name is Bacon.  I am a podcast host at #AddSpace which is on Unreasonable Fridays.


JIA: Oooo.


BACON: Yes. So your question is “who raised me”?


JIA: Yes


BACON: So, I was raised by my parents, though my parents had to work a lot, my mom especially. My mom was working full time and going to school full time.  And then my dad was also doing the same, so I remember mostly my grandmother and my father…were both black and my brother also helped raise me and he is bi-racial black like me.


So definitely, takes the village to raise a child.  In my scenario, that’s kinda how I grew up. 


(music with synth beat fades in and out)


RASHANII: My name is Rashanii From SingleSimulcast and Sin and Solace.  I was fortunate enough to be raised by a mom and dad who told me to ‘shut up’ enough that I decided to do my own podcast so that I can tell them about themselves. Same way that I, as soon as I got to college, I opened up all the windows and air conditioned the entire neighborhood.


JIA: Oooh!! [TREASURE breaks out into laughter]


JIA: Okay, great!  Thank you.




JIA: Let’s talk about PodCon, TREASURE.


TREASURE: Yes, that was quite interesting.  That was my first kind of media conference.  I know you had been to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit a few months before that.  But I thought it was an insight into kind of a clique of media producers that I wasn’t super familiar with. What about you?


JIA: Yeah, so I love the Allied Media Conference, I highly recommend anyone go to it.  I think what’s fun about that conference is there is just a lot of different tracks that people can learn from and there’s also kind of more of a radical power analysis. 


And I think what we saw at PodCon and in some ways I had questions about-- was that it was a little bit more fan-oriented, you had these networks of podcasts, a lot of shows that were related to each other, even people who were related to each other as family, having podcasts.  I think that the positive that I did take away from it, besides the fact that we travel well, and that was pretty fun…


TREASURE: [emphatically] Yes--


JIA: And we learned a lot from each other.


TREASURE: That was important.  It’s like “we can get married now.” [laughter]


JIA: [chuckling] Tada!  That’s not what our live shows were?? We’re getting catering, we’re inviting people, goodie-bags…


Anyway.  So what PodCon did teach me is that, if you have a story, you just need to find a way to tell it.  It was really affirming because I think one of the things that I really wanted from the conference was to learn, like, is there anything technical that we should be thinking about? Marketing? Law-wise?  And in a lot of the workshops they were saying, you can just work with what you have.  Most people have some sort of smart phone and that you can record from that way or you can go to a public library and there’s recording resources that way.


And so, for us, it was really nice to know that we have a really clear sense of what we’re doing in our media project, that we have a vision for liberation that we’re wanting to uplift voices of color. Others might be more about just a conversation.  And so it was really affirming that we’re on the right track. 


TREASURE: Yeah. You know, you talked about there being the presence of an analysis of the intersecting ways in which patriarchy, capitalism, white supremacy, kind of color--pun intended--how media is produced in the US and thus globally since the US exports itself all over the world. 


And that was definitely not there at PodCon, like you said-- it was very fan-based and there was one podcasters-of-color panel. 


There was a live show that was done, a live taping that was done by The Black Guy Who Tips, Rod and Karen-- that was fantastic. 


But the panel about podcasters of color, interestingly, was very pro big-media.  There were a couple podcasters on there who were podcasting with big media companies and there really was an absence of a conversation about independent media, about the true stresses on the stories you produce when you are part of a big media collective or one of the big four alphabet names that we know: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX. 


What pressures that puts on the type of media you can produce. If it’s owned by Disney you probably can’t critique Disney.  So I thought they could have did a better job, including holding space for voices of color and for deepening the conversations that they had within those spaces.


JIA: Yeah.  And I think though, at the same time, coming back to St. Louis, we had a different resolve about our project.  And I think it really set us on this path towards the Who Raised You Listening Collective and wanting to grow a media network that features stories by creators of color.  Thinking beyond the podcast genre, thinking about poems, mixtapes, live shows, videos and all these ways that we can get these stories out there that are not so told by mainstream media.  Or, if they’re told, let’s say by a public broadcasting network, that would be decades later when the culture had finally caught up.




JIA: We want to do that faster. 


TREASURE: Yes.  Yes definitely.


JIA: Hopefully, with the stARTup competition funds and resources we’re really wanting to expand that and I’m excited!


TREASURE: Yeah, I’m really excited!  And not just about the growing collective of media producers of color, but also the ways in which we’re going to eventually gift an archive of sound, of stories, to the region.  And I’m excited to see how this gonna take shape. 


JIA: So yeah.  As we look forward to that taking shape I think it’s really fun that we’re putting out these stories about our roots.  Can we talk a little bit about Oakland? How was it like, to go back? A lot of things have changed there, gentrification is a real thing. What was it like to see, smell, touch, taste Oakland?


TREASURE: [chuckling] Well you know what, Oakland is a place where I lived for five years when I was in Junior High my partner and I, my artistic partner and I, Terrance Davis, we formed a musical group, a rap group.  We called ourselves the Sonic MCs and eventually we gained notoriety in our region and then we were tapped to be signed to a record label that was owned and operated by MC Hammer. I know, it’s a trip [chuckles].


So I wound up leaving college after a semester and heading to the Bay Area in order to launch this music career.  Which, you know, it was a failure to launch. [laughing] We did put out a record.  It didn’t do well.  We were basically like the many thousands of major label artists who become the reason why the one who becomes a hit that year, the one to six, believes that they can do it. 


I went on to become an underground artist for the next couple of years there, and really become immersed in the community in Oakland.  And Oakland is where I got my anti-capitalist conscience from.  It’s the reason why I can’t wear big logos to this day.  Going back there after twenty years was a trip. 


Neighborhoods where you usually went if you had a death wish now had a Starbucks and an artisanal pickle shop [Treasure laughs] and other signs of gentrification.  But what was most positive about returning to Oakland, was getting into contact with my old manager, Glenn-- were the fortuitous meetings that we had, like the one with Derek at Fruitvale Station and also to know that Oakland’s spirit, though gentrification is real, Oakland’s spirit still shines through. 


I mean, it was almost like I could hear the music I listened to and just…there’s nothing like the town, nothing like The Bay.  And anyone who’s listening, who’s from there, knows what I mean.  So you know what?  I believe in Oakland.


[JIA and TREASURE laugh]          


JIA: Alright.  Well if you believe in Oakland, I believe in it, too [laughter].  I think it’s about time for people to hear a little bit from Glenn




JIA: And a little bit from Derek right after that. 




TREASURE:  You get the audio, but I want to get video. 


JIA: Oh, that’s right.  Well, before we get to that then, GLENN, you can talk about how you know TREASURE


GLENN: Oh my god.  I always like the story of saying, I met TREASURE…does TREASURE remember? 


TREASURE: I don’t even remember.


GLENN:  I met Treasure in San Francisco at a music convention.  I think it was around 1992 or something.


TREASURE: Yeah it had to be then.


GLENN: And I remember seeing Treasure walk by and the way she was walking and acting, I said, “Something’s up with her.  [laughter]. She’s got talent.”


TREASURE: She’s oozing it – oozing talent! [giggling]


GLENN: Something about it.  And I remember walking up to Treasure and talking to her and telling her what I wanted to do and Treasure looked at me like I was crazy. [laughter]. I’ll never forget that.  And I said, “Well, you know what? I’ll give you my number and you call me when you have time and we can talk.”


JIA: And were you managing other artists at that time?


GLENN: No.  I had just left, [car sounds start] I had recently just moved from Los Angeles to here and I came because my fiancée at the time had taken a job in San Francisco.  And I knew I wanted to start doing it, I just had to find the right person, situation, etc.  So I was there meeting people.  I had some friends that were coming.  That was a big convention we met at.


And then TREASURE was walking through there.  I saw her and I said, “Yeah, I wanna find out who she is.”  And I started talking to her and I told her that I was interested.  She told me she could sing and rap and write and all that.  And I just remember her saying, “Well, ok.”  But she was kind of edgy and that’s what got me.  I said…She was edgy like, “I wanna talk to you but I don’t want to talk to you.  I don’t know who you are.”


JIA: [understanding] Ahhh! [laughter] Ok.


GLENN: “Why you talking to me?” You know.


JIA: She wanted to scope you out.


GLENN: Right.  And so I said, “Well, here’s my number and everything and if, I said, “Just take a moment one day and call me.” And after that we met for lunch at a place that’s no longer there called Brothers Café where they did chicken and something else, there was something else on the corner, on Telegraph.  We met there and that’s kinda when we started, decided that we were gonna spend some time together.


JIA: Um hum.


GLENN: Yeah.  See, YVETTE says, she says all the time, she says, “TREASURE is the most talented person you’ve ever dealt with.”




JIA: Wow.


GLENN: And then she goes, “And the nicest too.”




JIA: So you’ve got some talent, not so nice.


GLENN: Mhm. Mhm.


TREASURE: I was always on YVETTE’S team.  I don’t know what GLENN was doing.




GLENN: It’s all good.


TREASURE: It’s always team YVETTE


JIA: I hear you’re a little bit of a rapper in your own right. But before we get to that, who raised you?


GLENN: My mother raised me. 


TREASURE: Ok, start over. [starts recording video]


GLENN: Ok.  My mother, Ruby Range, a lady from Arkansas, Texas. Small, just a petite woman who had fire.  My mother was out of control!


[TREASURE cackling laughter]


GLENN: My mother was out of control.  My mother, I can say this is how my mother was: She didn’t take mess from anybody.  She would tell the Judge what to do.  [TREASURE giggling] Ok?  And I think I was 16 and I had a little job and a guy that I know who was older than me, I think, I was 16, he might have been 21.  I cashed my check and he took my money.  He took all of it. 


And I told my mother.  You know what my mother did?  My mother grabbed her purse, put her gun in it, and went to find him.  And found him and said, “Give my son all his money back and you better make sure you give him every dime!”  [TREASURE laughing]. “ I know your daddy and I’m gonna tell your daddy what I’m about to do to you.”


[TREASURE guffawing]


GLENN: He gave me all my money back and never said anything to me again.  My mother was no joke.  My mother…and she’s what?  My mother’s 89 years old right now, my mother is unbelievable. 




GLENN: So that’s who raised me.  She was tough too. 


TREASURE: That’s wonderful.


GLENN: My mother’s no joke.


JIA: So how did your mom influence your stepping into the music or rap world?


GLENN: My mother always loved music, so I grew up listening to all kind of music. I mean from R&B to Country music, my mother listened to a lot of different music, even, I tease people and tell them about the time my mother went out and bought a record called Sink the Bismark.  Now how many black parents would buy a song called Sink the Bismark?  And I still to this day remember that song, Sink the Bismark.  And so, I don’t know. 


Just because of the music thing-- she kind of, just being around her enough, that to me was the influence because I knew she loved music and she would listen to music almost every weekend and she’d have friends over and they would all be listening to music. 


So, some kind of way it just rubbed off on me like that.  Without my mother I wouldn’t have known Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin and different gospel groups, different R&B acts.  Because she was into that. 


JIA: So when we first got together you were talking a little bit about the people you are raising.  Is there anything that you’re trying to teach them or that you keep in mind in all that raising?


GLENN: I tell them, no matter what they do, there’s no limit, they’re smart kids. Gavin, Nevin, Brea. They’re good, smart, young people and I just always mention the fact of never letting anyone tell them that they are less or can’t achieve.  That’s what I tell them. 


And they have great parents, they have really great parents and they have great family, cousins and nephews and nieces and all of that.  A great grandmother-- Yvette is a great grandmother to them.  I just think they… to be honest with you, I think they’ll end up being very smart, intelligent people, doctors or lawyers or whoever they want to be.  And they’re smart too.  They’re smart right now.  They’re really technical, smart kids. 


JIA: So something that we’ve been discussing is how much Oakland has changed and is changing.  Who would you say is raising Oakland? 


GLENN: [surprised] Who’s raising Oakland?  Wow.  That’s a good one.  You know, I think Oakland, when you’re talking about who’s raising Oakland, I think it’s politics as well, is raising Oakland, right now. 


The Mayor is trying to do, what I can see, she’s trying to do her best with Oakland, but I think also, what really happens in Oakland is the fact that there’s a lot of people that are looking at Oakland and wanting more out of Oakland than just Oakland being in the paper for crime, on the news for crime and things like that. 


So, you got a lot of people who are organizing and pushing to make things happen that normally probably would not happen or be overlooked.  Yeah, when I’m about you see in Oakland now, you see cranes everywhere.  Everybody is building something.  I don’t care what part of town you’re in, everybody is building something newer, trying to do something better.  Construction has never been as abundant as it is in Oakland, as far as I’m concerned.  The money is flowing in Oakland better than it’s ever gotten around in Oakland before. 


I think the one thing, that to me, is probably a problem, and I hear that they’re trying to figure out how they’re gonna work that, is the homeless.  The homeless issue in Oakland is ridiculous.  You see under every freeway, basically, you see trash in areas of Oakland that you would not think that you would see it in.  People dump because they know, they can’t afford or don’t want to go to the dump, they just dump it. 




GLENN: And now they’re trying to figure out a way to deal with that. San Francisco is doing it too.  I think, I’m pretty sure where you are, they’re doing it.  I don’t know how come there are so many homeless people.  They talk about the amount of rent. What it costs to pay rent.  That’s a part of it. 


I don’t know that part of it, because I don’t live that part of it.  But I see it enough to where I feel sorry for a lot of the people around here that can’t, or seem like they can’t do better.  And then there’s people that are here that don’t want to do better.  You know what I mean?  They’re comfortable with where they are.  So it’s cr*zy. 


JIA: Now TREASURE may or may not have more questions for you but I have one last one which is: What do you think makes a good manager?  Cause you’ve managed talent, you’re managing property, you manage to be a somewhat compassionate person, from the examples you’ve given earlier.  What do you think it takes?


GLENN: I think in order to manage really well, especially now, I think you have to listen to the person that you’re dealing with and kinda find out what they want and see if you guys can work that out together. ‘Cause you have to be a team, you have to be a trusting team, you have to be loyal.  You have to be really loyal because once things start to go, you’re gonna have a lot of people who wouldn’t have come to you before, start to come to you. 


When Treasure and I were working, I remember that was happening.  It was kinda funny because people didn’t realize the loyalty that we had for each other.  And it was just cr*zy. 


You have to be honest, you have to be up-front.  You can’t be afraid because you’re gonna start dealing with people because money is going to pop up or something is gonna pop up where you know people are trying to get in and take something or pull something from you.  And so there’s a lot.  You have to have a good team at some point working with you.  It can be unbelievable. That’s the first thing I think in my head.


TREASURE: [big pause] Ok. Yeah. [laughing suddenly]


GLENN: You can’t be laid-back!




JIA: We’re stopping in traffic.


TREASURE: Someone just swung across the street in front of us.  You know?  Then she said, [lightly] “I’m sorry.”


GLENN: [lightly] “I’m sorry.”




GLENN: [lightly] “I didn’t mean to do it.  I’m telling you, I’m sorry.”




GLENN: [lightly] “Please don’t hurt me.”




JIA: So honesty and loyalty.  [singing] Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty!  [laughter]


GLENN: Yeah. And you really have to be able to focus on what you’re doing.  Yeah.


JIA: Is that it for us? Treasure?


TREASURE: I think so.  I think so.  It’s been a pleasure to reconnect with Glen and talk about who raised him and eat some delicious seafood from Kincaid’s on Jack London Square.


GLENN: Now you guys can go and take a nap, right?


JIA: Right.  [laughter] Exactly!


GLENN: And get ready!


JIA: Mhmm.  Thank you so much GLENN.


GLENN: Oh, it’s all good.  It was my pleasure.  My pleasure. 


(music with synth beat fades in and out)


[recording fades in]


DEREK: Is that ok?


JIA: Yes! [pause] Who raised you?


DEREK: A fabulous woman named Pearly Jean who’s no longer with us.  Raised in Detroit.  Came here in high school and I been here thirty-one, thirty-two years? Got two beautiful daughters.  A single father twice over.  Wow.




DEREK: Yeah I know.  Teenagers!




DEREK: Don’t have ‘em no more. 




JIA: So you answered two questions.  Not just who raised you, but who you are raising.




DEREK: No, you’re right.  Cause you know, I always think of parenting, doesn’t really go by…how your parents raised you is shown in how you raise your kids… what kind of parent you were raised by.  You know, it’s a unique perspective, but I think a lot of people have it, but they don’t necessarily know how to put it into words.




JIA: Now something we were just talking about, is about how difficult this world is sometimes to raise children.  Is there…do you have any thoughts on that, like how you are raising your kids?


DEREK: Well, I think there is…we have a tendency as people, to be lazy thinking.  It’s like Obama said, about how, “Oh, we’re gonna wait for someone else” …well, we are those people that we talk about.  People want change.  From him speaking it’s almost brought it all to fruition because everyone’s waiting on someone else and why not be that person? So we..


TREASURE: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”


DEREK: Yeah. We are the…and so for me…


TREASURE:  June Jordan.


DEREK: I am forty-nine and so imagine all the, before you guys were even born, I mean, being raised in Detroit…




DEREK: No I’m…nothing against that.  But it was just like, how do we have a voice?  And only people who really, somehow…we have to understand, people are oppressed…and if we are that oppressed, how do we go about changing the system? [train sounds]


And like Martin Luther King said, we have to be somewhat in the system or part of the system in order to change it.  So with Kaepernick, and like you guys, contemporary…beautiful guy! And Anquan Boldin on TV yesterday, Face The Nation.  I think he was on something with Soledad O’Brien.  Beautiful, beautiful. 


I mean, just hearing how people can kind of…are being able to raise their voice.  And here in California because unfortunately other parts of the country, they don’t really have people of color, many nationalities or even people with many different backgrounds, don’t have the voice that we have here in California.  And unfortunately…




DEREK: This is very unfortunate because we know there are other people being oppressed and they want to speak out.  And they need to speak up.  But of course here in California we actually have more of a understanding of how people are because now we really talking about economics here. 


You could make $70,000 being a single person and really it’s very hard.  Oh, it’s very hard.  It’s not so much you don’t necessarily know how to spend your money, but it’s a hard time saving money.   


Because between transportation costs, living…we talk about living wage, no such thing, it’s all really kinda going to fund a war that…who believes in that war?  Not the people who are paying for it.  I mean, if someone never gonna fight or hold up a gun and they’re passing these laws and making it seem as if, someone else is in the wrong when we, as Americans, have really never had foreign policy.  Never. 


It’s absolutely horrendous the foreign policy and the way we treat people from other nations.  And why do we have to always have it to be able to help us, why can’t we just kind of look at it as them being people?




DEREK: So if they’re not seeing it the way we are, or the way we want it done, as we kind of screw it or I should say slant it…being democracy, we think it’s somehow we need to come in there and help them change when we’ve gone through the same thing.  We’re continuing to go through the same thing. 




DEREK: You know I was an ethnic studies major in college, but you know it’s really hard because once you kinda decide that you want to make a change, you know it takes a lot of effort… not overly, but it does take some effort and you have to stay conscious about the people you are and the people you’re around. 


Because somehow the materialism has really overtaken, I would say, part of the next generation. 

But we used to live, when we were growing up, we have an understanding we want to leave this a better country when we pass on. 


But, I’m sorry, here in California the state is run by a lot of young people who don’t really have that understanding of how hard it was for our previous, you know, to kind of make sure that it was affordable, dependable and somehow it was structured to kinda be a balance for everyone.  And it seems like we have leadership now, it’s really sad because they kinda got their money, they want just the people who look like them and the people who, only them, and I’m not saying I want to paint that with a broad stroke, but I’m sure that people within the system, within those political circles that feel for those people who are not. 


Because if I tell you, if I make 80 to 90 thousand dollars, and I can tell you, it’s still one of those things between gas, taxes and even tuition for my daughters or even kind of one of those things where you know, we’re talking about living a measure of comfort…it’s very hard.  It’s very hard to maintain.  You can make 50 to 60 thousand dollars and just that, you know, maybe own a home and you can still have a hard time trying to maintain here. 


California has really had some extreme cases where we got extreme wealth and we got extreme poverty.  Looking at San Jose, you have extreme wealth and extreme poverty and then it becomes like a, “well, are you a citizen?” Well, no, wait, hold on.  We shouldn’t be…Well, we should do right by you because you’re a human and…


TREASURE: And we’re citizens of the world.


DEREK: Right! Exactly.  And so we all live together. We have to row the same boat.  Row the boat together or we end up perishing. 


But it’s good to see you guys are just like, awesome.  I mean, really, truly.  I mean, you know, you think like, “Is there anyone else with a conscience?” …and of course we know that there are.  Linking up with those people.


TREASURE: And they’re here. Oakland is famous for it.  It’s the home of the Panthers.  It’s…


DEREK: Being a product of the sixties… ‘cause of course, you know, kinda growing up in the seventies with a big metropolis.  Seeing some of the things that went on in Detroit it’s not so much that, ‘cause I still think, I have a heart and that’s where my heart will always be.


[With phone ringing and trains rushing in the background] We’re talking about people who’ve grown and people lived together and now we’re seeing some of the undercurrents where they allow some of the drugs and some of the other things to take over a lot of communities and then they paint it with such a broad stroke and say everyone’s kind of a criminal that isn’t educated in their circles or isn’t really thinking like them. [phone ringing intensifies]


JIA: We’ll let you go.  Thanks so much!


DEREK: Oh yeah, thank you!


TREASURE: You said your name was Derek?


DERIK: Yeah.  I want a picture with you guys…


JIA: Yes.  We’re going to get a picture with you.  We have a tradition.




JIA: In St. Louis, people say that we’re only a few degrees removed from each other.  We’re always running into each other, especially if we have something in common.  And I think that encounter we had with Derek at Fruitvale Station also showed that we’re brought together by our values.


TREASURE: Mmhm.  Yeah. I mean, it was so… they say nothing happens by accident.  But it was definitely a huge coincidence to meet someone who’d been taught by my father in the seventies when my father was a young, visiting poet at a university. 


And in that space, in the resonant space of Fruitvale Station, rest in power, Oscar Grant, which was the staging for another instance of state violence, state murder, of a young man that we now actually have on tape.  Murder by policeman. 


[The conversation] was incredible.  And you know the Bay Area is good for incredible. 


JIA: Definitely a bittersweet meeting.




JIA: Because of the importance of the space.  At the same time, it’s always nice to run into someone that you’re connected to in some way. 




JIA: So we’re hopeful that with this podcast we do the same thing.  That we’re able to connect people even in bittersweet spaces and make the world a little bit more intimate, especially according to our values. 


So I loved meeting Glenn




JIA: He was so warm! [laughter]. And it was really fun to see a little bit of your past and he was so hospitable.


TREASURE: He was.  He treated us to a wonderful seafood meal right there on the waterfront there in Oakland.  Glenn represents a point in my life when I was a young, hungry, underground artist and he mentored and facilitated some incredible experiences for me.  It was through Glenn that I got a development deal with Def Jam which was my dream label.  Which was where every MC that was on my totem had recorded. LL Cool J, the list goes on.  


It also represents a bittersweet moment in my life because it was a dream that was deferred.  I produced great music and had some incredible collaborations, but the level of notoriety and success in that arena of my artistic life, did not happen.  So it was interesting.  And it was good to reconcile those things.  He was, in ways, like a father. 


JIA: [deep breath] Yep.  So, speaking of fathers [laughter] you met my dad. 


TREASURE: Yes, we did! [giggling]


JIA: We saw pictures while sipping Pearl Milk Tea and eating Taiwanese pastries.  Yeah.  That was a trip. [laughter]


TREASURE: Yes, yes!  Your dad is adorable. [Jia Lian laughs] And I know that it’s always the same: Other people think that your problems are adorable [laughter].


JIA: Yea, yeah.  Problem to say the least.  Yeah…  There was a lot of my upbringing that was a bit painful because of my father.  And yet I think the question of “Who raised you?” is not complete unless you really go there.  And I think when we thought about that question for this podcast as a central question, we were always thinking of it as a very broad question.  Not just wanting to locate it in our family or even our friends, but looking broadly at our country and our media, everything that raises us. 




JIA: So I think what I really learned in these conversations is what happens when you are brave enough to go there.  To look at what brought you to where you are, why you think the way you do, what you’re reacting against in some cases.  And honestly, I haven’t figured it out.  As you heard in Episode 0, our very first episode, something that Treasure said was, “I think we’re haunted.”  


And you also mentioned that in some ways it sounds like I still feel like I’m coming out from my mother’s questions about me.  And later when we release audio of our live show, you hear our conversation between me and my mom and every time I have a public conversation with my parents, because we are not public people, we’re not public figures, it’s always really weird. 


‘Cause there’s all those layers of immigrant and who I was when I was growing up.  There was a lot where, you know, my dad would call me nicknames and I think I’ll always be like, a little girl to him.  I think a lot of women have that experience. 




JIA: And yet, in St. Louis, I’ve grown up in a lot of ways. Politically. Socially, in terms of feminism, in terms of learning from Womanist folks.  So, I’m not that same person that was growing up. 


TREASURE: Yeah.  And I think that you know, it’s a life-long thing, grappling with tensions of our upbringing and who raised us.  We can’t deny that our parenting influences that we think of: mothers, fathers, aunties…that they loved us, but you know, oftentimes we have to accept that they were doing the best they could with the information they had. 


JIA: Yeah.


TREASURE: And then we have to accept that sometimes they were not doing the best they could…


JIA: [laughter] Definitely.


TREASURE: …with the information they had. [laughing]  So yeah.  I mean, ‘who raised you?’ is such a loaded question.  It’s deep and it’s wide.


JIA: Yeah and to my dad’s credit, there is a lot that I respect about him in terms of how he engaged with politics when I was growing up.  He was always part of a Taiwanese Association.  There are a lot of people who will go back to Taiwan to vote, for example, in major elections.  And that’s a part of bringing forth Taiwan’s democracy. 


And so, it’s not until now that I see how significant that is.  And it’s not until I had that conversation between him and you present that we’re able to delve into what he sees about history.  Right?  Because, growing up it’s always like, “Do you have a jacket on?” and [Treasure bursts into laughter] “Are you going to work for Facebook now?”  And all of these things.  And also, like, tensions in home life and stuff like that. 


So I think, this is a good time for us to invite our listeners to talk with us.  Let us know how you’ve reconciled the tensions in answering “who raised you?”  You can email us at or send us a recording of your story.  We might even feature it in a future episode. 


TREASURE: Yeah.  We’d love to hear from you. 




[rumbling sound of car rolling on a street]


TIAN: When I was young in Taiwan… [trails off]


JIA: So I could walk to the high school right there.  So I just go in that neighborhood, and then that’s…the end of the street is the high school.  So he’ll show you the front of it. 


TIAN: [interjects] One time she actually climbed the fence!


JIA: I did.


TIAN: …And got caught by the guard.




TIAN: Police! [laughter]




JIA: No, the Principal.  The Principal. [TIAN interjects pretending to be the principal: “What are you doing?”]


So what happened was…you know the street I was showing you?  That you can get into the school?




JIA: So there’s one like that, on our side, a side door on our side, on our street.


DAD: Side door, like six houses away…


JIA: Yes.  Except it was locked that day.  But I was trying to like, trim [my time]-- I was late to school.




DAD: [navigating directions] Can you get into here? No. See that? No, no, no, see that?


JIA: [responding to direction inquiry] No, exit only. [turn-signal clicking, Jia resumes story] …so I could go the proper way or I could jump the fence and I decided to jump the fence.




JIA: Then what I did was actually-- I had oatmeal with me for breakfast.  And then I slid it under [the gate] and I just casually ate my oatmeal walking in.  [laughter]


And then my principal was like, “I saw that.  Don’t ever do that again.” [laughter]. And then he said, “Also, how did you get your oatmeal over the fence?” [laughter] And I was like, “I slid it under.”






JIA: Thank you for listening to the Who Raised You? Podcast, a storytelling project brought to you by the Who Raised You Listening Collective. Featuring media by artists of color in the St. Louis region. To support us, rate and review Who Raised You? Podcast on every platform.


TREASURE: Visit Who Raised You? to book us for speaking and consulting on arts and storytelling projects. While you're on, donate to support The Who Raised You? Listening Collective. Put groceries on our table!


JIA: We are the 2018-2019 Start Up Competition winners brought to you by your friends at the PNC Foundation, and Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. They gave us an office! For this year. Podcasting for the Centene Center for the Arts.


TREASURE: If you'd like to sponsor us and have us share your products and services with our audience, let's talk about it. Email us at We'd love to partner with you and share your story.


JIA: Connect with us on social media.


TREASURE: Like Who Raised You? Podcast on Facebook.


JIA: Tweet us @whoraisedyoupod on Twitter


TREASURE: Slide into our dm's @whoraised on the Gram.


JIA: (singing) On the gram!

TREASURE: (singing) Ooo Ooo! (laughs)

JIA: Say hi! 

{music fades in}

You raised me to be…

You raised me to be yeahhh

You raised me to be…


{music ends}