AUP. Ep. 29 Fighting Words: Aida Rodriguez

AUP EP#29 TRANSCRIPT

Transcribed: Cameron Blackwell

Completed: 11/26/21

Cortney Wills: [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to Acting Uo the podcast that dives deep into the world of TV and film that highlights our people, our culture, and our stories. I’m your host, Cortney Wills, Entertainment Director at the Grio, and this week we’re chatting with Aida Rodriguez. Aida Rodriguez is such a fantastic comedian, she’s also an actress, producer, writer, and podcaster. You may remember her from her appearance on Last Comic Standing, and now she’s showing off her skills in her own hour-long special on HBO Max called Fighting Words. It hit the streamer at the top of the month, and I absolutely loved it. Fighting Words is hilarious. It’s a perfect watch for you and your family over this Thanksgiving break, and it really dives into her Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage serves up tons of laughs that are relatively safe for everybody, and I think we have a lot more to see from her. Aida Rodriguez is so sweet, extremely smart, very real, very relatable, super insightful. I am a fan of hers, I think you probably will be too, and I had a great time getting to know her better during this conversation. Hi, there Aida, welcome! Fighting Words was so funny and it was just like right on time for me. Did you go to Sundance, though, before we start? Have you been to Sundance before? [00:01:31][87.9]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:01:31] Yes. [00:01:31][0.0]

Cortney Wills: [00:01:32] I met you there. I saw you. Do you remember? [00:01:34][2.3]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:01:36] Yeah it was when Kobe died. It was that. Remember when Kobe passed away? Absolutely. [00:01:39][3.0]

Cortney Wills: [00:01:40] What a wild week that was. How crazy, since, I mean. Yes, it was. Yeah, we did hang out. I saw you perform there and then Kobe Bryant dies and we’re all there together. Like. Is this real? [00:01:58][18.7]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:01:59] Yeah, it was devastating, especially when I found out that Gianna was on the helicopter, it was- and that there were other kids on that- it was just grounding for us in that moment because Sundance can be such a place of, you know, of, you know, hierarchy like, these are the A-list actors and these are the B, these are the people in the movies and they’re walking around with security. And then there’s this larger-than-life figure. We lose this larger than life figure to just, you know, just to be grounded and remind ourselves that none of us are exempt from the realities of life, you know, and it was just it was a sobering moment for a culture that prides itself in being special, you know? [00:02:42][42.9]

Cortney Wills: [00:02:42] Yeah, it really was. And it was so crazy to have to figure out like- I think we still had a day or two left so people were doing press. We’re supposed to do panels. We’re also all reporters. So we are looking for all of the information trying to, you know, update our outlets. And also we’re all grieving and we’re all we’re around a bunch of people who not only admired Kobe as a fan but a lot of people who knew and worked with him. You know, genuinely loved him. So it was just, I will never forget that. [00:03:14][31.2]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:03:14] Yeah, me either. It was, it was, you know, it was just it was tough. And, you know, Gianna took me out. It was Gianna thinking about my mom, thinking about Vanessa. I was just I was so mortified for that woman. And it was. We still feel bad, you know? [00:03:34][19.5]

Cortney Wills: [00:03:34] Yeah, you do. And then the other thing about that Sundance is, A, that was the last thing I did. Like that was the last real place I was before all hell broke loose. But I was also at Sundance, reading about this weird virus in Wuhan? And texting my family, my dad was in route to China and was like, Yo, I think this is, you know, real. And it was like, Calm down, Cortney, take your Xanax like chill. You know all that, and we are two years later still here. [00:04:08][34.0]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:04:10] Who’s taking the Xanax now? [00:04:11][1.3]

Cortney Wills: [00:04:13] Thank you. Exactly, exactly. Gosh. So now here we are, and we do have something to smile about and that is Fighting Words. It was so funny. Like what? Why that? Why did we get this show and why right now? [00:04:28][14.9]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:04:28] So, you know, I got this special before COVID. I had gotten my deal with HBO Max in 2019 and then COVID hit. But you know, when it’s like for us doing this, this collective trauma that we experienced and specifically people of color, Black people in this country, we were dealing with COVID. We were dealing with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor. I mean, and the list goes on. It doesn’t stop there. You know, we were still mourning and grieving Sandra Bland. You know, John Crawford, all of these things happening at one time and watching our communities being ravished by this pandemic, this virus in the worst way. And you know me figuring out how I’ma show up in the world as a stand-up comedian in this moment and try to offer some healing and use my- You know, what I have to try to, you know, sort some of this stuff out. But it was also very cathartic for me because I was going through it too. And, you know, doing stand-up on Zoom, you know, I’m in my forties. I’m a mom. I have two kids. I get my first comedy special. People told me that would never happen because of my gender, my ethnicity, and my age, and I get it. And then coronavirus hit and we all sat down and the future looks so bleak. You know, I don’t I don’t know when this is going to happen. And so I just made a decision to start writing and documenting what was happening in the moment. [00:06:08][99.6]

Cortney Wills: [00:06:09] Wow. And you said that it was cathartic for you to do that, and I wonder, was it also scary because I think the landscape of the public consumption of entertainment obviously drastically changed in this pandemic, and so did the way that the public has been digesting comedy. [00:06:30][20.4]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:06:31] Yes. You know, many times, you know, it’s funny because we can’t have nuanced conversations anymore. You know, people have been so polarized. I think we have a severe void in our country when it comes to education. People don’t have quality education and information. And I’m not talking about going to Harvard. I’m just talking about the basic stuff. You know, we got textbooks that are up to date, you know, teachers that care, you know, going into our communities specifically, we have all of this happening and the country is in turmoil and those that are at the top that are, you know, benefitting from that continue to feed into the emotional distress that the people are feeling by injecting like all these untruths. We- it’s such a hard time to be a stand-up comedian and the fact that you’re worried more about what I’m saying than you are the superintendent of the school of your kids or the sheriff, you know that– or the loan- the loan officer in your local bank is just like it blows my mind. And so, yeah, it was very scary. I was like, You know what? What I had, what I reached was a point of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. So do you, because either way, somebody is going to have a problem. And at that point, I was like, All right, what am I dropping into the solution bucket? Because at this point, that’s all that I care about. I could care about your tweets. I don’t care about your clever TikTok videos. How is this affecting change to improve the conditions of our people in our communities? And when I say our people don’t talk about Black and brown people because we are at the bottom of the food chain. And so I was just like, You know what? You got to brush all of that off and just go, do what you got to do, and know that what you’re doing, you’re doing with the intentions of helping people and move forward. [00:08:24][112.9]

Cortney Wills: [00:08:24] Mm-hmm. Was there anything that you felt like, as you were writing this time around, a place you would have gone that you didn’t or, you know, a joke or a subject you would have tackled that you just kind of were like, meh, maybe not right now? [00:08:37][13.0]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:08:38] No, I think this was just what I wanted to say in this moment. And, you know, some editing did take place. Of course, my set is a set that doesn’t belong to me. This is not, you know, ultimately it is the property of HBO Max. There are a lot of people who are involved in the decision-making. They were very generous in allowing me to say what I wanted to say. They really didn’t edit me. But, you know, I wanted to focus on this thing. I like to tell stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end. I like to stay in the world of what I’m talking about. And so for me, it was just more true to my form of comedy in terms of just staying there. But I started writing what I’m going to do for the next special and what I’m going to tackle there. You know, and there were some jokes that I had written during this period that I was like, This is not for this special, but I was afraid of every joke I told, because at this point, anything can trigger anybody in this moment, and all they need is a platform to take you down. Right? So it wasn’t a pleasant experience. You know that if I’m being honest, it was just, Oh, I’m going to- this is, you know, I want to make sure that, you know, I’m always like, Do people think I really am trying to be mean? Like, do they really think that I’m trying to just be demeaning? Or do they understand what I’m trying to say? And after a while, you just got it released that because it is what it is, you know? [00:10:03][85.0]

Cortney Wills: [00:10:03] Well, there’s no way around it. I mean, look at the incomparable Dave Chappelle and what he’s dealing with and the nuanced conversations. And like the passion and fury on both sides of opinion on that special, [00:10:17][14.2]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:10:19] You have to figure out what it is that you’re trying to say. And one thing that I will say is that I’m not the spokesperson for any group. I’m speaking on behalf of myself and tell them my truth. I have observations about people, but I am not the mouthpiece for any group of people because I can’t be right. So I’ve just committed to telling my story and saying the way I see things. I hope that we can have conversations about it, but I don’t. I’m not qualified to speak on behalf of any group of people, including whatever groups I belong to. You know, I can’t even speak on behalf of single mothers. I can’t even be, you know, like I just can’t, like. All I can do is just say, this is how I see it. And some of it, you just got to let it roll off your back. [00:11:06][47.3]

Cortney Wills: [00:11:07] Yeah. So, one thing I love so much about you is how you leave your culture throughout your comedy, and I feel like that in itself is kind of like a revolutionary act because even something as simple as how you identify yourself here culturally today, you know, you call yourself a Black woman. You call yourself Afro-Latina, and we still have this inner kind of dialog amongst Latinx countries, amongst – you know, I’m – my dad is Black. My mom is Mexican. Is that Afro-Latina? Because my whole life I’ve just been mixed two things, right? I mean, just so much infighting and bullshit at a time where things like hair texture and colorism, we’re supposedly trying to dismantle and reframe, like we’re still fighting amongst each other. And then you’ve got the screen, you know, you’ve got In The Heights, where we’re like, Yay, In The Heights. And then we’re like, Why does everybody look the same in this movie? What is it like to go in and be so sure of where you fall in this and bring laughter to issues that, for me, resonate as someone who navigates a lot of the things that you talk about there? [00:12:25][77.8]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:12:25] You know, I think the beautiful thing about identity is that you- it’s something that’s personal, right? Because everybody’s always trying to tell everybody what they are. Know, like, I’m not transracial. You know, I’ve been called the N-word so many times in my life in front of my son, who is now, you know, in his 20s. But when he was four and I had to explain what that was, you know, in San Diego at a gas station, I’m holding my two babies and these white people just pull up in a truck and they’re like, you know, you still, because I was driving a BMW and they’re like, You’re still an F-ing N-word, B-word. And I was just like, I was so furious. I was like, I wanted to, you know, and it’s interesting to claim, and I understand why so many people feel like why do y’alI want to be Black now? I want to be Black before, you know, because there is this thing that I claim my afro indigenous roots because I feel like history, society, America has embedded this shame and embarrassment of where we come from by, you know, making Africa, you know, our African ancestors caricatures with this idea that it’s uncivilized and underdeveloped and indigenous people as being dumb and weak. And those are our glorious ancestors, right? And I claim them proudly because I am because they were. And it’s just I want to reframe that. You know, I talk about Blackness because in my community, you know, we’re having conversations that were happening 20 years ago or 30 years ago when School Daze came out about colorism and the erasure of darker-skinned Black people, which is real. And so I understand why some of the dark-skinned Black people are like, We don’t want to identify with you. That’s caused us so much pain. But at the end of the day, I understand that, and I respect it. All of that being said, my story matters, my life matters, my reality matters, and it is just as valid as everybody else’s. That does not undo the realities of colorism in this country and abroad. You know, anti-Blackness has always been framed as being a Latinx thing or a Latino thing. Anti-Blackness is a global issue that lives within the Black American community and beyond. It is real in India, it is real in China, it is real in the continent of Africa, the motherland. It is real everywhere. Dominicans are not the only Latinx people who have anti-Black, you know, values. And you know, when we frame it, let’s frame it properly. The Dominican Republic has a history that was connected to murder from their president that dealt with Blackness. So there’s trauma there. But, you know, and it doesn’t make it alright. But what we need to do is start aiming our weapons at the systems that have created, enabled, and continue to perpetuate these ideals. And that’s what I have a problem with. So I have a darker-skinned Latina, doesn’t want to be identified with me. I get it. I understand it. I’ma fight for both of us because at the end of the day, you know, in the Black American community, Halle Berry doesn’t stop being Black because Viola Davis is Black [00:16:02][217.3]

Cortney Wills: [00:16:04] Oh say that again Aida, are you kidding me? [00:16:05][1.2]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:16:07] Yeah, you know what I’m saying, but the reality of it is that those conversations which are toxic and take us backwards are the great distraction from us having solidarity, equity, and justice. And so for me, I’d rather focus on how we’re going to fix this and how are we going to get what is rightfully ours? And with respectfully understanding the pain that’s underneath all of this, but always remembering who the real enemy is. You know, and that’s what I struggle with. [00:16:37][29.8]

Cortney Wills: [00:16:37] Literally same. And it’s with this conversation that we’re having about Afro-Latinas, where it’s also in the conversation of colorism period within the Black community. It’s like we’re all literally the victims of the construction that allows us to be battling each other instead of the real enemy like you said. And you know, I mean, there’s so much media out around this, like right now Passing with Tessa Thompson is hitting Netflix. We’ve got Disney and Encanto coming up with Lin-Manuel Miranda and that I will say, I mean, obviously, it’s animated programming for children and families, but that is based in Colombia, and that family looks like my family looks like real people do different shades, different hair textures, dark skin tones, light skin tones, long hair braids, curls, everything you see in this cartoon. And you know, it feels like baby steps. But it feels like steps because I never could have imagined seeing a family like that in a Disney film as a kid. [00:17:47][70.1]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:17:48] Yeah. You know, I think it’s important to use your privilege to create opportunities for those who don’t have the things that you do. And I don’t just mean that money. I mean, like me, as someone of a lighter hue, I’m going to create space for someone that’s darker than me. And I because I want props or tweets because I couldn’t care less about that stuff, but because I think it’s important to do that, you know, even when you mention In The Heights. I just want to hold the space for Corey Hawkins, who everybody erased and forgot that showed up as a Black dark-skinned American man. That was a character that was positive, you know, that showed up in a way that I was so happy and proud of. And you know, a lot of my people who were, you know, upset about the lack of representation with darker hues in the movie. But let’s not erase him because he was one of the leads in that film, and he showed up beautifully. And I just thought it was unfortunate because in the middle of all of that stuff where those arguments are valid, he got swept away and we just didn’t- we just didn’t show him the love that I thought he should have gotten for just showing up on screen in a way that I think is positive. [00:19:01][73.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:19:02] I think that’s a really interesting point that you’re making about Corey, and I remember feeling a mix of emotions about the reactions to In The Heights and the attention that it was getting. But I felt, you know, we talked to Corey and we talked to him as a Black man playing a Black man in this film about Afro-Latinos and seeing very little, if not any, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans that were Black, you know, that presented as Black and who I felt got to erased there with Leslie, who does identify as Afro-Latina, who happens to be fifty shades lighter than her siblings are, you know, and was like, Yeah, I didn’t see them there, but I’m like, But what about her? Leslie is a Black woman with very light skin, identifies as Black, and we’re like, She’s not in there. She’s a thing and a moment and a victory, too. I absolutely would have liked to see people who look like the people who actually live In The Heights in that movie representing themselves. You know, Lynn had his reasons for not reflecting that not feeling like that’s what he absorbed. And, you know, I mean, it would have been great. But yes, like is it any less of an achievement for everyone else in the project? No. I think it’s about like, you know, we have to keep pushing and keep chipping away. And then here we go. Six months later, we’ve got him Encanto, and I’m telling you there’s a whole bunch of Black kids and people in that film that he made, so- [00:20:33][90.9]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:20:35] Yeah, and you know, the thing is that we’re radioactive. There’s a lot of pain, I can’t speak to the pain of a dark-skinned Black Latina. I can’t. And watching it over and over again, my life, the erasure, you know, the mistreatment, the jokes. It’s been just as harmful to everybody. Because when you got six little kids in a room and you are employing that type of rhetoric and their hateful ideology, it’s affecting all the children, right? All of them. It’s not good for any of them, because now your self-esteem is. Raided on this scale, that’s not real and not good, and everybody is suffering and struggling as a result of it. What I will say is this is that I like to hold people accountable. I think it is important to hold people accountable. I try not to burn people down personally that I think are working towards a solution. And if I think if the person is egregious and horrible and you don’t believe that they’re doing them, and then I understand why some people would do that. But I really felt like- and, through my own experience with working on my own projects, understanding that when you get on an email, you get on a Zoom is thirty-five people on there. It’s not just you, you know? And yeah, Lynn is at a place where he has a lot of opportunities. And yes, he’s doing it. I just, you know, I’m not going to sit here and tell Dark-skinned Latinos that they don’t have the right to be angry for being invisible and stuff. But my response to that, instead of getting on Twitter- in Twitter beefs and fights was when I did my documentary, I said, I want a Black woman to direct it, that’s Latina. So I went and got Nadia Hallgren. You know, I wanted to show Palos and Bomba Plena in Puerto Rico and Haiti. I mean, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. And so, you know, the people of different hues of both countries. I wanted to show representation. I didn’t want to show children begging in the streets, you know, like I was like, I’ma show, my people looking beautiful and dignified. And that’s my response to that. Is Imma do it. I don’t need props for it. You know, I don’t need praise for it. All I want you to do is watch and see these people and how beautiful they are. Those are my people, and that’s how I respond to that stuff. I just go, I just like, What do I do to fix this? Instead of just being on Twitter, trying to burn people down and get into arguments? And all of it is just a moot point because you just in on social media going back and forth with a bunch of people who don’t have nothing to do. [00:23:09][153.8]

Cortney Wills: [00:23:10] Aida, who makes you laugh? Like, what do you watch for fun? Like what has entertained you throughout that is now 20 plus months of madness? [00:23:19][9.4]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:23:20] Oh man. So I’m a Star Wars head, so I watch Mandalorian. Atlanta is probably one of the shows that I’ve watched in the last few years. I go back and watch Atlanta. The jail episode is- it’s not my favorite episode it’s the episode that makes me laugh the most, right? Because it was so crazy like, the Kat Williams, Florida Man episode also makes me laugh so much. But I do love to watch Atlanta. I watched- what did I watch that was so funny that I was like, I can’t believe how funny this show? I’ve been watching is silly stuff like just escapism, you know, like, I don’t want to watch nothing that was too deep because we live in watching the headlines all the time. What did I watched- [00:24:01][40.6]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:02] Your silly sh-t like your ridiculous, embarrassing escapism things I’ll tell you mine right now. But you tell me yours. [00:24:07][5.7]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:24:08] I mean, I watched Only Murders in the Building, because Martin Short made me laugh the whole time. It was hilarious. I watch my kids and I will watch the chef show where he goes and helps struggling restaurants? What’s the name, I forget- [00:24:20][12.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:22] Yes. Gordon Ramsay. [00:24:23][0.8]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:24:24] Gordon Ramsay! Because we laugh. We’re like, Yo, this dude is hysterical. We watch the season of The Bachelor where Matt James was on it. We ended up watching it. I don’t watch that kind of stuff, but I watched that season when my kids. [00:24:34][10.8]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:35] Were yelling at the TV? [00:24:36][0.7]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:24:37] Every single week. [00:24:37][0.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:41] What a shit show that was. [00:24:41][0.3]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:24:44] Because, you know, you know, the anxiety you have is because, you know exactly what’s going to happen. So no matter how much you think this may go this way, you like, you know exactly what’s going to happen. And it was this is like, you know, it was just like a guilty pleasure, though. [00:24:59][15.5]

Cortney Wills: [00:25:00] I found myself looking for things that I wouldn’t normally watch because I feel like my headspace was in places it wasn’t normally in. And I just wanted to go somewhere else. And that’s what’s so beautiful about comedy I think sometimes. You know, like it is, I think comedy has the ability to shine a light and reframe really important, really impactful, really deep issues that we’re all kind of struggling with collectively. But it also just allows you to laugh at silly, stupid things because you can. And I think that that’s such like a necessary thing. I think comedians are so, so necessary, especially when things are bad and when people are divided. Because if we’re all laughing like maybe we can, maybe we can find common ground if we can share a laugh. [00:25:50][50.5]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:25:51] Yeah, I think so. It is definitely one of the places where we meet. And, you know, like I watched Arrested Development like to me, funny is funny, but when I watch, you know, one of the shows that made me laugh the most I think was Episodes, like I really think Episodes was really funny smart and a humor that I really can appreciate, but I do think humor is one of the things that bring us together music, but I just think that everything’s been polarized and politicized. It kind of takes the joy out of art sometimes because now you have political parties claiming artists and artists belong to us all, right? So that’s the that’s the point of the art is that share with everybody, not just the people who think exactly like you. And that’s been what’s been painful for me is to watch people hijack certain artists for the, you know, like we’ve absolved people of their responsibility and their accountability through this, this moment and this movement, like, you know, like I was saying the other day, like, sure, don’t listen to R. Kelly’s music. Sure, I don’t stream his stuff. But the real punishment for R. Kelly for what he did should be jail, not Twitter jail. You know what I mean? Like, that’s like, don’t like we get so caught up because some people really bank on social media being so real for them. Like, this is it. This is it. We’re going to take a-, uh oh, we bout to go to Twitter. But like, when do, you know, I would like people who have sexually assaulted people to go to jail for sexual assault? That for me is the is the actual punishment. Then somebody saying, doing a thread on Twitter. If that thread on Twitter is going to lead to that person going to jail, I’m all for it. Otherwise, it’s just rhetoric. And so we’ve gotten- it’s become the scapegoat, you know, and I’m tired of this. So exhausting [00:27:46][115.0]

Cortney Wills: [00:27:47] it. It really is quite exhausting. And like you said at the start of this conversation, it’s like we can’t have actual real, thought-provoking debates and conversations anymore where people’s opinions differ. It’s like, you know, this tragedy with Travis Scott, like, can we all agree first: nobody wanted this to happen. Like, these people are dead and they, you know, that is a tragedy first. Nobody set out for this to happen, and it’s so hard to say things like that when the first priority is like assigning the blame and getting that that person, you know, giving them the hell that they need to pay. While this is all still going on, you know it feels crazy, but like, don’t say that, or else you don’t have sympathy for these lives lost. [00:28:41][53.8]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:28:42] Yeah, that was scary. I mean, I was looking at the whole situation, though, and I was just like, it gave me anxiety, just watching that many people because I’m like, Where is COVID right now? Right where it is? But it gave me anxiety. I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know what anybody was thinking. I know people are just so tired of being locked up and wearing masks and all of that stuff. So I get it. But the whole thing just gave me anxiety. I was just sitting there like. Whoa, whoa, what?. That was that was yesterday? Like, what’s going on, like how many people are sick? You know, these [00:29:24][42.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:29:26] Why is everyone outside together, no mask. It also made me think of Selena. Remember that part of the movie when they were pushing on the stage, and I think she comes out and sings like [inaudable] and they all calm down. It was like- [00:29:37][10.8]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:29:38] That’s how a lot of those causes in Latin America happen. And, you know, I was just really like, I just started thinking about it and I was like, Wow, this is a this is intense. This is the moment somebody’s got to live with this for the rest of their life. And I just don’t- I’m not the person to judge people because I just I’m so imperfect. So I’m going to sit there and write a think piece about who is evil. But I do want to say one thing is that we looked at that and we were like, you know because one thing that really bothered me was I saw a lot of tweets of people saying, You know, look at Astroworld, this, you know, the guy from Linkin Park would stop the concert to do this and that. And I was like, OK, I see your racism, I see your racism coming through, right? But then I looked at that audience and it was a bunch of white people out there. It was a bunch of white people out there. And so while they were trying to frame this as a Black event and it being problematic because it was a Black event was a bunch of teenage white kids out there. And so, you know, my heart goes out to everybody who lost their lives. I am trying my best not to go on social media and judge people because every time I see people f-cking with me on social media and I go look at their stuff, I’m like, I should do a screenshot of this, look at this person did- everybody’s cancellable. [00:31:05][87.2]

Cortney Wills: [00:31:08] Everybody. [00:31:08][0.0]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:31:08] And so I’m just trying my best to just be the best that I can be instead of focusing on who’s f-cking up because I’m trying to not f-ck up as much like that’s my goal is just trying my best to be the best person that I can be. And that’s hard. [00:31:22][14.5]

Cortney Wills: [00:31:23] It really is. It really is hard. There really isn’t the space for that. And I just can’t imagine a kind of artist who has to be feeling that more than comedians right now. [00:31:31][8.5]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:31:32] It is petrifying, you know, like especially when you see someone like Dave Chappelle catching it, you’re like, I definitely don’t stand a shot. You know, like, and my special came out November 4th, so my special came out after The Closer. So I was like, They gon light me on fire because I don’t have the clout. I don’t have the power, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the gender. You know what I mean? Like in comedy, which is a male-dominated sport. I am not at the top of the food chain. I am not the highest-paid comedian in the land. So I have to be extra careful because they can take me down. And I, you know, and that’s my livelihood. You know, like, I can’t stop doing comedy and chill because I don’t have it like that. So I just it’s just such a radioactive place is a landmine. Everybody’s on edge. Everybody. Some people don’t even want to do stand-up right now. They’re like, I’m not doing it. [00:32:30][58.2]

Cortney Wills: [00:32:30] I don’t blame them. Aida, it has been such a pleasure to talk to you. [00:32:34][3.6]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:32:34] We’re connected. You know and listen, my daughter is my I’m Puerto Rican and Dominican. My ex-husband is Black, American and native, and indigenous. And my daughter always tells me that she doesn’t claim being Afro-Latina because she doesn’t feel like that is the group that she identifies with. And I think that that’s just OK, you know, she’s like, I’m Black and Latina. And so that’s her identity. And I think that I think it’s cool that she identifies with whatever- she don’t want to be part of nobody’s group. She’s like, You know, that group is toxic. I’m actually a Black woman walking about this earth, and I’m also going to eat arroz gandules. And I’m going to listen to Jonny Venutra and nobody can take that away from me. And so, when you said that what you said, it just reminded me of my baby because she’s like, You know, I’m not, I’m not going to let anybody tell me what I am and what I’m not. You belong to us just like you belong to Black Americans, you belong to us all. And that’s why solidarity is important because you matter just as much as everybody else. [00:33:42][67.8]

Cortney Wills: [00:33:43] I love that. Thank you so much that was so sweet, that made my day. [00:33:46][3.5]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:33:48] Talking to you has been great. I really enjoyed this conversation. [00:33:50][1.6]

Cortney Wills: [00:33:51] You take care. [00:33:51][0.5]

Aida Rodriguez: [00:33:52] All right, you too, my love. [00:33:53][0.9]

Cortney Wills: [00:33:54] Okay, bye! Thank you for listening to Acting Up. If you like what you heard, please give us a five-star review and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcast and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, comments, and suggestions to podcasts@theGrio.com. Acting Up is brought to you by theGrio and executive produced by Cortney Wills and produced by Cameron Blackwell. For more with me and Acting Up. Check us out on Instagram @ActingUp.pod. [00:33:54][0.0]

[1978.1]