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The Blackest Questions

Meet Kalen Allen: Smart, Funny and Fierce

Episode 17
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Host and social media favorite Kalen Allen brings laughs and high energy to The Blackest Questions as he talks about his passion for academia, travel, and fashion.

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Panama Jackson [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:00:06] Hi and welcome to The Blackest Questions. I’m your host, Doctor Cristina Greer, politics editor for theGrio and associate professor of political science at Fordham University. In this podcast, we ask our guests five of the Blackest questions that we can learn a little bit more about them and have some fun while we’re doing it. We’re also going to learn a lot about Black history, past and present. So here’s how this works. You have five rounds of questions about Black history, the entire diaspora, current events unique, and with each round, the questions get a little tougher and the guest has 10 seconds to get it right. If they answer the question correctly, they’ll receive one symbolic Black best and they’ll hear this. And if they get it wrong, they’ll hear this. But we still love them anyway. And after the five question, there’ll be a Black bonus round at the end just for fun. And I like to call it Black Lightning. So our guest for this episode is the award winning actor, producer, singer and television personality Kalen Allen. Kalen was catapulted into mainstream media through was hilarious Kalen reacts videos.

Kalen Allen [00:01:11] Hotdogs, What the hell is this?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:12] And in 2018, he was discovered by the renowned comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Kalen held a regular spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, often taking it’s hilarious and infectious personality to high profile events. He also starred in and produced his own weekly digital series, O M Kalen. Offering Fans is one of a kind commentary on the week’s hot topics and trending stories. Kalen made his feature film acting debut in Seth Rogen, An American Pickle for HBO Max in 2020, and also recorded a top ten holiday album For Christmas Sake, the same year Kalen is currently hosting Snack on This on the Cooking Channel. I am so excited to have Kalen here. Kalen, thank you so much for joining us at The Blackest Questions.

Kalen Allen [00:01:53] Oh, thank you. I’m excited and also a little nervous.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:56] Oh, listen, no need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves because Black history is American history. So we’re just going to have some fun. Listen, some people get they’re out of five, some people get five it. But it doesn’t matter. We’re just going to be on a little intellectual journey together and speaking up. I see that you are on your own little intellectual journey, getting your master’s in journalism at NYU. How did that come about?

Kalen Allen [00:02:20] Oh, well, you know, so working in the talk show space, I knew that I wanted to have a talk show one day or work on some type of news platform. And so that was why I decided that I wanted to go back to school and, you know, really learn the craft of journalism. I’ve had the privilege to work so many red carpets and so many like hosts capacities and almost like a faux journalist. So I wanted to make sure that I had the skill and the knowledge under my belt.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:02:47] I love the fact that you’re like, I’m good at it, but I want to get a foundation in it so I can be brilliant at it. I’m so I’m so excited for your career just because, you know, we talk a lot about in this podcast about how, you know, COVID has had all of us just we work through some things, right? And we’re doing well. But we all know that a lot of folks are just hanging on by a string. And so your personality, especially these past few years, has been like a solve to so many people to just wake up and, like be able to smile and like feel joy coming through the television. I think there are a lot of people who just appreciate your energy. You know, like there’s a positive energy that comes through all the things that you do, especially when you’re on the red carpet making people smile and laugh and feel good because they’re nervous, too, when they’re walking through events, you know, and you just you kind of bring the temperature simultaneously, you bring it down, but also bring the energy up. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m so excited for you to get this this master’s in journalism. Please, please come back on tThe Blackest Questions or let us know when graduation time come so we can shout you out because we believe in educated folks up in here. And I love it.

Kalen Allen [00:03:54] All right now.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:03:55] And then I saw you went to Temple and I grew up in Philly. And I know I think Philly is just one of the most beautiful cities. Baltimore was my favorite city. But what did you enjoy most about your time in Philly?

Kalen Allen [00:04:07] Oh, the culture. You know, I’m originally from Kansas City and I told I tell people all the time is that Kansas City is where I was raised. But Philadelphia is what made me you know, I think it was a culture shock, you know, and then to move to Philly, there was so much culture, but it’s more so the confidence that Philly people have. Those are some of the most toughest people I have ever met in my life. And I think having that influence and being able to just celebrate the culture of this city, I just I love it dearly. I go to Philly as much as I can.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:04:45] Mhm. Oh my gosh. Okay. I love the fact that you love cities. I love the fact that sort of cities give you a certain vibrancy and energy. And as a politics professor of urban politics as well, I maybe will do like a Kalen goes to cities and we just explore the various cultures of so many because every city has a flavor, you know? And like when I think about TV shows, it’s like, well, The Jeffersons were in Queens and then they were on the East Side, but you know, in Rock they’re in Baltimore in A Man it’s Philly and like good times in Chicago, you know, and then you get your shows in Atlanta, you know. And I’m fascinated by, you know, when Martin was in Detroit, you know, fictional, you know, whether they filmed there. And that does matter. But like the the idea that comedians and actors choose a particular locale to situate their shows says a lot about not just the culture, but the kinds of conversations and environment they want to build in a show. Yeah, but I like the idea of Kalen goes to cities.

Kalen Allen [00:05:42] I like that. Let’s pitch it. Let’s make it.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:05:45] Let’s put it in the universe. Okay. So are you ready to play The Blackest Questions?

Kalen Allen [00:05:48] I’m ready.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:05:49] Okay. Question number one. Kalen, let’s get started. This play ran for a total of 57 weeks on Broadway and starred an American Idol winner in the lead role. What was three part question? What was the name of the play? Who was the American Idol winner? And what is the character she played?

Kalen Allen [00:06:10] An American Idol winner. Mm hmm. And she was the lead?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:15] Mm hmm.

Kalen Allen [00:06:19] Well, how many weeks? Wait, how many times was it on on Broadway?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:25] Well, this particular play ran for 57 weeks on Broadway.

Kalen Allen [00:06:32] Okay. Okay. Now, this is. This is my guess, because this is the only because you said lead. This is the only show that I know had a Broadway lead that was an American Idol and I’m gonna say The Color Purple.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:48] That’s right. You are correct.

Kalen Allen [00:06:50] Fantasia.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:51] Fantasia. And who did she play?

Kalen Allen [00:06:54] She played Celie.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:55] That’s right. So Fantasia appeared on Broadway for 49 consecutive weeks from 27 to 28. And Daniel Brooks earned a Tony for playing Sophia in the Revival, which ran from 2015 to 2017, just as an aside. But Fantasia will star as Celie, and Danielle Brooks will play Sophia in the Warner Brothers film adaptation of the musical The Color Purple, and they’re both reprising their respective roles on Broadway. Fantasia and Brooks join a cast that already includes Taraji P Henson, Her and Halle Bailey in the film, which is being directed by Blitz Bazawule. And it begins production this spring and is slated for a 2023 release. So I saw that you’re a theater major and I see your film credits. Do you have any desire to hit the stage?

Kalen Allen [00:07:34] Oh, absolutely. You know what? You didn’t mention that. I’m also at Juilliard right now studying, holding a part of Juilliard. Yeah, Juilliard is an extension program where you can take classes at the Juilliard without having to do a fourth degree program. So I’m doing that right now. And last night I had class and I was just like, I miss the stage so much. The stage has always been my home is what I’ve done my entire life. I started doing theater when I was like, I think I was 12 years old when I was doing it, like on a professional level and I cannot wait to return to the stage.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:08:07] Well, I think all of your fans can’t wait for you to return as well. Now, what was your first do you remember your first play?

Kalen Allen [00:08:12] Yes, my first play was called 13, which a lot of people know that Broadway show because Ariana Grande was in when she was a kid and her and Liz Gillies who also is a good friend of hers. But 13 was my very first musical and I had done it at a community theater in in Kansas City. But my favorite musical is Once on this island.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:08:34] Mm hmm. Beautiful. That’s your favorite now, are you. Have you seen any current productions on Broadway? There’s so much great theater going on right now.

Kalen Allen [00:08:44] You know, I am so blessed to be asked to attend many Broadway shows on a regular basis. I’m about to go see The Piano Lessons with Danielle. I know Danielle, so I’m definitely going to go see that. But I can tell you right now, my favorite I have two favorites on Broadway right now. Hadestown is magnificent. And also MJ the musical is one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:09:09] I’m hearing great things about MJ. I’m going to take my mother for the holidays. I’ve already seen piano lesson twice, twice, twice. It is phenomenal. And I can’t say enough. When you see Danielle Brooks and you give her a hug, you give her an extra squeeze from me.

Kalen Allen [00:09:26] I will.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:09:27] Because she brings it down. She is such a talent and it’s a beauty. It’s a beautiful you know, I’m a huge August Wilson fan, but it is so well done. I mean, shout out to Director Richardson, who just clearly understands not just the the work, but all she pulls the best out of the actors. So. Okay, we’re putting we’re put a whole bunch of stuff in the universe here. So we’re going to see you all on stage on Broadway. You you’ve told us before that Fantasia is one of your favorite artists. Have you met Fantasia before?

Kalen Allen [00:09:56] Oh, no, but I wish. Listen here. I tell people all the time, you know, you’ve made it when where Fantasia either singing at your funeral or she doing a tribute to you. Okay, listen, honey, that is why I get there. We really got out of the early years of American Idol. I was listening to Fantasia. His debut album just said that. And I was like, like, this is pure, like, just brilliant. This is pure R&B.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:22] And I said, Free yourself is my anthem.

Kalen Allen [00:10:24] Okay.

Fantasia [00:10:27] If you don’t want me than don’t talk to me. Don’t want me than don’t talk to me. Go ahead and free yourself.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:32] I played it when I was trying to finish my dissertation and I just felt like I would never be out of graduate school. And I was like, listen people. Let me go.

Kalen Allen [00:10:39] Okay? If you don’t want me, then don’t talk to me.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:42] Don’t talk to me, go ahead free yourself. I’m working on me. You free yourself.

Kalen Allen [00:10:47] Ok, that part.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:50] Oh. Oh, my gosh. Okay, Fantasia. And what is it about Fantasia? Because she has also I think the reason why I would argue that you two almost remind me of one another is because she also has this infectious personality where you see her and you want to smile, you see her and you just you get filled with energy, which is what you do every time you come on the screen. So what is it about her that draws you to her?

Kalen Allen [00:11:14] I think it’s the way that she has infused her spirit with her talent. You know, I think in is the fact that, you know, back in the day and I’ve talked about this I feel like our music has changed so much. I miss the theatrics and the drama when people put their personality into their music and it was over the top and it was extra like the Patti LaBelle’s, the Aretha Franklin’s, the Mariah Carey’s, you know. And I think Fantasia has that essence to where she steps on stage and only she can do it that way. You know, it’s like you can’t you can’t duplicate. Like you can’t find another Fantasia. Like you can’t find another Patti LaBelle or another Mariah Carey. She is so unique in her art and in her talent.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:00] Mm hmm. Whenever I see her, I can almost, like, feel the sweat. Like, I feel like she doesn’t give you a half show ever. She doesn’t know how, you know, the same way, Patti. It’s like, listen, that is one thing for that very last seat in that very last rafter. Yeah. And it doesn’t matter where she is. I feel like that’s Fantasia where it’s just it’s a complete package at all times.

Kalen Allen [00:12:20] Absolutely.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:21] Okay. So who knew that? We’re going to start the Fantasia fan club right here on The Blackest Question.

Kalen Allen [00:12:26] The Barrions.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:28] We’re going to take a quick commercial break. I’m talking to the Kalen Allen on The Blackquest Questions.

[00:12:33] Witty, honest, entertaining, introducing Dear Culture with Panama Jackson on theGrio Black Podcast Network. Listen. Today on theGrio mobile app for all the Black culture debate you don’t want to miss. Also available wherever great podcasts are heard.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:48] And we’re back talking to Kalen Allen on The Blackest Questions. Kalen, I’m so excited to have you here. I’m so thankful that you are just giving us this energy and this life on the podcast.

Kalen Allen [00:12:57] I’m having the best time.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:12:59] Okay. You ready for question number two?

Kalen Allen [00:13:01] Uh huh.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:02] Okay. Question number two. Will.i.am said that this man was the Nelson Mandela of couture in a song. He was the first Black man to hold his position at Vogue and was called the pharaoh of fabulosity by a staffer there. And oftentimes he was the only Black person in their front row at fashion shows. Who was he?

Kalen Allen [00:13:22] Andre Leon Talley.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:23] Andre Leon Talley. So Andre Leon Talley was born in Washington, D.C. in 1948 and was raised by his grandmother, a cleaning woman at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. During Jim Crow, he went to Brown University and earned his master’s degree in French literature. Talley got his start in fashion with an unpaid apprenticeship with Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, a position he seemed to have willed into being. Talley. Talley then went on to work at Andy Warhol’s interview Women’s Wear Daily and The New York Times before taking the fashion news director job at Vogue in 1983. Anna Wintour named him creative director in 1988, and aside from a three year run when he contributed to W magazine from Paris, he continued to work at Vogue until 2013 and the larger than life former Vogue editor died at the age of 73. Now, I’ve always just loved André Leon Talley, and I know you love fashion, and I know you especially, you know, spoken about gender nonconforming fashion. What inspires you and sort of how are you tying in fashion with all of your other talents and interests?

Kalen Allen [00:14:27] Fashion to me, is power. Fashion, especially when I’m all dressed up. It’s not it’s never for you know, a lot of people get dressed up because they just want to be seen. I don’t get dressed up at the people. I get dressed up for myself because it makes me feel courageous. It makes me feel stronger, it makes me feel powerful, you know? And it because the way that I the reason why I say I don’t dress up from other people is, you know, I’ve always had this argument, especially around the Black Lives Matter movement, the stuff about, you know, you see Black men in suits. And I would always say a suit isn’t going to make people treat you better, you know? And so I think sometimes that fashion is not a costume. You know, it’s not that it’s an expression is expression of who you are and what you believe. And and for me and the reason why I think I have a tendency to, you know, dress more gender nonconforming is because there are so many. Men. Black gay men that are growing up that they are told to turn down their queerness. You know, and because I know the platform that I have and I know the visibility that I have, I want to normalize, you know, men in heels or men wearing a dress, men wearing a skirt, you know? And I think there are a lot of people that are doing that. I think of Keiynana Lonsdale. I think of Billy Porter. I think of, you know, a Ty Hunter, Beyonce’s original stylist. I think of all of these people that do that now today. And I think all of us are necessary in order to further the conversation about mainly, you know, Blackness and queerness and the intersectionality of that and how it exists within fashion.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:16:10] Absolutely. And growing up in Kansas City. Who did you look to see your icons or who were some fashion designers that helped give you ideas or sort of bring out some of your creativity?

Kalen Allen [00:16:22] I would say that was women. You know, I think being in church and seeing it was more so. Like I said, it’s about power. You know, when a woman in pumps or a woman that is dressed up was giving fierceness, you know, it was giving unstoppable to watch a woman strut down the street, you know. And I think I was like, I want to feel that essence. I want to emulate what that that stride is, you know, what that power is, you know? And so I think that’s where it comes from for me.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:16:54] Yeah. You know, that makes me think about Alvin Ailey and the famous closing scene in Revelations where you see the women at the church and it’s just this powerful but glamorous scene. And I always think of a young Alvin Ailey being in church with his grandmother, looking at these women in their hats and their dresses and sort of coming up with a visual that he will use the years later, create this iconic movement that sort of inspires Black people and people across the world every December, especially as we get into the holiday season just like this, these these Black women specifically that connects, you know, using dress as this form. Now, nowadays, where do you get your inspiration for for fashion? Because when you’re on the red carpet, I mean, you come correct.

Kalen Allen [00:17:40] Now, you know, I change it up depended I tried to always match the theme of whatever I’m going to you know, I try to say, okay, what is this what is this premiere? Or because more more than likely, I usually am not the star on the carpet, you know, it’s like they care about the people that are in the movie because they so I’m like, I’ma be dressing up and going on and getting myself together to go to this event. I gotta make sure I stand out, you know? And so I think that’s why I gravitate towards how can I pull to look? But I think I focus more on my passion when I’m doing TV appearances. Okay. You know, I think because. Fashion is a part of who I am and who my brand is, you know. And so I always tried to look at I look at runway shows. I try to stay on. I also like working with a lot of independent in upcoming design because I think they get they tend to be a little bit more unique. And I love to be able to, you know, elevate anybody or to get as many eyes on something because people will see it and they’ll want to work with them, especially when it comes to custom outfits. So that’s always where I gravitate towards.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:18:48] Yeah, I love putting on independent folks, right? Giving them because you have exposure when you’re sitting one on a couch talking to an interviewer, celebrity yourself, and they’re literally millions of eyes on you. You’re you’re elevating a small brand in a way that, you know, just, I think, fits with your message of just like positivity and uplift and community. I absolutely, thoroughly enjoy watching you. Now, do you eventually? I mean, we’ve got Broadway, we’re putting in the bucket list. We’ve got, you know, TV shows and journalism and hosting. We’re putting up the bucket list. Do you ever want to have a fashion line and have you ever considered maybe doing a show like a Project Runway, either as a host or a contestant?

Kalen Allen [00:19:30] Oh, absolutely. Because that’s the thing. Me and fashion. This is the thing that I don’t like about the fashion world. You know, you watch a lot of fashion shows and sometimes the normal person can’t buy those clothes and you can’t get access to those clothes, you know, or they are astronomical in price. And I want to make fashion more accessible, you know, in all senses of the word. Exactly. You know, and so I definitely want to create a fashion line. I want to create a fashion line that is gender nonconforming, that exists in like you can buy it at a Zara or some type of store that is more accessible to the everyday person. Because I believe that everybody deserves to feel fabulous. Everybody deserves to have access to those things. You should not have to spend 1500 dollars to look good.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:20:22] Absolutely. I also just, you know, having shopped with family members and friends who are gender nonconforming, the fact that we have to go into the men’s section to find something that they’re interested in, it makes it just such a it just doesn’t make sense to me. So if I’m with one of my male friends and we have to go into the women’s section and like hunt for sizes, and then if I’m with, you know, female friends or family members and we’ve got to go into the men’s section and hunt for sizes for them, it just feels like, why can’t we all just be on the same floor? Like, I don’t understand. Like, sometimes sweaters, a sweater, like, I don’t see why it has to be a men’s sweater over there when it should just be a much larger conversation. Because I think, you know, the conversations I’ve had in the men’s section where we’re swapping ideas and exchanging fashion tips, why why can’t that just be a much more inclusive experience, especially for a shopper?

Kalen Allen [00:21:11] Mm hmm. I completely agree. I’m rarely in the men’s department. I spend the majority of my time in the women’s department. You know what I mean. But I come in. That’s why I think for me, it was it would be creating a brand in almost creating a storefront that is exclusively just gender, just come in a shop, get what you want.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:21:30] It is just that simple. Just come in and be who you are and shop. Okay? All right. Well, listen, we’re going to take a quick commercial break. I’m sitting here talking to Kalen Allen. This is The Blackest Questions.

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Dr. Christina Greer [00:21:58] And we’re back with Kalen Allen for The Blackest Questions. We are ready for question number three. You ready, Kalen?

Kalen Allen [00:22:05] I’m ready.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:06] Okay.

Kalen Allen [00:22:07] I’ll do it. Good.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:08] So far you are doing fantastic. Okay. All right. Question number three this super soul musical turned adventure fantasy film starred two superstars and a highly talented supporting cast as it was loosely adapted from the Broadway play of the same name. What film is it?

Kalen Allen [00:22:28] Right. Give it to me one more time.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:29] Okay. So and I’m going to give you a little clue. In the seventies, this super soul musical turned adventure fantasy film. So I went from this cool to fantasy film, starred two superstars and a highly talented supporting cast, and it was loosely adapted from the Broadway play of the same name. What film is it?

Kalen Allen [00:22:53] You said two whatt? What was the first part?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:56] Two superstars And and when I say superstars, I mean super superstars.

Kalen Allen [00:23:01] Okay.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:23:01] I mean, it may even have his own Broadway musical.

Kalen Allen [00:23:04] Okay, so I’m on the right line. Okay, so then it’s The Wiz.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:23:07] It is The Wiz. Yeah. Okay. So The Wiz was released in 1978 starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor, Mabel King and Quincy Jones composed the film. The Wiz Musical on Broadway, starred Stephanie Mills as Dorothy instead of Diana Ross, the executive producer of Black Ish. Kenya Barris just announced that there’s a remake of The Wiz in the works. So have you. You’ve been to see MJ the musical on Broadway? Mm hmm. Are you also a fan of The Wiz?

Kalen Allen [00:23:37] I am. I did a little when I was in high school. No, no, no. I did The Wiz when I was in high school.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:23:42] Oh, who did you play?

Kalen Allen [00:23:43] The year I played The Wizard, which they cut the wizard song out of the movie. Oh. But when they did the live musical with Queen Latifah as the wizard, they put the song back in. But the song is not in the movie. But yes, no, I love. And I didn’t know that it was a play first.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:02] Oh, yeah. Because Stephanie Mills.

Kalen Allen [00:24:06] Mm hmm.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:06] I’m a huge Stephanie Mills fan. Stephanie Mills was the original Dorothy. And then when they changed to the movie, they made it Diana Ross.

Kalen Allen [00:24:14] But okay, so but when Stephanie did it, it was still a musical, right? Yeah. Yeah, she.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:20] Was Dorothy.

Kalen Allen [00:24:21] The musical. Okay. Because when you say a play, that threw me off.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:24] Oh, okay. Sorry.

Kalen Allen [00:24:25] Music. Because I was. Yeah, I would say play. I think it was a play.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:30] No it was the. My bad though. You know what when you already got this symbolic Black this. But we’re definitely giving it to you because there’s a technicality on the internet. Forget I’m talking to a real thespian over here. There’s a difference between a play and a musical. Okay.

Kalen Allen [00:24:43] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:45] And I love musicals, so I should know better. So, you know, you mentioned Queen Latifah, and my brain just, you know, shut down. I think the Queen Latifah is such a talent.

Queen Latifah [00:24:54] Make me international.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:58] You know.

Kalen Allen [00:24:58] Talk about.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:59] Growing up. I mean, think of it this way. You’ve got a woman who’s a rapper, a jazz singer an actress, a Broadway star, like she does Black movies, she does white movies. She’s a model for, you know, for cosmetics.

Queen Latifah [00:25:14] I had such a great time tonight. Me too.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:25:16]  I’m just like. Anything she does is pure gold. And now she’s got hit TV shows and she was talk show host.

Queen Latifah [00:25:23] Okay. I mean, textbook like, you know, they do a lot of times where schools will be like they will name a class after a celebrity. Queen Latifah’s one of those people that needs to be studied.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:25:35] Oh, absolutely. You know, I try my very first op ed that I ever tried to get published was a 25 year anniversary oped about Black Rain, her album that, you know, has you and U.N.I.T.Y. and,  who are you calling to be on it? And I was like, this woman has been such an icon. And like, let’s be clear, she’s not a size two. She’s not half naked. Like she is a bona fide superstar without kind of some of the tracks that we see a lot of women fall into on their road to stardom. And I just think that she’s like an octtopal threat on so many levels. And also just, you know, I don’t know her, but also just seemed like down to earth.

Kalen Allen [00:26:14] Oh, yeah.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:26:15] I was watching Living Single and I was like Khadijah seems like Dana.

Kalen Allen [00:26:19] Exactly. But, you know, I think the way that she was able to cross over into the white market. Mm hmm. Because of Covergirl.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:26:27] Mm hmm.

Kalen Allen [00:26:28] I think CoverGirl is because she was the face of it like that was.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:26:32] The face of CoverGirl.

Kalen Allen [00:26:32] And and there is one thing about Queen Latifah. The hair is always laid.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:26:37] Laid ok, asleep.

Kalen Allen [00:26:38] Always laid and I think that is a big part of how she was able to cross over into ad work because that world was definitely not watching live single. They were watching friends, you know, they were not listening to rap music. I think her ability to really build an empire within CoverGirl and then start doing movies like Bring it down to the house taxi and then then having all that honey. A career.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:01] And the rest is literally history. Because then we see Chicago choosing some great movie because it’s like.

Kalen Allen [00:27:07] Oh, Last Holiday is one of my favorites.

Queen Latifah [00:27:10] Would you mind? Yeah. I quit.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:18] I’m trying to think of. She wasn’t really. When someone like dying of cancer. I don’t know. Have to look up.

Kalen Allen [00:27:23] That’s Last Holiday.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:25] That’s Last Holiday? Oh, my gosh.

Kalen Allen [00:27:27] Yes. Yes with LL Cool J and then she go blow all her money and then she find out she not really dying? I love it.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:33] Well, the basketball movie with Common.

Kalen Allen [00:27:35] Oh, don’t even get. Oh, my.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:38] And we haven’t even mentioned Set if Off.

Kalen Allen [00:27:39] I be boo hooing. When I watch Just Right and Set if Off, they both sad. Well, not Just Right, not sad, but it is nice to be like, Oh, look at her falling in love.

Common [00:27:48] You really think you could get me back?

Queen Latifah [00:27:49] Yeah but you’re gonna hate me by the time I’m through with you.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:52] Look at her falling in love? I don’t, you know, I just. So she and Missy are kind of my Mount Rushmore folks. Right. Like those two to me just seem like just talent on talent. Who do you sort of sit back and reflect? I mean, I know that you’re a huge MJ fan, but whose career do you look at? And it’s like, that is really something to kind of observe as you think about all the different paths that are open for you and the work you’re doing at Juilliard and NYU to like build a foundation. So when big things hit, you’re ready, right? Your foundation is going to be stronger and stronger. Stronger by the day. Whose career are you looking at like, hmm? In 40 years. I want to sit back and sort of and kind of reflect on like this is a nice continuation of there.

Kalen Allen [00:28:36] Oh Beyonce.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:28:38] Okay big fan, you’re like that one word. That’s it.

Kalen Allen [00:28:41] Listen here. People are already know I am one of the biggest Beyonce’s Beyonce fans. And I met her recently.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:28:49] Did you now?

Kalen Allen [00:28:49] And yes. And you know, for me growing up, I think a lot of when I talked about, you know, the fierceness and the power, I watched her and she commanded the stage and she commanded that attention and I really studied her work ethic.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:06] I was just about to say.

Kalen Allen [00:29:08] Yeah.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:08] Besides Michael Jackson, is there someone with a work ethic like Beyonce’s?

Kalen Allen [00:29:12] No. And I think that’s the thing, is that Beyonce I studied Michael Jackson, you know, so it’s like even though we do so, we are vastly different in as far as where we exist within the industry and what we do. I watched how she handled things and how she moved and how she played the game. You know, I thought she she did a very good job of playing the game to get the fans, to get the success and then to get control to be able to do it. How she wanted to do it, you know, but I, I think she’s textbook.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:45] Yeah. I mean, I think about, you know, when you you’ve seen various documentaries which, you know, obviously what she wants to show us to because there’s a certain privacy element that I really respect. But when I see Destiny’s Child, the first iteration at these malls, right in these county fairs where you’re performing sometimes with 30 people, sometimes maybe a hundred people just over and over perfecting the craft, just working at it and believing in it. Also, you know, just having this singular goal and saying, you know what, I know I am talented and I am going to keep working at it even when I’m at the county fair and there’s forty people in the audience like but I’m also Fantasia style, Patty style Aretha style. I’m going to perform for these 40 people as though it’s 40,000 people like Coachella. Right, right. And so just getting that conditioning, which I just have so much respect for artists like Beyonce who have a work ethic that just, you know, listen, I don’t know if she’s eaten a cheeseburger in the past ten years. I have no idea. Right. I just had a bowl of ox tails for breakfast. So it’s like all the the discipline that people have, you know, to have a singular goal. When I’d go to the gym and, you know, you see these, like, supermodels working out and I’m sitting there, you know, watch my little television on my little elliptical, and I was like, watch out and come to the gym and worked out, gone to the steam room, showered, gotten dressed, done my hair, come back out. You’re still on the same machine. I’m like uh, no, that’s not me.

Kalen Allen [00:31:12] But you know, it’s so funny that you talk about that because I think I can add to this and I think this is also a reason why I decided to go back to school and to do all of these things is that I actually don’t think. It is the best way to take somebody straight to the top. You know, you talk about like the Wal-Marts and they’re performing in parking lots. Like that’s all about artist development. And I think we live in a in a space now because there is so much instant gratification that people are just take a straight to the top. And I think a lot of people don’t know how to handle it. And I think also what’s hard about that is that I know, especially for me, in the beginning of my career, I made a lot of mistakes in front of the world because I was learning as I was going. And the reason why people were performing in the parking lots at those Wal-Marts and doing those smaller things, they are performing in schools because those were training wheels. They were going there to train for what they were needed to prepare for, for the bigger moment so that they weren’t just thrown into it. So I wish that we would bring back artists, develop.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:32:19] That artist development, which we don’t. You know, the thing is, that takes time and money and we know that this industry, this country, this world doesn’t have the patience for that in a lot of ways, that instinct. But you think about someone like, you know, a Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears. I mean, these people have been working. When I say working, I mean full work. Right.

Kalen Allen [00:32:40] For Justin Timberlake, you talk Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, all part of the Mickey Mouse Club, you know, and Ryan Gosling. Ryan Gosling. Listen, you know, I got all the credit, right? Exactly. But all these people working and cultivating their art and getting it to the place that by the time it was time to show it to a global audience, it had already been tweaked and polished and, you know, made to the best of its, you know, quality.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:33:09] Right. Okay, Kalen, I’m so excited for you. Like, I know we’re, you know, the Essence podcast again, but when I say I’m so excited for you building this foundation, I’m excited for this Juilliard piece. I’m excited for this journalism piece. And just you’re already obviously using natural talents. We get it. But there is something to be said about having the humility to recognize. It’s like, I’m really good at this, but I actually can work on things and consistently get better. So I can be great at this. I just I respect that. And I think a lot of our listeners are really always trying to figure out how do we strengthen up our foundation? I mean, this is what the whole podcast is about as we learn about Black History, a.k.a. American History as well.

Kalen Allen [00:33:53] Yeah.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:33:53] Yeah. Okay. We’re going to take a quick commercial break and we’re going to come back and continue playing The Blackest Questions with Kalen Allen, who is killing the game over here.

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Dr. Christina Greer [00:34:31] Okay. We’re back with Kalen Allen. Kalen, are you ready for question number four?

Kalen Allen [00:34:35] Oh, I’m ready.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:34:36] Okay. As a territory that had a long and violent history of pre-Civil War contests over slavery, this state emerged as the quintessential free state and seemed like a promised land for African-Americans who search for what they called a New Canaan. Which state is it?

Kalen Allen [00:34:56] This is a hard one, this is a tough one. When you say African-American Promised Land, you start to think of places where I knew a lot of Black people live.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:35:12] And maybe some Allens that lived there.

[00:35:15] Mm hmm. So it’s okay. Okay. Okay. All right. Oh, my gosh. I’m nervous, what if this is wrongl. Okay. I’m gonna say Kansas.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:35:26] It is Kansas. It is Kansas. So fleeing from new forms of oppression that were emerging in the post-Reconstruction era South. So a group of a group of African-American settlers established the community of Nicodemus on the windswept plains of Kansas in 1877. Many African-Americans believe that Kansas was a unique state where they would be allowed to freely exercise their rights as American citizens, gain true political freedom and have the opportunity to achieve economic self-sufficiency. On May eight, 1879, Kansas Governor Saint John formed the Freedmen’s Relief Association to help care for the people. This group established colonies for Blacks one in Woburn, which is to the west of Topeka and one to Taqwa County. And another in Coffee County. And so the Black exodus was a name given to African-Americans who migrated from states along the Mississippi River to Kansas in the late 19th century as part of the Exodus movement or the Exodus of 1879. And it was the first general migration of Black people following the Civil War. So I know you’re from Kansas City, Kansas. Mm hmm. You talked a little bit about Philly and how that city sort of made you in a lot of ways. What what influence did Kansas City have on you and how was it growing up there?

Kalen Allen [00:36:41] Oh, my goodness. You know, I loved growing up. Okay. You know who else is from the exact same county as me? Janelle Monae.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:36:49] No.

Kalen Allen [00:36:50] Mm hmm. Yeah.

Kalen Allen [00:36:51] Janelle Monae went to.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:36:53] That makes sense though when I think about both of your creative elements?

Kalen Allen [00:36:55] Yeah. Janelle went to school right up the street from my house, and actually, our mothers went to elementary school together. But I think growing up in Kansas City, what I am grateful for is one, Kansas City has some great food and barbecue is I don’t eat barbecue outside of Kansas City. Second of all. Kansas City is also very rooted in arts and culture. I don’t know why. And, you know, actually, when I go to other cities, like I was in Knoxville, I realize how advanced Kansas City is, and maybe that’s because it’s the heartland. So like everything, all the influences from all around the nation kind of meet in the middle. Maybe that is it. But I also know that Kansas City was a lot of privilege. Like I’m from Wanda County, which is like the Blackest county in Kansas City considered. You know, that was what they considered to be like the hood of Kansas, you know. But it was like but once I was going to temple and I was in North Philly, I was like, oh, this is this is two different worlds. I just I don’t think Kansas City even understands how we’re living truly and privileged here. You know, I think Kansas City is a very comfortable city. You know, I think it’s easy to to make a living and to build there. It’s also a very rich, rich city, but it’s also a very segregated city.

Kalen Allen [00:38:18] As most cities are.

Kalen Allen [00:38:19] It is, yes. But I think just like to a whole other extreme right now, it’s like, you know, where the Black people they’re you know, where the white people are.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:38:28] Are there some train tracks?

Kalen Allen [00:38:29] There are train tracks. There are train tracks. And it’s like. It is actually amazing how drastically different it can be and how segregated it is. And so but in recent years, you know, and while I was in high school, Kansas City has started, which is great, is because, you know, it started to really upgrade and improve and stuff like that and doesn’t work almost the same as gentrification in most places because the white people kind of just go out to where there is no land, where there’s nothing built, you know? But I think what, what the issue with that is that then they started developing all this stuff out there with white people there, and then the Black communities further down start to get neglected. You know what I mean?

Kalen Allen [00:39:10] And where are the resources for Black folks?

Kalen Allen [00:39:12] Like not having a grocery store, you know, and stuff like that and having food deserts and. Yeah.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:39:18] Well, okay. So before I ask my next question, in my urban politics, course, I talk about food, apartheid and not necessarily dessert because there is a woman that I saw on Instagram who was talking about the difference between a dessert. It’s kind of a naturally made thing, right? So desserts just happened. But a food apartheid is a conscious decision to neglect a community and actually have these inequities. And so when we think about Black communities not having grocery stores, you know, only having dollar trees and maybe a Walmart, it’s actually a deliberate experience that we’re going through. And sadly, we see it in city after city. And so just as a minor shift for me, I’ve actually started saying food apartheid because it actually makes it a dual relationship between those who are giving and receiving.

Kalen Allen [00:40:07] Got it.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:40:08] So but thinking of Kansas City, when did you know it was time for you to because I mean, going to Philly, that’s a that’s a far shift. Like, did you have folks who had left Kansas City or did you already know, like as a kid, were you like, I’m in fourth grade, but I’m getting out of here the on the first thing smoking when I turned 18. Like, when did you know that? It’s like, this is a beautiful place. I respect it and I love it, and it’s made me who I am. But I got to go to be who I really am.

Kalen Allen [00:40:36] Oh, I always knew. And I think I’ll say it probably is a big part of my queerness. I knew that I didn’t fit in there, you know, I was like I was just I was in Kansas. You go to Kansas, the only thing people know how to wear is a royals t shirt in a chiefs t shirt, you know, and those are the sports teams that I was like, Honey, this is so basic. It’s so basic. I got to go, okay, I got to go. But I always do my entire life. And, you know, I was a part of an organization called Kauffman Scholars. And Kauffman Scholars allowed me to go anywhere in the country for college on a Fulbright scholarship. So I have no student loans. I never had to pay for college. I started in the seventh grade. It was an academic program. I would have to go classes. I had to get a certain test score on the ACT. There were all these requirements that I had to do from seventh grade up until graduation. And so then I had a full ride scholarship in in the how I ended up at Temple and decided to go to Philadelphia is my dream school was NYU and never by this is the only time I ever doubted myself and that’s why I’m glad that I’m now at NYU is because I didn’t think I was going to get it and I didn’t apply. But I had taken a test online. I’d done a lot of college prep where I went to a college prep school, as well as International Baccalaureate School. And when I was in my senior year, I took a quiz and the quiz would match you with schools that were best for you. And the first one that came up was Temple. And I literally said, okay, well, that’s where I’m going and that’s how it happened.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:10] And then I know it’s a circle. Now you’re about to have a degree from NYU and Temple and what.

Kalen Allen [00:42:15] Ok.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:16] Well, you know, and as a college professor, I always tell people, you know, when I have students who want to go to graduate school and, you know, I write the letters and we we talk about it’s like, well, you know, let’s just say, for example, I really want to go to NYU Law School. I was like, well, the first step is you gotta apply.

Kalen Allen [00:42:28] Right. Like.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:29] Chances are they’re not just going to find you of the millions of people in America. So, like, the one thing that you have to do is actually put yourself out there and apply. And so I love how there’s there’s that one time where you let the sort of fear get the better of you and you’re like, No, mos.

Kalen Allen [00:42:44] Yeah. And I haven’t done this since, you know.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:47] So we’ll have NYU, we’ll have Julianne, we’ll have Temple, and then the rest will be history. And they were.

Kalen Allen [00:42:53] Next is culinary school. Oh, I know that for a fact.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:42:57] Well, I’d like to eat. I don’t know if you knew that.

Kalen Allen [00:42:58] Well, there we go.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:43:00] I’m like, I’ll help you with your with your midterm prep.

Kalen Allen [00:43:04] Lovely.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:43:05] Okay. We’re going to take a quick break. We’re playing with Black expressions with Kalen Allen.

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Dr. Christina Greer [00:43:39] Okay, Kalen, we’re back. We’re going to do our last question before we have our Black Lightning Round. Are you ready? You are ready, though. Well, thank you. Okay, question number five. This collection of music festivals centered around beach locales and African music has become a big deal in Portugal, Puerto Rico and Ghana by attracting Black travelers that flocked to the beach festival to witness their favorite Afrobeat, hip hop and reggae artists like Burna Boy, Wizkid and French Montana. What is the name of this festival?

Kalen Allen [00:44:11] Uh, this one may give me. I don’t do a lot of music festivals. Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I have. Shoot. Mm hmm. Okay, I’ll make a guess. It’s probably going to be wrong though. Okay. Well, not me. About to lose our. Well, I guess I’ve made it pretty far. Okay, I’m going to guess. Afropunk.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:44:39] Close. It’s Afro Nation.

Kalen Allen [00:44:41] I’ve never heard of that.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:44:42] We’ll that’s why we play The Blackest Questions, my love. So last year, the Beach Festival popped up in West Africa for the first time with its Ghana edition. So the festival co-founders say the festival was born out of the need for opportunities for Afrobeats artists and to unify the African diaspora. So Afro Nation 2022 was July 1st and third of this this past year. So Afro Nation. So a lot of us know about AfroPunk, but this is another one for those of us who are interested in more African Afrobeat, hip hop and reggae artists together. Is that interesting?

Kalen Allen [00:45:18] Yeah. I didn’t even know that existed in so.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:21] I know that, you know, when you travel and you travel a lot for work, but when you vacation, you’re more of an adventurous. Oh, right. And you said you go to festivals that are that are Beyonce the festivals. Now, what’s on your bucket list for travel?

Kalen Allen [00:45:38] Oh, I really want to go to Brazil and I want to really want to go to Rio de Janeiro. I’ve been to a lot of places. I definitely want to go to Italy. I love Italian food.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:50] I took my niece there for two weeks this summer.

Kalen Allen [00:45:52] Really?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:45:52] Yeah, well they graduated from high school, and I wanted us to have just a little time together, just the two of us, to talk about just life and eat and look around. And so before they went to to college, we spent two weeks and we did the Venice, Florence, Rome, three city just eating our way through from north to south.

Kalen Allen [00:46:14] I also want to go to South Africa. I really want South Africa. I have a lot of fans in South Africa and so I definitely want to go there. I really wanted to go when they did global citizens and because of Beyonce. But I do I really, really want to go to South Africa.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:29] Well, you know, there’s Durban and Johannesburg and Cape Town and those three cities again. Cities. Right. This is part of your city’s television show.

Kalen Allen [00:46:40] Yup Mm hmm.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:46:40] Because there’s so different and the cuisine is so different in those three cities because of their geographic location and because of the migration and immigration of different folks who’ve been there. I cannot wait to see you put something together that incorporates cities and travel and food and culture and fashion, obviously. Okay. And so of the places you’ve traveled, what, what would you recommend for our listeners. Mm. Because we had Jessica Nabongo on the podcast.

Kalen Allen [00:47:08] Oh, I love Jessica.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:09] I mean, she’s phenomenal.

Kalen Allen [00:47:11] That’s a friend of mine.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:12] For our listeners who missed that episode. She’s the first Black woman to travel to every single country in the world. And so her passport is hot. I thought my passport hot her passport stays hot. But where have you been that you would suggest to our listeners and that you’d recommend?

Kalen Allen [00:47:27] My favorite place that I have been is Barcelona.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:33] Barcelona?

Kalen Allen [00:47:34] Yes. Barcelona. I loved it. I loved the food. Mm. It was so much culture as well there. Anywhere, you know, in Spain really is a treat. My top two are definitely Barcelona and Paris.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:51] Mm. I love Paris.

Kalen Allen [00:47:54] Isn’t it, it’s so boujee

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:56] Don’t you have to just, like, whisper when you say Paris?

Kalen Allen [00:47:58] I know, right?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:47:59]  I went there this summer with my two nieces. We went to Paris and London.

Kalen Allen [00:48:05] I need to be in your family. Okay, because you taking all the trips.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:48:08] Everybody wants to be my niece. Right.

Kalen Allen [00:48:11] Really.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:48:12] I’m, you know, I. I take it very seriously. I’m a pank. I’m a professional aunt no kids. I love it. I just think that it is so important. Travel is so important, right? It’s essential for the soul if you can do it. But I mean, there are a lot of ways that you can do it locally, obviously, if the money’s a little funny. But I like to eat and real. I’m real clear about that. I like good food and it doesn’t have to be expensive food. I mean, I think, you know, now, you know, this just sort of in the culinary world, sometimes street meat and street food is.

Kalen Allen [00:48:42] The best.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:48:42] Better than a, you know, a Michelin starred restaurant.

Kalen Allen [00:48:45] You know, I love that you said that because I was I just got off a Disney cruise.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:48:49] How was that?

Kalen Allen [00:48:49] Oh, my God. The best vacation I have ever been on. But we were on the Disney cruise. And they have this they have a restaurant called Enchanté, right and it’s like a fancy dinner it’s modeled after the Beauty and the beast. Right. And so we had made this reservation. We were like, oh, yeah, we’re going to go it. But each time, every night you go to dinner and these different, you know, dining halls, but they have shows, so they have entertainment attached. Well, the night that we had Enchanté, we found out that originally we were supposed to go to Arendelle, which is from Frozen, and it was a show. And I said, So what’s special in Enchanté? I’ll tell it was like, Oh, it’s just a nice, you know, Michelin star five star dinner. I said, so, ain’t no show? They said, no, I said baby, we ain’t going to Enchanté. I said, I go to fancy dinner in New York City, honey. I mean, no, no, no, no. I’ll see yall in Arendelle ok.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:49:40] No Enchanté for me.

Kalen Allen [00:49:40] Okay.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:49:42] Well, so, you know, my my secret for when I travel, because I like to eat and I like to eat anywhere and everywhere, you know, just it’s good food, you know, it’s like it can come from anywhere. My secret is this. You wake up and you have a little shot of Coca-Cola, a little half glass Coca-Cola. And if you’ve ever seen what Coca-Cola does to a car battery or to a penny, you know that a little half glass of Coca-Cola in the morning, the entire vacation. You are scot free. You can drink water. You can go to local vendors. You can eat anywhere you want to eat, honey, because your stomach is A-OK. Like that is the first thing I do is like I buy a liter if I’m someplace where we buy a liter of coke and every morning I wake up and just have a little sip of Coca-Cola, and I’m like, All right, let’s let’s hit it. The day is here.

Kalen Allen [00:50:30] Listen. And, you know, my guilty pleasures, Coca Cola, I love Coca Cola.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:50:35] Now, see, and I don’t drink a lot of soda just because.

Kalen Allen [00:50:38] That’s the only thing I drink.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:50:39] Because the minute I drink soda, my face looks like I drink soda. So it’s only when I’m on vacation. But if you’re already a Coca-Cola Cola drinker, you’re ahead of the game.

Kalen Allen [00:50:48] I’m set.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:50:48] Just like, in Blackest Questions, you’re ahead of the game. Okay. So we’re going to take a quick commercial break. I’m here with Kalen Allen and when we come back, we’re going to play Black Lightning.

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Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:13] Okay, we’re back. Kalen, before we let you out here, we’ve got time for the Black bonus round. Are you ready for a little Black lightning?

Kalen Allen [00:51:20] Come on. I’m ready.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:21] Okay, now these questions. There is no wrong answer. You just tell me. Yay or nay. Right. It’s just how you feel.

Kalen Allen [00:51:27] Okay.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:28] Okay. Question number one if you could choose your bestie, Barack Obama or Beyoncé?

Kalen Allen [00:51:33] Beyonce.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:34] If you had to choose Toni Braxton or Adele?

Kalen Allen [00:51:37] Toni Braxton.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:38] Best Italian dish that you make. Lasagna or chicken parm?

Kalen Allen [00:51:41] Lasagna.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:43] Favorite music genre?

Kalen Allen [00:51:46] R&B.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:47] Michael Jackson or Prince?

Kalen Allen [00:51:48]  Michael Jackson.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:51] If you had to choose Barcelona or Paris?

Kalen Allen [00:51:54] Barcelona.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:51:56] Samuel Jackson or Denzel Washington?

Kalen Allen [00:51:59] Denzel Washington.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:00] If you had to choose once on this island or MJ the musical?

Kalen Allen [00:52:04] Once on this island.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:06] Do you prefer Instagram or Tik Tok?

Kalen Allen [00:52:08] Instagram.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:09] And if you had to choose, last question performing or hosting?

Kalen Allen [00:52:14] Hosting.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:15] Oh, I can’t wait to see more of the hosting that you do. I am so thankful that you joined us. I am so excited to see what you do in the next few months and years. Please promise that you’ll come back to Blackest Questions.

Kalen Allen [00:52:30] Oh, absolutely. This is so much fun.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:33] You did fabulously, by the way.

Kalen Allen [00:52:35] Thank you.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:52:36] And for our listeners out there, you’ve been listening to Kalen Allen and The Blackest Questions. And I want to thank you all for listening. The show is produced by Sasha Armstrong, Akilah, Sheldrick, Geoffrey Trudeau and Regina Griffin as our managing editor podcast. If you like what you heard, subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. And please download the app to listen and watch many more great shows.