Cereal Break with Yassir Lester

Yassir Lester The Antidote

Cereal Break with Yassir Lester

In this episode of the Antidote, hosts Amy Aniobi and Grace Edwards connect with writer and comedian Yassir Lester about dipping into his favorite cereal, managing anxiety, risking it all for celebrity crushes, and giving back to the kids.

Amy and Grace share their bummer news of the week: the Amir Locke verdict, the world’s shitty air quality, and more. They also share their antidotes for the week-old friends! City Girls! - and discuss the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown.  

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Amy The world is a dumpster fire. I'm Amy.

Grace And I'm Grace

Amy And we want to help. And fair warning. Our help comes with some strong language attached. So I took them little kiddies into bed because we about to say some things.

Grace As a reflex to the f---ing madness on the news. We're keeping it positive, uplifting, but opinionated.

Amy We talk about cultural moments we love.

Grace Talk to people we adore.

Amy Crushes we have.

Grace And self-care we stan.

Amy During these trying times. We all need a show that focuses on joy.

Grace This is The Antidote. Hi, everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Antidote.

Amy Well, we're so happy to be here back in L.A..

Grace You are.

Amy Grace is still in transit.

Grace Yeah, yeah, I'm headed on a flight. I'm headed on a jet plane back to sunny Los Angeles soon. But I'm really sad, actually, to leave New York because, you know, I know not to L.A., man, but y'all don't really give women compliments the way.

Amy Oh, we come in spicy this morning.

Grace A man stepped out of his cab yesterday, and I was waiting for my Uber. And a man came out of my his cab and was just like, I love your shoes. This you're doing is says like, what? Look at your outfit. You know, I love that you made an effort. I do it in the elevator said that.

Amy And then the cab driver was like, sir, yeah, please pay your fare.

Grace You know what I'm saying. That was a cab driver who did it.

Amy Wait, the cab driver was like, I would rather talk than make my money.

Grace Now it's not even just men and women do it to like.

Amy What?

Grace I stepped I was getting on the elevator the other day and this woman, like this Black woman, just stopped and she's like, Excuse me, sis, what you have on, you're doing it today. And I was just like, oh, my God, New York. Thank you. Wow. Sometimes I'll be in an outfit in L.A. and nobody don't say sh-- to me.

Amy I'm just going to ask. I'm just asked real quick for my mind. Do these people have masks on while they're doing this? I'm just curious.

Grace No.

Amy Because I will say, okay, because I will say this. And I think L.A., the friendliness has gone down. L.A. is not a super friendly city. And I and I agree with you on the higher end for sure. But I have noticed the general friendliness has gone down because of masks. Yeah. And I'm like, when you're in stores, people don't really talk to you. When they do, you're like, what? You're like, I can't see your mouth moving. I don't know what you're saying.

Grace And I know I know a lot of women don't like that. I'm not saying that we want street harassment.

Amy In our twenties. We were like, Ew, don't talk to me.

Grace Yeah, exactly. No street harassment. But I mean, like I will say in New York, nine times out of ten at me anyway, it's been pretty respectful. Like nobody's like making comments on body parts, they're making comments on my outfit or, you know, or just saying, God bless you or um.

Amy And also times have changed because I feel like I remember I was followed once in New York, which really, really terrified me by this guy who is like trying to holler and then trying to attack.

Grace Oh no.

Amy I still remember our friend Lauren, who posted that she and her wife were walking their dog and someone hollered at them and was like, Y'all can't be going around looking that good. And then like literally saw they were holding hands and then was like, It's cool that you love each other, but you can't look that good. And it was like, I don't want to be homophobic. And that just cracked me up. And I'm like, even the hollering is polite.

Grace Anyway, moving on, let's get to the show. We can't have the antidote if we don't have something to get an antidote from. 

Amy Starting now up top with a bummer news of the week. All right. So first up, Sweet Grace, did you hear that 99% of the world's population breathes poor air quality?

Grace Oh no. I mean, I know we live in L.A. We just breathe smog.

Amy Yeah.

Amy Oh, literally listeners don't know. My voice always sounds raspy because I'm constantly coughing because I have very bad allergies in L.A. and it's literally just the air is packed. Yeah, it's full. Smog gets toxic. It's killing us slowly with this song. And the U.N. is actually calling, as they very often are. But now U.N. is calling for action to reduce fossil fuels, while simultaneously who is doing all these studies that prove we need to reduce these fossil fuels? And they're saying, well, the air quality is porous in eastern Mediterranean and in Southeast Asia, followed by Africa and I'm like why are you sh---ing on Africa, like y'all haven't been to L.A. The air quality is terrible in L.A. Let's not talk about the continent of Africa.

Grace I literally don't believe that Africa has worse air quality than America. I just don't believe it. I just don't

Amy Half of that sh--'s a jungle.

Grace Yeah, exactly. They have.

Amy Anti-Africa.

Amy Like.

Amy But It's true. It's half of it is very green.

Grace Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Like there's whole deserts and sh--, like lots of greenery. There's waterfalls and stuff is not worse than here. I don't believe that. Sorry. It's pretty dark. Yeah.

Amy Yeah, it's pretty dark, but the darkness doesn't stop there. Second bit of bummer news is that there have been no charges against the police in the Amir Locke Shooting. For those who don't specifically remember this case, since so many people are getting shot all the time. Mr. Locke was awakened in the early morning hours by officers entering his apartment under a no knock warrant, and he was holding his own handgun. And then and he had begun legally. And the cops shot him last February. And so hearing this is really sh---y, like, you know, for it feels like the police right now with police brutality and police shootings are like one for y'all, one for us. Like, it feels like judges are just like, okay, Blacks, calm down. Don't you shoot up any more targets. Okay, now, now we gon we're going to let this guy slide. Don't you shoot up any target, and I'm just like y'all this is not. This is not progress.

Grace I feel like the only reason that Derek Chauvin got convicted is because everybody was on their f---ing neck like.

Amy Yea.

Grace Everybody was from day one. Like there were so many protests. There was so many, you know, tweets and letters and calls. I made call.

Amy People there and people outside the courthouse.

Grace  Outside the courthouse, but I feel like we we literally can't do that for every single time this happens. So the ones that are end up just like lower profile, like Breonna Taylor, you know, it was high profile for black women. But I feel like a lot of people did click in to that one in particular. And so they're not facing any charges. So it's like it's either you have to be outraged and in the streets and then maybe that means that officer will get convicted. But I didn't even really hear about this one. So.

Amy And it happened in the same city where George Floyd was murdered, so literally in the battleground of where the anger took place last year. And they still did this.

Grace Exactly. Din't learn sh--.

Amy Didn't learn sh--. And the last bit of bummer news this week is a little bit lighter. Those of you may have seen the Grammys last weekend. And Jazmine Sullivan. Queen icon, the voice of a generation literally was forced to share one of her Grammys with Silk Sonic. And there's something to me that's so funny about a tie at an awards show.

Grace Yea, why? Just pick one. Just pick one.

Amy She has had 15 nominations over her 19 year career. And now finally in the same night, she won two Grammys. She won for pick up your feelings for best R&B performance. And she also won best R&B album for hotels. Duh. Hotels is the greatest album since Lemonade. And literally, she's out here having to share one of those with like, high ass Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak.

Grace But at least they gave her things for hotels. Yes, it is great. So we love Jazmine and I'm glad that she got at least acknowledgment for that brilliant, brilliant, beautiful album. But yeah, you shouldn't have to share anything with those. Like like they're good, though. They are. They already have like 12 Grammys and they've been out for like two years.

Amy Yes, they've been here for 9 seconds.

Grace No shade. We love silk sonic. But but yeah, Jazmine shouldn't have had to share that one. You guys can get the next one. Come on. Well, after all that bummer news, I kind of feel like sh--. How about you, Amy?

Amy I'm in the same boat.

Grace Okay, let's get into the antidote.

Amy This is a segment where we tell you about the culture we consumed and the things we did this week that made us both feel better about the bummer news. So I'd love to know what's your antidote of the week, Grace.

Grace My antidote this week is old friends. Oh, friends that you know, I value all my friendship, so obviously I value this any of you here, like we're doing a podcast together, but there is something about someone who's known you for over ten years. It's just like they knew you when you didn't have sh--. So, you know, when I was in Baltimore, like I mentioned on the last one, my friend got married and so my birthday brunch was populated with all friends from high school. They know all the little traumas I went through in high school, the the boyfriends I had and everything like that. And then also I'm here in New York, right here where I lived for 15 years. And yeah, I had friends that I met in grad school, which is that like my friend used to cook me dinner because I was broke and like all those traumatic and beautiful stories and all the glow up and like when I got my first call to be on Kimmy Schmidt, they were all there for that. So it's been just so beautiful, like being around people that have known me so long.

Amy I would love for you to describe the emotions that it gives you to hear you reflected back from your friends.

Grace Yeah, it's just like being home or something like that. It's like it's a feeling of home, of like being deeply known and that our friendship has survived so many. Like a. Zoom downs and the world's ups and downs in our own personal lives. You know, people have had babies. People have gotten married. People have gotten divorced. Like there's just so much life that's been lived. And we still love each other, which is, to me, a beautiful thing.

Amy I'm obsessed with that. I love that being around friends you love can give you, as you put it, a sense of home like that to me is like, really that that's that's the thing, right? Is like searching for all your life. You're searching for the places where you belong and finding places where you belong. And there's something about always knowing that you have this special bond with people who know you a different way.

Grace Anyway, obsessed with that. That is my antidote for the week. How about yours, Amy? What was your antidote this week?

Amy My antidote was a little bit more basic. It was listening to the new City Girls song.

Grace That ain't basic, girl. That sh-- is good as F---.

Amy Is listening to the City Girl song top notch? Um on a loop, yo. Yes. First of all, that song is so good. And also so many of the lyrics are so f---ing funny. Like, I just, like, f---ing love it. I, I love rap songs about working hard.

Grace Yes.

Amy I am a double virgo. I love rap songs about working hard, about finding your self-worth, about knowing your value about stunting on thos hoes. Which is like a lot of rap songs, but there's this particular mix of like where it's almost like the men. It's not about the men, it's about you. So like, you know, formation by Beyoncé with the savage remarks also by Beyoncé and Megan the negative. But then I also love some toxic people like Lil Baby something to prove. Like there's certain songs where it's just kind of like they have the ability to make me feel like I can go do things. Bank by Earth Gang. If you haven't listened to Bank by Earth Gang, it's literally all about laughing on the way to the bank. And I'm like. I love this song, but there's something the City Girls lyrics. Two of my favorite lines are when Caresha raps could pay for it, but I'd rather him.

Grace Yeah.

Amy Like.

Grace You could, girl, but you'd rather him.

Amy Could've paid for it, but I'd rather him literally. When JT verse is flawless. When I say it's flawless and she comes in just going like, you got to pay for this. And I'm like, literally every time I hear it, I'm like, Since I've been back, there are so many times when I was even at the airport. And so I was like, This is 2.99. I turn to my friend, I'm like, You got to pay for this. I can't stop. This song just pumps me up.

 

Grace Love it.

 

Amy It's so good. She has a great line where she's like, Beefin with who, bitch? I don't know you. And I'm like, That's right.

 

Grace That's. Period. You know what? Let me tell you how that hits me in my heart right now, because, you know, another antidote that I didn't even really mention was Ketanji Brown Jackson being.

 

Amy Let's talk about that..

 

Grace Confirmed for the Supreme Court.

 

Amy Here's one other line that's relevant to this situation. Not only does she say, beefin with who, bitch? I don't know you. Yeah, but she also said, y'all gossip and I'm in the news feed. And I'm like, I'm like, when I see this Ketanji Brown sh--, that's exactly what it is. Okay, y'all gossiping. But I'm in the news feed.

 

Grace Yeah, like it happened.

 

Amy What. Period.

 

Grace It should have been a bigger margin, but guess what, bitch? It happened and she's up in the Supreme Court, and y'all could be mad about it all day, every day. But it won't change the fact that she's in there. It won't change one fact. I love that.

 

Amy I will say it was an antidote watching that six someone repost of the 6 seconds that it hits Ketanji Brown, Supreme Court Justice Brown when it hits her that she got the nomination. And you just see all of the emotions run across her face, like being like, Oh, I got it. Oh, this is heavy. Oh, this is so important. Oh, I cannot cry like seeing her, like, process it live. I like who I am. What I loved about both of our antidotes is yours is about the sense of feeling at home with people, you know? And mine was like the sense of feeling like at home with yourself.

 

Grace Yeah.

 

Amy With complete strangers, complete celebrities. But I was like, That's right, bitch. When I heard that song. And it literally anytime I hear a rap song that's just about like I'm a bad bitch, even though I'm always trying to feel that way and I often suffer from imposter syndrome, it does make me feel like there's a part of me that is that in there. I feel like you must feel that way. Even going home and seeing old friends.

 

Grace Yeah, it's wonderful, huh. Well, I do feel a bit better now.

 

Amy Yeah. Yeah, well, that feels like a good place to take a break. We'll be right back.

 

Grace Welcome back to the antidote. We have a special guest today. Who is it, Amy?

 

Amy Oh, it's only my brother from another mother. My husband from another. That's not the same point is I met this comedian, writer and actor years ago. And for folks who don't know, he hails from the Dirty South Georgia, to be exact, and is known for bringing his comedy talents to shows like NBC's The Carmichael Show, HBO's Girls, Showtime's Black Monday and Beyond. He's now the head writer for the upcoming Marvel studio series Armor Wars, and he and his brother recently teamed up to talk sneakers, video games and all things culture on their new podcast, History of Heat. In other words, he knows his way around the podcast and my heart. Please welcome the tallest child in Los Angeles. Yassir lester. You know, you look young.

 

Yassir Lester That is so kind.

 

Amy Black don't crack.

 

Yassir Lester At mine. My brother has a joke, so I'm giving them all credit. It's like he told me. He was like, Look, Black don't crack. But in your case, it shatters. He was like, Why do you look so old?

 

Grace So rude.

 

Amy He is fully wrong. Your brother is mean.

 

Grace So, Amy, he is very impressive. But we're not here to talk about his many, many, many, many accomplishments. We're here to get deep.

 

Amy Yeah. So let's check in first. How are you feeling today? Like, for real, not small talk. Is there anything that's weighing on you?

 

Yassir Lester For those of you listening, I suffer from a crippling anxiety. I had a pretty big anxiety attack yesterday.

 

Amy I feel you, yeah.

 

Yassir Lester The come downs are always kind of weirdly like I become insatiably, like, hungry and I haven't eaten enough today. So I'm going to order some Chinese food in a little bit. And then that I also finish the Kanye West documentary. So that's that that also puts you in a certain particular mood. You know.

 

Amy You were feeling some feelings.

 

Yassir Lester A lot of feel, a lot of feelings.

 

Grace So. Yassir. What is your antidote? In other words, what is something non-work-related that's bringing you joy this week?

 

Amy Or this month or this year?

 

Grace Or this month?

 

Amy You know.

 

Yassir Lester Prayer, meditation, a mixture of both. I think that, like, I truly, you know, I heard someone once describe prayer as talking to God, and meditation is listening to God.

 

Amy Ooh.

 

Grace Love that.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah. And I was like, wow. I was like, Really? And so that is really, you know, that's just kind of a constant. So I always kind of put that first and encompassing all that is like, you know, relationships with family and friends. Like, I consider like love, prayer, meditation. I consider that all the same, like, conscious energy, right? So that's like one thing. So that's the serious, serious, like, true answer.

 

Amy I love that. Wait. I want to I want to just sit with that a little bit because I really love the concept of communication, both talking and listening, because I think sometimes I don't know, I have a tendency to think of prayer is asking for things as opposed to gratitude and like being able to have a conversation. And I love that you keep both sides of that. That's really cool.

 

Amy No, I was just going to say that every time I pray or whatever I literally started off, it's like, God, I know we haven't talked in a while and I feel like I'm like, I don't deserve what I'm going to ask for, but I'm going to ask you for anyway. Yes. Oh. Lord, I would love Idris Elba and a Birkin.

 

Yassir Lester Idris Elba. Grace Come on. Just those are just so surface like who's your deep cut.

 

Amy No, her real one is different. Her real one is different. Yeah.

 

Grace Who's my real one?

 

Amy Are you going to say it?

 

Grace You can say it.

 

Amy Who you really want? Who you really want?

 

Grace Who?

 

Amy Boris Kodjoe.

 

Grace Oh, Boris Kodjoe.

 

Amy That's your man, that's your man.

 

Grace And when I saw him in person, one's at age club and I was just like I was out at a meeting with someone else and I, like, turn to the person. I was just like, I'm so sorry. I'm not going to be able to concentrate on anything that you're saying right now because that man over there is my number. F---ing one. Like, just beyond. Like if God made a man just for Grace, like he just arranged all the features of his face and body for me.

 

Amy Wait, wait. I want to get back to you. Said you had deep antidotes and then some other ones. Yeah, I want to hear the other ones.

 

Yassir Lester You're going to hate this number two. Boris Kodjoe's wife, love her.

 

Amy Woah. What.

 

Yassir Lester Love Nicole Ari Parker. Oh, my God. That is.

 

Grace She is very beautiful.

 

Yassir Lester Yes, she is my best friend and she is listening right now.

 

Amy Stop right there. You can die.

 

Grace Oh, yeah. I was just like, girl. I'm not about to toss it over at Boris Kodjoe. Don't worry or whatever. I'm good.

 

Yassir Lester That. See, that is the big difference that is that like and I hate to be like genders are different but like I feel like whoever my number one is, if I were a single person in the world and I saw them, I would walk up to them and be like, If you are willing to have an affair, we can go right now.

 

Amy Now is the time. This might be the place.

 

Yassir Lester And for you, Grace, like again, men are such dogs that if you went over to him, be like, Hey, do you want to have an affair? He'd be like. Yeah, you're beautiful. Okay, look, you know, they'd be like, You can just do it, you really.

 

Grace I would never I could not I could not sleep at night. And that was that would be such bad karma for me. So I'd be like, Oh, man, I can't do that to another woman for sure.

 

Yassir Lester Oh, my God, that's so crazy.

 

Grace And she. They all got those cute kids. I could never.

 

Yassir Lester But I mean, you don't have to rat him out. You can just have an affair and be silent.

 

Grace Do you think I could have an affair with Boris Kodjoe and not tell people. I'm telling everybody I've ever met.

 

Amy I would hear about it while it's happening. Amy!

 

Grace He's hitting it from the back right now.

 

Yassir Lester Oh, my God. Okay.

 

Grace Amy, he's really good.

 

Amy What's that sound? Oh, it's just cheeks clapping. Don't worry.

 

Grace And then she'd be like, can you finish first and then.

 

Yassir Lester  Now. Now I get why you can't have an affiar.

 

Amy I feel like that makes sense.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah, that feels crazy. Real number two. Um, decaffeinated venti, iced americanos from Starbucks.

 

Amy Oh, hey, that's vintage. I say vintage because I haven't been to a Starbucks the entire pandemic. Isn't that crazy?

 

Yassir Lester Because you only been to hilltop.

 

Amy Why does that make you mad?

 

Yassir Lester Yeah. Oh, because you only have hilltop coffee. You uppity-

 

Amy I will say the funny thing is it's because once I learned I could make coffee, I just kept making it. It was like the world shutdown. I was like, What ever shall I do? And then I started buying whole beans and I bought a little grinder. And now it's like part of my ritual. I'm like, Let me grind up these machines. Let me make this coffee. Yeah. And it became. Really. But there is something really comforting and vintage, but also like just a modern treasure of being able to go to a Starbucks and get exactly what you want. And it tastes the same every time.

 

Yassir Lester But there's a Starbucks like three quarters of a mile from me. So it's like I don't walk. I get it. I walk back. It feels like there's a ritual involved, you know what I'm saying? And to Quinn, any obvious point? Like, I worked at McDonald's for years, and it's like, I hate it because I worked there. But I also know if I go into that, McDonald's is going to taste the same way it did. 20 years ago. You know what I mean? And I like I like to win any obvious point consistency. I like I like making sure that, you know, I like knowing that it's always going to be there. And also I like that it is quite literally a placebo. And I was talking about anxiety, blah, blah, blah. And I'm sure there's, you know, can they actually decaffeinate a coffee? Who knows? But like I like that I get that I get the the ritual of it all.

 

Amy I am obsessed with the antidote of ritual, like just yeah. Comforting yourself with the familiar and like going back to like, I mean, the simple things.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah, I'll say and there's again, simple joy. I think every though it depends on your diet clearly. Well I think every adult just to like reconnect with themself should have a bowl of their favorite cereal like twice a week at night. Like I do it as like a little dessert. It's I really don't like that one. Just getting a little fruity, just like just like a mug of fruity pebbles or cookie crisp cinnamon toast crunch. Like, I think that, like. And this will be the last, like, big statement I make, I promise. But, like, it's so easy to be, like, bills, you know, like, life, all this stuff, and you. You really like. I do feel like the philosophy of cereal kind of just, like, grounds you in there. Like, there's a small thing that I enjoy and like, kind of nothing else matters for a second, right? Like, and you don't have to feel guilty about it's not eating like a pint of ice cream or any of that stuff, you know what I'm saying? Like, it really does, like, I don't know, like, brings you back to kind of just being young in a weird way. Yeah.

 

Grace Yeah. And the excitement of having your favorite cereal, like, yeah, those are joys of a child.

 

Yassir Lester Also, just sit outside for 5 minutes, just like sit outside for 5 minutes on your if you have a porch or, you know, whatever, even just at the driveway of the apartment complex, whatever, like you just realize that you are a creation of the universe. See it for what it is for a second. Breathe in the smog.

 

Amy Oh.

 

Grace Sweet, sweet smog. Yes.

 

Amy Yassir. We talk all the time about family and how much we love our families. Like I always. Like, I like to hang out or talk to my family a lot. And I'm curious, even just the ritual of seeing your family, like most of your close family, moved to L.A. and they all live here like now. Do you feel like they someone asked me literally earlier today, is family an antidote for you? And I was like, No. But I do love them a lot. I'm curious, do you feel like family is your is an antidote for you? Do they calm you down? Amp you up?

 

Yassir Lester I feel like uh can can your poison also be your antidote, right? You know?

 

Amy Yeah.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah, I know.

 

Amy That's deep.

 

Grace That's deep.

 

Yassir Lester Wow. He's spittin. Oh, no. But like I would say, mostly antidote because I'm very. And I think, you know, and I. I don't want to make this like, black writer Twitter podcast, but like, I do think that like as writers, I think it's very easy to become very insular and you're just always working things out in your head, your head, your head. My family's really good at helping me at least seeing some different perspective because I also don't like and this is this is a conversation for a different day, but it's like I also like I kind of tell my family stuff and then like my therapist and that's it. Like, I don't like, go to friends. Like, I've got this problem. Like I just like sit there, just like will punch a hole in the wall. And everyone was like, you're okay? And I'm like, yes.

 

Amy Let it out.

 

Yassir Lester So so I would say they're mostly antidote every once in a while. Of course, you argue with family. Well, yeah, but like, I feel like family is only poison if you care about them, right? Like, I have so many friends that they just, like, don't care about their family, you know? So they just don't think about them, like.

 

Amy But that's true. Like, it's true like they can only be poison because you care which in itself is like. You have feelings.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah, exactly.

 

Amy And that's a positive thing. I think about that so often, especially like during the pandemic, there were times where I was like, mom and dad, you can't tell me what you're doing. Because once you say like, I went to Costco, I'm just imagining the darkest sh--. Yeah, I'm just like, you were in a store in Texas. Like, I just can't handle it. And I'm like, that gave me anxiety and that was poison. But also in its own way, I'm like, Well, it proves I care about you. So I'm going to let you know.

 

Grace Yeah, having family is a blessing, but it's also like you care. Too much and you try to like, make sure they're safe and everything. And but, you know, you have to remember that's my therapist says that they're grown. They can do what they want, so.

 

Yassir Lester I just. Real quick, my mom same thing like June 2020 I like she she shares her location with the kids just in case and like I went to text or something, but I needed like a picture that she had already sent. So I hit the info button and it showed her location and she was fully in a Walmart. So I didn't say anything and I was like, What do you do today, mom? She's like, I just went on a walk and I was like, Mom, just so you know, your location popped up and I know you were at the Walmart Supercenter. She was like, just so you know, okay, yes, that's true. But I'm being careful. I go right into Walmart, I go in, get the things I need, walk out. I go right into Nordstrom Rack, get the things I need, walk out. I go right into Best Buy and she named. She named like five places. I was like, N----, that is the mall.

 

Grace Mama was shopping. Her check came in. And she was just like.

 

Yassir Lester I was like, oh, what are we to it's. It's so you're like, oh my God. Because every single thing I know, we all know this is like all of your psychoses. Most of them come from your parents, and you don't realize it till you can analyze them fully. And you're like, Oh, yeah, I remember my mom growing up when I would get like a tax return. I was like 17 again from McDonald's, and I would be like, truly, I remember conversations like, I think I'm going to save this money. And my mom was like, You spend every dime damn money. You know, you don't know what's going to happen. So like, my mom was Literally.

 

Grace I love your mom.

 

Yassir Lester Literally anti saving money.

 

Grace Is she an Aries?

 

Yassir Lester What is April 14th?

 

Grace She's a Aries, I'm an Aries or whatever. So yeah, that's our whole f---in energy because I just like yolo. I was just like, Oh, I want this big or whatever. Yeah, it costs a whole week's pay, but bitch, you only live once. So I feel like me and your mom would be best friends.

 

Amy All right, well, we've talked about parents. I want to talk about siblings a little bit. You and your brother Isaiah host a podcast together.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah.

 

Amy Which was called Sneakers. What was it called?

 

Yassir Lester So we had so we had two different one, it was independent called my brother's sneaker and then we were acquired by the big mega corporation.

 

Amy Woah.

 

Yassir Lester I'm just kidding. It's a podcast company, I'm not, but it is but stockx, which is a very big sneaker marketplace. The other podcast network had us reboot it essentially. Cool. So we do. It's about sneakers and culture, but it's the same thing we're doing now. You know, those are always our entry way.

 

Amy I love that.

 

Yassir Lester We talk about, you know, from what what would just be, you know, a shoe to being like, why was Kamala Harris's nephew in law wearing these. Are these shoes whack now?

 

Grace Yeah those Dior.

 

Amy That was incredible.

 

Grace Dior Jordans or whatever.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah.

 

Grace Yeah.

 

Amy Yeah. That was a moment. Yeah, that was a moment. Have you guys, I mean, you guys have collaborated for years. Have you always wanted to work together? Like who got into comedy first?

 

Yassir Lester Well, you know, it's interesting. So we all like because also my sister is a union hairstylist. So you're also that barber? Yeah. So we all work in the industry.

 

Amy Y'all the Wayans.

 

Yassir Lester Lord willing.

 

Amy Everybody got a job. Lord willing.

 

Yassir Lester Lord willing, and we nepotism is such a real thing in general and you don't realize it until you get and then you're like, Oh my God. Like, Yeah, but I don't know y'all's connections, but like, I truly was like, I mean, mine came from standup, right? And it's again, you're just like the idea of just like writing a script and hoping you'll get in is like, for anybody listening, it's not going to happen. Somebody somebody immediately.

 

Grace Somebody just jumped into the ocean, Yassir.

 

Amy You're responsible for 12 people in the industry and for that I thank you.

 

Yassir Lester Listen. I'll be honest. There's not enough jobs. You, whoever you are, don't come to Hollywood.

 

Amy Do something else.

 

Yassir Lester Do something else. Be a painter.

 

Yassir Lester And also say, oh, sorry, Grace.

 

Grace No, I was just going to say and if you don't have nepotism or whatever, which none of us here had or whatever, yeah, then you have to kind of risk it all. Like you kind of have to do it. Like I got on a Greyhound Greyhound bus at 23, you know, and, you know, had maybe $100. And that I was like going to stay with my aunt in New York and like got a paid internship where I was making like $200 a week, like before taxes.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah.

 

Grace Like that's the type of show you got to do or whatever in order to do it. But like, it's hard to do that not everybody can do that, so.

 

Yassir Lester No, and that's and that's the crazier thing is that like, you know, and again, for us three, it's like I know our stories, you know, Grace, I just heard yours, but I'm like, you know, I'm not going to be like and I was eating rats in the gutter and I made it like, I'm not, you know. Yeah, but it's like to be broke and like, try to make it even requires a certain amount of privilege, which is so crazy to me, you know what I'm saying? Like, like I worked at Borders bookstore, I worked at like Best Buy and like all these, you know, and even then you're like, damn, the fact that I, like, could even get a job is like, it's so far beyond what other people have to go through, you know what I mean? So like.

 

Grace 1000% and I knew like.

 

Yassir Lester They also say, oh. Sorry.

 

Grace No, I was just saying that I knew that I had a safety net. I knew I could always come home. So that is privilege.

 

Yassir Lester But. Absolutely. And that's one of the reasons why I came to L.A. was with my grandma, lived in Fresno at the time, and I was like, if anything ever happens, I can at least drive up to Fresno and like find my grandma couch to sleep on. Right. But I was also going to say the thing about nepotism too, that, uh. Being Black creatives, you know, nepotism truly still kind of gets, you know, where because you have to be so talented, you have to be so talented.

 

Amy You can't be sh---y.

 

Grace You really can't. That's I totally agree because nobody is going to give you a chance for no reason.

 

Amy I. I. I actually want to pull out of the work conversation because that's it's always stresses me out thinking about how f---ed up this industry is. But I do want to ask, like outside of work. Yeah. What do you have like. I know you paint. I know you have your podcast, which is kind of work adjacent and painting opens up creativity. But I would like to know what is your proudest non-career related accomplishment?

 

Yassir Lester Pre-pandemic, I was working with this organization called Cause for Celebration, and they would throw birthday parties for children and like single parent homes, underfunded homes, or in foster care. That was great. And like, you know, again, it's like kids that would normally never have a birthday party. Like, quite literally, the science shows that like a child just being acknowledged with a birthday party, like keeps them out of jail, gets them in school, you know what I'm saying? And you're just like. So something like that. It was always just like, damn. Like, again, like, I grew up and like, my mom, at the very least, would be like, I got a cupcake or you know what I'm saying? Like, just again that acknowledgement.

 

Amy That small acknowledgment.

 

Yassir Lester You know, I've always been of the school of thought that was like if I ever make it, I was going to go back, right? And yes, there's so many times that like, I mean this sincerely, like my mom, like we she would have $10 in her pocket and that would be it. And she saw someone on the street, she would give it to her and give it to them. And she would always be like, you have to take care of everyone. Like, you just have to. You know what I'm saying is the only way we can really humanity can get out of this mess. So she always like gave this spirit of giving is always been within me. My brother and sister has a certain level of love that only comes from giving, if that makes sense. It's really weird. You don't, you know, especially you remember being like a kid and people were like, It's better to give them receive. And you're like, I always want toys.

 

Amy Yeah. Exactly. You're Like, What are you talking about?

 

Grace Yeah, yeah. Better to give to me than.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

 

Amy And where can people find you on the Internet?

 

Yassir Lester Got rid of Twitter. That's another antidote, actually. Oh, get rid of Twitter. So Instagram at Yassir_Lester. I think that's it. I don't have much of a footprint no mo.

 

Grace Yeah well your show will be coming out.

 

Amy You do and they about to find you on, I don't know, at Marvel.

 

Yassir Lester Yeah. You guys, look out for Armor Wars premiering in 2030. Should be exciting.

 

Amy I was. I was like, should we call it the upcoming show? And I was like, Yeah, yeah, we should. Oh, well, this has been amazing. I'm like, I feel like I haven't laughed as much in a while about such dark things. So thank you very much.

 

Yassir Lester Oh, was my dream.

 

Grace Now we're going to do our creative tap in, in which we tap, tap, tap in to our creativity. And you and I are both writers, so being creative brings us joy. And this is a podcast about joy.

 

Amy So Grace is going to surprise me with a quote about creativity, and I'm going to let her know what it makes me think.

 

Grace Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast. You also miss the sense of where you are going and why. That is by Eddie Cantor. I'll read it one more time. Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast. You also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

 

Amy I think what it makes me think of. Maybe not right now, but I've been I've actually been reading this book. It's an older book, and some of it feels a little dated, but it's by Simon Sinek, who I really appreciate as a thought leader. And it's called Start With Why. Then the book is all about how the greatest companies have a very strong why and sometimes their why is even stronger than what they create. But if you but if you're trying to grow your company too fast, you can lose your way. And that's when things like company start to fail. It's like when they're just like cost cutting and thinking of their competitors and like moving too fast. And so right now, in this moment, just because I'm in the process of like starting a production company and I did a lot of work last year to find out like, what is my why I hired a consultant. I like did all these workshops and obviously I've been reading all of these like business books and everything. So right now, in this moment, that's what that quote makes me think of, is like making sure, like just because your career or what you're working on, your creative trajectories accelerating not to lose your Y, not to lose the thing that grounds you and to make sure that you're driving in a direction that you believe in. That's what makes me think of. What about you?

 

Grace Well, it just makes me think of how sometimes, like, in this business, you get to the point where your dream is work. So sometimes you forget to enjoy the work, that you forget that this is what you prayed for. This is what you sat in your room dreaming about or whatever, because it at some point it becomes work. It just encourages me to be like, Oh, wow, you are kind of living inside of your dream right now. It may not be exactly how you pictured it. Like I pictured myself as Angela Bassett. Really? But I'm not Angela Bassett or Angela Bassett. I am Grace Edwards. But and so the dream doesn't look exactly how I pictured it, but I literally wake up every day and my work is things that I love. And sometimes I'll get so anxious and stressed out and like thinking about, Oh, is this going to go? Or, Oh, I have to do this over here and and start thinking of my dream as oppression. It reminds me to be like, remember the why that you wanted to do this for a reason. And part of it is like putting your voice out there, putting yourself out there, creating work for people who you feel are underrepresented. So remember that whenever you're just like, Oh, I'm tired or like, Oh, I don't want to do this meaning or whatever. Just remember that it's all a privilege.

 

Amy That's nice. I mean, I like that. It makes both of us think of the why, even if it's in a slightly different way. But it is like, check back in with your self. Remember the why. Remember why you you signed up for this. That makes me even think of giving like how Yasir was talking about the power of being able to give back. And I'm like, that is so much of why we create art and we are almost mean like capital. We like Black creatives. It's it's not just I want to see my name in lights. It's also I want to give future Black people a thing to see.

 

Grace Yeah, that's a huge why. And that's so important to remember every day when we do work. Okay. Well, thanks for listening to the antidote. We hope this injected a little bit of joy into your week. I know it did mine. How about you, Amy?

 

Amy I feel good, girl. We should do this again sometime. Oh, we'll be here next week.

 

Grace And in the meantime, if you'd like to follow us on social, follow me. Grace at GracyAct. That's G-R-A-C-Y-A-C-T.

 

Amy And follow me. Amy at AmyAniobi. That's A-M-Y-A-N-I-O-B-I and follow the show at theeantidotepod.

 

Grace That's thee with two e's.

 

Amy If you like feeling good about yourself, please subscribe at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

Grace Goodbye.

 

Amy And remember your why. The Antidote is hosted by us, Amy Aniobi and Grace Edwards. It is produced by Jenna Hanchard and ourassociate producer is Taylor Polydore.

 

Grace Our executive producer is Erica Kraus and our editor is Erika Janik. Sound Mixing by Evan Clark.

 

Amy Digital Production by Mijoe Sahiouni. Talent Booking by Marianne Ways. Our theme music was composed and produced by TT The Artist and Cosmo The Truth.

 

Grace APM Studio executives in charge are Lily Kim, Alex Schaffert and Joanne Griffith. Concept created by Amy Aniobi and Grace Edwards.

 

Amy Send us your antidotes at Antidote Show dot org and remember to follow us on social media at theeantidotepod. That's thee with two E's.

 

Grace The Antidote is a production of American Public Media.

 

Amy Ow.