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  • - I grew up in my neighborhood skateboarding.

  • I was the weird kid.

  • And then I wanted to sell drugs.

  • People would fight me

  • and they would joke with me because they were like,

  • "Why aren't you being yourself?"

  • More than anything?

  • It's like that Kendrick Lamar line.

  • It's like, "You ain't gotta lie to kick it, my nigga."

  • Like niggas will like you more if you are that corny dude

  • and you are solid and authentic and yourself

  • than if you're trying to be another nigga.

  • Period

  • I think it's hard for Black men especially

  • to talk about depression

  • because we have so many cool words available

  • to us to undermine how we really feel.

  • (audience laughs)

  • Like a couple of years ago I was having some

  • suicidal thoughts and depression.

  • So I checked myself into a psych unit.

  • And I know you guys are looking at me like Jordan,

  • but you're so handsome and well put together.

  • But you know what they say?

  • Black don't crack, only psychologically.

  • I got out of the psych unit

  • and a friend of mine was like, "Are you okay, man?

  • Is everything all right?"

  • But I had so many cool words available to me.

  • I was like, "Yeah, I was just tripping."

  • But I wasn't just tripping.

  • I had a severe mental breakdown.

  • If anything, I might've been bugging,

  • but I wasn't tripping.

  • Rich, Black, poor, whatever,

  • authenticity I think it was important to Black people

  • because self preservation and self care is very important

  • to our identity.

  • If we don't have that, we don't have anything.

  • - I think for so long when it comes

  • to authenticity in the Black community,

  • authenticity is coded language for,

  • "Have you suffered enough?"

  • - In this country, being Black,

  • we really care about our identity

  • because that's something that they've been trying

  • to strip away for so long.

  • - There's a huge social and cultural maze

  • that Black people have had to be in

  • that are unlike any other ethnic group in the country.

  • And we're still grappling with that too.

  • - A lot of our stuff comes from what we've been through,

  • what we think about what we've been through,

  • how we feel about what we are going through.

  • And then what are we gonna go through next

  • and how do we change it?

  • - As Black people,

  • I think we haven't had the luxury of being inauthentic.

  • We were naked when we were sold.

  • When I was a kid, I'd just sit in my room

  • and read encyclopedias,

  • which is not a kid you want to talk to, you know?

  • I read a lot of history books, you know,

  • just sitting in my room, read like, world history,

  • American history, Southern history.

  • 'Cause I grew up in Louisiana, I just wanted to know.

  • And one of the things I read

  • that's always tripped me out, right?

  • Is that like after the Civil War,

  • they let the slaves go,

  • but the slaves still lived in the South.

  • So you probably ran into your ex-slave like all the time.

  • (audience laughs) Which has gotta be

  • the most awkward ex run-in in history.

  • Just like, "Oh my God, there he is.

  • Don't look, don't look.

  • Don't look. Don't look.

  • Don't look. Don't look. Don't look.

  • Hey! (audience laughs)

  • How are you doing?

  • Are you mad?"

  • Like, what else?

  • In a weird way, you know, plantation owners were such pimps

  • that 300 years later,

  • we're all trying to decide if we're the real version

  • of the thing they invented.

  • - The people that have questioned

  • my Blackness the most have been Black people.

  • And I think we sort of internalize a lot

  • of the messages we get.

  • So I think it was the same thing

  • back then is where we internalized like,

  • this is what Black people do.

  • If you are Black, you do this.

  • And if you don't do this, then you're not Black

  • and why would we support you?

  • - This is the worst.

  • When they started targeting DARE commercials

  • specifically at Black people.

  • Perhaps this predominantly white audience

  • also remembers that. (audience laughs)

  • They do the same thing with all of our commercials.

  • Y'all know it. You know, they add hip hop.

  • That's always our commercial.

  • It's the same commercial y'all get,

  • but then there's a mother (beep) break dancing.

  • Like, "Crack? Hell nah, dog, not no more."

  • (audience laughs)

  • And it's so condescending and it's,

  • I hate it because here's why,

  • because it presumes that all Black people are the same,

  • that we're just this homogenous group

  • that's easily enticed by hip hop and we're not.

  • We're as diverse and complicated as any of you.

  • Look, one of my favorite things to do in the world,

  • absolute favorite things to do in the world,

  • I like to get myself a medium cup of frozen yogurt, right?

  • Medium. I'm not greedy.

  • A medium cup of frozen yogurt and I like to sit at home

  • and I watch YouTube videos of people getting engaged.

  • (audience cheers) Thank you.

  • That's my shit.

  • I do it for hours.

  • Hours of just eating yogurt

  • and having a nice cry and enjoying love happening.

  • And afterwards, I'll like look myself in the mirror

  • and I'd be like, "Yo son, you're a real ass nigga."

  • And that's,

  • that's not in those commercials.

  • Wipe your tears, dog. We good.

  • We got a big day ahead of us.

  • - What I find interesting is I see so many memes about

  • your Black is beautiful or everybody's Black is different

  • or, you know, embrace diversity

  • and all kinds of wonderful shit.

  • But then when it comes to it,

  • only certain type of Black is accepted.

  • - Some people may consider me not to be authentic.

  • My parents have been married for 40 years.

  • My grandparents were married for 65.

  • Me and my brother, same parents.

  • My brother goes to Yale. I went to NYU.

  • Like, I never got raped.

  • I never did drugs. Well, weed doesn't really count.

  • But you know, like, I've never really had like

  • super hard obstacles.

  • Of course I was teased. I was overweight as a kid.

  • I was bullied. I didn't have a lot of friends.

  • But does that really compare to someone else who's like

  • I don't know my parents and I grew up in a dumpster.

  • Like, are they more authentically Black than I am?

  • - To me that's what frustrates me at times

  • because I've been told

  • that I wasn't the right type of Black

  • or somebody tries to call me

  • African-American, I'll correct them.

  • I'll tell them I'm Trinidadian American.

  • I've had people ask me,

  • "Oh, so you have a problem being Black?"

  • No, it's just that my father is a 5'6 Indian man.

  • There's no problem.

  • It's just that I came from his nut sack.

  • That's what it is.

  • - The neighborhood I grew up in was like predominantly Black

  • but they hated Africans.

  • Like I wasn't a kid that just figured out how to be cool.

  • I just, I would like study my peers,

  • and I think that's why I became a comedian.

  • I'm Rwandan.

  • I moved here in the late eighties

  • with my family but my mom moved here

  • and she was like already in her late twenties,

  • early thirties, you know what I mean?

  • Like she's been through a lot.

  • Racism, xenophobia.

  • She was pregnant with my siblings when we came

  • but she's endured all of that with just so much

  • strength and grace.

  • But she raised me in the West

  • and weekly I'll call her and I'm like,

  • "Mom, I wake up sick and he's (indistinct)

  • and I can't do work, ah."

  • It's gross, you know? How dare I.

  • But she's so supportive.

  • You know, she's a great mom, a devoted Catholic.

  • She's always like, "Oh no, have you prayed?"

  • And I'm always like, "I'm agnostic, so, maybe."

  • (audience laughs)

  • So (beep) hates that joke.

  • But you know, who does love it?

  • God.

  • And I know that 'cause I'm not dead yet.

  • - I didn't feel with people, no matter the color,

  • how I felt when I was alone.

  • My family pulled together money to send me

  • to a Montessori school for elementary.

  • I went to a Catholic junior high

  • and high school and I went to a private college.

  • So I've been surrounded by white people my whole life

  • when I was educated

  • and surrounded by Black people when I went home

  • or in my neighborhood or wherever.

  • So I've bridged this gap before.

  • Ever since I was a kid and my voice changed

  • I've been told by people all over the country,

  • people of different ethnicities, backgrounds,

  • I've been told by people

  • that I have an incredibly white voice.

  • That's what they say.

  • And people try to act like they can't hear it.

  • But if I called and then showed up, you'd be surprised.

  • (audience laughs)

  • Even my laugh is like ha ha ha.

  • Like every time I laugh, someone somewhere gets audited.

  • - You know, there's this whole thing of,

  • "You don't sound Black. You sound white."

  • White sounding, whatever.

  • A lot of those comics get that whereas I don't,

  • 'cause I'm like, I'm from England,

  • this is how we (beep) talk.

  • Take it or leave it, you know?

  • 'Cause I'm like, we're all Black.

  • We're all from the same place.

  • We've all had similar experiences.

  • Some of us are gonna sound differently.

  • Some of us have gone to different schools.

  • Some of us have been brought up in different places.

  • I don't understand why there's this whole thing,

  • "You don't sound like us, so you ain't one of us."

  • - People might perceive

  • somebody's Blackness as not authentic versus someone else's.

  • But I think that's a mistake

  • and I think it's a reduction of what it means to be Black.

  • And also it insults the intelligence of Black audiences.

  • The idea that, you know,

  • Blackness is monolithic and looks a certain way.

  • That's not true.

  • But Blackness is Blackness and I love that

  • we're in a space where you have variances.

  • - My parents are not very into feminism.

  • They're very Christian, very conservative.

  • Yes. Black people can be ignorant too.

  • My dad, especially, he's like, "Ah,

  • you women with your yelling

  • and your reading and your voting," you know?

  • And it's like, I get it.

  • But you know, feminism, it's not an option.

  • It's vital if we want our society to improve in any regard,

  • not just for women, like regardless of gender at all.

  • Yeah. Like I, for real.

  • I shouldn't have to look in the mirror