The Read podcast has made an indelible mark on popular culture with Kid Fury’s cynical humor and Crissle’s pro-black, anti-white supremacist dialogue. The podcast began with two Internet friends deciding to relocate from Miami and Oklahoma City to New York. The resulting The Read podcast gained notoriety for its timely commentary from the perspective of a black gay man and bisexual woman. They infuse the show with a black, queer sensibility, and all things Beyoncé. Through their shade throwing and hot-tea-sipping commentary, the scripts of black and queer are continually rewritten. The podcast expanded to television with a series order on Fuse Network. “Fuse is a music focused media company as diverse and inclusive as the content we feature, giving you the latest artists, news, lifestyles, and culture.” On October 11, 2019, The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle premiered on Fuse Network, making it an exemplary of “premium blackness.” Premium blackness is a term that I use to describe previously free black content that is now on a paid platform. I question what it means for black content to be on paid platforms that are owned by non-black media outlets? I am also interested in interrogating what it means to join the notions of “premium” and “blackness.” What makes content black? What makes content premium?
The Read with Kid Fury and Crissle is an example of what it means to go beyond “diversity” and “representation” and lean into complex integrations of inclusivity. In Kristen J. Warner’s article, “In the Time of Plastic Representation,” she defines “plastic representation” as, “a combination of synthetic elements put together and shaped to look like meaningful imagery, but which can only approximate depth and substance because ultimately it is hollow and cannot survive close scrutiny” (Warner, pg. 35). Both the television show and the podcast combat “plastic representation” through raw, unfiltered, authentic representation and commentary concerning the hosts' lived experiences. With segments like “Hot Tops” and “The Read” Kid Fury and Crissle explicitly engage their audience through the lived experience of the intersection of black and queer culture. Fuse was doing more than "box-checking" when they decided to incorporate a show into their platform that engages with the phenomenology that describes what it truly means to be black and queer. The network consists of shows such as “Sugar and Toys,” “Transcendent,” and “Big Freedia Bounces Back, which leads the audience to assume that Fuse is practicing what it preaches when it says they want “To Reflect Today, The World We Want To Create Tomorrow.”
Fuse Media Inc. https://www.linkedin.com/company/fuse-tv/about/
Warner, Kristen J. “In the Time of Plastic Representation.” Film Quarterly, 71.2 (2017): 32-37.