Why TF is it still OK to call for the murder of trans people? CANCEL Breakfast Club
By Hari Ziyad
July 31, 2017
On Friday, WWPR-FM (parent company iHeartMedia)’s infamous hip-hop radio show The Breakfast Club aired an episode that seemed to be part of an ongoing effort to break through the basement floor to set a new standard for low.
Hosted by Charlamagne The GOD, DJ Envy and Angela Yee, the episode in question featured a guest appearance by little known comedian Lil Duval, whose claim to fame is being a runner up on a BET competition show in 2005.
Still, Charlamagne and co. thought it would be a great idea not only to provide Duval with a platform to spout murderous anti-trans rhetoric, but to do so only days after trans activist Janet Mock appeared on the show to generously educate the co-hosts and their audience on trans issues.
The Breakfast Club provided this anti-trans platform all while co-hosts laughed as Duval continuously called Mock out of her gender and exclaimed how he would kill her and any other trans women if they dared to “trick” him into believing their gender was their own.
“This might sound messed up and I don’t care: she dying,” Duval said, explaining that when it comes to trans women, “that ain’t a girl, that’s a boy.” To be fair, the show’s co-hosts did chime in with some weak push-back like “you should be politically correct” amidst their laughter, but they did not even come close to acknowledging the significance of what was being discussed, to speak of let their audience know that killing trans people is no laughing matter.
As many others have already pointed out, Duval’s is exactly the kind of rhetoric that lends itself to an epidemic of Black trans murders, primarily of trans women by men they are involved with. According to The Human Rights Campaign, there were 22 murders of trans men and women last year, and 15 so far in 2017, mostly of trans women of color. Given that trans people are often misgendered in death so their killings go misreported, and that the community already makes up a small proportion of the population, these numbers are egregious.
Duval’s rhetoric relies on the bigoted belief that trans people are the gender they were assigned at birth so straight men who sleep with trans women must question their gender/sexuality, and that queer genders and sexualities are so terrible a thing as to murder over.
Further, as Samantha Master explains, “The vast majority of cisgender men who harm and/or murder trans women aren’t being ‘tricked’ into sex. They’re seeking out sex and relationships with trans women and killing them out of shame or fear they will be outted for liking trans women.”
Reinforcing this shame is also reinforcing violence against Black trans people, which is exactly what The Breakfast Club did. However, the trans community and their supporters aren’t taking this assault on lying down. After the episode, the hashtag #BoycottBreakfastClub quickly began trending on Twitter, and at this weekend’s Politicon protestors interrupted Charlagmane to let him know trans women are not a joke.
The Breakfast Club and its co-hosts have a history of misogynoir against Black women, cis and trans alike. Just last year Charlamagne chastised Black women for not being more like racist white woman and his friend Tomi Lehren. It is well past time WWPR-FM and iHeartRadio begin answering for the hatred perpetuated on the show.