Armchair Historians

Anik Gee Talks About Madam C. J. Walker, Part 1

June 30, 2020 Anne Marie Cannon, Anik Gee
Armchair Historians
Anik Gee Talks About Madam C. J. Walker, Part 1
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Armchair Historians
Anik Gee Talks About Madam C. J. Walker, Part 1
Jun 30, 2020
Anne Marie Cannon, Anik Gee

This week we talk to podcaster, writer, and New Yorker 4 ever, Anik Gee. Her comedy interviews podcast, The Chillary, is a place to chill and talk about adulting which "is like folding a fitted sheet and nobody talks anymore. We post, we tweet, we text. Come "pull up" with me, one adult to another as we explore, review, analyze and just simply chat about all things adult."

Anik is also author of two children's books, Sophia the Sensational and The Perfectly Perfect First Grader: The Day My Classroom Stood Still. She writes under the pseudonym Gee Williker. Anik finds inspiration for her stories easily in the normal day to day routines as a New Yorker and mother of three. With a spirit of joy and as a lover of life, Gee's purpose and goal for these children books is to help children cope and celebrate life.

In this interview we talk about her favorite history, first African American female millionaire Madam C. J. Walker.

The Chillary Podcast

The Chillary YouTube channel

Anik Gee Instagram

Books:

Sophia the Sensational

The Perfectly Perfect 1st Grader

More on Madam C.J. Walker:

Two Dollars and a Dream: The True Story of Madam C.J. Walker: I love the personal stories in this documentary! Worth the watch!

Wikipedia

Self Made, Netflix Series

Madam Walker, the First Black American Woman to Be a Self-Made Millionaire, PBS website 


Show Notes Transcript

This week we talk to podcaster, writer, and New Yorker 4 ever, Anik Gee. Her comedy interviews podcast, The Chillary, is a place to chill and talk about adulting which "is like folding a fitted sheet and nobody talks anymore. We post, we tweet, we text. Come "pull up" with me, one adult to another as we explore, review, analyze and just simply chat about all things adult."

Anik is also author of two children's books, Sophia the Sensational and The Perfectly Perfect First Grader: The Day My Classroom Stood Still. She writes under the pseudonym Gee Williker. Anik finds inspiration for her stories easily in the normal day to day routines as a New Yorker and mother of three. With a spirit of joy and as a lover of life, Gee's purpose and goal for these children books is to help children cope and celebrate life.

In this interview we talk about her favorite history, first African American female millionaire Madam C. J. Walker.

The Chillary Podcast

The Chillary YouTube channel

Anik Gee Instagram

Books:

Sophia the Sensational

The Perfectly Perfect 1st Grader

More on Madam C.J. Walker:

Two Dollars and a Dream: The True Story of Madam C.J. Walker: I love the personal stories in this documentary! Worth the watch!

Wikipedia

Self Made, Netflix Series

Madam Walker, the First Black American Woman to Be a Self-Made Millionaire, PBS website 


Speaker 1:

Thank you for joining us today for armchair historians. I'm your host Ann Marie Cannon . Armchair historians is a Belgian rabbit production. Stay up to date with us through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Wherever you listen to your podcast , that is where you'll find us. You can also find [email protected] also won't you consider becoming a patron of the show in an effort to keep armchair historians commercial free. I have decided to work with Patrion. Now, if you mosey on over to www.patrion.com backslash armchair historians, that's historians with an ass, you can find out more about supporting the show and about exclusive Patrion content that you will have access to. You can chip in anywhere from a dollar to $15 a month, or just make a one time donation. You will be helping me to keep the lights on, and if you can't make a donation, that's totally cool. I just hope you will continue to listen to our free podcast. Our guest this week is podcaster writer in new Yorker for forever. Onic G her podcast. The chiller Marie is a place to chill and talk about adulting, which according to Anik is like folding a fitted sheet, and nobody talks anymore. We post, we tweet, we text, come pull up with me one adult to another, as we explore review analyze, and just simply chat about all things. Adults not only design a coaster own podcast. She is also the author of two children's books, Sophia , the sensational and the perfectly perfect first grader. The day my classroom's stood still.

Speaker 2:

Gee , welcome. And thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited

Speaker 1:

Too . I'm really excited, especially because I know what you're going to talk about. Your favorite history being. And I have to say that ,

Speaker 2:

Um , well, I'm just going to ask you , uh , so Onik what is your favorite history? Wow. One of my favorite history and it's par recently because I've learned to love it even more. Cause I watched the Netflix series on it, but Madam CJ Walker and her story, it's empowering. It's exciting. It makes you want to go out and be like, yes. You know, it's very motivation also . That's my favorite part.

Speaker 1:

Tell you, I just binge watched the series , uh , two days ago and it was good. It's good. It's entertaining. Octavia, Spencer, anything she does is amazing, but it was, you know, it was almost like it reminded me of the great Gatsby a little bit because of the way .

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it did. Yes. Same feel to it.

Speaker 1:

And I like to be entertained when I'm learning. So that was great. I really liked that. So why don't you tell us who , um, Madam CJ Walker is?

Speaker 2:

Well , um , she's the first self made millionaire, like female black woman millionaire. Um, and it started off with her just not being happy with her hair and wanting to make women of color feel beautiful even with their hair because their hair was different. And like, you know, all of the, if you look out in the world and what was like advertised, they didn't see themselves and they never felt like themselves with beautiful. So she just was like, no, I'm going to make every woman feel beautiful, even you and you, even your hair can be beautiful. And , um, it's very motivational because hair is like a whole job too .

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is. It is. Well, a quick side note. I was a hairdresser for a long time and my first job, I worked in a salon in downtown Cleveland and we did black hair. Yeah . Excuse the French fucking clue. It was at the time when Jerry curls were in.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Yes. And that is, that's a job too . Like getting those things to look so beautiful. Like every curl at the definition in the Corolla . That's

Speaker 1:

I think that , um, we've gotten better with hair products as far as being able to bring out the natural curl in people's hair .

Speaker 2:

Yes. Thank you. Yeah. And , and also being able to do it every day, I think the products has gotten better because usually you put the product in, it's not something you can keep up every day, but I think now products make it where you can literally wash your hair, put it in. And it's like, every day you can do that. It's manageable.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So , um, so that was an , and , and Madam CJ Walker's products precursor to that. They were part of that history. Um, and , and I didn't, what is her background? Where did she come from? Like did she come into the world and do a family of means or, you know, what was her background?

Speaker 2:

Um , that's a good question. I , what I remember from what I've learned is that she, so she comes from like, her family was mom and dad was slaves. And I believe she was the, she was freed at when she got older. And I mean, she was still very young. She married very young. Of course, everybody was married very young back in those days. And , um, it wasn't until her first husband, she divorced from her first husband that she fell upon this opportunity that made her want to , to be like, I want to stop feeling bad about myself. I want to gain some new confidence in myself and I want to help other women like myself, you know, did the same thing. She wanted to take back power that she thought that she lost a long time ago. And she felt like her parents fought for her to have this like freedom and made it possible that she should use it to blow up. And that's exactly.

Speaker 1:

She came from nothing is basically what you're saying,

Speaker 2:

Basically nothing. And then she made something, she made everything on her and like, she worked hard for everything she got in life. Right .

Speaker 1:

So she was like a first generation of freed person .

Speaker 2:

Yes. Yes.

Speaker 1:

So I love stories like this because I'm hearing an echo now, but I like this. I love stories about strong women who are strong, strong women who accomplish things in their life. Um, you know, especially somebody like Madam CJ Walker, because how does that happen? Is that something that is genetically in you that you, you can, you know , look at your circumstances and yet rise above them without having, you know, a whole lot of role models around you that have done that and been successful because you know, people were just trying to figure it out back then, right. Of how to live in the world with these new circles

Speaker 2:

Stances. Yes. Yes, absolutely. It's always, to me, I found like, I feel like it's always a mystery on how people build their resilience, right. Because someone can like go through like hell. And then they like all of a sudden this super strong person and they make like powerful moves, but then you can have somebody that can go through the same howl and then just kind of like deteriorate and disappear and doesn't do anything. So it's like resilience. How do you build that resilience and use that to grow

Speaker 1:

And glow ? It is, it does seem like you have to have an epiphany moment which comes across in the series, I think is that , um, and, and one of the things that I found out after I watched the series that is that too, is that other woman that made the , um , hair grow product, that she was

Speaker 2:

Competition. Well , uh , visually they started out as friends in the show, you know, they kind of portrayed it as, you know, they were always back and forth with each other. They actually was really good friends. I had to even like go back and fact check that. And they were really friends and they

Speaker 1:

I'm kind of annoyed that they had to depict their relationship is adversarial because from what I read and I didn't read that much, I probably went to Wikipedia. But one of the things that it says that Madam CJ Walker, the other woman was her mentor. Do you remember her name?

Speaker 2:

The movie. I remember her name. It was , um, I can't remember her name,

Speaker 1:

The actual person.

Speaker 2:

It wasn't the current , that's what I mean, it wasn't even the correct name. You know, they obviously it's a business. Right. You gotta like write stories. That's going to be really engaging, but yeah. It's like, you always do that . A fact checked as well. It wasn't even her real name and like, it was a mentor and they were friends. Um , and that relationship just kinda sour. I mean, it's, I guess it's kind of hard when you have someone as a mentor and they , and you guys are friends and then you want to like go off on your own. I'm envisioning she probably got stuck in what she had wanted to achieve and maybe her friend didn't agree and felt like she was using me or betraying me. And , um , maybe the way she went about things to be independent, but she had to do that. I mean, she was living for herself. Right . Um , and what's, I think what's even more sad about her story is , um, I feel like she became this, you know, millionaire and her daughter, she only had that one daughter and then the daughter never had children. So her legacy couldn't even like continue to grow on, you know?

Speaker 1:

Well, there was the one that , the one girl that she, the daughter adopted, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Yes , yes, yes, yes. Yeah. The adopted daughter, but I was like talking to my , like , she doesn't have any like living blood thinking about like the genetic line continuing and it's like, it's stopped. That is sad. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

I think so too. Yeah. Oh boy. Um , but she did do a lot, a lot of things and I loved the characters that also , uh , historical figures that also with paired in it , um, the boys who he's , he started the NAACP, I believe.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, yeah. That part. Yeah. Yeah. I've learned a lot from that. That's how I was watching them . I was like, wow, I didn't even know that. And Oh,

Speaker 1:

I don't, I didn't really know that. And until I actually, I had heard the name, but I didn't really know what his claim to fame was. And then who was the other one that , that wouldn't endorse her.

Speaker 2:

It was the one with the , um, the first dollar stores. Right. I kind of like, I'm forget his, I know I'm

Speaker 1:

Terrible. See, that's why it's armchairs Koreans ,

Speaker 2:

But I don't ,

Speaker 1:

I think we can all talk about history and that's why I'm doing this because I think, you know, there's so many people that I talk to about different things in history. And then there's the scholars who sometimes, unfortunately I think they try to be the gatekeepers of history. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That's true. Yeah. It'd be like, we own this. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, that's not, you know, there is no evidence of that, but there's, there's, there is all the facts, but there's also our connection to our history and that's, that's the energy that I'm trying to , um, engage in my conversations with people. So, yeah. And so, you know, in one of the ways, okay, so here's an example about me. I got really interested in the , um, the tutor, dynasty and England from watching the series that was out. I don't know , it was long time ago, but , um, so then I watched the series and tell me if you're the same way. So then I watched the series and then I had my tablet and I'd look up on Google. Did that really happen that way? You know, where am I ? Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Use your tablet or your phone. And you're like, wait a minute, let me fact check this. This actually happened. Like, yes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . I think that's a great way to learn about history. I think it's great. I mean, you can't swallow everything. Whole, there were some things in the Madam CJ Walker, what was it called? Self-made things in there that weren't accurate. But I found that out by exploring it more,

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] made you want to fact check it for sure. Like, even with her the way , um, because in the story, I think even when her husband was cheating and it was like that one time he cheated and then it was like, Oh no, it's over what I found out, what really happened is that he had multiple women in different cities and apparently they traveled separately lots of times. And that's how it opened doors to that, you know, infidelity. And that, that's why she was like, Oh no, I'm done. Because it was like multiple times. And he had multiple cities with different women.

Speaker 1:

You didn't know that I was so disappointed about that because I was like, Oh, he's such a good guy. He loves her . And he

Speaker 2:

Check his cause I was like, this woman is under your nose. And it's like, how is this happening? And is right under your nose. That'd be so disappointed. But it was kind of like the last

Speaker 1:

Yeah. But I do , if he, the person that he depicted him as he did , um, I think have an impact on her .

Speaker 2:

And he did have an impact on, you know, supporting her through everything that she wanted to do. All of that is true. He was just, yeah, it's kind of disappointing how it is .

Speaker 1:

Okay. She managed though. She was, she was fine. She stood up for herself and yeah ,

Speaker 2:

I think her mind was always set on one thing and she just never let it go. It's just that one thing, it was a dream. It was a dream machine was going to make it happen no matter what. Right. And no matter who, like, I don't care how much I love you. I can love you. And still be like, absolutely not. You're not going to be in my life and mess up what I have going on.

Speaker 1:

Right. I wish I was like that when I was younger. I don't know why Corona virus and lockdown is made me reflect a lot on my life. And yeah ,

Speaker 2:

Now we have somebody inside.

Speaker 1:

I was such a jerk when it came to guys and, you know, I wish I would have been more focused. Like, you know, someone like a , um , Madam CJ Walker. Like I wish I was more focused when I was younger. Cause I, you know, we have to go through what we have to go through.

Speaker 2:

Right ? Yeah. Your experiences make you who you are. Absolutely. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

So that's, you know, and that's it. I think that everything we talked about and related to about her is what I'm trying to capture in this podcast . So it's okay. Don't worry about it. I can, you know, what I've been using? Um, so I do my podcast through Buzzsprout and okay .

Speaker 2:

How do you like it?

Speaker 1:

It's good. And I did a lot of research before I landed on it. I have another podcast that I do that I started doing through sound cloud or sounds.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Is that what it is ? Yes. I didn't know if I heard a few people that do their podcasts with SoundCloud, but I thought it was just for music. Like people who create music and write music .

Speaker 1:

I wouldn't use it. I didn't keep, I have the other one on there for this year and we'll see what happens next year. But I started out using Buzzsprout. I really liked them because they have a lot of great resources. Uh , they do a podcast called , um, I think it's buzz cast and they do, they have a YouTube , uh, thing that they do every Monday, I think. And they just have a lot of resources, but I totally lost my train of thought of what or where I was going with this. Oh. So one of the things that they they offer is it's an extra $4 a month I think is when they bill you monthly. That's the other thing that I can't, they don't have like a discount if you pay for year, which I kind of don't like, cause I'd rather get the discount and not ,

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So $4 a month, they have this thing called magic master. I think it's called. And so what you do is when you upload it, they remaster it. And so any sounds

Speaker 2:

They can take away

Speaker 1:

Automatically does that. So like whatever that sound is will probably not be in there .

Speaker 2:

One second. Can you close the door? It's my little two year old fussing because I have three. So I have an 11 and a 12 year old. They're not here right now, but the two year old he's very demanding. And um , usually because we're in quarantine, he knows if you're at the computer talking, you're talking to someone and he's like, you're talking to someone without me. And that's a problem. So he's constantly trying to sneak out here to see, because he feels like everyone who calls should be calling for him. That's all that's the universe does revolve around it. Don't let him get hold of your phone because he definitely knows how to use it. He knows how to FaceTime and he knows how to call who he wants to call. So he lots of my siblings cause he loves his uncles. I have seven siblings. Most of them are boys. Yes . And most of them are boys and he calls them all on the phone cause he likes them all .

Speaker 1:

That's a great way to have relationships. Um, yeah. I have five siblings. So I mean not too far behind you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. That's it . That's close.

Speaker 1:

I do have like my great nephew now he's able, his mom set it up. So through Facebook he can call certain people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . People . Yeah. And they have that for the kids now to do. That's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes he'll call me, which is fun because I get to see him a lot more than I otherwise would. We're going to stop here for today, but be sure to join us next week for part two of the interview, I really enjoyed this interview on so many levels, but mostly because it exemplifies the epitome of what armchair historians is. It's a conversation that starts with history. The jumping off point for the conversation is a historical person place, time and or event . In this case, the Netflix series self-made starring Octavia Spencer was that jumping off point. It started with a conversation about the series. And then of course about the historical figure, Madam CJ Walker. And then it led to this spontaneous conversation about what it is about Madam CJ Walker. That is so compelling, what it is about Madam CJ Walker that we can relate to our own lives. And then the conversation

Speaker 3:

Goes into our own lives. And that's how it is with historians to find out more about Anika and Madam CJ Walker. Be sure to check out our episode notes. Thanks for joining us. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] .