If you're looking for conversations about rosé, the Homosexual Agenda, and good books, turn your ears to Food 4 Thot.
Self-described as "NPR on poppers," the podcast, which debuted in February, brings weekly discussions on sex, relationships, identity, race, "what we like to read, and who we like to read" from a panel of queer multiracial writers. The "thots" include Indigenous American poet Tommy "Teebs" Pico, homojournalist and Editor at Hello Mr. Fran Tirado, fictionist and current MacDowell Colony Fellow Dennis North II, and scientist and memoirist Joseph Osmundson. In every episode, the gang divides their conversation into fun games (think "Gay Bar or Steakhouse?" and "Six Degrees of the Gay Agenda") and discussions about sex and culture, where topics range from reviews of Zadie Smith's Swing Time to what it means to be a gay scientist.
For their final episode of the first season, the thots hosted the event "Food 4 Thot LIVE" at the Ace Hotel in New York's Flatiron District. The evening was a live recording of the podcast where fans and friends were invited to come along and watch what goes down when the wine, the books, and the mouths of the panelists are opened up. Offering unique merchandise for sale and a bar menu full of customized drinks such as "Dark 'N Horny" and "The Thotini," the evening brought a good time to all — from hardcore fans to couples on nervous first dates. I was likely the only straight person in the audience, and that was a wonderful thing to see.
The panelists sat on stools against a backdrop of old-timey speakers and flickering white tea candles in the dimly-lit basement room, glasses of sparkling wine in hand as they smiled to the crowd. Poet Angel Nafis stepped in for North at the event as he is still working on his fellowship. "I trust that you're all here because you have good taste and because you're all whores," she said to the crowd to start off. The cheers confirmed she was, indeed, correct.
On the menu first for the evening was a game of determining which descriptions belonged to actual gay erotica (There's A Cock In This Book is very much a real thing, FYI), with lots of audience participation. Up next, Pico was given the floor to read from his latest collection of poetry, Nature Poem, which the event also acted as a kind of launch party for. Pico's work garnered shouts of approval and understanding from the room as well as even some laughter at times when relaying his thoughts on his casual hookups. To hear Pico read brings his already stellar prose off the page, giving it the fully capacity of life it deserves, something greatly understood and appreciated by the audience.
The panelists then discussed the reading and how the material relates to Pico's previous work in terms of tone, subject matter, and evolution. Discussions about what it means to be "natural" in a world flooded with technology also came up, where panelists unanimously agreed there is nothing fun about camping, unless it involves WiFi and a cabin in the woods.
The "dessert" for the evening involved a debate between Tirado and Nafis in regards to Aziz Ansari's Master of None, and whether or not the second season of the Netflix show was capable of curating content with the same level of thoroughness as the first. Nafis spoke to her frustration on the way certain subject matters were handled, in particular how white audiences are able to react to the discussion of racial tensions when they do not have the same knowledge of the subject as people of color. It spoke to a larger theme in the room for the evening about being given a place to hear your voice heard by people who similar voices, to garner the ability to take control of your own platform.
This is exactly what Food 4 Thot has appeared to do for the queer community at large. It literally puts these voices on a stage and gives them the visibility to say and think however they choose. The success of the live taping proves such, and should encourage listeners from all walks of life to keep on coming back for what I hope will be a second season.