What is it like to be an other, within an other, within an other? We might casually call it “intersectionality,” but for Gina Yashere, the British-Nigerian comedian American audiences might know best from Bob Hearts Abishola—on which she’s also a writer—it’s simply her life. Yashere, an American immigrant who also identifies as queer, tragicomically explores the experience of being othered in Cack-Handed: A Memoir, published in June 2021. On this week’s episode of The Root Presents: It’s Lit!, Yashere gets even more transparent about her experience, saying: “It happened to me, and there’s no way to heal that rift unless we talk about it.”
“I wanted to get the story out there. And I also it was...it was kind of a love letter to my mom because I grew up so resentful of her strictness,” Yashere continues. “But looking back and telling her story, I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ I realized what she was suffering; what she went through. The absolute terror she must have felt every day being in a country that is kind of alien to her, and being on her own, raising kids—and in a country where we routinely got spat on by skinheads and chased.
“So it was—first and foremost, it was a love letter to her saying: ‘I understand now. Looking back, I understand I hated it when I was a kid, but I understand,’” Yashere adds. “And then secondly, it was a love letter to Black people. I was like, ‘Look. This is what we’ve come through, and despite everything that we’ve suffered, we we are a great people; do not let others make you believe that you’re not. We’ve come through a lot and despite what we’ve suffered—and again, we are not just what we’ve suffered—we are a great people...”
Hear more from the cack-handed Gina Yashere in Episode 56 of The Root Presents: It’s Lit! Writes Cack-Handed With Gina Yashere, available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, Amazon, NPR One, TuneIn, and Radio Public.