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🎙Interview: Dr. Montinique "Money" McEachern
Dr. Montinique “Money” McEachern (her/she/hers) is a Black lesbian feminist whose work centers on intergenerational healing through creating and facilitating spaces rooted in Black women’s ways of storytelling. Originally from Queens, NY, Dr. Money has called many places home - from Alabama, to Philadelphia, and currently Syracuse, NY. By day she is a licensed couple and relational therapist and program coordinator. On other days, she is a podcaster. When she is not hosting Rebound Revolution or working, she can be found scrolling #WNBATwitter, nerding out over music, or using crystals for meditation.
Before we talk about your podcast Rebound Revolution, you also work as a family therapist and have your doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy / Counseling. How has your work as a therapist prepared you to work as a podcaster?
I think of being responsible with people’s stories as the core of my work as a therapist. Someone is trusting me with their histories, their reality, and their understanding of who they are when they choose me as their therapist. I have to not only respect that, but jump in and show them that I’m here for the relationship really quickly when I’m doing therapy. That’s so similar to the way I approach guests on the podcast and my relationship with listeners.
Podcasting is such an intimate medium, listeners and guests have to know pretty quickly that I’m here to join them in telling and receiving their stories. I also have to shout out Black and other third world feminists for teaching me the power of story as method. I think the idea that story has the power to teach folks about liberation, or change systems of oppression heavily informs my therapy work and my podcast hosting. Somebody might just hear something on an episode or in a session that changes the whole way they think about a problem.
Your first podcast, QueerWOC, you had been doing since 2016 until its last season in 2022. That’s a fairly long time! What do you think the secret to longevity or sustainability in podcasting is?
I don’t think it’s possible to sustain a podcast without community! You need folks to encourage you and to remind you that this super niche story you are telling is necessary. You also need people to vent to, people to hold you accountable, and people to ask for advice in creating a podcast.
I was very inconsistent with QueerWOC before my best friend, Nikeeta Slade, came on as a cohost, and it hasn’t been the same since she passed away in 2021. She provided so much political clarity for me in what we were trying to accomplish with the podcast, and that gave me the creative energy to keep going with it.
Around the same time we did our first episode together, I also met a whole crew of other indie Black queer feminist podcasters - Tea with Queen and J., Inner Hoe Uprising; Bag Ladiez; and Marsha’s Plate. They helped QueerWOC in every way - from audio tips to cross promo to coming on as guests. They are some of my dearest friends to this day.
Rebound Revolution, your latest show, is described as “a not-so-basketball basketball podcast bringing you the revolutionary on and off the court happenings in the WNBA.” Before diving into the not-so-basketball side, what was the moment that made you fall in love with the WNBA?
I grew up in New York City, so I feel like I grew up with the league. I was 8 or 9 when the league tipped off and I have so many memories of going to Liberty games through elementary and middle school. I was always crushing on one player or another in the W, so I feel like I was always interested, but falling in love with the league happened more recently than I think I realized.
The moment that stands out to me as the moment I fell in love with the WNBA is that 2016 moment when the Minnesota Lynx - who mind you were a championship winning superteam at the time - took the court in black t-shirts demanding accountability for the police who murdered Philado Castile and Alton Sterling.
This was the first time in my lifetime that I witnessed professional athletes make a clear statement about the injustices of racism and because they were queer, and women, and predominately Black, I was TUNED IN! The police who were supposed to secure that Lynx game walked off, so an all women’s security team showed up to work that game.
The Lynx in my opinion single handedly shifted the W into the insurgent league we see today, because at the time they got fined for those shirts, but nearly every other team in the league followed with other shirts condemning racism. Now, you can't shut the WNBA up about social issues! I could gush about how the Lynx changed the game forever, but that moment definitely made me fall in love with the league.
Why do you believe that the WNBA or sports in general, is the perfect vehicle to talk about social issues, such as feminism and queer identity?
Women’s Basketball is special because it is arguably the most popular place in which politics of identity are not thought exercises, but real life struggles for liberation. I only say arguably because maybe women’s rap is a close second. Black feminists like me dont have public personal lives or super popular public works, so our political critiques of systems of oppression often come off as like philosophy or just thoughts. But when you can see the personal struggles, you can see why the politics are personal.
Women and queer athletes give the public a window into how the personal is political because they hold so many identities that are under attack at any point in time and we can see in almost real time how they navigate racism, misogyny, wage inequality, queerphobia, ableism, ageism, and so many more oppressive systems.
I’m thinking about two things right now - a conversation I had with the legend Seimone Augustus on “The Beautiful Struggle” episode of Rebound Revolution and “How We Get Free”, a book by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. In this book, Taylor reintroduces the Combahee River Collective statement and explains two really important things.
First, that the experiences of Black lesbians can’t be summed up in only looking at one of our identities and secondly that our oppression can’t be solved by a single issue struggle. So, we need a politic that accounts for all, not just one of our identities.
Seimone I think gave a beautiful example of having a politic that accounts for all and not just one identity when I asked her why she thought WNBA players were so concerned with struggles for liberation. She shared that the day after they unveiled her monument at LSU, she was in the very same corner store she frequented as a child.
While W players have visibility, they do not have the type of wealth that insulates them from regular degular issues everyday women and queer folks face. So, what happens at the corner store is of concern to her, even though she is an Olympic gold medalist! The players that make up the WNBA show us that our movements have to take a multi-issued approach, because in so many of our lives, these issues are all bound up with one another.
And what’s your response to people who expect a “shut up and dribble” mentality when it comes to discussing sports and social justice?
I think that statement is blatant dehumanization of athletes of color - because they never say this to white athletes. White supremacy feels so entitled to the bodies of folks of color - specifically Black people - that our feelings, mental health, and lived experiences gotta be silenced! If we spoke them out loud, then we might have to address the disparities in numbers when it comes to the percentage of players who are Black, versus the percentage of coaches or team owners who are Black.
To take in the fullness of what it means to be a Black athlete would really quickly lead us to examining racism and folks who say “shut up and dribble'' definitely don't want that. I also feel like this is gendered - I don't hear folks say this to athletes who aren’t men. Usually the response to athletes who aren’t men is “no one cares” or “nobody watches you play anyways” which I think is a clear example of how racism is gendered. They won’t even acknowledge that women and queers are talented athletes! There’s just full erasure. I think that’s because white supremacy still feels entitled to the bodies of women and gender queer athletes, but as sites of control or violence, not as sites of athletic feats.
I feel like 2023 has been somewhat of a women’s sports renaissance. The Women’s World Cup had an amazing turnout, and while I only recently attended a WNBA game–round 2 of finals–I saw that it was packed out.
First, do you think there is an increased interest in women’s sports? And if so, what do you think is driving it?
Oh yeah! Women’s sports are definitely having a renaissance, and I think it's being driven by a few different things. First, we are 50 years into Title IX and the W is almost 30 years old now. That means we have a generation and a half of women and girls who have never known a world without women’s sports at every level.
Secondly is clearly social media. Black women and femmes have a cultural footprint unlike any other group online - from being meme’d to creating viral dances to creating viral sounds. You combine that with having the platform of being the greatest athletes in the world - I’m not debating this from Serena to Simone Biles Black girls run sports, okay - and boom: internet gold.
I also think players are more accessible and better able to show their personality due to social media. I’m thinking about Syd Colson of the Las Vegas Aces who we don’t see get much playing time, but who is absolutely HILARIOUS on IG and Twitter, making her a well known player anyway.
Next, I think the detention of Brittney Griner in Russia had people who had never watched a minute of a W game tuned in last year. I had never in my lifetime seen so many people chime in on the wrongful detainment of a masc Black lesbian! Her name and story were everywhere and it felt like everyone just had to know why this Black woman was so special - and damn, did they find out because her basketball resume is stacked, okay!
This leads me to the next reason - women are just good! People who tuned in for the first time around BG’s detention got to see an incredible season of women’s basketball last year at every level - from Angel Reese in college to A’ja and the Aces in the W.
Lastly, and maybe I’m being optimistic here, I think women’s sports are growing because it’s a tangible way for folks to tap in and support women, queer folks, and queer folks of color.
Are you planning a second season of Rebound Revolution, and if so, what topics would you like to cover?
Absolutely! We are definitely planning another season and I’m down to do this podcast for as long as EditAudio will have me! I would love to do a collective bargaining episode and get really nerdy about the players association that functions as their union. If I could get Nneka Ogwumike for that episode that would be a dream!
I have also been wanting to do an episode about hair because the hairstyles in the WNBA and the conversations around them on social media feel like a case study all by themselves. DiJonai Carrington, Aliyah Boston, and Brittney Sykes are at the top of my list for a hair episode.
I’d also love to do an episode on what it’s like being such visible queer baddies in states that are vehemently anti-queer - like Texas, Indiana, and Georgia. I know the W impacts local culture and politics, so I’d love to explore how that looks on the ground. I know we probably won’t ever be able to book a guest for this topic, but I was really heartbroken to see the WNBA not stand in solidarity with Palestine recently and I would love to do an episode on that as well.
Is there any new or upcoming work that you would like to share with us? It doesn’t have to be podcast related.
Unfortunately, my day job sucks up most of my time so I would just say stay tuned for another season of Rebound Revolution and hopefully another season of QueerWOC!
🎤 Pass the Mic
If you could pass the mic to someone about a social issue you care about, who would it be and what would they talk about?
What I can do as a Black American to support the end to the occupation of Palestine has been the heaviest issue on my mind these days, so I would pass the mic to Barbara Ransby - a Black feminist whose work has influenced my favorite feminists, whether they know it or not - and my dear friend Laura Jaffee who has taught me so much about Palestinian solidarity.
You can learn more about this first season of Rebound Revolution by heading over to this article from . And for more about queer history, check out the curation below.