Brooklyn Deep Third Rail

Third Rail Eps 57: Inside School Colors

Guest Host: Anthonine Pierre

Studio Guests: Max Freedman and Mark Winston Griffith

Show Description

On this special edition of Third Rail, Anthonine Pierre steps into the host chair and interviews Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman, the co-hosts and co-producers of the documentary podcast, School Colors. Representing Brooklyn Deep’s most ambitious project today, School Colors is a stirring and epic look at race, class, and power in American cities and schools through the lens of Central Brooklyn.

In the first segment, Anthonine goes behind the scenes with Mark and Max to give us a deep appreciation for the four-year process that resulted in the complex and personal stories of School Colors. And then, of course, we finish the episode with “Tell ‘em why you’re mad.”

Third Rail Eps 56: Tenant Matters

In this episode of Third Rail we focus on those in Central Brooklyn who are on the front line of gentrification: tenants and renters. 

This past June, Governor Cuomo signed into law a sweeping new collection of rent regulations which re-set the bar for tenant protections and curtailed the power of landlords to dictate rates on rent stabilized units.  This will no doubt have a profound impact on the ways in which landlords are able to set the pace of housing displacement. 

Today, we’re joined by two members/allies of the Brooklyn Movement Center family who in their own ways have been enforcing the rights of tenants and fighting against harassment from landlords.  

Rae Gomes is a pioneering member-leader of the Brooklyn Movement Center and the emerging Central Brooklyn Food Coop. She most recently co-founded a tenants association in her building and has since become a crusader for renter rights in Black Brooklyn.  

 Accompanying her is Addrana Montgomery, a staff attorney at TakeRoot Justice, formerly known as the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center. Addrana has been leading the effort to establish a monthly pop-up tenants’ rights legal clinic here at the Brooklyn Movement Center.  

Host Mark Winston Griffith uses the top of the show to facilitate a discussion on the experiences of tenants, specifically those in small unit buildings in Central Brooklyn.  Next, we get into the brave new housing regulatory world in New York and how it will effect Central Brooklynites. 

 And then of course, we close with that on-going call to anger, "Tell em why you’re mad."

Engineer & Editor-Siad "Gypsy" Reid

Intro and Outro theme Music: “City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                   Episode Music: "Fallout",  Yung Kartz

Third Rail Eps 55: A Plant Grows in Brooklyn

Cannabis or Marijuana use in a Black area like Central Brooklyn has always been a complex issue. While many people call marijuana use a “gateway” to heavier drug addiction, the reality is, getting picked up by the police for distributing or using weed has been a gateway to the criminal justice system.


In this episode we’re joined by two organizers in the struggle to not only legalize cannabis but to reframe the conversation about what a de-criminalized future could look like. We will be talking to them about where the decrim movement is today and what is the potential social and economic impact of legalization on an area like Central Brooklyn.

And then of course, we’re going to close with that on-going call to anger: Tell em why you’re mad.
Engineered by Siad "Gypsy" Reid
Intro and Outro theme Music: “City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                   Episode Music: "Fallout",  Yung Kartz

Third Rail Eps 54: Black Brooklyn Oscars

In a special post Academy Award edition of Third Rail, we indulge our twin loves, BK and movies, by paying homage  -- and occasional shade -- to Black Brooklyn through the lens of cinema.

Specifically, we pose the question, what are the best Black Brooklyn movies ever made? Joining Third Rail host Mark Winston Griffith and engineer Siad “Gypsy” Reid, is Curtis Ceasar John, Director of the Luminal Theater.

Segment One: We walk through Curtis’ top five list and other honorable mentions.

Segment Two: We consider the dominating influence of Spike Lee on Black Brooklyn commercial cinema.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                  

Episode Music: "Fallout",  Yung Kartz

Third Rail Eps. 53 Central Brooklyn Food: Unifier or Gentrifier?

Food, one of the most potent cultural forces in American life, represents our ability to come together across tribal lines, especially during the holidays. At the same time, in Central Brooklyn and other gentrifying cities, where restaurants and groceries stores are not just markers of distinct tastes and cuisines, but of race and class privilege, food can also be an agent of redlining and division.
On this episode of Third Rail, holiday edition, we sit down with two figures, Karen Cherfils and Craig Samuel - two Central Brooklynite at the intersection of neighborhood and meal-makeing - to discuss the politics of community food. 


Segment One: We celebrate the power of food and hear stories of community building through culinary magic.

Segment Two: We take a critical look at the role that food plays - whether intentionally or unwittingly - as a marker of privilege. 

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                  

Episode Music: "Fallout" by Yung Kartz.

Sound Engineer & Editor Siad "Gypsy" Reid.

Third Rail Eps 52: Is there a Black-Asian Future?

As the cultural and economic displacement of low-income people of color intensifies in New York and throughout urban America, the parallel strivings of Asian- and African-Americans force activists to deeply consider their alliances and how to navigate battle lines.  This week on Third Rail we examine the state of Black-Asian relations in gentrifying New York through a rich conversation with Cathy Dang. Ms. Dang just completed her tenure as Executive Director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, which is building grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City. The child of ethnic Chinese Vietnamese immigrants, Dang spent her childhood in her parents' nail salon in pre-gentrified Downtown Brooklyn.
First Segment: Dang shares her personal stories growing up as a social justice-minded witness to the complicated relationship between asian store front entrepreneurs and their mostly Black and Brown customer base.

 Second Segment: we examine what are the common interests between Black and Asian folk in New York, and what threatens to keep us apart.

Third Segment: we of course, Tell ‘em Why We Mad.

 Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.

Episode Music: “Tanzen”, KieLoBot

Third Rail Eps 51: Racing Stripes

As historically “Black” districts in Central Brooklyn evolve, encompass various neighborhoods, and/or gentrify, Black candidates for elected office use tactics, voter targeting and coded messaging to appeal to different sub constituencies that cut across race, class and a variety of identity lines. 

This week in Third Rail we examine electoral politics in a gentrifiying Central Brooklyn with guests, Anthonine Pierre of The Brooklyn Movement Center and Theo Moore.

Segment One: Together we review the Central Brooklyn races to watch in this political season. 

Segment Two: We use the recent near-upset of new comer Adem Bunkeddeko over veteran Congress person Yvette Clarke as a jump-off point to explore how Black candidates increasingly use divisions within gentrification, white progressivism and Black identity to build their base of voters.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                  

Episode Music: "Wide Eyes" by Chad Crouch.

With additional editing and production by Siad "Gypsy" Reid.

Third Rail Eps 50: What’s The 911?

The shooting of Saheed Vassell by the NYPD on April 4th in Crown Heights re-ignited a chronic community safety debate: What kind of discretion should we use in calling the police when we know that it can result in a death sentence for an unsuspecting Black person?  

Today, we investigate what runs through people’s mind when neighbors call cops on neighbors. Third Rail’s Mark Winston Griffith and guest co-host Shantae J. Edwards sit down with Malika Aaron-Bishop, the Membership Chair for GetOrganized BK and co-facilitator for one of its working groups, Racial Justice BK; and Tom Weinreich, who helps organize the deep canvassing team within the NYC chapter of Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) . We also include excerpts from a telephone interview Mark conducted with Soraya Palmer, a member of Equality for Flatbush.

Together, these three organizers offer an alternative framework for how to assess the necessity of calling the police and, in doing so, point towards a new community safety protocol in the midst of rapid gentrification.

Segment One: We learn more about the boot on the ground work from our guests, Soraya, Malika, and Tom do and how vital it is to our neighborhoods. 

Segment Two: What is the role of gentrification and how are white people are socialized to call the police? We go through some scenarios that take us thru the critical thought process of calling the police. 

Segment Three: We talk about models and alternatives to calling the police we can point to and get to the root of offensive community listservs.

Segment Four: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                  

Episode Music: "Clear Sky" by Jimmy Square.

With additional editing by Siad "Gypsy" Reid.

Third Rail Eps 49: Brooklyn’s Own: Youth Activism & Anti- Gun Violence

The recent youth-led demonstrations that were prompted in response to the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida have jump-started a conversation around the role that youth play in combating American-style gun violence. The site of the Parkland massacre was Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a majority white school in Broward County, Florida. However, Black and Brown students in New York and throughout the country have long been in the forefront of a struggle to address gun brutality through both advocacy and neighborhood-based violence interruption.

In Third Rail’s first all-youth roundtable discussion, homegrown Central Brooklyn youth leaders, Nana Samake of Kings Against Violence Iniative (K.A.V.I) and Eugena Pierre Paul of Youth Organising to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S) will discuss their work and their views on what proactive safety and non-violence looks like in our homes, schools and on the streets of our communities.

Segment One: Mark and TK take the temperature on the national scene and how local youth leaders are assuming a place and advocacy voice in the national movement and conversation around gun violence.

Segment Two: We discuss the effects of culture and familial support on youth activists of Color. As well as, consider what kind of efforts have long been in place to create a neighborhood culture and environment in Central Brooklyn that pre-empts the use of gun and other forms of violence.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.                  

Episode Music: "If" & "Note Drop" by Broke For Free.                    

Additional Audio: March For Our Lives NYC, March 24th, 2018. Courtesy of Gibran Mendez.


Third Rail Eps 48: Wakanda Forever: What Black Panther Promises Brooklyn & Black Cinema

Raking in over $400 million in its opening weekend, Black Panther has broken almost all box office records. But what does that mean for Black Brooklynites, the media they make and the legacy we leave?  We discuss Marvel’s Black Panther with film and television producer, Okema T. Moore and Curtis Caesar John, Director of The Luminal Theater, a micro cinema specializing the curation of Black Film.

 Our engineer, Keisha “TK” Dutes, joins us as interim co-host alongside Mark Winston Griffith.

Segment One: Mark and TK talk to Okema and Curtis about the themes, feelings, and critiques that Black Panther brought up within the community. Also, find out the difference between the Black movie theater experience and the White movie theater experience.

Segment Two: Curtis John breaks down what makes a film a Black film; and we wonder how does this Black Panther’s success influences the future of Black film. Okema T. Moore schools us on some Black films and web series you should be in the know about.

Segment Three: "Tell 'Em Why You Mad"

 Episode Music:

  • Klaue/Wakanda Trailer, Black Panther 2018
  • “Warrior Falls” (Black Panther Score), Ludwig Goransson
  • “Pray For Me”, (Black Panther Soundtrack) The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar
  • “Killmonger’s Challenge” (Black Panther Score), Ludwig Goransson

Intro and Outro theme Music:

“City Survival” by MC K-Swift featuring TreZure Empire.