This summer, comedian Ziwe Fumudoh's hugely popular Instagram Live interviews have been must-watch programming. Every Thursday night at eight, Fumudoh brings on a guest and asks straightforward and pointed questions about race. The white celebrities and influencers who've appeared on the segment are often stumped by the most basic inquiries — cookbook author Alison Roman, for instance, notably froze up when asked to name five Asian people.
Last night, Fumudoh invited Julieanna Goddard, the Miami social-media star better known as YesJulz, on the show, and things went exactly as expected. In one of the first exchanges, Fumudoh asked Julz about cultural appropriation: "Would you say you're guilty of that sometimes?"
"No, I would not say that," Julz answered.
Without missing a beat, Fumudoh followed up. "By the way, who does your box braids, and can I send them a cease and desist?"
Fans of the Instagram interviews were eager to see Fumudoh take Julz to task. Since becoming internet famous in her mid-20s while working as a South Beach party promoter, Julz has been accused of maligning Black women, appropriating Black culture (see: box braids), and once tweeting a photo of a shirt that said, "Niggas lie a lot."
With Fumudoh, Julz appeared not to realize what she was getting herself into. At one point during their conversation, she admitted she hadn't known anything about Fumudoh's Instagram Lives until after she agreed to appear as a guest.
"I just said yes because I saw that you were a beautiful young woman that wanted me to be on your podcast," Julz said. "Then I saw a bunch of notifications of people saying, like, how you were going to roast me and how it was like I'm dying today and it's my funeral today or something, and I was like damn, I'm dying today? What's going on? Who is this person?"
The interview was made even more uncomfortable by Julz's shaky WiFi connection, which produced ongoing feedback and inserted awkward pauses into her answers.
"People are asking if you're underwater — we're getting tech advice, sis, to turn your sound down," Fumudoh said at one point.
Much of the interview involved Fumudoh grilling Julz about her racist social-media faux pas. Asked about the T-shirt, Julz claimed it was a gift from a friend and said the question she posed to her Twitter following — "So...am I allowed to wear this shirt at the festival tomorrow or nah" — was sarcastic.
Fumudoh also asked about another tweet in which Julz wrote, "Black girls don't like me cuz black men do!"
"I was 19 years old and I was going through a lot because I was dating someone in my school who was Black," Julz explained. "Obviously, today I would not tweet that."
But Julz did admit to using the N-word as a teenager: "Probably when I was little, rapping along to songs. Yeah, I'm not gonna act like I didn't...but obviously understood after experiencing the hurt of a friend, you know, and what she had to go through with somebody saying that in front of me to her, I chose not to use the word obviously ever again because I would never want to cause that pain and, um, I, yeah, that's it."
As the conversation wound down, Fumudoh quizzed Julz about Black civil-rights leaders in her trademark rapid-fire manner.
Michelle Obama? "Incredible. She should be running for president."
Ida B. Wells? "Also an incredible leader."
Kimberlé Crenshaw? "I don't know who that is, I'm sorry."
Assata Shakur? "Is that Tupac's mother?"
Shirley Chisholm? "I'm not sure who that is either, I'm sorry."
Sojourner Truth? Julz shook her head before answering: "I have a lot of learning to do."
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