This week’s Humans of Chapelboro continues the story of Kevin “Kaze” Thomas and Bishop Omega, who host a weekly web show, Intelligently Ratchet. Read part 1 of their story here.
Kaze: There’s a diversity of opinion. We’re just two brothers sitting up there talking about politics and world events, and then talking about what new Kendrick Lamar album just came out. That is something that appeals to me and to a lot of people—the diversity. Intelligently Ratchet is not just a show for black people, it’s a show for everybody. I feel like we’re setting an example that it’s cool to be intelligent about these things, and that doesn’t make you square, it doesn’t make you lame. We have fun and make it cool to talk about, and to talk about what’s going on with the laws and the politics and how it affects our everyday lives.
Bishop: We are in the age group where we’re cool with the older people and we’re cool with younger people too. We’re right in the middle.
K: Around the time where there were many cop-related shootings, and with Trayvon Martin and the situation escalating to the point where we have the Black Lives Matter movement, I didn’t like the divisiveness of media that I was seeing. A lot the people that I love and that are my best friends are white people. I didn’t like the way that the devil was winning. It started to be where, almost, black and white people couldn’t get along, like we were going back to the Stone Age. I didn’t like what I was seeing on TV either. I was like, we need to set up a platform where we can talk about these issues and communicate, and have people see the reality.
B: We’re like the young 60 Minutes. That’s where I see Intelligently Ratchet. We are informative enough to be a news program, but we still don’t take each other seriously, so we’re like a late night show at the same time. There are some things we probably shouldn’t be joking about, but the audience likes it there’s some shock value in the show. That’s how people talk. You don’t have the most appropriate conversations with your friends about social issues, and neither should you on Intelligently Ratchet. Sometimes laughter is healing. We might have a heavy subject to talk about but then we’d play a game to lighten the mood. If there’s somewhere in there where I can fit a joke, to lighten the mood, that’s my job. Kaze and I play off each other. We have a bunch of chemistry, and that’s because he’s my friend. Our audience is like a fly on the wall—we just happen to set up a camera. It’s so dope that we’re the first ones to use the platform of Facebook Live in this way.
K: Recently, we’ve been talking about everything dealing with the ban on immigration, on Muslims, and we’ve been talking about [Trump’s] plans to build a wall. We touch on a lot of issues—we talked about when the police body cameras got removed. Our first episode was on Zika. We have this thing we call the ratchet effect—it seems every time we talk about something, it makes the news the next day.
B: We take a lot of credit for stuff that we really don’t have anything to do with.
K: We talked about the Charlotte protests and the death of Keith Lamont Scott, and the situation where the DNC was hacked and the nomination of Bernie was tampered with.
B: We talked a little bit about human trafficking and stuff like that, and about sports.
K: We’ve talked about rape culture. We try to deal with serious issues that people will talk about to themselves but won’t talk about together. That’s what’s keeping people, you know, off balance with each other. I know there’s a lot of people watching the show and they want to comment, but they’re a white person, or they’re not black, and they don’t feel like it’s appropriate for them. I I just want people to know that they should speak up.
B: We want to open up that dialogue. You can’t walk without falling, so a lot of ignorance and ignorant comments come from people just not knowing. It’s easy for you to speak. Growing up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Philadelphia, before you met or actually had a conversation with a person—a white person—you already had these preconceived notions of what a white person is supposed to be. You can get a culture shock, like oh, they’re just like me. Poor people act like poor people, and I’ve always said that. If poor people get together and unite and put their money into other poor people, stuff will change. You can take the same socioeconomic characteristics, and go to Brussels, or somewhere where there’s nothing but Caucasian people, and they act the same way as the people in the hood. They do the same crimes, they smoke the same weed, they do all the same things. It’s because they’re poor. Those are crime cesspools, and there’s not a black person around. In Asia, it’s the same situation.
K: That’s another element of the show. We talk about what can we do about it, and what could be different. We don’t just gripe, it’s not just two dudes sitting around complaining about the situation. We’re trying to promote you towards action or figuring out what a solution could be, and being aware. It’s hard when you’re working and get home late, and you haven’t heard a thing that went on during the day or if you did you saw a couple of headlines. But laws are being changed, and things are happening that affect our lives. If you can come in and watch the show on Wednesday, we catch you up on what you might have missed, saying, this is important and this is why. “News you can use” is the tagline.
B: We have a research team, and we have people behind the scenes that do our research and fact check us. We could be wrong, but at least we say, this is where we got our information from, and viewers can see for themselves.
K: We also talk about music and food. We get on the comic side of things, like the top five cartoon characters.
B: That’s an argument for real. if you’re doing top 5 it gets crazy. It’s very serious.
K: Different characters mean different things to different people. We’ve talked about something as serious as the Muslim ban, and then we turn around and lighten it up with this type of conversation. We’re not left away with this heavy feeling after talking about something so disgusting [like the ban]. You’re left with a feeling that we’re going to fix it, and we’re not going to feel defeated by the news.
Photos taken by Aleta Donald.
Intelligently Ratchet airs live on Facebook every Wednesday at 9 p.m. Visit the page here.
Stay tuned next week for a new story on Humans of Chapelboro!