Emmanuel Woolard and Felix Gabriel Lopez
DescriptionEmmanuel Woolard (29) talks to his partner Felix Gabriel Lopez (31) about being queer and people of color in 2019.
Subject Log / Time Code
Recording LocationLower Manhattan Booth
StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
00:11 Hi, my name is Emmanuel lard. I'm 29 years old. Today's date is October 16th, 2019. We are in Foley Square lower Manhattan.
00:30 Hi, my name is Felix Gabriel Lopez. I'm 30 years old today is day is October 16th, 2018. I'm in the lower Manhattan booth in the Foley square and I am with Emmanuel Willard who is my partner.
00:50 And so we began this so what do you want to talk to you and talk about?
01:04 Who who have a great one to start with if you could interview someone Dead or Alive? Who would it be and why?
01:15 If I can.
01:27 You know, I think I first I would always think I would have thought of like someone famous or someone extraordinary study history. So but I always wanted an interview my grandfather who passed away or died died a year before I was born. His name was Amanda Nguyen. I need to know if you mind if Emilio in Manuel Emilio and the reason being is that he looked a lot like me from the photos and he at the same personality and stunt that I do he was a troublemaker and I think I consider myself a troublemaker. I don't I don't keep my mouth shut and situations where people often do
02:16 And he really was the core of the family unit. It is from what I've gathered and my grandma spoke very highly of him. He was an architect who is intelligent e road motorcycles. He he he he ended my grandmother had an affair when they were both married each other. Yeah. They have the very scandalous is Dominican Republic a mic that my grandmother gave no fux and he did not eat there. I saw they loved each other very much. And the reason I say that is because for him to be the personality that he was especially during a dictatorship is America Republic. I think I'd be fascinated to see how he protested against.
03:16 Protested against things that were so busy Cyril and American public with rahelio, who was a dictator in his upbringing and and also it's just interesting to see in the racial Dynamics. My grandmother was she is white presenting Latina and he's afro-latino feel like I am curious to see those I would have always wanted to ask him those Dynamics too and I caught what are the
03:47 What are the lessons that he plays on to my mom to be the kind of woman that she is cuz she's pretty she's pretty phenomenal. So, how about yourself, sir?
04:03 I would probably want to talk to you.
04:15 James Baldwin just just to have like such a banter with him about like you Kiki with bothering after but I will read him first you read him. I would what will we read about?
04:36 Like so many of the limitations for bike ride entity like now and like this idea of just being trapped within the Baldwin narrative just like if your intellectual and just so happen to be here like it's just I don't want to talk to you that with him to be like, okay, like, you know, what's what did you envision for the future for Black Widow male identity, you know, and why?
05:07 Why why couldn't you do know?
05:11 Fully be yourself or feel Fearless enough to do so. Your life. And why did you have to leave and then come back to gain A New Perspective even what way did you feel like you had to escape? Like, why wasn't it safe enough to freely express yourself in the fullness of your identity to where you could be an example for others coming after you to go and do the same to where is we feel like we're I feel like nowadays. It's just what kind of moving backwards you think. So yeah, I do what ways
05:54 I just think people just stop fighting like I think people are an ass.
06:02 Motivated to
06:06 Organize and like, you know, I'll get out here and like be a part of conversations that reshaped the narrative for black ride that it is or people of color who are clear to give them the freedom is the ability to express themselves without ridicule or judgment or things that are rooted in stereotype. So Baldwin is definitely like a person that I would want to interview just just to be like, hey, let's let's talk. I want to probe a little bit more about that. What?
06:39 Do you do do you not think that bass out that fair that he was in that he was already carrying so much weight that he couldn't do all the stuff that you meet you were you asked of him. If you were in that setting I could understand like the timeline and which like things are happening. It's just it's it's more access now, but it's still the same struggle.
07:07 And I would have liked to know how we could have like really found ways are tools to really just connect with one another and build pipelines in collaboration rather than be suspicious to what is black queer identity today look like for you.
07:30 Give me an example. I'm so if I'm looking at New York City and I'm looking at the Creek community specifically just those who are males. It's a competition for what reason I have no idea but it's like it's kind of reminds me of my crabs in the barrel. Like don't know why that is and I feel like there would be so much power and Beauty in just connecting and be like, hey, we have we share a similar struggle. How can we begin to reshape, you know a narrative to where we don't have to we could be each other's keeper rather than relying on programs that are you know,
08:15 Are keeper and My Brother's Keeper that tends to feel more heteronormative than inclusive of all identities. So if I wasn't if
08:26 Give me an example of like what does the actual competition illustrate me a picture of what that was.
08:34 Say for example, you're going out and you're at a bar and you're with your partner and
08:46 There's that they're Deluxe and then half the times having been a part of that culture and then not a part of it. I think she is like, you know, how did they why are they together? Why why this why that I don't think they're too good and it's just a suspicion that is rooted in insecurity that I'm just like
09:17 It looks like we're all trying to secure the bag. So while trying to win like, it's already hard enough as it is. We don't need to be in competition with it people because we've been conditioned to you, you know, so that's a some of what it looks like it just it just very catty. It can be very catty and I think it's hard to build your new relationships. Is there any organizations or any people that you see there like at least giving you a glimmer of hope that
09:51 That's a kind of maybe going down now. I think I have to be the one that created in what way created by, you know, just living authentically in the creating Connections in building relationships and collaboration and
10:12 Really building that building out that infrastructure of what that could look like and then just getting beginning from there.
10:23 So tell me an experience where you felt most proud of your identity.
10:32 Most proud of my identity
10:38 I don't think I have I'm still waiting on that moment.
10:43 I'm still waiting on that moment because it's just such a like a
10:51 There's so many things happening and I think
10:56 It's like there's one there competing because it's like all I want to be proud that I'm queer. But then often times within black communities to not is something that is still being worked through because like respectability politics in it, but then I want to be proud to be black and it's just like oh, but you know, what is what does it look like to be proud?
11:22 Timmy black but know that the fullness of your identity is not accepted.
11:27 So someone came and challenged you about it's a ballroom scene. They call the ballroom scene is doing that or poses doing that. What would what would your answer be? They are doing that they are I just don't have I don't feel a connection to it. And I think that's where that's why I said it like it was just like no like it. I'm still waiting for that moment because it's just it feels as if it's something rooted in a stereotype like oh Gabe gay queer man, or a super Flame Point. There's two extra they like to dress up and like to do all these things that were once used as insult. So now all of a sudden this becomes,
12:08 You know commercialize and it's in everyone's homes and everyone wants to speak the lingo and it's just like no relax like this was just
12:18 This is an opportunity for survival. Like this is why the scenes were created. This is why they were you know, and then now yes representation is great, but it's not enough a culture region is worth. Of course, there are going to chime not be naming names and I'll be naming organizations, please. I don't know her but there's been a lot of Mike situations where I feel like white people.
13:01 I have this now almost did they have the
13:10 They feel like they're more what they can welcome themselves into let's say the certain lingo and not knowing that this lingo is actually based off the dead bodies of black Trans women right that annoys the fuck out of me when seeing people either in organization saying I go well, we're going to capitalize only certain bodies to do the work and then not pay them for it. But then we are the ones that were going to be able to benefit from it or monetizing was less monetizing bodies. So there's always disliked balance between like a regular we want to be represented. But but like but base of a representation that becomes a monetary fund for people that
13:58 Not too long ago where I'm trembling us or not too long ago meaning last week, right? It was like you like, you know, I'm going to just quit Palm, you know, I want to keep our money, but I know how you feel about that works. I'm not going to do it but everyone want to be a blank for nobody want to be a black right? Oh, yes, of course, of course, of course, of course, I'm yeah, it's just it's interesting because it's just like in a way, you know, white mainstream culture makes it disarming. But what does it mean for it? Why does it why was it a threat in the beginning? Because it challenged the Norms that existed that were fixed in didn't represent the full scope of humanity. I love making people uncomfortable sometimes, you know, I do too but I don't I I think what I wrestle with often is I don't want to find myself or anyone who's doing this work burnt out like that's a real.
14:58 Thing for all camisa color is what you all Queer camisa colored like that is a hard thing because it's just like you continue holding the line holding the line holding a line. I'm and then you have those rare moments where society and culture has sat out like now it's acceptable and whatever just my imagination. I wonder if they like all have like this like headquarters or it's like like KKK white light KKK headquarters. I think we're going to decide on Tuesday. We're going to say Kiki. Why is everyone agree?
15:41 I want to be part of the dictionary you just look at it and you're just like, you know, we're also trying to survive while trying to thrive and I think it's just like a dove we wanted to be like again love our ancestors mother down, I think.
16:09 You know, I wish there were more people that kind of like taking on the reins to be like hey, this is going on. I wonder about I'm curious to know like what is the cuz there's so much transaction this there's so much one way transaction there in like the outside world and like I always think about like the gays in the white gaze and like how can how to use specifically
16:36 Nourish yourself back from like from constantly being like brainwashed eventually that you should be doing this that you should not be doing this. They should be doing this and it just become sometime so much. How do you nourish yourself? It's interesting because I again that goes back to suspicion. Why does it feel as if I can't trust like, you know, the thesda the authenticity of you know, someone who is queer and maybe white like what like why like why like why but then again it's rooted in so much. Do you know they're like weird Whitaker people card that have the opportunity or the ability or the access to really exist. You know, that is that's the million-dollar question.
17:29 It's interesting because it's just like you want to be able to connect and be like like gas, but we both love Britney Spears. She's pop icon Britney Spears love pink love, but it just like
17:45 Always wrestling with loving those artists but feeling conflicted within your own identity because they don't they don't mirror your lived experience with in the world and understanding that someone who may be white and queer has a little bit more of an authentic connection and we should be able to just enjoy the art for what it is like a son of the Wonders are become.
18:13 Not replica, almost like cuz I get back to be the same are arguing until like white gaze. Loving like Normani and like, you know, all this stuff like yeah, and it's like, all right. When does it become almost a not a replica but almost like an exotic vacation or like a lake ident. Like I'm almost identical. Yeah appropriation or like what and when does that when he's out turn but that but I would but again going back to you like just even recognizing Britney Spears as a pop icon who are her influences, like, you know, oftentimes they were people of color who weren't, you know, didn't receive as much recognition or you no access to them out of Fame that she's received. You know, what like it's just like everything is connected, but there's also a visual
19:12 There's a visual that goes with it word just like okay. Why is it that white queers love all people of color artist and then there's also this it's like we're both reaching for one another but yet we're still so we can't get beyond the faster the the bias and prejudices that we've been conditioned with you need to listen to midnight Xfinity downloaded. It was like, you know, I was that's what you have to wrestle with the fact that is it something that I'm going to take on today so I can stand like am I going to really cuz I thought about it like I thought about like I downloaded it 7 episodes. Of course, I can go through it like crazy cuz I've gone through 30 podcast already.
20:07 But you know, is this something that I'm really ready to sit in digestion be in my feelings because you know, there's so much shit in the world. But yeah, like I was listening to it and I was in a gentrified Brooklyn area and I knew I was like, oh no, I'm not turning like I just had that I had that feeling in the laundromat where I was just like, why are all these people here in a minute? It's a constant battle with me being from New York, but not from Brooklyn being from the Bronx and I'm just kind of like that. I have to strap like struggle with my own light placement in this like gentrification model in like and then and then passing by like my house is
20:50 30 steps away from the laundromat, right? And in those 30 steps, there's so much that goes on so like you go I go I got my house and I go down the stairs and it says Brooklyn as Brooklyn brick or like feature a lot of the stairs and you go out and write on my raises huge disgusting overly painted red monolith of a words Memphis soul and soul is with Seoul and I'm like
21:25 Great and the gentrification begins right and select a horror movie zombies. I see that and who's the owner of white man? And I might and there's no none of the people that none of the staff that represent Memphis or so. So then then I continued make a left and then I go to Gladys and glad he's is like the supposedly replica of like West in Jamaican food West Indian food, but then they just remodeled it to have it's like neon turquoise color, which looks like a horror horrible horrible t-shirts at the kids will have to do for like kindergarten for that end with this like horrid like clock sign and then I'm like what this is. I don't know what's going on here. Keep on walking down in this is new infrastructure was going to be built and in the in the in the construction site that has all of the phoenixes podcast. It's like in the construction site you're going to jail.
22:25 One part of the building as like the historical site and then they're going to build over that as urban renewal and on the side of the construction site in the zone. It's as Caucasian people scratched it out, right and then people wrote it again Caucasian the caucasity.
22:45 Yes, really? There's there is that like there is distention is happening in my neighborhood that I see all the time and then the only place there's only a few remnants of the old Crown height and one of them is a 56 louder. I'm sick and it's like that's a kind of still the remnants of the old neighborhood and you going to the laundromat and I go in and I'm listening to How Minstrel music was formed in the sense of taking away. Someone else's like song that they used every day to 2 during implantation does the way to survive when constructing it with something that's not of the people and using polka music and things from like England and fusing and saying this is exactly what black people black people do and I'm putting black face listening to that and then entering to the doors were there are people from Senegal who are you know, doing some of the man
23:45 Name of the laundry while everyone is surrounded. I'm like or white and it it it like a fumigated me. Like I was like well feel like I got to sit with this right now and I'm still trying to do laundry and not burn my clothes right and if that's only 30 pieces until like coming coming to terms with that and seeing that development of my own Blackness for the queerness and like
24:11 It's hard. And so I have to kind of sit with myself and be like, okay Felix, like what am I going to do so that I can rejoice and nourish myself and sometimes I have to turn it off.
24:25 Yeah. Yeah. The largest knowledge is Power by power. Remember I told you about that quote that I love, you know, the whole thing. It's just like if you want to hide something from a black man put it in a book like the hold that like look at that like the fact that we have quotes like that like really like that's it like that. It's just it's super annoying. I'm just like we're on your men's where we all went together that I can enjoy tunnel Starbucks.
25:11 Conflict competition struggling with you know, the whole mess of things and explosion. Can I ask you both to talk or tell each other what you do feel connected to or what makes you feel in some ways. I want to hear both sides of that.
25:32 So it's interesting how I feel.
25:36 Connected to
25:41 Humanity in a way that always leaves me hopeful that we are on the path of like
25:50 Really flipping, you know, you know these systems in oppressions and things on its head.
25:59 And that's just that something that just feels me in a way that I didn't think it was that I used to be extremely militant. But now I just began to just I feel like you need Community to survive you need humanity and you want to be able to connect with people, you know, regardless of different ethnicities and backgrounds and
26:21 I like to say that I love my Millennials. My Millennials are out here, you know doing what we need to do to because we inherited.
26:32 Such a shity shity world and we're trying our best to we get a bad rap. So I feel connected to I'm going to go home if I was messing around with tic toc today. Oh my God is so much fun. I think I'm working. I'm really connected to I cook a lot and I've gotten a lot of like family recipes and I feel
26:55 We've talked about this. I got a very strong Affinity to like the quote like being Dominican, but I don't have a lot of conflict and in this part of like an investment in a culture in a way and I love being a lycan and I think New York is something that I'm born and raised in no matter how jaded I can be about this place. I think that's part of the attribution of being a New Yorker you have to be jaded, but I think just cooking some of my liked and baking and making flying or making rice and beans making Pollo guisado lime chicken and or making a good salad or pasta dishes and I had to scrape plantain shrimp and I think that kind of gets me to lie just the whole because it's just a time for me that I just think about something like the ingredients and what is it?
27:55 Like to put love into an ingredient which is like a magical thing. There is no there is no signs to it's the keys but love to a meal and I think that's one of the things I liked at least mine are the the different band members and I've gotten that cooking from As Told app told me and like the like I said, I could just have to put an effort into it and I've gotten a lot of patients from that and so whenever I need to think to myself if I I I always go to go to the kitchen and I'm a great what am I going to make the kind of like bring out that frustration and turn it into love? So that's something that I have you like that French toast.
28:39 Boy, I just saw those you should have said you can make yourself some plates because of some place but see that's when he gets back to my conference. So I'm militancy is interesting cuz I think you said you would not be coming as soon as it's something. It's almost becoming the opposite to me where I feel like I'm becoming more militant again. Just based off what I mean, like what I'm seeing what I'm digesting and what I'm reading and how writing again and I don't like
29:22 How I can sometimes associate myself into the world and see what's going on almost like Monopoly and I'm like woah, woah. Woah, how can we be? So ignorant seeing what's going on in this world? And sometimes I have to come back into that world and be like, oh a dog nice. So yeah. So what do you what do you feel like you're passionate in like, what is your passions?
29:51 Oh, well, all of the time is really being able to put people in position to take care of himself and don't want to take care of anybody. But I do want to put people in positions to take care of themselves in a way that this affords them. The luxuries that life has to offer you should be able to go and travel wherever you want and I have to worry about financial constraints. You should be able to shop and look as good as you want regardless of anything and have what you need at least twice a year and I think that's what I'm passionate about. I'm really passionate about like being a part of a world where I get to reshape The Narrative for a black man black man black identities. That's what I feel most connected to so, you know, what about you?
30:46 Yeah, I think I'm I have this very strong passion for narrative and it's becoming stronger every day. We become like one of that is film where the weather that's it. That's audio whether that's written form. I think I'm starting to become a person that wants to not only produce this this the craft of narrative but also like a lot other people to like to have engage in that format because I think one of the things that we don't that a lot of marginalized groups, not just the the groups that I'm associated with we don't have enough. We don't we still don't have enough content and I think we need all ourselves the the beauty of nuance in to show that we are that we as a people are more than what you think you are. Absolutely. So I think for me, I'm really coming to terms with like what does it look like?
31:45 I'm a writer or like like I I'm an artist and it took me such a long time because I I've grown up to visualize that has a certain thing or certain person and not as myself and being a and how do I produce such a how do I produce creative modalities that actually not only please people but kill people praying and so through that I want to do it in a clinical setting and heal people Envy in in really gauge with like what is it look like to create narratives with people that we often silence as quote-unquote crazy. So what does it look like to talk to someone who has schizophrenia and and say like know that might be just another outlet for their narrative. What does it look like for us to see Trump trauma and not as a
32:44 A way of production but our way a source of seeing a story that doesn't erase the trauma and doesn't heal the trauma but it just makes it bring it brings it about in a way that it can bring that story to light so that we can start dissecting that as a whole society cuz we all have different traumas, but we don't like to speak about because then we we have certain stigma that we associated with and that I think it with more narrative and more people actually sitting down and thinking about it. I think that I'm that could happen. I'm sorry. I hoped at least not be the leader of it for like at least be part of that community that Fosters at like I told you that quote that I sent you like we are Trailblazers from the podcast that I listen to you.
33:35 Papa John's that is the responsibility in the role of the you know people of color and it becomes so great. But we are Trailblazers often times. It's just something that happened in the power and that is just beautiful because you know, we really have the ability to create examples of what we wish to see in the world, which is another quote. I love thing because you just want to be part of that like I I want to Aspire to inspire and I think everyone does so it's just a kind of how can we connect like, how can we get back to each other at like let's get back to each other. Like let's let's come back together. Let's recognize that we're all humans because the larger issue is climate, right?
34:23 I got it. I get pretty you know, how about that for me to sing We Are the World?
34:34 Is that like? Okay now? No, right? No, I don't think so. That's why I didn't say anything.
34:46 He's going to be so nice. So I'm like, yeah. Anyways, yeah, I think we just need to have more compassion for each other and I think is going back to what you were saying about competition. I think we all have competition with one another and within the subsets of communities where we should be like yo, like we need to collaborate but I think that we have to erase our own.
35:21 We have the duty as a society for Chef Millennials to face our ancestral trauma that our former Generations were hiding away into the carpet and now we're kind of buying the house and we're like wait, where is it? All these dust bunnies just come from I think it really is the next like we're going to be doing the work. So the Next Generation can lilies be like, okay at least the at least the carpets are clean. Now, we have to fix the pipes, you know, if you have to you know what I say I said, I'm currently at my Beyonce bday album days of my life. So when I get to my Beyonce debut subtitle album of my life, it's over me like I'm Beyonce Kelly cuz I just makes me Michele.
36:19 I am Beyonce and Kelly if you know, you know what no. You know what I'm Tina Lawson and managing that's you don't you don't need you. Anyway, I'll see you at 19 years old and you were complaining I like, you know, just just I mean, I understand you got to get in where you fit in a 00 K catch that you know what I need to don't let me think Blue Ivy on your do not have to let me think I can't wait for her ride is going to be like when she was singing that song.
37:19 The little clip that went around you like stay in your struggle.
37:26 Stay in your struggle like to MC. She's already have a glass of it's over for the girls over for the girls. It's a wrap as a radio whole bodyguard of millions of people. So I'll text you think I'll be driving for president while Beyonce Tina's going to have to put you to bed omigod long as you know, where you were you referred me. Now. There's only one Beyonce and one Kelly and I both OK Google words.
38:06 It's going to get better. It's going to get better and also know pataka. Don't know what I know you were where you going to love what I was going to say. No. Now you're going to try to make me say it say it. No, thank you, Yeah, it's official.