Rebel is Rebecca Carroll's regular conversation on race and pop culture. You can hear Rebecca talk about these issues with guests on Wednesday mornings on WNYC, or participate in one of Rebel's monthly conversations in The Greene Space.


Many times, we've heard that black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. I would argue, though, that we are also the lifeblood.

Our lifeblood — the force and movement and unique judgement and empathy of black women — is what keeps the Democratic Party alive. And Cynthia Nixon knows it. She also knows that in order to defeat Gov. Andrew Cuomo in September, she needs to listen to, and surround herself with, smart black women.

Shortly after she announced her run for governor, Nixon hired L. Joy Williams as senior adviser to her campaign. She gave her first televised interview to Wendy Williams, and more recently, she brought on Jamilah Lemieux, a celebrated and vital voice in the black community, as an advisor on communications and engagement.

For this week's Rebel, I spoke with Lemieux about why Nixon is what New York needs, whether marijuana licenses should be used as reparations, and the role of black women in New York's political landscape.

"I think that black women are just uniquely empathetic," because of being at the crossroads of race and gender, she said. "We have a concern for people outside of ourselves that other people don't always have for us, but we don't let that stop us from wanting and fighting for what's best for the world at large."

Listen to the interview with Jamilah Lemieux on WNYC below.

Rebecca Carroll is a cultural critic and Editor of Special Projects at WNYC, where she develops, produces and hosts a broad array of multi-platform content, including podcasts, live events and on-air broadcasts. Rebecca is also a critic at large for the Los Angeles Times, and a regular columnist at Shondaland in addition to Gothamist. She is the author of several interview-based books about race and blackness in America, including the award-winning Sugar in the Raw, and her personal essays, cultural commentary and opinion pieces have been published widely.