The Host Of Nycs Longest

Copy the link

The Host Of Nycs Longest

In some ways the conversation is complicated by recent milestone events in racial equality like the election of President Barack Obama.

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” he told me that evening, his face scrunched with concern. Smooth seemed introverted and nervous—a stark difference from his personality on the radio and in videos, where his voice booms with confidence. He said that he wanted to figure out if the decision to hire Lopate should prompt him to speak out—to management, to his listeners, to other people at the station—and he wanted to make sure he had all the facts. With only a few minutes before his show was supposed to start, Smooth sought answers. Smooth’s ability to listen, analyze, and react—both in conversations about hip-hop and in national discussions about race—has propelled him into a rare kind of internet virality.
By supporting creators you love on Patreon, you’re becoming an active participant in their creative process. As a member, you receive exclusive content, community access, behind-the-scenes updates, and the pride of fueling work that matters to you. Smooth told me about his father, whose demons and circumstances had kept him from making the most of his creative talents. With that in mind, Smooth is proud of where he’s landed today—rather than bylines in certain publications or benchmark YouTube subscription numbers, he largely measures the success of his work by being able to do what his dad didn’t.

Jay Smooth

Through all his other endeavors, Underground Railroad remained Smooth’s home base, a “secular church,” he says, where he and his friends could gather every week. It also remained a labor of love, since Smooth and his colleagues were never paid for their work at WBAI. The station prides itself on serving communities typically overlooked by commercial radio stations, which means that, although the programming is high-minded, it has a tiny audience compared to those of other broadcasters. Today, the station receives monthly donations from listeners, but its level of funding is relatively low. We use cookies on our website to improve your user experience and to collect statistical data such as number of unique visitors and time spent on our website. By accepting this policy, you agree to the use of cookies and similar technologies. Jay Smooth
With Jay Smooth’s resignation, WBAI loses a supremely knowledgable and compassionate voice, one who balances a firm grounding in the history of the genre with an eclectic taste for music outside its nominal borders. Luckily for fans, he is just as active on his Ill Doctrine video blog, where he opines on both musical and larger cultural issues from a perspective of social justice advocacy. On our first episode of the Live Katie Halper Show I front of an audience we talk to Jay Smooth, founder and host of The Underground Railroad and of the Ill Doctrine video series. His videos have garnered millions of views and praise from people like Rachel Maddow who has called his work genius.

Past Events

is published by Race Forward, a national organization that advances racial justice through research, media and practice. n that July night at WBAI, after rushing into the booth, Smooth started the episode of Underground Railroad, belatedly, with “Stand! (“In the end you’ll still be you / One that’s done all the things you set out to do.”) After playing a few songs and talking about politics in Europe, he made note of Lopate’s new show. “On the topic of taking a stand,” he said, “I do not want any sort of silence on my behalf to indicate any sort of support or acquiescence to this decision.” He took a deep breath, then told listeners that he was “vehemently opposed” to WBAI’s decision. For Randolph—deeply thoughtful, often reserved—hip-hop offered an escape in words. He fell in love with records like 8th Wonder by The Sugarhill Gang, The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, as well as artists like Run DMC, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane.
In the summer of 2008, a few months before the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, Smooth uploaded a video to YouTube called “How to Tell Somebody They Sound Racist.” In a close shot filmed in black-and-white, Smooth, wearing a T-shirt, addresses his audience against a hip-hop backing track. n July, on Friday the 13th, Jay Smooth, a 45-year-old cultural critic, video blogger, and DJ was preparing to host another edition of Underground Railroad, his two-hour hip-hop and culture show on WBAI, the New York affiliate of Pacifica Radio. That evening, he wore a light red button-down shirt and glasses with currant-colored frames; his hair had been buzzed so short that his head was almost bare. The son of a white Jewish mother and a black father, Smooth describes himself as having an “ethnically ambiguous” appearance—strangers have mistaken him for Arab, Latino, and white. He hurried into the WBAI office, on the third floor of Brooklyn Commons, a “radical movement-building space” in Boerum Hill, arriving at the station’s single studio, where four black-and-gray IKEA bath mats help muffle sound and a cluster of red Christmas lights indicate when an anchor is on-air. After several months, Randolph—by then 17—wrote a proposal for a hip-hop show so impressive that management initially thought that it was ghostwritten by Sloan.

Presentations From Facing Race 2014

Chicago Ideas is the ideas festival for everyone and is also open to all speakers. is a daily news site where race matters, featuring award-winning in-depth reporting, news analysis, opinion and curation. Watching Ill Doctrine is to feel the power and pleasure of seeing a mind at work. He’s always thinking around seven or eight sides of an issue and following them through all the way to the end. Jay Smooth
We’re happy to report that #NN21 WILL happen, but we haven’t yet announced our plans for dates and format. As we keep a close eye on the latest COVID-19 developments and weigh our options, know that we are doing so to ensure that NN21 is safe and accessible for as many people as possible. Check back soon for more details, and make sure you’re on our email list for announcements. Find out what Jay Smooth’s favorite drink and snack are, what he thinks of gun violence, Empire, gentrification and what his grandfather said about The Beatles in the New York Times. As the former host of The Underground Railroad, New York City’s longest-running hip-hop radio program and the popular video blog, The Ill Doctrine, Jay has established himself as a unique and leading voice at the nexus of sociopolitical issues who brings a singular perspective on society and culture. Jay Smooth is a hip-hop scholar and cultural commentator, best known for founding New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, the «Underground Railroad» on WBAI. From Ferguson to Paula Deen, this session will identify and describe some of the key ways media-driven conversations in the United States unproductively approach issues of race and racism. You may not have heard of Jay Smooth, but his career has influenced the way a lot of journalists—as well as people outside of media—think and talk about music, culture, and modern life. He started his show in 1991, when he was 18 years old, which makes Underground Railroad the city’s longest-running music program.
Watch Rebecca Carroll in conversation with writer Eve Ewing, singer Madison McFerrin, The New Yorker’s Alexis Okeowo, cultural commentator Jay Smooth and artist Jamal Lewis. Two former WBAI DJs discuss leaving the station after the hiring of former WNYC host Leonard Lopate. And these losses often aren’t small at all, to say nothing of drug offenses and prison issues; those are massive life-changing setbacks. The war on drugs and racially selective enforcement have hollowed out black America’s social and economic core. There’s a huge tax on being black in America and unless that changes, the “American Dream” will remain unavailable to many of its citizens. For Smooth, video blogging was also a way to become more comfortable with himself. Before he started Ill Doctrine, he didn’t have any mirrors in his apartment except one, in his bathroom. “I didn’t have it inculcated in me to care about or like my physical appearance,” he says. But he is conscientious about how his work is received—creating videos, in particular, can be a high-stress undertaking—so adjusting his facial expressions and body language on camera became a natural part of the production process as he strove for perfection. His video-making was successful enough to earn him money, although, given his inclination toward independence, he has not always enjoyed working in partnership with media companies. Jay Smooth