Soul to Soul

A discussion about Fred Moten and C.B. Bush
with guests: Glynda White and Erica Vital-Lazare - professors at College of Southern Nevada (CSN)
Fred Moten is the finest critical mind on the planet. He is a Las Vegas "almost" native who was mentored by Q.B. Bush, one of the fathers of the Westside community. Glynda White discussed Moten and herself around the Q.B. Bush family dinner table. Erica Vital-Lazare talked about teaching Moten's books in her CSN literature classes.

Show Notes

Full show and information available at 915jazzandmore.com

What is Soul to Soul?

Soul to Soul - Universal Ideas for a Brighter Tomorrow
This show is a free-for-all of positive energy that will include discussions about books, music, politics. books, food, COVID-19, oral interviews, books, and Las Vegas History. I will invite people from the community, all college and university campuses, businesses, and organizations for chats to connect hearts and souls throughout the city.

The following is special
programming sponsored by public

radio K, u and v. 91.5. The
content of soul to soul does not

reflect the views or opinions of
91.5 Jazz and more. The

University of Nevada Las Vegas,
or the Board of Regents of the

Nevada System of Higher
Education.

This is soul to soul, universal
ideas for a brighter tomorrow.

Today, my guests are Glenda
white, CSN Professor of Law and

Erica for tall Lazar. I'm never
pronounced Erica's name exactly

right. And she is also a
professor at CSN English

literature. Erica, tell me what
you actually teach.

I teach creative writing. And I
also teach literature course

that I'm quite proud of its
marginal voices in dystopian

literature.

That's why I can never get it
right. So today we are going to

talk about one of the most
critical thinkers in America

today. And we are going to talk
about this person friend

mountain, because he is from Las
Vegas. He grew up in the west

side. So we're going to start
with Glenda because Glenda was a

friend of his four years. So
Glenda first start by telling us

who QB Bush is.

Okay. Well, I think it's safe to
say that QB Bush was the

community man, that he lived on
D Street for over 60 years, that

he was a mentor, a father, a
brother and husband, not only to

his immediate family, but to the
community as a whole. You could

always stop by he will be
sitting in the yard when it's

warm enough. He sold the pecans
for Christmas, you know how we'd

like to make sweet potato pies.
And so he was really the the go

to person always there to lend a
helping hand. And I think the

most important things were the
dinners around the QB Bush

family table. That's where you
got lectured, educated,

reprimanded chastised and just
given some really good advice

about life about Las Vegas,
about blackness, and most

importantly, what contributions
were you going to make, to make

things better?

Wonderful. I really appreciate
that. Now, you are one of those

children who became one of the
god children in that household.

But also there was another play
brother, and his name was Fred

Moten. Tell me about Fred.

Well, yes, Fred is I say my
little brother, but he's quite a

bit taller, taller and a little
thicker. I might say he won't

appreciate that. But I met Mike
Davis, who is another Nevada in

Las Vegas, and he knew be
Bernese Mountain, and she had a

son, Fred Charles Moulton. And
so when I came to Vegas, and was

younger, and we were out all the
time, running around, we just

met Mike at some place, probably
some disco club or something

like that. And we became
friends. And as we develop that

friendship, of course, we would
talk about different things. He

would take me out to the West
Side Community. And then he told

me he wanted me to meet, as he
called her Ms. Mountain. Ms.

Moulton was a school teacher.
She taught Mike in elementary

school, junior high, high school
o'clock, and even I think a

class was sold out at UNLV. And
so naturally, when I met Ms

Moulton, which is what I used to
call her until about the late

80s. And one day she said to me,
don't call me Ms. Moulton

anymore. And I said, Okay, well,
what do you want me to call you?

And she was so emphatic, I don't
know. But don't call me Mrs.

Moulton anymore. So I was like,
gosh, you know, I was taught to

be respectful of elders and all
and I didn't want to call him is

bronies. And so I decided, I'm
going to call you b. And so

there began the name of B
Moulton or B Jenkins and

everything. And so when I met
her and as time went on, of

course, I met Fred, who was
about 10 or 11. And she was so

very active in politics and
education, and she had to do a

lot of traveling. You So a lot
of times Mike will keep for it

or stay over on Rico street.
That's where they lived on Rico.

I believe it was 401 Rico
Street. And so then after she

met me, and she had to travel to
Carson and Seattle and all

around, I began to keep free. So
I am also the babysitter, as

well as the big sister. And
that's how I met young, Mr.

Moulton.

Now, from there, in classrooms,
all over the country, people are

teaching what Fred is writing.
Erica, tell me about you and

your class. And what you talk
about when you talk about Fred

Moten what is the favorite book?
What are some of the ideas that

you pass along?

Oh, wow, I'm still caught up in
the story, I'm still sitting at

the table. Getting all this
enrichment that comes from that

community love, and I'm thinking
about what a wonderful

laboratory that is, for a mind
that comes out of that community

with all of that love, and all
of that education, about what it

is to be a human among other
human beings. And so that's

primarily what I teach in my
marginal voices. In dystopian

literature course, it is about
not only marginalized

identities, black, brown, non
binary identities, it is about

what you do with that particular
humanity, so that you not only

survive, but you thrive. And
that you also are able to be

equipped, intellectually,
emotionally, to also see to

intend to the survival of your
community. So with that in mind,

what I love, and I just
introduce my students to

snippets of Red Mountain, from
the under commons, fugitive

planning and black study,
because what I'm hoping to do,

and I don't know if my dean will
ever hear this, but what I'm

hoping to do is to plant seeds
of insurgency. And I know that

something you want to talk
about, you know, that trilogy

that comes out of consent not to
be a single being, this is

really what I want to impart,
yes. How to analyze and critique

literature, how to really engage
with a short story so that you

can really see the theme and how
it also reflects your own

particular experience. Yes, I'm
doing all those things, Dean if

you're listening, but I'm also
hoping that I get young minds

off the grid. And I think this
is what Fred Moten really is

able to do so beautifully. And
though his study is about black

social life, and theories of
blackness, and therefore, just

wonderful theories about again,
not only surviving but thriving

without particular histories.
But he's also deeply I think,

mining, investigating and making
it possible for us to see how we

are beyond measure, we can be
informed by our histories,

informed by the histories of
others, and not bound by

So Erica, this is probably one
of the most complex books I've

ever read. I'm reading two books
by him. I'm reading blacker and

blur and the under commons, I am
learning to read again, I am

learning to think in a new way.
I am learning to be patient.

Because this sentence is so
complex. I have to tear it

apart. I can't finish this book
for the next six months. So I am

learning to read all over again.
How do you help me understand

Fred Moten. Glenda How do you
help me understand what I'm

doing what I'm reading?

Well, let me say this. Fred
Moulton has been shaped by

Kingsland, Arkansas, with his
grandparents and of course with

his mom and from that kings on
Arkansas chain, Las Vegas and in

Las Vegas. Fred Moulton has
followed around as I did when I

met be to League of Women Voters
meetings, of course they used to

be held in her basement and we
used to sit on the steps and

listen in on the meetings and
everything to all types of

community political NAACP
meetings, to the blues, to the

jazz to the readings of all
kinds of books to some travel

internationally. And I'll never
forget when they shared with me

that they had been into Africa,
and what it was like many, many

years ago, because his father at
one time worked, I believe it

was paying in airlines and
everything. So sitting around

cubies table being, we used to
say you're dragging us

everywhere to all of these
meetings, going over to this

house, getting out in the
community, walking and talking

to those people, in the houses
in the churches, molded shaped

Fred Moulton be who you are,
never forget to look back, and

to lend a helping hand, you have
an opportunity, you need to pass

that on to others.

Thank you. Like I said, I'm
learning to read again. And I'm

doing it on a level that I've
never done before. Erica,

without frightening your
students. How do you explain the

terminology even that he uses in
the books

for me when I read Fred Milton's
work, it's almost as though you

are entering into another
dimension. So I'm going in and I

have to suspend and I love the
way that you described that

experience as learning to read
again, I have to suspend certain

expectations, because even as
his philosophy of fugitive at

being a fugitive, right and
escape from the norm, I think he

writes in this way, and the
music. So when I had just a

snippet of the under Commons,
which, you know, I think has

some moments that are very
comprehensive, meant to be read

by all is all of his work is I
advise my students and I also

have to dispense that advice to
myself, you know, because you've

got this title of Professor you
supposed to know everything,

when he read it, you're not
supposed to be confounded. But I

advise my students to take the
unknown with a sense of joy and

pleasure, read as though you're
listening to jazz, the music

that comes through in the
language. So even if you don't

know a term, what I advise them
in which I follow my own advice,

this counsel, circle it, but
just let the music play, let it

play, and go back to it. Once
you've completed the page or the

passage, go back to what you did
not know. And then reread it

with that new knowledge. And
even more notes will bring for

you then I consider myself, you
know reading is the water I swim

in right. But I'm going into
like some water that gets a

little little turbulent, right?
But you start to shape, you

know, form those muscles and
take on like the rhythm of the

water. When you're reading Fred
Moten wonderful,

and he talks about sculpture,
artist, writers, philosophers.

And the music comes from all
genres. He embraces classical,

hip hop, all forms of rap. Oh,
my God is just so eye opening

and head opening mentally to
read him. So ladies, I just love

that I am. I have been
introduced to somebody

different. So the last interview
I conducted was with a Mrs.

Davis, not the Davis that you
just talked about two days ago,

I was in her house. I said, Do
you have anything else you'd

like to add to this interview?
She said, I want to talk about

my favorite teacher. She said, I
went to the west side school at

one time, and my favorite
teacher was Mrs. Moulton almost

fell out of the chair. And she
said because she finally told us

how to be proud of being black.
And she explained it and she

talked us through what it was to
grow up on the west side, to

embrace everything that we were
learning here on the west side.

And to use it, I was just
floored. And then I told Mrs.

Davis about Fred, and she just
she was so thrilled. Her face

lit up. She said his mother that
his mother, his mother taught

him that. So it was just
wonderful. So anything else

about Fred and Moulton and his
writing that you'd like to cover

before we come back to the west
side in a different way?

Well, I just have to say, you
know, Glenda is mentioned in his

really big first critical book
in the break, he gives you an

acknowledgement. And you notice
that within those

acknowledgments of the ladies
from the west side, I mean, just

reading that I already you can
tell him already fan girling.

But the way he loves the voices
of women, the way he pays so

much honor, respect, and fuse
with so much joy, that he was

able to sit with his mother, you
know, that that book of poetry

be Jenkins, just the way in
which he is able to acknowledge

the string of that matrilineal
presence. For me, that just

expands the reverence I have for
this man, because he hasn't only

become the scholar and great
thinker and humanitarian and

artist, that he is, without
having that collective of women

around him. And he knows it, and
not says so much about him as a

human being.

So this complex thinker came
from the historic west side

right here in Las Vegas. Why is
that not surprising to us?

It is not surprising to me at
all. And I didn't even get to

the west side until the early
70s. But the bits that I began

to pick up and the time that I
had there during those days, and

even now, that's what the west
side did. That's what B Jenkins

did. That's what Eloise Bush
did. Lavon Lewis did, Mabel

Hogan, and shall I say Alice key
even though so these women Thank

you, Erica, these women shaped
Fred and picked up on me at 21

years old, and began to help
reshape helped me grow more

shaped the mike Davis's shape,
the people next door shaped the

kids at Madison Elementary
School, these women. That's why

he is where he is today. That's
why I'm not surprised. Because

just what I got in coming in, in
the early 70s, has helped

reshape me mold and me to grow
even further, and take another

path.

Wonderful. So Erica, could you
name some of his books, I see

that you have a whole stack over
there. Could you give us the

names? And could you tell us
where he is now and what he's

doing the trilogy

that is sort of like the
foundation of a lot of his ideas

and investigations. Because I
don't think his ideas are ever

complete. You know, he's always
willing to see more, and

therefore say more. But that
trilogy that comes under the

consent not to be a single thing
to being a single thing that's

black and Blurr was the first in
that trilogy. And then the

universal machine, which the
universal machine takes a look

at three philosophers that he's
really putting in conversation

with one another. Hannah Arendt,
Manuel livingness. And of

course, Franz Fanon, which is
the key to a lot of race theory.

Right, the rebel and see her and
the last one is stolen lives.

And so that's a pushing back to
the idea that in blackness,

we've had something stolen, that
can never be reclaimed. Now, the

fact that it was stolen, that
something has been stolen, I

don't think that's really an
issue or question. But the

reclaiming, I think, is really
what Fred is interested in. So

yes, those are three very
pivotal works. And then the

under commons, in the break is
just a beautiful the celebration

of of voices and images of the
black aesthetic, and little

edges is just, I actually knew
of Fred Moten first through his

portray. And then my friend, I
ILA, or hipped me to the essay

work, and I was like, Oh, my
goodness, and that's what,

that's what this friendship and
what Fred Moten said so

beautifully, during a trim and
Trinity Church, Sunday sermon,

you have to pick you have to see
it, it's on YouTube, and I think

it was from January 2020. And he
talked about, Kingsland ark, and

saw so beautifully and his
grandfather, and when his

grandfather was ill, and he had
this riotous gorgeous, you know,

truck garden, and how the
community particularly neighbors

came in and helped to attend to
this garden when his grandfather

was ill. And for all of this
hard work, they didn't want

anything in return. And the
mother of that family when she

refused anything, you know,
because proud people will at

least say take something you
did. She said, This is how we

fellowship. And so turning what
is usually just an abstract noun

into that verb, I think is what
Fred Moten does. This is how he

fellowships, which is to say, my
friend, letting me know that

this poet that I so loved was
also an essayist. This is her

way of fellowshipping. With me
this conversation is the way

that we fellowship I think Fred
Moten he loves to begin

conversation that does not end
further inquiry, where are we

going from this? So I spoke with
his name as though I know. I

have yet to meet this gentleman
I plan to, but he's so intimate

in the language, and so free in
what he wants to give you, which

is freedom.

Wonderful. So the next time he's
in town, of course, we have to

meet him Glinda.

Well, I will certainly certainly
make that happen.

So please tell us where he is
now and what he's doing.

Okay, so now he is at NYU. And
he's in that department of

literature and African American,
and all those things that go

together with that. He is still
writing. I am hopeful that he

may be here later in the summer.
That was one of our

conversations, your things will
break. I know he's doing some

travel. But he had told me that
he was going to try to minimize

some of that now. He has two, I
think teenage boys now. So now

there's a different role to
play. So he may not be traveling

quite as much. But he is in New
York at NYU. Both he and nor is

His wife at NYU. Wonderful.

So Glinda. Do you have any
closing remarks about QB that

you'd like to offer?

I was at QB Bush's house on
Sunday. It was Mother's Day. The

kids are still there. I make it
a point to go to the west side.

But I make it a specific point
to go to QB Bush's house and sit

around the dinner table.
Although the dinner table is

long, and chairs are empty, but
we still sit, we still talk

sometimes cry. We still laugh
and remember when all those

chairs will feel with good
conversation. Good people. Good

thoughts and directions. And let
me not leave out debates and

arguments.

Good. I was always welcome.
Those make the divinity. Yes.

So that's that's what I would
say.

Wonderful. Thank you, Erica, any
closing remarks about the west

side? I'd like for you to talk
about how the west side is

beginning to change now. And you
will you're with an organization

that's happened to do some
things there. Would you like to

just say a few words,

I see the west side as becoming
a future place that's informed

by the past. The fact that we
celebrate so many great

performers and spaces of
performance, that have been a

part of that history. I am also
excited by the fact that we can

celebrate the intellect that
comes out of the west side,

along with Fred right now being
it you know, NYU in New York. We

have a young artist working in
tech and diversifying the tech

space and the arts in tech.
Salah may also guy who was also

from the west side, Rose
McKinney. James is not from the

west side, but worked on the
west side with Miss Ruby Duncan,

and she's in the renewable
energy field. So when I think of

the west side, I think of all
the ways of celebratory

blackness, right what we see
what has been hyper visible so

beautifully. But I'm also
excited about the things that

run those spaces and how
blackness contributes and

propels pushes forward ideas for
the future of that space. So

abodo, which is the nonprofit
that I founded with A good

friend, Brian dies in which you
are so blessedly on the board of

clay tea. We are hoping to be a
part of that coming future.

Wonderful. Any closing remarks?
Glinda I see you taking notes

over there furiously. So is
there something else that you

wanted to mention?

I just want to say that I grew
up in Tennessee, I came to Las

Vegas, and I grew up again. Yes,
because of all the names that we

have mentioned, and so many more
that we didn't. And the West

Side certainly helped reshape me
and it plays a vital role in the

future for prosperity and ever
after.

Yes, I agree with that. When I
started going to the west side,

I was much older than that. I
won't even say how old but my

life was reshaped completely. So
ladies, thank you so much for

this first episode of soul to
soul. Soul to soul is about

universal ideas for a brighter
tomorrow. Thank you so much.

You've been listening to special
programming sponsored by public

radio K, u and v 91.5. The
content of this program does not

reflect the views or opinions of
91.5 Jazz and more, the

University of Nevada Las Vegas,
or the Board of Regents of the

Nevada System of Higher
Education.