Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Pop Culture & NASCAR

BOND: You have a lot of pop culture references --

GIOVANNI: Oh, yeah. I look at too much TV. My son says that all the time --

BOND: Marvin Gaye and Nancy Sinatra and so on? Where does this come from?

GIOVANNI: I love pop culture, don't you just love it?

BOND: Oh yes.

GIOVANNI: I do, and being at Virginia Tech I recently -- because I'm there in NASCAR country, and I had a student, I was trying to -- I was teaching the expository novel, James Baldwin, so we're doing Baldwin. And I had a student that said to me, you know it's a predominantly white campus, "You know Nikki, you're always making us learn things that you understand." He said "You don't know anything about NASCAR." He said "You ought to ask us sometime," and it was just one of those like, belligerent, and I thought, "Hmm -- he's right, I should find out something."

So I started tuning in like at midnight 'cause it comes on at midnight and it puts you right to sleep. Ennoooww, ennoooww. But I finally found out who Jeff Gordon is, and how many points he had, and Dale Earnhardt, and you know all of a sudden it's like -- "and I said I didn't know NASCAR," you know. And I know bass fishing, too, which is really, really a dumb sport. But you try to keep up because it's not fair that because you're old and because you're the teacher and because you can determine the grade, that you don't let your your students teach you something. So it's a two-way street, I try to learn something.