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June 14, 2020

Michael and Pele Bennett (Ep. 28, 2020)

By: John L. Hanson

On this week’s In Black America program, producer and host John L. Hanson speaks with NFL defensive lineman Michael Bennett and his wife, food advocate Pele Bennett, discussing Mouthpeace, their new, ground-breaking podcast that addresses a variety of provocative, personal topics.

Intro music [00:00:08] The In Black America theme music, an instrumental by Kyle Turner.

Announcer [00:00:15] From the University of Texas at Austin, KUT Radio. This is In Black America.

Michael Bennett [00:00:23] It’s a company we end up working with. Then we did a show called Good Kid. It had been a while that me and Pele had been talking about doing the podcast because we were like, You know what we have? There’s not a lot of people out there talking about things as a couple, you know, raising marriage to be something strong, raising a family and talk about things like that as a couple and growing a business together and also challenging, challenging society and social issues. And so we were like, you know, we should do a podcast, but we just kind of let some time pass. We kind of talked about a couple of times, but then we end up doing that show. And after the show they were like, You guys are so good, you should do a podcast. And we were like, Okay, let’s do one. And so we just took it from there, really.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:00:54] Michael Bennett, former NFL defensive lineman and Super Bowl champion, activist, author and co-host of Mouthpiece. Also Bennett is the New York Times best selling author of Things That Make White People Uncomfortable. He and his wife, Nellie, run the Bennett Foundation with their children together. On their new podcast, the Cowboys was personal and provocative topics ranging from love, parenting, the NFL and politics. Bennett sees mountains as another way of showing the impact that he and his wife have made beyond football. Prior to mountain peaks and vineyards, I worked with Lemon not only once on the network’s third original podcast, Good Kids How Not to Raise an A-hole. Since being picked up by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie in 2009. Women have had a long and lucrative career highlighted by three Pro Bowl nominations and a Super Bowl title with the Seahawks in 2013. I’m John L Hanson Jr. And welcome to another edition of In Black America On this week’s program, Mouthpiece with Michael Anthony Bennett In Black America.

Pele Bennett [00:02:10] We’ve just completed 11 years in the NFL. That was always a learning lesson. Each year I personally started to evolve and grow and our family started growing. You know, we went from one to now we have three girls. And so each year it’s still a curve ball. It’s almost like when you get pregnant again and you’re like, Oh, I have a baby, but you have to start all over again. And so each year is different. And for us, because we did travel to different cities and it’s last year we were in two cities for the first time in one season. And so there was a lot of growth. I think that happened between our marriage, you know, our relationship and then also our children. All of us really had to tackle so many different obstacles. But I think through all the adversity that we’ve been through throughout the years of ups and downs and just kind of learning the game and how do you balance, you know, life with children and still having your me time and self-care? I think that it continues to evolve and sometimes when you think you got it, then you learn something else and it keeps getting better. We’ll see. So I appreciate everything that has come with football, even though it has been stressful, but it has that we’ve learned. I think to say, to be honest now, we’re really been good at being balanced as a family. I mean, we’re getting better and better.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:03:12] Pele Bennett, wife of NFL defensive lineman Michael Bennett, Pele is a superstar in her own right. She is a food advocate and has a passion for gardening. She’s also a scale Polynesian dancer. Together, the beans have taken on everything from racial justice work to offering a children’s book to parenting three daughters Have I mentioned they also were high school sweethearts? On their new podcast, produced by Lemonade Media, heard every Friday title mouth be The vendors invite their sons and the guests into their professional and private lives to take on topics provocative and personal. I’m sitting out the national anthem and achieving their romance. For us, the conversation managed to be all things at once hilarious, inquisitive and unfiltered. The podcast is designed to appeal not only to football fans but also other married couples recently, and I use that word loosely In Black America. Spoke with the business from Hawaii Public Radio. Aloha.

Pele Bennett [00:04:20] Aloha.

Michael Bennett [00:04:21] Aloha.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:04:23] And the staff.

Pele Bennett [00:04:24] Working on it.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:04:25] For those who are not familiar with you, Michael, give us a little background about yourself. Were you born and raised?

Michael Bennett [00:04:31] I’m originally from Louisiana, but I kind of grew up between Texas and Louisiana. Went to college at Texas A&M, uh, ended up playing for Seattle Seahawks. And that’s pretty much my journey.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:04:43] Did you run through Dallas for a while?

Michael Bennett [00:04:45] I’m happy for the Cowboys, but I don’t know if those are if that’s what people want to hear, too, because a lot of people hate the Cowboys. Like you saying, you pay, you know, you say you play for the Cowboys, they love you or you say you play for the Cowboys and you get punched in the stomach either once. Uh.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:04:59] And Mr. Taylor, can you tell us about yourself?

Pele Bennett [00:05:02] Yes, I am Pele Bennett. I am from Houston, Texas, but I’m a descent from Polynesia specifically, is that there’s someone Islands and me and Michael both have a foundation, the Bennett Foundation, where we work on building communities through health, food, nutrition.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:22] And how did you all meet?

Pele Bennett [00:05:24] We actually met in high school in Houston.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:27] And who made the first move? Michael, you.

Pele Bennett [00:05:30] Know, I’m a gentleman.

Michael Bennett [00:05:32] I’m a gentleman. I waited. I waited. She. I was holding out. She just kept trying so hard. I was like, Oh, here we go. Let me give her an opportunity. Oh, So.

Pele Bennett [00:05:42] Is it like.

Michael Bennett [00:05:42] Yeah. So that’s what happened.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:44] So you all met in high school. And how long did it take you all to get married?

Michael Bennett [00:05:49] Eight years.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:51] Eight?

Pele Bennett [00:05:52] I mean, we were so young.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:05:53] Okay.

Pele Bennett [00:05:54] 52 when I first met him. So, yeah, I was a good. Good. Well, before we actually.

Michael Bennett [00:05:59] Eight years.

Pele Bennett [00:06:00] Got married.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:01] Michael, when did you know that you had a special gift? Playing football.

Michael Bennett [00:06:07] It was. My mama said, uh, when I was in her belly, I used to always run inside of her stomach. So I guess it started when I was a baby. No, I’m joking now. I think it really started in Louisiana. I think I really felt like I feel like I played football a certain way in California, But I feel like when I moved to Louisiana and I was like a city boy in the country, and I was able to compete and in my grandpa’s yard with the rest of the boys from all over the town. And I feel like, Oh, I’m competing out here. So I feel like that’s kind of when I knew I had some talent. I used to love playing football back home in Louisiana so much. I feel like that’s where I found my passion for it.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:06:45] And when you were in high school, what position did you play? The same position that you played in the pros and at.

Michael Bennett [00:06:51] A&M and I should I pay running back my joke, really. I played running back all the way up to 1130. Like I never played defense. I was just off. I mean, offense. I was always running, but so and then I got so tall it it was like me. And you don’t know if you want to play running back.

Pele Bennett [00:07:07] You just say that your body is not ready.

Michael Bennett [00:07:10] Yeah. And I got tired. All of a sudden I got the one summer burn and it was like, I’ll playing on the defensive end. There’s a go, you play running back. So you got like goofy and all that kind of stuff. So I was like, Let me try it. And then it turned out to be a good, good decision.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:07:23] Finally, what were some of your favorite activities while you were in high school?

Pele Bennett [00:07:27] In high school, I dabbled in sports. I did play softball. I was actually on the flag team, which a lot of people make fun of me. But that was a really fun experience. But I also grew up my family. As for work, we had a Polynesian show, so I grew up dancing Polynesian performances and we traveled all over the U.S. doing that. So that was actually an activity that I did a lot of in high school.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:07:52] So when you all got married, where did you all settle? Were you in Seattle at that time? Oh, Pele and.

Pele Bennett [00:07:57] No, we were actually Michael was with the Buccaneers at that time and we were living in Florida.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:02] So did you. I like Tampa. Oh.

Pele Bennett [00:08:05] You know what I heard? It has changed a lot and it’s an happen in place now. But at the time, I mean, we were just there for work. So everything really revolved around his career at that time. And we were really new into the NFL as well.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:20] That same we still had a barbecue place while you are there in Tampa.

Michael Bennett [00:08:24] Who knew ourselves?

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:25] Yeah. Leroy Oh man.

Michael Bennett [00:08:27] There are so many. I should let them barbecue names.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:29] In their bread. I mean, you.

Michael Bennett [00:08:32] Missy Ross I will.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:33] You couldn’t miss it on the way to the stadium. Yeah.

Michael Bennett [00:08:37] You know, Louie.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:38] Dewey, Dewey.

Michael Bennett [00:08:39] Cooley. They had all the brothers Louis, the the Salomon Brothers. They were so good. They’re so good at football. And. But they had them barbecue wings, though. Me and Gerald McCoy’s do, like, 25 each. Like, I just. I said Logan Leroy so and so. We used to go there all the time.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:08:57] Tell me about the Bennett Foundation.

Pele Bennett [00:09:00] Pele Yes. So we started our foundation actually out of Hawaii when we moved here in a michael actually came up with the idea because he saw an issue in Hawaii for different nutrition programs and physical education. And so he wanted to tackle it. And he brought it home to me with this idea. And we found the most amazing people to just kind of talk about issues on health and wellness. And we started more so on the physical side of it, on how can we incorporate different programs and more education for the young, you know, students, because a lot of the schools at the time didn’t have that as part of their curriculum. And so we got amazing people together and we formed the Bennett Foundation, which now is still running. And we are going into our sixth year and we’re still fighting the same issues. And, you know, being food advocates and talking about health and nutrition. And now our girls are along with us, some of our closest friends, you know, we’ve made through our foundation in a lot of communities. You know, I feel that we have made an impact, but also they’ve made, you know, larger impact on us. I think, to be honest.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:10:02] Has it been difficult for others to buy into you all? Our vision for the foundation?

Michael Bennett [00:10:08] Yeah, I think so. I think sometime when you move to places like are you helping in Hawaii? Like people ask the question, why? Why are you doing this? So I think it takes a lot of times for people to understand why somebody wants to have kindness and give back without action for anything in return. So, you know, it’s almost like they feel like a little Red Riding Hood, you know what I’m saying? Like, it’s like they feel like eventually there’s a wolf that’s going to come out. But then their day was really just about us loving the community and giving back in a positive fashion. But it usually takes time for people to build a organic relationship, which we understood because you just don’t pop up when people start loving you, especially when they don’t know who you are, who you are as an individual, what your family represent, and what is your foundation and principles built on as a as a collective, as a family. So it takes it takes some time. But we’ve gotten to the point where we feel like we’ve kind of made some headway here. Seattle, Houston, we’ve done a lot of things across America just for different six of people.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:11:02] While you were playing. Was it a mindset of always thinking about what are you going to do after football? Oh, it was.

Michael Bennett [00:11:09] Always a balance. I think it was a balance. I think sometimes in football you can’t think about the future too much, too much because you can’t be in the present in the game. It’s like if you think about if you get injured before the game, then you think about it like you can’t think about what’s happening in front of you. So as a fighter, you always want to defend yourself and you got to be there mentally. So I think on the off season, a lot of people think about what they’re going to do. That’s when you mostly think about life, about the football. You really don’t think about doing the season because during the season there’s so many things happening. You got family, you’ve got games, you’ve got all these different things, massages, all these different things. You don’t have time to plan for the future. You just trying to really try to conquer that one moment.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:11:45] Pele How do you go about navigating time with the family, but also understanding that, you know, Michael had a job playing football and trying to balancing the two.

Pele Bennett [00:11:55] So, you know what? I think as I continued, you know, we’ve just completed 11 years in the NFL. That was always a learning lesson. And I think each year I personally started to evolve and grow and our family started growing. You know, we went from one to now we have three girls. And so each year it’s still a curve ball. It’s almost like when you get pregnant again and you’re like, Oh, I have a baby, but you have to start all over again. And so each year is different. And for us, because we did travel to different cities and it’s last year we were in two cities for the first time in one season. And so there was a lot of growth. I think that happened between our our marriage, you know, our relationship and then also our children. All of us really had to tackle so many different obstacles. But I think through all the adversity that we’ve been through throughout the years of ups and downs and just kind of learning the game and how do you balance, you know, life with children and still having your me time and self-care? I think that it continues to evolve. And and sometimes when you think you got it, then you learn something else and it keeps getting better. We’ll see. So I appreciate everything that has come with football, even though it has been stressful, but it has that we’ve learned. I think to say, to be honest now, we’re really been good at being balanced as a family and we’re getting better and better.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:13:06] Now, I have some friends who are former football players and they wives. They told me there is a hierarchy within each team depending on the status of the player. If that’s the case.

Michael Bennett [00:13:17] I think that’s in every.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:13:19] Fact.

Michael Bennett [00:13:19] Of life. I there’s a hierarchy, see everything. I think the longer I think the players have been in the NFL is really not as well. A hierarchy is really just a respect. I think when people look at players who’s played a long time in AFL, they have a lot of respect for them because when the person played an NFL for a long time, they means you watched them for a long time. And in the moment that you in the locker room with them, you get in, you become an are and you become like, oh, okay. Like this is you, you see what type of man they are. And I think a lot of times it’s just a lot of respect and understand.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:13:50] If you’re just joining us, i’m john johanson Jr. And you’re listening to In Black America from KUT Radio and we’re speaking with Michael and Pele Bennett with Lemonade Media and the podcast Mouthpiece. How did you all come up with Lemonade Media?

Michael Bennett [00:14:06] Oh, it’s a company we end up working with and we did a show called Good Kid, and it had been a while that me and Pele have been talking about doing the podcast because we were like, You know what we have? There’s not a lot of people out there talking about things as a couple, you know, raising marriage to be something strong, raising a family and talk about things like that as a couple and growing a business together and also challenging, challenging society and social issues. And so we were like, you know, we should do a podcast, but we just kind of let some time pass. We kind of talked about a couple of times, but then we end up doing that show. And after the show they were like, You guys are so good, you should do a podcast. And we were like, Okay, let’s do one. And so we just took it from there, really.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:14:41] How do you decide to come up with a program, podcast topic or you all just start talking and one thing leads to another.

Pele Bennett [00:14:49] A lot of times that does happen one way or another, but.

Michael Bennett [00:14:52] Not with guest though. Well, I guess I think is pretty much we are picking the people that we feel like we want to share information. We’re things that we don’t even know, but also things that other people don’t know that they can help on or they can have a better understanding of what’s happening in their community, what’s happening in society. So we choose a lot of guests by that. Like we talk about the different issues. We raise police things that was happening in the NFL, things just happened with the marriage cooking show like. So we talk about a lot of different things and we we kind of just pick topics that we’re really passionate about and things that we really want to.

Pele Bennett [00:15:24] Highlight as well. And people we want to highlight that people might not know that’s relevant. Their work is relevant today, but themselves personally are not relevant today. So we like to recycle and go back and bring them back to light and let them tell their story.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:15:36] I’m looking at some of the podcasts that have already aired and I’m going to go through some of them and I hope you speak to it. Crockpot Love. What was that about?

Michael Bennett [00:15:49] That was really about the essence of being in a relationship and understanding that love and everything. Does it come instant? It takes a crockpot like get the simmer and throw in different things have happened you. A relationship. And at the end of all that bubbling at the end, it takes a long time to make up the really strongly in his generation where things have to be instant. If you don’t get instant gratification, then you move on. You feel wronged and with love, you can’t do that because there’s going to be some highs, you’re going to be some lows, some trauma is going to be some death. It’s going to be all types of things that shape a relationship. And when you have a crockpot, you throw, you slowly throw different ingredients in and in love. All different ingredients happen at different times.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:16:29] I understand. Go ahead.

Pele Bennett [00:16:30] Lee. Oh, no. I was agreeing with Michael because it is when we say crockpot, when you’re talking about throwing ingredients, you’re talking about throwing in cities, Right? Moving around. You’re talking about children. I was going to say mother in law’s father in law’s family, you know, it’s just ups and downs. But I think because a lot of people see that we’ve been together as children, they say, oh, you guys have been together so long, you know, you’ve lasted. It’s been great. But that to me, to be honest, it was harder to be together as a young couple because now we’re so young and we’re evolving into adults. But now how do we let each other evolve into an adult and learn these new things that we didn’t know each other liked? You know? And it’s as simple as that. But it was I think it was a journey for us really learning together. And it’s not as easy as it looks.

Michael Bennett [00:17:14] It is as easy as it looks. Don’t me believe that people know I’m joking, but it’s a oxtail because we were talking about oxtail, you know, make a great Jamaican oxtail. You put it in and you put in all the ingredients and yet the cook that oxtail for so long to make it that gravy the southern charm. So you know we’d like we think we like to think that oxtails is a type of love that we want to be very tough.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:17:36] Hey, you brought up a point about moving. What was that like moving from city to city? You have to take the girls out of school. And I would assume if it happened close to the beginning of the season, the moving part fell on you.

Pele Bennett [00:17:50] You are correct. No, that is correct. Because of his job. You know, the first time we moved, we were in Seattle and we had just got settled for about two weeks. And Michael got a call and said, Hey, I think I’m going to be picked up by another team. And, you know, we’re still new to this. And I said, okay, that’s fine. And I said, When do you find out? And he goes, Within an hour or two, if you came and he goes, I got the call. I said, What’s going on? He was like, I’m going to the Buccaneers. And at that time for me, you know, I’m like, What?

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:18:16] What’s That’s a long commute from Seattle to Tampa Bay.

Pele Bennett [00:18:21] We went across the nation and I said, When are you leaving? And he goes, I’m leaving tonight. And so it’s as instant as that, as not your role is turned upside down, but it is because you you’re thrown into that unknown. And now it’s like, okay, planning. It’s like survival mode at them at that moment because you’re like, what do I do? We just moved into a place. We have so many things in that time we already had a daughter and so everything gets flipped, so he’s got to go. And I think that’s where I learned in the beginning, is that like these curveballs are thrown at you and it’s to be honest, it’s not. I can’t dwell on it. I’m like, You just got to go. You got you got to go. And so you got to come with that next plan. And so I will say that we have been lucky to be in two cities for, you know, a good amount of years. We were in Tampa for four, in Seattle for five. So only within the last few years did we really bounce around. So I really have to commend the other families that are doing this on a regular basis that, you know, I thought I understood, but now I truly understand and it’s a lot of work.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:19:13] Have you all addressed the divisiveness that’s been going on in the country for the last couple of years or maybe longer as part of your podcast on Mouthpiece?

Michael Bennett [00:19:22] Yeah, we talk about everything. That’s what I’m saying. That’s what we’re saying. With so much things going on in America and there’s a couple there’s not a lot of people talking about it as a as a and finding out and I think about I like about our show is that we most of the time we don’t always agree on the outcome of an issue or how the issue should look. But we do understand that the things should change. And so we address all that. We address the presidency, we address racism within the workplace, racism within NFL, racism around the world, and gender equality with women. So we we talk about a lot of things that are happening in America and raising our kids in a society. What we look like when school violence is high or like all these different things and the depression of of society. So we talk about all this stuff. I think that’s what we want to be an unfiltered, vulnerable conversation within ourselves.

Pele Bennett [00:20:08] Also to know that within a marriage we because we want to highlight being married, is that it’s okay to have those conversations in the house. You know, a lot of times people say, oh, no, I can’t talk about that with my husband or my wife, her family, their family. You know, so many people have strong beliefs and religious backgrounds and so many different things that come into play. But I think for Michael and I, we love to have those debates or conversations within our house. And I think that’s what’s beautiful about doing that within a marriage is that, yes, you’re not going to agree in so many ways, but at the end of the day, you still love each other. You’re going to keep moving forward. And also you have children now. So a lot of those issues roll over into conversations that we have with our daughters. And our oldest is 13. So she’s at an age where she does understand what’s going on. And she’s also very curious as well. She’s a lot of questions, you know, a lot of thoughts, opinions, emotions. And so we keep that really clear as we can have this open dialog within our home, within our marriage, and to let people know that it’s okay to have that, you know, you can still live in. You know, live together and things will still happen for you.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:21:04] Can you give me an example? Maybe about 5 minutes of a topic? If I picked a topic, you can have a brief discussion on it. Yeah. DWI and drinking.

Michael Bennett [00:21:15] Okay. I mean, first DWI. It gets personal because there’s a lot of people who get DWI and there’s people who are affected by the person who wants to drink and drive. I think that’s the thing that when you see so many people that have trauma from somebody who has a DWI and not only somebody having a drinking issue, but also the possibility of there being a wreck with somebody who’s just innocent. And there’s something about DUI I just think about. Negligence of somebody else is like you could be driving and somebody else could be drinking and you have nothing to do with the drinking and you end up dying. I was watching this thing on CNN and there’s four mothers. There’s two mothers and their three daughters were going on a volleyball trip and they were just driving at 5:00 and somebody drove off the road and a DWI and it just killed them. And it’s like they were just having a normal day doing everything right and you could be impaired and make one mistake and ruin somebody whole life.

Pele Bennett [00:22:08] Yeah, I think that’s important to have conversations within your home and having that support system where you have people holding you accountable to say, Hey, slow down or Hey, stop, or I’m seeing something. But I think it also triggers different ways because it doesn’t trigger emotion through drinking, you know, like you said, trauma through drinking. So there’s so many different aspects. You do have to notice that. So I think it’s important to have people that hold you accountable, that call you out, that notice these things, but that you can also lean on when you need that support.

Michael Bennett [00:22:35] But it’s almost like to is like, why put yourself in a situation that could change your whole life? Like just get over people, get Uber.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:22:42] $5, Uber.

Michael Bennett [00:22:43] I will save you a life in prison. $5 Uber ride would stop you from Trauma five Uber I would keep you for having will keep you have no driver’s license. Just use Uber, whatever it takes. It’s too easy now.

Pele Bennett [00:22:55] So that is easier said than done also.

Michael Bennett [00:22:57] Yeah, because everybody feels like I’m a better drink. I’m a better driver when I’m driving.

Pele Bennett [00:23:00] Yeah, I know a lot of people personally that have said I’m a really good driver while I’m drunk because I’m so focused.

Michael Bennett [00:23:06] People out there you listening to this show today, download some type of app. I know a long time ago you would never get in a car with a stranger. It sounds like a scary movie with Black people. This would be the part where Black people die in a movie where they would get in the car and the guy would kill them. But now it’s cool to get in somebody’s car. Could you imagine.

Pele Bennett [00:23:23] That? That actually is an issue. Also, there has been issues and it’s been dangerous to go in cars like that.

Michael Bennett [00:23:29] But I’m saying as you picture growing.

Pele Bennett [00:23:30] Up, you know, so it’s like you’re kind of fighting all these different battles.

Michael Bennett [00:23:33] Did you picture growing up that you were like being like, get in a strange car with a strange person and give them your home address?

Pele Bennett [00:23:41] Oh, definitely not. Especially if you’re intoxicated.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:23:45] Yeah.

Michael Bennett [00:23:45] So you still got to be careful, too, but at the same time, be responsible when you drive and don’t let one of your mistakes ruin your life.

Pele Bennett [00:23:52] I mean, supportive to a friend and almost be responsible for them. Also, good.

Michael Bennett [00:23:56] Friends don’t let friends drive home.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:23:57] Drunk. I know. That’s right. What is special about living in Hawaii?

Pele Bennett [00:24:02] Oh, where do we start?

Michael Bennett [00:24:05] I think it’s. I think for me, growing up, watching my wife’s culture, you know, as an African-American person, you kind of don’t have a lot of the pieces to your history, your dance music, your sound. I mean, there’s pieces, but it’s not in a whole where you can just take it and understand everything that’s happening or things about the culture. But with the Polynesian has been so long. And so seeing that and seeing the culture, how it is, you kind of just you kind of it kind of sweeps you up with love. Kind of and you kind of it kind of embraces you. And I think when you come to Hawaii, you see it in full fledged you see the sense of ohana. You see all these different things, the culture of Polynesian. I saw a long time growing up and it’s beautiful.

Pele Bennett [00:24:44] I was going to say we were together, you know, during high school. And so I was already performing. And both my parents are from somewhere. And so Hawaii was always such a distant place, you know, But we kept the culture so strong within our family through dancing, performing food traditions. And so, Michael, during high school, you know, he got to see me perform and he was over. We had a large family get together. We had him every Sunday, so we had Polynesian food and music. And so I think he did already get a little taste of that. But then when we were able to come to Hawaii together as a family with our oldest daughter, it was a completely different change. And I think what he’s seen there, he really felt even more being in Hawaii. So there is a sense of community and love and you feel it. It’s a different vibe. And I think that’s what kind of hit him when he’s he came here the first time. He goes, okay, one day I’m going to move here. And I said, okay, Michael will see it happen.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:25:31] So how has the podcast reception been thus far?

Michael Bennett [00:25:34] I think it’s been great. I think podcasting is the thing that you really don’t understand How much time is, I guess you when you do radio, you kind of understand the moment that you put in. But for us, you don’t realize how much work you have to do podcasting and editing and doing all these different things. So I think it’s been that part being is being good, though.

Pele Bennett [00:25:51] It’s a lot of.

Michael Bennett [00:25:51] Work, but it’s also been good. Being able to work with my wife on something I think is for a long period of time. It’s been we’ve been doing separate things and it’s like nice to be able to come to work and have. Tough to talk about, but then also take the puck as is being picked up very well. I think people were respecting it just to be heavy sports. They weren’t expecting it to be about real, real issues.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:26:11] When you all got together, you said you are home schooled girls to allow you all the flexibility to do what you are do.

Pele Bennett [00:26:19] So we actually just started home school this last school year. Mhm. So they’re in the second semester now. Yeah.

Michael Bennett [00:26:25] Yeah. We use a online program so it kind of works.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:26:28] Other than the flexibility whether you are enjoy about home schooling versus sending him off to, you know, the public school or private school.

Pele Bennett [00:26:36] You know, I will say to have to know that the kids are, they’re literally at home and feeling that safety and feeling that bubble of you know, safeness and warmth that they’re within arm’s reach, you know, just being protective with everything going on in the world and everything’s happening for me, it’s really to be protective of them. And I know I can grab them or hug them, kiss them. You know, they’re right there within arm’s reach for me. That’s important.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:27:02] Mike, Also understand that you, a novelist, you wrote a novel. Things that make why people are uncomfortable. Yeah, well, interesting. But what were you saying in that book?

Michael Bennett [00:27:14] I was just talking about the state of politics in America and the history of police violence, the history of athletics and NCAA, and trauma that happens to players when they play in the NFL and things that could happen to them after. And also talking about my relationship with my wife and and my children and how how important it is for men to be able to have emotions and break down these emotional barriers so they can be able to love properly.

John L. Hanson Jr. [00:27:38] Michael Bennett, former NFL defensive lineman and Super Bowl champion, activist, author and co-host of Mouthpiece. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, ask your future In Black America problems. Email us at In Black America at KUT dot org. Also, let us know what radio station you heard is over. Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The views and opinions expressed on this program are not necessarily those of the station or of the University of Texas at Austin. You can hear previous programs online and tell you to dialog until we have the opportunity again for technical producer David Alvarez, I’m John Hanson Jr. Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again next week.

Announcer [00:28:31] CD copies of this program are available and may be purchased by writing to In Black America. CDS KUT Radio 300, West Dean Keeton St., Austin, Texas 78712. This has been a production of KUT Radio.


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Reshonda Tate (Ep. 21, 2024)

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The 2024 Fritz Pollard Award (Ep. 20, 2024)

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