One of Wittenberg University’s philosophy professors, Dr. Julius Bailey, launched Straight No Chaser, a podcast that centers around critical current issues that challenge the world. On his podcast, he chats with many different guests (both locally and nationally) to discuss the topic that an episode centers around. Here, Bailey touches on the name of the podcast and why he came up with the idea of it, the success of the podcast, what his life was like before entering the world of a philosophy professor, why he is so passionate about these topics, and what it’s like to be the only African American professor working at Wittenberg.
“There is a rap song that says ‘I’m bored in the house and I’m in the house bored’,” Bailey said, referring to the song “Bored in the House” by American rappers Tyga and Curtis Roach. Like everyone else around the world, Bailey found himself in a similar situation in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he was losing his mind and he needed to do something and talk to about the current issues in America.
“I needed interactions, and I just had this crazy idea what about just starting a podcast, so I called a former employee, Ray Jones,” Bailey said. Due to him having a fear of technology, Bailey had the idea of purchasing the equipment for the podcast and hiring someone to run the technical aspect of the podcast. Just like most people in the world, Bailey had no idea that the podcast would attract so many viewers.
“I didn’t know that it would kick off as well, I didn’t know that it was going to do as well [and] I didn’t even know what it was going to look like,” Bailey said. “Straight No Chaser has two meanings: (1) an album by a jazz album from musician called Thelonious Monk, and (2) those who go to the club and want their drinks straight with no coke in or rum…I wanted somewhat of a jazz like improvisational fluid show, that gives it to the people straight.”
Bailey’s had a life as a pastor before he become a philosophy professor. He grew on the south side of Chicago in a neighborhood notorious for gang activity. Bailey grew up in a household with his grandfather as a pastor.
“To preach is more of a calling, than a job, but I never really (maybe up until lately) that I wanted to answer the call to accrual pastoralship,” Bailey said. “I became interested in philosophy and the process and the sort of the quest of not wisdom… and to understand his life itself.” Being a pastor is a lot of work and haven growing up experiencing what his grandfather went through, Bailey knew that it wasn’t the job for him.
Bailey lastly touched on what it’s like to be the only full-time African American professor at the university.
“It hurts because, [for] five or six years I’ve been fighting for diversity [on this campus] and we did it. We brought in ShaDawn Battle. Going into fall 2018 and spring 2019, I was the happiest that I have ever been. I had a crew. I can finally build community with my people and not have the weight of the world kind of on me on campus. We watched nine black facility and staff leave the university,” Bailey said.
Entering in his 11th year on campus, he is in pain because half of the black facility and staff left.
So what is next for Straight No Chaser? Well, check it out from 11:00 to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays with the links to the Facebook and YouTube pages below.