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Session 186: The Joy of Jingle Jangle

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.
If you’re looking for a mood boost in this season then I’ve got just the movie for you to check out, Netflix’s Jingle Jangle. Beyond the magic, I feel like there were several life lessons to be gained from the film and Jordan Madison, LCMFT joins me to chat all about it. We discussed the themes present in the movie, why a film like this was so necessary right now, and the importance of staying connected to our sense of play and wonder as adults. This episode does contain spoilers so please save it until after you’ve had a chance to watch the movie.

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Session 186: The Joy of Jingle Jangle

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 186 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. If you're looking for a mood boost in this season, then I've got just the movie for you to check out: Netflix’s Jingle Jangle. I was absolutely caught up in the wonder and magic of this film, and I won't even tell you how many times I played the soundtrack. But beyond the magic, I feel like there are several life lessons to be gained from the film as well. Joining me in gushing over the movie today, is Jordan Madison.

Jordan is a licensed clinical Marriage and Family Therapist originally from Brooklyn, New York, currently living in Silver Spring, Maryland. She received her BA in Psychology from Spelman College and her MS in Couple and Family Therapy from University of Maryland, College Park, and works as a couples and family therapist at Friends In Transition Counseling Services in Maryland. She's also one of our contributing writers here at Therapy for Black Girls.

Jordan and I chatted about the themes present in the movie, why a film like this was so necessary right now, and the importance of staying connected to our sense of play and wonder as adults. This episode does contain spoilers, so please save it until after you've had a chance to enjoy the movie. If there's something that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here’s our conversation, and be sure to stay tuned after my conversation with Jordan for an interview with two of Jingle Jangle’s youngest fans.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining me today, Jordan.

Jordan: Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Joy: I'm very excited that you were able to join me because I feel like Jingle Jangle is the single most... just adorable, wholesome, sweetest thing I have seen in quite some time.

Jordan: It is definitely.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, it really felt like a bomb*[? 0:04:13] at this point in the year that is 2020. I know that you also had lots of thoughts and feelings about Jingle Jangle, so I’d love to just kind of hear, like on a cursory level, what were your initial reactions to it?

Jordan: Well, like you said, it was just definitely a feel-good movie. It felt great to see black culture, you saw black hairstyles, you saw dance moves. You saw so much of the culture in the movie itself as well and so that was great to see. I loved the grandparent aspect of it. I have amazing parents and they had me young and so my grandparents have always stepped in and been a very integral part of me growing up. So I loved that part, that definitely warmed my heart as well. I loved the movie, it was great.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, and it wasn't really something I was expecting to love. I think it came out earlier this year like in November then I saw people talking about it, but I was like, oh, maybe I'll have the kids watch that a little closer to Christmas or something. But then I found out it was a musical and I'm not usually a fan of musicals so I was like, I don’t know if I'm gonna love that. And then we watched it the first time Thanksgiving evening and I just...

First of all, I probably teared up within like the first 15 minutes because it just was so beautiful, and like you're mentioning, just lots of layers in terms of the family dynamic. And just, like you said, gorgeous hairstyles and just... It was shot beautifully. I think it just put me in all of my fields in a way that I wasn't necessarily expecting.

Jordan: Yeah. I think my first time watching it, my dad, my stepmom and my two siblings... They live in Atlanta but I am currently in Maryland and we decided to watch it together, like over Netflix together, and that was nice. And then we watched it again, I want to say it was Thanksgiving evening or sometime around the Thanksgiving holiday. And so it's definitely a nice family movie but, like you said, there's a lot of generational things that I saw that were woven in as well, so I really appreciated it. I think it's a great movie for all ages.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, yeah, I agree. I agree with that. Now, because I feel like I can't ever really watch anything without picking up some additional meanings... I definitely feel like I was able to get lost in it, which I think was a part of the fun, that I was able to really kind of get lost in the magic of it and the fantasy of it, but I did still kind of walk away with, “Oh, that was a message. We can use that for something else.” Tell me about maybe some of the messages that you got from the film.

Jordan: I’ve rewatched it now maybe three to four times. There's like three major themes that stand out to me. One was just belief, like believing in yourself, believing in the magic of things, and therapist in me kind of brought that down to like imposter syndrome and how that can make you not believe in yourself. But also the pros and cons of it because the competing toymaker, he stole the ideas from Jeronicus.

You know, him taking Jeronicus’s things, it just showed me that what's for you is for you. Even though he took it and made a profit in the beginning, when that last invention that he tried to steal didn't work, to me, it was because you didn't know what it took or what was the meaning or what was important behind it like how Jeronicus did because he's who created it. It didn't work for you. Even though you tried to steal his shine, it still ended up not coming to you the way that you expected.

And then for Jeronicus, it was like “once a believer, always a believer.” I think with his failed successes, it made him forget who he really is and it reminded me sometimes, with myself or with clients that I see, that when things don't go our way, we sometimes start to feel like maybe this is not for us. When maybe it is; it's just that we're having some difficult times but that doesn't mean that it takes away who you are or what you were created to do. That was like the first theme that stood out to me because belief in the magic and all of those things. And that being what made the codes that he would write in work, that, to me, stuck out.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. I definitely picked up on that as well and it reminds me of a previous episode I did called Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper. This whole idea that Gustafson took his whole toy book and kind of made years or had years of success kind of just building stolen things. But then when it came time for him to actually stand on his own two feet and come up with something new and creative, he didn't have the juice to do it. I think that is a reminder for us that when you are so busy looking on somebody else's paper, you're not actually nurturing your own gifts so that you can actually produce the things that only you can create.

It's easy to kind of take somebody else's playbook and say, okay, I can do this and then I can have some level of success but what really equals long-term success is you nurturing your own gifts and practicing and failing, because that's a part of it. Like sometimes things work and sometimes they don't, but it's really important to kind of nurture the things within you.

Jordan: Exactly.

Dr. Joy: I want to go back to your comment about imposter syndrome because I think Jeronicus was struggling with something like, “I don't know if I can make these things work anymore,” but it feels like that was also really compounded by grief.

Jordan: That was the third theme that I noticed.

Dr. Joy: I got too caught up on your list, I didn't get...

Jordan: No, you did! The first one was like believing and that kind of related to imposter syndrome. The second one was legacy, kind of what I talked about before, just seeing the generations, how patterns pass through generations. There was a lot of generations in the story because it starts with Phylicia Rashad (who I absolutely love) telling the story to her grandchildren but then you find out that she was the person in the story that she's telling, you know. That just spanned a lot of generations to me and I thought that was beautiful and it showed the importance of storytelling in our culture and all of those things.

And then my last major theme I was going to say was grief, but then also the importance of relationships. Like I recognized when Gustafson originally took his work, he was still working on creating new things and trying again and he had his wife and his daughter in his corner pushing him. But I noticed, once his wife passed, it felt like he lost everything and he stopped trying completely and so that, to me, showed me how devastating grief can be. Which I think we already know, but it was a really stark reminder. But then also how important it is to have relationships around you.

I felt like the relationships in the grief piece all kind of combined into one, to me, because he lost that relationship with his wife. So he was grieving and then through his grieving and his depression that he was feeling from that, he isolated himself from other relationships. Whether it be with his daughter, with the mail lady (Ms. Johnston, I think) who was trying to come on to him, he would always shut that down. He originally would shut down even his granddaughter and I think all of it was because he was depressed, he was grieving, he was sad, he didn't want to open himself up to anyone in general. And I think that happens a lot when we lose really key figures or really important relationships in our lives.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, you're very right about that, especially the isolation piece. Because, you're right, it feels like he was able to kind of rebound a little bit after Gustafson stole his original toy and his playbook but then after his wife passed, it feels like he just kind of felt like, okay, this is the last thing. Like, how much can I lose really and keep going? And so what you see is like him further isolating in his relationship with his daughter Jessica, and really kind of pushing her away to the point at which when they kind of meet up again, she feels like it was her fault.

And I think that that's something to pay attention to as well because children don't always have the language and the vocabulary to understand what's happening. And so it feels like in her 10- year-old or however old, (they never really said how old she was when all that was happening) in her mind, she kind of created this whole story that it was me. That I wasn't enough or like dad couldn't connect with me and it was my fault that the magic was gone or something. And that's what kids get to do.

Jordan: Yeah, and I loved that Phylicia Rashad as she was sharing the story... I can't remember exactly how she said it word for word, but she just said that in that time, Jessica, realized she not only lost one parent but she lost two. And that even though she tried it's like the grief was too big of a void to fill and she was too small to fill it. Not meaning that she wasn't enough, it's just that grief is something that overcomes you and, being a kid, there's only so much that you can do. You can love your parents, you can love whoever, not even just a parent, and it doesn't mean that it's your fault. Their grieving process is not a reflection of you.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, and I also thought it was really telling when they did reconnect, that he had been trying. Like writing her letters every day but never sending them, which I thought also was really kind of key in what we sometimes see, and I think stereotypically but also kind of socialized in terms of men’s emotional experiences, right? So that there's all this stuff kind of going on underneath and I don't quite know how to share it.

Jordan: Exactly. Or how to express it where it doesn't come off a certain way. And he was like, I wanted to give you the world. “I was the greatest inventor, but I wish I could have been the greatest father,” but had he just been there and been present, he would have still possibly been the greatest father. But because, in his mind, he wasn't living up to whatever standard he saw himself to be as a father, he felt that he wasn't enough for Jessica. He pushed her away thinking that would be helpful, when in reality that maybe made her feel worse. And like you said, men in general, but specifically black men in my opinion, have been socialized to think that they have to be everything and tough and strong and all of these things. Which is, I guess, the important piece of masculinity that people pass down, but there's also a piece of “you can still be a provider in other ways besides just financially” and I think maybe he felt that he wasn't being enough.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, you know, one of the very first things that I thought about when the story kind of first started was how much he was putting on this one invention. And I think that that is sometimes where we get in our own heads, not necessarily related to inventing toys, but whether it is in our careers or in our relationships. Like, oh, if this one thing works, then my life will completely turn around. And I think that is always a red flag to me when I hear clients say stuff like this, because I think that there are very few paths or decisions in our lives where one thing will make a difference. And so I think when you're pinning all of your hope on one thing, then you get into trouble because if that one thing doesn't work, then what do you have left to kind of stand on?

It feels like that was kind of the beginning of the downfall and it feels like that kind of led into this dynamic of him feeling like, “Oh, I wanted to be the greatest father to you,” when really all you need to do for kids a lot of times is be present. To be there and be not abusive and not awful, but you don't have to kind of be writing their name in the sky for kids to really feel like they've been taken care of and loved. And so it feels like that again was another lesson I thought that we could take away and I realized, was just this idea that very seldom is it one thing that's gonna make or break our lives.

Jordan: Yeah. And I just had that conversation with a client earlier today of this mindset of “Once I get ---, then I'll be ---”. Happy, then I'll be successful, then I'll be whatever. And I remember (for myself) feeling that way a lot in 2018. I had a lot of milestones in that year and I was like, okay, once I do this, then I'll feel better or once I get this thing done, then I'll be okay. But what happens if after you do it, you still aren't feeling better? Then what? Because then you're feeling lost and you're feeling confused and you're feeling like, well, then I’ve got to do something else. It's just a never-ending cycle.

And so, for me, at least personally, I can say that my goal in 2019 was to just focus each day on being my best in whatever capacity that looks like. It doesn't have to be I have to achieve this one goal first and then I'll be happy; it was just focusing on day by day. Doesn't mean to not have goals, doesn't mean to not look forward to things. It just means, like you were saying, not to put so much pressure on that one thing.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, sometimes I talk about what I call celebration procrastination. This idea that I'm gonna celebrate my dissertation once I am completely finished or I'm gonna celebrate this thing when I get the next promotion, so there's never like a stillness of celebrating all the small wins. Especially for people who are very success driven, that you were always kind of looking for the next thing as opposed to “let me be happy about this thing currently.” You know, as opposed to that doesn't mean you have to kind of give up on your goals and what's coming next, but also take some time to kind of really be excited about the thing that just happened.

Jordan: I love that celebration... I love things that rhyme.

Dr. Joy: So do I, so do I. What was your third theme? What was the third thing that you felt like popped up a lot?

Jordan: It was just the legacy. Like just looking at the generations. It was believing and then it was the grief but to me like the grief and the relationships kind of tied into one. And then the third was just the legacy of just seeing how intergenerational trauma but also intergenerational positive things, too, can be passed down. Jeronicus was an inventor, his daughter was an inventor and then her daughter is an inventor and then you see Phylicia Rashad sees something in her granddaughter.

Like she's looking at the fire and she's seeing something her grandson didn't. But that's what sparked her to share this story because she started to notice that her granddaughter is starting to see things. And while her brother, not intentionally, but maybe is making her feel like it's not real or she’s crazy or she's wrong, she picked up on that. And I just thought that that was beautiful, that it was just the spirit of believing, the spirit of magic, invention, was passed down through generations. A lot of times, we focus on intergenerational trauma and the negative things that are passed down, not realizing that there are also really positive things that are passed down as well.

Dr. Joy: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. I have mixed feelings about the word resilience because I feel like sometimes it keeps us in this space of feeling like we’ve got to kind of keep working through hard things and not actually acknowledging that they are hard things. But I do agree with you that if trauma can be passed down, what about resilience? And what about joy? Are those things not also passed through generations? And I think that that is a bit of what we saw in this story. I hadn't thought about that, but I feel like there is a strong theme of kind of women embracing their voices–women and girls in this story.

Because, you're right, Phylicia Rashad did notice something was going on with her granddaughter and she felt like this is the time now to share this story. Like I need to affirm her so that she realizes, like trust yourself. And I really feel like they did such a beautiful job of that. We didn't see it as much with Jessica because her story in real time was cut short after her mom passed, but I felt like they did a great job of showing that with Journey. Just kind of her really being very comfortable in who she was. Like, I'm gonna be a great inventor and I know all this science and math and just really kind of being okay with who she was. I really felt like they did a good job without kind of heavy-handed portrayals of girl power, so to speak. It just was like, this is a young black girl who feels very affirmed and comfortable in who she is.

Jordan: Right. Like her beginning song, the first song she sang... I don't remember it at all (I'm not gonna sing it) but it was something like they want me to go and play and be outside, but I prefer to be inside and be inventing those things. And so I think it's great because that was nurtured by her mom because she understands it and even though, like you said, Jessica’s story was kind of cut short, she wanted inventor goggles or she wanted something. Her dad still made them for her, even though her mom might have felt like it was too soon.

I think there's very subtle things that show you how having people that believe in you is really important. And that's what even Jeronicus was saying: When I had my wife and my daughter believing in me, that's what made the inventions. But after losing my wife and then pushing away my daughter... It feels like he lost the community, the people that were trying to believe in him. Ms. Johnston was trying to believe in him hard, but he was not open to it yet. He wasn't receptive.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. And the other point that I just thought was so cute was Journey's relationship with Edison, right? And so even in their first meeting, he's like, “Well, do you want to be my apprentice?” And she's like, “No, but do you want to be mine?” So again, I just thought it was a great framing of a young girl being able to kind of claim her own voice and claim space. And back to your point around believing, I thought one of the most beautiful parts of the movie was one of the conversations Jeronicus had with Journey about believing in yourself, like you've said several times today. He said, “Never be afraid when people can't see what you see. Only be afraid if you no longer see it.”

Jordan: I loved that.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, it feels like it goes to your earlier point around, like not quite the imposter syndrome, but kind of just believing in yourself. But also, just kind of some self-esteem stuff, too. That it's okay if everybody doesn't see, because sometimes other people are not meant to see it. It maybe is only meant for you to see.

Jordan: Mm hmm, yeah. It's funny that you said that because I forgot I wrote that quote. Each year I have like a theme for the year but I write down quotes in my notes from each year that really speak to me and that was probably the most recent one that I did because I think that's so important. Sometimes people won't see your vision and it doesn't mean that it's not possible, that it can't happen, it just means that they can't see it. But that's fine because it's still... Maybe it was God-given or maybe it was the universe, whatever you believe in, it was given to you to fulfil.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think that that was, again, something else that kind of popped up throughout. Just kind of trusting your own intuition and your own voice and your own vision. Even if other people don't agree with it or don't affirm it, there's a likely reason why you have it.

Jordan: And as you say that, I also think of patience. Patience came up to me. One, because you think of Jeronicus eventually got everything that he had been working for. It was way overdue and there were a lot of complications but he did continue to be the inventor that he was destined to be. But I also thought of Gustafson and how he essentially jumped the gun like he would install those things but if you notice, right after that scene, Jeronicus comes back to him and he says, “Don't think we could have a family celebration without you.” And towards the end, when either he's arrested or something, he's like, “If you had just waited, I would have shown you everything.”

So I had, you know... Patience stepped out to me as well because I think if something is not going the way that we expect or as soon as we expect it, we get frustrated, we might try to do other things. But if we just wait and trust (like you were saying) in our vision, trust in our skills, our capabilities, it will still come to us. It doesn't mean to not do the work. You have to still do the work but the work doesn't have to be like looking at someone else's paper, copying what they're doing. It means doing what's good for you. Patience came up to me, not necessarily as a theme, but it just came up as something that I noticed. Like had he just waited, Jeronicus would have shown him everything he knew and they could have done more things, even worked together.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, and I also think we’ve got to call attention to... What was the little toy's name? Now I forget the little...

Jordan: I don't know, I don't know his name, but...

Dr. Joy: The little blue man.

Jordan: Yeah, because he reminded me of just the negative self-talk sometimes that we give ourselves?

Dr. Joy: Yes, those little voices. Yes.

Jordan: Yeah, his messages were like “he doesn't think you're enough but you could do this and you could do that.” Even though his sole intention was just to be the one and only. It wasn’t to actually further help him. So definitely calling attention to him, though, because either our negative voices or that can maybe be a representation of self-sabotage but it's very accurate because that's what sometimes happens.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, it could be our own negative voices but it also could be a person, right? Like, I think we have to kind of give space for the fact that not everyone in our life always wishes us well. Sometimes that's an intentional thing and sometimes it's a subconscious thing, like sometimes people will attempt to try to keep you from walking in your path because they've been afraid to walk in their own. And so it can be our own voice but it can also be other people, other actual people in our lives who will tell us stuff that then gets in our heads and is not anything we were ever thinking. Like, I don't think Gustafson was ever planning to like run off with Jeronicus’s this stuff but then here comes the little toy, planting these seeds...

Jordan: That’s feeding on his insecurities.

Dr. Joy: Exactly, exactly. Planting these seeds of doubt and kind of saying, like, hey, don't you want to do this? And so I think we have to pay attention to those forces in our own lives, whether that be ourselves, due to some kind of self-sabotage, or other people who may not kind of want to see us moving forward in the ways that we would like to.

Jordan: Right. And noticing that even if you notice that in your life in other people, they may be doing it intentionally but they may not be (like you said). And it could be because they're afraid because they're thinking that they're protecting you, or they’ve had their dreams fail so they don't want you to get your hopes up, so they kind of try to water you down so that you don't get your hopes up. But if you have the vision, even if they can't see it, what really matters and what's important is you believing in yourself and doing the work that needs to be done.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, yeah. I think it's interesting. We have Therapy for Black Girls team meetings every Monday and I feel like a couple of weeks ago, we talked about this on one of the meetings. We talked about Jingle Jangle because I think it was right after I watched it and just to watch everybody light up at the mention of Jingle Jangle, I think is really something. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how so many people have kind of felt really joyous, I think, after this movie. It feels like it touched something for people that we hadn't connected with in a while or (given the context of 2020) something people really needed. But I’d just love to hear your thoughts about what you think people's joyous reaction has been about.

Jordan: I think there's always joy when you see a movie that gives representation and so seeing so much black joy in the film felt great. Also seeing a storyline that has nothing to do with police brutality, nothing to do with slavery, nothing to do with the perils or the hard things that the black culture is always set to be facing. Not to say that there weren't perils that happened in the movie, but they were normal or perils that anyone could face. And I feel like oftentimes, movies or anything that celebrates black culture, typically does it in the resilience sense. Like we had to go through all of this first to celebrate and this was more of just a celebration, regardless of that. And I think that was helpful, I think that was nice to see, given everything that we've seen in 2020.

It's like Black Panther was such a hugely celebrated joyous theme. And even though Wakanda is not necessarily a real place or even though the movie was superheroes, it was just great to see a beautiful cast with multiple people looking like you or people that you love, and the joy that we felt in that was great. And then in 2020, it's like we lost our Black Panther so that was surprising, that was hard, that was a collective grief. We’ve lost, I think, a lot of icons in our cultural life this year and so I think this was just really a nice reminder of just Christmas spirit, joy, miracles that can happen. Kids seem to bring out the best in all of us, I think that's what was refreshing in it. It didn't have an underlying “sadness first” piece. Yes, there were times that he was down but it wasn't a struggle of blackness. It was more just something that happens and then seeing the joy that comes with patience and believing and hard work and magic and all of those positive things, was great.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, I'm glad you brought up Black Panther because I do think in some ways, I hadn't connected it, but I think that there is a parallel in the escapism. Again, knowing that Wakanda is not a real place, but for those two hours or so you can kind of envision what that world feels like. And it feels like you were able to do that with Jingle Jangle as well, just kind of get lost in the fantasy and the magic of it. I also thought it was a good reminder. You’ve already said it'd be great for any age but I think it was a good reminder, especially for adults, to kind of stay tapped into that play and wonder that comes so easily to kids, but that we kind of push to the side as we get older and have responsibilities and all of these things. There still needs to be space and time made to kind of stay connected with it.

Jordan: Yeah, with the magic and the joy and the carefreeness of life. Like, yes, even though you're an adult and there's responsibilities, it doesn't mean that you can't play. There's studies on how important play is so it's important to keep that. Even when you say that, that reminds me of the scene when they’re having the snowball fight.

Dr. Joy: Yes!

Jordan: Like that was just playfulness, that was this turning that I think that begins to open Jeronicus up.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, because up until that point, he had still been keeping Journey at arm's length. So it felt like he was kind of recreating that same dynamic he had with his daughter, with Journey, and then we see this snowball fight and it does feel like it kind of moves their relationship into a different space. Where by the end, you see him saying, “I’d love to be the grandfather for her that I was not able to be in terms of a father for you.”

Jordan: Yeah.

Dr. Joy: So it feels like now we are kind of healing some of that intergenerational trauma, in terms of kind of getting close as a family again.

Jordan: And that reminded me, because my dad brought that up when we watched it, of just sometimes your grandchildren are second chances. And he brought it up because of just my story and how I came into the world and how my grandparents reacted and responded to me. That was more of like a personal level, but I think in general, there's always time for a second chance. You can recreate relationships, in a healthy way, of course. I'm not saying that you have to with everyone, but there's space for that if the work is done.

And I think that conversation that Jeronicus has with Jessica and he shows her the letters and he shows her “this is what I was thinking,” that's where healing was able to take place. Because now she was able to realize it wasn't fully about me and I didn't do anything wrong. And he did want me there, he did love me, but he didn't know how to express it. And now I can work on the forgiveness and now I also see how he's treating my daughter and I know that that was in him all along.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, I really appreciated that. And again, thinking about this is not necessarily going to be an easy road because this is years of them not being together or whatever. But I guess when you think about the flashback and the fact that this is now told through the eyes of Journey, you can kind of see that there has been some work done. And what I was kind of confused about at the end... Is Journey now running the factory? Is that what you kind of took away from it?

Jordan: Because they fly off at the end.

Dr. Joy: Right, and I think the little boy says like, “Oh, is that the factory?”

Jordan: Huh! I don’t even think I thought of that.

Dr. Joy: Just a random thought at the end. I don't think they explained it but I was just curious if you had any thoughts.

Jordan: I guess maybe. You know because she was an inventor, too, and it was cool that they show it’s her through the coils in her hair. Yeah, maybe. And I thought it was interesting that when she starts the movie and she starts the book, the granddaughter is like, “I don't think you've ever read this to us before.” And she says, “I've never read this to anyone before.” That made me question, so does she not share it with her daughter or her child? Because they’re her grandkids so you would think she would have told her children but then I was like, okay, maybe I'm just overthinking. But I think it was just really cool and if that's the case, then I wonder like will it be passed down and it'll be a continuous thing that stays in the family? Because now her granddaughter sees things and is probably an inventor–at least believes and has that magic in her as well.

Dr. Joy: Right, yeah. Just a very sweet kind of gesture there at the end. Tell us where we can find you. What is your website as well as any social media handles you'd like to share?

Jordan: Sure. Everything is all the same so my website is My Instagram and Twitter are @TherapyIsMyJam as well. It's a play on my initials because my initials are J.A.M. so it works out really nicely. And yeah, so you can find me there. I am located in the DMV area so that is another way that we can connect if you're in that area, I guess. And even if not, everything's virtual now so I've been able to make a lot of connections and that's been great.

And I've been really focused on reducing the stigma around mental health and normalizing going to therapy, especially in our community, which is why I love Therapy for Black Girls. I've been following Therapy for Black Girls since at least 2015. But I created these tee shirts that say like Therapy is my JAM or Going to Therapy is my JAM as a way to support that message, that it's okay to go to therapy or it's okay to see a therapist, whatever the case may be. I think it's important to do that.

Dr. Joy: Absolutely. Well, we will be sure to include all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Jordan.

Jordan: No problem. Thanks for having me. Now I'm going to be thinking about so many things every time I watch another movie. Like what messages are in this? This is definitely great.

Dr. Joy: Thank you.

Jordan: Thank you. Have a good one.

Dr. Joy: Julian, what was your favorite song from the movie?

Julian: All my life I’ve waited for this day, waited for this day.

Dr. Joy: Beautiful. And what did you like about the movie?

Julian: Jeronicus Jingle and there was the bad guy.

Dr. Joy: Who was the bad guy?

Julian: Gustafson.

Dr. Joy: What made him a bad guy?

Julian: Because he tried to steal all the world and make it full of bad guys so that *[inaudible 0:36:50] all the part of the good guys.

Dr. Joy: And should we do those kinds of things?

Julian: No.

Dr. Joy: Why shouldn’t we do those kinds of things?

Julian: Because they'll ruin the Christmas spirit.

Dr. Joy: Oh, beautiful, Julian. Is there anything else you'd like to say about the movie?

Julian: All our dreams are calling on this day, waiting for this day.

Dr. Joy: Beautiful. Thank you so much, Julian. And Jackson, what was your favorite part of the movie?

Jackson: That Journey believed.

Dr. Joy: What did she believe in?

Jackson: Everything.

Dr. Joy: What else did you enjoy about the movie?

Jackson: That I figured out Gustafson was the villain so quickly in the movie.

Dr. Joy: How did you figure out so quickly that he was gonna be the villain?

Jackson: Because every villain has a part where the people that they count on, they get rejected.

Dr. Joy: Oh, wow. That's incredibly smart that you figured that out so soon. Did you have a favorite song from the movie?

Jackson: This Day.

Dr. Joy: So you like This Day also?

Jackson: Uh-huh.

Dr. Joy: Great. Well, thank you both for participating.

I'm so glad Jordan was able to join us for today's conversation. To learn more about her and her work, be sure to visit the show notes at And please text two sisters right now and tell them to check out the episode. And a very special thank you to Jackson and Julian Bradford for sharing their thoughts about the movie as well.

If there's a topic you'd like to have covered on the podcast, please submit it to us at And if you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at If you want to continue digging into this topic and meet some other sisters in your area, come on over and join us in the Yellow Couch Collective where we take a deeper dive into the topics from the podcast and just about everything else. You can join us at Thank you all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all, real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here