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Crosscurrents is our award-winning radio news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays at 5 p.m. on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community. Listen to full episodes at kalw.org/crosscurrents

From Oakland to Hollywood — comedian and actress Luenell shares her career journey and dreams

Photo Provided by Wyllisa R. Bennett
Actress and comedian Luenell
"I’m cut out for late night. I’ve certainly been trained for it by the experiences I had in Soul Beat Television Network."

Before making it in Hollywood, comedian and actress Luenell got her start on stages right here in the Bay Area. Luenell grew up in Oakland and Casto Valley. Her fanbase began growing when she was a regular host and VJ on Soul Beat. The Oakland-based station was the nation’s first Black-owned cable TV network.

Luenell, the self-proclaimed “Original Bad Girl of Comedy,” has been in major films such as "Dolemite is My Name" and "A Star Is Born." She was introduced to a wider audience in the 2006 film "Borat." Now she's working on making her late-night hosting dreams a reality.

In this interview, Luenell talks about her career, lack of safety for comedians on stage, being a woman in comedy and more.

Watch her in the film "Block Party" and on the latest season of "Hacks" on HBO Max. Luenell is also featured in a Bruno Mars' music video. Follow her on Instagram.

Arts & Culture Crosscurrents
Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.