Home Girl

How does Jessica Dana get away with the things she says on the radio?

In the Q95.5 studio, on Olive Boulevard in Creve Coeur, Craig Blac and Jessica Dana stand behind their mics, broadcasting to St. Louis. It's drivetime, and the R&B radio station, one of the city's most popular, is transmitting into many ears.

"I'd like to give you the top ten things I hate about white people," says Dana with a sinister cackle. First on the list? "I'll start with Pop's and Busch beer. Can't take that! And riding bulls -- I've always wondered why men do this. What does that do to a man?"

Dana's voice comes through deep and rich, and a tad rough, as though she smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. She doesn't. She continues, "White people screaming, "Woooooo!" Two-stepping and the Electric Slide.

Jennifer Silverberg
Q95.5 personalities (clockwise from left) the Nightowl, Craig Blac, DJ Charlie Chan, Tony J  and Jessica Dana
Jennifer Silverberg
Q95.5 personalities (clockwise from left) the Nightowl, Craig Blac, DJ Charlie Chan, Tony J and Jessica Dana

"White people bleaching their hair. Why do all white people go blond? It's, like, 'Blondes have more fun', but I'm into the brunettes."

"That's like that guy Jeff in sales" adds Blac. "He went blond the other day, and I don't understand that. He has an Eminem fetish -- that's what it is."

"I hate wiggers," says Dana, resuming the countdown. Laughter erupts from Blac and DJ Charlie Chan, who's also in the studio.

"Hold up," says Blac. "You hate what?"

"Wiggers. It's 'wannabe ..."

"'Wannabe black,'" Blac says. "Afro-American. Let's keep it politically correct."

"Number four: tanning beds. Why are all white people trying to get darker? I mean, it doesn't matter. I got a question, though. My Caucasian friends, the darker they are, when we go out tanning, they don't burn -- my dark friends, especially Hispanic. Black people sunburn, I've heard."

"I've been sunburned before," says Blac.

The list goes on, culminating with a complaint that whites get all the promotions.

"Wigger shoulda been number one," Blac laughs.

He flips the tag that signals the segment's wind-down: a sample of Michael Jackson singing, "It don't matter if you're black or white."

Dana and Blac, the afternoon DJ, co-host the "White Girl Report" every Monday and Friday at 4:30 p.m. on WFUN-FM. The segment runs for two or three minutes and, at its best -- and worst -- offers up some of the most uninhibited conversations about race in St. Louis.

And the two get away with it -- indeed, they're thriving -- because of the context: the Q's demographics, which are mostly black.

The duo talk about the city's race issues and discuss cultural differences and similarities -- at least sometimes. Mostly Dana dishes celebrity dirt and offers recommendations on upcoming clubs and concerts. There's the occasional rant, such as that top-ten list, but the issue of race is often secondary. This ain't no NPR, and the White Girl is no Terry Gross.

Dana, 26, grew up in the area. She moved a lot, she says, and went to three different high schools: St. Charles, Mehlville and Windsor in Imperial, Missouri. In the year that she's done the "White Girl Report," she's talked about the KKK, Christina Aguilera's image, Eminem, Liv Tyler and the two Lord of the Rings movies (she seems kind of obsessed with them).

When Blac took over the afternoon-drive slot last year, he started brainstorming. Although the slot is mainly music-driven, he's also responsible for entertaining his listeners, and he does so with the help of DJ Charlie Chan Soprano and traffic reporter Tony J.

Blac's predecessor, Mic Fox, had started the "White Girl Report," but it was less rambunctious than it is now, and he retired it. Blac liked the idea, though, and started looking for a white girl to revive the segment. He found her one day at the station, where Dana, a makeup and body artist by day (one of her jobs is working with the Rams cheerleaders), was primping models for a Q95.5-sponsored fashion show.

"Her voice kept standing out," Blac says. "Radio is personality. You don't have to have skills. You have to have real personality, and I sensed it from the top. She got in, and the first week she was cool, but by the second week it was all her. It just came right out. She fits perfectly. She is the White Girl."

Mo'shay, program director at Q95.5, says the "White Girl Report" can be nerve-racking and that Dana issues a disclaimer -- "The views shared by Jessica Dana are not necessarily shared by Q95.5." -- before each broadcast. That, says Mo'shay, "allows for a different perspective for the radio station. This is an urban-formatted radio station. That said, sometimes things tend to be one-sided, and I want to allow all views to be heard on the radio station. That's our slice of diversity, I feel."

Dana has crossed the line a few times, says Mo'shay, who notes that her bit on the "Ten Things I Hate About White People" segment went a bit too far. "I wasn't feeling that one. I think that when she gives an opinion from first person, it is her opinion.... If she classified herself as a wigger and put it out there -- whatever that really means -- then that's cool, but [to] say, 'Anybody who acts like this and acts like that is a wigger,' that's like calling a black person a nigger. I thought that was a little overboard."

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