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From a desk in his then-Frankford apartment in 2009, an unemployed Kevin Ceasar launched his radio career, with a cup of coffee and a cigarette in hand, and a Radio Shack microphone at the ready. When the mic cut on, Caesar transformed into Mutha Knows — a brash, unapologetically gay, spiller of tea.
A decade later, Ceasar wakes up thousands across the city as his alter ego: Mutha Knows. Every day from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Mutha dishes out The Tea, a radio segment on WUSL-Power 99-FM that serves the latest celebrity gossip in a whip-smart way.
But despite a successful radio career, Mutha has decided to return to college. He was the first in his family to graduate from a school of higher education when he received a degree in mass communications from the Community College of Philadelphia in May 2019.
“Sometimes people think you just landed here on Plymouth Rock. And it doesn’t happen like that,” Mutha said. “I worked hard to get through these doors. You will not believe, I have war stories. I have war marks. … But thank God I made it.”
On his Rise & Grind Morning Show feature, Mutha sounds like your spunky, gossip-addicted best friend who’s always in-the-know and rushes to spill what he just heard, then give his two cents. He is quick-witted and unafraid to go toe-to-toe with celebrities in interviews and online, which at times has led to spats that got him blocked on Twitter by celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Tyrese.
Mutha is one of the few black, openly queer voices in local urban radio, a platform that historically hasn’t always accepted queer voices. His household pseudonym, “Mutha Knows,” is an ode to his in-the-know personality and the LGBTQ ballroom subculture in which a house is run by a Mutha or Muva. Even his segment name — The Tea — is an ode to black drag culture that means spilling secrets.
Mutha’s melodious, Brooklyn-accented voice has been on Power 99 since 2010. He co-hosts the highly rated Rise & Grind Morning Show alongside Mikey Dredd and Roxy Romeo. It’s one of the top five morning radio shows in Philadelphia in the 18-to-34, 18-to-49, and 25-to-54 demographic groups, according to Nielsen. “It’s top three with women in those demographics, and Mutha is a core piece of that,” said Derrick Corbett, director of urban programming at iHeartMedia Philadelphia.
“There are too few voices like his on the radio,” said Loraine Ballard Morrill, director of news and community affairs for iHeartMedia in the Philadelphia region. “He brings a sensibility to the radio, but it’s not like ‘Oh, wow, we have a person of color who is LGBT. It’s ‘Wow, we have a creative, amazing personality who also is a LGBTQ man of color,’ and I think that’s what is wonderful, that it’s not like a big deal. Even though it is a big deal.”
“I’ve been accepted well,” Mutha said. “I know that people love me. And I know that there’s some people out there that hate me. But at the end of the day, the love outweighs the hate."
But part of what makes Mutha Mutha is the bold way he embraces his queerness. “A lot of men are in the closet,” Mutha said. “They’re afraid, you know? And then they feel like these opportunities won’t be afforded to them. I’ve never been afraid. I’ve always been fearless.”
Originally posted March 29, 2019.
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