Gabrielle: But even when I came to TK about it, I was like, “I think you could be a really great fit for this.”
TK: And I said no.
Gabrielle: It was a struggle. She was trying to fight it. I'm like, what are you, you know, and I had listened to my friend talk about wanting to sort of get experience with being an executive producer. And I'm like, “Why don't you just at least put your name in the hat?” You know what? She was like, “I don't know, let me sleep on it.” I'm like, “What are we doing?” I'm like, “Come on!” You know?
Dessa: Getting your foot in the door can be hard. For people of color, it can be even harder. Here are two producers who explain how they’ve helped each other: whether that’s putting them up for a job, a well-timed pep talk, or a reality check. I’m Dessa and this is Werk It: the podcast, a compilation of some of the best moments from the live event.
TK Dutes: How y’all doing Werk It?
Gabrielle Horton: Hi! Oh my god, the lights!
TK: I always wanted to say, “how y'all doing Los Angeles?” Alright, I'm TK.
Gabrielle: And I'm Gabrielle
TK: And uh, I don't know. We don't have a fun name for each other. We are the duo.
Gabrielle: Yeah. Just us two.
TK: But we're friends, and this is a transparent look at the glow up. Um, our careers have been growing together separately alongside each other. Adjacently.
Gabrielle: Right. And it's kind of like our Twitter DMs and text conversations on the stage basically. And hopefully it can help some folks in the room and just, maybe it's like a therapy session for us, but we’ll see.
TK: I think so. So we're going to just get into it and talk about the different ways that we can help each other in the community. Um, we're talking about each other as women of color.
TK: But honestly, you can apply this to your group of people, right? Every group has the group of homeys. Um, sometimes--
Gabrielle: The group chat.
TK: The group chat, and sometimes the group chat is lit and sometimes everybody has similar things in common.
TK: And we need to let each other know about hazards.
Gabrielle: Yeah, And sometimes shit's not good. So what the group chat is for. So it's all about navigating the goods and the bad, the highs, the lows with the supportive network around you and what it looks like to build that out.
TK: Cuz we need each other.
Gabrielle: Yeah. So when we thought about this, it was like, well, yo, well, like we met like a little over a year ago, right? And so what does it look like to kind of find your person? Specifically for us here in this audience and here at this festival, it's about in the podcasting industry. So what does it look like to find someone? It's not like I'm gonna walk up to you in the front row. You're my person. I got you. And you're going to be with me for the next year. This was a very organic relationship. And so TK is for sure my person, right? And so I came into this industry coming from graduate school. I had worked in politics before, was studying public policy and I happened to meet TK at a conference and I was like, “let's stay in touch.” Right? And I wanted to sort of just learn from her. I didn't know what that looked like cause she was in New York, I was in Michigan. But I think one of the main takeaways from like, our early sort of like budding friendship, our budding sort of like work, um, colleague, whatever kind of whatever that word is--
Gabrielle: Colleagueship, shit, you know. Um, was staying in touch, it was like the follow up email. Right. And when I found myself in New York, it was reaching out ahead of time, making myself available to come to her. At the time she had her booming, um, day, uh, three times a week morning show. And I was like, “Can I just come and listen and to kind of be in your presence?” And not even having an ask, but making sure I was really clear about the follow up, really clear about the ask, and just making myself available.
TK: And I think what I appreciated about that most was it was not, “Can we meet for coffee?” It was not, “Can I pick your brain?” It was “Where can I come meet you that you are doing your thing, so I can just be a fly on the wall and then maybe we'll talk later.” Right. She made it easy for me to say “Yes, come through.” Right? Um, so I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Gabrielle: Oh you’re welcome.
TK: I think that was the key to it cause when you get like those pick your brain and coffee thing. There’s nothing more. Um, it, it turns to me like that's a turn off man I’m sorry.
Gabrielle: It’s a, it’s a weird one.
TK: It’s a turn off, like come with that clarity comes with make it easy, you know, to meet. So like that's the first step. The meeting.
Gabrielle: I would agree. I think we even have someone, we can hear from.
TK: Yeah, we have a clip from our friend.
Gabrielle: We brought other folks on the stage.
TK: Um, Veralyn is one of my people. She's a producer at WNYC. Actually, and also you don't have to just have one person. I have many people and at every single part of this story that is our lives, we have people that usher us through. And most of the women, most of the people in my person-age, are people of color.
TK: And women.
Gabrielle: Same. Mine are all women of color holding me down.
TK: So let's hear from Veralyn.
[Audio Clip]: I first interned in WNYC’s newsroom when I was in college,
um, around 2006 and you know, the newsroom was predominantly white. And I just remember feeling very discouraged, um, not because of my ability, but more just thinking about my possibilities within this career, within this field, making audio, making radio. And this was definitely before the onset of podcasting and I would say that it, it took a mentor of mine telling me about Michel Martin and Farai Chideya, and Michele Norris and women that were already thriving in this field. Um, because you know, you can't be what you can see. And so I think my community has on a very practical level, gotten me jobs and gotten me money that would allow me to actually pay my bills, but then also just gotten me to think about the possibilities and to dream my dreams and to go after them and to feel strong in my expertise and my perspective and then the things that I value and being able to bubble those things up to the surface.
TK: Thank you.
Gabrielle: That was pretty perfect.
TK: Yeah. I mean, we don't even have to be talking anymore, but all right. Um, but I think after the meeting with like Veralyn, with me and you, it comes with developing.
TK: I met Veralyn -- actually, our relationship goes back and forth.
TK: So we met in that first part of podcasting that hadn't hit yet. We were, you know, she was, yeah, she came from WNYC as a Radio Rookie,
TK: And she was looking for experience on live radio. Um, and we met at WBAI and I was her person first.
TK: Then she became my person when I was entering professional podcasting and she was like, “I have this show that,
Gabrielle: She’s the plug now.
TK: You can get chop, you get your chops up on in terms of that. So she became my plug. So we had a, had a back and forth personhood. And um, so I, I had to hit her up to talk about this, but then developing the relationship. What does that look like, Gabby?
Gabrielle: Oh gosh. I think that kind of takes us to our next point as well. Right? So thinking about what it looks like, so you found your person, you found your people, you found like, Oh, we kind of used tribe and squad a lot, but you found the crew of people that you kind of trust. You're navigating this space with people you can go to when you need advice. Right? And so as you start to kind of like level up within your career. Um, you know, thinking about what does it look like to sort of develop these networks that people can actually, the land, the jobs they need. But also as you're navigating that interview, sort of like process, you're thinking about negotiations. I think so much of what you and I really bonded over is like were going through a lot of the same shit at the same time. But me, it was like coming in as a newbie to the industry and me kind of like “TK, like what do I ask for? Like what are appropriate rates?” Cause y'all know AIR just updated the thing, thank God recently, but for a minute it was looking at 2013 days. Like how do you kind of like translate that into 2018, 2000 early 2019 pay right? Thinking about like, “Do I need to get some lawyers?” Like, but also thinking about like, “I heard X, Y and Z about this organization or this company. Is it really as bad as I heard, is the management is crazy, you know?” So it was like thinking about how to develop these things but like not sort of taking over all of your time. Right? It was making sure, I was very clear and I think intentional about the time I was asking TK or other persons in my life for, right?
But it was also like you're starting to develop a friendship and so how do you manage and balance the friendship alongside this budding kind of career relationship you all are working on as well.
TK: We would literally take off our hats. Like we would like, go, “Okay we're talking about this thing, this conversation is for that. Hang up the phone.”
TK: Call you in two days, “Girl. Tell me about this dude you went on this date with,” right?
Gabrielle: Oh yeah, yeah that'd be fun.
TK: Like, there’s like different hats that we wear.
Gabrielle: But it was very clear though and like there's even now as you guys know we work together on Hear to Slay. Like, I was in New York, I don't know, maybe a month or so ago and you know I wanted to see TK or whatever catch up and we made it very clear. I was like, “this is not a non Hear to Slay work -- like we about to just have a boozy brunch--
TK: And we did.
Gabrielle: and get lit.” It was, yeah it was a mess actually. We were there til it closed.
TK: 3pm. It was, 3 wines later.
Gabrielle: It was great! But we didn't talk anything about work. And I think as you're developing the relationship, it's also making sure that it's a two-way street. It's checking in to see, “How you doing? How's therapy going? How's so-and-so? How's your mom doing?” Right? Like “how's the new apartment in Brooklyn? You happy to be back in BK?
TK: I am, thank you.
Gabrielle: Yeah we know, we know. But it's like balancing that, checking in and actually like valuing you as a friend. And I think I have this with Isabeth Mendoza who's here. I don't know where -- there she is. That's my girl here in LA. But there's other folks like to the side in front and it kind of coming up behind me that I kind of try and balance that. It’s not with everybody, right? Cause everybody doesn't fit these multiple roles in your life. But the folks who do, you have to really treasure it and really find a way to be balanced with it, I think.
TK: And I think what happens to us as we grow and we get to know each other and even at conferences or gatherings and whatnot, like you know, I love my producer friends and we'll have, you know, it'll be someone's birthday and we'll all be there and guess what we're talking about work. And it's like damn, can we not? And that's part of the boundaries too. And that's part of main maintaining a relationship. Cause if the only thing I know about you is your job, then I don't really know you. Right. Do I really trust you with these things that I'm about to say? And like yeah, we're giving each other the tea and whatever, but um, I'm behalf, there's other stuff behind this conversation about pitches and negotiations and stuff that color our decision makings that have to do with our real lives that it's nice to like put down the show stuff and talk about real shit for a little bit.
TK: So we're going to hear from Isabeth.
Gabrielle: Yeah. We are, I mean you’re not gonna get up, we got you.
TK: About leveling up.
[Audio Clip]: Hi my name is Isabeth Mendoza and I'm a freelancer from and based in Southeast Los Angeles. Some advice that I would offer to freelancers is to build community. It's important to have your crew of unofficial coworkers who can troubleshoot story ideas and projects, but also just be able to text them and say, “Hey, I'm having a shitty day.” Especially when you wake up and just lay in bed watching the sun come up and you don't want to check your phone because it may be another pitch that got rejected, or someone saying your rate is too high. You need your people to remind you of your worth and that your craft is needed in this world. And another piece of advice is recognizing that opportunities are just that. Opportunities. And if they don't align with your goals and just take them as affirmations that you're doing something amazing, but you don't have to take the gig and you can pass them to one of your homegirls. And lastly, celebrate those affirmations, the wins and the losses. You gotta trust the reroute. [End clip]
Gabrielle: That was good!
TK: Thank you so much.
Gabrielle: Ooo, I liked that!
TK: She gave us, she took us to church. Come on Isabeth. Thank you. And um, I think that one thing you said that was key Isabeth, was um, you know, if you don't get the thing it's affirmation. Like, yo, I failed up so hard in 2018--
TK: --when the fails are name brand fails, child you're doing it right.
Gabrielle: Yeah, yeah we celebrated those!
TK: We celebrated some name brand fails.
Gabrielle: We be like, “Girl. But you had that meeting though,” We were so excited about those upward fails, if you will.
Gabrielle: But I think the, I think especially what Isabeth was saying, I mean especially me now as an independent producer, TK is at Glitch full time, but obviously, you know, has some consulting jobs and does a lot of workshops, you know, throughout the year. I mean, I think it's a really unique place to be when you're kind of cultivating this relationship and you don't have a traditional whatever that means for you. Right? But for me, I think of like an office somewhere. I physically go Monday through Friday or like I have a team that I know where they're located, you know what I mean? Like that kind of whole thing. I don't have that anymore. So this kind of network that I have built up around me, whether it's New York, LA or anywhere in between, it's almost crucial to my survival because I'll be honest with you all, as independent, there are some lonely ass days. I think I was talking to Juleyka Lantigua-Williams about this yesterday. I'm learning how to balance like being like a new kind of company owner, being an independent producer, and like trying to still be around people when everything I do is so remote. So this network is kind of crucial to your survival, almost to your mental health, but also to that paycheck as well.
TK: Amen, cuz--
TK: Speaking to that paycheck.
TK: What we talk about internally and what we talk about with other people that like, trust us and that we trust
TK: Is negotiation
Gabrielle: Yeah, money.
Gabrielle: All of it.
TK: And then like all the stuff that you got from all of the other conference, you know, workshops. Yes. We talk about that, but we go, when you find your people and you're in the real group chat, there's the level of talking about it from is this a um, is this a a hot, is this place toxic? Right. When I was failing up in those job opportunities, um, some of them I ended up so happy that I didn't get because of the way that they, uh, ended the relationship. Right? And I was like, wow, I'm lucky.
Gabrielle: People showed their ass, basically.
TK: Basically they showed their ass and I'm able to say to my trusted people, listen, these people show their asses and you don't want to see it.
Gabrielle: And you know, I got a list of that too.
Gabrielle: So we do that and we talk very candidly about pay, too. Like, um, I have like friends, like I had a new client proposal this week, I had to submit and before I submitted, right, I trust my numbers. I trust my estimation. You know, I'm looking at the AIR guide, I'm looking at the Werk It guide, but I'm gonna bounce it to TK be like, “Can you check these numbers?”
TK: And not just to me, you bounced it to a couple people.
Gabrielle: I bounce it to Kelly as well, who, she's not here with us today. She's our other co-producer on the show, I was like, Kelly and she's a white woman. So I was like, if anything, like
TK: Listen, give me the right prices.
Gabrielle: -- give me the real tea, right? Is this the money that you're making or like should I be going higher? You really got to have a white woman in your corner to kind of figure that out too.
Gabrielle: So Kelly was crucial. Kelly was like, “Girl, you need to go up a little bit.” I said, “Thanks, Kelly.” Um, but it's like being able to trust folks because you have to realize everybody is not -- everybody does not care about you winning. And so I'm not going to send that on a Twitter blast, like, “Comment on these projected sort of like salary things, I'm like, you know, giving to a new client.” Everyone doesn’t want to see you win. So when you have the people around you who are key, who you trust, you can bounce those kinds of ideas off of them and get real feedback, you know?
TK: And I would say that we use each other to like break down. Um, we, if we're going for jobs--
Gabrielle: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
TK: And sometimes listen, we know we -- If you are here and you're hiring and whatnot, we know. Y'all need to look at how you are asking people questions. There's a lot of coded language--
TK: --in the hiring process and we know this. We're not, listen, we want the job so we're not going to flag you on that. Also. That's not our job to do, but we are telling each other internally, “I went on this interview and this, this third person asked me some shit that is frankly racist, sexist, it’s some ‘ist.’” Um, and we talk to each other about that. So I'm here to tell you, we know. Um, there's that. Can we talk about feelings? In terms of sharing some of this stuff, which even when I'm talking to Gabrielle, even when I'm talking to Julia Furlan, even when I'm talking to my good, good friends, there's feelings of whatever, inadequacy, shame, um, not feeling like you're ready and
Gabrielle: Imposter syndrome, like “ugh!”
TK: even like low key, I don't want to say jealousy. Is there like something less than jealousy but like--
Gabrielle: Yeah I don’t even know what that word, but I know what you mean, where you feel some kind of way,
TK: I feel a way.
Gabrielle: but you’re not full-on jealous.
TK: but I want to help
Gabrielle: but I'm feeling some kind of way.
TK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Gabrielle: Like why they not asking me for it?
TK: We've had that.
Gabrielle: We’ve had that! We have actually had that.
TK: I felt a way.
Gabrielle: Yeah. We’ve, yeah we’ve had some ways about each other.
TK: Do you wanna talk about that?
Gabrielle: You start it!
Gabrielle: Okay. I’m like, “You start it. You go.”
TK: Fine, fine.
Gabrielle: What was it? It was something though.
TK: I mean, it was probably, I might have a different lens on it, so.
Gabrielle: Oh shit.
TK: I mean--
Gabrielle: Let me learn some things.
TK: You, my other like good, good homies that are younger than me. Um, y'all are, you all are rising at a rate that is faster than I could have ever imagined, right?
TK: So me and you, we’re in the same job market.
Gabrielle: Yeah, it’s wild.
TK: And my experience looks different, and also.
Gabrielle: You got more experience, we'll just put it out there. You have way more years of experience than I do, but we be kind of in the same boat for some of the same jobs, though.
TK: Facts, because--
Gabrielle: It’s awkward. You're right. This has been the elephant in the room, I think.
TK: But that's not us though. Like it's not our fault, it's, the fault. There's no fault, whatever. There’s fault.
Gabrielle: It's just awkward. Yeah, yeah it’s weird. It’s weird shit.
TK: But you know who makes us feel a ways and then we project it onto each other, it's people that don't take that experience that I have or that other people have seriously. Right? Your, your experience as a community builder or a person that produces a podcast for your church or whatever. All that is valid, true, and real, right? When you break it down, what does that mean? You can manage a group of people. It doesn't matter if it was at your church. It doesn't matter if it was in your basement. Did you engineer that show? Does this sound good? Doesn't matter if it's free, if it has sponsors, or whatever the fuck ever. Right? But a lot of these places make you feel like this stuff is not valid experience. And then we internalize that and we're in the job market with people that are younger than us and we don't know how to be better ambassadors for the community, right?
Gabrielle: Yeah. That’s real.
TK: So when we were talking, you were up for, you know, you was up for some big money work.
Gabrielle: I was, yeah.
TK: And I had no prospects at the moment. Right. So I'm talking to Gabby, I'm depressed and she's telling me, “TK, just help me work this out,” and I'm working through shit while she's telling me her good fortune and I wanna to be a good ambassador to the community and help her. So I'm putting my shit to the side. Right?
TK: But then when we take off the hat and I put, we put the friend hat on, “I'm like, girl, I'm depressed, child.”
Gabrielle: Yeah. Sometimes we had to space out our conversations. Cause like, I think this is the first time actually we've ever talked about this, but I felt it and I knew that I was aware of it. But I was like, you know, if it's ever gets super awkward, she going to say something, I'm going to say something. But I think it was this thing that we both acknowledge. Now, I think I felt, I felt, I felt some of the similar things that you're saying. Right? So you're thinking about people who are younger than you in the same job market. I'm thinking about someone like me who transitioned out of completely different career.
TK: Yeah, same.
Gabrielle: I mean, imposter syndrome. I think I probably wrestled with that every single day maybe up until, I don't know, mid-July, like a couple months ago, if that. You know, and that was because again, like the way that we value what a producer is and what a producer is capable of doing is very skewed and it really changes and it really sort of differs between, uh, organizations, uh, between coasts, probably in cities, but also between projects. Right? And so getting the confidence in myself to say, “Hey, like, I did six years in politics, I have an entire graduate degree, can write the hell out of blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, kinda really don't like tape cutting, which don't tell anybody,” right? So it's like, how do I kind of like embrace all the stuff that I love to do, right? That I'm good at and can keep growing at, but like still see myself as a producer when like the job market is saying like you're not that. So, and then knowing TK, who does every fucking role possible, right? So I'm like, damn well TK does everything!
TK: Listen, I never, I never met a job I didn’t like, child.
Gabrielle: Right, so she does everything of the process and there's honestly only certain parts of the process that I really enjoy doing and that I do. And I'm lucky now that I can just focus on those things. So I think we had some feelings about different things about our relationship, which I'm glad you guys are letting us air out with you all today.
TK: Listen, I mean, and it’s a test, it's a testament to like, being able to speak on it and speak freely. So thank you for, you know, listening.
Gabrielle: But I think it's a good transition to like, thinking about how we think about passing the baton, right? So like, because we're both have been aware of each other's like skill sets, expertise and knowing what the other is interested in, like on a very genuine level. Like for instance, when it was time for us, um, Hear to Slay, we had some reorganization that happened around like June or so, and we needed to bring in someone who was an executive producer/consultant. And as much as I wanted to like take on all these roles at Hear to Slay, right, it was like, this is really not my lane kind of thing. And when it was like, we need to find someone with X, Y, and Z. And you know, I talked with Roxane and Tressie and it was like, okay. And we had a couple names that, you know, I put a couple folks in, two women of color, one of them being TK. Um, but even when I came to TK about it, I was like, “I think you could be a really great fit for this.”
TK: And I said no.
Gabrielle: It was a struggle. She was trying to fight it. I'm like, what are you, you know, and I had listened to my friend talk about wanting to sort of get experience with being an executive producer. And I'm like, “Why don't you just at least put your name in the hat?” You know what? She was like, “I don't know, let me sleep on it.” I'm like, “What are we doing?” I'm like, “Come on!” You know? And it took a few days.
TK: It did. It took me, it took me--
Gabrielle: It took awhile! It took a little longer than necessary.
TK: Like four days, to let you say that to them. To let you even boost me.
TK: I was like, girl, here's like five more names before me.
Gabrielle: She gave everybody else’s name I said, “Girl, I already gave them the names.”
TK: Listen y’all were all in the running to become America's Next Top Model. Like I was not trying to do it.
Gabrielle: And what's crazy is when I had mentioned her name to them, we had like a, I remember, I remember exactly, we had a Sunday like morning call and I was like, “Here are a few names,” and I mentioned your name. And they were like, “Oh we've heard of her.” And I was like, “Oh”. And I remember telling, I was like, “Oh, they like heard about you already.” And so it's like people start to know your work, right? Your work and your expertise speaks for itself. And then when you have folks who are able to sit at the table or be on that phone call to vouch for you, it's a world of a difference, you know. But like encouraging someone who you know was ready to step into that light, like being that friend but also being that colleague to be like, this is you, you got this. I'm not going to take your shine and take this money to try and do it all. Be Superwoman. Cause this is what you really excel at and you're ready for this.
Gabrielle: And you was ready, and you were ready.
TK: You know, this was a big test. Let's hear from a new friend.
[Audio Clip]: So when I think about how I want to empower the people I work with, specifically the women I work with, um, you know, I want to empower them to make decisions, to speak up and own their ideas, um, take credit for their ideas and do the thing that maybe, or the things that maybe they don't feel like they have the right to do or like the experience to do. I really like to empower people to try and to really jump into the deep end and do the thing messily and learn from it and keep doing it and make a mess and learn from it and make a mess and learn from it. It's like make the thing that you wanna make right now. There's not a really compelling reason to wait usually. Um, and then, you know, the other thing is like, I don't think we have to live in a world shrouded in bullshit. Like I believe in shooting straight with each other. We don't always have to be nice and I like to empower women to be themselves. [End audio clip].
TK: And that was Alia Tavakolian, yeah, you could give it up for her. She's an Executive Producer at Spoke. Hey, my Spoke friends, um, Spoke Media and I met Alia at Werk It last year in New York and we became friends. And since then, like that was another thing, right? Yeah. She talk about empowering, validating. We're here, we're here together as women and as we, as women of color, as people, um, in the LGBTQ community, in all groups, to empower and validate each other's experiences. Right? Because we know culturally and historically what's behind that, right? Only you know your people and you need to empower and validate them. And uh, Alia has been doing that for me since I met her last year, talking me up in rooms that I'm not in...
Gabrielle: Werk It’s a great place for that. Werk It’s a good place for that. Cause like, you know, I even, so if we're going to be honest, a year ago I was interning actually at Crooked Media, like a graduate intern. I had didn't have money to go, come to Werk It, and I wasn't going to ask -- Anyways, we won’t get into it, I was like, I wasn't gonna ask like, Oh mom, you know, can I have like it was just like, you gotta be grown about this shit. Either you're going or you're not going--
TK: Yeah, you gotta find a way.
Gabrielle: whatever. And I remember telling TK I’m like, “You know, I can get the flight out there. I've got housing.” And TK was like, “You know what, actually I have an extra assistant badge so you can come and take, you know, get access to all of the opportunities here at Werk It.” And like that's kind of like an example of like empowering the people around you. Right. So at that point, that was like last October I believe. So we had a, you know, a few months of like a budding friendship, but she knew I was serious about really making this transition. She knew I was like really about it and so it was like nothing for me to sort of like “Okay, I can accept that,”and making sure that I was there and getting to Werk It just opened up so many doors for me if I'm being quite honest. I met Erika Clarke at Spotify and that really sort of like changed a lot for me. Right. Rekha Murthy as well. Just so many dope women of color that I got to connect with and had that not been for TK being like, “I got you. I have this extra thing. Do you want to come in and says I need help with X, Y, and Z?” Um, it really, really changed the game for me in a lot of ways. So like, that's an example of like, you know, empowering people who are coming up behind you. But also we talk a lot about empowering people who are like right next to you, on the side of you. Issa Rae talks about that a lot, right? It doesn't have to be this like, very vertical structure of like how you're kind of supporting and empowering. It can be the people who are right next to you. Um, and so yeah.
TK: And boosting and the awareness and the awareness of passing a baton is the awareness of being able to receive it, right?
TK: Like I know that like when she said that, Oh, I need to get out there, and I'm like, okay, how can, how can she come out to this thing? Well, I need a person's help. Like, can she make a slideshow, fam? Like, are you ready to receive these blessings? You gotta work for them too.
Gabrielle: Yes! I can do powerpoint too.
TK: Like, um.
Gabrielle: I'm pretty good at it.
TK: And if someone's putting you up for a job, just because we're women and we're women of color or LGBTQ, just cause we're in the same affinity group doesn't mean -- or we met at a conference and shook hands -- that I'm going to vouch for you.
Gabrielle: Say it again. Woo!
TK: It doesn't mean that the person should vouch for you.
Gabrielle: Say it again. Who was that?
TK: Say it again?
Gabrielle: Say it again.
TK: It’s facts like yo like we have to be, this is all about being thoughtful in what we're doing because we are asking each other to do an incredible amount of work. It's emotional labor. It’s, it's like,
Gabrielle: That shit’s stressful.
TK: I'm thinking about, I'm thinking about another person and another person is thinking about me. Right. And it's, it's like if I, if, if Gabby fucks up, I is, I fuck up. Right?
Gabrielle: Cause that's that collective whether you like it or not. Right. Especially as black women---
TK: The world is looking at all of us.
Gabrielle: And you go through all the groups. Right? It's like one of you fucks up with that recommendation, they may never ask TK for another recommendation again. So it's like it all reflects, right? So it's like being ready is what we talk a lot about, it's like, not just saying those words out loud, like affirming like what you want to sort of see for your career, your life, but being ready when those blessings, those gifts was opportunities start to come down. You have to be ready to receive and ready to kind of like hit the ground moving.
TK: Ask your, you know, when you're asking for a reference, right? Like can you be my reference or whatever. Um, are you able to do the job that you're going for? Because I'm not gonna lie just cause we're homies right? Can you do tape syncs?
Gabrielle: Send the tapes!
TK: Can you cut tape? Can you, I will have you--
Gabrielle: Send the job description.
TK: send me a link, send me a link to a piece of your work or something. I can't just say like, “Oh, you know, we cool and I'm going to be your reference.”You have to be able to receive the baton that I'm passing you.
TK: But however, on the outside, cause we talking to everybody today. So shout out to the POC uh, Audio Directory.
Gabrielle: Yes! Shout out to them!
TK: Clap it up for them. Cause a lot of--
Gabrielle: Phenomenal resource.
TK: Phenomenal resource. And also the people on Twitter. Um shout out to Rene, of Broccoli Content as well from the UK who's doing the same thing, but in the UK.
Gabrielle: She was great. We had to find someone in London for Hear to Slay and like I was, “Hey, can you help with this?” And like on it.
TK: Done and done.
Gabrielle: You had many dope folks of color in the UK. Anyways, the network is growing, it’s international.
TK: The network is growing, the network is vast. But also as people that are hiring other people, um, and I have friends that are higher up than me and whatever. Um, there are these tools for a reason, right? And sliding in our DM’s or sliding in your black friend, your one black friend’s DM or your one gay friends DM, ain’t the way.
Gabrielle: It’s not gon’ work.
TK: It ain't gon’ work. Right. And saying, “Hey, do you know a one human black woman for this one human job.” Right. And I'm like, “yo, there's a directory and your job -- We already made the work easy by collecting the names of each other.”
Gabrielle: A whole database.
TK: Right? Like somebody else could have collected it, but we're already doing half the work for you by collecting it. So asking a person to give like, Hey, you know like it's like these, it's also almost how it's formed. It's very like no big deal. Can you do--
Gabrielle: It’s so casual.
TK: this extra layer of work? You know. I'm like no, you could go to the directory, you get their names, you gather them and you interview them. We are not hiring managers, but when we do recommend our friends, it's not cause you asked us it’s because we want to because we know they could do it,
Gabrielle: And they’re capable.
TK: because we believe in the thing. But all none of this. Like if someone doesn't reply to your email about that, don't be sad, don't be salty. They don't have time. The directory’s there for a reason. Go through it and do your own, like, interviews and stuff because we can't.
Gabrielle: We just have to get that off our chest real quick.
TK: Yeah, so anything else in terms of passing the baton?
Gabrielle: I think that's good.
TK: Okay. What about doing you?
Gabrielle: Oh well--
TK: Oh no, we don't have, we don't have the time--
Gabrielle: we're not really going to do us, I guess.
TK: Like how do you do you? As we say on Hear to Slay?
Gabrielle: No, it's how do I help you do you? But how do I help me do me?
TK: Child, just how do you do you?
Gabrielle: Oh, that's okay. um, how do I do me? I think just being honest about what I am available for. So I think especially as an independent producer, like setting clear boundaries, right? So whether that's just making sure, like I have like the proper time blocked off on like, you know, our calendar where it's like Gabrielle is not available for these hours and it's not really an explanation needed, but it's like, this is my time to do other projects, other work, you know? So I think setting boundaries around my personal time and my work time. I'm trying, you know, I'm kind of a workaholic as you know. So like I'll be up at all hours of the night doing all kinds of stuff for the show. But I think it's been learning how to do that. And I have found myself, you know, it's a lot healthier. Right? I have a therapist, she's also really great. I sit outside for lunch sometimes and soak up the sun. Like, it sometimes it's the small things though.
But it's also being really open with you all. Like, “Hey, today's not a good day for me.” Or like, “this week is really crazy.” So I think the more honest you are with your colleagues, coworkers who also may also be friends, I think it's just a better way to kind of move through this path, and as you kind of excel in your own career.
TK: And what are you doing for yourself that's outside of all these things, you know, to push yourself forward?
Gabrielle: Yeah. So I mean I think it's like always sort of thinking about new resources I can take advantage of to sort of get sharper. Whether it's with like, so I do the scripting for Hear to Slay. So thinking about how I can get better with those, kind of like those really technical things that, like, I really enjoy doing and thinking about how I can sort of parlay that into other clients. It's also working with other clients and other projects. Um, and I started a whole company so it's like that keeps me pretty busy and--
TK: I’m clapping you up. She started a company
Gabrielle: Yeah. It’s called The Woodshaw, and it launches in November and I'm really excited about it. It was like a kind of a big F you to, uh, you know, these white boys who are out here just starting companies every 30 seconds
TK: Just out here, just like, LLC
Gabrielle: Just out here like, sneezing and starting companies. I'm like, well, let me sneeze and start a company too. And so I did. So, I mean that's keeping me really busy cause I can just stretch my mind to think about so many projects, I’m working with You Had Me at Black on a really dope, um, black birthing docu-series that we're looking forward to launching next April for Black Maternal Health week. I'm working with some new clients about some really dope podcasts, revamping and getting ready for new seasons. So all of that allows me to do research and dig into other kind of like conversations and topics that I'm not always familiar with, but really stretching my mind. And so I guess it's what I do. I do, I work a lot. You know that.
TK: You work a lot.
Gabrielle: I work, I work too much, but it’s good stuff now.
TK: I guess I'll wrap by saying, uh, piggy backing off of, first of all, again, set boundaries. Um, and don't be apologetic about that. Speak it right. Speak it into existence. Talk to your friends about it. Say the thing. Because when you say the thing, you have to do the thing, it's not just also saying it to the air and Oh, Hey universe, you don't call it, did you catch that? Nah. It's universe plus homies because accountability equals, yeah, the glow up, right? Keeping me and you and y'all accountable is really what gets the work done.
Gabrielle: And check in on folks. How’s that thing going that you said you were going to be working on? Do you need some help with that? Like, like making sure you're accountable to your friends, you know?
TK: Yeah. Accountable to your friends, accountable to yourself. And I would say in terms of you just like sneezing and starting an LLC, um,
Gabrielle: I like this, this language around this.
TK: Dude. Everything that I've done for myself or in the name of my thing, company, radio show, whatever, I do it because I want to show my work right? Before I was allowed in these rooms, I had to show my work and I did not wait to be allowed into the room. You see how I, this my fourth day on the goddamn stage y'all, I didn't ask for all this. I took it, fam. You know why they trust me? Oh, let me also shout out to Werk It for inviting me. But you know why Werk It trusts me, right? Because I have over a thousand episodes that I have done live shit, right? Because I have,
Gabrielle: She got the work to back it up.
TK: You Google the YouTubes, Google me on the YouTube, and you can see me doing live, live speaking, public speaking. You know what I'm saying? People, the work begets work and sometimes you got to show people your work.
TK: Right? So I want to be in audio drama. What did I do? Make one. Shit, that's it. Listen fam, nobody's going to give this to you.
Gabrielle: You gotta take it.
TK: The most come up that I've gotten was coming up for myself and doing for myself and other people.
TK: And other people seeing that and being consistent with that. So that's how I do me. And um, you could just, you know, support me by following the journey and talking, talking me up when I'm not around. Yeah.
Gabrielle: That's pretty good.
Gabrielle: Thanks y’all.
TK: Thank you for having us.
Gabrielle: This was great.
TK: We appreciate you. Thank you Werk It.
Dessa: That was Keisha "TK" Dutes and Gabrielle Horton, speaking at the 2019 Werk It festival.
Both the festival and the podcast are produced by WNYC Studios and are made possible by major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the Annenberg Foundation.
Event sponsors include Luminary, Spotify, Spreaker, Acast, Himalaya, and the Women’s Foundation of California.