Bridget Todd: I've been podcasting for a while you know it's a it's a you know early medium so it's not that long but for a while and I will remember when I first started I was trying to do this like black Ira Glass voice sort of like hello welcome to the podcast and I go back and I listen to them and it just sounds like and I remember that tension of do I sound do I talk like myself or do I talk like who I think people need me to be to respect me.
Whose voices do we hear when it comes to stories of scientific breakthroughs and new technologies? In this panel, four podcasters of color talk about why it’s so important to make sure that science and tech podcasts are more diverse – and how to make the field more inclusive, for both creators and listeners.
I’m Tanzina Vega, and this is Werk It: the Podcast, a compilation of some of the best moments from the live event.
Sam Riddell: Good morning everyone. Thank you so much for being here this early in the morning. This cold freezing in the rain. We really appreciate you. So if I could have everyone kinda, even out and be quiet. Thank you very much. Cool. So I'm going to have right into things because we don't have much time but we do have a lot of things to discuss here so I'm going to introduce myself kind of my inspiration for creating this panel, the kinds of things that we're going to talk about during this panel, and then get into who our lovely panelists are. So my name is Sam Riddell. I'm an independent podcast producer, principle host, and executive producer of podcasts called Inner Hoe Uprising which is a show about sex, love, and dating held by for queer black feminists and as it's relevant to this panel I'm a former podcast producer at a science and tech publication so -- and this is kind of where we get into the storytelling of why we're here today. Right so when I was creating a show at my old company it was at the intersection of futurism and intersectional feminism, specifically queer black intersexual and feminism so like what does a black feminist future look like. And as I was -- thank you for the snaps -- as I was doing research for this show and research about the futurism podcasting niche at all, I didn't hear myself in the podcast and specifically what I mean by that was that it was very white and it was very male. And that was concerning for two reasons right: So when we talk about these big concepts like futurism then what's next for our society. You might agree with me but I think that all of our voices need to be included in that kind of conversation, right? But then specifically when we talk about white men existing in this space and we think about the fact that for maybe the past five hundred years white dudes have been telling the story of where we're going in society and you might agree with me here, too: We're kind of in dire straits right now as a society.
Sam Riddell: And in those same centuries where white men have been dominating the conversation people at the margins have been left out of that conversation. And so I think it's crucial that we have people at the margins in the conversations about futurism specifically in a forward facing medium like podcasting. So, that's what we're talking about here today, right? So on this panel we will discuss the nature of this podcasting niche, how this space affects us as listeners and creators (and by us I mean folks at the margins) specifically black women today because that is who our panel comprised of.
And lastly actionable ways that we'd like to see change in the space to create better shows. And so I'm going to kick it over to our panelists by just having you guys introduce yourselves and we can start off with Naima.
Naima “Queen” Muhammad: Hey everyone. My name is Naima and I'm known mostly as Queen. I am the co-hosting co-producer of Tea with Queen and J podcast, writer, science enthusiast, and a regular degular chick from the Bronx.
Janina Jeff: Hi I'm Janina Jeff. I'm the host of a podcast called In Those Genes which is a podcast that uses genetics to help African-Americans uncover their lost identities. I'm also a scientist a geneticist at a biotech company and motivational speaker lover of all things Blac, science, tech, futurism, feminism, all the things.
Bridget Todd: Hey y’all My name is Bridget Todd. I live in Washington D.C. I am a grassroots political organizer activist strategist. I also produce and host podcasts. I'm cohost of the Afropunk podcast. I also cohost Stuff Mom Never Told You on the HowStuffWorks network and I'm the executive producer of Refinery 29’s UnStyled podcast.
SR: So thank you guys. So happy to have you here. I want to start off by talking about just the podcasting climate in the specific niche right.
SR: So if we can play audio cue one [audio cue - montage] the news seems pretty grim. I think our plans to build utopia kind of accidentally built the opposite. The future can feel like a world racing out ahead of us. A bewildering landscape the likes of which we've never seen before. We spend a lot of time talking about how things go wrong but much less on what it is we're actually working for. What if everything went right? Is technology moving us forward or backward? There are still many many people out there trying to make the world a better place and those people have some pretty wild ideas. So we want the show to focus on the technology news that matters to you. Computers, robots, rocket ships, cloning. Eight weeks, eight big questions, eight big answers. It's called Crazy Genius. Future Perfect. Anatomy of Next. If Then. The Secret History of the Future. [end audio cue - montage]
SR: So to you that might have sounded like a trailer for one specific show but that was actually a mash up of six different shows all hosted by white dudes. Just to give you like an auditory painting of what this landscape is like, right? So with that I'm going to kick it to you guys. I had a lot of fun editing that. Who are in your opinion STEM, Tech, and forward facing podcasts for? And what do you derive from the tone host, content, subject matter, music, all of the elements that go into creating these shows, how does that impact you listening to it or listening or something like that? Whoever wants to whoever feels most moved by the white dudes talking about the future.
NQM: That’s the least moving thing ever. White men.
NQM: It sounds like the voices that we heard sounds like exactly who do they want to speak to white kind of calm collected men. It doesn't even sound like mess. For me science was always like this messy space and I don't know it just doesn't sound like what science and tech actually is. Who are they fucking talking to?
BT: Yeah I agree with Queen. I mean to me that just sounds alienating. It just sounds when I hear that when I hear that mash up. All of the signal cues that are supposed to signal that this is not for me. I read them that way and so it's very alienating. As a listener I would imagine if I didn't really know the podcast space or the medium, I would think oh this is the space that's not for me. This is the space where my story my voice doesn't matter.
JJ: Yeah. And just to add onto it, it's not relatable. There are female scientists or scientists of color. Science is not just a bunch of white guys talking about the things that they like. It seems like they're just talking about things they like with their friends which I guess some podcasts should be like. But it's not very inclusive and it's not very applicable. So I don't relate to science as science podcasts are hard in general. People don't want to listen to science podcasts. You have to pull people in. And part of that is relatability and nothing about that relates to anyone except for the people who look like them.
SR: So I want to take it like underlayer deeper. So when I hear science shows I think about the white dudes on the top and then like right underneath there is white women talking about science and futurism and then there's like a sprinkling of people of color right. So recently I was listening to a episode of Science Vs where they were talking about the state of gentrification right now. And I had some issues with it but I kind of want to get you guys thoughts on how it's perceived as folks of color listening to issues that kind of impact us at the forefront. Right. So can we play audio Q3 [audio cue] So we got our producer now. Meryl Haun Ph.D. to crunch some numbers. You want to see my data.
I do want to see your data and we know this is not peer reviewed but it's the best we've got. So she did some stats. I found a population, normalized all of the time points, cited a linear progression, look to see if there is a statistically significant difference between the slopes to see if the P-value was less than point zero one. So what did you find? I found that over this period of time you could see that the calls just kept going up and up in the gentrifying areas more than the other neighborhoods. Was it, was it by a lot?...Yeah the calls in the gentrifying neighborhoods were going up like 70 percent faster. Oh wow. Yeah. And I think this is a real effect. [end audio cue]
SR:So that was in regards to you know folks like ‘corner store Caroline’ and things like that calling or maybe the myth that people are calling -- people in gentrified neighborhoods or calling the cops more on black people and people of color. So just as a general listener, thoughts?
NQM: So for me like my podcast is about dismantling white supremacist patriarchal capitalism that's what I nerd about. Like that's all I talk about. So it just for me it just shows that people are not connected to the conversations they're having. We haven't seen as people any neighborhoods have been saying this but you don't believe us and you have to get data to fucking believe this shit. We been saying this. You have the proof. Like the science is there because I'm black ass is sayin it.
JJ: You know I was thinking the same thing. Like, I was watching a documentary once on gentrification that was also done by a white woman and I thought: Why didn't they interview anyone who's being affected by the gentrification? Wait there's just one site we're talking about gentrification there is an acknowledgement that it's a problem there is an acknowledgement that calling the police is the problem. Why not talk to the people who are being affected by it. And so again this is a problem that's affecting us, that people are talking about for their entertainment, but were not included in it.
SR: I would even go to like take that one step further. So in that Science Versus clip just to be transparent there were people affected by gentrification in that episode but I think that kind of episode needs to be hosted by someone who's affected by gentrification because that's the only person if I'm in a gentrifying neighborhood that I want to listen to in the first place. Not to like Haha wow this is so funny. So I thought that was pretty tone deaf.
BT: First and I think you know thinking about an issue like that from the data. It's almost insulting right? I'm a person who lives in the same neighborhood as born and I've watched it change very rapidly if you if you know D.C. you know it's a it's a changing neighborhood. We’ll put it that way. And you know I know what that experience looks like, feels like. I know all the tensions, anxieties. You know what that experience actually sounds like as a person living it and it doesn't look like two women giggling about data. It doesn't look like you know women pouring over. Like, when you played the clip I was almost my eyes were sort of like a no shade to their to their podcast but my eyes were sort of rolling back in my head because that's not what that experience sounds like, looks like, feels like. It's not datasets and tables and this and that it's real it's people's lives it's my life and hearing it kind of distilled through that medium -- it's almost insulting as someone who's living it.
SR: For sure. So that's a little bit of what it's like listening to shows in this field. Let's talk about what it's like creating shows in this field. Super fun, right? So maybe Janina we can start with you because you have like a super new entry space. What are the kinds of challenges in discussing these topics as a black woman?
JJ: I think the biggest challenge for science podcasts, or black science podcasts, is thinking all the podcasts it exists today or the clips that we heard the first clip in particular. So there's a huge conflict and like OK. I teach science all the time. I'm always doing this in an all white environment which is typically what I am used to. But that's not the purpose of a podcast. And so I'm trying to I have to think about consciously think about how do I deliver this message in a relatable way that still has my credibility. Because in the science field particularly in my industry genetics like I have to prove myself as credible already. Like having a Ph.D. and all that cool. But like they still need to know I have to code switch all the time and to be able to have this space to not code switch, to be able to be my authentic self, and to be able to tell a story in a way that has never been done in a relatable way for the community is something that there's not an example out there for me to look at and be like, “Oh they did it well,” and all the examples that I've tried to look at none of them in my opinion do it to. Do it with the purpose that I'm trying to do which is touch a community that hasn't been spoken to before. So there's a lot of challenges of how do I do that, still remain credible, not dismantle the science, not water it down but not making it to challenging. It's yeah it's a lot of things.
BT: Yeah I could talk all day about that but I think for me I'm in a really weird position. The network that I make my show on is HowStuffWorks and so the show that I make, Afropunk -- it’s a podcast about dismantling white supremacy, it's about uplifting the voices of people what the margins, so like black queer women and activism all of that and my network is. And so I'm explicitly making a show for young black listeners like I know who my people are, I know who I want to speak to, but my network is HowStuffWorks. And our flagship shows are I mean they're white dudes talking about nerdy white dudes. I'm saying like let's be real. No shade to them. It's a important show. But the listenership of our network is skews very white. And so when you're making a show that is for and about like young black activists, young black artists, young black creators, it's difficult because you know people who listen to HowStuffWorks might think oh like every show they produce is for us like it's for me it's for you know Chad white guy or whatever. And then when he listens to the show he's going to think what the hell is this. They're calling me a racist. I voted for Obama. And so we have to walk this really strange kind of tightrope of making something that we think is really beautiful and important, specifically for our people. But then also knowing that our our network’s larger audience is just not that people. And so we have this extra hat that we have to wear. Not only am I like a podcast producer and host, I also have to be the sort of inclusion expert who knows you know how are we going to bring these folks in because they're not there.
SR: And what are some ways that you think actionably the people in this room that you would say you would like in terms of like resources or help in addressing those challenges?
BT: Money. Definitely money. Money. Yeah I would say money but then also just meaningful investments in inclusion in the space right because I've seen a million times people will just hire one black host and think like Oh we've done it. Diversity achieved. Like that's it. And no you actually need to make meaningful investments. Don't just hire somebody or they supported not just are they at the table do they have a voice. They feel comfortable you know expressing it and knowing they will be heard and valued and listened to. So I would say money, you know fund black podcasters, train black podcasters, throw us coin, give us money to make cool shit, and then also support us.
NQM: Yeah. I just want to add that kind of does. Get rid of the privilege that you have. Make yourself marginalize like there. That's just what you have to do if you want to include other people.
NQM: If you actually want to like first you don't have to actually want to do that shit which is what most people most white men don't want to do. Most people don't want to give up their privilege. They don't want to give up a space so give up a space and be a marginalized person. And then you can a little bit understand the other side and other people who need to be in the conversation.
JJ: Yeah I was just going to add to that I would say the biggest thing is walking to every situation unlearning all the things you were taught before you walked in and that's a good place to start because once you create a safe space where you acknowledge I don't know and I want to learn I genuinely want to learn in a genuine authentic way and I want to unlearn all the things that I was taught about patriarchy, about racism, about what I think you should be like. Then you've created a safe space for people of color to engage with you.
SR: I want to take this time to play some clips from, Janina, your show. And then also, Queen, maybe you can introduce the clip that you sent over to me about kind of like the ways that we can create shows for us that have the science element that communicate the science well to me. So can we play.
JJ: I'm just going to say no one has ever heard these clips so my show is developing.So this is a treat.
SR: I'm also the producer on that show so I edited this so if there's anything wrong that means can we play cue four. [audio cue trailer] Welcome to the lab. Everybody you're listening to In Those Genes podcast a show that uses genetics to help people of African descent discover our lost identities. I am your host Dr. Janina Jeff, a human geneticist at a biotech company. However, I'm also an educator, a lover of hip hop, and now I'm a podcaster. So really it is my love for genetics black people and the arts that has inspired me to make this show but also because tons of people use science to perpetuate a bunch of bullshit about black folks. A major cause of the American Negro Intellectual social deficit is hereditary and racial is genetic in origin. Saying things like we're genetically less intelligent, more prone to violence, better at sports, more aggressive. But I'm here to tell you today we've got nine problems but our genes ain't one. In fact human beings are 99 percent the same genetically. Yet it's only 1 percent that makes us different. [end audio cue]
SR: You mean if you want to talk a little bit about how this show is communicating science and like futurism in an authentic way to black folks.
JJ: The biggest I think the biggest contributor to our show that's different. It's an educational podcast and I just kind of realized that. But the biggest thing is like teaching in a relatable way and teaching things that are familiar. So a lot of us show everything that we teach every concept that we teach to our audience is done relating something that that is in real life you can attach yourself to and really be a part of. And then, um, music is a big part of our show. Music is a big part of our culture. And so I think one of the biggest things that was missing from this space in particular is being able to bring in culture into an educational experience about science for people of color. So we work really hard to make sure we have the music, relatable things that everyone can learn and our understand and enjoy hopefully. Yeah.
SR: Queen you want to talk a little bit about the clip?
NQM: Yeah, I sent Sam a clip from a podcast that I listened to Marcia’s Plate and the host are three trans folks, two trans women and one trans man. SR:Three black trans folks. NQM: Three black trans folks and they're talking about how a matriarchy is better but they use the example of chimpanzees and bonobos and how those different apes are socialized to be patriarchal or matriarchal.
SR: So can we play clip six or cue six [audio cue] …. the chimp and the bonobo really can lead us to a path of matriarchy and how they can kind of get there giving us clues then a matriarchal world could be a little bit better. So bonobos are socialized as a matriarchy and chimpanzees are socialized as a patriarchy. The chimpanzees are more violent. They literally torture their rival gangs, like they torture, they fight. They eat, cannibalism. They rape. It’s just way way way more violent. Just anything that you can think of this grotesque and horrible they do. They are some wild bitches. So chimpanzees, this is just their tea. Bonobos, on the other hand, they usually resolve conflicts through sex. My girl. [end audio cue]
SR: So Queen can you talk a little bit about like the many facets that make that clip -- and Marsha's Plate in general -- great.
NQM: Yeah yeah.
NQM: So it makes scientific things very layman and very relatable for anybody to understand you could have never heard of a bonobo but you can relate to what they said on that podcast.
NQM: And then it's also a point how people speak when it comes to podcasts -- podcasting is very intimate. So it is important for you to hear someone that sounds like somebody that you would listen to every day. And that's what I get from when I listen to Marsha's Plate. And that's kind of how I am when I speak of my podcasts like I don't code switch at all. I want people to hear me how I speak all the time and a lot of our listeners relate to that as well.
JJ: I think one thing to kind of get to that point what Bridget said you can't just like in terms of hiring a black host that's really important. Like that voice is so important. I listen to podcasts hosted by black women and within the first sentence I'm like, nope. Not -- I mean it's just not for me and for a personal experience I need it to be for me and it should be right.
BT: I've also been there because when I'm so I've been podcasting for a while you know it's a it's a you know early medium so it's not that long but for a while and I will remember when I first started I was trying to do this like black Ira Glass voice. Sort of like hello welcome to the podcast and I go back and I listen to them and it just sounds like and I remember that tension of: Do I sound do I talk like myself or do I talk like who I think people need me to be to respect me? And having to figure that out on the microphone was awful and if I had like going back into those episodes is torture for me.
BT: But you're right and I think that as black women podcasters I think that you have to own that he had to say this is my voice. This is how I speak either like it or don't like it and I think you're right. I have listened to those shows where I think oh this person is still sorting that out and I know what that feels like.
SR: And Bridget what are some kinds of ways that you besides like actually using your actual voice that you introduce authenticity in talking about the conversations that you have in your shows?
BT: It's a lot of the same thing. I mean I fair disclosure I forgot to do my homework so I didn’t bring my clip but it's a lot of the same thing right. This idea that you brought up that a big part of how we live our lives is culture. And so I think especially when it comes to talking about technology and STEM and all of that we tend to have this idea that. You know the important smart people things are here and then your pop culture, music, whatever that's here. There are different buckets and so the same way in the podcast clip that you brought where they're talking about sex and all of that and like things that are in our lives all the time understanding that those things are intersectional that you know you're not a scientist one day and a lover of hip hop the next; how you live your life is through that experience and you're experiencing all of those things all the time. So I would say just bringing that nod to that intersection to the shows.
SR: For sure. I want to start wrapping it up to take time for questions before we get into that. I want to speak a little bit about audience and be kind of addressed that already but once again in terms of actionable ways do you think folks in this room can take away in terms of including listeners in this podcasting news. So like what kinds of barriers to entry are there for listeners and how do we address those.
JJ: I would say, for every concept scientific concept futurism you have to talk about it from every perspective, every marginalized group. Every time we learn about a science concept we hear about futurism. We can't ever say Oh I see myself in this. Oh I see. I was I was watching a show “Random Acts of Flyness” and they had an AI person. They created an AI computer I think her name was Abena and they were talking she was talking to them and she was like does Abena feel like a black woman and Abena got really uncomfortable any time they talked about race, any time they talked about anything black. And Abena was a black woman with a very horrible wig.
JJ: And Abena and then I like her cloner, her human person equivalent was like Abena was programmed by white programmers. So I'm thinking futurism, AI, all this stuff -- How is it going to include me if the people are developing it don't look like me? And so it's really really important to have representation because that's how representation and also anytime we talk about things including it from the angle of everyone we talk about it from the angle of men and women a lot. Let's also talk about it from the angle of nonbinary. Let's also talk about it from the angle a different underrepresented groups because that's how you include everybody in it.
NQM: I just want to add that you are not white. You're always thinking about race. White people are the only people who have the privilege to not think about that race all the time. So you can't have these spaces and just paint a white person brown and say I did it because this just not going to work. So you have to take us in as whole people like actual whole people and our experiences and our culture and understand that we’re not a monolith. There are billions of different kinds of black people on this earth. So yeah just black people are not white people painted brown like just that simple.
BT: Yeah I agree plus thousand to all the things that y’all said. I also would say just being kind of like what you were saying being really aware of the various intersections that you're not seeing the margins. Mean we did a podcast episode around legislation that impacts sex workers and so we had like a sex worker on the show and one of the things that she talked about that I was like oh this had not occurred to me was the idea that if you are a sex worker and this was during the time where a lot of bullshit legislation cracking down on sex work on why it was happening and so what was still happening. And she made this point that yeah you're a sex worker and you're a black woman.
BT: You are double marginalized and so the folks who are at the margins in this space are the ones who have to be sort of these technology innovators because they have to be so so you know we don't often think of sex workers as tech innovators when you think of tech innovator you think of a very specific kind of person a white guy in San Francisco in a turtleneck. Right. But people who are living lives at the margins. Will they have to be tech innovators just because it's their life because it's how they survive. And so, me kind of understanding and learning about and being willing to sort of amplify that intersection was really important to how we told that story. So I would say always be thinking about whose story you're not telling and how can you tell that. NQM: I just want to add something real quick.
NQM: There's no way that you have innovation without marginalization. Like the people and the margins are the most innovative people that you will ever find because you have to be resourceful, because the world doesn't give you anything. So you have to make everything for yourselves. So if you don't not acknowledge people at the margins and talk about innovations. You're an idiot and you're not doing it right.
BT: So true. Quick story a little unrelated but whatever. So I don't get my hair braided for this event. So you're welcome. NQM: It look cute girl. BT: Thank you. And what’s funny is the woman who braid my hair it's completely like a legal black market like braiding hair out of people's homes it is against the law I think until this woman comes to my apartment… NQM: Everything we do is against the law.
BT: Yeah I know that sounds wild but look it up I'm not kidding.
BT: And so basically this woman in order to have this thriving sustaining business she has this network of ways of using tech platforms. So how does she get clients? Instagram. Right, like DM me for this. How did she how did she get her money? Like Cash App. And like all of these different ways this woman was using technology to sort of you know, not skirt the law but make this business viable. NQM: To avert the man. BT: Honestly like I was like you should be putting this on a resume like this is your ability to sort of have this business just sustain itself via Instagram and cash app and word of mouth and all of this. It was it was like talk about a tech innovator. And so again we don't talk about what it looks like when someone is a tech innovator. That's not a Silicon Valley white guy. SR: By a show of hands can I see how many folks are interested in asking questions?
SR: Okay cool I just want to see where to take it. So follow up question to that. Do you think the fix is creating shows like syphoning ourselves off and creating our own shows in our own safe spaces or is it staffing people of color and women of color or nonbinary people of color in preexisted fully funded network shows or a little bit of both?
NQM: I think it should be a mixture of both. My podcast is completely independent and I like that because I like to do whatever I want and I'm also not I don't bend. I'm
doing what I want, how I want it, when I want it. So it works for me. But then I understand that there are other platforms that may need way more funding and cannot be independent so that they would need the support of the network and things like that. So there's ways to operate outside of the system and within the system. But the thing that's really important is to just be true to you because the system is not going to care about you. So if you are in the space where you are using media companies just make sure your true that you are true to what your project or vision is why don't you stay away from that. You know you sold out.
NQM: And that's not a cool thing. SR:Everybody else?
JJ: Yeah I mean I think it's a tough one. One that I've definitely had to think about when creating the show is like.Who who is this going to reach and who should it reach? And originally when I was creating the show I was so passionate about it being for me and for us and only about us. And I. Still maybe am but. Just because we don't have it. But then also realizing it's really important for everyone to listen to this and taking a step back and saying you know I have to. I have to still do what I'm going to do but hopefully reach people that I never thought would listen to the show.
NQM: Like if you think about it when white men create, they’re only making stuff for themselves. But we all pay attention. We all watch it. We are consuming. What I create is. Anyone affected by misogyny is at the center of what I am creating. But everyone is there
We have men listening. We know white people listening. We have so you can still create whatever you want and not worry about people not listening because they will come and that is how white men create they create for themselves and because they are who they are. We still consume and we still take it and you don't get white man's saying how to make something to make you know have to be inclusive of what I'm doing don't do that. But we just have to consume it anyway. So like I think if you remove that thought from it it makes things a whole lot easier. BT: Absolutely.
BT: I mean I that's been my experience too. And so to your question I don't actually know. I think it's an extra of both like Queen was saying but you know nobody calls Marc Maron a white podcast her right like he does he's just a podcast or he makes things he wants to make he has a conversation he wants to have. And we just accept that and we kind of have to consume it. You know when you're a person of color when you're marginalized you have to engage with the dominant culture you're just expected to engage with the dominant culture all the time. And it's not that same way with us. And so I've often said you know I would love it if when I make I guess one of my concerns about sort of having our own spaces to do that is I don't want to compartmentalize. I make dope shows and everybody can get something out of the show shows that we make whether you're a white person or a black person or whatever. I don't want to be compartmentalized like oh this is the black podcast therefore there's nothing new there because that's how you that's how we grow and learn together. And so you know I don't have the answer to whether or not and maybe it is a combination. But I know that as a person who makes things I would like. I wonder what it would be like to have the freedom to just make cool shit and not have to feel like oh well this is the black podcast That you're making. This is a niche thing not expect that we don't have to sort of engage with the same way.
NQM: The answer is what I say the answer to everything. Just get rid of white supremacist patriarchal capitalism. And then we can go from there.
SR:One last question before we have time for that one question in the audience and we can just circle back to the title of this panel: who tells the story of our future in your opinion?
NQM: For me it's from me and my life it's always been black women. We have a panel that me and my co-host do that's called Listen to Black Women and it's about black oral tradition and woman and podcasting and this is just another extension of that just passing on stories and having these conversations amongst myself and other people who happened to tune in. Like that's dope. But yes. So that's what it is for me.
JJ: Yeah I was going to say to say I'm going to say 94 percent, but we all know who that is. So that you know I agree. Who tells the story of our future? You tell the story of your future. That's a personal thing. But also people who relate to you people who care for you people who are genuinely interested in you having a future. Let's start there. You are seeing us in a future. That's who that's who tells the story.
BT: I agree. I've nothing to add. Black woman. we black women be knownin’. In how many times that come with is like oh well. Who can we listen to? Who was sounding the alarm? Who was saying these things before everybody else? It gets old but it's always true. So yeah yeah.
SR: And just one really important thing to that. For black women to also understand is part of being our future we have to take care of ourselves. We take a lot of weight of the world and no one ever talks to us about wellness and how do we think about our futures outside of you know doing for everyone else so yeah that's a different panel.
SR: Well thank you guys. And we have about five minutes. So anyone who wants to ask questions two mics on the side you can just walk right up.
Attendee: I'm Shana. So my question relates to what you just said. If you are you know as black women. Telling a story or allowing a portal for people's stories to be told that aren't typically told. How do you go about marketing your podcast your platform without appealing to the patriarchal dot dot dot? So how do you keep your message pure and keep your audience fed but still appeal to the wider audience?
BT: Well I think it goes back to what you were saying to you. It goes back to what you Queen was saying earlier that you know she knows who she is like who her people are right and so I think that if you're a podcast or making any they know it's important to know first is who are you making this for. And so she's said black femmes and that's it. And so if other people want to tune in, cool. But they have to know that. You know we're not making this specifically for them. If they want to listen. Great but you know we're not going to change it up to make them feel included.
NQM: I want to add that there are 7 billion people on this planet. You have enough people to listen to listen to your podcast like they like this scarcity model created by white supremacists patriarchal capitalism tells you there's not enough for everybody and there is enough for everybody in his fucking room. So literally. It's not the truth. OK there's enough people to listen to.
JJ: I was just going to also say kind of speak into that. One of the things that I'm really passionate about and I think it's also important in terms of marketing is how are we reaching people who aren't listening to podcasts. So that's really really big for people of color because a lot of you know our families and our extended families don't listen to podcasts and all of the marketing that's created for podcasts do not engage with them to listen to them. So our marketing keeps them how our marketing campaigns are going to be completely different and kind of get into what you were just saying. I personally don't care about reaching a mass audience the intended audience will come.
BT: My own parents they still ask me what channel on the TV can I watch your podcast? It’s a constant thing. I get it every every time we see each other. So yeah I mean the barrier to entry is different for us.
SR: For sure we only have about one minute left. OK. It should be really quick.
Attendee: I was just wondering if any of you all have thought about how to preserve the stories that you're creating now for the future. If we're talking about who's telling the stories for the future like working with archives are like doing any like personal archiving yourselves. This is something you thought about.
SR: It's a great question. Upload my consciousness to the cloud.
JJ: Really? I don't know but I mean I haven't actually thought about it.
JJ: One thing I do like about the digital space is everything exists forever. So I'm from New Orleans. You know we had Hurricane Katrina I literally don't have baby pictures and I always think about how amazing it would have been to be born in the face of Facebook where you have all this archive things. So technology? The cloud?
SR: Anyone else. Last question.
Attendee: Thank you ladies. I wanted to ask I think one of you mentioned that you when you're listening to a podcast you already know like OK this isn't for me. So what are those cues of what are you looking for when you want when you have a podcast that's black hosted and you want to feel included?
NQM: For me it doesn't have to be a black hosted thing. Usually most of what I listen to it is by black women. But if you sound like I would invite you to my house, then I'm a listen. But if you sound like someone that's not going to be I'm not going to feel safe with. Which is usually a white man then can't come, you know I'm not going to listen to.
SR: Also if you're like putting disclaimers on black things instead of just talking about black things as they exist that for me is a turnoff. So if you're like explaining hip hop 101 I'm going to turn your podcast off.
SR: And with that, thank you everybody!