After months of careful preparation, the cream of black podcasters came together on Saturday 5 August 2017 in Central London, for the very first Shout Out Live Festival and it was a beautiful thing!
There is no doubt that ‘black’ podcasts are coming into their own. You can now listen to discussions on literature, sport, wellbeing, popular culture and more, from the black British perspective. This success can be credited to the efforts of Shout Out Network, the organizers of the festival, who rallied together to create the SO Network platform to shed light on underrepresented voices in the media. Some of the podcasts they host include Melanin Millennials, Mostly Lit, Two Fools Talking and many more.
The Shout Out Festival gathered some of the biggest names in the podcast world, across the pond too, like Buzzfeed’s Another Round who have had the likes of Kelly Rowland and Hillary Clinton on their show. True to its name, the discover stage hosted some lesser known but equally fabulous podcasts. All in all, it was a fantastic day, and only 360-ish days until the next one.
The day was kick started by hosts Keira Speaks and Travis Jay (who kept the energy up on the main stage for all eight hours), they introduced Dr Victoria Showunmi who works at University College London, specializing in feminism. She talked about the significance of securing and using the venue space by our community.
First up on the main stage was Mostly Lit, aka Derek, Alex and Rai. They brought intellect and a lot of laughs to the show, exploring how literature deconstructs black masculinity, with classics like Invisible Man discussed and the Black British 2016 release Mama Can’t Raise No Man, as well as a look into Jay Z’s 4:44.
Next up was the Friend Zone trio, Fran, Assante and Dustin who spoke truths, with the main topic being ‘how to break into media when there are no platforms for you’. Each spoke about their own individual journeys into the podcast/ media world, and emphasized that consistency is key. Whether you are YOUTUBING or blogging, keep at it, even if it looks like the only views and comments you get are from your mum! An area of their talk that really resonated with the crowd, was the discussion around inclusion, and bringing people in with you. So often we are told there’s no room at the inn, or that there’s only room for one, when this is not the case.
It was then time for Another Round to take the main stage, hosted by Heben and Tracy, two witty and intelligent ladies who have kept us laughing since 2015 and were my introduction to the podcast world. In an unconventional start, they began by asking the audience to shout out things that were bothering them at that moment, then acted as cheerleaders, delivering words of encouragement and motivation; hilarious and inspiring in equal measure. They came with guests and entertained their captive audience by inviting along writer and Twitter sensation, Bolu Babalola, and Crazyhead and Chewing Gum star Susan Wokoma. It wouldn’t be dramatic to say that they both had the audience crying with laughter.
For those who weren’t chortling with Heben and Tracy, over at the discovery stage, there were master classes being delivered by the guys from Blacticulate on how to create a podcast and how to make it a success.
The penultimate act were the queens Satia and Imrie (co-founder of Shout Out Network) from Melanin Millennials. They came out looking fabulous with none other than founder of Kelechnekoff Fitness Studio, Twerk Instructor, Kelechi Okafor. A podcast start like no other, audience members were instructed to stand up and copy Kelechi’s routine… Now is the time to search #SoLiveFest17 to see the hilarious videos and pictures of all of this. It was really the belly laugh and work out needed to stretch fatigued limbs. It wasn’t all twerking and Afrobeats though, the ladies (as is expected) had very informed and insightful discussions on police brutality, the black community and crime and more.
Last up was The Brilliant Idiots, hosted by Charlamagne Tha God and Andrew. A rather controversial session ensued which was certainly not to my taste. While I will not be listening to this particular podcast, it is a great example of the fact that the black voice is wide-ranging.
Nearly a week later, and my buzz from the festival has not been dulled and I am still in awe of what the team achieved. The levels have been set, and long may it continue.
Visit: SO Live Festival