The Afros & Audio inaugural festival held in Brooklyn on June 22-23rd, 2019 is the first Black Podcast Festival for Black Podcast Creators and Audio Digital Tech professionals. The theme for this year’s festival was Community & Collaboration.
I had the pleasure of attending Afros & Audio as a panelist on the panel called: Connecting the Diaspora through Podcasting moderated by Tyrell Connor.
The other panelists were:
Yorm Tagoe, founder of esSense 13, a platform dedicated to raising the profile of African food globally through interactive online and offline experiences. Yorm launched ‘Item 13: An African Food Podcast’, an audio production of esSense 13 that celebrates the stories of African food entrepreneurs around the world.
Wize Grazette, founder of the Indie Creative Network an Association and Media platform for Digital storytellers to bring a community of podcasters from the African Diaspora together with the resources and relationships necessary for success. Wize has taken his expertise from roles in the United States and Barbados to storytellers and their listeners across the world.
Tyrell Connor, the moderator is an assistant professor in the Sociology Department at the State University of New York – New Paltz. He is the director of the Criminology Concentration within the department and his research primarily focuses on the impact of race within specialized court programs. he created and co-hosts a podcast, Black & Highly Dangerous (BhD), which aims to bridge the gap between academia and The People by interviewing various scholars, professionals, and activist that focus on issues involving people of color. Tyrell plans to continue a research agenda that promotes criminal justice reform for people of color while remaining actively involved and engaged with local communities.
We discussed the experience of immigrants, how podcasting creates a space for us to feel represented whether it’s the current political climate towards immigrants as well as how as panelists we see our roles as bringing awareness to the opportunities for growth and improvement within our communities.
While all the sessions where valuable, the standouts for me were:
- The Market is Not Flooded Presented by Tea with Queen & J – The ladies were engaging as they laid out hard facts about why the Market is Not Flooded. Podcasting is still a new and growing platform and “The market is flooded” or “the market is oversaturated” are phrases you may hear or have said. Queen & J point out that only a small percentage of “the market” consists of voices of color while thousands of white guys podcast on the same 4 subjects. That simply means that the market Is NOT flooded. Just stay true to your voice and build your community.
- The Art of Interviewing with TK & Conscious – another dynamic duo. With so many podcasts entering the marketplace, quality interviews can make or break your podcast episode. TK & Conscious share real life examples of their lessons learned from microphone position, the dynamic between host and guest and the needs of both parties in the interview process.
- Coming up the rough side of the mountain: Podcasting in a Niche
- Old heads, headphones & microphones: Gen-Xers podcasting in a Millennial space.
I enjoyed the conference and the opportunity to connect with other black podcasters. And true to the theme of this year’s festival, Community and Collaboration was my experience. There’s much to be gained for hearing the experiences of colleagues and the strategies and tools they’ve used. I definitely got a 2nd wind after hearing that others had or continue to have similar experiences while we trade strategies that have worked for us. I’m definitely looking forward to attending Afros & Audio 2020.