Each and every two weeks, Sylvia Obell and Deanii Scott get on Zoom from opposite coasts to document their podcast, “Okay, Now Hear,” which is created by Netflix.
They tackle matters that array from breakups to parental abandonment to beloved Tv displays, heartbreak and memes in an upbeat, sisterly way. In a person episode, the hosts go through from the journals they stored as preteens.
But their most candid and sincere conversations are about everyday living as youthful Black women of all ages pursuing their dreams in white, male-dominated industries. (Ms. Obell, 31, is an leisure reporter who previously worked at BuzzFeed, and Ms. Scott, 30, is a radio host, acknowledged skillfully as Scottie Beam, who bought her commence on Hot 97 in New York.)
Often individuals conversations extend to their visitors. On a February episode with the actress Zendaya, the hosts mentioned the significance of Black women of all ages giving on their own credit history and celebrating their successes, an act that does not essentially appear by natural means for Black women of all ages. “I struggle with it a minimal bit due to the fact I’m one particular of people men and women that if I give myself credit, it is going to be long gone,” Zendaya mentioned.
The hosts also convey the discussions back to the frustrations Black females encounter day-to-day — for example, when Ms. Obell and Ms. Scott broke down Solange’s music “Mad” from her 2016 album, “A Seat at the Desk.”
“She took the indignant Black girl trope and flipped it on its head,” Ms. Obell claimed, about the track. “She’s acquired a whole lot to be mad about, how about you determine out what you are performing to make her indignant — what modern society has accomplished to make her indignant.”
In yet another episode, Ms. Scott reported: “Having to rediscover joy and salvage anything you by no means tried out to drop can get exhausting.”
Their friendship predates the podcast, which may possibly explain why their heat is palpable. The two fulfilled at Essence Fest in 2017 and quickly hit it off.
“I wanted ‘Okay, Now Listen’ to be a immediate reflection of our friendship,” Ms. Scott stated in an interview. “I needed to showcase Black interactions, Black friendships, in any style of way.” For quite a few listeners, the podcast, which premiered in 2020, has come to be a way to experience closer to their own buddies throughout the pandemic.
“My ladies are the really like of my everyday living,” Ms. Obell stated brightly, talking about the way friendship guides the podcast.
“I have a tribe of gals that maintain me down,” Ms. Scott stated. “My auntie staff is impeccable.”
It was a member of Ms. Obell’s tribe, Jasmyn Lawson, who requested the pair to start off “Okay, Now Listen” for Netflix. Ms. Lawson, 29, a tv govt at Netflix, was on the group that in 2018 began Sturdy Black Lead, a articles vertical marketed to Black subscribers a single of her tasks was producing the sorts of displays and podcasts that she herself would want to see and hear.
“They were being definitely supportive of the function that I was accomplishing and needed me to just go, go, go and do extra,” Ms. Lawson reported in a the latest job interview, of her bosses at Netflix.
In addition to creating “Okay, Now Listen” Ms. Lawson also made “Strong Black Legends,” a podcast exactly where celebrated and acclaimed Black actors, together with Cicely Tyson, Elise Neal and Blair Underwood, go over their careers. (The two “Okay, Now Listen” and “Strong Black Legends” have been generated in partnership with Pineapple Avenue Studios.)
“It just came from my possess selfishness of wanting to honor our legends in our community,” Ms. Lawson said. “I know most of our aunties and uncles may well not be on the web each individual working day to see how we talk about these actors. I wished to make absolutely sure we experienced this archive of their tales, how they got into the sector.”
Of the “Okay, Now Listen” hosts, Ms. Lawson explained: “I actually wished them to have terrific cultural discussions about what is going on in just the realms of millennial Black people today.”
In 2015, an estimated two million Black homes subscribed to Netflix — a variety that represented only about 5 percent of its complete subscribers. These figures came from a 2015 memo, which was acquired by The New York Occasions, that was manufactured by Black staff members at the enterprise to make the circumstance to Netflix executives that they have been lacking an prospect with Black audiences.
The memo also reported that Black homes represented a current market worthy of $1.4 billion. Netflix executives, perhaps hesitant to lose out on this kind of profits, started off Solid Black Lead in 2018. The enterprise also continued to make improvements to its using the services of of men and women of color and girls in lots of distinctive positions — including as administrators, screenwriters and producers — in accordance to a modern analyze by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that was commissioned by Netflix.
These days, the media corporation has established a status as staying the pre-eminent position for Black talent to go in Hollywood to generate their get the job done.
Ms. Lawson not too long ago took on a new position as a manager of original series at Netflix, a position in which she develops and creates dwell-motion comedy collection. But she has not deferred her objective of producing written content that she would like to see personally. (Netflix would not share viewership figures or audience demographics for this posting.)
“I see myself as a reflection of the audience,” Ms. Lawson reported. “There’s no way that you try out to genuinely have a house and society and stay applicable and not check out to discuss to the Black viewers.”
And the Black audience for podcasts appears to be to be escalating. Forty-one percent of podcast listeners in the United States are not white, in accordance to Nielsen. That determine, Nielsen also points out, implies that podcast listeners are a a lot more numerous populace than that of the nation.
For Ms. Scott and Ms. Obell, finding that audience has almost everything to do with keeping real to their initial vision and respecting every other, as they do their listeners.
“My intent suitable now is to converse electricity into these Black women of all ages like myself, like Sylvia, and do the function,” Ms. Scott mentioned.