#Onisnotenough’s Itunu reached out to one of her favourite podcasts at the moment ‘Melanin Millennials’ hosted by two beautiful Black women Satia and Imrie, to discuss all things race and representation. Check out their podcast here and the interview:
What is Melanin Millennials?
Imrie: It’s a podcast that explores socio-political issues and British pop-culture from the perspective of two black girls living in London.
Satia: Melanin Millennials is a podcast hosted by myself (Satia) and Imrie discussing everything from pop culture, to topical news stories, to the struggles and stresses of being a millennial from a black British woman’s point of view.
Why did you start Melanin Millennials?
Imrie: For me, the show was born out of frustration. I was consuming a lot of African American media and internalising their issues as if they were my own. Melanin Millennials was my way reclaiming my experiences and focusing on what’s happening in the UK.
Satia: Imrie asked me to start a podcast with her and after my initial reluctance and with imminent return to the UK, an idea of what we wanted started forming. I think that it all moved much faster as soon as I came up with the name that we both liked, Melanin Millennials, as it embodied what our podcast was about and who our target audience was. Simply put I hadn’t heard anyone who sounded like us out there, I always tended to look overseas (read: America) to see glimpses of people who looked like me. As fun as that was, it was still glaringly obvious that culturally I was different and as a result I craved something closer to home that I could relate to more. The saying goes ‘be the change you want to see in the world’ so here we are.
Why do you think it’s important to talk about topics that impact Melanin Millennials?
Imrie: We discuss the EU referendum, sex, mental health, feminism and racism. All of which are relevant to our lives here in the UK. It’s important that we understand what is happening in our country and how these issues can impact our lives. It’s a liberating experience to hear people that look like you express themselves so freely.
Satia: Our voices, those of young, black British women especially, aren’t often heard and if they are the subject matters I found to be pretty uninteresting and cliched. Our everyday conversations alone were always extremely varied ranging from the serious to the downright hilarious. We consumed a lot of media and yet we are still underwhelmingly represented in MSM. Our vision and purpose was to create a platform that everyday Melanin Millennials could tune into and more importantly relate to. Our topics are based on what affects us personally as black women, intersectionality is hugely important and that is why we always love reaching out to other black women / PoC in order for them to tell their stories. We are aware that we are not a monolith and we keenly feel the disconnect and distance amongst each other. There are incredible women out there achieving amazing feats and yet, whether deliberate or not, we just don’t hear about them, see them or even feel their presence.
I noticed that Siana Bangura was on your podcast!!! Are there any particular BAME’s that have inspired you that you think more people should know about?
Imrie: Absolutely! Where do I start, Liv Little at Gal-Dem, Tobi Oredein at Black Ballad, Seyi Newell from TRiBE and Sait Cham at Recovr, just to name a few. Before we started this, it was a struggle to find and locate the amazing work people are doing, but now our audience (affectionately named the Congregation) send us suggestions, and I’m glad people recognise us a place to share their work.
Satia: We have oh so many people that we know are doing brilliant things out there in every type of industry. Siana might as well be a force of nature, that’s how inspiring she is and completely unapologetic about it. Black women for too long seem to have put others before themselves and have forgotten to take up space and demand to be heard. To name a few, women like Cecile Emeke, Michaela Coel and Chimamnda Ngozi are all working extremely hard to increase black women’s visibility and our multifacetedness.
What are your hopes for the future of Melanin Millennials?
Imrie: Our cousins on the ShoutOut Network joined because they heard our show. I hope that we just continue to grow and that we inspire more people from the BAME community to be more vocal and share their opinions and interests.
Satia: I hope that in very near future Melanin Millennials podcast becomes the go to platform to celebrate, support, uplift, commiserate, vent and generally showcase what we already know is magical about us.
Why do you think representation for young British BAME’s is important?
Imrie: Being represented has a profound effect on our self-esteem. If we are portrayed on TV or in Film, it’s rarely positive. Internalising that can be easy. We need to know that we are not an anomaly. That our experiences are normal despite not being ‘mainstream’.
Satia: “Seeing is believing”. I cannot stress enough the importance of diversity and seeing your narrative acknowledged and validated. How many little black girls watching TV, reading books, going to the theatre, thinking of their dream careers see themselves positively represented? There has been progress but more is needed. In the meantime we, sadly, become accustomed to not being at the centre of diverse narratives, the consequences being that we then have to work very hard in deprogramming our minds about what is normal. Black women are hardly ever portrayed as the standard. Fortunately with the rise of social media, globalisation and the internet that no longer has to be the case. We can build our own platforms and people will gravitate towards it, at the end of the day we all just want a little bit of confirmation that there are many more people out there, like us, than meets the literal eye. It’s important that we feel empowered to tell our own stories to quote Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche “power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person … if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, “secondly.” We must not let this happen!” Indeed we must not let that happen anymore.