Education- Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness by Yndia Lorick-Wilmot, PhD
Yndia, the host of Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness, has been with Blubrry since 2019 and produced three seasons of monthly episodes with listener downloads across 30 countries. Using her expertise as a researcher, educator and author, her podcast centers around positive stories of African descended voices and experiences that are often overlooked in mainstream platforms. To commemorate Black History Month 2022, we hope you enjoy learning a bit about her, her podcast Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness, and her passion for celebrating and amplifying diverse African descended voices.
Thanks Yndia for joining us this month and check out our Instagram for more from Yndia.
Tell us about yourself!
I love that question! I am multifaceted and multidimensional. Often, I say that I am a storyteller and conduit for stories. Other times I say that I am an author, researcher, college professor and digital creator. Among family and friends, I am a Brooklyn girl forever changing the hearts and minds of people, one story at a time.
My appreciation for storytelling comes from the fact that I am also a trained sociologist who focuses on issues of race, ethnicity, U.S. immigration and social policy. I’ve worked for over two decades as a social researcher for research centers, nonprofits and foundations in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean and have written books, including Creating Black Caribbean Ethnic Identity and Stories of Identity among Black, Middle Class, Second Generation Caribbeans: We, Too, Sing America, articles and book chapters that relate to the people and cultures of the African diaspora throughout North America and the Caribbean.
Whether it is through my writing, my social research projects or my digital creations, my goal is to amplify the voices and diverse perspectives of African descendants, the issues that impact their lives, and the ways they create and engage in social change.
What inspired you to do your own podcast?
As I was conducting research for my third (and forthcoming) book project, Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness, many of my interview participants, who are of African descent, would share personal stories with me. Frequently, they told stories about all of the fascinating projects and work they were currently engaged in, their inspirations, and the journeys they took to get them to where they are today. Although these memoir-worthy conversations were not directly relevant to my book project, I knew it was important to provide an additional platform for these types of compelling and inspirational stories to exist for others to listen to and learn from.
I also knew it was important to highlight the positive experiences of “every day” African descended people – the folks who are award winning documentarians and artists, writers, scientists and practitioners, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and influencers – who exist in the very communities we work, live and learn in, and contribute to Black history 365 days of the year. That is Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness!
Overall, I have found podcasting a wonderful platform to share these stories; it is easily accessible and provides an alternative storytelling vehicle to what mainstream media offers about Black lives locally, nationally and globally. Plus, the positive feedback I receive from listeners encourages me to continue to share these stories. Listeners say they learn a lot!
How do you prepare for an episode?
Because I currently work as an educator and researcher while maintaining a robust writing schedule, I have found it helpful to establish a monthly recording and production schedule during the academic year (September through June). During the summer months, when I have a little more flexibility, I spend time planning and preparing for the upcoming season: identifying discussion topics; scheduling and confirming guests; conducting background research on topics and guests; and developing notes for each episode.
Outside of the activity of preparing for a specific episode, I find reading books and attending events such as exhibits and concerts (whether in-person or virtual) as helpful to informing my creative approach and conversation with my guests, too. I am able to make real world connections to the topics discussed in exciting, new ways.
What advice do you have for someone just starting out?
I approach podcasting like I approach many things in life: with purpose and passion! When I first started developing my own podcast, I sought inspiration by looking to other, more established hosts. I listened and subscribed to several programs that focused on a range of topics that interested me – from popular culture and books to music, education and political commentary.
First, I began to observe and learn to appreciate that really good podcast programs require lots of “planning with a purpose.” For me, “planning with a purpose” means: having a clear goal on what I want my audience to learn and “take-away” from each episode; developing and consistently sticking to a schedule that I set out for myself; preparing notes for each episode; and using a checklist of helpful reminders for recording and ensuring good sound quality for post-production (e.g., mic and other equipment set-up, minimizing background/ambient noises).
Second, I realized really good podcast hosts are most interesting and engaging when they (and their guests) are discussing a topic they are passionate about. I choose topics that I am passionate about and invite guests that have a personal connection to or a specific expertise/experience on the topic. I have found it so much easier to produce episodes about topics that I find exciting and/or want to learn more about because I know that I am engaging my audience in honest and fun conversations!
So, the take-away advice is: plan with a purpose, choose topics you are passionate about, and most importantly, have fun! Your audience will love and appreciate you for it.
Stay in touch with Yndia and Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness!
Podcast Instagram and Yndia Instagram