Google and podcast company, PRX reunite to promote underrepresented voices in storytelling
Think you’ve got talent, something to say, and just looking for the perfect soapbox to step on? Google and podcast company, PRX are currently on the search for their second cohort of diverse talent for their joint Google Podcasts creator program.
The two platforms are reuniting to increase the number of underrepresented voices in the podcast arena and are seeking to help make content more accessible to audiences of various backgrounds. PRX, a pioneer in podcast training and education, will lead the program.
Last year, Aseloka Smith, creator and host of The Colored Girl Beautiful, presented her podcast for feedback as part of the inaugural participants who received training on ways to improve their voice and increase their reach.
The Baltimore native uses her podcast to talk about the concerns, needs, and issues facing Black women today. It’s a way, she says, for Black women to truly feel heard and understood.
Each episode is framed by Emma Azalia Hackley‘s 1916 book, “The Colored Girl Beautiful” where Smith opens the show as a letter from herself to Hackley expressing her thoughts about various topics posed in the book that she then weaves into the conversation.
Smith says she based her show off of Hackley’s book as a way to further explore traditional and modern concepts of beauty and womanhood and all of the competing messages that fall in between. A well-educated, well-traveled child prodigy, Hackley was also a vocalist, educator, and activist, who was among the first Black generations to be born free.
“She was very concerned about the ‘social uplift’ of her people and made it her life’s mission to focus all of her efforts on the Black community. I found her drive and passion inspiring,” said Smith.
“Much of her advice is grounded in a belief that Black women should be proud of their African heritage and should dedicate themselves to developing the natural strength, talent and beauty we all possess, for the benefit of the entire Black race. I love that she openly expressed and published these views in a time when Black people were not expected to thrive.”
In an effort to break down barriers, the program is looking for fresh and creative podcast creators like Smith who represent a range of views, voices, geographies and styles to apply.
Applicants must also be aware of the type of audience they are trying to reach and have a compelling, original podcast idea for multicultural listeners.
Those selected will receive up to $40,000 in seed funding and must participate in an intensive 20-week training program at PRX’s Podcast Garage in Boston. Teams will participate in a “Creative Review,” along with additional training and an opportunity to pitch their podcast idea to a group of panelists for feedback.
Teams will also work on assignments, participate in webinars and meet with their mentors. At the end of the training, they will be gifted with a live performance to celebrate their completion.
Smith believes the experience has been invaluable for her and her brand.
“I was looking for ways I could get some support in building my vision for this show which is so meaningful for me! The program seemed like a really great way to do that and has proven incredibly useful so far,” said Smith.
Other teams from the first cohort of podcasters include Tanikka Charraé, Melissa Tsuei, and Tezarah Wilkins, Philadelphia-based talents who host, Who Taught You How to Drive?!, a funny podcast that focuses on transportation culture. There’s also Maeve Frances, Aida Holly-Nambi and Selly Thiam who are the masterminds behind, AfroQueer, a podcast based in Nairobi that focuses on the stories of queer Africans living on the continent.
For those interested in the program, PRX will be accepting applications until April 28, 2019.
Visit googlecp.prx.org to apply.