Voltage Revolution is a programme designed to provide community, training, and paid opportunities to support young, Black creative talent in the UK.
Over the past weeks, we have been working closely with Spotify on an event called “The Spotify Podcast Club”. The Spotify Podcast Club is a 1-hour monthly event aimed at providing space for themed podcast discussions to be exchanged between participants in Voltage Revolution and professionals at Spotify. The vision here is to support VR’s community regardless of socioeconomic status to thrive & develop academically by challenging & inspiring them to new ways of thinking. Ultimately the purpose is to contribute to an increased ambition & resilience for them to easier identify and fulfill career goals.
The format is a monthly session where young black people within Voltage Revolution & Spotify professionals listen to one podcast episode on varying social issues topics ( motivation, networking, public speaking, failure, family, racism, and relationships to name a few) and come prepared with notes ahead of the meeting, ready to share their insights/reflections.
The first session was held on the 14th of October 2022 and in the discussion was in regards to the podcast "Talks at Google - Episode 214 - Stephanie Hicks, Ph.D. / The First Time I Realised I Was Black" as it was a perfect fit in celebrating Black History Month. In this podcast, members of the Black Googler Network created a film that explores their past experiences as it pertains to their initial realizations of being Black. This project was inspired by the 2017 CNN feature, The First Time I Realized I Was Black, and the 1903 book by W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk. Audience members of the live talk just finished watching this incredibly powerful film that showcases some poignant experiences that Black people in America face on a daily basis. Stephanie Hicks, Ph.D. is a Lecturer at the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan and completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies – Social Foundations at the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Stephanie sat down with Googler, Brady Bennett, to unpack what it means to be Black in America and discusses the catalysts, realizations, and misperceptions of the Black experience through the lens of her own personal experiences and her studies on intergroup dialogue and DEI policy.
The interactions between the VR participants and the Spotify Professionals consisted of sharing their experiences on when they first realised they were black in different contexts and how those realisations acted as potential pitfalls for them in their lives/ or not. It was interesting to see the similarities and yet huge differences in their stories whilst also serving as a reminder that these conversations about race are critically important to building awareness and creating safe spaces for us.
Another important topic that was discussed was around choices that black people constantly have to think about due to stereotypes & different definitions of being black, which can exist both in black communities and non-black communities. Like Solange said in “Can’t Hold The Mic (interlude)”, I can not be boxed because of my skin.
“I can't be a singular expression of myself
There's too many parts, too many spaces
Too many manifestations, too many lines
Too many curves, too many troubles
Too many journeys, too many mountains
Too many rivers, so many”
One participant shared “I can be black and like Indie music and also like Afrobeats. I shouldn’t feel boxed because of people’s expectations and stereotypes of me. I feel like my best version when I am experimenting and learning and loving new things.”
It was such a great evening and we are looking forward to the next session in November where we will be discussing everything Mental Health related. If you're interested in finding out more or getting involved, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.
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