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Session 273: 5 Years of the Podcast, Producers’ Chat

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

I can’t believe we’ve been building the Therapy for Black Girls podcast for the past five years! Five years of healing conversations, growth, and mental health education. We’ve made it here because of your endless encouragement and support. During our time together, we’ve shared over 250 podcast episodes and celebrated over 26 million downloads. Thank you all so much for listening and amplifying the work that Therapy for Black Girls has done these last five years.  We’re looking forward to doing much more!

Joining me today as we continue to celebrate this momentous occasion are our amazing team of podcast producers Cindy Okereke, Ellice Ellis, and Fredia Lucas. In our conversation, we chatted about their individual origin stories and how they each joined the team, what we’re most proud of, what we’re looking forward to, and how we’d like to continue making an impact in the lives of Black women and girls.

Resources

Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast.

Get updates about Sisterhood Heals.

Where to Find the Production Team

Cindy Okereke

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Instagram

Ellice Ellis

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Fredia Lucas

Twitter

Instagram 

Stay Connected

Is there a topic you’d like covered on the podcast? Submit it at therapyforblackgirls.com/mailbox.

If you’re looking for a therapist in your area, check out the directory at https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/directory.

Take the info from the podcast to the next level by joining us in the Therapy for Black Girls Sister Circle community.therapyforblackgirls.com

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Our Production Team

Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard

Producers: Fredia Lucas, Ellice Ellis & Cindy Okereke

Read Full Transcript

Session 273: 5 Years of the Podcast, Producers’ Chat

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 273 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into our conversation after a word from our sponsors.

[SPONSORS’ MESSAGES]

Dr. Joy: I can't believe we've been building the Therapy for Black Girls podcast for the past five years. Five years of healing conversations, of growth, mental health education, and we've made it here because of your endless encouragement and support. During our time together, we've shared over 250 episodes and celebrated over 26 million downloads. Thank you all so much for listening and amplifying the work that we do here. We're looking forward to doing much more in the years to come.

Joining me today as we continue to celebrate this momentous occasion are our amazing team of podcast producers—Cindy Okereke, Ellice Ellis, and Fredia Lucas. In our conversation, we chatted about the individual origin stories of how they each joined the team, what we are most proud of, what we're looking forward to, and how we'd like to continue making an impact in the lives of black women and girls. If something resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession or join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in-depth about the episode. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: I guess we can get started by everybody sharing who they are and your role on the team and how long you have been here with Therapy for Black Girls. Do you want to get started, Cindy?

Cindy: All right. I started in April 2020 as a producer for Therapy for Black Girls, so I've been here about two years. That math is right?

Ellice: Hi, I'm Ellice. I started with Therapy For Black Girls in May of 2021 as the assistant producer, and so I've been here a year and some change and now I'm the producer on the podcast.

Dr. Joy: And Fredia.

Fredia: Hey, y’all! It’s your girl, Fredia. I started with Therapy for Black Girls around November 2021 and I'm also one of the producers on the show. So I'm almost at my one-year mark.

Dr. Joy: Cindy, I knew you had been here, but I don't think I realized that you hadn't started before the pandemic. Because it felt like you had, but clearly you had not.

Cindy: No. Honestly, I think...

Dr. Joy: I’m realizing it has not been that long.

Cindy: I know! I give that energy a lot, I've heard. I come in and I very much immerse myself and then, next thing you know, you're like, oh, this person has always been here. But yeah, I started in the pandemic with you, which honestly I was like, this is so cool. Especially because my primary background in podcasting has mostly been marketing but creating for audiences, so it's been really nice to be on the front end of that content creation and not just the promotional side.

Dr. Joy: I think I was also thinking, oh wow, I did not have any producers besides my husband this whole time.

Cindy: Which is wild... I don't know how you did it.

Dr. Joy: What was I thinking? Y’all have made everything so much better.

Cindy: How did you do it?

Dr. Joy: I don't know. I mean, I think in a lot of ways similar to like what we do now, just kind of being in tune with the community. But I think as my job has changed—I'm finishing up the book and have been doing more speaking—I haven't been able to kind of have my ear to the street, so to speak, in the same ways. Which is why y'all have been so much more valuable in terms of just kind of keeping an eye out around the kinds of topics and the kinds of things and kinds of conversations we want to have with the community. And I think each of you has such a beautiful origin story here at Therapy for Black Girls and I'm curious to know what you knew or thought about Therapy for Black Girls before you actually joined the team.

Ellice: My cousin sent me the job via DM. She knew I wanted to get into podcasting. I had done some podcasting in college and worked for a podcast turned video product and so I was like I'm going to apply. But I had followed Therapy for Black Girls for maybe two years before that. My mom sends me at least 20 DMs every day on Instagram, and so some day back then, she had sent me a Therapy for Black Girls post. So I followed it for a while and one of my therapists had recommended me specific episodes to listen to before, so I’d heard the podcast. I don't know, I was just super excited to even apply but I was always really in awe of the community that was built. I really just love seeing strong digital communities that cater to black people, specifically black women. I know we've had episodes about how being online can be really hard for our community and so I think that's what excited me the most to contribute something positive in... I don't want to say like a slew of negativity, but there are a lot of podcasts that are a bit negative and speak down on black women and just a lot of content online. And so to be a part of something that's a little more forward-thinking, that was exciting for me.

Fredia: Before Therapy for Black Girls, I was working for a predominantly white publication on a podcast. And I remember finishing this specific project and being like it would be great just to work with black people. And at the time, that wish was a bit too broad because I kept getting reached out to to do projects about black pain and trauma and I was like, okay, let's make this wish more specific. I would love to work with black people on things that are actually making us more empowered and more educated and just allowing us to live even greater lives. And I was a part of a podcasting listserv and someone listed there was an opening at Therapy for Black Girls and the person who was sharing the recommendation was just raving about you, Dr. Joy. And so I said, I think this is it. I think that this is probably going to be an all-black team or predominantly black team. And based off of the catalogue of episodes that you had done at the time, I was like, okay, this is not centered around black pain, black trauma, but instead, how do we move forward and create new paths for ourselves as black people? And I was like, wish granted, yes.

Cindy: I love that. Because similarly for me, I was very much about what this represents, just because therapy has been so foundational for me and transformative. And also the idea that I work in marketing, I've built a lot of digital communities. And at some point, sometimes you're just like, it gets dicey out there. And so to see a space that really centers around uplifting, teaching, empowering. And also the fact that the knowledge is coming from experts, people who both practice, who've studied, who've researched, who are just very educated and knowledgeable about it. Because pop culture in general has latched on to therapy and therapeutic language a lot, and so being able to sort of be part of something that helps balance that. And offer tools to people that are tried, tested, and then also vetted, just felt really special for me. And so a friend had recommended I check this out but I'd also been organically following Therapy for Black Girls, just because I'm super interested in wellness and mental health. And so it was really cool to be on the other side.

Dr. Joy: I don't know that I had heard all of these individual origin stories. Fredia, you really kind of manifested us, it feels like. I love that. She spoke it up and got very specific about what kind of work she wanted to do. And I think just even in you sharing those stories, I think that kind of speaks to all of the individual strengths you all bring to the team. I just feel like there are many different lenses and perspectives that we each have, even though we are all black women and so it just feels really interesting. And I think that that's what makes the team so strong. To date, even though your tenures have not been that long, what are some things that you are really proud of having accomplished as a part of the team? Ellice?

Ellice: I know firsthand just the research and the outreach it took to get certain people booked can be a lot. But then also what we did with those conversations, and to have them be really strong but also not modeled or be different than their other podcasts—appearances and interviews—I think that's something I’m really proud of. Being able to get really substantial people in the mental health field, outside of it, but also being able to do something different with those conversations. Have them have that mental health angle, which is something you don't really see at other publications, outlets, podcasts, things like that.

Dr. Joy: Go ahead, Cindy.

Cindy: For me, I think it's also a combination of being able to sort of broaden the topics and bring pop culture touchpoints to the conversations around mental health. Because I think around the time we started, we were doing a lot of episodes around Insecure and how that manifests in your friendships and mental health. And that journey and those conversations that kind of feel like fun and more light, but they're very grounded and something that feels universal for all of us. And then beyond that, it's also being able to bring things like nature therapy, and Tarot therapy, just like these other aspects of black womanhood that aren't often explored. And being able to speak to all the different ways that black women show up in society and culture and everything. And then also the fact that I feel like a year after I started, we went on a whole podcast awards run, which was really, really cool and exciting. Just being able to add to the platform and getting a lot more attention and more eyes. And being able to service more people within the community because there were these moments where we were being celebrated.

Ellice: I would say, in the almost year that I've been here, the two episodes that stand out immediately, are Black Women and Suicide, particularly the question that we asked. That was a two-guest episode. The question we asked about selfishness and suicide. Because I do think, speaking from my own perspective, my family isn't in therapy, it's still not something that they are wanting to do. We say this in the show that this is not a substitute, but I know that for a lot of people, they do use it as a substitute because they're not ready. And I think, hearing those kinds of questions that maybe people have asked themselves or thought about themselves, and then hearing the response that they really wouldn't have thought of because they're not a trained professional. I think that begins to open the doors to, oh, when people talk about healing generational trauma, one of the ways is really getting these pieces of language and intense research that these experts have done to come to these understandings that a lot of people don't have the space and energy to arrive at.

And so that episode stands out because, one, the issue is very taboo still in the black community. And I think as well, at least for me, it debunked a lot of the things that I thought that I knew. And I think a lot of the healing, that sometimes I notice people aren't able to receive is because they think that they know and they don't realize what they don't know until they hear what is more factual. So that episode stands out a lot. And then from an editorial perspective, from a sound perspective, I loved our History of Minority Mental Health Month. I loved that episode. To me, it felt like I could be on the A&E or History Channel. And so I'm very excited about our ability to also tell more historical understandings of the mental health space. Even today we interviewed a guest, and I don't want to say who it is yet cuz their episode may not be out by the time we talk about it, but they broke down this historical understanding of friendship and how friendship changed over years and based off of the influences of mental health professionals, and therapists and psychologists.

And so I think, Cindy, when you talked about pop culture latching on to therapy, I think it's also important to note that therapy can really impact how we live. I really do believe we have the capacity, and I'm proud of this, that we have the capacity to change how we see people showing up on TV, how characters behave. Because if we can change the normalcy of how people speak to each other, talk to their friends, talk to themselves, because we're educating them on the ways in which they can be healthier and more well-rounded people, which is our goal, we can literally change the world. And that feels really powerful. To be like, oh, I'm a part of a show that I'm literally changing people's lives. Maybe not measuring it, but you can see it in behaviors, and to me, that is what I continue to be proud of and what I know will want me to continue being a part of this incredible show.

Cindy: I love that. Also special shout-out just because that episode that you were talking about was something that solidified for me how powerful this team is. Being able to put together something like that, that I think we had like kernels of ideas about doing something like that. But being able to actually execute it, we're only going to get more powerful and amazing from here. Like the storytelling was magnificent. And so shout out to Fredia for also leading the charge on that.

Dr. Joy: Agreed. More from our conversation after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: You know, something you said, Fredia, that I want to hear you all take on. I think this is something I spent a lot of time thinking about, probably in large part because of my training. I'm always thinking about the ethics of what kinds of things we share and like how is this going to be received. And to your point, I think because so many people tune in to our content, it feels like a huge responsibility to me a lot of times. Like you said, it of course is not designed to be a substitute, but I am well aware that this could be like planting a seed for somebody who will then go to therapy. Or even if they never decide to go to therapy, they hear something on the podcast that changes something for them. And so I think with that kind of power that you're talking about comes a great responsibility. And so I’d just love to hear how y'all think about that when we're thinking about the kinds of topics we're going to talk about or the kinds of guests that we're going to be in conversation with. Does that sense of responsibility play a factor in that for you at all?

Cindy: Oh, it absolutely does for me. Especially when I had first started, I wanted to make sure that we were talking to the right people for everything. Just because there is so much responsibility about this and I've also seen it from other ends and like the work that I've done, what irresponsible advice or misinformation can do. That even for me, I was extra cautious and wanted to make sure that they had all the credentials and degrees and talk to them first and make sure that this is the right step. Because we really are responsible and being able to have someone ask those questions that Fredia was talking about that sparked the idea, oh, maybe I should look into this, and giving them those language tools. For me, I was like, it's really important work and so I brought that to every guest or topic that we would do.

Fredia: I would say, Dr. Joy, you remind me to do that. Not specifically, but in the way that you take it so seriously. And that's one of the things that I appreciate so much about working with you. As of recently, for those listening, Dr. Joy has been like, hey, can y'all give this a second listen, just to make sure that it's approachable and just to make sure that it's clear. And so I think what's clear about you, Dr. Joy, you are not just trying to get on the mic to be on the mic and to hear your voice being heard. And I think that that really shows in the work that we are able to publish because it really is grounded in what feels like your true goal, to educate and free a lot of black women from the stresses and the terrors that life tries to throw at us.

And so that's something that I've been bringing to just my work in general. Just trying to really think about, okay, for this person who may be listening in a small town, who doesn't have access to the things that I might have access to, is this going to resonate with them? Or is it going to make sense to them in the same way that maybe someone who's living in a metropolitan city? And I think it really feels like your love for black women shines through that when you ask us to do those additional screenings and run-throughs of the episodes. And I just appreciate you for that.

Ellice: I definitely agree with Fredia. The thoroughness that Dr. Joy has cultivated in the entire brand. From the moment we pitch guests, to researching, to when we're editing the episode, I'm always thinking about how can we be the most thorough and most accurate. And even in one of our episodes with Bridget Todd, we talked about misinformation on the internet and I never want us to be the donkey of the day with misinformation. So I'm always thinking about how can we serve our audience, but how can we not be out here looking crazy? I never want to work for anything or put anything out in the world that's not the most thorough. And I'm a bit of a perfectionist and so I know I'm super judgmental of bad content and content that's not well researched. Or when they don't really engage the guest in a way that gets the most out of their expertise. I think we do all that because I think everyone on the team is thinking about those things.

Dr. Joy: I have my own ideas but I feel like I want to hear from y'all too. What do you think individually makes the team work so well? What strengths do you feel like your other teammates have that really leads to such a stellar show?

Ellice: Fredia is so organized and she is like the queen of following up and persistence and I just really appreciate that. Because sometimes, even within myself, like when we have a guest who it's difficult to book, I'll not reply for... Or I’m just like, okay, I need to regroup and recenter. And I think Fredia reminds me to keep going and I just really appreciate that. And then when I first joined the team, I was working with Cindy, and learning her process was really beneficial to me. And I think one of the greatest things about good managers is them having good process and the ability to explain the organization and the podcast goals. And so Cindy's vision for what Therapy for Black Girls is and what we do, that really helped me onboard really well.

And then of course, Dr. Joy is our host and what I appreciate is I feel like therapy is written off as like boring, and the fact that we have the pop culture angle and the fact that Dr. Joy, you understand that, yes, there's a seriousness and your expertise is there, but also what we think about in our relationships and our own personal growth and development literally shows up everywhere in the world. Having that perspective, I think really is the glue for the team and it really drives our mission forward. That's what I appreciate about the team. And then shout out to Dennison, the editing, the quality control is there and I appreciate that. Because, like I said earlier, I don't want us sounding crazy.

Cindy: I don't know how to follow that because it was so perfectly stated. Because I just feel like Ellice really brings a lot of perspective and then thoroughness. I really appreciate like the follow-up, the organization, the way that you adapt really well to different scenarios, guests, like different things. Like, hey, we're gonna rearrange this entire script, and you're like, alright and then you're just like in it and you're doing it. And so I love that initiative and that activity. Fredia, honestly, the organization, I was like, wow, she took the shit from my brain that I just can't deal, like the way my brain works. And then you literally just made it so quickly and I was just like, oh my god, this is it. This is what I was like seeing. Me and Ellice would try to make it happen but you literally came and just like put that shit together. And I'm just like, wow, I'm still speechless. I was like, okay. So I just love that.

And then Dr. Joy, you just come so prepared as a host. When I say that you are one of the easiest hosts I've ever worked with, in the sense that you understand what we're trying to do. If I'm like, this is sort of the POV, this is like high level what we want to get out of this, the key takeaways, just quick hits. Even if we're like, alright, this whole conversation, just strike it because we found a new tangent, you flow with it so well because you came prepared initially. And I was like, I don't know if they can talk about this, but if we do get there, here's another option. And so I just love that’s what you bring to the team. And then the idea that you're just very open to learning new things. I know that the horoscope one, you were like, Girl, I don't know what a birth chart is, what is this? What is happening? But because I was like I've seen it used sort of as this development tool, there are some parallels here, are you just willing to see what we can find? And it brings me joy that we were able to tap into something that people didn't really think was closely associated. Being able to take that chance because you're like, I understand that this is for our audience and I am seeing the kernels of this. I might not be able to put it together but I do trust. It's the trust. You very much trust your team and I think that is something that's really, really beautiful.

Fredia: All right, so I'm going to start with Dennison. First of all, for every team that does not have an in-house audio engineer and producer, I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry for you. Dennison brings to life all of our ideas. Musically, audio editing-wise, and his level of expertise and excellence in how this show must sound on a weekly basis. Cindy, Ellice and I are always like, how did she do it? How did she do it for all these years with...? Dennison, that’s how. Dennison sat down with Ellice and I, I think we did a two-hour learning session to learn Descript, to see how he edits our show in Descript. Within the first 10 minutes, Ellice and I couldn't stop saying wow, wow! Who knew all of these features in the program?

Dr. Joy, you are, as Cindy mentioned, genuinely curious. And even though you are in this field— you are true to this, you're not new to this—you still approach it with a new energy of, oh, I've never heard of that perspective before or I'm so glad that you brought that up. So Dr. Joy, you are so incredibly prepared, so wonderfully curious and it shows. I would not be surprised if you are our guests’ favorite interview experience. Because of your curiosity and your preparedness, it makes them shine because they're able to really go in-depth to the things that they've been studying or writing about or learning for years. And that curiosity makes them excited to share more.

Ellice has her ear to the streets. Ellice is our team fly girl, she knows what's going on on the circuit. And not just in her city. We're not just talking about where she lives, she's got hands in New York, she’s got hands in LA, she’s got West coast, the south, it's all over. It is fascinating to be able to be working with someone who is so in touch all over and then also very precise in the work that they do. Because sometimes people will have all of these tentacles all over the place and then they don't know where they left their left shoe. The research that Ellice does, y'all, on a weekly basis for these prep documents, she's going into the catacombs. She's like they had an interview from a couple of years ago, I looked through that a little bit just to see if there was anything interesting, I pulled a little bit of that. They had a book, I read the first chapter. I said, you read a book and you also watched interviews and you put it all together? Her ability to process information and allow it to concisely be relayed to the rest of the team, 10 out of 10.

And then, Cindy, you're the blueprint. The only reason I was able to make our production schedule and the other things was because, one, there's never a dearth of ideas. I came on this show and you all had so many ideas, I was like, cool, I just gotta put this in a calendar. No problem. There are other shows where it feels like, I don't know what we're gonna do next. Cindy's like I saw this on Twitter and Instagram and I thought that this would be cool to talk about. And all these things. And so just the energy and the intention that you set onto the show for Ellice and I to succeed continues to play out in our success.

Dr. Joy: Y’all just to make my heart so warm. More from our conversation after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: To me, it’s not a surprise why the show is as successful as it is with a team like you all. I feel like I did okay by myself, but all of you being on board has just skyrocketed what we have been able to do. And I feel so grateful that you all are the team because it just feels like there is no limit to where we can go. I echo all of the sentiments around the organization, Fredia, and I feel like I have really stretched with you on the production team. Because I'm like, I don’t know, Fredia, I don’t know about that, but again, I will trust that if you hear it we can make it work. Then those turned out to be beautiful episodes.

Agreed, I don't know how Ellice does all of the things that she does, all the things she's reading and researching, and like you said, has her hand in so many pots. It just feels like it all really comes together when you see the prep docs because it's like, wow, I wouldn't have even thought to ask about that or didn't even know that they did that. So I think the level of research and detail that you bring to the prep docs in our preparation for the interviews, it just shows up then. And I agree that Cindy is the blueprint. Clearly took us to that award-winning season that we had and I think it really solidified the things that we were able to do and that we continue to be able to do.

And I think the camaraderie that we all have for one another is what shows up in the show. That we are talking as a team, we are relating well to one another as a team, and so then we do that with our guests and I think that that kind of love also shows up in the episodes. So like you mentioned, Fredia, there are no lack of topics. There are so many things that we want to talk about. What haven't we done yet that y'all are really excited to hopefully see happen? Either a topic or a guest that you feel like, okay, this is really what I want to see happen.

Fredia: Black women navigating politics, guest starring Michelle Obama. The mental health tolls of being in the political sphere, in the public eye, in that area of life. And speaking with the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, on how she navigated it.

Dr. Joy: I think for me, my dream is both Meg Thee Stallion and Beyonce. Just because I feel like they are two incredibly powerful women with lots of different stories that I don't think we always get to hear. I understand why they both are a bit reticent to do interviews a lot but I also think, because of the reasons we have talked about, the care and the level of preparation we go into interviews with, I think we would give them both incredible interview experiences. And I also think our community would really just love to hear some of the conversations that I know we would have with them. So they both are on my dream wish list.

Cindy: This one’s just really hard for me because a lot of my topics do kind of come in the moment a little bit or like at 3am when I can't sleep and I'm just in a rabbit hole. But Meg was also someone that I thought we should definitely talk to. And then another person, because I've been watching a lot of P-Valley and I continue to just think about all the conversations that we could have around that show in particular. I feel like Cardi would also be a really great guest to sort of concretize that for people too in a certain way, just because I think both the way she speaks and her experiences and stuff, that would also just be a really great topic to explore with her. But yeah, I'll just continue to think on it. Because up until a little bit ago, cults was like the thing so I was like we did that.

Ellice: This is a little more on the serious side. But I don't know if you guys have seen the HBO documentary, it's called On the Record and it follows Drew Dixon who was a music executive and she was sexually assaulted by Russell Simmons. I would like to have conversations with more women in the industry who went through those things. So like, Drew Dixon, Dee Barnes, the music journalist who was physically assaulted by Dr. Dre. I think those conversations are really important. And, of course, a lot of women have spoken out about this, but continuing to give them a platform and also talk to them about a lot of their decisions, like leave the entertainment industry after experiencing that. And like what advice would they have for other young women navigating situations like that or just being a woman in the entertainment industry? I think those would really be important conversations inspired by that documentary.

Dr. Joy: That's a good one. I feel like we can make that one happen.

Fredia: We could. We do have our meeting Tuesday.

Dr. Joy: Speaking of Tuesday morning meetings, one of my favorite parts of that meeting, now that you are really organizing that, Fredia, because we didn't really have structure before. We were just like, okay, what do we want to talk about? So again, you and your brilliant structure. One of my favorite parts of those meetings is where we kind of review feedback that we get from the community. So what reviews, you call it “what the girls are saying.” And so on that note, I would love to hear what feedback have you gotten about the podcast that has really stuck with you, that maybe helps you on the tough days? What feedback do you really hold close to your heart?

Cindy: I can't remember who but I think it was something along the lines, I saw something about Therapy for Black Girls really makes me feel seen. That's something that sticks to me, just because I think that's so important because black women often are both hyper-visible, but like fully invisible at the same time. So the fact that this space is something that allows people to feel seen is something that has stuck with me and I wish I could remember who or what tweet I saw. But if that's you, thank you.

Fredia: I enjoy when I am talking with people about therapy and they (without knowing that I work for Therapy for Black Girls) say that that's how they found their therapist. I really enjoy that.

Ellice: I also agree. Just sometimes scrolling through the Twitter and seeing the retweets of people saying, oh, I found my therapist through Therapy for Black Girls, that's always great feedback. But then this June when we did an episode on asexuality and aromanticism, seeing some of the tweets and then some of the positive Instagram comments about how people in that community felt seen, especially given it was Pride Month and sometimes people on the asexual spectrum are left out of those conversations. It felt really good to know that we highlighted a part of our community who felt unseen and we did an episode for them. But also that feedback kind of made me remember how important research and thoroughness are because I never really engaged with any type of media, books, podcasts, about the asexual experience and so I kind of came in that super blind. And being able to really put my ear to the streets, eyes to the books, and get the research and the prep done to make a good episode where someone felt seen, that felt really good and inspires me to keep going.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I agree with all of that. I do think that is probably my favorite part of the work, just making black women feel seen across the spectrum. And I think that that is something that the team does really well. There are these general topics that we know we want to talk about: let's talk about healthy relationships, let's talk about friendships, let's talk about whatever. But I also think we strive really hard to make as many pockets of sisters feel seen. I know that came up early, Cindy, when we were talking about the gaming conversation, so black women in gaming. And how many pockets of people who feel like, oh, there's never a conversation for me or there's never a space for me? We want to bring all of them in and so how many different people can we make seen in our content, I think is really something that we strive for, that I think a lot of people appreciate. And so that is the feedback that I appreciate you, that we do make so many people feel seen. We could go on for quite some time, but I do want to wrap us up with one final question. So what's next? Not necessarily in terms of guests and episode topics, because we've already covered that, but like in the five-year plan for the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. What does that look like for each of you?

Ellice: I know, we've already started featuring different, I guess, show formats on the podcast and so I want to continue doing that. More things like what we did for Minority Mental Health Month with the narration, the mini-episodes we did with the advice, just switching up how the show sounds on a week-to-week basis. And Fredia mentioned this in one of our meetings a few weeks back—I don't want people to know what they're gonna get week to week. I want them to be genuinely shocked and excited for it. And then we also have done Twitter spaces and I know Amazon is launching a platform called Amp, which is like live radio. And so seeing ways in which we can do more experimental things in the audio space and have different conversations. Hopefully, once it's safe outside, we can do more live in-person events and producing those. And so seeing ways we can expand audio storytelling from people's podcast apps to other mediums, that really excites me.

Dr. Joy: I would have to echo that in-person element Ellice because the community really has been begging for that and we want to give it to y'all, we really do. But we also are trying to stay as safe as possible. But I do think the community wants to come together. I think that is something the podcast is also really cool for. It gives people a thing to come together around and so they have really been asking to have some kind of event where they can meet other people who love the podcast so I think that's what I'm excited about, too. I'm also really excited about the team growing. Because again, I just think we have such a superstar squad here already but I know that we could be only better by having other voices and other people who stretch us. So I'm also excited to see how the team grows to continue making such great content.

Cindy: Yep, all of that. I honestly am just like a full-format talk show was sort of the first thing that came to my mind. I know, I’m like you, like I'm stretched already. But it's this idea that for me at least, there's often a lack of expertise and stuff in those areas. So having a space that combines those things is always something that's really important for me. I'm big on edutainment because learning can be fun. Maybe that's the nerd in me but it's the idea that Therapy for Black Girls can also bring you that real-life experience, be able to play with format and do all these different things, and be able to speak to and reach broader audiences.

Fredia: I'm really excited about programming across age demographics. And so tapping into a younger audience. I don't want to give anything away because, like Ellice said, I don't want you to know what we're working on till it's ready on our Beyonce stuff. But just know for the younger folks, we see you. And then also connecting that. Our younger folks and our older folks, how can we, in ways, foster more multi-generational conversations, multi-generational healing? Because it's all good if the 25-year-olds are healing and eradicating generational trauma; but grandma is tripping, that's difficult. So how can we make it altogether cohesive? And plus one on the Dr. Joy talk show, Therapy for Black Girls talk show, TBG network. I mean, the sky is the limit. And I think the great thing about what we're building is that I feel like the way that we are building this show is so intentional and making every episode every month, every quarter, incrementally better, that we are really building the structure to have a network. Maybe that is something that we achieve in the next five years or in the next 10 years. I feel like we're building it with so much intention that the foundation is going to be so strong so that if we do want to pivot into doing something larger than what we're doing now, it's going to be a seamless transition into that.

Dr. Joy: I love those big visions, I love it. So clearly we would need more team for that because the four of us alone plus Dennison cannot build all of those different verticals. So stay tuned, y’all. Thank you again for all of y’all's work on the show but also for joining me for this conversation today. I definitely appreciate you all.

I'm so glad the team was able to join me to continue our celebration and to discuss the future of our work. Don't forget to text two of your girls and tell them to check out the episode right now, so you can help us continue to celebrate. If you're looking for a therapist in your area, check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory. And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.