Black People Love Paramore graphic in the style of their album Riot!

‘Black People Love Paramore’ Interviews Patron Saint Hayley Williams

Regardless of how much fun I’m having or how interesting it is, I have a hard time committing to a podcast. However, I finally checked out Black People Love Paramore after seeing snippets online and now it’s my newest obsession. Hosted by writer and creative director Sequoia Holmes, the bi-monthly show discusses different topics with distinct Black fandoms. These can be series, films, genres, and even activities. Sometimes the subjects are pretty commonly loved things across generations like the card game Uno or romantic comedies. However, the podcast mostly features favorites I thought I was alone in enjoying until I realized I wasn’t. BPLP doesn’t exist to combat stereotypes, but to make space for us to talk about things we like—like Paramore!

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A year ago, Holmes explained the podcast’s namesake. She described the joy she felt at seeing the response to the yearly viral tweet that references Black people loving Paramore. She describes the “sense of community to watch us talk about that in the comments with each other.” I can definitely confirm this flurry of feelings. It is especially validating when it’s Paramore or something similar that prompted disbelief and doubt among others. Thus, BPLP was born.

So far, the seasons have been loosely themed by categories like TV, music, activities, lifestyle, etc. While many episodes have a standard format of ‘In My Defense,’ song of the week, and a weekly topic, something magical happened for the 57th episode. With the aid of Spotify, Holmes interviewed Paramore lead vocalist Hayley Williams!

Where the lines overlap

Sequoia Holmes interviewing Hayley Williams on a set with two armchairs.
(Black People Love Paramore)

Not every discussion or interview is able to connect the subject to Black culture as easily as other recent episodes like “Reba” or “Fall Out Boy.” However, Williams does fall into that category. Raised in a majority Black town in the Blackest state (percentage-wise it’s Mississippi), Williams was exposed to Black culture and music in an intimate way. She talks in the interview about her grandfather’s love for gospel and jazz. Additionally, as she got older she sang at Black churches. Here, Williams found a deeper level of love for the act of untempered singing. The interview goes on to discuss Black artists that inspired Williams, from Southern Hip-Hop to one of the greatest vocalists of all time. Additionally, Williams talked about confronting the responsibility of white artists to use their privilege to advance progress while not “making a show of it.”

Since watching that interview, I’ve spent the last few days watching/listening to a bunch of episodes. Holmes is an excellent host and always finds fun, unique guests. Many of the people joining are fellow writers, podcasters, and artists (like Edith Victoria from Meet Me @ The Altar.) Because art is a common theme, regardless of their Blackness and love for the subject, not everyone agrees. The energy of the podcast makes those moments of discord as entertaining as those in harmony. This interview and others are available on all the major podcast platforms. However, this episode is one to opt for on YouTube since they’re together on a set and everything!

Watch the full interview here:

(featured image: Black People Love Paramore)


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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.