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Finding Our Voices Through the Mic: The Importance of Podcasters of Color

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Over the last five years, podcasting has slowly taken over the digital space. The medium has quickly become a fan favorite, merging storytelling, current events, and impromptu connectivity that content creators could only get before with video. Podcasts, in falling somewhere between old and new content creation, are changing the way that users can reshape media for themselves.

Podcasting was also a space that I never expected to find myself in, but every other week, when I turn my microphone on, I find my confidence rise and my resolve solidify. I know that I’ve found a space where I belong, and as a queer Black fangirl, that’s saying a lot.

Like others in podcasting, it all came together for me as a happy accident. My cohosts and I—Shannon, Lauren, and Mel—were all looking for a specific show: one that focused exclusively on nerd culture from the Black fangirl perspective. Though there are shows that speak on both separately, finding exactly what we were looking for was hard because, quite frankly, it didn’t exist. Podcasts, with their ability to reach a variety of perspectives, failed to include a narrative that was important for my cohosts and me to tell. That need to share our story led us to the creation of Nerds of Prey, a biweekly show that dabbles in everything from comics to anime and video games—specifically for Black and other fangirls of color.

From the beginning, the response to Nerds of Prey was overwhelmingly positive. None of us had any prior podcasting experience, but it was the learning process that made everything more exciting. It didn’t matter if we didn’t have the latest recording technology or fumbled with editing; the important thing was that we were doing it, and once we aired our first episode, it solidified the need for our mission.Whether we knew it or not, a new kind of representation was unfolding, and it’s indescribably powerful.

But even with the success we’ve been able to reach so far, there’s still so far to go. Fandom culture still largely excludes the voices of fans of color, especially women of color, and although our show is making a difference in a small way, the need for the industry to follow suit is also necessary. We need the industry to be flooded with voices like ours, because the truth is that there’s room for all of us.

Unlike other mediums, podcasting gives marginalized fans a unique space to truly be ourselves. We can express our thoughts more extensively and in new ways that aren’t limited to blog posts or video clips. And the most important part? We can’t be interrupted. Our stories are ours as we choose to present them, and if others don’t agree, they can simply choose not to listen. They can’t stop us from speaking our truth.

Nerd culture can be a toxic and exhausting space, but it doesn’t have to be. We, just like anyone else, deserve to be here.

I’m excited to see how Nerds of Prey will continue to grow we grow more accustomed to the podcaster life, but I’m most excited to see how the ripple effect will take place. I want to see more fangirls of color take podcasting into their own hands. I want to see more marginalized fans inspired to create the culture they want to see. And most importantly, I want us all to feel empowered to tell our stories to anyone that will listen. Whether it comes from a mic, a pen, or a video camera—we all owe it to ourselves to share our stories with the world.

Cameron is a writer, activist, and professional fangirl from New Jersey. She is committed to shifting ideas of diversity in nerd culture and SFF, one Internet rant at a time. Her work can be found on her blog, as well as various other places online. You can also find her on Twitter.

(image via Matthew Keefe on Flickr)

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