The stories of Black people in mainstream media can be portrayed as very one-sided and stereotypical. Now, imagine if you are a minority in a minority, such as a queer person of color, how one track the media can make your lifestyle appear. Kristen McCallum, founder of Collectively Speaking is working towards changing that with her new podcast and YouTube series.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kristen McCallum and I’m the creator, director and producer of Collectively Speaking. I’m a queer black woman living and loving in Harlem, NYC and for anything else… you have to listen to our podcast!
What is Collectively Speaking?
Collectively Speaking is a platform I’ve been dreaming of for a really long time. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m surrounded by so much talent and brilliance, my friends are amazing. I decided to cash in on years of loyal friendship to get some original content intentionally centering the stories of POC through a queer/non-conforming lens. Honestly, as we strive daily to find glimmers of hope in a society bent on darkening our futures, I need to see some thriving. A lot of queer stories are super tragic and granted we have a lot of those moments in reality, we also succeed A LOT. I feel that both personally and professionally, it’s necessary, especially right now, to highlight how our resilience manifests into a myriad of things! No matter where we land on the spectrum, how different our experiences might be on a daily, this is collaborative opportunity to provide positive imagery and enhance our placement on the charts of visibility.
When do you launch officially?
Right now we’re pushing for late Feb and will release the date for both Youtube & the podcast via our official Twitter, so follow us!
What kind of content can we expect to see?
It’s changed a bit since inception but I think for the better. Initially, the video content was going to be the focal point but life happens so fast that we want to catch those moments via podcast. I’ll be talking about life while qpoc in NYC with my co-host Lamika Young and other guests, weekly. The video content requires a lot more direction and time from our cinematographer Doreen & Jelan, so we’ll release those every other week. The content on each medium varies also…the Youtube channel is for things like workout videos, cooking episodes, style segments and anything that needs a visual. The podcast is really just putting our regular convos on blast…and since my friends are hilarious, this is probably my favorite part.
What do you want to resonate with people who tune in to Youtube or the Podcast?
Well first, I want people to tune in to BOTH! I think there’s going to be something for everyone in our content, whether you identify as queer or not, whether you’re POC or not. I genuinely feel like queer people of color really lack authentic representation in the media. Not to say there aren’t some great visible qpoc out there but the majority of representation feels subpar to me. When I was first coming into my true self, I was tired of seeing the same type of queer person represented everywhere…it made me feel like I wasn’t supposed to be this way. I’ve always complained about that and finally was like ok, I’m going to do something about it. Here we are. I just want my community to be proud of who they are.
Why #QPOC? Why is that community so important to you?
I used to be the Content & Community Manager for a very popular QPOC outlet and I really felt connected to the mission, audience and community. As a queer black woman of Caribbean descent, I’ve been asked so many times to choose a struggle. Like I can’t be black, queer and a woman successfully. It’s really important to me that queer people of color are represented as whole people…you can struggle or have hard times as a whole person. It’s possible y’all. I think a lot of times people just assume we never find happiness or success because we’re queer…like we can’t be proud of our identities because other people aren’t. I really want to show a narrative that dispels the notion we aren’t out here thriving too. Regardless of all the foul things we go through, we still live full lives. That’s important to me.
Is there a team behind Collectively Speaking or are you working solo?
There’s a tribe. Honestly, I’m surrounded by the most supportive people ever right now…the most talented too. My partner Doreen has really played a huge role in not allowing my anxiety to get the best of me! She started her blog, DapperPenniless, last year and has since blown up so she’s a great mentor for me right now. I’ve enlisted the help of my friends in every aspect of getting this thing started, they are the cinematographers, my first video subjects, podcast guests, followers & subscribers…they are the best!
Anything else you want the people to know about Collectively Speaking?
I want everyone to know that this is going to be fun so you should definitely stay tuned! Take a look at our channel trailer for Youtube, follow us on Twitter for launch updates and send us an email if you have any questions or might be interested in grabbing a guest spot! Let’s collaborate!