Three women from the Central District are on a mission to animate the lives of people of color living in Seattle through a by POC, for POC summer-long podcast series.
Friends Eula Scott Bynoe, Jasmine Jackson, and Alaina Caldwell began recording their podcast Hella Black Hella Seattle in May. The show features three segments, each curated by one of the three women: Caldwell reviews restaurants, Jackson previews events that she thinks are worth checking out, and Bynoe interviews notable people of color from the Seattle area. She’s part of a family that has been covering Black Seattle for years with the Central District’s The Facts newspaper.
Bynoe said the friends came up with the idea for the podcast after hearing people vent frustrations that they felt like they never met anyone interesting or heard about any good events in the Seattle area. All three were born and raised in the CD and have known each other for 13 years, and Bynoe said the picture of a boring Seattle did not match the social life the three friends have built for themselves. The podcast was a way to share their store of knowledge about how to find food, art, culture, and fun close to home.
“We know that there are tons of people, especially people of color, who don’t think there’s anything interesting happening here,” said Bynoe. The three came up with the idea for the podcast in early April, aired their first show in May, and have been dropping an episode every two weeks since then.
The show is lighthearted, but Hella Black Hella Seattle has tackled heavy issues outside the podcast. At the special #BlackLivesMatter edition of BadWill Market at the Rhino Room on July 24, Bynoe, Caldwell, and Jackson moderated a panel discussion with white allies about police brutality towards the black community. Bynoe said that she asked white allies to speak on the panel because she felt that as a black person, there was nothing left for her to say.
“It’s really simple: please stop killing us, please give us justice when we are killed,” said Bynoe. “I think the biggest thing that’s missing is white voices. I can’t say anything else.”
During the July 24 panel discussion, four white allies spoke about their feelings towards and experiences with law enforcement, their anger and sorrow over the most recent killings, and how they try to be allies to the black community. Bynoe said that while the discussion was recorded and some sound clips from it might be used in upcoming Hella Black Hella Seattle podcasts, the panel was less for the show and more to give the community an opportunity for open dialogue.
“A lot of people were confused after the most recent killings,” said Bynoe when asked why she thought it was important to host the panel. “Black people have been talking about this for a long time, but I think in a lot of white households they don’t know how to talk about this.”
Whether the women are helping listeners plan their social calendars or tackling the issue of tragic police brutality, Bynoe says the podcast has been an amazing opportunity and success. “It’s just been a wild summer.”
The 2016 season of the podcast is scheduled to end in September. Bynoe said the three always planned for it to be a summer show partially because that is when Seattle is at its most fun, and partially because she is moving to L.A. in the fall with her husband, who is starting school at CalArts. If all goes well, however, Hella Black Hella Seattle will return for round two of the podcast in summer 2017.
You can learn more about the show at hellablackhellaseattle.com, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud.