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Meet Frenchie, Nika and Wes of The Black Umbrella in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frenchie, Nika and Wes.

Frenchie, Nika and Wes, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Our origin is actually our favorite part of The Black Umbrella. We are a tight-knit group and love to go all out when we can get all of our friends together for an outing. So, on one warm summer day, we made a plan to go out to brunch and spend the whole day with friends. This being our first summer officially done with college, the clear theme was celebration!

At brunch, we all started catching up as the mimosas flowed – this is where the magic came from. We started to talk about our difficulties after college and our specific interests and noticed that, while they varied, they all intertwined and were the main staples in our everyday lives. All of us kept drinking more mimosas as we flirted with the idea of bringing our interests into one space.

Originally, the idea was to create a blog with our whole friend group where each of us specialized in our preferred interest. While this was a great start, we realized that we wanted something more interactive. We wanted to create something where we could also discuss real-life issues – life after college, relationships, politics, careers and more – from a young black millennial perspective. This is when we started to look at podcasting as the perfect outlet to use our voices.

We chose the name ‘The Black Umbrella’ because we wanted to encompass all that we are. We are black and talk about a large umbrella of topics that are important to us and affect our daily lives. We noticed that we have a unique position in the podcast world since most hosts are people who are in their late 20s/early 30s and already have their family and career life figured out. That’s not us! We were fresh out of college, reality was hitting us hard, and we were just trying to figure it all out.

The Black Umbrella was created to help those who look like us and are in similar life stages as us, figure it out along with us.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road is NEVER SMOOTH, but we never let it show 😉 . In the beginning, we all had to learn the basics of how to create, produce, and record the podcast. We had to learn the software, how to level the mics, how to edit, how to get our podcast set up on various different streaming platforms, and so on and so forth.

Technology has been another beast we have had to tackle, we now realize the importance of having a backup plan and back up equipment in the case that a mic goes out on you or, one of the MANY wires you use to record has a short in it and needs to be replaced. Amazon prime has definitely been our saving grace with that same day shipping.

Please tell us about The Black Umbrella.
The Black Umbrella is a new podcast that creates an escape from the chaos of today’s world and allows the listener a chance to step under our umbrella for some tea as we unpack current topics going on in the world as told through the eyes of three young black millennials and longtime friends.

Every episode contains a variety of topics handpicked by us and the listeners that will explore our viewpoints on pop culture, politics, relationships and more. We want the audience to feel like they are apart of our friendship. As we grow and learn, we bring our audience along the journey and allow them to grow, learn and make mistakes right along with us.

The Hosts:

Frenchie, 24 – Compton, CA native Frenchie is a woman who holds nothing back and is always ready to do anything with her friends. She is quick-witted and adds a unique sense of humor to the conversations. The concert-goer of the group, she is always up to date on the latest music.

Nika, 24 – (Compton, CA) Nika is a woman whose words can easily take you by surprise, you never know what she is going to say. She is charismatic and straight forward with her words and brings unexpected commentary to the conversations. She is always up to date with new vocabulary that helps to keep everyone on their toes.

Wes, 24 – Wes from the city of Carson, CA, a small suburb that sits 20 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles. He is the wild one of the bunch who tends to veer the conversation in a direction that pushes the envelope and forces both the listener and hosts out of their comfort zone. He provides a cushion to such topics with his shady commentary and cheerful disposition.

What sets us apart from others?
The podcast market is full of chat casts hosted by people in their 30s or older that are already settled in their careers, home, and family life. We aim to break that mold by providing a space for twenty-somethings that are still finding their way in life. We want to give them a platform that makes them feel valid in a world where everyone seems to have it all figured out.

What are we most proud of?
We are most proud of our ability to come together on a weekly basis and dedicate the time we do to our craft; running a podcast definitely isn’t a walk in the park. We are scheduled to run 40 episodes within a year which requires us to meet on a weekly basis from the months of January-October. Keep in mind, we all have full-time jobs outside of this and some of us are even in school. Most of the time we don’t even start recording until 10 pm, which means we won’t finish until midnight.

Our bandwidth as a unit is impeccable. Our love for this podcast and the support from our listeners is what keeps us going.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
1. Deatra Jackson! – She is our graphic designer and really helped us with getting The Black Umbrella off the ground. She went above and beyond and designed TONS of mockups to choose from prior to us setting our eyes on the one that we thought best fit the vibe of the show. She is open to discussing new ideas and is always asking us about next steps, she challenges us to grow in our craft.

2. Paulette Hastings – OUR NUMBER ONE FAN! She has never missed a week of listening to the show and is always active on our social media. She is truly is a mobilizer in the way she spreads the word on our show and encourages others to listen

3. Anthony & Monique Williams – We want to thank them for opening up their home to us each and every week, allowing us a space to record our podcast.

4. Dr. Frederick Smith – FRED! Thank you so much for being a dedicated listener from the beginning and for pushing our podcast on your social media, as well as giving us a platform in the world of higher education.

Contact Info:

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Image Credit:

Michael Macatrao

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