Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton
As the hosts of BuzzFeed's popular “Another Round” podcast, Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton set out to break the mold and create a space where they didn’t have to filter their opinions for a white audience. Nigatu and Clayton give their Brief But Spectacular take on creating media that’s unapologetically black.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, another installment in our Brief But Spectacular series, where we ask interesting people to describe their passions.
Tonight, we hear from Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, the hosts of BuzzFeed podcast “Another Round,” which covers everything from race, gender, pop culture, and more.
As Nigatu and Clayton explain, their show has carved out a new and important space in the growing podcast landscape.
HEBEN NIGATU, “Another Round”: We have good sound effects. Give them your air horn. Beautiful.
TRACY CLAYTON, “Another Round”: It’s not so much that we wanted to fill a space. We wanted to create a space that wasn’t there before.
HEBEN NIGATU: A lot of podcasters tend to come from the same places, same universities, same, like, NPR-style training, so it all kind of often tends to sound uniform. And, like, Ira Glass is our god.
TRACY CLAYTON: I saw a comic once, a cartoon, and it was, like, a foot race between white folks. You had a white person in this lane and then a black person in this lane.
And it’s like you have the same start as everyone else, blah, blah, blah, but in the black person’s lane, there is like alligators and barbed wire. We have to be like the right kind of black for people to pay attention to us.
We can’t make white people too uncomfortable when we talk about race. And that is exhausting. It is exhausting to have to pick and choose.
HEBEN NIGATU: I do not have the energy for that.
TRACY CLAYTON: Yes. Yes. We have so much going on.
HEBEN NIGATU: We have a life to live.
Appealing to white people’s consciousness has a rough history in America, but appealing to capitalism does well. Hence, I like to make the diversity argument about larger markets, untapped audiences. There are swathes of people you are not reaching. So, if you are just not here for the moral reason…
TRACY CLAYTON: Then be here for the money.
HEBEN NIGATU: Yes.
TRACY CLAYTON: As black women, we know what it feels like to be overlooked and ignored. And we were finally like, hey, we have the microphone.
HEBEN NIGATU: We want this to be a space, all of it is on our terms.
TRACY CLAYTON: Yes. Yes.
HEBEN NIGATU: We can have conversations with people, like even like Hillary Clinton, and have it be on our terms.
TRACY CLAYTON: Ben Smith, our editor in chief, really encouraged us to ask her for the things that we really, really wanted to know.
He was like, you will probably never interview her again. You’re not trying to make a best friend, so who cares if she gets uncomfortable? She had to meet us where we were. And we talked to her the same way we talked to everybody else. We’re like, you’re in our house.
HEBEN NIGATU: We didn’t say that.
TRACY CLAYTON: No, we didn’t at all.
It feels amazing to not have to be someone’s diversity coach.
HEBEN NIGATU: Or just even like filter all your thoughts about culture through the prism of, like, one very specific outlook.
TRACY CLAYTON: Yes, and just, like, not having to worry, like, what are white people going to think? Who cares?
HEBEN NIGATU: Who cares?
TRACY CLAYTON: If this show doesn’t make the right sort of space for the general white person to listen to, they can go literally anywhere else and find…
HEBEN NIGATU: Like 97 percent of podcasts. You all got a lot of stuff.
TRACY CLAYTON: Yes. Yes.
HEBEN NIGATU: My name is Heben Nigatu.
TRACY CLAYTON: I’m Tracy Clayton.
HEBEN NIGATU: And this is our Brief But Spectacular take on…
TRACY CLAYTON: Being unapologetically black.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can watch more of our Brief But Spectacular videos online at pbs.org/newshour/brief.