The cast of This QPOC Life are real life friends! We all sing for the same performing arts organization, which we call our PAO on the podcast. Carlos and Johnathan have sung with the organization the longest. Zach and I only have a few years under our belts. We have all been soloists and sort of naturally rose as leaders in the PAO.
It’s a big group of over 200 people, most of them are non-POC. We didn’t instantaneously gravitate toward each other. In my experience, at least, the idea that “all skinfolk ain’t kinfolk” is especially true in Queer spaces. And, being completely honest… I got trust issues.
Carlos, Johnathan and Zach have proven to be excellent friends and I think you hear that rapport in every episode. Each of us will absolutely go to bat for the others. Each of us will correct each other when we need it. Let’s face it, we all need friends on the look out when our elbows get ashy. That trust is important.
What I appreciate most is how much room we give each other to push our comfort zones. We’re taking a risk every time we’re in the studio. When you’re recording a podcast, how much you share and reveal about yourself is always the question. Unless you’re Johnathan. He shares whatever’s on his mind.
From Gay, B, C to QPOC
This QPOC Life was actually conceived in the mind of Johnathan Gibbs. Not long ago, Johnathan ran a website and video series called Edugaytion. Similar to This QPOC Life, he and his friends would discuss hot button issues in the Queer community. When he chose to pack up and move to New York City, it became more challenging to keep the momentum going.
I have a lot of admiration for Johnathan. Calling him outspoken is an understatement, especially when it comes to social justice. It’s led to a lot of non-POC to cast him in the role of “The Angry Black Man”, but he keeps doing the work.
Back in August of 2017, he, Zach and I did a panel about online bullying at Flamecon, which is like a smaller, Queer version of Comic Con here in Brooklyn. That experience lit the fire in Johnathan’s belly again.
A Mission for QPOCs
Rather than reviving Edugaytion, Johnathan wanted to start a new project. He wanted that project to be, unapologetically, a space for QPOC voices and it was important people knew that from the jump. The ball got rolling in a Messenger thread on Facebook. Carlos, Zach and I agreed to do it and jumped right in.
Even in the age of the internet, it’s easy to feel isolated when you’re faced with a culture that celebrates Eurocentric beauty standards and heteronormative ideals. We hope that fellow QPOC can find a safe space listening to us, even if they disagree.
I said on our twelfth episode that being a Queer Person of Color means being complex. It means you have to learn how to survive being Queer in straight POC spaces while juggling being POC in White LGBTQ spaces. Our stories are so unique and we want people to share them with us.
Offline, we spend a lot of time discussing how we can keep improving as a podcast. So far, that’s tangible in just the first 12 episodes we released as I’m writing this. This QPOC Life is a labour of love for each of us.
I’m not only our sound engineer, I also developed and maintain our visual brand and website. I try to keep on top of our SEO, which is something I’m still learning about. Johnathan spends a lot of time coordinating with guests, community building and does our editing. Carlos and Zach contribute as writers and producers, which we try to share the responsibility of as much as possible.
“Would you rather make a million dollars or reach a million people?” That’s a question I think about a lot. I can’t speak for the others, but my answer is the latter. (Zach would probably answer the former because he loves to stir the pot.) I want to see This QPOC Life in the pockets and ears of as many QPOC as possible.
For sure, we’d love it if the podcast were one day able to help us all pay off our student loans. Our focus is and will remain giving our listeners high quality content. We hope that as we strive to create something positive, meaningful, and sometimes downright outrageous, that other QPOC will do the same.
Queer People of Color tend to be some of the most creative, out-of-the-box thinkers on Earth. We have to be as a matter of survival. Globally, our culture is rich and beautiful. It’s one that entertainment industries love to steal from but not invest in. We believe that it’s time for QPOC to invest in each other, not just financially, but mentally and emotionally.