Nana Duncan, 29 and Rose Frimpong, 30 are best friends who make up the Two Twos Podcast. They became fast friends after meeting in 2015 at a rooftop party, fast forward to 2021 and the duo have successfully made a transition from creating content on Youtube, to creating an enlightening, insightful and informative podcast, with a healthy dose of humour, and an ever growing following that anyone would be proud of!
I got the chance to speak with them about their podcasting journey, their highs and lows, plus some advice for anyone who’s inspired and wants to dip their toes into the world of podcasting.
What was the catalyst for starting the podcast?
Rose: We tried to do a podcast before we started our Youtube channel. We were originally going to do the Youtube channel with two people we used to be friends with. But I don’t think any of us were serious at the time. Then we started a podcast with another friend at first, but it just wasn’t working. Nana and I live close to each other, so we spoke to our friend and decided we were going to go forward as a duo.
We borrowed a camera and started YouTube instead because we felt like that would be easier… YouTube is actually harder than doing the podcast! But we feel that we’re more suited for podcasting anyway because of the type of content that we want to do. We’re able to speak about different topics more and invite guests on as well to speak about their experiences. Doing YouTube in my bedroom, I can’t really have everyone coming in and out. Lol
What are some of your best and not-so-great podcasting moments?
Nana: I don’t know if it’s a moment, but it’s people messaging us and telling us how the podcast has helped them or them coming to us for advice. That’s obviously really, really fulfilling. Even if there was just one person, that would be fulfilling. I think for us when we were younger, we didn’t have representation like that. There weren’t masculine-presenting, queer women, British women, in the media or on YouTube that had a podcast. So it’s such a huge thing for me just because I didn’t have it. It’s kind of an ongoing moment.
R: Not so good [moments]. I think going to Zoom [due to Covid], even though the podcast grew after we had to start recording on Zoom. The first lockdown, that’s where we really saw growth, in the podcast. But for us, Zoom is just a no, we can’t wait so we can go back to the studio, because on Zoom the quality isn’t as good. We want to have our guests on and be able to amplify their voices the best way possible. But for me, the lockdown has not been great.
N: Not so good moments, when we’re supposed to have a guest and they didn’t show up, and they didn’t message either. Then there’s studio time – you know it costs money. If you can’t make it, you just need to message us – we’re easy-going, just tell us.
R: A not-so-good moment maybe is when sometimes the studio will forget to send us the episodes or stuff like that… Tuesday, midnight, we’re emailing them asking where’s the podcast episode. But they’re really apologetic and end up sending it. Even though we have to edit in the middle of the night, it still gets put out there at the end, but it’s happened one too many times. A good thing about the podcast is, I don’t think when we started that we really anticipated how many other voices that we could amplify and others stories we could tell.
I don’t think that was even a part of our goals in the beginning – it’s just become something that’s come naturally. Through a lot of guests, we’ve learned SO much, we even felt validated by some guests that we didn’t expect to – that has been really nice. A lot of guests that have come on, they’ve come back to say, “Oh, I’ve got these messages and it made me feel good!” or “It just matters who I am in the greater world.” So that’s one thing that I really like about the podcast side, the guests. I really appreciate everyone that comes on.
N: We want to learn. One of our first episodes was about LGBT education in schools. That’s something that we wanted to learn about because around the same time, the laws were changing; there were a lot of protests by anti-LGBT people. It was something that we wanted knowledge on.
I feel like in the beginning, we didn’t see how that would impact our listeners. We were like, okay, we want to learn. Then gradually we just kind of stepped into wanting to learn more, but also wanting other people to learn.
Even straight people – our aim is to bridge the gap between the gays and the straights. Just make it so that this is normal. Certain things like having to come out. Like, why should we even have come out?
We didn’t think it would be this mad – it’s kind of gotten out of control, out of our hands and it’s an amazing thing, in a positive way.
Have you noticed the way that you are being treated by the community since she started the podcast?
N: Do you know what, it’s good and bad. I think with the people that didn’t know you beforehand, some people in the wider community, cause obviously, you have the Queers that don’t really come around the scene and stuff like that. I’ve noticed that those people show a lot more love than the people that you know from the community and you’re around more closely.
It’s been nice finding different Queer people, through the podcast that I wouldn’t have found before because they could they’re so anti-scene so we’re able to like speak to them and connect with them, that’s been really nice as well.
R: I feel like in British culture that when they see one of their peers or people that they know doing stuff, they just don’t want to show support until everyone else shows support. I think this is a tight lip British thing. That’s something that we didn’t know, since the podcast we’ve fallen out with some people, for God knows why, we don’t know why, but we just know it’s because we have the podcast…Lol
N: But most of the reactions we get are positive. What I love the most is people that I don’t know that are supportive. And also people that I’m friends with that are so loyal and listen every week. Like even my girlfriend’s like she listens every week and that makes me so happy.
R: Close-knit friends, it’s [now] a part of their routine: on the way to work that’s really nice as well… I guess it’s easy to like retweet to show support, but when you genuinely have taken the content and come on WhatApp and be like “We liked it when you said this!” [it’s] like oh, you actually listened! Okay!
Is there anything that you used to worry about when you first started podcasting that no longer phases you?
N: It was like telling our business, cause if you listen to the podcast we talk a whole lot of rubbish. We speak about a lot of great things also; we entertain, we inform, all that good stuff but a lot of it is like, you know, banter and we talk about our business quite a lot. So before I used to think ‘Oh gosh, I’m oversharing aren’t I?’ But I kind of just learn to put it out there and just forget about it. You know what I’m saying? It’s out there now. It’s fine. That’s what I worried about in the beginning, but not so much.
R: I did worry about people that could be homophobic… When you have a social media platform, people will force you to not snap back. When you do snap back, it’s like, “Oh, you’re going to ruin your brand.” But you have to stand up to homophobia. It’s not something that we want to ignore. So that’s something I was a bit on the fence about before we started but if everybody was on the fence, then we wouldn’t have representation for Black LGBT people. If everyone was worried about homophobic people, then they’ve essentially won. Do you know what I mean? So yeah, that’s something that I was worried about.
But, we haven’t actually received that much homophobia but on our YouTube, whenever something happens in the world with homophobia, for example, with Ghana – we had a video out about the LGBT scene in Ghana and that video, the homophobia was like, I’m just going to Ray Charles this!! You definitely learn to just ignore it. Don’t give it any energy, but yeah, as a whole, we haven’t had to worry about it that much.
Any advice for anyone who wants to start podcasting?
R: DO IT! Lol
N: Just do it. I think in the beginning we were going back and forth after we started [because] the thing about YouTube is that you can only have videos 10 or 15 minutes long, 20 minutes max. And we have so much to talk about, so much to unpack and we thought we can’t do YouTube anymore, it’s not working out. It took us a while after that first conversation to even start on the journey of podcasting.
R: One of the things that made us delay was because there was another podcast out there already. We didn’t want it to be like we were stepping on other people’s toes. But then you have to realise there’s actually room for everybody and we’ve actually collabed with that podcast now.
Everybody just shows each other love. You also don’t need much money. You can actually start podcasting with your phone. Like my girlfriend, one day I went to do our podcast – she had never spoken about wanting to do a podcast and when I came home, she had a podcast! She just got her phone, went under the duvet, recorded and uploaded it. Now, she has a podcast that she puts out every week.
Honestly, don’t think about it too much. Don’t think about, do I need to go to a studio because you don’t. If you have a laptop, you have a phone, then you can start a podcast. Honestly, just go for it and also make sure you enjoy it. Don’t overthink it. We don’t even plan our episodes, we know what it’s going to be about roughly, but we don’t plan every single bullet point.
What advice now would you give to yourself when you first started podcasting?
R: Don’t look at what other podcasts are doing. I was looking at what the other Queer podcasts were doing. But as soon as I stopped doing that everything came naturally. You have knowledge. So why can’t you just be fine with the abilities that you have? If you listen to other podcasts make it an enjoyable experience instead of ‘Maybe I should do this for my podcast!’ Or ‘My podcast is missing this because they did it.’ Some things work for them, some things don’t work for them, but it works for you.
N: I think as well, everyone’s voice is unique, everyone’s voice matters and everyone’s experience is different and that is so important. As Rosie said we were looking at podcasts hosted by other masculine Black women. It was like, okay, we don’t wanna step on their toes but we are different to them. Even me and Rosie are different. So we all have something to give, people are going to latch on, people are going to relate.
That’s one thing with the podcast industry: there are a lot of podcasts out there, but that’s not a bad thing. Like there’s a podcast out there for everyone. And you need to have that kind of mindset when approaching this as a career or something that you want to do.
What was the last fun thing that you did pre-Covid that you reminisce about?
R: Oh, pre Covid…I went to a Ball! It was so much fun I have a friend who’s part of the Ballroom Voguing scene here. There was this event at the W hotel. And that was the first time we ever went. For some people that were there, their only experience of vogue was from watching Pose, us included. So we didn’t understand some things. Sometimes they had to strip it back and be like ‘This is our culture, let us teach you. This is how it is’ It had the beef, it had all the voguing, it had the theatre, it had everything, it had prizes – Loved it! Loved it. Such an amazing time. It was the weekend that they said that’s going to be the last event [before lockdown].
N: Pre Covid yeah, that was amazing. I think that was [it] for me as well. That was because after watching Pose we were all gassed. Even my sister – who’s not part of the community – she came down cause she got obsessed with Pose. I think like it was a bonding experience for me and my sister as well, because she’s not from the community. So yeah, that was amazing.
What has the pandemic taught you about yourselves?
R: For me, the pandemic has taught me how capable I am of doing things on my own, [it’s] the first time I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and done things, because usually I always think of all the barriers before me, it’s like: ‘Oh, I’m not a creative person, so why am I doing this? I haven’t seen myself as a leadership figure before.’ I’ve even left my job! I thought maybe I should start a new career somewhere that I’m going to enjoy as well. So now I’m starting a job next week!
When it comes to Nana, I have learned just how committed she can be to things.(laughs)
If she gets bored with something she’s just not gonna do it anymore. What I’ve seen is that she can push through and actually do anything.
N: I think for me, what I’ve learned about myself and what the pandemic has taught me is that life is too short. So last year I was quite unhappy with where I was career-wise.
Well since my teens, I wanted to be a filmmaker, and it’s kind of just been in the back of my head, I’ve been like, ‘Oh, I need a fallback plan.’ Like, I can’t take the risks. I’ve never actually gone for it. You know?
Last year taught me that life’s too short. I just need to go for it because tomorrow is not promised. We saw that a lot last year and I was just like, I need to go for it. So I had to, I quit my job – I was working in IT – and I decided to go for it [as] a filmmaker full-time. It was taking that risk. Obviously, there’s also financial risks there and it’s like you know what, God’s got me, it’s above me now. I just had to give everything to God and just be like, I’m just going to go for it because that’s what I feel I was put on this earth to do.
In terms of our relationship, I think quite similarly to Rosie is it’s the pushing through. We’re quite similar in that, you know, we’re Ghanian girls – we are laid back naturally. It’s just that pushing through. And I think we both found with the podcast that we both really, really enjoy it.
I think, previously when we tried to do something, we always got bored. I think because we love podcasting so much we just pushed through and it’s been amazing.
Random, but name a song or album you could listen to forever?
R: I actually do listen to it every week, so I’m gonna go with Nao – Saturn. I went to her listening party for the album and fell in love with it from that day
N: It has to be Jasmin Sullivan – Heaux Tales, that gives me life.
If you want to hear some relatable content that’s funny, informative, covers popular topics, life experiences and the tabu, definitely check out the Two Twos Podcast. It’s like having a call with your homies on loudspeaker!
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