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Scottie Beam And Sylvia Obell Seek To Re-Define The Media Space With ‘The Scottie & Sylvia Show’ Leave a comment


Courtesy of Raedio

When Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell met at dinner during the 2017 ESSENCE Festival, they both recognized an instant, undeniable connection. In the years following this introduction in New Orleans, the two developed a beautiful friendship, and co-hosted the popular podcast Okay, Now Listen. After its final episode in July of last year, audiences everywhere were still yearning for the thoughts and opinions of these powerful voices in media, and fortunately, the wait is now over. Today, Raedio has announced its latest series The Scottie & Sylvia Show, a weekly audio and video podcast featuring the culture’s favorite duo.

Beginning July 6, Scottie and Sylvia will discuss trending and cultural topics accompanied by compelling celebrity interviews through the lens of two Black, millennial women who are pursuing their dreams in an ever-growing society. Each week, listeners worldwide will be able to witness firsthand the authentic, multi-faceted expressions of Black joy while the show’s hosts provide plenty of provocative conversations, hilarious dialogue, and unforgettable moments.

“Scottie and Sylvia are so raw and relatable and I’m such a fan of their effortless, hilarious chemistry,” said Issa Rae, CEO of HOORAE. “I’m so grateful they chose Raedio as their podcast home.”

Scottie Beam And Sylvia Obell Seek To Re-Define The Media Space With ‘The Scottie & Sylvia Show’
Courtesy of HOORAE/Raedio

Headed by Raedio’s Senior Director, Dzifa Yador and President, Benoni Tagoe, this monumental partnership is furthering Raedio’s mission of evolving its growing owned content and reach. Known for award-winning shows like Fruit, Looking for Latoya, and We Stay Looking, The Scottie & Sylvia Show is Raedio’s first always-on talk show format, demonstrating its highly curated content and pulse on the culture.

“We’ve been fans of Scottie and Sylvia since the early stages of their career,” said Yador, “There’s no other duo that understands Black women and creative professionals more than these two, because they are a part of it, and speak from their hearts — irrepressibly. Raedio is beyond thrilled and ready to support Scottie and Sylvia in their highly anticipated return to the mic.”

With both women being natural interviewers by trade, along with possessing an unwavering bond, The Scottie & Sylvia Show is sure to become an era-defining program that will live in the hearts and minds of this generation for years to come. 

Article continues after video.

ESSENCE: So, how does it feel to be back in the podcasting space?

Scottie Beam: It feels good. It feels great. I mean, I absolutely love podcasting. I find peace in the beauty of language and the freedom in language. Being able to use my voice for freedom or to free myself and free others and be able to do what I think God has called me to do. I think that really does involve podcasting. It feels really good, and I’m happy to be here.

Sylvia Obell: Yes, echoing all of that, it just feels good to be back. We’re really happy and excited to reconnect with our audience. We’ve missed them as much as they’ve missed us. And so, we’re excited to reopen that line of communication and hopefully even to an even bigger audience with this new show.

What was it about now that you two want to release The Scottie & Sylvia Show?

Well, now is more of a due process thing –  I think we were ready a while ago. I mean it was about finding the right home and having the right situation, having the right contract, and having all the right things. Thankfully, this is a blessing. A lot of people wanted to meet with us, so we really had to sort it through [everything] and do our due diligence. Then we had to figure out where we wanted to go and end up, and that took a while longer than even we probably thought it would take, but I think what we all wanted to make sure is that we did it right so that we didn’t have to do it again.

It’s definitely the universe making sure that we’re prepared and ready this time to step back into podcasting. It took a little minute to get here and some change – but we’re back, and I trust God’s timing.

With that, why was it important for y’all to partner with Raedio on this new endeavor?

Raedio felt like a great home for us just because Issa is at the top of Raedio, and I think for us it was really important. You don’t really get a lot of opportunities to work at a production house where a black woman is at the top of it, who not only has business acumen you trust, but you trust her taste. We’ve been fans of Issa and what she’s been doing and the community she’s been creating, and just the integrity in which she moves in. I think that those are not easy to come by in the media industry. Also because she’s a creative, and understands why we may want this or that, or ownership of this or hoping for this. She gets it because she creates; she’s a black creative.

When she came to us about it, it was definitely a surprise when I was interviewing her for the Today Show cover, and she was like, “Oh, how’s the podcast going?” Because she was a guest on our last podcast. I was like, “Oh, we’re not going to be with Netflix anymore. We’re ending our contract there, but we’re going to be alright, girl, don’t you worry about us.” Then she was like, “Well, how can I be down?” And I was like, “You want to be down with us?” It was very much like an imposter syndrome moment. But she really followed through. A lot of people… they say a lot, but she really followed through, put her money and her business where her mouth was. I will always respect her for how she moves like that.

And it’s good to be in a space where you don’t have to explain your impact. They already feel it. It’s just good to have somebody that understands black womanhood and how important it is to have discussions and communities like we do, without having to have a whole meeting about it and having to break down what exactly it is to be a black woman and what exactly we need. Issa Rae is just that. Also, her journey is admirable. We’ve been watching Issa Rae for, what, 10 plus years now? Who she’s grown to be is truly inspiring and something that I’m sure Sylvia and I will learn from.

We will definitely be able to add from her journey to ours, and to cultivate just an amazing future. I just know that with that, Issa and HOORAE will be able to give us a wide range of freedom and learning opportunities that I’m so excited for.

You built a big following with, Okay, Now Listen. Is there anything that would differ from this podcast from the previous one, or is it going to be a continuation of sorts?

I mean, I think the essence is the same. You still get the same feel. This is still best friends – ain’t nothing changed with that. But I think we’ll definitely get to open our minds a bit more with conversation and open our minds with the topics, and being able to speak to a wide range of talent. I think with working with the other brand, Netflix, it was just tough to do that because we were supporting movies, we were supporting shows. And that was incredible.

But I mean, we just wanted to make sure that we’d be able to talk to everybody this time and be able to open that door a bit wider, and the windows. To make sure that everybody would be able to come through and talk to us. I think that would be different for us.

Yeah, I mean, topically, we’re now opening ourselves now that we’re not based in the Netflix marketing arm. We can talk about more things. I think they gave us as much freedom as they could.

But now we are in a place where literally anything’s on the table, and I think that level of freedom is empowering. And we’re weekly now, which is the main big difference too, because we were biweekly. But Okay, Now Listen, was episodes every other week. And now, the fans have won.

They won.

The story is that you two met at ESSENCE Festival, which begins this week. Can you tell me a little bit about your first impression of each other?

Goodness! I thought Sylvia was a genius. When I first met Sylvia, I was like, “Oh, that’s the girl that wrote that Blac Chyna piece. That’s crazy.” That was my first time at ESSENCE Fest. I came from a music background, hip hop background, I come from Hot 97 and all these things. There’s not a lot of black women in those spaces. Not a lot, but there are some.

And also, they don’t have a lot of events that are black women driven. When I went to this specific place, I was just overwhelmed with so much curiosity. And also, I was a bit scared, timid, because I just didn’t know if I would be accepted because I come from a different media source or whatever. Meeting Sylvia and all those people; Sylvia was mine immediately, we immediately connected – it did not take much. Although I wanted to drop her immediately right after we were running from men. She decided to say, “I have to go pee,” and really messed up the whole journey, but I loved her through that.

She did. She stuck beside me.

But before that, meeting her and talking to her; she made me feel welcomed. She promised me that we would hang out during the weekend and whatever. So, I just felt like, “Wow,” she really embraced me and I appreciated that.

Meeting at ESSENCE Fest I think was so perfect because, to me, it is also very much God’s timing of things because there’s so many other times and places we could have met. I’m almost shocked on the backend that we didn’t meet in New York ever. And we went to high school 45 minutes away from each other in New Jersey. It’s really so many places we could have met. We could have met at HBCU events. We both went to HBCUs in the South. Then we’re in New York after college. And at this ESSENCE Fest, I felt like it was very ordained because I think meeting Scottie in that environment out of her water, it was like, I got to meet Deanii. It was like, I met Deanii – you know what I mean?

It was very much, everything was stripped away and we were just out there somewhere else. Sometimes New York events, you caught up – it’s quick, you’re in, you’re out. You’re overwhelmed. But seeing her in this new space and me just being who I am and immediately clicking with her. She’s so funny. Which is something like I’m so glad that the podcast has shown people, because I don’t think a lot of people knew how funny she was. She’s just such a sweet person.

ESSENCE was my first job. I’d been to a ton of festivals at that point. I knew everybody. It was one of the few spaces where I knew more people than Scottie did. It was just really interesting that that’s where we met. I would be like, “Oh, come to this. Come here. Let’s go here, let’s do this,” and I think it was just an instant bond. I don’t want to say love at first sight, but it kind of was with us.

It was. It was love at first sight.

And then when we got back to New York, we would do Insecure watches at my house, we would do Housewives of Atlanta. We just really got to hang out at home, away from everything and just really get to know each other. And so, I love that we met at ESSENCE Fest because it’s the blackest place to meet. And I consider us to have a very black friendship. And I think it’s just so funny that we had that girl’s trip. But we met at dinner and ran around New Orleans, Bourbon Street, all of that before. It was the day before the festival really started. It was just like an adventure, and I love that that’s our origin story.

I know it’s hard to mix friendship with business sometimes. When did you guys decide to evolve that friendship to a business partnership?

What I love about how it happened was it wasn’t us being like, “How can we capitalize off of this bond?” People came to us, and it was just very natural. Jasmyn Lawson, who was running Strong Black Lead at the time, was looking to do a podcast. I was working at Buzzfeed full-time at the time. She was like, “Would Buzzfeed let you do a podcast?” And I was like, “I mean, if they want me to do a podcast, we could talk about that whether they want me to or not.” Then she was like, “We would love to have two co-hosts, and I love you and Scottie’s friendship. I think you guys are both good individually as hosting, what would that look like together?”

Then, we came together to meet with Pineapple and Netflix to have those meetings, because we really did develop the podcast with them from the ground up. What you see with Okay, Now Listen is us also in real time realizing how well our friendship translates in this way, but it definitely wasn’t something that we came in thinking, “How do we do?” It was very much, people saw that in us and then said, “We want to give you guys this platform.” And it was like, “Wow, you guys were right. We’re great together at this. Thank you so much for putting us together in this way.”

I’ve always been somebody who can’t work with family. I don’t know if I can work with most of my friends, but Scottie is definitely one of the few friends that I can work with. And I say this because we have the same work ethic, we have the same kind of hustle, we have the same passion for black women. We just align in a lot of ways that it just is a perfect match. So, I’m really excited that we figured that out.

Lastly, what can listeners expect from the new podcast?

They can, I mean, definitely expect our friendship. They can expect joy. They can expect what we dedicate our lives to, and that’s speaking truth. Just trying to make sure that all of us as a community can come back together and we talk about the things we need to talk about. The girls need to talk – the guys too. The guys can come and sit down, and have a good time as long as you don’t interrupt.

Just like when you go to the adults’ table as a kid. It’s like, “You want to listen to the adults talk? All right, well, you got to be quiet – Y’all can stay.”


I’m cracking up. But no, like she said, I think it’s a perfect iteration of what our social media is. We tweet about TV shows a lot. We’re going to talk about TV shows. You know what I mean? We talk about if Beyoncé snatches our edges again, we talk about that. You know what I mean? It’s like if we had a crazy girls trip or something happened in life, we talk about that. I think they can still expect all of that.

There’s all of the jokes and the fun and games, but when we do have interviews we’re keeping that same girl talk, girlfriend vibe. That’s just what we’re coming for. It’s like we always want people to feel like they’re hanging out with their friends for an hour. And that’s what they can expect.

Yeah. We’re  just here to connect. We’re here to connect with people, connect with each other, and just make sure that we remind ourselves that it’s above individualism. It’s us. We need us.


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