Interview by Carol Wright | Photo Courtesy of Balling Y’All Productions
We got to chat with Aiza and Kamana Ntibarikure about their upcoming series Real Blackity Talk that’s set to premiere on CBC Gem on March 18th.
Growing up did you both see yourselves pursuing creative careers?
Kamana: I definitely did, since high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a creative career. I was inspired by musical theatre and I just fell in love with performance.
Aiza: From a young age, I’ve always loved singing, playing dress-up, and making people laugh. At first, I didn’t know that I could turn my passion into a career but when I started performing in musicals (at the same high school as my sister haha!), I just knew I had to find a way to make this my life’s work.
Tell our readers about Real Blackity Talk. What motivated you to create the series?
A: When the pandemic hit, Kamana and I happened to be living together in midtown Toronto. About a month into the first lockdown, we started hosting a live talk show on Instagram and it turned out to be such a life-giving experience. Less than a month after that, CBC (think Canada’s CBS) launched a creative relief fund to finance original Canadian content, so we decided to pitch our talk show concept to them. Out of the 9000 applicants across the country, only 100 projects were selected by the network and just 10 in the Unscripted category: We happened to be one of them! Right off the bat, we knew that this was an amazing opportunity not only to tell our stories exactly the way we wanted to but also a chance for us to bring a crew of inspiring Black women and non-binary Black people along for the ride – our Blaxperts. They join in on our conversations with bits of wisdom, humor, and their majestic presence.
For the docu-series how did you decide on which topics to prioritize and discuss?
K: What a great question! Since Real Blackity Talk was born from the live show we had on Instagram during the beginning of the pandemic, we used a lot of the juicy content from those lives and the questions from our audience to brainstorm and come up with the five topics of the series first season: Self-love, Black Hair, Language, Social Media, and Community.
In a series that puts a spotlight on the perspectives and experiences of Black women and non-binary Black people, I’m sure there were numerous vulnerable or emotional moments. How did you navigate those tougher conversations?
A: With love and respect. The process is very important for us and our priority was making sure that everyone felt safe to show up authentically.
What can viewers expect from the series?
Part talk-show, part documentary, Real Blackity Talk is a series full of music, comedy, and poignant moments as well. It’s a show made for us, by us! You can think of it as a fun hang with your besties.
Although diversity seems to be discussed now more than ever there are still not enough Black voices in media. Do you think that shows like yours can start to create a shift and open the door for more series like it to take place?
K: We truly hope so! Our biggest wish is for the people who watch our show to feel inspired to go out there and share their own stories, in their own way. Representation matters and there is space for all of us to shine!