If you want to know what’s going on in Black British culture, Who We Be Talks is the place to find it.
When it comes to the culture there hasn’t always been a home for candid conversations with the artists and personalities we love. Who We Be Talks has become that consistent home. The podcast was started in 2018, but the history of Who We Be goes further back to 2016.
The Who We Be playlist was the starting point with it shining light on the upcoming talent in the industry, and is now one of the most popular of all Spotify’s UK+IE playlists. The success of the playlist led to the Spotify team taking it offline with the introduction of Who We Be Live in 2017 – the first show being at the renowned Alexandra Palace. Just like the playlist, the live events were a huge success with every show selling out in venues across London, Birmingham and Manchester in the years following.
The Who We Be Talks podcast, which was originally created as a companion to the playlist in 2018 has grown to encapsulate more than just music. The podcast is all about taking a deep dive into Black culture with the people that shape it. Recently revamped with new hosts Harry Pinero and Henrie Kwushue taking the reins from DJ Semtex, the podcast is all about the culture which means that yes, you will hear from artists – but you will also hear from sports people, politicians, influencers, and anyone making a mark on Black culture today.
So who better to hear about Who We Be Talks a bit more from than the hosts themselves right?
With Black culture being the core of the show, we asked them about what being Black British meant to them. Both shared similar sentiments on it encompassing being representatives of the diaspora, and in Henrie’s words being able “to show pride in my heritage without letting that become diluted.” But Henrie did make a point to note that she doesn’t identify as Black British instead seeing herself as simply Black in Britain. For Harry it was again about being proud of your respective African and/or Caribbean heritage but also about “immersing them into British culture”.
Having that platform to properly dive into the culture properly was something they both felt strongly about. For Harry, Who We Be is important “because for a long time we haven’t had a space to amplify our voices and say what’s on our minds. Usually we are spoken for but here we can speak for ourselves and it’s on a huge platform like Spotify. For us to be the number one music show on the platform is amazing.” Henrie equally values the way in which the show is presented, which allows for candid “unfiltered” conversations in a relaxed way, “The vibe is a lot more like pre-drinks or bottomless brunch than an intense radio interview. We’ve had so much great feedback from guests who feel like they can trust us and it means we get to have really unique conversations.”
For Harry it has the added importance of it showing a different side to him. With his content usually being based in comedy “it’s a place where I can talk about both the good and bad things that are happening in a way that’s unfiltered. There’s so much respect between me and Henrie and our guests that we all feel we can just be who we are and talk about what’s important to us weather that’s serious or fun. It also shows a different side of me because so much of my content is short and funny, this is an opportunity to spend more time expressing myself as a human, not just an entertainer.”
The show wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the dynamic bond between the co-hosts which has blossomed into an extremely supportive friendship for both. This is allowed to flourish because they’re “given a lot of freedom in terms of what we talk about and who we talk to.” Says Henrie. It hasn’t all quite sunk in in terms of the impact for Harry just yet with him saying, “I feel like in a few years I’ll look back at what we’ve done and some of the conversations we’ve had and that’s when I’ll realise what the impact has been. But for now I’m just enjoying every week.”
The pair also share a standout moment as having Ian Wright on the show. In Harry’s words that episode “had everything”. Henrie went a bit further saying “Speaking to Ian Wright was amazing, as well as being one of our biggest guests, he was so open and honest about his life. It turned him from this unreachable superstar to a real relatable human being.” If it’s up to the two of them there will be a whole host more of these kinds of moments and ones to break the internet as between the two of them their list of dream guests is Rihanna, Young Thug and Meek Mill.
For all those aspiring to make an impact on the culture or just find their own paths the duo echoed similar sentiments:
“Do whatever makes you feel happy and don’t be scared. Just go out and do it and see what happens.” – Henrie
“Follow your heart and be confident within yourself – that’s what I did. I find the more criticism and advice I take on, the better I get at what I do.” – Harry
Who knows if you follow that advice you might end up being featured on Who We Be Talks one day.