five women laughing

Okay, are y’all listening?!

January 16,

Review by Elaine Owusu, exclusively for ‘The Cipher’

I’m sure you all remember how stressful the start of the pandemic lockdown was; people fighting over toilet paper and charts charting the devastating death toll. The feeling of uncertainty seemed endless. It was too much. But, the podcast that helped me get through it was ‘Okay, Now Listen.’

Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell helm this Netflix-produced podcast. And they come at celebrating the culture, and women in their very different ways. Scottie describes herself as a content creator and wing connoisseur (yes, as in chicken wings). She’s the phrase “I said what I said” personified. She’s the kind of person who will tell you about yourself and will make sure you know that you are THAT girl, in the same breath. Sylvia on the other hand, will give you a hug and talk you through it. She’ll encourage you with deliciously sage advice.

I wasn’t expecting much of this podcast when I first listened to it back during the height of the pandemic. I mean, I listened to the many pop-culture podcasts out there and I didn’t come across many that had much substance or brought new perspectives. There was no real reason for me to check ‘Okay, Now Listen’ out, but I decided to press play anyway.  

Let me tell you something. The podcast is like a Friday night dinner or Sunday brunch with your girlfriends, remember when we could do those without worrying about our health? The ones where you ‘kee-kee’ about life and all the things happening around us. The hosts play off of one another and crack jokes with an ease I haven’t heard on other podcasts.  Their off-air friendship shines as they weave their personal experiences into the broader conversation.

‘Okay, Now Listen’ takes us through the journey of two Black women in their early 30s (the hosts) trying to figure out life and all of its tribulations through funny, deep and heartfelt conversations. The first episode I listened to was when the hype around Versuz, created by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz was at its peak. I related to every feeling they had about that event, and the singers, who provided the soundtrack from the hosts (and my) journey to womanhood.

The show covers a plethora of topics, from  Scottie’s walks to Trader Joe’s or the newest show Sylvia is bingeing. Each of these stories brings comedy to the minutiae of life we often take for granted. They also had emotional conversations on colorism and the weight Black women often feel as we balance our lives in a world that often doesn’t seem to want us to be great.

No one will feel excluded or othered when they listen to this show, but it’s clear that this show is a safe space for Black women to share and bond over lived experiences that others may not understand. As a result, Sylvia Obell and Scottie Beam have become my virtual big sisters. I’m in my 20’s and I’m taking notes from their experiences. What I love most about ‘Okay, Now Listen’ is being reminded that it’s OK to go through the worst and expect the best. It’s liberating to be told that it’s OK to have BIG feelings, that it’s OK to just press play…and for that hour (and change) that Sylvia and Scottie are on the mic, just be.

Tell me what lessons you’re taking into the new year on The Cipher  IG page!

Image Courtesy of Pexels Free Photos

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