She In The Morning.
Balancing four different schedules is very hard.
From the time that I reached out to the SHE In The Morning girls to the day of the actual interview, I think we rescheduled a billion times. But with these industry mavens, I shouldn’t have been surprised. With balancing their full-time jobs and a live weekly radio show I’m honored they had the time to sit down with me.
On a sunny Sunday in Harlem I got to be one of the girls for the afternoon. We discussed what separates them from the pack in the media world, being a black woman in radio and what they want next for season 3.
Saturday School: How did you all meet?
Jazmin Veney: We didn’t know each other before the show but an opportunity arose that brought us together. So our first time meeting was when we started planning the radio show.
SS: You all didn’t know anything about each other?!
Kimberly Mason: Yeah we really didn’t know anything about each other so we just met to feel out the vibe, and it’s been history ever since!
Sojourner Elleby: Literally the name of the show and the structure of the show came from us. We were given the opportunity to have the show but we created it.
SS: So the person who brought you all together, what was their contribution to the show or what were they getting out of bringing you all together?
SE: They were bringing us to Radio Free Brooklyn.
SS: Got it! I know you all just wrapped season 2, what did you really like about it and what would you want to change?
KM: I would say for season 2 I’m really proud of the fact that we grew a lot more. Whether that’s the content on our show or our followers. Listening to season 1 and then listening to season 2 I get to see how much more comfortable we are with ourselves. It’s really just going to get better from there. Season 3 I’m looking forward to making it bigger.
SE: Like Kim said I feel like we really figured out our voice and what role we all bring to the show. It was interesting because people could recognize us yes, from our voices but also our stances on things. We solidified where we stand, who we are and what we represent in season 2. Also, a lot of the content we would’ve shied away from in season 1 we tried to push the boundaries. In how we approached it we tried to be more educational and bring in facts, statistics and guests who have a more hands on experience with certain things we were talking about.
KM: I’m very proud of the three of us because we’re growing the “balls” to do it [laughs].
SS: Yeah! I really like how engaging you all are with your audience, I feel like that really helps with content and helps you get other people’s opinions outside of your own.
JV: I think our audience really showed out in season 2. We finally got to our following goal and I feel like they interacted every week! Even at the end, it was episode 21 and they were like “you’re all done already?” I think the biggest push for season 3 is like Kim said is making it bigger. We have the audience, we have the backing and the guests so now it’s all about how do we make this the top show.
KM: What I felt was missing in a lot of podcasts (even though we’re a radio show), was that it felt like I was just listening to people talk and deliver me information but I never felt like I was having a conversation. I feel like our goal for our audience is to make them feel like they’re involved in our conversation.
SS: That’s super important! So who in the media industry do you look up to and use as inspiration?
KM: Some podcasts I really like are Call Your Girlfriend, The Read, The Friend Zone... Two Dope Queens they’re amazing. The people I look up to in the media world...obviously Oprah [laughs], Charlamagne, The Breakfast Club as a whole, Tracee Ellis Ross, she’s an actress but I like that she’s an activist...
SE: ...I got to throw Wendy in there.
JV: I know people drag her but Wendy Williams is a GOAT in this.
SS: She’s been in the business for a long time.
JV: From radio to television, I know a lot of people think the way she carries her show is taboo but… we’re taboo. That’s the point of She In The Morning! Her show is relatable.
SS: My mom loves her, she watches it everyday [laughs].
KM: I wouldn’t say my goal for SHE In The Morning is to be like the Wendy Williams Show but I do appreciate Wendy Williams because she is herself. She’s unapologetically Wendy and I think that’s really important.
JV: Even The Real, I wouldn’t say that exact show is the goal for SHE In The Morning but I can appreciate their place in media as women.
SS: I definitely agree. They’ve been on air for a while now too! What do you all do full-time and how has that helped on hindered the radio show?
JV: So far every job we’ve all had during the show has be very understanding to the fact that on Thursdays at 8 a.m. we have somewhere to be. Full-time I’m a Global Marketing Assistant at Calvin Klein. I’ve been in fashion since the show started and I think we’ve all gone through the ups and downs during, at least I know I have. I was laid off twice during two seasons so I think we’ve all had a moment where we’re just chilling and doing the show.
SE: Jaz’s love of fashion comes through in our shoots, she styles all of them and she has a fashion segment on the show bringing everyday regular passions into what we do.
For me, if anything my job has helped SHE In The Morning. I work for Refinery29 and I’m a producer and a host there and Crystal, the Executive Producer for Facebook is a huge fan of the show she listens every single week and she gives me feedback. Having someone in my corner of that degree has been amazing. I also host a weekly pop culture show every Friday at work so I’ll know that if hot topics are poppin over there we need to be talking about them on the show. Granted the Refinery29 brand and the SHE In The Morning brand are two different audiences but it helps to widen our audience even if it’s not something we typically talk about.
KM: I’m a producer at a creative beauty and fashion agency called Select World. I’m also a filmmaker so I write and direct different films and series. Like the girls said, I don’t think any of our jobs have hindered us but I’m not going to front like it’s all been peachy, it’s hard work! Sometimes I work from 9 a.m. - 1 a.m. and then we have to plan the show or I might have the show the next morning. We have to make money outside of the show until the show can be our number one priority, which it is, but until it can be everything. It’s really all about finding balance. Just trying to figure out how to balance life in your twenties living in New York City, relationships, all of that stuff on top of the show! But I think we do a really great job of supporting each other.
SS: What are some of your biggest struggles while planning the show?
JV: I think the biggest struggle is maintaining schedules. I think making sure everyone’s schedule is on one accord and making sure that we don’t stray away from our own individual identities. I wouldn’t call it a challenge but something we pay attention to is staying real to our cores. There are topics that someone might not want to talk about but we figure out a way for them to discuss it so it doesn’t strip something away from them.
SE: One thing my mom gets on me about is that we can’t just get on the mic and say anything. We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it.
SS: Especially as black women.
SE: Especially as black women and with the times we’re in we can’t just wild out like people once have. We talk about people using their platforms for a greater purpose and making sure they’re delivering the right messages. We still have an obligation to be journalists and delivering factual information.
KM: Jaz made a good point where she said that there are certain topics we don’t want to talk about but we have to find a way to talk about it without giving too much of ourselves. I think that every journalist or host who has a platform has to find that balance.
SE: We want to maintain our privacy to some degree but we also have to do our due diligence to our audience and that’s sometimes opening up ourselves and our lives and allowing them to be a part of that. But at the end of the day we always want to make sure we’re happy with it and respecting each others minds, values and viewpoints.
SS: I feel like if I was in the booth I would just say anything thinking and forget that I’m talking to an entire audience [laughs].
SE: And sometimes that happens! Yeah I’m sitting there with a mic and headphones on but I’m also sitting with my girls and I want to chat [laughs].
KM: And that’s what I mean by growth [laughs]. Season 1 there were so many episodes where I would walk away and be like “why are you this way?” I finally found comfort in being this way [laughs] and the boundaries are like “okay Kim be quiet.”
SS: Right like be quiet your momma’s listening [laughs].
SE: That’ll be the first way to get you back on track!
JV: Sometimes you have to text your mom like “hey mom don’t tune in this week” [laughs].
SS: So I know there are a bunch of podcasts and radio shows out there but what do you think sets yours apart?
SE: One thing I will say and I hate doing this because I hate to sound pretentious and boujee, but we are a radio show not a podcast. The fact that we’re broadcasted live every single week it’s very hard to maintain the schedule but we can’t say “oh I don’t feel like doing the show this week” we have to come together and be on air live. There’s no recording it and editing, if we mess up, everyone sees the mess up. So that off rip sets us apart because a lot of these shows are podcasts.
SS: Yeah I didn’t even really think about that. That is a huge difference!
SE: I really want people to be able to make that distinction because that really does set the bar. From other shows.
JV: I think another thing that sets us apart is that we have a really taboo show. We get on there and say some crazy stuff. And I haven’t heard any podcast that imitates that. Some of the topics are about relationships and sex but we really go there, like we take it left and I think that’s what makes the show so much more fun and real.
SE: Those conversations most people keep in secret we’re broadcasting to everybody. We have no shame, and sometimes there’s times where we’re like “should we have some shame?” but we don’t [laughs].
SS: I think that’s good to have that transparency because it gives you more room for different things you can talk about.
KM: Like I said earlier, we set ourselves apart because we have a conversation with our audience. You don’t just have information thrown at you, you’re not just listening to people talking, you’re in this conversation. Also, we set ourselves apart because not one person carries the show more than the other. There’s a lot of shows out there where there’s one person that carries the show the most but we all have our thing and we know how to compliment each other, it’s truly a unit.
SS: If you could have anyone on the show who would you want to interview?
JV: Probably Oprah
KM: That is a hard question, I’m just trying to think of who I would get the best interview out of. I think right now, I would say Issa Rae. I think our dynamic with her would be great. We’re legitimately an Insecure episode and so is she! I think that energy meter would be out the roof.
SS: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own radio show? ‘
JV: Be sure and be consistent because the consistency is key. If you’re not consistent you’re not working, if you’re not working then you’re not getting better and if you’re not getting better then what are you doing? It’s literally another job. I would say be clear about your topics, don’t repeat what you heard and you have to be original.
KM: My advice would be the same but also just get out there and do it. We’ve all been nervous but you have to believe in yourself and have confidence. If you believe you have something special then there’s likely people out there that think you’re special too. You need to know yourself before you do this. It’s definitely something where you can lose yourself a little bit. And know exactly what your show means. We always talk about who is the SHE girl. And that’s how we know who the voice of our show is.
SS: Who is the SHE girl?
JV: She’s growing! She’s figuring herself out.
KM: She’s the combination of corny and cool.
SE: She’s figuring out where she wants to move in her life. Figuring out what she stands for, what her passions are, what her goals and aspirations are in life while battling day-to-day work life, relationships and friends.
JV: She’s also the girl that’s going to go to brunch with you. She might tap out and meet up with you at the next spot [laughs].
SE: She might tap out and be done for good.
JV: Her rent is never late but her credit card bill may be a little too high! She’s a down to earth girl, a real girl.
SE: We’re still trying to figure it all out but you’ll never see her sweat.
KM: One of our shoots we were all dressed up in furs but we were sitting at the bus stop and that’s the She girl. She’s going to wear the Balenciaga’s but she might not be able to afford the Uber right now [laughs].
SS: Wowwww SHE is a little too relatable [laughs]. Last question, if you could give advice to high school you, what would you say?
JV: High school me should’ve known that there were more career choices than the ones that “the man” put in my face. And by the man I mean the white guidance counselor that told me to “be a doctor, be a lawyer” there’s so much more to life! A creative avenue can be chased. It doesn’t have to be easy and I think I should’ve known that at 17.
SE: I think I would tell myself that it’s only the beginning. You haven’t even begun to step into the greatness that is you. Continue to live, continue to go through the motions, you just wait on it, it’s about to pop. Okur! [laughs].
KM: I would definitely tell high school me, don’t be so angry. Like I was Solange mad [laughs]. I was Solange mad because I felt misunderstood. You know who you are, stop caring what other people’s perception of you is. I always knew that I was going to be somebody but I was always mad because other people couldn’t see that. I was too worried about that. It doesn’t matter because you know you. That would definitely be my advice to myself.
Follow SHE In The Morning on Instagram at @sheinthemorning and be on the lookout for season 3.
Words by Morgan Peterson