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The Voices Behind Your New Favorite Popular Culture Podcast: BackTalk with NL

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

On BackTalk with Nyala and Laita, Nyala Thomas and Laita Barrett encourage conversation about how pop culture impacts the youth.

HC: What is your name? Your year? Your major(s) and/or minor(s)?

Nyala Thomas (NT): I’m Nyala Thomas, a second year student at Florida State University, majoring in media/communication studies and minoring in film studies.

Laita Barrett (LB): I’m Laita Barrett, a second year student at the University of Florida, majoring in public relations and minoring in English.

Nyala Thomas
Photo by Nyala Thomas
HC: How would you describe the content of BackTalk with NL?

NT & LB: We consider the content of BackTalk to be a pop culture commentary on the most relevant topics in the world of entertainment.

HC: What personally inspired you to create BackTalk with NL?

LB: The idea for the podcast was kind of spontaneous. Nyala and I’s preferred method of communication is actually Zoom calls. So whenever we want to talk, we send Zoom links and we spend hours on the call. On the night that we came up with the idea to do the web show, we were having a very passionate discussion about the problematic practices of Disney. Mid-sentence, Nyala paused and said, “People need to hear this.” Long story short, we spent the rest of the night planning episodes for a web show which we eventually dubbed “BackTalk with Nyala and Laita.”

HC: What kind of planning/thought process goes into each episode?

NT: We have a shared Google doc. where we each write out ideas for potential future episodes. From there, we choose the episode that we want to do based on factors such as time sensitivity and current relevance. If necessary, we’ll do more research on the topic and make notes of important aspects that we want to point out. We’re both full-time college students so we typically have to find about an hour or two in the week where we can get on Zoom to record the episode. Lastly, just before recording, we’ll discuss how the conversation will flow, whether we’ll bounce ideas back and forth, or take turns.

Laita Barrett
Photo by Laita Barrett
HC: What does the web show aim to do? What are some goals you have in mind with it?

NT & LB: As two young Black women who find themselves invested in popular culture, our web show aims to stimulate and encourage conversation in how popular culture affects the youth. We have found that Black female voices are often silenced and/or excluded from discourse within the entertainment field, so we decided to make a lane for ourselves. In terms of goals, we want to extend this space to other minorities as a way to find and make representation for themselves in entertainment. For example, in our latest episode, we featured Jerry Jerome, a young Black rapper who shared his experience with streaming platforms as a rising artist.

HC: What are some specific future topics/discussions you are looking forward to talking about on the web show?

NT & LB: We have the ability to talk about anything and everything because we find ourselves always forming strong and passionate opinions. Specific episode topics that we hope to speak on in the future include cancel culture, race/gender roles in award shows, the downfall of YouTube and more. But you’ll have to tune in to find out!

HC: Lastly, where can we find your web show and what are the other socials associated with it?

NT & LB: Episodes of BackTalk with Nyala and Laita can be found on our Instagram’s IGTV @BackTalk_NL, as well as our YouTube Channel of the same name. In the future, we soon hope to expand our episode availability onto other popular podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. As for general social media, we can primarily be found on Instagram @BackTalk_NL and TikTok @BackTalkWithNL.

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Hi! My name is Morgan Marisa and I am from Pittsburgh, PA. I love writing, reading, traveling, and spending time with my amazing friends and family. My instagram is @morganmarisa1324 :)