A Blog and a Podcast for BIPOC Students Navigating Their 20s
Creator Solange Hackshaw (COM’21) talks love and relationships, skin care, money management, and more
Isolation and social distancing over the summer finally gave Solange Hackshaw the time she needed to create a blog and a podcast delving into the experiences she and other BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) women and queer identifying individuals regularly grapple with. She started writing and reaching out to peers to help her develop her platform.
“I really wanted to create a space for, essentially, marginalized people—especially Black and brown women and queer identifying individuals—where…we don’t need to filter certain topics, like mental health, sexual health, racism, implicit biases,” Hackshaw (COM’21) says. “A lot of these topics are quite personal to me, but they’re also personal to others.”
Hackshaw began toying with the idea in August 2019, but like most students, balancing school, work, and extracurriculars initially prevented her from starting the project. But after 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic closed campus and sent her home to Florida, she started reflecting and journaling, which inspired her to write about her experience and growth over the past few years on a larger platform. Last summer she finally had time to start the project.
In the early hours of a summer morning, names for her blog and podcast dawned on her: Tips from Your Good Sis for the blog and Beauty, Brains and Baggage for the podcast. The first fit because of its casual and approachable nature, as well as its use of “Sis” being distinctly Black, she says, the second because of its encompassing implications of both the positive and the messy parts of life.
“I think the name is really important anytime you start something, because it defines the brand,” Hackshaw says.
The blog, which addresses topics ranging from love and relationships to money management, aims to tackle all things related to individuals in their 20s. Hackshaw writes narrative pieces that offer insight into her experiences and reflections upon them. She includes resources she’s found helpful in recognizing and confronting personal struggles, including matters such as codependency in relationships and setting boundaries.
The podcast explores similar topics, but offers more voices and opinions on the subjects. The episodes feature an array of individuals, including a BU alum, a psychologist, a sex educator, and a natural hair stylist. They delve into discussions about stereotypes of Black women, the orgasm gap, mental health, and movements happening on campus.
The summer months gave Hackshaw the time and space she needed to define her goals for both blog and podcast, as well as to begin creating content. She initially posted consistently, but as senior year began, she had to find new ways to balance creating content with school, her part-time job, and her RA responsibilities. In February, she decided to aim for writing two articles a month and editing podcast episodes for posting.
“I try to give myself grace and recognize that my goal is not to get famous or to get notoriety or to get 1,000, 10,000, or 20,000 followers. I don’t care about that,” she says. “If my article connects with two or three people, I’m quite satisfied with that.”
For the podcast, she wants to interview people who are doing things that pique her interest. Sometimes she’ll be inspired by issues in pop culture or in the news, or experiences in her own life. She says she searches for gaps in narratives covered by the media and tries to create conversations about those, such as in the podcast’s “Entanglement” episode, where she talks about Will and Jada Smith’s complicated marriage and how popular media covered it. She then went on to speak with a guest about nonmonogamous relationships and how they can function healthily.
“I kind of see things and I’m like, this looks mad interesting and definitely should be in the conversation if it’s not already being talked about in the general social media space,” Hackshaw says. “Even though my podcast is small, I want to add my little voice into it and add my perspective.”
To create the logo art for the blog and podcast, she called on two friends, Joshua Diamond (CAS’22, CFA’22) and Abiola Agoro (CAS’21). “She had a few ideas and inspirations that she was pulling from, and it was my job to interpret that,” Diamond says. “As an artist, my job is always and necessarily to bring the substance to the table.”
Diamond and Agoro encouraged Hackshaw when she first shared her idea of launching a blog and podcast, and they regularly read and listen to her content on both platforms. Each has been featured on the podcast as well.
“Solange will always surprise you with something about herself,” Agoro says. “I feel like what makes her so special is that nothing is off-topic. She takes things that seem really personal and stressful and breaks them down into everyday conversations.”
After graduation, Hackshaw says, she plans to dedicate more time to her blog and podcast, and possibly add a YouTube channel to the mix. For now, she wants to keep creating content that stays authentic to her and the issues she believes needs more attention.
“I think it’ll be really interesting and funny for me to look back on what I wrote when I was 20 and 21, when I’m 32,” she says. “I’m going to change and grow, and I want to create a community where we can change and grow and heal together.”