#Blackcoffee_pdc, the Italian podcast that tells black identities with no filter, was created by Ariam Tekle and Emmanuelle Maréchal. The podcast consists of interviews of Black Italians who enrich the conversations around black identities through their work and initiatives. We intend to create a space for conversing and debating complex issues and lesser-known topics reported superficially by the media.
Ariam Tekle is an Eritrean-Italian documentary filmmaker born and raised in Milan. The daughter of Eritrean immigrants, Ariam grew a conscious interest in the African diaspora. In 2014 she completed her BA in International Relations (International Sciences and European Institutions), and in 2015 her Master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology. The latter armed her with the knowledge, necessary skills, and tools to analyse the Eritrean community’s integration issues in Milan. Her journey led her to write her first documentary, Appuntamento ai Marinai. Born in 1987, Emmanuelle is French-Cameroonian. Her Italian experience started in 2009 in Bologna through the international program exchange Erasmus. She lived in Bologna until 2014 when she completed a Master’s degree in International Relations. During those five years, Emmanuelle observed how white Italy was and couldn’t help noticing how speaking about race and racism was taboo and how much Italian people didn’t know their history. Fond of History and the African diaspora in Europe, she created The LBDStories, an Instagram profile dedicated to telling her family story and stories of people from the African diaspora in Europe. For her podcast, she travelled to Italy to interview Black Italians, and it was on that occasion she met Ariam. #Blackcoffee_pdc was first thought of as a Youtube series, but the pandemic hit, and we had to re-think the project, so we agreed to turn it into a podcast. So far, we’ve produced four seasons.
Throughout the four seasons, the podcast evolved as we collaborated with two experts in the third season, during which we gave the microphone to them. The first expert is Italo-somali journalist Adil Mauro who had a section dedicated to telling stories of Black Italians not remembered by History. The second one is Italo-haitian researcher and activist Marie Moïse, whose section was dedicated to studying how racism originated. We felt both sections were necessary because studies and research about Blackness in the Italian context are not happening now.
The positive response to the third season with the two new sections made us want to keep on passing the microphone to other Black Italian voices. For the fourth one, we invited activist and co-founder of the cultural association Questa è Roma, Kwanza Musi Dos Santos to host the section Exploring Black Europe with La Stanza di Kwanza. In it, she interviews various figures of the anti-racism fight in Europe. Our second host is Italo-Nigerian podcaster, YouTuber and comedian John Modupe whose section Decoloniz-ing accents was all about making our audience laugh while dissecting the complexities of being Black African and European. These last two sections are the first ones we produced in English, thanks to the Culture of Solidarity Fund. In the European space, languages are a barrier for many Black diasporas. Creating content in English is helping us build a bridge with other communities and better understand what it means to be Black in different European countries. It is invaluable knowledge we want to share with our audience.