Welcome to our first ever podcast, Growing up with gal-dem. Over the course of the series Natty Kasambala and Niellah Arboine invite a different guest to respond to old diary entries, text messages, or letters from their younger selves – nurturing important conversations about growing up.
You can read episode summaries, find episode transcripts, and listen to our latest episodes of Growing up with gal-dem here.
Welcome to Growing up with gal-dem, our first ever podcast. Inspired by our book I will not be erased: our stories growing up as people of colour, Liv Little and Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff of gal-dem magazine interview guests with their past diary entries, text messages and letters to uncover valuable lessons on growing up.
Kicking off the series, gal-dem speaks to Candice Carty-Williams, author of best-selling novel ‘Queenie’, about continuously being labelled the strong friend and family member. After the death of a close friend in her early twenties, Candice discusses her battle with depression and anxiety, and the pressures facing in the context of her Caribbean upbringing. We hear about the tools she has used over the years to enhance her mental wellbeing and set boundaries and how they inevitably influenced her when writing her hit novel.
After moving to London from Singapore, artist Elizabeth Gabrielle Lee was shocked by the everyday discrimination and sexualisation she faced and quickly realised that many other East Asian women either had been through or would experience similar issues. This inspired her project Xing – a photography book that explores how East Asian women move through the world. Through collaborating on creative projects, Elizabeth explains the strength and beauty she has found in forging interracial friendships and the solidarity that came with them.
In this episode of Growing Up with gal-dem, we sit down with model, LGBTQI+ activist and founder of Goddess Platform, Munroe Bergdorf. A prominent speaker on trans rights, she highlights members of the community and works to combat transphobia through her activism.
Munroe reads text messages from a toxic relationship and shares the difficulties that come with growing apart from a partner. Having been in a relationship with someone with vastly differing views to her own, she reflects on how she removed herself from the situation and started on a journey of self-acceptance.
For the fourth episode of Growing Up with gal-dem, we hear from cultural curator and founder of BBZ, Naeem Davis. Naeem tells us about the LGBTQI+ spaces that helped to shape their identity growing up and how they were inspired to curate spaces that were even more inclusive. We hear about how a trip to San Francisco was a pivotal moment for adopting the term ‘queer’ and how this has influenced how they define themself.
Naeem shares a text they sent a soon-to-be girlfriend, who they chased in the hope of being in a ‘normative’ relationship. Naeem guides us through the importance of maintaining independence in relationships and how pushing boundaries in love is something to be celebrated.
During the fifth episode of Growing Up with gal-dem, singer-songwriter Sasha Keable speaks to gal-dem about her journey with mental health, substance abuse, and why taking medication should be destigmatised. After a lengthy battle with depression, we hear about the importance of therapy at various stages in her life. After seeking out therapy at a period when she was self-harming at a young age, she guides us through how these experiences have shaped her process as a musician.
Recording live from Words Weekend festival, on this special episode we’re joined by Reni Eddo-Lodge, journalist and author of ‘Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White People About Race’, Mariam Khan, editor of anthology ‘It’s Not About the Burqa’ and writer, journalist and critic Anita Sethi. In a joint discussion between all three of our literary guests, we speak about encountering casual racism within friendship groups, the complexities of existing in multiple cultures and the impact that has on our affiliation to britishness, and the common expectation of diasporan eldest daughters to take on mothering roles within their families.
In this episode of Growing Up with gal-dem, we speak to actor, writer, producer and creator of Chewing Gum Michaela Coel. Michaela reads an old blog post from her days in drama school where she reflects on the idea of “taking the note” as a young actor, as well as the limited roles that exist for black women on screen.
Michaela also speaks to us about her experience of being spiked and how this informed her new drama; I May Destroy You, which is available to watch on iPlayer now.
Joining gal-dem for this episode is writer and cook Ruby Tandoh, who discusses food in lockdown, high expectations and why friends are so important. Having always been hyper-productive, as a teenager Ruby would closely align self-satisfaction with personal targets. A plethora of challenging goals and Ruby’s own high expectations of herself, caused her time to be spread thinly, weighing heavily on her mental state and sense of inner well-being. Here, Ruby discusses how being less busy enabled time to get to know herself and why she wishes she found more support in others growing up.
Theatre maker, producer and artist Travis Alabanza speaks to gal-dem about the idea of confessions, shame, and their introduction to queer spaces. They discuss the confidence that came with embracing their inner freak and how a pivotal moment at 17 have shaped who they are today.
Singer-songwriter and BRIT nominee Joy Crookes joins gal-dem in this episode to explore all things family. Having moved out at a young age, Joy reflects on what it meant to have a ‘chosen’ family as a support network during a time of newfound responsibility and freedom.
Also discussing topics such as generational trauma, Joy shares a restorative, bonding exercise that helped shape her connection with her heritage and her relationship with a loved one.
This week, author and broadcaster Emma Dabiri joins Liv and Charlie to talk about her experiences of growing up black in Ireland and how as a young girl she was held to more rigid standards than her peers. Her number one hobby at the time was boys, and she kept a diary which she speaks through during the show.
Read the transcript here
In this episode, gal-dem are joined by journalist, author, and host of Slay In Your Lane podcast and book, Yomi Adegoke as she discusses manifestation, taking up space, and why social media is blurring notions of success. Upon entering an industry traditionally dominated by white, privately educated men, Yomi describes how she forged her own path as a journalist and became the representation she wanted to see growing up.