Frank with J and T is a podcast that you won’t regret adding to your playlist this summer. The show, which is hosted by Janine Jellers and Tshego Senne, is an interesting look at current conversations in our society that explores everything – from pop culture, to politics – through the hosts’ feminist lenses.
Tell us more about the women behind the podcast.
Janine: I’m a multimedia storyteller. I write, edit, now podcast. I’m an outspoken feminist – learning and unlearning. I’m a homebody who’s trying to read more. I’m currently planning my wedding, so that’s basically where all my money and time is going.
Tshego: I like to refer to myself as an avid reader before anything else. Everything I do in my life is currently a path to learning more, whether it’s in my day job as a social media manager, or in my writing, whether on sex, feminism or race. My energy is currently going to the podcast, my upcoming blogging and vlogging projects and beginning my masters in South African Sign Language.
How did Frank with J & T come about?
Janine: The idea for Frank came to me earlier this year as I started listening to more podcasts. My fiancé doesn’t live in South Africa and the house can get quiet, so I started filling the silence with feminist and pop culture podcasts. Most of the podcasts I listened to were American, and I couldn’t find anything that 100% resonated with me as a South African woman. I identified the gap and, seeing as I’d always wanted to host a talk show, thought this could be a great opportunity to try something new. I asked Tshego to co-host, as I think she adds a different dimension to me.
Tshego: When Janine asked me to be a part Frank, I was a little nervous as to why people would want to hear my opinions and thoughts on a weekly basis. In hindsight, I see how necessary it is to have two women of colour coming together to have a laugh and also serious discussions about the things that go on around us in a world that so strongly vilifies our opinions.
Take us through the show, how do you go about conceptualising it?
Janine: We do very minimal pre-production. We have regular segments and others which we just experiment with all the time. Tshego usually does more research than I do. I think the spontaneity of the conversation makes for a more interesting listen. And the fact that we’re never scared to be silly just solidifies the chemistry.
Who is your target listener?
Janine : While we’re unapologetic about this show being for and about women like us – women who look and think like us and are interested in learning about feminism – I can’t really say we have an ‘ideal listener’. Some of the most fascinating conversations have come from listeners who we wouldn’t necessarily peg as ideal listeners.
Tshego : I would say our target listeners are young black women – both those who take on the label of feminist and those who live through what the label defines without claiming it.
What has the reception of the show been like, so far?
Janine: The Internet can be such a scary place, I honestly expected more vitriol. But, the reception has been so incredibly positive. I’ve been blown away. I think there’s a real thirst for African woman voices on the Internet.
What podcasts are you listening to at the moment? Why are they of interest to you?
Janine: The Read, Another Round, Call Your Girlfriend. They’re pleasant listens. They’re also all duos and the chemistry is what makes them special.
Tshego : I listen to Another Round, Black Girls Talking and Black Women Be Like; it’s a great thing to me to listen to women who are black and brilliant, who both teach me and I can laugh with. I also listen to the podcasts New York Public Library puts up, mostly for the writers that they have on frequently.
What does being a woman on the continent mean for you right now, especially in relation to ideas around feminism and intersectionality?
Janine: I look around us at the moment and all I think is ‘What a time to be alive!’. Things are far from perfect. We’re not safe, we’re mostly under attack as women on the continent, but we’re finding our voices. We’re leading. I think we’ve really had enough. And it’s beautiful to witness.
Tshego: As a black woman, who passes for straight, is cisgender and able-bodied, I am being made more and more aware of the privileges I hold and people around me are teaching this to me. It has been a wonder to see people around me wake up to politics – whether it is via feminism or otherwise – and create their own spaces where we can share, learn and be safe together.
Listen to episodes of Frank with J and T here .
Image: Nicole Olwagen