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2017 Senior Fellow Esra Karakaya is the host of the online talk show BlackRockTalk, which discusses social phenomena and global experiences from a young, critical and diverse perspective. Esra was inspired to realize the project after having watched the US-American show The Grapevine TV and people around her taking action.

German talk shows mostly lack including voices of color in a manner in which these are not stigmatized. Furthermore, they generally speak to an adult audience.

As an alternative, BlackRockTalk tries to be inclusive in how guests, opinions, life experiences, topics, etc. are curated. On the show, Esra includes diverse voices of color and speaks to a primarily younger Germany-based audience.

The first episode of BlackRockTalk revolves around sweets producer Katjes including a model with headscarf in their advertising campaign. The discussants take different stands on the intention and effect of the campaign, whether it should be seen as a step towards a more diverse public imagery or as “Hijab-Facing”, as a variation of Black-facing.

Another episode takes on the societal effects of singer Rihanna presenting her own beauty line Fenty beauty, which features over 40 different shades of make-up. Still seen as revolutionary in Germany in 2018, Esra and the panelists discuss the exclusionary practices of the cosmetics industry and primarily white beauty standards in Western societies.

The show reaches between 10,000 and 20,000 views per episode and sparks controversial discussions in the comment section.

Esra is very grateful for the responses: “I was overwhelmed by the love and support I got from friends and communities in Berlin. Trust in your network and your vision.”

In developing the first episodes, Esra wrote a concept within a period of two months, put together a team and started preparing the production of a pilot. Having experience in several aspects of successful video production, like format development, editorial work, video post production SEO, Esra recruited team members for tasks such as Marketing, Community Management, and Camera operators.

BlackRockTalk is an on-going project and planned to be produced once a month for a duration of minimum a year. After that year, the team around Esra will evaluate how the show is doing and proceed accordingly.