By JR Valrey, Black New World Media
“Both Sides of the Conversation”, a Facebook Live talk show, was born directly from the neck breaking pain that was unleashed on George Floyd specifically, and psychologically on the Black community that watched this televised execution of an innocent Black man, by the Minneapolis police department. Instead of wallowing in the pain of helplessness created by this particular police execution of a Black man, this crew got active on how they could heal and better politically educate their community, Black San Francisco aka Black Frisco, depending on your relationship to Black people in the City.
Finally there is a place, where a digital town hall meeting goes down weekly, piloted by people trusted in the community, instead of selected by those in power, about key issues that are affecting our growth as individuals as well as a collective.
Rico Hamilton, one of the co-founders and co-hosts of the show, took a little bit of time out of his life, to discuss with our readers the inspiration and purpose, of this platform and tool, that he and his crew created for Black people in the City, and so its format can be duplicated to address the needs of Black communities in cities, all over the world.
JR Valrey: Who created Both Sides of the Conversation and why is a show out of Black Frisco necessary now?
Rico: Both Sides of the Conversation was created by Omorede Rico Hamilton and Jon Henry, two San Francisco natives that grew up on opposite sides of the City (San Francisco) but by fate, were brought together during the Black community’s outcry over the death of George Floyd. Through our conversations we began to think, what can we do? That’s when the idea was born “ Both Sides of the Conversation”, a platform that was birthed out of the movement to create a space of healing to converse, which is communication so those who are of other races, male, female, gay, transgender, Democratic, and Republican can come and have a in-depth conversation with the Black community to better understand our position on controversial topics.
JR Valrey: What kind of show is it? What topics have you covered?
Rico: Both Sides of the Conversation is a show that’s filmed on FB live. Our format is topic-discussion. We give our viewers an opportunity to let their voices be heard. Anyone can come on and ask questions, give their opinions, as long as it’s in a respectful manner. We talked about the Black family, the state of Black men, The state of the Black woman, Black relationships, community violence, police violence, an in-depth conversation with the straight and gay community, financial empowerment, and politics in the Black community. We allow our fans to make suggestions for our up-and-coming shows. That’s how we get some of our topics. As long as these topics are around healing for the Black community we are willing to address those uncomfortable conversations.
JR Valrey: How did you both pick the 3rd co-host?
Rico: Jon Henry and I chose Jada as a co-host because she has a great perspective and her view on issues are always outside the box. Her willingness to learn and staying open minded was perfect for the show. Jada is a very bright Black woman who is also working on a Physics degree, minor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of San Francisco. She’s the yin, to our yang. Her feminine perspective brings balance to the team.
JR Valrey: What do you want people to get out of Both Sides of the Conversation?
Rico: We want people to get from Both Sides of the Conversation a different view on how other people see things, through a true line of communication and conversation, we are able to heal. In our Black communities our voices are muted a lot, or we are misrepresented by Black leadership. This platform allows all voices to be heard. Black San Franciscans need to know there’s a place for them to hear and be heard, also for our allies to hear what’s going on directly from the people. As we have these conversations we hope folks can see true healing starts from a conversation. Hopefully through conversation we can close the racial divide.
JR Valrey: Why is local Black media important?
Rico: Black media is so important because it helps our people to better understand and know what’s going on at any particular time. It also poses a narrative of how people are and act. We don’t own any major media source. Many times there aren’t as many Black media outlets to talk about Black issues. Our issues always go unaddressed because we don’t control the media. Hint: this is the reason Black communities stay misguided about current events, which keeps us oppressed on all levels. Both Sides of the Conversation what’s to change that and promote Black media as much as possible.
JR Valrey: How do you pick your topics from week to week?
Rico: Myself and both co-host have a think tank of the up-and-coming shows we go over, which were suggested and submitted by our followers. We always have to think, how is this going to heal the community? What is the opposite side of the conversation? Rather wrong or right we need both perspectives for both sides of the conversations. All our shows are based on educating our people, and lifting them up to a higher level of consciousness. With our topics we want our people to know that there are people out there who are doing positive things, that care about them. Sometimes we might have to change a topic based on something that might be of more importance than another topic.
JR Valrey: Where does the show air? What time?
Rico: Both Sides Of the Conversation has a Facebook group called Both Sides Of Conversations that we encourage folks to go and follow and watch our previous shows. You can watch our shows every Sunday live at 2 PM. These shows are on Facebook live. We ask that you watch, share, and ask as many questions as possible.