By JR Valrey, the Minister of Information
Have you ever been to a digital bar in a podcast? Cognac Confessionals is the closest thing to it. Cognac Confessionals is an Oakland-based podcast that I watch on a regular basis, to stay in tune with what a certain segment of Black people in the Bay Area are doing, and thinking. Shows usually start with the host Dushun James opening the night’s cognac, and everybody pouring themselves a healthy portion, then the conversation starts. People start relaxing and talking more after they have been drinking, which potentially ushers in a more honest and entertaining interview. Dushun never sleeps on an opportunity to drop facts or to say something slick, while piloting the show. He has had guests from all walks of life. Cognac Confessionals can be found on the Oakland-based independent TV network VJTV, every Friday at 6pm. You can also check out Cognac Confessionals on social media. Here’s the host Dushun James in his own words.
JR Valrey: How long have you been affiliated with VJTV? And how did your affiliation start?
Dushun James: I have been with VJTV since around 2004/2005. My cousin is James Earl Rockefeller III ( Rocke) company. I started just hanging out at the studio, and he would put me in some of the commercials and other projects he was working on. From there the team started doing movies. In 2008 we filmed “Town Biz”, my first movie role with Ram, Damon Hart, Pharoah Powell, and a bunch of other talented actors from Oakland. That led to many other roles in a bunch of the other films that Where Media Meets has put out.
JR Valrey: When and how did Cognac Confessionals start on VJTV?
Dushun James: So the original concept came from back in 2008/2009 before “podcasts” were even a thing. Rocke had a 12 hour time slot on Comcast and we had a show, we would do live on air, called “Cocktail Hour”. It would be up to 10 of us in the studio, drinking, and talking about current topics and random stuff. From there Pharoah, Daniel, and myself had a show called DPD TV. Eventually everyone had other projects, and things going, so we just stopped. Fast forward to 2018, Rocke and I were in the studio talking about revamping Cocktail Hour, and he suggested that I do my own podcast. I was hesitant to do it solo at first, but Rocke was convinced that I could do it. So I came up with the title “Cognac Confessionals and Tequila Testimonials’ , which we shortened to just Cognac Confessionals. Rocke made the logo, and we hit the ground running. We go live every Friday at 6pm.
JR Valrey: What is the concept behind the show?
Dushun James: The concept of the show is basically to sit back and be a platform for anyone, to come on and display their talents; whether it be business, music, writing, or whatever, while also discussing current topics and points of view while we sip on some cognac.
JR Valrey: Who is your target audience and what has their response been so far to the show?
Dushun James: My target audience is anybody that wants to watch, and be entertained, as well as gain some useful information. I just want to share what our people are doing withCog the world. The responses have been pretty good. I have had politicians, lawyers, reality tv personalities, authors, and music artists on the show.
JR Valrey: Have you or your guest ever got too drunk on the air? What happened?
Dushun James: No that hasn’t happened. We have been pretty good about that. We all are adults, and if someone doesn’t want to drink on the show, it’s not an issue.
JR Valrey: How does Pharoah and Tiff add to the show as co-hosts?
Dushun James: Pharoah has been involved since Cocktail Hour and DPD TV and brings a wealth of knowledge on so many subjects on the show. His insight is priceless. He has been involved in the music industry. He’s a filmmaker, author, comedian so pretty much any subject we speak on, he brings intelligent real conversation. Tiff is folks as well and brings a lot to the table. She is always networking and brings a wealth of knowledge to the show as well. She has brought some great guests to the show. I am glad to be associated with both of them.
JR Valrey: Where do you wanna take the show in 2-5 years?
Dushun James: In 2 – 5 years I would like to continue to grow the audience and build the brand. I see us doing some on location podcast episodes. I definitely want to get out on as many platforms as possible. I’m working on some things, but my motto is “No Details Just Results” so I won’t speak too soon on those things. I just would like to continue to be of service in a good way for us.
JR Valrey: How could people tune in and watch? Where can they find you on social media?
Dushun James: You can find us on Facebook at the Cognac Confessionals page. I also have a YouTube channel Cognac Confessionals. I have an Instagram page as well @Cognac_Confessionals. Check the page out. Like it. Share it. If anyone wants to be a guest on the show if you have a business or an artist of some type send a message to the page and let’s see what we can do. Let’s share your story. Thank you for this opportunity. I really appreciate it.