The idea for the show came about during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020. At the time, Aiza and Kamana had moved in together and felt like their lives had come to a halt like everyone else.
"We decided to start going live on Instagram because we were always like 'we should have a show one day,' and we lived together, so let's just give this a shot," says Aiza. "Our intuition was like go, go, go!"
So, they followed their intuition, hosted on Instagram Live bi-weekly, and gained an audience. Then, two weeks into the swing of things, they learned about the CBC's Creative Relief Fund. Developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Creative Relief Fund supports and encourages Canadian creators to produce a diverse range of original content ranging from podcasts to comedies, dramas, documentaries, and kids and adult programming. Canadian creators were encouraged to apply from April 24, 2020.
To the sisters, it was no coincidence that such an opportunity arose when their live sessions were gaining traction. Having nothing to lose, they took advantage of the chance. "The world has stopped; let's go," they thought. And out of 9,000 applicants in the country, their show was one of 10 in their category to be selected.
The next step was to develop the series. Making the switch from social media to a video streaming service required many adjustments. It was vital for them to carry their original audience along while fully utilizing their platform. On creating the name Real Blackity Talk, the term 'Blackity' is commonly used in Black culture to describe quintessential aspects of the Black experience. It’s memorable and they felt it fit the brand name. "Aiza and I always like to break into jingles, so it was important that whatever the title was, it was very 'jingleable'," says Kamana as she and Aiza giggle.
It's no surprise that Aiza and Kamana considered the "jingleability" of their talk show's name as both women are seasoned musicians and multidisciplinary artists. In 2021, Kamana headlined the Just for Laughs Festival in the lead role of Sister Mary Clarence from the musical Sister Act. Her love for musicals developed in high school as she looked forward to and participated in the musicals held by the school's music program. "So, I got the part of, you know, Whoopi Goldberg from the movie, for the musical and it was a huge, huge deal," says Kamana. "And she crushed it," interjects Aiza.
Kamana also has directing credits for Manman La Mer (Théâtre Catapulte), which was chosen to represent Canada for the 11th edition of MASA (Marché des Arts du Spectacle d'Abidjan), Rendez-Vous with Home (Black Theatre Workshop), and the inaugural reading of the French translation of the play Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop and Centre du Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui).
Aiza, on the other hand, is a singer-songwriter whose songs have featured on Netflix specials such as Tuca and Bertie, Selling Tampa, and Kim's Convenience, to name a few. She describes getting her songs placed on the shows as another beautiful aspect of creating music. "I pitch my music, they love it, they place them in the shows, and it sounds dope," she comments as Kamana chuckles. She was also the Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass Francophone Artist of the year for her 2019 EP Adieu. "This is one big potluck of released and unreleased music. And it's cool because this was an opportunity for us to create music together, and you're going to hear snippets of some tunes that we have coming. Bops on bops, on bops, you already know…we've put in as much of ourselves in it, and the music is a big part of that," says Aiza.
On creating the name of the talk show, "In our show, we talk about keeping that elevation and always keeping it real, and it's a talk show," Kamana explains. "So, Real Blackity Talk made sense because it was three words, and there was a bounce to it.” So, would there be a jingle? "Oh yes! More than one. Many!" responds Aiza as she breaks into one of the many playful jingles featured in the show.
The first Season of Real Blackity Talk is broken into five episodes with five topics, namely: self-love, Black hair, language, social media, and community. Many of the topics were derived from the recurring themes of their Instagram Lives. "This is the lit season," informs Kamana, "so self-love is lit, black hair is lit, etc."
The topics aim to feel like a conversation between them and members of the Black diaspora on common yet vital issues. "The easiest topic to find was Black hair," adds Kamana. This is because Black hair is a very vast topic. Both women chime in "yes, yes."
"The through-line also was to focus on our personal experiences. We didn't want it to be stuff you can find on YouTube. It's not a course on Black hair through and through, it's more like what was our experiences with our hair growing up. How we feel about our hair now, how we want to feel and celebrate people who have inspired us," says Aiza.
In coming episodes, they speak with 'Blaxperts,' such as MPP Dr. Jill Andrews and renowned activist and author Akilah Newton. According to Aiza, getting Dr. Jill Andrews on the show was a powerful manifestation because before their show was chosen as a series, Dr. Jill Andrews was the first person they dreamt about having on their show. This is due to her community involvement regarding Body Confidence Canada, Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and being an MPP for Toronto, St Pauls. "It was pretty surreal being in the room with her knowing that we had called her in energetically a year before."
"Akilah is just a gift to all of us," continues Aiza on Akilah's work with youth, specifically her book series Big Dreamers, which highlights Black Canadians and their contributions to history. "There aren't many materials that showcase that, and she took matters into her own hands. She's very affable and intelligent, and so are the rest of our Blaxperts."
"We want to talk about the Black Canadian experience told through the lens of Black women and non-binary Black folk and it's important because…where is it? You know what I mean?" says Kamana. They quickly realized from their Instagram Lives that these stories and perspectives were lacking in the Canadian media landscape. Something like Real Blackity Talk is real and is needed. "Representation matters. We wanted to see ourselves, and we wanted others to see themselves too," says Kamana.
Their purpose for Real Blackity Talk is to serve as a huge conversation starter, hoping that their viewers' curiosities pique and hopefully feel inspired to tell their own stories.