DivaSpeak TV x SpeechIsMyHammer (Pt. 1)

27 Jan


I keep it professional, but everyone knows that I’m an Amanda Diva stan. Physical beauty aside, she’s the female version of what I want to be: she eats, sleeps and breathes hip-hop, and she gets to itch all of her creative fixes through music, blogs, radio, fine art,  and everything in between. One of my favorite forums of her expression is “DivaSpeak TV,” her YouTube show that sees her keeping viewers up to date with current events, gives props to and chastising whoever she feels deserves it at the time, and throws in comedy to keep things moving.  Props to Amanda Diva for always having something relevant for me to interview her about (lol). This interview is in two parts: today’s segment just sees her speaking on the creative processes behind DivaSpeak TV, and Part 2 sees her breaking down each of the show’s contents. CLICK HERE to subscribe to Amanda Diva’s YouTube page, and follow the jump for the rest of the interview!

How did you come up with the idea for DivaSpeakTV?
Well, I was doing radio, and I got done in October of 2007. So I was chillin, doing little videos here and there, but on my MySpace, a lot of people kept telling me, “Diva, we miss you and your opinions.” So I was like, “You know what? I need another outlet to do what I was doing on radio”—which was basically combining humor and opinions, bringing people some new shit, etc. Me and my right-hand-director Lyndon McCray, who is like an everything genius, we decided at the top of this year to put together this, you know, basic format, weekly stuff, and thirty-one episodes later it seemed to work. 


Yeah, who all do you work with on the show? The production value is just dead on. 
Oh, appreciate that. It’s really just me and London. Like literally, it’s me at my house, we have an hour-long production meeting, and then we shoot. That’s it. [laughs] But I’m glad that it looks like we have ten people on staff. [laughs]


Yeah, it does, everything is really clean. Now, how do you find the time to do this? You’re a busy woman.
It’s tough. My day varies, so we do have to work around my schedule and London’s schedule, but we basically have the plan: Every Saturday, we shoot. Sometimes we have to move it, but we’ve actually done it so often now that we can shoot it and be done in two and a half, three hours. So it doesn’t really require [much]; it’s not time-exhausting. It’s more the editing that takes up the time, and London, he just works it out, he makes it happen. His editing, to me, is a strong 50% of what makes it work. 


One thing I really like about the show is that you don’t feel a need to be politically correct—you just say whatever is on your mind. And while I couldn’t listen to your radio show all that much because I don’t have XM, I’m guessing you did it there as well.
I just don’t give a fuck in general. There’s no real science to it. The way I see it, if it comes from an honest place, you can’t really go wrong, you know? I mean, I try not to be an asshole, and that’s a fine line to walk, between being opinionated and being an asshole. But I try to say what people are thinking, but don’t have the balls to say, you know? There’s gossip columnists, people who lie to get supporters, but I feel like there’s enough foolery going on without me having to make up shit. We try to be as informative as possible, and to balance out the sarcasm and the criticism, because I am a sarcastic person. We started doing interviews, and adding different elements to the show. We had MC Lyte and Green Lantern, and we’ve had some poets, and it’s important to bring other people’s point of view on stuff. So it’s not just “The World According to Diva.”


Right. The reason that I had asked that was because as a writer, I know that a lot of people who are actually in the industry may be afraid to say something about a certain artist, or anybody, because they don’t want to get blackballed later on.
I’m not really scared of getting blackballed. I mean, I know everybody. If I’m talking about somebody in a negative manner, it’s because I couldn’t really care less about what they think of me. I couldn’t give two shits about what R. Kelly thinks of me, if he even knows I exist. When it comes to Nas, I’ve known Nas for so long, he knows I’m crazy, and I know he’s crazy, so it ain’t no beef. Same with…[pauses] now I’m tryin to think of artists I’ve said stuff about. Game, Jim Jones, these folks understand the game, and they also understand there is no such thing as bad press, so… no one’s gonna take it too serious. If I was a dude, it’d be different, I would’ve been snapped a long time ago. But I’m not! [laughs] 


How is doing a video show different from doing radio? What are the advantages on one end, and advantages on the other?
It’s different from doing radio, one because I don’t have a boss. That’s huge; I don’t have any restrictions. Also, I don’t have to compete with the music. With radio, you have to get a point across and then play all these songs, and especially now, a lot of the music is completely contradictory with the point that your are making. It can be a little bit….counteractive, I guess. But one of the advantages of doing radio is, of course, you don’t have a camera in your face. You do have less to worry about in terms of presentation, just talk and think about what you’re going to say. On camera, though, you have to enhance that. I mean, I still think if there was a camera on the radio, you would still get the same effect; I make the same faces when the camera is on or off. [laughs] That’s just me. I think what the camera does is it allows folks to see the whole package. It allows us to do certain skits, certain visual images. A good example to me was the Kwame Kilpatrick case; it was like, “How can we make this funnier?” Showing the image of two young people, because that’s what they were acting like, two teenagers on Sidekicks. You couldn’t really get that across on radio, but we were able to pull that off on camera with the visual images. You can’t get some of that comedy, that slapstick, across on radio. The camera allows me to have the floor and put on an Abraham Lincoln beard. I think if you’re going to be sayin shit, humor is the way to drive it home with our generation, the 18-35 demographic. 


What kind of differences have you seen between the first season of DivaSpeakTV and this season?
Our viewership has gone up heavy, because we’ve been syndicated. DX, Black TV, it’s hard to keep up now because it feels like every week we add a new site. That’s good because it’s getting us new viewers, [so] that’s one big difference. We also operate on a “If it ain’t broke” system, you know? Right now we have a lock on what we’re doing. You know when we figured it out? When we did it Episode 30, we were like, “This is nuts.” But hopefully, people will like it. Even when we’re low, we set the bar so far above average that we’re above regular shit, and that’s a real good feeling.


4 Responses to “DivaSpeak TV x SpeechIsMyHammer (Pt. 1)”

  1. micnificent January 28, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    nice interview.i love divaspeak.I been a constant follower of divas work and love just about everything she does. she just has her own special touch when she does something and you feel forced to like it. so big props.


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