‘Hear Me Out’ says Sashelle Gooden - ... as she partners with Antonette Newell to produce YouTube series
Growing up Jamaican, ‘hold yuh own’ and ‘tough it out’ most definitely were a part of my everyday mantra. As Jamaicans, we have embedded in us an independence and pride that takes ourselves through many hardships, BUT, it is this spirit of self-reliance that sometimes unravels us. For years, I believed that strength was apparent in unshed tears and a ‘do it myself’ attitude. I’ve been very good at ‘keeping my business private’ and ‘riding out storms alone’, and when all else fails, I make all moments lighter with a joke and laugh.
No matter who you are, after a while you will get tired of pretending. ‘Fake it till you make it’ doesn’t really work in situations such as these. I came to a state of upheaval in my life, it seemed that all important aspects – social, professional, personal – were overwhelming me with all its demands.
It was truly new ground for me to not be able to will myself to just push through and do what needed to be done, things were spiralling out of control and, for once, I had to admit I was seemingly not in control of my life – my future.
My circle didn’t know how to deal with it either, especially being the person they depended on to keep it together. After being tough, self-reliant and self-sufficient, people leave you alone to handle stuff on your own; but by the end of 2018, that was when I needed someone the most; but the precedence was set and I didn’t know where to find solace.
It is important to have people in your life who will run with you, because with one phone call to Antonette Newell, and sharing how I wanted to ensure that anyone experiencing hardships would know they are not alone, ‘Hear Me Out – Life Uncut’ went from ideation to reality. Having a similar passion, she helped to shape the programme idea and started making phone calls to ensure that in the shortest time possible, we were ready to go!
‘Hear Me Out – Life Uncut’ is now one of Jamaica’s first YouTube series with each episode having two main purposes:
1. A featured guest who shares a first-hand experience of a personal struggle that they have endured and conquered, which offers a blueprint for others who are having a similar challenges. This is to let persons know they are not alone, there is hope, and it is okay to talk about it and have no fear of being judged.
2. Each episode is shot at a different location in order to showcase a Jamaican-owned business or venture to attract added local and international attention.
The first season had eight episodes and features topics such as mental health, adoption, infertility, finding your purpose and more. Episodes are aired on Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m., on the YouTube channel: Hear Me Out – Life Uncut.
Season 1, which originally premiered in the summer, will be doing a season rerun, starting November 3, 2019. The show was originally slated to be a summer series, and was self-funded as it was our very own voluntary, social responsibility initiative to ensure Jamaicans of all ages realise that sometimes, just talking about our hardships can help ourselves and others.
Based on the positive feedback from our viewers, we intend to continue and expand the reach of the programme and general efforts under the ‘Hear Me Out – Life Uncut’ banner. The responses have been overwhelming. In just eight weeks, with no traditional advertising employed, YouTube subscribers grew to more than 700 and viewership was captured from Jamaica and across the diaspora, with a significant percentage being from Canada and the United Kingdom.
From YouTube analyses, we also recognised that at least 30 per cent of our viewers are in the 17-25 age group and hence, we wish to incorporate more youth-inspired topics in Season 2.
A media brunch will be launched in early 2020, sponsors will be announced, as well as the exploration of topics to be included in our upcoming seasons. The day will also feature a live filming as guests from Season 1 will be invited as panellists, giving attendees an opportunity to delve deeper in the topics discussed during the premiere season. We are also excited to be including as part of our media brunch, the launch of our Hear Me Out – Life Uncut youth ambassadorship programme that will be coupled with an ultimate surprise for our youth.
To watch weekly episodes, remember to like and subscribe on YouTube: Hear Me Out – Life Uncut. For any questions, queries or to share your stories, they may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to follow their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.
Always remember to ‘Do You Respectfully With No Apology!’