Jourdan Ash is a former Hip-Hop journalist and the founder of Dating in NYC: The Podcast. She attended college at Morgan State University, where she studied journalism. The majority of Jourdan’s background is in Hip-Hop journalism and social media, which perfectly fits her interests as she has always loved music and loved writing. Journalism provided a way for her to do both. Jourdan has featured work in Complex and Pitchfork to name a few, and two years ago she began her podcast on dating in New York City. Jourdan spoke with us about her experiences with being a creative, what makes her feel empowered, and her daily ritual that makes her feel like herself.
“My podcast almost exclusively focuses on dating in New York City through the lens of black and brown creatives. Whenever I would pick up a magazine when I was younger, none of the dating tips in Cosmo or other magazines came from black women, men or queer people. I want to make sure that our voices about love are told. I created this space for myself and to encourage people to have these conversations themselves. I don’t take topic requests and I want to remind people that they don’t need me to have these conversations— they can do it on their own.”
Starting a blog seemed like a pretty natural choice for you. What advice do you have for others who are interested in starting a blog?
Just do it! One of the publications I wrote for took down a lot of my pieces when they closed. But, one thing I liked about that publication was that we weren’t focused on doing what was popular. If you want to write then write, don’t overthink it. I carry a notebook everywhere. The beautiful thing with journalism is that it flows into so many different things. Being able to compile lists and interview people has manifested into my podcast. Don’t think about the fact that there are a lot of blogs or if people have already written about your topic. I think it’s really easy to feel intimidated. Before I started my podcast, there had already been a lot of podcasts and blogs out. At the end of the day, no one can do what you can do. Your blog is special because no one can say what you can, feel what you can. Everything is really oversaturated and eventually, that bubble will pop. All that will remain is the work that was authentic.
Jourdan, could you tell us more about your podcast and what influenced it?
When I was in high school, I think I dated one person and flirted my way through the rest of my time. College was where I did a lot of my “real” dating. I dated a lot of guys from Maryland, but I didn’t have the same experience that my friends would text me about. When I graduated in 2014, I was in the process of breaking up with someone and was thrown back into the fire. I was back in NY, so I was like ‘I’m going to date at home.’ I had to open myself up to see how things were. I was still hurt, so I was going out every night. It took me a while to realize that I was meeting the same men in different bodies. I started asking people on Twitter about it and other people had the same issues. Some being: people lying about where they worked or encountering the same types of people. In 2016, I started interviewing people on my blog. I was conscious of interviewing both men and women and making sure I asked them the same questions. During the last interview, someone said, ‘You should make a podcast because people don’t read.’I remembered in my last semester, I took an audio class, and I ended up doing a lot of the vocal work. So I interviewed my friend, taught myself how to use Garageband efficiently, and my podcast was born. It will be two years old next week!
Is there a product or item that you don’t feel yourself without?
I have a lot of chains: two name chains and a rose. I don’t take off my chains at all. When I’m not wearing them, I feel naked. I was never that into jewelry when I was younger. But now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the value of jewelry and gold. All of the jewelry I wear now needs to be real, and I recently started the journey of buying my own hoops. There’s something about waking up and putting on my chains and rings each morning. I never leave the house without earrings and if I leave the house without earrings something is wrong. It’s one of those things where I don’t feel like myself until I have them on. When I have my jewelry on, I’m unstoppable.
What does authenticity mean to you?
It’s the only thing I know how to do. When you are creative, people will pay you to do things that they cannot do. I mostly try to only do things that make things that make sense for me. Morally speaking and I guess, in a way, spiritually too, I don’t want to cheapen myself by doing something less authentic for a dollar.
What does it mean for you to be powerful?
I think I feel my most powerful when I feel my most confident. When I’m not overthinking about interviewing someone. When I’m not overthinking the content that I’m putting out. It’s easy to think about people who have x amount of followers and compare yourself. I feel the most confident when I don’t give a fuck—I can’t put it any other way. No one can do exactly what I do. Someone could wake up, take my show and the people I’ve interviewed, but they could never do it the way I’ve done it.