By: Keesha Chung
For this segment of Get Cultured! I spoke with Jordan Hayles, a -Scarborough raised- Toronto based video editor about his new podcast "YOSTiXX". On this podcast Jordan has frank and open conversations with his friends and fellow creatives of colour about everything from personal relationships, to career experiences, to music they're listening to.
I've had the pleasure of working with Jordan and he is not only extremely talented, he is also one of the nicest people I've met in the film and tv industry to date. We first met while working at VICE. At the time, he was the only Black video editor and I was one of few Black people floating around the office. So...naturally, whenever we saw each other we would say hello. Although we didn't get a chance to officially work together, our professional paths crossed again shortly thereafter.
Jordan is a champion for Black creatives and art - and particularly Black womxn creatives. So, when I heard Jordan was putting together a podcast I was more than excited to hear and engage with it. Needless to say, if you don't know about Jordan Hayles, you should (hence his feature here today)!
Keesha Chung - Tell us a bit about yourself and where your creative experience comes from?
Jordan Hayles - I was raised in the beautiful city of Scarborough (pre-amalgamation), where I was exposed to a life that was filled with creative ventures through necessity of escape. I also thank my mother for stressing it to me to be open-minded and challenged me to be different; to invest in my interests. I’m a Video Editor by profession and occupation, but I’m a natural creative. I know that I can direct and produce, but I haven’t had a lot of the opportunities to do so. I’ve also written creatively, so there’s no limit to where I can expand my talents to.
KC - What is this project and what inspired you to start it?
JH - The ‘YO STiXX Podcast’ started out by a suggestion from my dear friend & colleague, Toni Francis. In the past, people had told me that I should have my own, but I didn’t think that I knew which lane I wanted to go in. Because I had a written blog already going that featured music & movie reviews, I didn’t want to bring that to a podcast format, when shows like ‘Extra Gravy,’ ‘Not With The Hype,’ and a host of others were already covering the pop culture topics. I went through a very transformative period in my life, including therapy, and that’s what prompted me to want to have more intimate conversations with people, especially since I’ve had more time during a pandemic to do so.
KC - I really enjoyed the episode with Sajae Elder. And, because I’ve worked with you personally, I know how much you support and uplift Black women. As a Black man, why do you think it’s important to uplift Black women the way you do?
JH - I owe everything in my life to Black women. It’s really as simple as that. They have been my biggest supporters, my greatest challengers, the best teachers, and the comfort in my soul. The world has really taken Black women for granted, and whereas I have never been perfect, I’ve always tried to do my part to uplift them, utilizing my male privilege. I’ve seen the stress the women in my family & my friends have gone through, and I just want to be one less headache for them to deal with in the world. They deserve everything, plus tax, and if I want to be a Black man who wants to see changed behaviours when it comes to the way we interact with Black women, I have to lead by example. I’m not perfect, but I’ll always do my best to do right by them.
KC - You’re very vocal about therapy on your podcast and online. Many Black people, especially Black men are very reluctant to have these kinds of conversations let alone admit they need professional help. Why is it important for you to be as vocal as you are about therapy and mental health?
JH - I believe that being vocal about therapy will lead to others coming out of their shells to start their own healing journeys. Black men have a lot of trauma that they hold onto from the days that they were children, well into adulthood and beyond. I didn’t just become an advocate for therapy right off the bat. I had my first experience with it in 2017, but it wasn’t until late 2019 that prompted me to resume it (suggested by a Black woman, no less). My father has a mental health disorder, and I know that the lack of connection did a number on me in the years that I really yearned for that love, but I feel like with more men stepping into the light, out of the darkness of taboo, it’ll be the best thing for our community as a whole.
KC - You haven’t been doing this show for too long, but so far, what have you learned?
JH - The biggest thing I’ve learned is that sound editing & video editing are completely different beasts. I don’t use Audacity to edit the show, I just use Premiere Pro, but it’s been quite the experience to edit my own voice to produce 1-1.5 hour shows. I greatly underestimated how far my voice carries, because the feedback I’ve received has been nothing short of positive. I’m glad that people are listening to the stories and taking bits from it that they’ll be able to reflect on in their own lives. That’s really the most powerful thing to me, and I’m glad that my voice has been able to provide that outlet for people, for real.