EXCERPT FROM INSIDE PODCASTING INTERVIEW WITH 1619 PRODUCERS ADIZAH EGHAN AND ANNIE BROWN (edited for clarity and length)
On juggling The Daily and 1619
Annie: We didn't have very much time, because of the way that [New York Times' Magazine] works. It's not clear what's going to be in the issue until a month and a half out, or even closer. That's just a [part] of working with the newspaper; sometimes things have to move really, really quickly. But the answer to your question — how do you keep working on The Daily and also create this new thing — is that you don't! Adizah was training to make [The Daily] where you do this crazy thing and build a show in 12 hours and you stay up really late at night making it happen. And she'd be like, I have to make the show; there's a congressional hearing or whatever, and I was like, you gotta stay over here!
Adizah: I was trying to do two things at once.
Annie: It wasn't working.
Skye: Okay so you both move over onto this new team.
Annie: It's really not a "move over." It's like we're carving out a tiny bit of time from within the audio team. There's not another place to go to. We're basically saying, give us a little time off of the schedule of the show and if we can secure some help from an editor, if we can bounce ideas off of people on the team, then we think we can make this work. It ended up completely consuming the lives of three other members of the team — producer Kelly Prime, and editors Larissa Anderson and Lisa Chow.
On drawing inspiration from "the water"
Adizah: I had been inspired by this poem. I think it's by [poet Porscha Olayiwola] and it's called Water. It talks about the Black experience through the lens of the water and how Black folks were brought here on ships. I was also thinking about this Lupe Fiasco album, where he imagines a world in which people who were jumping off the ships, either defiantly or to commit suicide. And they're reborn in this under-the-sea world where they live amongst the sea creatures. Water is what transported Africans to the shores. The water is the means in which a lot of people escaped — traveling up the river. The water was a means of salvation through baptism.
I remember Nikole told a story of how she had family members — this is like a story that's passed on through her family — who were chased by dogs at one point. And they jumped into the water so that the dogs wouldn't be able to smell their scent. And there's Flint, Katrina — there's just so many different ways in which the water kind of snakes through the lives of Black people. And so I was like, what about the water? We gotta have the water.
Annie: The crazy thing is that at this point, Nikole had not turned in the draft [of her opening essay], where she says, "they say our people were born on the water." We didn't know that that existed yet. That blew me away.