Podcast hosts Rose Frimpong and Nana Duncan tell us how their show became one of the go-to sources of entertainment for many Black British lesbians and how it has played a significant role in their own lives, too.
You might struggle to think of many Black British lesbians in the public eye, if any at all. It’s something both Rose Frimpong, 29, and Nana Duncan, 28, from London felt when they were looking for representation in the mainstream media. This lack of presence encouraged them to start their very own platform, Two Twos Podcast.
The duo are best friends met through what they describe as “classic lesbian introduction” – through an ex-girlfriend five years ago.
The podcast, which initially started out as a YouTube channel, is nearing its first birthday and neither of them expected the response to be so positive or even anticipated their discussions to spark in-depth conversations on their Twitter timeline weekly. While amassing thousands of listens across all streaming sites, spotlighted on Spotify and also collaborating with RCA label – they are on a great roll.
During each episode, the hosts have honest and hilarious yet thought-provoking discussions with each other about everything from sex and relationships to lazy stereotypes, which of course is made easy because of their close friendship. “A lot of these conversations are conversations we have without a microphone anyway,” Frimpong says, “So it just flows.”
She wasn’t sure the cis straight men who follow her on Twitter would “even click on the link to listen” but to her surprise, they are also among Two’s Two’s loyal listeners and have expressed to the hosts that they’re are thankful to have a space to listen to LGBTQ+ issues and stories. “They feel like they learnt a lot and it’s helped them to get rid of their pre-judgement,” Frimpong says.
Over the years, I’ve seen a huge shift with people accommodating those who are from the LGBTQ+ community and becoming greater allies however there is still a lot of work to be done especially with the older generation. “We come from households where our parents had to unlearn certain things,” Duncan says. “I guess we just hoped for the same from people that we don’t know”.
Over 41 episodes, Two Twos have been joined by guests to discuss topics such as bisexuality, starting a family in a same-sex couple, being gay and Muslim and interracial lesbian couples. The show has become such an essential hub for those in the LGBTQ+ community, so much so for one of their friends who came out as non-binary on an episode. “They’ve always been a huge supporter of our content from our YouTube days and have actually mentioned it is a safe space for them,” says Duncan.
While their platform has served as fundamental for many, it has also been a place where both hosts have learned and discovered so much over the past 12 months. One of their most special episode on Christianity and homosexuality with guest Reverend Jide Macaulay, who is gay is a particular stand out.
Macaulay is the founder of House of Rainbow, a group that aims to create a safe space for QTIPOC. The episode focused on making peace with sexuality and religion, which is something a lot of LGBTQ+ people from the Black community in particular struggle with. It was also important to Frimpong because it was comforting to have an older Black man who affirmed her sexuality. “He was validating us, whereas at home, anyone that looks like him in our households was telling us, ‘No, you can’t do this, you can’t be this way’” she says. “Maybe if we had a voice like that in our household, maybe some of the traumas that we’ve experienced we wouldn’t have. I think for me, I went back to younger Rose, [while recording to this episode] and younger Rose was happy at that moment,” she continues.
Portrayals of the queer experience is so poor that many of us wait for Pride to see ourselves on the forefront of mainstream media however the hosts share the sentiment that the representation for Black lesbians during Pride month is limited. Duncan argues that “there isn’t one queer experience” but judging by what is on offer during June and July, you would be mistaken. When Pride month rolls around, social media is filled with everything from rainbow profile pictures to T-shirts, to sandwiches, but the same kind of faces are put forward for these campaigns – and it’s not diverse.
Addressing those brands and organisations who are performative, Ducan says “Queer people don’t only exist in June and July. We’ve been here, we’ve always been here”. And she’s bang on - representation needs to go further than those 61 days. Echoing this, Frimpong says representation isn’t just a buzzword, for Black lesbians, this is undoubtedly crucial as it helps to be able to see a version of yourself reflected back at you so you don’t feel so alone.
Duncan says Black masc-presenting women are missing from the mainstream media because they are not seen as palatable. “I think they [brands] have in their mind an idea of what lesbian is, and I just don’t think that we fit that scope.” Frimpong interjects, adding: “We don’t really see dark-skinned Black, queer women, and a lot of the time if you do see them, they are American”.
Duncan has been a tomboy since she was a teen, but she says it has been a gradual process over the next 10 years of her becoming comfortable being masc-presenting. “I definitely faced backlash from my family, my mum, in particular, was upset when she learned I was wearing boxers. At that point I wasn’t bothered by anyone’s opinion on the way I presented, I just ignored it”.
Frimpong says, “I tried to be what is socially described as feminine but I was always so awkward doing so.” She identifies as masc-presenting just two to three years ago. “I dropped labels like stud and stem which I identified previously. I felt masc-presenting gave room for me to express myself how I wanted and I felt less restricted with this identity,” she shares.
The podcast has become a go-to entertainment and safe place for many but it has also played an important part for the hosts on a deeper level. For Frimpong, it has helped repair a friendship that was broken when she came out. “We’ve gotten close again because she’s been asking questions, she has been understanding. I’ve seen a different tone in her voice now, and it’s more warming like it used to be before I came out. So I will say it’s [the podcast] changed that relationship especially.”
As for Duncan whose brother is a Christian, the podcast has made her more comfortable talking about her sexuality with him. She explains: “My brother and his wife are Christians I feel like that episode with Rev Jide made me a bit more comfortable to talk about my sexuality to them, and just be even more unapologetic than I already am. So after that, I did have a discussion with them, it didn’t go how you probably expected, but we can still have different views and still love each other and still be okay.”
With not a stone left unturned in their dating or sex lives, there is no denying that the duo are unapologetically themselves online, which they stress is so important to them both. “We’re so comfortable with who we are, we’re unapologetic. We just own who we are, and we own the things that we do” Duncan says. Agreeing with her comments, Frimpong says: “I think for me, I spent a long time hiding the real me that now it’s like, I’m going to be swinging from the rainbow, you know?”