Shavanna Spratt,

Shavanna Spratt, creator, and host of the Da Hood Talks Podcast. Everything she does for the podcast has a reason, including its title. She said ‘Da Hood’ represents those who came up in the struggle, folks who are marginalized, oppressed, and folks who have not been poured into.”

Shavanna Spratt, creator, and host of the Da Hood Talks Podcast which is entering its third season, is a mother of two and a community activist who doesn’t plan on slowing down.

“I needed to create a space for people who feel like me, who look like me,” said Spratt.

Everything she does for the podcast has a reason, including its title. She said ‘Da Hood’ represents those who came up in the struggle, folks who are marginalized, oppressed, and folks who have not been poured into.” 

She says these are the kind of people she brings onto her podcast, providing them a space where their voices count. Spratt is highlighting Black communities, the good work that is being done in them, and the people “moving that needle in the right direction.” 

The podcast made its debut in December of 2020 and Spratt has interviewed 126 guests. She said there have been “some growing pains.” She has learned “to work smarter and not harder.”

Her first season consisted of three live shows per month. She didn’t have a content schedule, so there were times when she felt overwhelmed.

Her podcast now has 5 segments, with each dedicated to one week per month. She has “Da Hood Needs,” which covers non-profit organizations, “Da Hood Heals,”  where mental health issues are addressed, and the “Storytelling Segment,” which covers community members making a difference in the St. Louis region.

“Community Shoutout” takes the podcast to local events and captures moments while she engages with people. Her “Live Community Panel,” which is the first of every month,  discusses possible solutions to regional problems. Guests include professionals, activists, and others who discuss ways to help Black and brown communities in St. Louis. 

Guests have included Rebeccah Bennet, Mayor Ella Jones of Ferguson, and Saul White Jr. of the Harlem Globetrotters.

“I don’t highlight famous people. What’s vital to me is talking with folks that people don’t know, but have impactful stories. The folks that many people don’t think matter”, said Spratt. 

And sometimes those candid conversations produce difficult moments. Spratt handles each interview with grace, engaging with her guests with a hope that some knowledge is being spread amongst her listeners herself included.

She called the podcast “very therapeutic for me”, and she often ends shows more knowledgeable than when it began. Whatever the issue; crime, Black health disparities, community policing, she is prepared.

“I’m bringing everyone to the table because we all have a part in this. Everyone includes local leadership, non-profit organizations, and corporate businesses too,” she said.

Spratt can share information that might not reach many St. Louisans, and she wants to address topics that are authentic to Black people and the Black experience. She says others can tell our stories but not in a way that speaks to us or even honors us. 

“Da Hood Talks is a place where we can talk about things that are for us and by us in our own way because this is our truth,” said Spratt. 

She isn’t judgemental when talking with a guest and provides a space where they can be comfortable and vulnerable in their truth. She wants guests to be relaxed enough “to know without a shadow of a doubt she isn’t trying to exploit their stories but uplift them.”

Ashley Winters is the Report for America reporter for the St. Louis American

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