Photo: Courtesy of Yona Simons.
Yona Simons’ 2022 is off to a great start. The LA-native is starting her radio show, “Keeping it Real with Yona,” through the Black-owned, Greensboro-based radio station 105.1live. Simons attended East Carolina University from LA and graduated in 2018. She currently lives in Erwin, NC.
The first episode, Black Girl Magic, will premiere on Jan. 22 and will be available for streaming on iTunes, Spotify and more.
To start, tell us about you and how your radio show came about.
I was interviewed on another show promoting an event with my catering company and I showed the recording to my staff. They were like, Yo, you’d be great on the radio, something about keeping it real. That’s just how I am. I tend to keep it honest all the time.
I’m an entrepreneur, a realtor, I teach Spanish lessons and swim lessons, and adding on the radio show came about when working with my staff at KinderCare. My staff encouraged me and said this was something I needed to get into as a young Afro Latina.
I really wanted to provide that platform to other Afro-Latinas and show them they can do anything. Radio is a platform to really showcase that the sky is the limit. Also, I wanted to have a platform for someone who looks like me or talks like me on the radio.
How does that work, logistically? What are the steps to getting your own radio show?
Nothing but teamwork. I met the studio owner Derrick, and we had a one-on-one conversation. Anyone can have a show on 105.1 if you have a great idea. You just have to have the vision and the motivation to get your show and keep it running for the producer to invest in you.
My show is weekly, so every Saturday. It’s a live show. I’m having a media photo shoot on Sat. and then after each show, we go live on the radio station and then on Twitter, Instagram.
Why should we listen to your show over any others?
A lot of my show, you never know what you’re gonna get. We’re talking about entrepreneurs, sports, what it’s like to be a minority. We’re not just focusing on African Americans, but we’re really tapping into POC. I’m talking to Latinos, African Americans, mixed people, Asians, everyone out there. Living in that minority community, we’re everything. I want to give them a platform to share ideas and promote businesses.
What you’re gonna get with me is real. You’re going to get honesty and an unbiased opinion. Traveling all over the world being a military brat, I’m not judgmental. You’re going to get openness. I’m not talking about things I haven’t been through or that I’m not going through. You’re going to get guests who are out there in the community, who look like you and me. We’re giving you that guarantee that this can happen for you.
I want people to feel empowered when they listen to my show. I want them to feel inspired.
Your first episode is titled “Black Girl Magic”. What does Black Girl Magic mean to you?
Black Girl Magic is everything in the world. I mean, Black Girl Magic to me is the resilience that all of us naturally possess. The tenacity that we were born with to succeed and make a mark in the world, so the ability and the god-given right to be successful is what Black Girl Magic is.
You do so much already. How do you find the time to run your own radio show?
By the grace of god. Let’s be real, if you want something this much, you make it work. There is nothing I will not do to make sure this show is successful.
What do you envision for the future of this show? Will there be multiple seasons?
Multiple seasons for sure. I already have a full roster for February. Stuff for Black History Month. I have a chef coming on my show. He used to work for the Charlotte Bobcats. We have people from everywhere. The sky is the limit. I want everybody on my show.
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