(Updated 10/24/2014) When Brian “BG” Gosa and Jeremy “Tight Tight” Ellis became members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., they knew they wanted to continue an integral principle of the fraternity – being bridge builders in their communities.
As hosts of the “Free Lunch Podcast,” Gosa, 32, and Ellis, 33, are bridging the gap between the young and older generations, bringing a fresh perspective on social issues that impact their world, according to their website.
“We owe it to the young people to show them the way,” Gosa told the AFRO. “It’s our responsibility to build a bridge for the next group so they can go further that what we have gone to.”
“Free Lunch Podcast,” which launched in July, is published on iTunes every Thursday. The podcast discusses topics like the role of the Black church in society, the affects of social media on society and what men really want. All topics are geared toward an urban audience who are at least 28 years old and has about 150 listeners per episode.
“We want to create a place where people can come to our blog website, listen to our podcast and get a breath of fresh air,” Gosa said.
Avid listener Don Newsom of Alexandria, Va., said he enjoys the healthy debate and different point of views on hot topic issues affecting the Black community.
“A lot of the other podcasts that I listen to either dance around subjects that are important to Black people, or give cookie cutter answers,” Newsom, 25, told the AFRO in a later interview. “You won’t get that on the ‘Free Lunch Podcast.’”
Gosa and Ellis both had their own blogs before conceiving the idea of a podcast in April 2014.
Gosa, a full-time pharmacist, said they were looking for a platform to share their views on current events and hot topics to a broader audience.
“We were looking for a way to have a positive impact on society and on our peers,” he said.
Gosa said he and Ellis want to highlight the value of “manhood” because the media often portrays men as hypersexual and disrespectful toward women and children.
“We want to let men know that it’s okay to be a man,” Gosa said. “And to our female listeners, we want to let them know and be encouraged that there are men out there and make them aware of things men deal with. We are just bringing some realism into what it means to be a man in 2014.”
Ellis, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., currently resides in the D.C. metropolitan area and is a full-time senior consultant. He said he uses the podcasts to have real conversations with the public.
“I go to work every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but at the end of the day I can use this platform to share my perspective on hot topics and really live out my purpose,” Ellis said.
Many podcasts and radio shows bring an East Coast and West Coast perspective, but none have the Southern perspective, Ellis said. Although much of their audience lives in the D.C. area, Ellis and Gosa are also targeting places like Selma, Ala. – Gosa’s city of residence – where many people may not know about podcasts, he said.
“Not only have they just been introduced to a podcast, but they see us take an idea and a thought and follow through with it,” Ellis said. “We are trying to push a culture forward, to provide a perspective that is seldom heard from and under-utilized.”
Ellis said that despite this challenge, “Free Lunch Podcast” continues to grow each week with more and more listeners.
“I think that because there is a void in authenticity with social media and reality television shows and things like that, people will be drawn to us,” he said. “We don’t want to water down what we talk about. We are trying to provide a genuine conversation to our audience.”
Rodney Taylor, 46, of D.C., said he listens because not only is the podcast a refreshing, authentic conversation but also the hosts present beliefs that are similar to his.
“The southern flavor that’s entrenched in their thoughts is what also keeps me listening,” Taylor said. “I’m from the South myself and a lot of what these guys talk about definitely resonates with me.”
Ellis and Gosa said they are not only inspired by their families but they also said they try to be an inspiration to younger siblings and mentees.
“At the end of the day it’s about reaching your full potential and maximizing that,” Ellis said. “It’s about really understanding what your purpose is and living it out.”
With so much negativity surrounding Black people in the media, “Free Lunch Podcast” is simply a way listeners can get a “nutritional food for the soul” and a positive perspective, Ellis said.
The “Free Lunch Podcast” is published on iTunes and also available at: http://freelunchpodcast.blogspot.com/