Photo: Courtesy of Yona Simons.
Yona Simons’ year 2022 has started well. The Los Angeles native is launching her radio show, “Keeping it Real with Yona,” through black-owned, Greensboro-based radio station 105.1live. Simons attended East Carolina University in Los Angeles and graduated in 2018. She currently lives in Erwin, North Carolina.
The first episode, black girl magic, will premiere on January 22 and will be available to stream on iTunes, Spotify and more.
To begin, tell us about yourself and the genesis of your radio show.
I was interviewed on another show promoting an event with my catering company and showed the recording to my staff. They were like, Yo, you’d be great on the radio, something about keeping it real. That’s how I am. I tend to stay honest all the time.
I’m an entrepreneur, a realtor, I teach Spanish lessons and swimming lessons, and the addition to the radio show came about when I was working with my staff at KinderCare. My staff encouraged me and told me this was something I needed to get into as a young Afro Latina.
I really wanted to give this platform to other Afro-Latinas and show them that they can do anything. Radio is a platform to really show 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 it work, logistically? What are the steps to get your own radio show?
Just teamwork. I met studio owner Derrick and we had a one-on-one chat. Anyone can have a show on 105.1 if you have a good idea. You just need to have the vision and the drive to get your show up and running so the producer will invest in you.
My show is weekly, so every Saturday. It’s a live broadcast. I have a media photo shoot on Saturday. then after each show, we go live on the radio then on Twitter, Instagram.
Why should we listen to your show rather than another?
A big part of my show, you never know what you’re gonna get. We talk about entrepreneurs, sports, what it’s like to be a minority. We don’t just focus on African Americans, but we really leverage POC. I talk to Latinos, African Americans, mixed race, Asians, everyone. Living in this minority community, we are everything. I want to give them a platform to share ideas and promote businesses.
What you’re going to have with me is real. You are going to get honesty and an unbiased opinion. Traveling all over the world being a military brat, I’m not passing judgment. You’re going to get open. I don’t talk about things that I haven’t experienced or that I’m not going through. You’re going to have guests who are out there in the community, who look like you and me. We give you this guarantee that it 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 called “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 we all naturally possess. The tenacity with which we are born to succeed and leave a mark on the world, therefore the ability and divine right to succeed is what Black Girl Magic is all about.
You already do so much. How do you find the time to start your own radio show?
By the grace of God. Let’s face it, if you want something that bad, you make it work. There’s nothing I won’t do to make sure this show is a success.
What do you envision for the future of this show? Will there be multiple seasons?
Certainly several seasons. I already have a complete list for February. Tips for Black History Month. I have a chef who comes on my show. He worked for the Charlotte Bobcats. We have people from all over. Sky is the limit. I want everyone on my show.