This week I chatted with Terry Torrington from SlayTV about their growing presence and domination in the QPOC space. Sean and Terry Torrington created SlayTV as a way to uplift marginalized voices within the LGBTQIA community, mainly those of Black and Brown, Trans QPOC. Since then, they have also founded Slayfest, an annual summer festival that celebrates the diversity of the Queer community.
Johnathan Gibbs: Hey Terry, thanks for taking the time to do this interview!
Terry Torrington: Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure
JG: So, for the readers who may not have heard of Slayfest or even SlayTV, how did this all get started?
TT: Whew, I don’t know if there’s a short version but I’ll try. After having some success on YouTube with skits and Sean eventually creating “ No Shade “ , we wanted to elevate our creativity in a way that wasn’t done before. We weren’t 100% clear on it but just knew it had to be different. In a late night conversation I told Sean I was gonna take a shot at creating my first web series and instead of doing the usual YouTube release, we should create a platform…like an app. At the time I just said it not thinking Sean would actually bring it to life. Instead of making the platform exclusive to our own content we decided to tether other queer/trans content to the app. The Artkutec app brought in over 20k followers. It got the attention of a lot of people which brought us to our 3rd co founder James Felton Keith. He worked with us to scale out the idea and create a revenue driven business. The intention from the beginning was to have community based events and Sean went full steam into it in 2017 enrolling a team to create amazing programming and bring the community together to celebrate arts and culture
JG: So what was the specific intent with Slayfest, and how has the experience of building an annual festival for our community been over the past 3 years?
TT: So the intention with SLAYFEST is to connect and bridge the LGBTQI+ family in a celebratory space . With SLAY TV and SLAYFEST our goal is to be inclusive and bridge the gap between us. Sean and the rest of the team has been in the trenches with building the festival from 2017 and from my experience looking in, it has been challenging, rewarding and eye opening. Watching everyone stretch and making shit happen has been so inspiring to me. Along the journey it’s been about taking notes, seeing what works and what doesn’t work and making sure we build and create an amazing experience for everyone
JG: You and I recently sat down and talked about the process of creating a web series and it was a very informative conversation. When are you going to do your own master class?
TT: Ha! I don’t know about a MasterClass , I don’t feel like a master yet. I think I’m a decent writer and the work I’ve done so far has been great but I have so much to learn and so much to do. I do enjoy sharing the knowledge I picked up along the way because putting it in words helps me understand what the hell I’m doing too.
JG: So what’s does the future hold for both SlayTV and Slayfest? What would be your ultimate experience?
TT: The intention with the entire SLAY umbrella is to be a global force, not only including the entire QTPOC spectrum but tapping into the culture across the diaspora. We recently started our digital SLAYGENCY. We’re working with larger brands that intend to market to our community making sure they’re being integral and true to our culture . We’re also launching our official SLAY TV app on June 19th and already planning for SLAYFEST 2020. The ultimate experience for me would be being in the position to hire and empower creatives, professionals and visionaries from the community and create our own industry. Our goal is to have ownership of our culture and not wait for mainstream media to consign us.
JG: Well Terry, thanks for taking the time out to do this with me today
TT: No problem, thank you having me!