Our Lifestyle Editor, Ashley Graham, had the unique opportunity of conducting this interview with Madison Shockley III.
There’s a lot to say and be said about love and dating in this day and age, and with all the challenges of finding love it’s a subject on everyone’s mind, it seems. Madison Shockley III may not have the answers as of yet, but he’s certainly having fun with the discussion. You may know Madison as Fred from The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, the beautiful brainchild of Issa Rae. We sat down with Madison and talked about his own brainchild, a podcast called Where Is The Love?, and about his own views on romance.
Black Star Magazine: Why did you make this podcast?
Madison Shockley III: I was mostly driven by curiosity and a desire for personal development in myself, especially out here in the dating world and being in relationships and wanting more fulfilling relationships at the same time. There’s always room for improvement, and I found that there were some communication things that I needed to work on. I also wanted to explore what women think so I could better understand how my behavior may affect my relationships.
BSM: How did it start?
MS: I was talking with a friend (co–creator Mareshah “MJ” Jackson) about experiences dating on Tinder. She was sharing frustrations about things that guys do and I was sharing some of my frustrations, like chatting and wanting to take things to the next level and things shut down right there. We learned a lot from what we had to share. I didn’t know some of what I did was a pet peeve for many women. The conversation went on for hours and at the end of the conversation we thought, what if we surveyed our friends about their dating experiences, and found out what things did or didn’t work and shared them through a podcast? It was an extension of the conversation and joy that the conversation brought.
BSM: Were your friends receptive to the idea?
MS: They were really supportive. We started having conversations with our friends before the podcast, and that furthered my excitement about it. I started learning a lot about friends that I didn’t know because we never went that deep on the subject. That really propelled me to keep working on it. Producing the podcast was a lot of fun, editing not so much. Conducting the interviews was awesome. Two of my friends are actually together now as a result!
BSM: What are you most excited about for this season of the podcast?
MS: Video. I’ve talked to tons of listeners and one of the most consistent things I’ve heard is that people want to see the expressions so they can feel like they’re in the room with us.
BSM: Are there any new ideas you want to incorporate in this season of the podcast that you didn’t get to try with the first season?
MS: In the first season I was deliberate about going in order from beginning of relationship to end (marriage/breakup) just to cover the whole spectrum. It was very broad and didn’t get into specific issues that I’ll get to in the next season. I’m planning on discussing long distance relationships and how those can work, mental health, and more about sex and the science behind sex.
BSM: What do you think is the most significant lesson you’ve learned/advice you’ve received about love in this day and age?
MS: One of my friends, actress and comedian Yvone Orgi, gave me some really great dating advice. We both participated in Love Is a Verb, which she was hosting, and she told me that I need to date with more purpose. I need to know what I’m looking for instead of using the “I’ll know when I find it” attitude. It’s taken me time to figure out my purpose—to find a wife, have fun, etc. I know now that I’m searching for a passionate love connection. There’s love that you feel for someone based on commitment between each other, love for somebody that you’ve been through a lot with and shared understanding, and then there’s passionate love when you can’t sleep because they’re on your mind and you feel ecstasy when things are going well. I want the whole trifecta, but especially that passionate love.
BSM: Tell us about one love-related experience you’ve had that has taught you a lot.
MS: My most recent experience was that passionate love. It taught me that in relationships, you learn about the person, but you also learn a lot about yourself. Their energy bouncing off yours can bring out different things about yourself that you may not have realized. I think that’s the beauty of being in love, the growth that you can experience. It exposes your strengths and insecurities, especially when it’s a highly emotional relationship, it’ll bring those things out of you and amplify different parts of your personality and allow you to grow more.
BSM: Aside from the podcast, what other projects are you working on?
MS: I’m actually working on a top-secret project with my brother Shea William Vanderport (also from Awkward Black Girl) where we reenact real life dating stories/experiences, have the couples that submit the stories narrate their own experiences. It’s live action, and I’ll be acting in it. Hopefully we’ll have a good balance positive stories and… shadier experiences. The goal is to show people how they look when they’re in these experiences and raise the relationship IQ.
BSM: How can we reach you on social media?
MS: You can reach me on Facebook at Madison Shockley III, and on Twitter and IG as @the_bae_expert.
And for those who want to check out the first season of the podcast, you can find it here.
Ashley Graham, Lifestyle Editor