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Let’s talk entertainment. When was the last time you watched a show or listened to something you really felt connected to? Look, I know it’s easy to fall into line with what everyone is talking about or what you see on those not so random Facebook ads but it’s 2018 and it’s been time to change it up. Say hello to The Indie Creative Network (ICN). The digital platform triple-threat stacked with content, a voice and a mission, to show the world that indie creators are here with stories to tell and a fresh point of view that they’re bold enough to share. With Wize Grazette, self-proclaimed indie creator and social entrepreneur, at the forefront ICN is making waves that you’re going to want to ride.
When I was given the opportunity to interview Wize the first thing I did was check out ICN’s website. Once you click on ICN’s website you’re greeted with a clean home screen with three words in all caps: listen, watch, share - three choices that lead you to entire libraries of digital content. All created by diverse voices from around the world. Aimed at the millennial minds and creatives of today. From the Desi Queens behind the Chai Tea Party podcast giving their take on being an Indian woman in America, to the cool Colour Out The Box podcast driven by two Nigerian Women of color in London who showcase their distinctive point of view aiming to inspire and inform their listeners with satire and wit. The sheer amount of content alone is impressive and no two things are the same, and get this it doesn’t stop there. If you’re looking for another show to add to your watchlist, put ICN on your radar. Showcasing Podcasts and Web Series from indie artists, ICN is lifting underground names into the spotlight, and they are good.
With access to a list of series from indie producers like Losing Patience or #BestTweetEver along with numerous others you’ve found yourself a new binge watching candidate.
All of this awesomeness doesn’t just happen. It takes work, experience, and drive to bring something like ICN to the masses. And I would say Wize Grazette, the Owner and Creative Director of ICN, embodies each of those things. Gaining speed from his degree in Web m/ Management and Internet Commerce Wize took his knowledge to his roots, Barbados. As a first generation Bajan-American Wize took the chance to share his talents there, working as a web developer at a digital agency for almost two years. He describes this experience as his first jump into the tech/media industry. He goes on to say, “Taking experiences you get from your previous employers helps a lot. I’ve worked in Corporate America, and both Tech & Marketing industries. I pull from my experience in those industries everyday as an entrepreneur.” It’s true, Wize has covered a lot of ground in what seems like a short amount of time, but with his passion about Digital Media and his community as his driving force, his success is not a surprise.
When I asked him about what brought about his idea for The Indie Creative Network he had this to say: “I wanted to build a community of podcasters like mine. I’m a storyteller. My idea of the network itself is to present a story crafted by all of the unique voices on ICN.” As a former podcaster of his own show, The Encore Radio Show, from 2013-2017, Wize noticed the lack of diversity in the current podcast market and saw an opportunity to make a difference. Using his expertise in web development along with his experience podcasting he took a chance and ventured out to start ICN from the ground up. Wize calls his support system his tribe. What he realized when it got down to it was that his tribe was made up of indie creatives that deserved a chance to be heard. Once he got it started, word of mouth did the rest and ICN was born with a podcast. The digital platform Wize developed has given those who have found their voice an opportunity to share that with an audience and not only does that audience keep coming back, it’s growing. Podcast Co-Working space #ICNStudios in Brooklyn provides a variety of services and resources for local and remote Podcasts and Web Series. Wize calls every artist on ICN a leader: “These are leaders who may not have been groomed to be leaders in the traditional sense. [But] they have leadership skills and they’ve used those skills to speak.”
ICN is not just about entertainment. It’s about community, inspiration, and creativity. It started out as a platform with thirteen podcasts and has grown into a distributive hub of diverse, encouraging faces and voices. Creatives brought together by voicing their unique points of view, spreading a message to their audiences to let them know they are not alone. When I asked Wize where he sees ICN in the future he says, “I think of us as NPR - Public Radio on a global scale, representing a catalog of content from people of color around the world, who accurately provide a narrative for where they are in their lives. No one can do it but them.” There’s no limit to the impact ICN could make on the creative community and the general masses alike. With over 100 thousand regular listeners and a multitude of Global Talk and Music channels ICN is gaining global recognition. And that’s no exaggeration; with shows from multiple countries including India, South Africa and the U.K. it’s no wonder. So do yourself a favor and get into ICN whether you’re a listener or an artist. As part of the audience your options are endless and as a creator you’re setting yourself up for success. You can consider me hooked.