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Creating ‘Love From A Distance’
by Jeremy Berry
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August 31, 2020

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9 Minute Read

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Creating ‘Love From A Distance’

Jeremy Berry's Instagram post that sparked the idea for Love From A Distance (Photo credit: Jeremy Berry)
Jeremy Berry’s original Instagram post that sparked the idea for the podcast “Love From A Distance.” (Photo credit: Jeremy Berry)

It was March 16, 2020 and I had just decided to truncate the backend of my business trip to LA after accompanying my sister to the grocery store. She said that she had received “insider information” about an imminent lockdown due to what the news was calling the novel coronavirus, and she asked me to help her stock up on food before there was a pandemic feeding frenzy. Well, it seemed that just about everyone had gotten the same insider memo–the shelves were bare and the aisles were littered with leftovers. I thought it best to make haste back to NorCal and be near my parents with the advent of The Rona. I stopped by to see my nephew and we snapped a quick, lighthearted IG pic that we joked was a “social-distance selfie”. In jest, I tagged it with #LoveFromADistance.

Back in Northern California, the coronavirus jokes had worn off, and the weight of reality was setting in: the reality that the current administration had not taken seriously the warnings of the scientific community; the reality that millions of people were going to be infected by this aggressive disease; the reality that hundreds of thousands if not millions of people were going to die! Earlier this year, in February, I had spent a week in Sydney, Australia with the beautiful woman in my life. On the fourteen-hour flight back to California, I missed her but I had no idea how profoundly I would pine for her in the months to come. International borders were closing and I quickly realized it might be a year – or longer – before I could see the woman that I cared so deeply for.

As the cloud of COVID-19 began to sweep across the globe like The Nothing in Neverending Story, I watched as my business and everything orbiting around it literally froze in space and time. Over the past 4+ years, my business partner James Artis and I had built a successful public speaking firm from the ground up. We had gone from one $10,000 check to doing 100x that in revenues since inception, and we were supposed to have our best year yet…in 2020. Ha! By March 18, a few of our client’s public speaking events had cancelled. 

I could not have known that Love From A Distance would become a space where Black love is spoken of like a superpower.

By March 19, more than half of our client’s events had cancelled. By March 20, I had fallen into a dark depression as every last one of our firm’s engagements had either been postponed indefinitely or just outright taken off the books. This was the nightmare that every entrepreneur stays awake to circumvent. 

After a couple of days of sulking, I asked my father to pray over my business, my business partner and our clients. Then I picked myself up, got to work and started to ideate. My mind meandered a bit before I got a ping from my sister on the ‘gram. I don’t remember what she hit me about, but I do remember that I ended up coming across that March 16 selfie of my nephew and me. I chuckled for a sec, and then the hashtag slapped me in the face…#LoveFromADistance.

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Jeremy Berry and his friend, Iyanla Vanzant (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Berry)
Jeremy Berry and his friend, Iyanla Vanzant (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Berry)

I thought about the pain and anxiety that I was experiencing from being so disconnected from the person I loved the most. I thought about others who might be dealing with the same. I pondered the severity of the heartache experienced by those who were being torn from their loved ones in hospitals without an opportunity to embrace them one last time. It’s not just that this was all unprecedented in our lifetimes, it’s that we were all just so unprepared. I knew that there was only one power in the universe that would see us through what was going to be the most catastrophic year any of us would face. And I knew just the person to call on: my client, my confidant, my friend Iyanla Vanzant

I called Iya (as I affectionately refer to her) and told her that I had an idea. I explained that I wanted to start a podcast network to amplify the voices of our community, and I asked her to be the host of the network’s premiere podcast…Love From A Distance. Less than two weeks later, we launched Love From A Distance with celebrated actress and Queen Sugar’s own Tina Lifford as the co-host. Over the past six months, we’ve been blessed with appearances by such brilliant human beings as Anthony Hamilton, Dr. Jess, H.E.R., Danielle Brooks, Elaine Welteroth, Melanie Fiona, Jewel Burks-Solomon, and the loving couple themselves and creators of the Black Love docuseriesTommy and Codie Elaine Oliver

I could not have known that a jestful IG post would set the stage for one of the biggest pivots of my life while also providing a platform for tens of thousands of people to connect and share love with one another during this epoch of isolation. I could not have known that Love From A Distance would become a space where Black love is spoken of like a superpower.

Making the intentional decision to dedicate a space to love, in general, has granted us the opportunity to love on the Black community.

Jeremy Berry (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Berry)
Jeremy Berry (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Berry)

What I do know, is that outside of the typical social media and streaming platforms, BlackLove.com is the perfect space to continue to share the love lifestyle that we’ve created because, here, they understand the transformative power of affirming our love for one another. With the help of outlets like BlackLove.com, SpkerBox Media–our little podcast network that could–is cultivating a beautiful, compassionate audience with two flagship podcasts currently in production. And we’re stocking the shelves with more in store. Moreover, we are capturing and streaming all of the pain, the joy, the sorrow, the laughter, the despair, the hope, the hate, and most importantly the love that 2020 has given birth to. We are capturing…we are streaming…we are capturing and streaming our Black love. 
With Love From A Distance,

Jeremy Berry

CEO/SpkerBox Media Inc.

P.S. from Ceyanna Dent (Co-EP, Love From A Distance)

WATCH NOW

“I believe love is a powerful form of resistance against oppression. This year has tasked the Black community with mourning our slain brothers and sisters while contending with the injustices of the two pandemics targeting us: COVID-19 and racism. Love From A Distance making the intentional decision to dedicate a space to love, in general, has granted us the opportunity to love on the Black community, specifically. For us, having Tommy and Codie Elaine Oliver agree to join our conversation was monumental. They have unselfishingly and unapologetically leveraged their space and voice to this mission. Not only has their show, Black Love Doc, provided necessary representation and inspiration, so too has their own love.”

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