Highwater is a practical pop-culture driven advice show for artists and creatives. Highwater provides resources, inspiration, and food for thought to fuel your creative fire and amplifies all things awesome in the worlds of art, culture and media.


  • #20: A Guide to the BlackStar Film Festival

    22/09/2016 Duration: 34min

    For the ‘woke’ ones among us, the eighth month of the year is also know as “Black August,” and for the last five years the BlackStar Film Festival has been a hub for African-centered cinematic art from around the world. To conclude the first season of the Highwater Podcast, we talked to artists and creatives Terence Nance, Darren Wallace, Michael Dennis (Mike D), Nuala Cabral, Eugene Haynes and BlackStar Founder Maori Karmael Holmes about the festival and what’s next in Black film.

  • #19: A Black Twitter Love Story w/ Tahir Jetter

    24/08/2016 Duration: 25min

    Filmmaker Tahir Jetter talks about how Black Twitter and music artists like Drake, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar inspired him to examine the psyche of the vulnerable Black Millennial man in his debut feature film, How To Tell If You’re A Douchebag. Jetter also talks about the legacy Spike Lee created for emerging Black filmmakers at his alma mater New York University (NYU), and shares his experience securing distribution for Douchebag, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.

  • #18: Gucci Saved My Life, w/ Dave Helem

    16/08/2016 Duration: 01h01min

    Comedian Dave Helem shares his insight on comedy as a Chicagoan, a Black man, and a disciple of both Kanye West and Gucci Mane. Behind the jokes is a real dialogue about not letting the machine chew you up and spit you out. We also talked about whether there is a brotherhood among Black comedians, and the difference between a comedian and someone who is just funny on the internet.

  • #17: The Artist's Guide to Being Woke w/ Felonious Munk

    09/08/2016 Duration: 48min

    "Black people doing anything they want to do is a subversive act." A funny conversation with comedian Felonious Munk evolved into an important dialogue about love, being woke, staying in your lane, and why it is okay for some artists to keep quiet if they don't know how to articulate their politics. You can find Munk in comedy venues around the country, in the critically-acclaimed touring Second City show Afrofuturism, and on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.

  • #16: Emotions vs. Vulnerablity, with Felonious Munk

    03/08/2016 Duration: 22min

    In a review of VIEWS by artist Drake, author Neil McCormick states that “Drake’s navel-gazing is wearing thin” and called the album an “anthem for the selfie generation.” In this episode Chakka and extra special guest comedian Felonious Munk talk about Drake’s most recent instance of surface self-reflection and what artists and creatives can do to make sure that we are truly being vulnerable, and not just emotional. Chakka also gets into her zodiac bag a bit and explains why Drake could be a great example for other Scorpio creatives.

  • #15: The Artist’s Guide to Mental Health w/ Alice Berry

    26/07/2016 Duration: 26min

    Alice Berry is an artist, independent clothing designer and clinical counselor. She specializes in talk psychotherapy as well as time and stress management techniques, including meditation training. Alice specializes in counseling for people whose work, avocation, or passion includes using inspiration, generating ideas, or the study and mastery of craft or technique. Alice talks about how artists can take an active role in their mental wellness.

  • #14: (Suicide) Hotline Bling

    19/07/2016 Duration: 11min

    Chakka shares her suicide hotline story, and how she knew she had to break things off with one particular therapist.

  • #13: #NoShameDay with Poet Bassey Ikpi

    12/07/2016 Duration: 01h09min

    Poet and Mental Health Advocate Bassey Ikpi started #NoShameDay in 2012 to encourage a day of dialogue and transparency about mental health issues. In this episode Bassey share her own story about how she found help and meaning in her own mental health challenges, and Highwater host Chakka Reeves shares a bit of her own mental health story as well. We hope that everyone who listens to this finds strength in these stories. As Bassey says, as long as you are here, you have a purpose. Even when the night it at its darkest, allow yourself morning.

  • #12: Good Artist, B.A.A.D. Friend

    07/07/2016 Duration: 08min

    Chakka describes what she learned about people, friendships and creativity during a particularly intense week. If you've wondered why creative accomplishments are sometimes accompanied by social isolation, check this episode out and feel free to send it to any friends or family who feel neglected by the creatives in their lives.

  • #11: Commit To The Work: Creativity and Scholarship w/ Dr. Yaba Blay

    28/06/2016 Duration: 24min

    Dr. Yaba Blay is a professor, author, ethnographer and producer who is committed to making scholarship about global Black identities and the politics of hair and skin accessible outside of the Ivory Tower. This episode is not only a treat for fans of Dr. Blay's work, but any creative who wants to build a career that honors their culture, creativity and scholarship at the same time. Named to The Root 100 (2014), an annual list of top Black influencers, Dr. Blay is one of today’s leading voices on colorism and global skin color politics.

  • #10: Inputs, Outputs and Mental Wellness for Creatives

    22/06/2016 Duration: 11min

    Chakka explains why creatives should be mindful of their "inputs." Social media, traditional media, news and even how-to books can hamper the creative process.

  • #9: The Business of Show- Creating Hyperlocal Hollywood Alternatives with Creative Cypher's Michael Issac and Troy Pryor

    14/06/2016 Duration: 40min

    Creative Cypher is a non-profit media and creative incubator dedicated to giving Chicago-based creatives opportunities that go way beyond your average networking event. Michael Issac and Troy Pryor discuss how they formed Creative Cypher to address the needs of Chicago-based actors, comedians, film industry professionals, musicians and other creatives who want to build a career without leaving home. Learn more about the Creative Cypher model, how aspiring film and media professionals can approach Hollywood with something to offer, and why it is important for local artists in Chicago and beyond to bring the industry back to their neighborhoods. Listeners of this episode of the Highwater Podcast can receive a free 5-Day Home Try-On from Warby Parker. Tune in to find out how. Please leave a review and subscribe!

  • #8: Mentors, Avatars and Ancestors for Creatives

    07/06/2016 Duration: 10min

    Chakka talks about asking for mentorship the right way, calling on support from the ancestors and picking avatars to guide your career and creative process.

  • #7: ABC - The Art, Business and Curation Masterclass with Janice Bond

    31/05/2016 Duration: 48min

    This episode is brought to you by #BlackGirlMagic and the letter C for COINS. Janice Bond (@gypsetproper) is an artist, arts advocate and cultural rainmaker. This conversation turned into a masterclass on how artists can make money from art and create sustainable business models. Janice talks about her most recent work, including an art exhibition in Latvia, how and why she started an art curator-for-hire consultancy company, and how she builds fiscal support of other artists into her business model. We also talk about what art funders are looking for, the need for hyperlocal art support, and other art- entrepreneur essentials. As if all this isn't enough, Janice has some of the most diverse and obscure music picks of any guest we've had so far, so be sure to tune in to the very end. Go to http://www.gethighwater.com/podcast to learn more about Janice's work, and for show notes and links.

  • #6:'Lauryn Hill's Perfection Paralysis'

    24/05/2016 Duration: 12min

    Good may be the enemy of great, but perfect is definitely the enemy of progress. Some of our favorite artists make us wait for new music, shows, and art because they are waiting for the "right" time to show up. Here are some tips on how to conquer the fear that keeps us from starting, shipping, and growing.

  • #5: 'Real Artists Copy:' A Conversation with Artist Nick Briz

    17/05/2016 Duration: 29min

    New media artist and educator Nick Briz talks about copying as a key, rather than a threat to creativity. Nick shares his insights on how artists can share their work freely on the web and get over the fear of being ripped off, also known as "Copycat Paranoia." Nick also talks about the evolution of the term "genius" and how artists can copy without appropriating.

  • #4: 'The Right Way to Work for Free'

    10/05/2016 Duration: 09min

    Why working for free is better than working at a discount, and more tips for how creatives and artists can make free work work to our advantage. BONUS: Check out gethighwater.com for a copy of the Definitive Working for Free Checklist.

  • #3: 'The Revolution, Televised: Diversity, Web Series, and the Future of TV,' with guest Dr. Aymar Jean Christian

    03/05/2016 Duration: 48min

    Are we in a TV golden age, or is there too much TV? What role does the web series have in increasing diversity in media? How does one gain an audience for their web series? Based on his research, including interviews with the creators of over 100 web series, Dr. Aymar Jean Christian shares his findings about the future of TV, both on and offline. Dr. Christian is also the founder of OpenTV, a web platform that promotes indie series by queer, trans, cis-women and artists of color.

  • #2: 'Shade & Lemonade, Personal vs. Private'

    26/04/2016 Duration: 05min

    Prince is gone, Beyonce is reborn, and we can all learn from both. How can you keep your work authentic without sacrificing your privacy?

  • #1: 'Elf Money', with guest Johnny Ray Gill

    19/04/2016 Duration: 40min

    How do you decide when a career move is the right one? Perhaps no artist needs to be as careful about career decisions as actors do, whose choices are not only recorded forever, but as in the case of Zoe Sandaña, become fodder for larger conversations about culture and identity. Actor, Director, Writer and Producer Johnny Ray Gill (BrainDead, Underground, Rectify) shares his creative career visioning process in this hilarious, honesty and powerful inaugural episode.

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