#AHHPowerfulWomen: Scholar Nola Haynes Takes Talk Shows To Bold, New Directions

Nola Haynes carves several lanes in the crowded field of talk shows and academia. Get to know this AHH Powerful Woman!

(AllHipHop Features) Los Angeles is a tough town to thrive in, but the true cream rises to the top through innovation, creativity and tenacity. Nola Haynes current PhD student in Political Science and International Relations, but has garnered out attention through an incredibly unique venture, NHTV. NHTV is hosted by Haynes, also a seasoned talk show host. Nola turned towards a career as an academic after she was an union actress, living and working in Los Angeles. Following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Nola’s native home of New Orleans, LA., she decided to return to college. Nola attended UCLA, Harvard Divinity School and is currently in a PhD program in Political Science and International Relations at USC in Los Angeles. After graduating from Harvard, Nola returned to Los Angeles. Nola created NHTV in a down period, between jobs.

NHTV is an independent, docu-style, traveling, online-based talk show. NHTV highlights the professional lives of creatives, entrepreneurs and innovators. The show documents real life, a feature that sets NHTV apart from studio-based talk shows. It draw conversation and context together in a manner we almost never see.

AllHipHop: It is a little known fact that you once wrote for AllHipHop, back in the day! I checked and the articles are there, deep in the archives.

Nola Haynes: Yes, that’s true. Thank you AllHipHop for reaching back to highlight a past writer for your March celebration of women. I feel at home in this space because Hip-Hop is the soundtrack to my life.

AllHipHop: You are the first scholar we have featured in this series. But, you have the other side, which is NHTV (Nola Haynes TV). How do you manage both?

Nola Haynes: Really? That blows me away. That fact makes this more of a honor, thank you for including me. In all honesty, managing both is exciting and strikes balance in my life. However, managing both identities, scholar and creative has its challenges. To me, scholars are creatives, the training is just different. Scholars, create and write all day. NHTV is the visual representation off all that thinking and writing. We simply bring context to the conversation.

AllHipHop: The optics of your show are very different from other talk show ventures. What is the motivation for this?

Nola Haynes: I love texture, background and context. On NHTV, we try to capture these elements. I interview creatives, entrepreneurs and innovators. I think it makes sense to show our audience what that world actually looks like. If we cannot get access to a person’s work and professional life, we still try to capture some element of their life or shoot where it makes sense for their brand. Documentaries and shows the late Anthony Bourdain gave us inspire me.

AllHipHop: What’s the most enjoyable part of the job and your duties?

Nola Haynes: I get to truly represent a teaching pedagogy that I live my life by. Paulo Freire talked about the importance of both theory and praxis. I get to do both in each role I occupy. I love envisioning an episode or research question. I also get to put it out in the real world by testing ideas, failing, retesting, retooling then trying again. It’s imagining it then doing it that gives me all the positive feelings.

AllHipHop: What is the hardest part?

Nola Haynes: The hardest part is growing your audience in a crowded field of amazing, Black content creators. It’s tough for NHTV because we interview unsung community heroes and that’s a niche sort of thing. So, someone popular in Oakland, may not be a celebrity in everyone’s eyes, but in that community that person, movement or business is vital. NHTV provides a peek into the lives of creatives, entrepreneurs and innovators.

AllHipHop: Can you describe a moment of adversity personal and in your career?

Nola Haynes: I’m going through that moment now. I had to readjust much of my life since last summer due to school related things. I recall two back-to-back days where my knees literally buckled from devastating news. It’s in those moments you hurt, cry then figure out how to healthily move forward. Filming season 3 of NHTV was cathartic because we grew as a production and we had memorable experiences hanging out with chefs all season. That is to say, NHTV Season 3 almost didn’t happen because I hit a major barrier at work.

AllHipHop: What keeps you from giving up?

Nola Haynes: My village, tribe, community. I’m surrounded by too many strong women and men of color to just stop. I’m still close with folks from elementary school in New Orleans - that’s a blessing. From, UCLA, Harvard to USC, my village has expanded and I’m sincerely grateful. No one can live or thrive in this life solo, so when I’m having a rough day, I draw on the strength and journeys of those who came before me and sharing meaningfully with my tribe.

AllHipHop: Who inspired you to become a leader or boss?

Nola Haynes: Well, that inspiration came early in elementary school in New Orleans. Elementary school in the Catholic system (not all schools) meant pre-K through 8th grade. In that environment, we had a few, not enough, impactful Black, female teachers, along with the sauciest Irish, Catholic nuns you’d ever want to meet. However, my 8th grade teacher, Mrs. Paul, a Black women who was a force of nature intrigue me early on. She embodied all things Black Renaissance, intelligence, creativity, power and an unapologetic blackness that resonates with me to this day.

As a scholar, I can’t help but to be drawn to powerhouses like Angela Davis and Kimberle Crenshaw. As a creative, I’m definitely drawn to showrunners like Yvette Lee Bowser, Shonda Rhimes and Issa Rae. My life has always existed at the intersections of education and creativity. So, I appreciate women, especially women of color that create their own lanes and make waves in professions that were traditionally straight, white male. We have an upcoming segment on IGTV, highlighting folks that create their own lanes. I’m so inspired by lane-makers.

AllHipHop: How do you balance work, and personal life?

Nola Haynes: I find true balance, which includes fitness, hard to strike now-a-days. When I was a grad student in Boston, my life was so disciplined, the train schedule, school, fitness and clean eating ruled my days. Now in LA, I have my car, guest lists, the beach, mountains, happy hour and my friends from undergrad. My quality of life is expanding, which can impact work life, especially when work life triggers anxiety and imposter syndrome.

AllHipHop: What do you like to do for fun?

Nola Haynes: That’s definitely changed over the years. A few years ago, I would say, lifting weights and hiking. Today I’d say, traveling, creating something and spending quality time with my tribe.

AllHipHop: Final words?

Nola Haynes: Be your authentic self. I am a Black, female, political scientists who researches at the intersections of national security and identity. I also executive produce and host an indie talk show that is not politics or opinion based. I am warned all the time not to let the creative subsume the scholar. The way I envision things, one informs the other. So, just because someone else does not share or understand your vision, don’t sacrifice it to satisfy someone else’s idea of your life. If you do, you kill all things authentic about you. And, I’m here to tell you, it’s the unique things that stands out, not the bland bits. We can all do bland, but I prefer cayenne in my food.

YouTube: Nola Haynes TV

Twitter: @nolahtheveil

IG: @nolahaynes

Book Nola: info@nolahaynestv.com


Shirley Ju
Shirley Ju