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Browser History 2020: Ziwe

In 2020, digital connection has become more important than ever before. At Squarespace, we’ve seen creatives and entrepreneurs push through uncertainty to boldly pursue their goals and achieve success. In this spirit, we’re celebrating the best of the worst year with Squarespace Browser History 2020, an acknowledgement of the bravest among us who have risen above every challenge to bring their ideas online.

For Brooklyn-based comedian and writer, Ziwe, creating and hosting a comedy show about race and racism was a natural extension of her own lived experience. Years into her career as a content creator, the recognition she’s begun to receive — and the quickly growing audience for her work — are a testament to years of effort and commitment to her craft. Ziwe recently talked with Squarespace about the strategic pivots she’s made to stay connected with her audience in quarantine, the unseen work that went into building her present day platform, and how she’s setting herself up for world domination in the new year.

SQUARESPACE: In 2016, you launched a web series that uses comedy as a vehicle for conversations about race and racism. Where did the idea for this series first begin, and how has it evolved over time?

Ziwe: My interview show is inspired by the fact that most people are vehemently uncomfortable talking about race. This collective awkwardness is something that I have experienced since my early childhood.

SQSP: During the pandemic, you started hosting your interview series as a streaming series on your social media. What was the strategy behind the change, and how has it influenced your relationship with viewers?

Z: I started hosting an interview series on social media because I missed performing my live shows and wanted to find a way to engage with my audience while in quarantine. Hosting a show on social media allowed me to be in constant conversation with my viewers as I got their direct feedback immediately during shows. Ultimately, this strategy allowed me to appreciate my iconic audience and their fervor for socially conscious comedy. 

SQSP: Many things have happened in 2020 that are patently unfunny. How has your work as a comedian and writer been influenced by the events of this year?

Z: Quarantine directly led to my virtual live show which ultimately popularized my signature interview style.

SQSP: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and creatives considering launching a new idea during the pandemic?

Z: My advice to other entrepreneurs and creatives who are interested in launching new ideas during the pandemic is to make sure that they believe in their idea and are willing to do the years of thankless work it takes to get it off the ground. 

SQSP: Your live streaming show is currently on hiatus. Why did you decide to hit pause, and how are you spending your time?

Z: My show went on hiatus because I had to focus on writing a book of essays and producing my variety show.

SQSP: What’s next for you, as a comedian and as a writer?

Z: World domination.

Read more about Ziwe and explore the Browser History 2020 exhibit.

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