As the co-creator of the Black and Irish podcast, Boni Odoemene has devoted himself to exploring the diversity of Black and Irish identity, and with the second season launching today, delves even deeper into what makes being Black and Irish unique.

"A reoccurring theme within the series, is this continuous search of self, this pursuit of placing self within the wider society", Boni tells me over the phone from London.

"You could be too Nigerian for the Irish, and too Irish for the Nigerian side. Trying to take those two parts of your identity and turning into something, something unique."

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And unique it was. Already a thriving Instagram community, sharing stories, experiences and insights from the black and mixed race Irish community, the community swelled once the podcast launched, as it elevated many diverse voices.

"We are making something that has never been done in the country before", he tells me. "So we knew that it was an opportunity for us to give a microphone to Ireland's black and mixed race community, also give an opportunity to talk to a wider society, to hear what it's been like for us, living in Ireland, as non-white people."

Season one saw the hosts – Boni. Leon Diop, Femi Bankole and Amanda Adé – delve into the experiences of other black and mixed race Irish people, as told by them. This season, however, the team are taking it "to the next level".

"You are now entering our homes and our lives and we're giving people the opportunity to to hear, understand and somewhat experience the multifaceted duality within the black Irish entity", he says.

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"We have we have episodes where we look at what it's like living in an African home, for example. We talk about the black Irish music scene. We delve into black history, culture, language, all these different aspects of our identity. We try to break it down and find out what is the black Irish exactly and where is it today, where is it going in future?"

Boni sees many similarities between the experience of growing up Irish and African, something he sees in his southeast Nigerian Igbo background. "There's aspects of the Nigerian Ibo culture that coincides with Irish culture, such as religion, so it was very easy for me to to to attend the Catholic school at 9 and do my communion and be a part of that."

The home is a keystone in both cultures, he says, because "it is from our homes in which our ourselves are developed". Boni is emphatic about the role of the mammy – the Nigerian mammy and the Irish mammy – in both.

Of course, with strong values on either side come certain challenges, and one that Boni recalls is branching out into the dating world as a young teenager. "Not in all, but in a lot of African homes there's more emphasis on education, doing well in your studies. The idea of having a boyfriend or girlfriend at 14, 15, 16 is extremely foreign in a lot of African homes", he says.

"It's from that pressure from two worlds where the diamond, which is our identity, is formed."

But he stresses that there is "nothing homogenous" in Black identity, and that isn't the purpose of this podcast. Instead, they want to show all the diversity in the different communities, as well as the similarities.

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"There are a lot of similarities within sub-Saharan African culture that kind of balance us all together", he says. "Music, religion in particular, and food, food is a big one, dance. The way we speak.

"It's the cultural references which we're influenced by, which comes from sub-Saharan Africa, comes from the U.K., comes from America and mesh together with our Irishness as well."

Now with two seasons under his belt, Boni's own sense of self and identity has been polished by the experience. "The question as to what does it mean to be black and Irish? This was a question which I never really answered for myself in a personal way, and to have the opportunity to hear from other people and to break it down and then understand this with my source was absolutely amazing."

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"Another thing I've learned is how diverse the black Irish identity is", he adds. "It's very easy to see mixed race and black Irish people as a homogenous group when really our own individual subcultures or African and Caribbean cultures influences our identity.

"There are over 300 different ethnic groups in Nigeria. So that's potentially over 300 Nigerian-Irish identities out there.

"That's one of the messages. Yes, we do share this skin tone and a shared history and a similar culture, but the differences within our own family homes, socioeconomics, religion, all these things play a part in defining somebody's identity and may influence a wider group identity."

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