A decade ago, “podcast” was just a button that people mostly ignored on their iPods because they didn’t even know what it was. Since then, episodic series that resemble talk radio – with far fewer restrictions – have had time to grow into a larger phenomenon. Many people, myself included, spend just as much time listening to podcasts during their commutes or downtime as they do music.
But, at first, there was a noticeable lack of black voices in the podcast world. That’s far from the case now with dozens of popular podcasts building large fanbases as they talk about relationships, politics, nerd culture, pop culture, comedy, sports and pretty much anything else you can think of.
If you’re interested in delving into the podcast listening world, or are looking for some new ones to check out, here’s a list of some of the best podcasts that put black voices front and center.
The Read is a now three-year old podcast that gives hosts/bloggers Kid Fury and Crissle full reign to go over any and everything in pop culture with no restraint. Whether you’re Kanye West having a public mid-life crisis or Meek Mill on the wrong side of the law and Drake at the same exact time, the two take joy in reading situations for what they really are. Unless you’re a part of the Carter family – except for Jay Z, he’s fair game too.
DJ Benhameen, Tatiana King-Jones, Chico Leo and a few other exceptionally nerdy people hop on a spaceship once a week to talk about the latest news in the geek world perspective on the FanBros Show. When they’re not talking about the latest sci-fi shows or explaining how Batman may actually be racist they’re interviewing anyone from the current editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Just Blaze or Ta-Nehisi Coates.
RuPaul’s pretty much a household name because of the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But RuPaul: What’s the Tee? offers a regular look at the host in a more comfortable setting alongside co-host and longtime friend Michelle Visage. Normal topics of discussion cover fashion, self-love and and insider knowledge about reality TV.
Life happens and friends end up living in different places. But that doesn’t mean you can’t 1.) still have a close relationship or 2.) host a podcast together. Call Your Girlfriend is hosted by Ann Friendman and Aminatou Sow, two close friends and a journalist and a digital specialist, respectively. The two are “unapologetically feminist, and not afraid to realtalk each other about everything from menstrual cycles to workplace dramas.” I had to quote that because there’s no better way to phrase it.
The Combat Jack Show is probably the strongest hip-hop podcast out there. Not only do Combat Jack and his co-hosts get the interviews everyone else wants to get, they get the ones everyone doesn’t even know they should be going for. All of the greats have come through and dropped gems, such as Russell Simmons, Chuck D and LL Cool J but they also interview artists currently sitting atop the charts like J. Cole and Ty Dolla $ign.
Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton took an idea that plenty of us have had about podcasting, but forgot. With the help of Buzzfeed, the two writers started a podcast called Another Round where they talk about anything that’s worth talking about while getting noticeably boozed up by the end of the episode. It leads to some colorful commentary and good laughs.
Aisha Tyler’s been in the industry for a while. She was Ross’ girlfriend on Friends, she’s a part of the cast of Archer and is the current host of Whose Line Is It Anyway? But her podcast, Girl on Guy, allows her to sit down and put the focus on other people as she interviews guests about their lives and what made them who they are. Her most recent episodes featured Taye Diggs and Sheryl Underwood as guests.
The title of this podcast is true. Denzel Washington really is that great and there’s no debate. While someone may thing that this is a super-specific title and subject for an entire podcast, they’d be right. But comedians W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery cleverly use Denzel Washington as a segue to talk about other issues relevant to the world we live in.
Friends Like Us, hosted by Marina Franklin, is “a podcast featuring women of color with very different views on Hot Topics.” Franklin holds weekly episodes where she and a group of guests talk about the latest pop culture and political news, including Chris Rock hosting the Oscars and the insanity of this year’s presidential election.
The Black Girl Nerds podcast is more of a bonus compliment for the Black Girl Nerds website, which covers everything from news, editorials and reviews. The show isn’t exclusively for black girl nerds, but it’s still a great space for them to be themselves and speak out from the intersection of three different communities.