February 25, 2016 — As a New Yorker, my commute to and from work can often be a struggle. Considering the packed subway cars, unsolicited dance and music performances from people who make those crowded cars their stage, and riders who nearly spill their cup of morning joe on me or have no regard for space while flipping through their newspapers, finding my own way to cope is essential to making it through the ride. In the past I’ve cranked up my collection of Jay Z albums and completely zoned out until I arrived at my stop, but now I’ve discovered a new outlet to help me survive my morning commutes: podcasts.
Although podcasts have been around for some time now, they’ve recently grown again in popularity. In the media industry, where there are too few black voices— especially those of black women, whose voices are even more suppressed—the podcast has evolved into a platform for us to be heard. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration to help you get through the day or insight on important issues in our community, black content curators are serving up podcasts for everyone.
Here are four of my favorites:
1) Black Girls Talking
Black women have limited opportunities in leadership and in boardrooms, as well as in entertainment; just ask Chris Rock. Black Girls Talking, a podcast that features a roundtable of four black women, was created as an outlet for other black women to openly express their sentiments about how they are portrayed by the media industry and perceived by society at large. These women discuss everything from Beyoncé to cultural appropriation.
Press Play: The most popular episode thus far is called “The Imposter Syndrome.” During this episode the women delve into the idea of feeling unworthy and inadequate, and the fear that comes along with asking for what you deserve. Recently, they also chatted about the controversy swirling around Beyoncé’s latest hit “Formation.” Check it out here.
2) Bevy Says
Television personality Bevy Smith is known for having no filter. In her podcast series Bevy Says, she serves up weekly inspiration through interviews with people from all walks of life. The one-on-one sit-downs cover topics such as whether or not women can really “have it all” when trying to balance their careers and personal lives, and body image, feminism and sexuality as it relates to pop culture.
Press Play: One of Bevy’s popular episodes is her most recent one, titled “Unapologetic.” In this particular edition she focuses on embracing yourself for who you are and the importance of having pride in your differences, as they are what set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Tune in here.
3) The SPIN
The SPIN is a weekly podcast hosted by black women who have all branded themselves as media aficionados. The show, which is led by Ghana-bred journalist Esther Armah, examines social issues through the lens of black women. Topics include black women’s role in politics, social justice, race, culture, and gender dynamics.
Press Play: The latest episode addresses a black Princeton professor’s experience with police brutality. Tune in here.
4) Friends Like Us
Don’t you just live for those conversations with your closest friends over a glass of wine or cup of coffee where you talk about everything from hair to more serious topics like experiences with racial bias in the workplace? Imagine if those convos were recorded and shared with the world. Friends Like Us gathers a group of black women from all walks of life who discuss issues as varied as racial and gender bias, diversity in the entertainment industry, and how to live a fulfilling life. Tune in here.
Press Play: One of the most popular FriendsLikeUs episodes is titled “Mercury Retrograde and Hollywood.” During this episode, the women address the obstacles they’ve confronted while telling the narrative of black women in the entertainment industry. Tune in here.