Podcasts Are the New Form of Black Communication

A (relatively) new phenomena has risen in popularity -  podcasts.

If you think podcasts are just academic conversations on tape (*cough* Re/Play), allow me to introduce you to the other side of podcasts: the ones you listen to for fun, not because you were too hungover to go to your 11am lecture. What I find particularly interesting is how black people, as usual, are showing  up and out in this space. Crissle and Kid Fury’s The Read podcast has over 85 million listeners (including myself – I am listening to the new episode as I write this) and has now been made into a TV show on Fuse.

For me, podcasts are a way to essentially take part in a conversation with people like me – black, young and queer. This is why I’ve deemed podcasts as a new form of black communication – it seems to be much more personal than other forms of social media. Josh Rivers interviews different black queer people in his podcast Busy Being Black­. Seeing as the queer community is often ruled by or even catered to our white peers, Josh provides a space for those who live at the intersection of blackness and queerness. Kelechi Okafor’s Say Your Mind podcast (unofficially known as Suck Your Mum – Kelechi’s words!) explores everything from Share Your Magnificence, which highlights black success, to her tarot readings which for me have been very insightful and helpful. Moreover, she often expresses her frustrations about society. The recent ‘mummy blog’ scandal involving Clemmie Hooper’s creation of a fake trolling account which featured horrific racist abuse, was a central topic on her podcast as Kelechi’s Instagram account ended up being suspended after she called Clemmie Hooper out

I think both Kelechi and Josh’s podcasts are brilliant examples of how podcasts enable black people to communicate feelings ranging from joy, to anger, to confusion. An episode of Busy Being Black featuring Kelechi led me on an exploration of how African religion has been demonised, and how Kelechi has gone about reclaiming it. This encouraged me to look more into Yoruba religion, which originates from the South West of Nigeria where I’m from. I am even looking into books on the tarot and how to conduct my own readings!

While it might seem like podcasts are purely a space for heavy-handed political debate, I spend the other half of my listening time on podcasts like The Receipts, 2 Queens in a Pod and Black Gals Livin. These are all made by women of colour. The Receipts, hosted by Tolly T, Audrey and Milena see the three women help dilemmas ranging from having a crush on your pastor to coming out to your parents. The Receipts was recently acquired by Spotify, along with other POC podcasts like Three Shots of Tequila. 2 Queens in a Pod hosted by Iman and Leah is focused on fashion and beauty for black women, with the occasional guest. In a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), these podcasts make me feel like I’m in a room with women who look like me and have the same experiences.

All you need for a podcast is a microphone and a set of headphones. You can even record them on your smartphone, I’m sure. The point I am trying to make is that I believe this is a new form of bottom-up activism against structures such as capitalism, racism and the patriarchy. While this article is catering to the black experience, I feel that this idea of podcasts as a form of communication and passive activism is applicable to all. While we might feel alone and somewhat helpless at times, listening to Kid Fury sing Erykah Badu every Tuesday at the beginning of The Read or telling Jacob Rees Mogg to suck his mum with Kelechi puts a pep in my step as I trudge to seminars. Believe it or not, happiness as a black woman is a form of resistance. Communication is a form of resistance against systems which try to pit us against each other. The courage to speak up about your opinions, or even revel in a shared experience is a glimmer of hope in the darkness of the world we live in today ruled by Jeff Bezos, Facebook and climate change.

 

List of recommended podcasts:

  • Political:
    • Busy Being Black
    • Say Your Mind
  • Fashion + beauty; pop culture or  general ‘girl talk’:
    • Black Gals Livin
    • 2 Queens in a Pod
    • The Receipts
    • The Read
  • Comedy/humour
    • Views
    • Unfiltered
    • Psychobabble

 

This article is part of our themed week introducing our amazing Top Tier writers and their work.