By Christopher Woods/ Photo Credit: Lee Chapman
I heard that black people don’t listen to podcasts. I’m sure at one point that was true when no one knew what podcasts were. But now you can ask many black people, especially millennials, and you will find that a lot of us do listen to podcasts regularly.
If you don’t know what a podcast is think of it as talk radio on demand. There are thousands of podcasts covering topics from music to books, pop culture to sports, world news to finance. You can find a podcast for probably any subject and point of view. You can listen on Apple, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Stitcher usually for the free.
To me the principle beauty of podcasts is that anyone with internet, a microphone, a subject matter, and a mouth can create a podcast on their own. You don’t have to have a degree. You don’t have to be a subject matter expert. You don’t have to have thousands of dollars. This allows for so much more variety and viewpoints that might never make it to other forms of media. Earlier this month our very own Danny Sellers wrote a piece on the making of the 9 to 5 podcast.
Another thing I like about podcasts is that they keep me engaged while I’m working from home or on long car rides. I usually listen to them on Thursdays because that’s when my favorite podcast usually drops, and Thursdays are my favorite day of the week. I listen to wide variety of podcasts, most are pretty nerdy, several are humorous, others are outright strange, but they all give me a perspective that is slightly different than my own.
Let me share with you a few of my favorites:
The 9-5 Podcast – The Sellers Group
Shout out to Danny, Torrance and Kyle. The 9-5 Podcast is “The Sellers Group podcast about work, life and balancing it all.” Go ahead and subscribe to them now. I love this podcast because obviously I know these guys personally, and I’m really proud of listening to them as they talk about navigating life as young black men in this place called Amerikkka. Their “ads” make me guffaw audibly every week because they are just that foolish.
The Read – Kid Fury & Crissle
The Read was my introduction to podcasts. I’ve listened to every episode, some more than once. It started in 2013 and has kept me laughing for 4 years. Each week they talk about pop culture rachetry, answer outrageous listener letters where they usually tell people to break up with their significant others, and finish up with “the read” where they basically cuss out whatever or whoever deserves it that week. They are lovers of all things Beyoncé and Blue Ivy and overall Black Excellence.
Code Switch – NPR
I first heard of Code Switch when Crissle mentioned it on The Read one week and decided to check it out. It is hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji of NPR, and each week they talk about a topic in US history from the perspective of people of color. One of my favorite episodes was an emotional one where they interviewed several Puerto Rican Americans who described their complicated experience of being US citizens but not feeling like they really belong. Another noteworthy episode was about Native American tribes that have a special allegiance to the American flag.
The Combat Jack Show – Combat Jack
Hosted by Combat Jack, this podcast is the “undisputed #1 HipHop podcast.” I have to admit that I am not a huge hip-hop fan, and I don’t know much about its pioneers or their history. Every week Combat Jack has a different guest that is either a rapper or someone versed in hip-hop culture and how it has influenced pop culture throughout history to the present day. He’s had guests like Michael & Jemele from The Six (the 6pm slot of Sports Center), Twista, Jamilah Lemieux, and Michael Eric Dyson. I am well aware that hip hop culture is now pop culture, but it is always enlightening hearing about the experiences of those who were hip hop when it was still considered a counterculture. At the end of each episode he asks his guests, no matter who they are, to pick their top 5 MCs.
KCRW’s Here Be Monsters – KCRW
Here Be Monsters is “an unusual podcast exploring the dark corners of the human mind and new frontiers in science, art and philosophy through visceral storytelling.” Ya’ll, it’s weird, but it’s really interesting. The first episode I listened to was about a sex addict who allows his wife to control all his money and has access to his phone and complete schedule to make sure he doesn’t have random sex. Another was narrated by a woman who worked a corporate job by day but was a sex worker by night. The third episode I listened to was an exposé on a child sex offender who was up for parole… Not every episode is about some sort of deviance, but it’s very interesting… and weird.
I am subscribed to over 20 podcasts, and I can’t list them all here. If you want to know what else I’m listening to feel free to ask me on Twitter (@CanoninCb) or in the comments. If you have a podcast that you enjoy, feel free to share in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to our very own 9-5 Podcast.