Updated: June 12, 2020
Podcasts have been around since the early 2000s, but it has recently exploded thanks to the success of popular series such as the true-crime focused Serial. But if you haven’t gotten into listening to podcasts because you don’t think you can find anything you can relate to, give these eight podcast series a try.
These podcasts—created by some of the most insightful, hilarious, and brilliant women of color we know—do not disappoint. Listen to six of our favorites while you’re commuting back and forth to work, running on the treadmill, or hanging out at home.
And since new episodes of some of our favorite TV shows won’t return until the fall, now is a great time to enjoy the world of podcasts. (And if you’re looking for parenting podcasts, look at our roundup of Black mom podcasts.)
Life, I Swear
Created by friend of mater mea Chloe Louvouezo, Life, I Swear “shares stories of healing and resilience from a lineup of incredibly talented and well-known black women creatives who so many of us have come to admire: Elaine Welteroth, Alex Elle, Julee Wilson, Yrsa Daley-Ward and Deun Ivory, to name just a few. Each week’s episode comes with a beautiful and powerful message of self-trust as address topics that aren’t often discussed around mental health and identity.”
Listen to: Episode 2 titled “Motherhood: The Fourth Trimester, Transformation and Womanhood” with special guest Qimmah Saafir, founder of Hanah Magazine.
Buzzfeed writers Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu’s Another Round is fairly new, but we’re already obsessed. Clayton and Nigatu invite listeners to grab a drink along with them as they discuss pop culture, race, and gender. Their creative segments like “Drunken Debates” and “What Had Happened Was” will definitely leave you doubled over in laughter; the pair’s easy rapport with each other and their guests remind us of the great conversations we have with our best friends.
While Buzzfeed halted the show’s production in 2017, Heben and Tracy’s 100+ episode run is comfort food that never goes stale.
Listen To… Episode Four: A Podcast Of One’s Own. Clayton’s hilarious story about attending a Ku Klux Klan rally in Kentucky captures just how great a storyteller she is, plus the discussion of “public radio voice” as it affects people of color is really interesting.
My Taught You
Myleik Teele, the CEO and founder of curlBOX, is honest, straightforward, and insightful—so it makes sense that her podcast would be as well. Teele speaks to finding happiness and success during her 20-minute long podcasts. She’s extremely transparent—she’s shared personal experiences such as struggling with depression and participating in psychotherapy. Her passion for sharing personal and professional experiences to empower other women of color makes this podcast a must-listen.
Listen To… How To Organize Your 2015 Goals. In this episode, Teele gives a breakdown of how to organize your goals so you can actually meet them.
One With Farai
Farai Chideya is a Harvard graduate, novelist, former radio host, and award-winning journalist, which is vividly clear by the professional tone of her podcast One with Farai. She tackles a broad range of sociocultural issues through interviews with leaders in the fields of science, medicine, government, tech, and art, such as Alec Ross, a former diplomat for the U.S. State Department and forever girl crush Melissa Harris-Perry.
Listen To… Finding Samuel Lowe. Chideya speaks to journalist Paula Williams Madison about her journey to trace her Chinese and Jamaican roots and learn what happened to her Chinese grandfather and anecestors. It’s a powerful and engaging listen.
Girl On Guy
Dartmouth graduate, actress, comedienne, and writer Aisha Tyler is no stranger to being a woman in a male-dominated field. Her podcast Girl on Guy has focused on male guests, with a few exceptions, since 2011. Light-hearted and certainly entertaining, Tyler takes a biographical approach to her interviews and does not shy away from issues surrounding race during her interviews with the likes of guys like Malik Yoba, Rick Fox, Talib Kweli, and Weird Al Yankovic.
Listen To… Girl On Guy 175: John Ridley. The Oscar-winning screenwriter and showrunner of American Crime Story discusses the “soft bigotry” he experienced growing up in Wisconsin and how that informed his creativity today.
Black Girls Talking
Listen, laugh, and relate as Alesia, Fatima, Aurelia, and Ramou discuss current issues in pop culture in the way that four young, educated women of color would. These young ladies do their fair share of giggling, alongside pointed analyses of the way women are depicted in the media. Black Girls Talking touches on issues in a way that parallels and encourages discussion within circles of friends.
Listen To… Episode 38 with Janet Mock. Mock joins the four hosts to chat about gender identity issues and addresses Bell Hooks’ critique of Beyoncè through the lens of feminism.
If you haven’t heard of The Read yet, do yourself a favor, and start listening it immediately after reading this article. Co-hosts Crissle and Kid Fury are hilarious and pointed as they tackle pop culture subjects (just how many times is Karrueche going to let Chris Brown disrespect her?), spotlight moments of Black Excellence, answer listener letters, and tear down anyway who stands in the way of black, LGBTQ, and feminism’s progress. It’s blistering, it’s funny, it’s everything.
Listen To… Episode 66: Don’t Mess With Pamela James. Hearing Crissle and Kid Fury go in on the people who judge Blue Ivy’s natural hair will have you nodding and snapping your fingers in agreement.
Call Your Girlfriend
Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are long-distance besties and well-known figures in the world of tech and journalism respectively. Their podcast Call Your Girlfriend invites you into their witty world of fun and feminism as they record from their living rooms, often with wine glasses on deck. Listeners can hear Sow and Friedman’s candid opinions on pop culture, feminism, dating, and more. The pair also do a great job of sharing their personal stories and responding to listeners’ emails, which highlight the challenges of navigating careers and friendships post-college. Prepare to laugh and enjoy the intimate space they’ve created.
Listen To… Episode 19: Office Candy Dish. Sow and Friedman discuss why women shouldn’t take on the role of office mom by doing chores and what Kanye West and Taylor Swift’s new friendship really means.