Black-Led Podcasts That Bring Joy
Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the daily deluge of bad news, I tune into my favorite podcasts to hear Black women talk about how they manage to survive—and even thrive—in our current moment.
In the face of chronic isolation and an unrelenting assault on Black lives, Black podcasters are still cracking jokes, sharing wisdom, and speaking our truths. Whether you need a motivational chat or a much-needed laugh, their shows can help lift your spirits and help you feel less alone.
Each of the following podcasts is either hosted by Black women, or frequently centers Black women’s voices and experiences.
Okay, Now Listen (Netflix/Strong Black Lead)
If you miss happy hour with your besties, this lively biweekly podcast is a great pick-me-up. When real-life friends Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell aren’t chatting with Hollywood heavy-hitters like Issa Rae and Nia Long, they tackle timely topics like getting a bikini wax after months of lockdown and moving cross-country in a pandemic, as well as evergreen issues like work, sex, and finding love.
First episode you should listen to: “Okay, Dating Is The Ghetto,” a refreshingly frank discussion of singledom and the relationship baggage we all carry.
The Michelle Obama Podcast (Spotify/Higher Ground)
For her highly anticipated foray into podcasting, former first lady Michelle Obama sits down with family members, friends, and colleagues to reminisce about her childhood, reflect on our current political moment and staying sane during quarantine, and much more.
First episode you should listen to: “Protests and the Pandemic with Michele Norris,” a cozy, candid conversation with her friend and confidant.
Season 2 of Going Through It (MailChimp)
Season one of Going Through It was hosted by writer Ann Friedman, who spoke to accomplished women from a variety of backgrounds about the “aha!” moment that helped them forge a more authentic path for themselves. Season two of Going Through It, has a new host: Tracy Clayton of Strong Black Legends and Another Round fame. It also focuses exclusively on Black women’s journeys.
First episode you should listen to: “Ilhan Omar,” an inspiring talk with the first-ever Somali-American member of Congress about her upbringing and how she handles being in the white-hot media spotlight.
Thirst Aid Kit (Slate)
Each week, “thirst experts” Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins offer compelling arguments for why certain celebrities, movie moments, and TV tropes are, well, hot. With barely-stifled giggles, surprise interviews with Thirst Objects, and a segment simply called “Redacted,” this dynamic duo will help you keep the flame of desire lit through these dark times.
First episode you should listen to: “The Adventure Known As John Boyega,” in which Bim and Nichole delve into the Star Wars actor’s infectious charm, red carpet looks, and newfound activism.
Keep It (Crooked Media)
Like the most-media savvy members of your group chat, co-hosts Ira Madison III, Louis Virtel, and Aida Osman are as knowledgeable about the latest single from Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion as they are about voter suppression in swing states.
First episode you should listen to: “Fear of a WAP Planet,” a deep dive into the Billboard-topping song “WAP” and its sex-positive predecessors, plus top-notch interviews with bestselling author Zadie Smith and Watchmen star Jean Smart.
Have you ever heard a voice that feels like a hug? No? Well, Sam Sanders will change that. An empathetic interviewer with unimpeachable research skills, he creates a safe space for meandering, genial chats with guests who range from chefs to sketch comics to fellow journalists and actors.
First episode you should listen to: “Tracee Ellis Ross is Thriving, Not Surviving,” in which the Black-ish star talks about walking through “fear and towards a dream” with her new film and her evolving relationship with her mother, a.k.a. the Diana Ross.