Podcasts, Podcasts, Podcasts
Oh podcasts, what would I do without them? I did not discover the joys of them until January of this year when work was slow, my living environment was too loud, and my mind was busy with constant self-hate talk. I simply needed to tune out but be stimulated by something other than sounds exhuming stress, and music could not take the stress away at the time.
I had heard of podcasts in the past, and would technically listen to them in college in the form of NPR One — a day to day take on local, national, and global news. As Community Development and Global Studies majors in college, this proved to be very effective for me inside the classroom especially. Outside the classroom however, I was becoming more and more stressed with thousands of thoughts running through my head never knowing podcasts could be my saving grace. Now fast forward to those uptight January days of this year, with the stress arising again as it did in college, but my coping mechanisms gone due to my current living situation — no places to run miles and miles on end, no playing on an old GameCube with friends, no art and mural walks downtown, and no Ru Paul’s Drag Race marathons (the most effective stress reliever of them all, I promise you). Thus, I finally decided to dive into that purple app with (what I think is) a microphone icon on it, and I have never found anything that has helped me more.
Nine months after the discovery that changed my life for the better, I have falling in and out of love with podcasts, obsessing over others, and counting down the days until the next episode of my favorite podcast comes out. When I initially got into my podcast obsession, I was listening to top chart episodes and shows, relating to news and current events. Now, after doing much research and getting lost in the black hole that is “suggested for you”, I have found my favorite shows that teach me, guide me, and make me feel good about myself and the life I live — all for free! Did I mention I am obsessed with podcasts? I have purposely intended over the past months to listen to podcasts with hosts that are women, queer, disabled and/or of color since many of those “top charts” podcasts I started with unsurprising to most are voiced and led by a very similar identity (hint: that identity is white, abled, straight, and/or male). I have learned through hours of listening that podcasts are open platforms for learning and celebrating marginalized groups that I am a part of or want to educate and celebrate more. With that being said, you’ll find a wide array of represented identities listed below that I certain do not/cannot claim for myself, and I find this my own way to actively participate in the fight for equality, equity, and social justice. Those podcasts listed are some of my favorites ranging from comedic to self-help and everything in between. Ultimately, I want my fellow minorities of vastly different and intersectional identities to find comfort in hearing familiar voices and stories — and to learn of struggles and triumphs of other identities. And even if you do not necessarily fall into any minority identity, I am putting up my favorite podcasts with hopes that you allow yourself to become uncomfortable over discussions that are unrelatable, and hear and support work of marginalized voices.
So here’s my giant list with a quick blurb explaining why I love each particular show:
Two Dope Queens: Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams are two of the funniest comedians around right now, with HBO specials, NYT best selling books, and Netflix movies to list a few of their accolades. Best part of all — they’re unapologetically goofy and black.
Bodega Boys: My favorite late night hosts with a new Showtime show coming in January (no joke, I’m counting down the days). Desus and Mero are hilarious, raunchy, and uplift POCs all at once. This podcast got them their claim to fame for good reason, and you’ll be laughing the entire time.
Spiked Tea Time: A white pastor, black grad student, and Latina writer talk mental health, sex positivity, pop culture, and everything in between while being the real life Powerpuff Girls trio I never knew I needed. They only recently started this podcast, and it instantly became my favorite. I’m not a huge fan of long pods, but I can listen to these three women forever.
Chats with Cat: Afro-Latina blogger Cat Latingua provides tips, help, and words of encouragement for millennials, especially POCs, trying to make it in the world through all the struggles and hardships no one prepared us for. Cat invites experts and friends to the pod, always with the same message to listeners: everything is going to be okay!
Chasing Joy Podcast: Health — mental and physical — is the name of Georgie Morley’s game. She dives deep into her own issues with anxiety, eating disorders, and other health issues, and invites self-made professional women who have such realistic and personal responses to these issues as opposed to distant, medical ones.
Locatora Radio: Diosa Femme and Mala Munoz have not only the cutest, fiercest podcast pseudonyms, but have one of the realest, down to earth podcasts about their experiences as Latinas. Also, they always drop the coolest ideas like “Pierna Party” aka a get together with your fellow women where you show off your legs and celebrate body positivity and femme-hood. Cute to say the least.
Sooo Many White Guys: Remember Phoebe Robinson from “Two Dope Queens” above? Well she has another podcast all her own with perhaps the best name of any podcast ever. Here, she invites a guest and they talk everything and anything with Phoebe’s comedic power shining through the whole time.
The Mash Up Americans: This was one of the first podcasts I got into months back. It is a really fun podcast and well produced out of California, making me feel at home with every little reference they make. In this podcast, the goal is to make listeners understand the various perspectives of Americans in America and what “American” means now in 2018 in such a racially diverse country.
Never Before with Janet Mock: Janet Mock. Activist, director, writer, most beautiful voice in the world. Janet is an unapologetic and fierce activist for the trans community and centers her experience as a trans women in all her conversations with her guests.
Cafe con Chisme / Basic Brown Nerds / I Got You Podcast: Okay okay as a Latinx, I have a bit of a Latinx made and hosted podcast bias. So these three podcasts are very similar and talk about the Latinx experience in a really fun and extremely accurate way. If you’re Latinx, I recommend any one of these three pods if you want to laugh and nod in agreement over and over again.
Code Switch: NPR has a lot of podcasts they push out weekly, all of them having the best production and team, “Code Switch” being no exception. “Code Switch” is one of my favorite podcasts on this list, and because of that its one I can and have binged time and time again. After an episode is over, I crave more. If you’re going to start getting into podcasts or are lost with all these recommendations, START HERE.
Bitter Brown Femmes: Ruben and Cassandra. An iconic duo! They singlehandedly set the #woke bar with every episode, and they strive to make you mad, uncomfortable, and check yourself and how you can be better.
Ouch: Disability Talk: Produced by the BBC, this podcast features everyday individuals who have various forms of disabilities, half the time being spoken about in a standup comedy form, half the time in a “This American Life” storytelling format form. Nonetheless, it is a very well produced and all encompassing disability talk podcast, hence the name.
Pigeonhole: Disability doesn’t look a certain way, despite the way it is portrayed in the world by abled people. With every episode, “Pigeonhole” shares the stories of disabled folks and gives them a platform to share their story when often times, disabled voices are never given a space period. This podcast brings light to disability and ageism as an extension in all its forms, from a very intersectional perspective, and offers the script for the audio for the hearing impaired.
QueerPOC: Being POC vs being queer vs being QPOC are very different things, and shedding light on the QPOC experience is something that cohosts Money and Nikeeta make sure their listeners learn and celebrate. They keep things lighthearted but real, my favorite way to tackle social justice issues. They also feature a “QueerWOC of the Week”, which presents an awesome QPOC artist, writer, content maker, etc. to their listeners!
Strange Fruit: Black and queer cohosts specifically talking about issues in the US from their perspectives. They discuss how the black experience alone and how the queer experience alone does not encompass who they are and how they navigate the world, and as refreshing perspectives to what is often a white relayed news brief.
Pod Save the People: DeRay McKesson, the one and only. Let’s just say if I ever had the chance to meet him, I would need to be rushed to a hospital right away from shock, stroke, something. His mind is brilliant, his interviews are even better. He hosts this social justice podcast along with an incredible team who clearly takes so much time in digging up the stories they do. (Yes, I am DeRay’s #1 fan)
Cerebronas: Two law school slaying Latinas talk about being minorities in prestigiously academic and substantially white spaces, and how to manage that and demand equal respect through all of it. With each episode, they take their law school knowledge and apply it to listeners’ experience with being POC in a white space and teaching their listeners with racism/sexism/ablism/homophobia in the US justice system.
Latinx Therapy: As many fellow Latinxs and POCs may know, therapy is looked down upon in our culture and moreover, mental health is nonexistent. “Latinx Therapy” tries to get rid of those stereotypes that many of us have grown up with, and takes you through a therapy session episode by episode, focusing in on typical issues we find in Latinx families and environments. I have discovered a lot about my own hardships through this podcast, I highly recommend this for Latinxs in particular.
The Amber Rose Show: Amber Rose is definitely a name you’ve heard before and has made her way to the top. The self-proclaimed slut and self-made sex positive A-list queen speaks with a certified doctor every episode about society’s disgusting slut-shaming of women, while answering everyday questions about sex in the most normal, positive, inviting way possible.
Mixed Signals: Three incredibly funny and smart black women tackle myths and tropes surrounding sex, and take it apart for their listeners. Safe and positive sex is constantly the topics of their conversations, and constantly uplift women while breaking patriarchal views surrounding sex, sexuality, and relationships.
Room for Relations: All things relationships, dating, and all the weird questions you may have when you have a significant other are discussed in this podcast. The hosts’ hilarious attitude at sometimes serious things makes for a positive and comforting view of how to tackle seemingly tough issues.
The Sexually Liberated Woman: The name of this podcast says it all. The podcast’s host and the one and only Sexually Liberated Woman, Ev’Yan is the most confident woman I have ever heard speak. She discusses with guests or sometimes speaks on her own about sex, sex, and more sex. Whether her conversations surround the importance of eroticism for POCs or how to improve sensuality for yourself, she is the expert go-to and makes you learn more about yourself along the way.
Nerdificent: Often we think of nerds as a certain type of person, POCs not being that person. “Nerdificent” shatters that perception with its black and latina cohosts. As a nerd, I love their deep dives into things from Sailor Moon to Transformers and everything in between. They do some of the most incredible research that entices you to suddenly love nerdy things more than you did before.
Toasted Sister Podcast: Calling all foodies! A young Navajo Native American woman takes you on a journey each week to different tribes, reservations, and sacred land and talks to the people about the food of their ancestors, the importance of each food, and how they are preserving the culture. Do not listen to this podcast if you’re hungry because host Andi Murphy paints such beautiful images in your head of food with her words that leave you starving and a little jealous that you’re not eating that incredibly delicious and sacred cuisine while listening.
Fat Mascara: As the daughter of a makeup artist, I have found such an appreciation for makeup and femininity over the past few years although I rejected much of it growing up. So as that same daughter, “Fat Mascara” is a nerd-out podcast about trends in the world of makeup, what works, what doesn’t, and what makes us feel good as femmes. Makeup is an art, and the two hosts don’t let you forget that.
Women of Marvel: For the mega-nerds, more specifically for the crazy mega Marvel nerds. The comic and superhero universe is a male-dominated one, or so we thought. “Women of Marvel” tries to break that stereotype and invites women writers, artists, directors, producers, and actors of the MCU to talk about their work and how they always try and succeed in making it women centric in a club that used to be for the boys.
Getting Curious with JVN: Jonathan. Van. Ness. Worry not if you already binged and re-binged every episode of “Queer Eye” and don’t know where to get your JVN fix now. I am here to tell you to calm you down and bring greatness into your life. Lucky for you, he has a podcast where each week he dives into a niche topic he wants to learn more about and invites a specialist in the field to unpack it for him and his listeners. Honey, she’s a fun one (said in JVN’s voice).
Still Processing: This podcast has and will always have the most special place in my heart. It was the first podcast I listened to that had queer and black POC voices in general represented. New York Times writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris have the most attractive voices and brains on this earth, and every week they magically turn pop culture items such as Bey and Jay’s “Apeshit” video into a doctoral thesis about race, power dynamics, and identity politics. Probably my favorite podcast on this list.
Keep It!: Weekly takes on pop culture from the perspectives of a gay black man, gay white man, and black woman — as takes on pop culture should be. From the #MeToo movement to the shoe incident of 2018 (you know the one), their refreshing and honest takes on how pop culture events affect minorities is a take we all need.
Thirst Aid Kit: Sexual fantasies of celebrities from the perspective of two of the funniest writers at Buzzfeed who just so happen to be WOC. I know it sounds crazy, but you honestly didn’t know you needed 40 minutes dedicated to the concept that Chris Evans is the white man every WOC deserves until listening to this pod. My guilty pleasure podcast, without a doubt.
Cabronas y Chingonas: Pop culture from the perspective of unapologetic Latinxs. They specifically focus on what is great in the artistic Latinx world and what Latinxs could do better to be more inclusive and less problematic. I thank this pod for being the first to bring “Casa de las Flores” to my attention (ps. this is very unrelated to podcasts, I’m sorry but watch that show).
And that’s the list! Please feel free to contact me if you have any more recommendations, and I will be sure to feature them in another post soon. If you have any questions regarding a recommendation, being the podcast nerd I am, I will be more than happy to answer them! Thanks for reading and considering the aforementioned podcasts.