From #SoundUpBootcamp to #WomenofColorPodcastToo: How a Hashtag Became a Community for Women of Color (WOC) Podcasters

**This article was made possible by the contributions of @missmelony, @pritharaysircar, @thethoughtcard, and @youknowzazu**

What does a women of color (WOC) sound like?

Until recently, even we as WOC did not know. This is likely due to the fact that only 22% of podcasts are hosted by women, a number that becomes even smaller when looking at women of color [1]. For this reason, when SpotifyUSA announced their call for entries to the 2018 Sound Up Bootcamp: an invitation for WOC to incubate their podcasts in an intensive five-day program in New York City, over 18,000 aspiring women across America applied.

On April 10th, 2018 the SpotifyUSA Sound Up Bootcamp application closed. Less than a month later, ten successful applicants would be invited to participate in the bootcamp. On May 1st, as we waited for the announcement, what started off as a handful of women tweeting about the Bootcamp quickly became the catalyst for the creation of a space dedicated to women of color podcasters.

One participant’s view of the 1st Women of Color Podcast Town Hall.

As we befriended each other and shared our podcasting journeys, a Twitter following of hundreds amassed behind #WomenofColorPodcastToo and within the next 24 hours, the hashtag had reached over a quarter million impressions. Seeing the need for these podcasters to further convene as a group, a Twitter list of over 100+ members was compiled. A Facebook group was then created which grew to over 350+ members in its first week. Although we later found out via Twitter that the winners announcement was postponed to May 20th, our community continued to attract attention and gained momentum each day.

The ‘WOC Podcasters’ Facebook group has been a space for helping women reach their podcasting goals through peer-to-peer learning, resource sharing, mentorship, and networking. In our first week, our community has held a virtual town hall, published articles, and hosted a podcasting tutorial webinar. We have also begun building podcast resource lists and starter guides. Future initiatives include in-person meet-ups and a national summit, all of which will focus on serving the WOC podcaster.

As we move forward, we will continue working together to best support our members. Our hope is that the podcast industry will follow suit.

For more statistics on how over 18,000 women applied to Spotify’s Sound Up Bootcamp, check out Liberty White’s article here.

______________________________________________________________________1. (Blodgett, S. (2018, April 2). Spotify is Looking for New Female Podcasters of Color. Retrieved from http://www.blackenterprise.com/spotify-is-looking-for-new-female-podcasters-of-color/).