Ben & Jerry’s and PRX Announce “Blackberry Jams,” A New Podcast At the Intersection of Phish, Jam Band Culture, and Black Liberation
Co-created and co-hosted by Lenny Duncan and Leslie Mac, the podcast will launch free to audiences on August 31. Dial the “Blackberry Jams” phone line to share a personal experience from a Phish show: 888-PHAN-JAM (888–742–6526)
Ben & Jerry’s and public media organization PRX today announced “Blackberry Jams Presented by Ben & Jerry’s,” a new podcast pulling back the curtain on how jam band culture and Black liberation work intersect. By diving into Phish fandom and exploring the experience of Black Phans, the series will envision a community filled with liberation, love, and Phish tickets by mail for all.
Co-created and co-hosted by Lenny Duncan and Leslie Mac, “Blackberry Jams” will launch on Tuesday, August 31. The 10-episode podcast series will feature new episodes weekly through November 2, available free on-demand to audiences across major listening platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.
An audio trailer is available now.
In addition, Black Phish fans are invited to dial the “Blackberry Jams” phone line at 888-PHAN-JAM (888–742–6526) to leave a voicemail sharing their most blissful, most messed up, or weirdest personal stories from Phish shows. Recordings may be played on future episodes of the podcast.
“Blackberry Jams” will delve into a wide range of topics, including discovering love for Phish and the jam band community, the historical and present connections between counterculture and Black liberation, dating as a Black, queer Phan, and how life-affirming concepts such as mutual aid are embedded in jam band culture. From the rising price of grilled cheese on lot, to the self-awareness Duncan and Mac display in owning the complexities of purchasing white privilege one GA ticket at a time, “Blackberry Jams” will also discuss the weighty politics of Shakedown Street and tailgating, painful experiences of being stereotyped at major venues, and why they keep showing up to as many shows as they can.
A public theologian, Lenny Duncan is the founder and former pastor of Jubilee Collective, a collective community organized around principles of anti-racism, queer acceptance, and affirmation. Duncan is also the Second Vice President of the Vancouver, Washington branch of the NAACP, and the author of several books, including “Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.” and most recently “United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope.” Duncan attended a formative Jerry Garcia Band show in 1993, which was the start of his decades-long journey in the jam band scene. Lenny can be found on Twitter @lennyaduncan.
A digital strategist and organizer, Leslie Mac serves as Communications Director for The Frontline, a movement of everyday people advocating for a future that holds elected officials accountable to community needs. Mac is also the Digital Organizer for Black Womxn For — a project focused on creating intentional political spaces for Progressive Black Women community leaders — and is the Founding Chair of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board. She has been named to “Essence” magazine’s list of 100 Woke Women, was named a Voice of the Year for Impact by “BlogHer” in 2017, and in 2020 was named an Election All-Star by BET. Leslie attended her first Phish show in high school in 1993 and now shares her love of jam bands with her husband of 20 years. Leslie can be found on Twitter @lesliemac.
“As a well-known Black Woman organizer and strategist, so much of my life is on display — my experiences as a Phan have been life-affirming and a self-care safe haven for me over the years,” said Mac. “I’m so excited to talk about the good, the great, and the ugly with my friend Lenny, who I’ve spent many hours dissecting everything from our favorite ‘Tweezer Reprise’ to which show venues are the most racist. Telling these stories will offer a peek into how music helps me cope with the difficulties of the world and my hopes for how this scene can change to meet the current moment.”
“The truth is that my life has been forever altered by this scene, it’s people, and of course the music. When America abandoned a 13-year-old Black Queer boy to its streets, a Day-Glo bus filled circus-jam-packed with dreams of revolution rescued me,” said Duncan. “This scene, this band, and others like it, have been my North Star when all other stars have long since faded. The chance to talk about it from a Black Queer perspective with Leslie is the icing on the cake. Her power analysis, organizing credentials, and educational work in anti-racism is only topped by her real compassion for those she comes across. The Black Phan experience and ‘Blackberry Jams’ are coming to a shakedown near you.”
“Ben & Jerry’s is honored to support Leslie and Lenny with ‘Blackberry Jams,’” said Jay Curley, Global Head of Integrated Marketing at Ben & Jerry’s. “We have been part of the Phish community for decades and supporting racial equity and Black liberation for many years. We are excited for Leslie and Lenny to share these stories and history with the world.”
“This podcast is a must-hear for anyone searching for community through music,” said Jason Saldanha, Chief of Business Development and Content at PRX. “Thank you to Leslie, Lenny, and Ben & Jerry’s for sharing this experience with us.”
“Blackberry Jams Presented by Ben & Jerry’s” is distributed by PRX and produced by PRX Productions, the organization’s team specializing in high-quality storytelling. In addition to Duncan and Mac, the production team includes Director of PRX Productions and “Blackberry Jams” Executive Producer Jocelyn Gonzales; Producer and Engineer Pedro Rafael Rosado; and Producer and Project Manager Ian Fox.
About Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s is an aspiring social justice company that believes in a greater calling than simply making and selling the world’s best ice cream. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and Non-Dairy/vegan desserts using high-quality ingredients and lots of big chunks and swirls. As a certified B Corp, Ben & Jerry’s incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices via values-led sourcing initiatives when purchasing ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s is distributed in over 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchised Scoop Shops, and via on-demand delivery services. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, a fair financial return, and addressing issues of social, racial, and environmental injustice around the globe. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, guided by Ben & Jerry’s employees, granted $3.4MM in 2020 to support progressive, justice focused grassroots organizing around the country. For up-to-date information visit benjerry.com.
PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio of iconic public radio programs such as ‘The World,” “This American Life,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “Latino USA” “Snap Judgment,” and “Reveal,” PRX is also home to a growing body of podcast productions, including via the Radiotopia podcast network and the TRAX podcast network for tweens. More at PRX.org.
David Cotrone, Senior Manager of Public Relations and Communications David.Cotrone@prx.org