Stitcher has a plethora of podcasts worth listening to. Each week, we’re giving you new episode recommendations from some of our top shows to help keep you up to speed and ease the pain of the pod discovery process.
The Suga — “We Do Us On Our Terms with Dani McClain”
On this week’s episode of The Suga, hosts Tika Sumpter and Thai Randolph bring their mission of highlighting the joys and sweetness of being a Black mother to another level, as they welcome journalist and author Dani McClain to talk about, “living for the we.”
Before bringing McClain on the show, Tika admits she’s trying to discover new daily routines that bring her joy. “For me, my mantra has just been: ‘be in the moment Tika,’” Tika says and reminds herself to, “Live in the joy,” and not to, “Live in the when.”
One of the main elements that runs through the episode centers around the ongoing struggles for the hosts of raising children who can both enjoy the world they’re going into while simultaneously preparing them to be ready to face its struggles. “How do I raise a child who’s brown and who’s also her dad’s white, how do I raise her to be her full confident self…without her being afraid of the world,” Tika says.
McClain, author of We Live For The We: The Political Power Of Black Motherhood, reveals she wrote the book while pregnant with her first child in 2016. She was inspired to figure out how to raise her child, especially in such a heated political climate.
“Black women die at three to four times the rate of white women,” McClain says. “Why? I was hearing these stats, but I wasn’t understanding why that’s the case.” She started reporting on Black maternal health and learned that the stress of racism took a psychological toll on their bodies and that Black women continued to be ignored by their healthcare providers.
McLain talks about the politics of Black motherhood, both in the traditional political sense and in the sense of finding joy. “I think a lot of the time when Black motherhood is addressed it’s always through this lens of grief and the obstacles that we face and difficulties,” she says. “And I wanted to really articulate the politics of joy. We’re just people living our lives and finding joy wherever we can.”
But McClain also addresses, “living for the we,” meaning that Black mothering is more than just taking care of one’s immediate family. It’s about taking care of each other as a whole.
The episode’s most emotional moment came when Tika says, behind tears, that she wants to, “Raise a child who’s not afraid to be heard. And who’s not afraid when they hear a police siren behind them.” She wants to find out how to prepare the child for the world, but also find joy.
Listen to the episode to hear the hosts and McClain admit why Black women are exhausted at this point, McClain’s tips to listeners on what to do when motherhood and life becomes too overwhelming, and some helpful words of affirmation.
Unspooled — “Groundhog Day”
One of the most enjoyable elements about Unspooled is that listeners get more than just Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson critiquing the best movies of all time. In addition, the hosts immerse you into the world of the film they are covering, providing context for what else happened the year the film was released, what fascinating behind the scenes stories are worth sharing, and how the film’s legacy holds up years after its release.
This week Paul and Amy delve into Groundhog Day, even opening by repeating Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” several times before actually getting into the show.
For those who haven’t seen the film, Groundhog Day stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a sarcastic TV weatherman who finds himself mysteriously cursed to repeat Groundhog Day seemingly forever, or until he can break the curse.
It’s clear both Paul and Amy are huge fans of the film. Paul praises the movie for never explaining why the curse is happening. “It just makes this movie more special. We don’t need to understand.” And Amy points out that there’s one line in the film that secretly foreshadows what’s going to happen. “Wanna try it again without the sarcasm?” producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) asks Phil early in the movie. Amy says what seems like a throwaway line might actually be a key point in the movie, to keep trying it again, but with more sincerity and care.
In their rewatch, the two discover that Phil isn’t a bad person, but someone who is unaware of how good he has it already. “It’s not a jerk learning to be nice, it’s a pretty average human who has a lot of qualities I have: learning to be more sincere, learning to appreciate the life he has that’s already not that bad,” Amy says.
A good chunk of the episode is dedicated to director Harold Ramis and the positive and anti-establishment energy he brings to both this film as well as his others, how it could sometimes oppose Murray’s more philosophical approach causing tension between the two friends.
One of the funniest critiques Amy and Paul have of the movie is its choice of music. “The music is kind of lame,” she says. “The music choices are ridiculous.” They highlight the outdated nature of the opening theme song called “Weatherman,” for being a cheesy ’90s love song. “For people who are afraid of getting too much into sentimentality or trying to keep this tone in check you’re going to pick that song?”
Whether you’ve already seen the movie or have yet to see it, you’ll love this episode. Make sure to listen to hear how a young Michael Shannon embarrassed himself on set in front of Murray, words of wisdom Paul received from Ramis, and how long the hosts speculate Phil was actually trapped in that repetitive loop (it’s more than a couple of years at least).
— Ian Goldstein