To respect and acknowledge the protests that are taking place across the country, and to show support for the Movement for Black Lives, we’re taking a break this week from The Upgrade. Instead, we’d like to recommend some podcasts from the voices we should actually be listening to. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please add your own favourites in the comments.
This narrative podcast from hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba tells stories of the black experience that aren’t always talked about in the mainstream media. Their logline says it all, “Stories from across the black diaspora.” The pieces are thoroughly reported and the personal accounts are beautifully told. Listen here.
This weekly podcast from NPR features really frank discussions on race and is hosted by journalists Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby. It’s rich, informative, and its topics range widely from the history of the black exodus (the “blexodus”) from the GOP, to how the coronavirus has hit black communities much harder than any other group. Listen here.
Though The Nod is no longer producing new episodes, this podcast is chock-full of truly wonderful, timeless episodes. Hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings are thoughtful, warm, and funny, and the episodes are varied. Sometimes they feature a narrative, important story of black history, sometimes it’s a witty quiz game or debate on black cultural icons. You can now find the show on Quibi, but you can also listen to their episode archive here.
Hosts Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris are both culture writers at The New York Times and each week they dive into everything arts and entertainment and talk about what fired them up in both good and bad ways. It’s smart, funny, and a lot of fun. Listen here.
Host Josie Duffy Rice is a journalist and lawyer and President of The Appeal—an outlet reporting on the American criminal justice system. Each week Rice dives into a new criminal justice issue with a guest co-host. It’s fascinating, informative, and an important listen. Check it out here.
Each week, comedian Phoebe Robinson sits down with an actor, musician, writer, or fellow-comedian who isn’t a white dude. The conversations are honest, intimate, and hilarious, and at the end of each season, Phoebe features one token white guy guest (you know, to keep things fair). If you miss 2 Dope Queens, this is a great substitute. Listen here.
This limited series from The New York Times tells the story of how slavery shaped America, starting from the very moment the first enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Virginia. Each episode is a highly produced and beautifully crafted narrative. The podcast is hosted by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer for her corresponding personal essay for the project. Listen here.