Today is the first day of February, which is Black History Month, so this week’s podcast is honoring black voices and the contributions and achievements black people have made to podcasting and public radio. The following podcasts discuss everything from music and culture of the African diaspora to the American justice system. So grab some headphones and give them a listen.
“Another Round,” hosted by Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, is all about topics that are vital, covering everything from race and gender to pop culture. On the show, which is produced by Buzzfeed, the two friends and their occasional guests take on matters that are often not brought up in conversation. The episode that drew me to the show is titled “Was That a Microaggression Or Just Tuesday?” Both hosts and guest Audie Cornish, who is the host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” discuss not only microaggressions but also the “unbearable whiteness of white radio.” The discussion covers what it means to be both black and professional, as well as the stereotypes people of color are surrounded by in public radio. Previous guests on the podcast have been Hillary Clinton and journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates. The show is insightful and hysterical in all the right places, but most importantly, it’s relatable.
This show offers a more comedic perspective on things. Rod and Karen, a married couple, give listeners wisdom and unpredictable humor, always keeping true to their motto, “nothing’s wrong if it’s funny.” They delve into serious issues about ongoing situations, giving their own commentary, which will always knock you off your feet. Covering topics such as the “#MeToo” movement, an Air Force sergeant’s racist rant and DACA, the couple’s interesting outlook leaves listeners pondering after each episode. Rod and Karen have been featured on Huffington Post, and the show has constantly been ranked as the No. 1 comedy podcast on Podomatic. In a more recent episode, “Black Lightning so Lit” the two discuss the opioid crisis, a bridge in Colombia falling and relating that to America’s failing infrastructure, which has roads, according to Karen, that have not been maintained in years, and America’s drinking problem. The two are a great team, and Rod’s infectious laugh and their combined humor will make you tear up for all the right reasons.
Available on Soundcloud or its website, “State of the Re:Union” is hosted by performance artist and playwright Al Letson. It is both a podcast and public radio show distributed by Public Radio Exchange and NPR that explores cities around the U.S. – both small and big. Letson describes the show as “an unlikely idea that came from an unlikely show.” He grew up a black boy who wanted to extend his experiences to the country as a whole. Throughout his upbringing he became disconnected from America, uneasy with the symbol of slavery and often seeing the American flag as the Confederate flag. The show chronicles America from every aspect, discussing aspects that are often overlooked, from the American justice system to a gay black civil rights leader trying to make an impact. With this show and his experiences, Letson hopes to find his place in America while documenting different voices.
Launched in 1988, “Afropop Worldwide” has continued to expand and includes a wide range of music and cultures from the African diaspora and is considered to be one of the most internationally syndicated weekly radio shows. Hosted by Georges Collinet, the show highlights stories from music capitals in Latin America and Africa. Collinet offers a history lesson through each episode for listeners, talking about subjects as various as the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe, the first black-owned record label in the U.S. and Haiti’s fight for copyright. The weekly radio show brings cultures and countries together through Collinet’s power of storytelling. A personal favorite is “The Mugabe Years,” which centers around Zimbabwe’s most significant musician, Thomas Mapfumo, and his post-independence songs that, though considered controversial, shaped the country and destabilized apartheid programs upheld by the African regime. The song mentioned in the show, “Corruption,” focuses on former President Mugabe and his long financial scandal that led to the country’s hyperinflated economy. “Afropop Worldwide” not only shares the stories of the African diaspora but also combines history, music and culture.