Now more than ever, we need to continue to amplify Black voices. One of the easiest ways to do this (and get your recommended dose of knowledge, too) is by listening to Black-led podcasts. Whether you’re going for a run, driving to your next destination, or simply doing some work around the house, there’s no excuse not to hit play on one of these podcasts fronted by some of the most influential Black voices of our time. Not only is it easy to do, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to get educated and gain Black perspectives on racial injustices, systemic oppression, and other important issues facing the Black community right now. These nine podcasts are a great place to start listening.
In Black America (KUT)
Hosted by John Hanson, KUT’s In Black America remains one of the longest-running (and most important) podcasts about being Black in the United States. Broadcasted out of Austin, Texas but syndicated on NPR stations across the nation, In Black America sees Hanson interviewing a whole plethora of important modern and culturally significant African American figures — from teachers to athletes to doctors to celebrities to entrepreneurs to creatives to activists and everyone in between — who can help illustrate what being Black in America is really like. With over 150 episodes so far, John Hanson and In Black America are paving the way for countless other Black voices in podcasts to be amplified.
Listen to In Black America here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Leila Day and Hana Baba, hosts of podcast The Stoop, have one simple goal in mind: to start conversations about the way the media talks about Blackness. While it might sound hard to believe, the tone of voice and the type of language the media uses when talking about people of color sets a precedent that often proves to be quite unproductive. By setting out to discuss the aspects of Blackness that might not always be discussed otherwise and to set these mainstream media missteps straight, Day and Baba are effectively changing the way we think about and understand the Black experience. They’ve actively worked to quell deep-seated stereotypes and have initiated countless discussions that have long been ignored throughout their three years as podcasters. It’s what makes The Stoop essential listening for any podcast fan.
Listen to The Stoop here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Hella Black Podcast
No topic is off-limits on Delency Parham and Blake Simons’ Hella Black Podcast. COVID-19, environmentalism, celebrity culture, sports journalism, pop music, the Middle East… Parham and Simons discuss it all, and they discuss it incredibly well. On the air since 2016 but consistently uploading since 2017, the duo have not slacked in keeping up with current events and how they pertain to Blackness. Occasionally joined by interesting guests such as musician Noname, Kings, and a whole slew of other notable figures, Hella Black Podcast is a must-listen for anyone hoping to stay educated on today’s hot topics and the ways in which they impact daily life for Black people.
Listen to Hella Black Podcast here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
The Diversity Gap
Bethaney Wilkinson has spent the last ten years examining racial justice in America, the concept of community, the spread of social change, and the ways in which the three intersect. Thus, The Diversity Gap was born. Exploring diversity, inclusivity, and equity and the space between having good intentions and making a positive impact, Wilkinson and The Diversity Gap utilize perspectives from the world’s preeminent thinkers, award-winning authors, and thought-provoking creatives to educate listeners and hopefully better the world in the process. With an end goal of closing that gap between intentions and impact, Wilkinson’s podcast hopes to do more than entertain — she hopes to actually make a difference, too.
Listen to The Diversity Gap here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Co-hosts Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali have created a hit podcast with a two-fold appeal: Identity Politics invites guests who can attest to both the Black experience as well as the Muslim experience to discuss the ways in which their intersectionality impacts their daily life here in America. Race, gender, life as a Muslim — nothing’s off the table for Saleem, Ali, or their weekly guests. Not only is the podcast a truly captivating listen, but its promotion of intersectionality is essential during this day and age — the more people are aware of the overlapping systems of disadvantages in the modern world the better.
Listen to Identity Politics here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Yo, Is This Racist? (Earwolf)
Easily one of the funniest podcasts about race and society, Yo, Is This Racist? has been trying to answer the question posited in its title for nearly a decade now. Started as a blog in 2011 before launching as a weekly podcast in 2012, Yo, Is This Racist? host Andrew Ti and his co-host Tawny Newsome take reader- and listener-submitted questions about our society’s gray areas. From Yosemite Sam dialogue to tribal tattoos to questionable haircuts, Ti and Newsome take sledgehammers to the foundations of systemic racism in some of the funniest ways imaginable. Plus, at over 1,000 episodes, there’s no shortage of great content here. Plus, as an added bonus, Yo, Is This Racist? shows that getting educated doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.
Listen to Yo, Is This Racist? here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Seeing White (Scene on Radio)
Part of a larger series called Scene on Radio, season two — titled Seeing White— focuses exclusively on the origins and the spread of white supremacy in the United States. Host John Biewen and expert researcher Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika explore the definition of race, who defined it, and how the foundational American laws that sprouted from that definition disenfranchise anyone who isn’t white still to this day. This is the stuff none of us learned in our K-12 history classes. Despite what you might think based on the title, Seeing White is every bit about Blackness as it is about the history of race.
Listen to Seeing White here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
United States of Anxiety (WNYC Studios)
National Public Radio’s United States of Anxiety describes itself as an exploration of America’s unfinished business and the ways in which that unfinished business plays a part in defining our nation’s future. That might sound kind of vague to some, so it’s important to note that the podcast is quite a lot more than just this simple definition: United States of Anxiety has long been attempting to tackle the very conversations that have driven so many discussions between different races since the dawn of America itself (and sometimes even longer). While occasionally a tough and difficult listen, United States of Anxiety illustrates all the most important race-related issues in our world like no other podcast can. Don’t let the name fool you: the best way to put a stop to those anxious feelings about our world is to feel like you have a firm grasp on things.
Listen to United States of Anxiety here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Reveal (Center for Investigative Reporting)
Truth be told, there are so many issues in our society that seem so dense and so broken that it often feels like there’s no right way to truly dive into the root of the issue. The Center for Investigative Reporting’s podcast Reveal hopes to break these issues down — one by one — into palatable, easy-to-understand episodes. Hosted by Al Letson but featuring reports from journalists located across the globe, Reveal serves as the perfect explainer for topics like prison reform, environmental racism, protests, immigration, education, and countless other subjects that relate directly to race and culture today. These episodes are done so well, it’s likely even experts will find something to gain from listening to Reveal.
Listen to Reveal podcast here and amplify your favorite parts across social media using the sharing feature on the Backtracks Player.
Looking for more Black voices to amplify? Check out the other podcasts recently featured on Backtracks’ blog. From significant Black voices in health and wellness to hilarious and unique Black perspectives in comedy to notable Black figures in society and culture to much-needed discussions by Black women, Backtracks has made it a priority to promote Black voices in podcasts. In addition to being all different kinds of entertaining, educational, and challenging, choosing to amplify Black voices means choosing to stay informed while standing in solidarity with those who are unfairly marginalized and oppressed by our society on a daily basis.