9 New Social Justice Podcasts to Keep You in the Loop
By Jazelle Hunt
As Black communities deal with crisis on three fronts – the coronavirus pandemic, police/white supremacist violence, and a precarious political landscape – some of our brightest minds have taken it upon themselves to keep us informed and fortified each week. Here are eight social justice podcasts founded since the state of affairs took a turn for the worst in March 2020.
With New York City being one of the hardest and earliest hit coronavirus epicenters in the world, this podcast from the City University of New York (CUNY) captures concerns and stories from disproportionately-affected Black and brown New Yorkers. With Black communities everywhere being the most at-risk for COVID complications, there’s insight and relevance for listeners far outside NYC.
“Several communities have preexisting vulnerabilities, whether due to racism, ableism, or poverty. COVID University of New York gives special focus to them all.” – Char Adams
Podcast: Driving the Green Book
The Negro Motorist Green Book was an invaluable cross-communal resource that helped Black Americans avoid racial discrimination, police harassment, and white violence on their interstate travels. This podcast features the book’s safe locales, and interviews with people who lived through the Green Book’s heyday.
This past September when Ben & Jerry’s announced it would launch an anti-racist podcast – yes, that Ben & Jerry’s – it caused quite a stir. The six-episode podcast takes a deep dive into U.S. history and its white supremacist origins.
“I believe that the death of George Floyd has presented America with what may be our last and best chance…. In order to undo 400 years of a system that was designed, either deliberately or by indifference, to create the society that we’re in right now … it is going to take huge steps. We are not going to be able to nibble around the edges anymore.” – Jeffery Robinson
Podcast: The Tight Rope
For knowledgeable conversation about Black music/art, social justice uprisings, and anti-racism, The Tight Rope is what you’re looking for. With featured guests including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Daveed Diggs, and more, each episode entertains and educates.
Podcast: How To Citizen with Baratunde
Host: Baratunde Thurston
“One of the consequences of limiting our power [as citizens] to the interpretation of, ‘you get to vote’ … is that you leave a lot of people off to the side. You leave people who don’t have documentation, off… or if you’re formerly incarcerated in some states… or by age.” – Baratunde Thurston Thurston’s latest project explores the idea of “citizen” as a verb, and a responsibility centered on building and using collective power. True to the mission, Thurston records live, welcomes expert guests, and invites audience members to join in with questions.
Podcast: Sounds Like Hate
Hosts: Geraldine Moriba & Jamila Paksima
The Southern Poverty Law Center offers this documentary-style podcast that spotlights extremist groups and the people and communities who subscribe to the hateful ideologies therein. The journalistic storytelling format (as opposed to the conversational or Q & A format of many podcasts) makes for compelling episodes that feel more like Netflix than NPR.
Podcast: Black in Appalachia
Hosts: Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin & Angela Dennis
“We know that the general conception of Appalachia is that this place is rural, rugged, and white. So we want to tell the stories of the Black folks in Appalachia, who have always been here – or, at least as long as white folks have been here.” – Dr. Enkeshi El-Amin & Angela Dennis
The podcast points out that Appalachia spans 420 counties in 13 states from New York to Mississippi – a huge region ripe with Black history, communities, and social justice ills. In one episode, the scholars discuss the rise of “Nazi hunters”– individuals or groups who work to expose new white supremacy groups and their members who are hiding in plain sight.
Host: Kailee Scales
Black Lives Matter Global Network Managing Director Kailee Scales interviews activists, key figures, and experts on a variety of issues that intersect with the Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles.
“All of these things are happening right now – with Nina Pop, with Ahmaud [Arbery], we’re dealing with a pandemic – and then we hear about our sister Breonna with her beautiful, loving smile. It sometimes can feel overwhelming. But we’re stepping up. We have to do this again. We need justice for Breonna.” – Kailee Scales
Although this podcast was launched back in 2018, the public is sorely due for a reminder to listen to Black women and give credence and credit where it is due.
“Cite Black Women is a movement…to push us all to critically engage and respect Black women’s intellectual contributions. We seek to promote critical dialogue about the erasure of Black women from mainstream citational practices in academic spaces, public discourse, and the everyday.” – Michaela Machicote (co-producer)