If history has taught us little else, it’s shown us that storytelling is in Black women’s DNA. From the folklore, recipes, and wisdom passed down through generations to the actresses, authors, activists and speakers who keep us informed and thinking—Black women know how to deliver a good story that will stick with you. And Tracy Clayton has become a staple in the podcasting world for just that reason.

Her time as co-host of Another Round interviewing guests like Tichina Arnold, Jenifer Lewis and Hilary Clinton, is one of the earliest Black podcasts with a cult following and she blazed a trail for Black women podcast hosts after her. Having moved on to hosting a highly memed and retweeted season of Netflix’s Strong Black Legends and Mailchimp’s Going Through It Podcast where she chats with Black women about when they knew they needed to make a change, Tracy stays busy doing what she loves: communicating.

Tracy Clayton
Tracy Clayton | Photo courtesy of Netflix

On an episode of Yes, Girl! the host-extraordinare, who Beyoncé named to her This Is Black History list earlier this year, recounts when she realized writing was her jam in high school.

“Communication was tough for me. And that’s when I was like, ‘I can use writing to say how I feel. I can use writing to put words together.’ Because it was just tough for me to speak and feel confident in the way that I was speaking, I think,” she says.

Since then, Tracy has obviously honed her skills and become a renowned journalist and podcast host. She says the transition from writing to podcasting wasn’t necessarily hard because she was ready for a change. Clayton also says the time is now for Black women to get into and own the podcasting space freely.

She adds: “It makes my heart so warm to see so many podcasts, especially from Black women. You can say what you want, and you don’t have to run it past a White editor who doesn’t understand why this thing is important to you, or doesn’t think people are going to get this kind of slang. And if I were a White dude, I’d be nervous as hell right now. And I would honestly be like, “How can I be nicer to Black women?” Because clearly things are changing.”

Listen to Tracy’s full episode to hear her ki-ki about…

…THAT TIME SHE CURTSEYED AT THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE

“We’re in the line and we’re getting closer and closer, I’m just like, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, what do I do? What do I do?’ And I just like blacked out for a little bit as it’s our turn to walk up, and then when I came to, I’m curtsying. And then I was just like, ‘Why did I do that?’ And then I said it out loud, I was like, ‘I don’t know why I did that, I’m sorry.’

…WHEN SHE KNEW SHE WANTED TO BE A WRITER

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer in kindergarten when I started to learn to read I would just take the books that I was reading about little animals and stuff, and I would sit with some paper and just copy out the stories that I was reading. I wasn’t writing my own stories then, but I was just like, ‘This feels good.’ And I didn’t know why or how.”

…THE KIND OF CONFIDENCE EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE

“[There are] so many mediocre White people out here doing everything. Heben found this somewhere on the internet…Her phrase which became my favorite phrase was, “Carry yourself with the confidence of a mediocre White man.”

Check out Tracy Clayton’s full episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you listen to audio and catch her new show Back Issue out this month!

If you’re on Instagram, follow @essencepodcasts for updates on what the ESSENCE Podcast Network #PodSquad is doing and all the BTS content!

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