Last night I spent the evening with Michelle Obama in my living room.
Wellllll, truthfully, I was in my living room listening to the first episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast where she’s chatting with her husband and our former president Barack Obama. The intimacy of their conversation was audio gold, and not because they were speaking from cozy chairs and wearing at home leisure, but because the openness of Michelle’s personality as an interviewer. Her relatability speaking with guests as notable as she is surely resets the bar of excellence for podcasting.
During the preview episode of the series, which is a partnership with Spotify and Higher Ground Productions, Michelle shares what lit the spark of starting a podcast. She outlines this opportunity was less about wanting to speak about her time as First Lady but more about sharing cherished memories of “the way you feel when you’re sitting, sorting through life with a bunch of friends,” Michelle said.
“The main truth of my story wasn’t anything I did as First Lady but the lifelong experiences I shared with the people I love, the conversations that helped me understand myself more clearly whenever I came to a fork in the road.”
With The Michelle Obama Podcast now added to our list of listening companions, we’re highlighting more Black women having conversations that matter as audiocasts. Below are few we’re loving at the moment:
Come Through with Rebecca Carroll
Whether you know Rebecca Carroll's cultural criticism through books (the upcoming Surviving the White Gaze: A Memoir), essays or on Twitter, hearing her unapologetic questions about race, gender and social issues make her the first stop on learning—and unlearning—the nuances of politics in America leading up the November elections. Check out Come Through with Rebecca Carroll via WNYC Studios here.
Titi and Zakiya's Dope Labs
For three semesters—yes, that's how these Black female scientists refer to their podcast seasons—have been are schooling listeners on why and when science and racism intersect. Hosted by best friends Dr. Titi Shodiya and Dr. Zakiya Whatley, who “blend scientific principles with a dose of pop culture.” With planet earth suffering from a global pandemic, Dope Labs couldn’t be more needed in making science make sense. Check out Dope Labs via Spotify here.
Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell's Okay, Now Listen
Hosted by friends-turned-podcasters Scottie Beam and Sylvia Obell, these millennial media faves discuss everything under the sun as well as interview Netflix’s current roster of stars with original projects including Nia Long, Spike Lee, Issa Rae and more. Check out Okay, Now Listen via Netflix here.
Strong Black Lead
Hana Baba and Leila Day's Stoop Talks
Hana Baba and Leila Day split their podcast into two audio gems, The Stoop and The Stoop Talks (available only on Luminary). Thankfully on whatever preferred platform, these hosts have the same layered conversations about Blackness discussed from an African (Baba) and African-American (Day) perspective with top tier guests including Stacey Abrams, LeVar Burton, author Tomi Adeyemi and more. Listen to The Stoop here and Stoop Talks via Luminary here.
Dulcé Sloan’s That Blackass Show
As a correspondent The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Dulcé Sloan dismantles the news with biting humor. However, on her podcast That Blackass Show it’s the brilliance of iconic Black TV shows, movies and plays that she digs deep into with fellow comics and Black creatives. Check out That Blackass Show via Starburns Audio here.
Kenrya and Erica's The Turn On
Talk about having layers. Kenrya Rankin cowrote How We Fight White Supremacy as a must-read about race. But on The Turn On, she’s discussing another hot button issue: erotica. Particularly literary erotica. Kenrya, along with her cohost Erica, read pieces of Black erotica and interview its authors, and according to their show’s description: “give y’all way too much information about our sex lives.” Check out The Turn On here.
Talk about having layers. Kenrya Rankin cowrote How We Fight White Supremacy as a must-read about race. But on The Turn On, she’s discussing another hot button issue: erotica. Particulary literary erotica. Rankin, along with her cohost Erica, read pieces of Black erotica and interview its authors, and according to their show’s description: “give y’all way too much information about our sex lives.”
Real Quick with Danielle Young
With a knack for striking up instant connections from years of working red carpets from the Emmys to big Hollywood premieres for The Root and ESSENCE, Danielle Young’s relatability makes her guests—Lena Waithe, Marsai Martin, Tamika Mallory and more—feel right at home. Check out Real Quick with Danielle Young here.
Ratchet & Respectable with Demetria L. Lucas
Writer Demetria L. Lucas’s audiofest Ratchet & Respectable, where she expounds on everything from pop culture to politics, was already on our radar but we were extra proud when Apple Podcasts named her in their Honoring Black Voices series. The Don’t Waste Your Pretty author was recognized alongside Trevor Noah, Luuvie Ajayi, Reni Eddo-Lodge and more people of color pushing conversations around the Blackness forward. Check out Ratchet & Respectable with Demetria L. Lucas via Studio71 here.
Going Through It with Tracy Clayton
Although it’s been nearly three years since abrupt loss of Another Round with Tracy and Heben, we had a reprieve when the podcasting GOAT Tracy Clayton headed up Netflix’s Strong Black Legends audio series in February 2019. As we patiently await SBL’s season three, Tracy’s serving ear candy with two podcasts: Going Through It and the upcoming Back Issue with Pineapple Street Studios Producer-Extraordinaire Josh Gwynn. Check out Going Through It with Tracy Clayton via Mailchimp here.