As Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom danced onto the ornate stage at Los Angeles’ Ace Hotel earlier this month, the hooting and hollering crowd could barely contain their excitement.
And the two acclaimed writers and feminist icons had a lot to celebrate.
Their podcast Hear To Slay, easily one of the hottest new podcasts of 2019, was about to start its first-ever live show at the Werk It! A Women’s Podcast Festival with a stacked guest lineup that included actress Tichina Arnold.
Described as the “Black feminist podcast of your dreams”—and it doesn’t disappoint—Hear To Slay (Luminary) is a show that explores “the things everyone is talking about, and what they should be talking about,” Gay explains in the trailer. That—plus a whole lot of delicious sass, big laughs, approachable smarts and quick-fire comebacks—gives this podcast the kick you’ll be looking to return to each week.
Since its launch in April, Hear To Slay guests have included heavy hitters like Gabrielle Union, Stacey Abrams, Audra McDonald, Ava DuVernay, as well as need-to-know great minds like award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson, the Black List CEO Franklin Leonard and Jamaican author and 2015 Man Booker prize winner, Marlon James.
Although the show sits behind podcasting app Luminary’s $7.99-a-month paywall, it is a welcome addition to an ever-evolving podcasting space. Black women podcasters are working hard to stake their claim in an industry expected to produce more than $1 billion by 2021, according to a 2019 report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC.
Therefore, Black women-hosted shows like Hear To Slay, our own ESSENCE podcast network, Slate’s Thirst Aid Kit, as well as newbies like Demetria Lucas’ Ratchet & Respectable, Stitcher’s Secret Lives of Black Women and Shonda Rhimes’ upcoming Shondaland Audio podcasts, are important voices for podcasting — and for us.