Black History Month may be over, but as writer Huda Hassan recently highlighted, conversations about race, equality and making space for Black voices shouldn’t begin and end in February. Beyond that, as writer Bee Quammie has also discussed, it’s essential to listen to Black women, especially given the historical tendency to ignore these important voices. With that in mind, we curated a list of podcasts created by or featuring Black women—and trust, you’ll want to download every. single. one.
Whether you need career inspo, mindfulness tips, insight into political culture or just a good laugh, these podcasts have you covered. Each series is fab in its entirety, but if you’re not ready to commit to an entire run (because we get it, commitment is hard), we highlighted some standout episodes. So do yourself a favour and start downloading these powerful podcasts.
For stories that will make you think
Take a walk in these women’s shoes as they recount their battles with injustice.
You Had Me at Black
Episode 17: “You Don’t See Me”
In this episode from a podcast series that exclusively features Black millennial stories, one night starts out like any typical girls night out—but ends with narrator in the back of a cop car. This powerful episode follows a woman named Alex and her experience with police brutality, which stemmed from her friend’s “violation” of a bar’s dress code. “When you are faced with violence like that, do you stand up for yourself or do you prioritize your safety?” asks Alex. Questions like that are why this 10-minute episode will keep you thinking hours after you listen.
You Had Me at Black
Season 50: “He’s Not Worth It, But My Light Bill Is”
In this episode of You Had Me at Black, a young woman named Brea shares an experience she had with an male co-worker who acted inappropriately, and the neglectful way that her company handled the situation. “I’m at home thinking the Black man has it hard enough in America but then what about me, the Black woman?” she says. In this episode, we hear how Brea embraced her right to be an Angry Black Woman and how she used her emotions to get her power back.
For self-care advice
Between work, wine nights and that ever-expanding list of errands, sometimes it’s hard to find time and space for yourself. We get it. If you need to inject some self-love into your life, look no further than these podcast episodes.
Therapy for Black Girls
Episode 39: “Self-Worth”
Get ready for some serious self-reflection with psychologist Dr. Joy Harden Bradford in this podcast that focuses on improving the mental health of Black women and girls. “Self-Worth” explores the importance of self-compassion by taking a look at how you perceive yourself—and while the messages are geared toward Black women, they will resonate with listeners of all backgrounds. If you need to take some “me time,” close your eyes and listen to the tips she has to offer. You deserve it.
Black Girl In OM
Episode 24: “Mindfulness 101”
Being present and mindful seems to be one of the most popular resolutions for 2018—especially in the age of technology (seriously, do the emails ever stop?!). Hosts Lauren Ash and Deun Ivory chat with a different wellness expert every episode to bring you the most well-rounded advice you can find. Close your laptop, chill out and let these experts guide you into serenity. In this episode, neuroscientist, artist and meditation expert Nkechi Njaka uncovers exactly what mindfulness is and how to incorporate it into your super busy life. If this ep gets you hooked, take a dive into the rest of the podcast to discover more self-care techniques.
For a laugh
2 Dope Queens
Episode 18: “Civil Rights Phoebe”
If you’re not listening to this absolutely hilar podcast from comedians Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, WTF have you been doing with your ears? This episode features all female comedians and deals with everything from go-to Dairy Queen orders to the Civil Rights Movement and it will have you LOLing for the entire 40-minute episode. But let’s be real, in the entire 2 Dope Queens podcast, and recent HBO special, pretty much every episode is gold.
Episode 1: “All Rise For Black Panther’s Princess Shuri: It’s Letitia Wright Appreciation Day”
If you are still obsessed with everything Black Panther, this episode is a gold mine. Hosts and Essence magazine editors Cori Murray, Charli Penn and Yolanda Sangweni speak to special guest Letitia Wright (a.k.a. Wakanda’s princess/engineer Shuri) about the impact that the movie has made on them personally, and on culture as a whole. You cheeks will hurt from smiling after listening to this feel-good episode that celebrates this milestone of success for diversity in mainstream pop culture.
For some #careerinspo
If you have a big idea but have no idea how to execute it, sit back, relax and take some notes from these powerful women who conquered it all.
She’s Got Drive
Episode 15: “Success has come with sacrifices”
Hosted by Shirley McAlpine, this podcast will inspire you with stories from successful women of colour. It has all the inspo you need to get your hustle on. In this episode, author and award-winning journalist Kimberly Seals Allers shares her seriously inspiring story of resilience and her journey to the top. No rise to success is without obstacles and failures, but Allers is a great example of what a healthy dose of determination can do. “It was a real awakening to how work is different for women, and particularly Black women,” she says. Success isn’t far away, and this podcast will most def get you on the right track.
Side Hustle Pro
Episode 66: “An Entrepreneur in Hollywood”
In this 45-minute episode, Black Love documentary co-creator Codie Elaine Oliver talks about how her independent film got the attention of Oprah’s OWN Network. “At some point you do have to give it your all,” she tells host Nicaila Matthews. Oliver shares how she worked through the challenges to make her dream a reality, and if you have a vision but needs a bit of a push, this podcast is the perfect motivation.
Secret Sauce — Spotlighting the Achievements of Black Women
Episode 9: “Secret Sauce —Welcome to 2018!”
In this episode, host Latoya speaks with Madison Square Bakery’s Kiara Madison and fitness coach Ashley Chatman about their new year’s resolutions and how they became successful in their fields. The episode also features insights from co-host and BLK Proverb clothing line creator Diane as she talks about her struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome and how one lifestyle change is helping her achieve her goals in 2018. There is no shortage of wisdom from these three badass women, so check it out if you’re looking to start 2018 off on the right foot.
Black Women Who
Episode 4: “Brittany B (Design)”
If you love Cardi B or Dreezy’s style, there’s a good chance that designer Brittany Benton is behind it. This podcast series explores everyday life from the perspective of Black women, and in this episode Benton talks about her success as a celeb clothing designer, the importance of quiet time and her thoughts on everything from culture to love. With only four episodes out so far, Black Women Who features a new guest every episode who shares a unique perspective on current events and issues concerning Black women. Pop in those headphones, relax and enjoy.
Blessed + Bossed Up
Episode 40: “Imposters Syndrome”
If you’ve ever felt like you’re a fraud at your own job, you’ve experienced imposter syndrome. If that sounds like you, in this eye-opening episode hosted by Tatum Harrison and Milan Mobley, you’ll find yourself nodding along as they break down this issue and describe their own experiences with self doubt. Oh and FYI: this 57 episodes-and-counting series describes itself as “sprinkling a little Black Girl Magic and Empowerment on the world,” and it is a solid dose of #careerinspo for people of all backgrounds.
Sooo Many White Guys
Episode 8: “Phoebe and Roxane Gay Toast to the Good Life”
“No man in life will ever be asked to write a corresponding essay about finding a hairball up his ass,” Roxane Gay says as she serves up some career-inspired realness. You won’t stop laughing, and your soul will be full after listening to the hilarious author and self-proclaimed feminist chat with host Phoebe Robinson about everything from her love of HGTV to her latest memoir, Hunger. According to Gay, female success in the writing industry not easy, but get ready for her story to leave you with some serious positive feels.
For hot takes on current events
We’re living in complicated and important times, with the news cycle that never stops, so it can feel hard to keep up. If you need a round-up of everything going on in the world of politics—with important context included—these eps are for you.
Episode 27: “Canada’s Broken Prison System”
Get ready for a wake-up call as investigative reporter Anna Mehler Paperny and Sharmeen Khan of the End Immigration Detention Network educate us about everything wrong with Canada’s prison system. Check out the other 29 episodes of this Metro news podcast, hosted by columnist and FLARE contributor Vicky Mochama and BuzzFeed’s Ishmael Daro, if you want to learn more about hot topics in news and Canadian politics.
Episode 53: “We Are Tired of Sexual Harassment”
Join New York Times culture writers Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham as they share their insights into race relations in America, covering everything from pop culture to politics. In this season finale, released on Oct. 12, they chat about the first Harvey Weinstein exposé released by The New York Times. Cultural complacency, systematic ignorance and the importance of consent are all themes they discuss. With the emergence of the #MeToo movement and the continued wave of new sexual assault allegations across all industries, this episode’s themes are still very much relevant almost five months later.
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