Listening to Black Narratives - podcasts I have found useful to learn about the Black experience

If, like me, you have been wondering how to be support #BlackLivesMatter listening is a good first step. I have been trying to prioritise listening to and reading narratives that I do not experience to better understand where we are starting from when it comes to racism.


This is why I love podcasts. These are the podcasts I want to amplify, and there is a mixture of USA and UK. (If these podcast address the experience and histories of POC/BAME/LGBQT+ in general, for this moment I have specified episodes that focus on the Black experience - but do go listen to the other episodes!):

Code Switch - A decade of watching Black people die (USA)


Code Switch has the tagline of "Race. In Your Face." Which pretty much sums it up, and it covers all types of racism and experiences for POC. It has been running since 2013, so they have covered a lot of deaths - Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small - at the time they happened. Their latest episodes highlights that this is not new. As Will Smith said on the Tonight Show "racism isn't getting worse, it's getting filmed" (sidenote: I've seen a lot of alt-right racist media trying to misappropriate the first part of this statement.)


Outside Voices - Finding Black Joy in the Outdoors with Brittany Leavitt (USA)


I've written before about how much I love Outside Voices. In this episode, Brittany talks about growing up as a "transracial adoptee" or someone who was raised outside of their own race. As a Black woman growing up in a White adopted family, "Brittany sometimes struggled navigating the intersection of her multiple identities" as the narrator says.


Have You Heard George's Podcast? (UK)


This is a podcast by George the Poet, a spoken word artist. It mixes up genres, and there is a blur between fiction and non-fiction. It did really well at the British Podcast Awards and then was snapped up by BBC Sounds. Listen to the Grenfell episodes (Episodes 3 and 3.5 of the first season) for some real gut-kicks. The story behind who Grenfell Tower was named after is a real reminder of how ingrained racism is in the UK.


Combing The Roots (USA)


This podcast is hosted by Ally Henny, and done in collaboration with The Witness: A Black Christian Collective. As the website says "Henny’s Christian worldview and her blackness informs her perspective, but her commentary is suited for all" and as a non-Christian, non-Black person, I agree. I'd particularly recommend YesALLWhitePeople for more insight into White privilege, microagressions, White fragility and the 'iceberg' of White supremacy.


Black Guys in a Box (UK)


I have just discovered this one yesterday and listened to a bit of it, but even the little soundbites are pretty powerful. This podcast is great because, as it says, "The Northern working class black voice is one that is rarely heard from in the media".


Throughline - A Race to Know (USA)


Throughline looks at issues in politics and society today by tracing it back through history. The A Race to Know episode looks at the under-representation of marginalised communities in the Census, and how this has a ripple effect in services, science and politics. Other episodes to listen to are Strange Fruit, which looks at the repercussions for Billie Holiday singing that song, and Before Stonewall, which looks at the Stonewall Riots in context.



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