Start with these seven top podcasts—including fiction and panel-style shows—starring Black women
If you’ve spent any time with Black folks (or on Black Twitter), you’ll know that listening to Black women is always.the.best.way.forward. And it’s true, you should be listening to us when we try to save the world from collapsing to the ground. But have you considered listening to Black women just because? Listening to our stories? Our laughs? Our adventures?
I listen to Black podcasts because I grew up surrounded by the richness of Black storytelling. Masters of spinning even the simplest anecdote into an extraordinary tale, we’re good at getting our point across in all mediums and genres. The podcasting world is no different.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign or reason to expand your podcast palate, I’m giving you the go-ahead to get started. Listed below are a few of my favourite podcasts—some fiction and some traditional panel-style shows—that star Black women.
The premise: NYC-based hosts Mandii B and WeezyWTF talk about their sexual adventures (and misadventures), as well as all the sexual-wellness information you’re too scared to google.
Why I can’t stop listening: The first time I heard this podcast (it was the “Disabled Sex” episode), I was sitting in the backseat of a Lyft in Detroit. I had to ask my driver what the hell she had me listening to because I was blown away by how raunchy and downright hilarious it was. It’s like brunch talk after you’ve all had a few too many mimosas meets when you’ve just gotten home from an, ahem, appointment and are spilling every detail in the group chat. Five stars for both the driver and the podcast!
Read this next: What I’ve Learned About Black Love from Photographing It for Two Years
Margaritas & Donuts
The premise: Created by Faith McQuinn, writer, director and founder of Observer Pictures, this is a limited-series fictional romcom about dating over 40.
Why I can’t stop listening: Black love, obviously! I’m a sucker for Black love stories that aren’t rooted in the pain and trauma of Black women (looking at you, Tyler Perry!), and Margaritas & Donuts is it. Without giving too much away about the plot, I can tell you that there’s a meet-cute between paediatrician Josephine and Malik, the ophthalmologist who works across the hall. There are romantic ups and downs, shit-talking conversations with best friends, elaborate dates and more. Listening to this podcast feels like one of the many conversations I’ve had with my older sister or aunts about what it’s like to date after 40. If you’re as heavily invested in seeing Black women fall in love as I am, Margaritas & Donuts is for you.
The premise: Hailing from Houston and currently residing in Los Angeles, married couple Cort and Ash sit down and have conversations about sex, love, goals, spirituality and identity from a Black lesbian perspective.
Why I can’t stop listening: Black lesbians who are in a long-term relationship being open and honest is not something I get to hear on the airwaves every day. I love it because it makes me feel like I’m back in college listening to gay upperclassmen dropping gems of wisdom. The podcast has been a conversation starter in my own relationship, and listening to it (at my partner’s urging) has segued into some fruitful discussions about incorporating holistic practices into daily routines.
Cort and Ash are extremely southern, and listening to their voices gives me hope that the future of podcasting and radio in general will include more accents that aren’t coastal. Also, it’s just fun listening to Black lesbians speak without a filter.
Read this next: Get to Know These 20 Black-Owned Beauty Companies
The premise: In this fictional thriller from QCODE Media, British actress Cynthia Erivo stars as Raylene Watts, a truck driver who picks up a mysterious cargo load and transports it down a dark and lonely highway.
Why I can’t stop listening: Say what you will about Cynthia Erivo—and a lot has been said about her attitude towards Black Americans while taking on Black American roles in film—but her performance in Carrier had me invested from the start. It’s pretty timely plot-wise, covering everything from the global climate crisis and driving as a Black person to familial ties and corporate greed. Clues about what Raylene is carrying in her cargo hold are planted from the beginning if you listen closely. The storytelling and sound mixing are so good at creating tension that I feel like I’m riding in the passenger seat as Raylene becomes increasingly anxious about what’s in the back of her truck as she tries to get home to her family.
She. Her. Dyke.
The premise: Hosts Mary and Lex sit down every Monday to discuss life and LGBTQ-community issues from the Black masculine lesbian perspective.
Why I can’t stop listening: If you’re consumer of lesbian cultural commentary, you’ve probably noticed that the space is dominated by the femme perspective. And while I appreciate that commentary and what it has done for visibility, it has completely eclipsed the also necessary conversations about the experiences of masculine-presenting lesbians and how they move in the world. Lex and a guest host talking about how breast insecurity can manifest in masc women in the “Body Dysmorphia” episode is a sobering picture of how body image affects everyone.
Although the podcast started out as just a hobby and way for Mary and Lex to express some of the issues that they experience as masculine lesbians, they quickly realized how much their voices needed to be heard.
“So now we enjoy [recording] it because our listeners feel represented by us,” Lex said. “Representation is so important for women, especially Black lesbian women. We need to be seen and heard and to know that we aren’t alone in our experiences.”
Read this next: How to Be a Better Friend to Black Women
The premise: Created by actress and writer Jordan Cobb, two xenoarchaeologists on a mission to explore an abandoned alien planet get more than they bargained for when someone—or something—begins to hunt them.
Why I can’t stop listening: As a sci-fi enthusiast, I love stories about Black women in space and in the future. And although I’m leaning toward calling Janus Descending Afrofuturism, I’m conflicted because only the protagonist is voiced by a Black woman. As far as scripted sci-fi/horror fiction goes, this podcast has it all: an overachiever, a reluctant partner whose sixth sense is telling them that something isn’t right, body horror, mysterious relics, caves that are definitely not supposed to be explored and found footage of the expedition when everything is over.
The premise: Host Laci Mosley, the Scam Goddess herself, sits down weekly with different comedians to dig deep into the latest and most historic scams.
Why I can’t stop listening: There are only so many pods about someone being murdered or wrongly sent to prison that I can listen to before I have to turn it off and listen to something lighthearted. That’s why Scam Goddess—being a “true con” show rather than a “true crime” show—is in my current rotation. Yes, I want to hear every detail about how Anna Delvey scammed all of elite NYC, and, YES, I want to wear my Joanne the Scammer wig and fur while I listen to it in my Caucasian home! I can admit that I have an inner scammer, and you most likely do too, so feed that messy part of yourself and become a member of the Scam Goddess’s CON-gregation.