As we gear up for Black History Month, we’re highlighting some of podcasting’s best Black creators and the shows that have made this medium shine. While U.S. podcast-listener diversity has actually surpassed the diversity of the country’s total population, sadly the same isn’t exactly true for podcast creators/hosts.
So, here’s just a smattering of some amazing podcasts from Black creators, from historical documentary series to weekly pop culture and political news. We’ve got some old classics that have ended, (RIP “Thirst Aid Kit”) and new favorites that are on our weekly queue. Whatever you’re looking for, find it here on this list!
A classic from NPR, “Code Switch” explores how race affects every part of society, from art to politics to food. Hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby, the two tackle current societal discussions with an intent to educate both listeners and themselves. They cover a wide range of topics while intertwining history, current events, and data to get us all involved in the conversation about race around the world.
Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham of The New York Times’ “Still Processing” have set the podcasting standard since they began the show in 2016. The two talk all things art and culture, all while contextualizing what makes it so important. They bounce from the niche to the mainstream and focus on what it all says about life in the United States. While they haven’t released a new episode since May of 2021, their episodes are all still worth a listen.
It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders
“It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders” is where you should go for the who’s who of the biggest cultural movements. From remembering André Leon Talley to looking back at Whitney Houston’s 1991 national anthem, the end of the war in Afghanistan to Ted Lasso, Sanders is speaking with the best and brightest on these topics. Sanders never disappoints and keeps us up-to-date on pop culture, the news, and what to be optimistic about.
A little different than other podcasts on this list, “Floodlines” is a serialized podcast about Hurricane Katrina and the catastrophe that came after. Hosted by journalist for the Atlantic Vann Newkirk who specializes in politics, environment, race, and healthcare policy, “Floodlines” is a shocking must-listen. Brilliant and haunting, Newkirk tells the different story of Katrina, about the survivors and victims of the negligence and racism of the American government. Filled with stories from those who lived it, entwined with Newkirk’s own experience, “Floodlines” is telling the often untold, multifaceted history of the day the levees broke.
Here’s The Thing
Hosted by comedian Kevin Fredericks (@KevOnStage) and actress Angel Laketa Moore (@ThatChickAngel), with newer third host Josh Gonzales, “Here’s The Thing” covers a little bit of it all. Handing out reviews, commentary, and guaranteed laughs (with their clean comedic stylings), “Here’s The Thing” has been racking up downloads and reviews since 2018. With plenty of hour-long episodes and half-hour bonus episodes to choose from, you’ll certainly have your hands full with this incredible podcast.
Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay
“Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay” is a combination of pop culture, politics, a dash of sports, and two media personalities who are always ready with a hot take. Lathan and Lindsay release episodes twice a week about the buzziest news stories making the rounds. With an emphasis on Black pop culture, this podcast is covering the news that is often overlooked by mainstream media.
What A Day
A Podsauce favorite and daily news podcast from Crooked Media, “What A Day” is co-hosted by Tre’vell Anderson and Akilah Hughes along with Priyanka Aribindi and Gideon Resnick. In just 20 to 30 minutes, they make even the most daunting news digestible and find the little tidbits that you might have missed at first glance.
It’s no secret that we here at Podsauce are a part of Laci Mosley’s con-gregation. We’ve written about the brilliance of “Scam Goddess” here, here, here, and here! Every episode, Mosley is talking about present-day scams (like those never-ending AT&T bill confirmation texts) and the greatest scams throughout history with guests like Yvette Nicole Brown, Fortune Feimster, Amanda Seales, and Georgia Hardstark. This absolutely hilarious Earwolf podcast has our hearts and maybe even our social security numbers.
Snap Judgement Presents: Spooked
Created hosted by Snap Judgement Studio’s Glynn Washington, “Snap Judgement Presents: Spooked” is scary stories directly from the people who experienced them. These half-hour long episodes about supernatural happenings coming straight from first-hand sources have been scaring people’s socks off for six whole seasons. The production value, the shockingly immaculate story-telling, and Washington’s incredible hosting chops will have you feeling like you aren’t (ever) alone.
Thirst Aid Kit
We are still reeling from the end of “Thirst Aid Kit,” although, of course, Bim Adewunmi’s and Nichole Perkins’ wisdom still lives on in the RSS feed. A podcast all about Hollywood and female desire. The two would discuss why the men they’d talk about were attractive beyond the surface level, and sometimes, they’re joined by the famous men themselves.
Gimlet’s “The Nod” is a podcast about the Black stories and histories that you won’t hear anywhere else. While the show seemingly ended in 2020, hosts Eric Eddings and Brittany Luse were talking about cosplaying while Black, student loan debt, striking in sports, Black women in hip hop, and much, much more.