While at work today, I was typing away while listening to a podcast as I regularly do now, and I had a thought. Since I haven't written on here in a while, and I'm currently having an indecisive moment when it comes to books (no reviews coming anytime soon), why not write about the type of art that's engaging me the most right now? Since my last roundup I've latched onto about 13 podcasts that I listen to both actively for entertainment or information and passively for welcome distraction or background noise to help me focus, and I'd like to share them with you. Here they are, in no particular order.
2 Guys and a Girl (Xavier, Jade, and Jay): Three friends in NYC talk about current events, Black music, personal stories, and whatever else comes to mind. Highlights include "Cocktail of the Week", "Say No to Co-Workers", and "Fucked Up Song of the Week".
Bodega Boys (Desus Nice and The Kid Mero): Two comedians and TV personalities from the Bronx shoot the 'ish. Intelligent content with satisfyingly ignint delivery. Highlights include "the art", Desus' Ben Carson impressions, and pretty much everything else.
Black Girls Talking (Fatima, Aurelia, Ramou, and Alesia): Four 20-somethings from different parts of North America come together to talk pop culture, media representation, self-care, variations of Blackness, and other topics that concern them as Black millennial women. Highlights include their "Bonus" episodes, which tend to be more specialized and often include interviews with special guests.
Jinjja Cha (Girl Davis and April): Flaunting a made-up phrase meaning "real tea" in Korean, two Black women from opposite sides of the pond (Girl Davis in London, April in Kansas City) spill all the tea about Korean music and culture, K-pop gossip, and all things related to Korea and the expat life. Highlights include 2-hour episodes (as of late), the listener letter segment "Anonymous", song reviews, and Girl Davis' exquisitely impassioned and informative tangents.
Melanin Millenials (Imrie and Satia): A pair of 20-somethings in London of Jamaican and Guinea Bissauan descent (respectively) discuss current events, politics, identity, and Twitter happenings from a British perspective. Highlights include "Your Comment Should Not Be Free" and "Afrobate".
We Just Got Back/WJGB (Tam, King Cam, and Boj): After having spent time studying/working in the UK and the US in particular, these three friends discuss their lives in Lagos since returning to Nigeria. Think UPN's 'Girlfriends', except more unabashed, with lovely Naija accents, and in podcast form. Highlights include their embarrassing stories, occasionally bizarre sex talk, and insights on dealing with Nigerian men's expectations.
Mostly Lit (Reckless Rai and Alex Reads/AJ): A cousin podcast of Melanin Millenials, Rai and Alex are British book nerds who discuss literature within the context of current culture and society, especially as it pertains to colonialism, trends, and POC experiences. Highlights include Alex's voice, their book recommendations, and their most recent Disney episode.
Your Black Friends (Eric Vincent, Martin Weiss, and Camille Johnson): For melanated and non-melanated people with no Black friends, this trio of Detroit area residents and UofM grads volunteer to explain topics related to Black culture, hip-hop, current events, the Metro Detroit area, and Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat happenings. Highlights include their occasional shouting matches; hard to listen to but it's impressive that they leave them in the finished product anyway.
Sisterly Love (Shaina and Candice): Two sisters from Mississippi chat while offering tidbits of wisdom to get you through the day, flecked with Bible verses and Christ-centered inspirational thinking. Highlights include short episodes (under 30 minutes), and delivering a Word that is easily applicable to everyday life.
My Brother, My Brother and Me/MBMBaM (Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy): Three brothers take random questions from Yahoo! Answers and their own inbox and answer them as if the askers of those questions are actually listening. A mostly irreverent, mostly phony advice show that has some hilarious moments. Highlights include custom jingles in the "Money Zone", and the last question of every episode, which always goes unanswered.
RISK! (Kevin Allison): Curated and edited recordings from RISK! storytelling events around the country, with the occasional radio-style recording thrown in for good measure. Each episode and event is themed, and featured speakers have the freedom to talk about whatever they want. Lots of honesty, vulgarity, laughs, and occasional crying. Also astonishingly sex, kink, body, and LGBT positive. Can't pick a highlight because all of the episodes are excellent in their own way.
Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People, a.k.a. Beautiful/Anonymous (Chris Gethard): Comedian Chris Gethard allows anyone to call him, talk about whatever they want, and keep up a conversation for up to an hour. The only rules: Chris can't hang up, the caller can't tell him their name, and the phone cuts off exactly at the 1-hour mark. Like RISK! this one's all about connecting with people, but the spontaneity of it and the way that Chris' kindness and humor get people to keep talking make it truly special. Highlights include "The Most Amazing Destruction", which I'm listening to as I write this list.
2 Dope Queens (Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams): A hybrid storytelling event and stand-up comedy show in which comedian friends Phoebe and Jessica perform their podcast live in Brooklyn, often joined by their various comedian friends. Highlights include the freedom with which the hosts display their friendship and the candid stories they tell during their opening sets.
All of these podcasts come highly recommended from yours truly. I wouldn't be surprised if my podcast diet expands even more during the remainder of the year, and if so I'll definitely have another list coming up for you. Happy listening!