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10 Black Podcasters Keeping You Learning, Laughing & Glowing Up

This summer, add a few of these to your playlists.

Culture & Entertainment

It seems like when you search for a good podcast, there are millions to choose from, and sifting through them all can be overwhelming and exhausting. There's something there for everyone, from music to politics to history to comedy to late-night raunchy. Well, if you want to get a good start of a few worth checking out, we got it for you. Check out 10 podcasts that uplift, inspire, inform and empower:

Passing Through Podcast

1. STORYTELLING: Passing Through

Nneka Julia's Instagram page gives enough clues as to why you'd want to know more from just one glimpse of something. Her photos from her off-the-beaten-path travels around the world---from Oracabessa, Jamaica to Abua, Nigeria to Havana Cuba, to Siem Reap Province, Cambodia---have allure and mystique that she further excites via the captions. So it's no surprise that her podcast would do the same, offering clever storytelling and intriguing nuggets of wisdom.

2. POLITICS: Code Switch

If you want to hear discussions from super-smart journalists about race and current events, this is a good one. What's great about this is that it includes both female and male perspectives and puts things in a historical context so that you'll feel like you've been schooled after every episode. One recent episode about the agitators within protests had me rethinking my opinions about the moving parts of a successful activist movement.

Therapy For Black Girls The Podcast

3. MENTAL HEALTH: Therapy for Black Girls

This isn't your usual chat about mental health and therapy. This podcast makes the subjects less taboo and more relatable. Hosted by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed psychologist and speaker, the podcast covers hot topics like Insecure's inclusion of Molly's pursuit of therapy, managing anxiety related to COVID-19, coping with workplace stress, and how to talk to your children about race.

4. BOSS MOVES: Side Hustle Pro

Nicaila Matthews Okome features candid conversations with women entrepreneurs, and past guests have included Myleik Teele of CurlBox, Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter, and Nicole Walters of The Monetized Life. The show promotes the impact of small steps that lead to big results, whether in launching that new idea, business or upgraded life.

Sip On This

5. WORK: Sip on This

Ashley Nicole Black, an actress, comedian, and writer, is that breath-of-fresh-air coworker at the new job who actually tells you why you shouldn't ask too many questions at the first staff meeting and point out who will actually answer your emails. She covers topics like how to channel anger, find work-life balance and survive struggle jobs. Yeah, thank me later sis.

6. CULTURE: The Read

If you don't know by the title what you're in for, you might want to go ahead and consult your urban dictionary and then review the expiration date on your Black Card. Veteran blogger Kid Fury and co-host Crissle give us real talk and raw opinions on every day issues like responding to cities opening back up, celebrity Internet beefs, and the prevalence of white privilege violations. These two would make any salon, coffee shop, bar lounge or barbershop visit a treat because this is the type of when-keeping-it-real-goes-right that makes any conversation that much more enjoyable.

Identity Politics

7. CULTURE: Identity Politics

Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali talk race, gender and life as Muslims in America in a way that not only invites understanding but puts them among the ranks of friends in your head. (Am I the only one who does that? Wendy Williams, Tracee Ellis Ross, Shioni Turini, and Janelle Monae are on that list, too, but I digress). Whether you share their faith or not, you'll find so many similar issues to evoke "Yasss, sis," that you won't want to stop listening once the episodes are done.

8. TRAVEL: Let's Go Together 

Pilot and explorer Kellee Edwards talks with guests about what their travel experiences have taught them about life, people, purpose, and choices. Kellee has traveled to more than 50 countries herself, built a huge following on YouTube before joining the team at The Travel Channel and has redefined what it means to be a black traveler. This podcast just launched June 10, but if it's anything like her previous shows, you won't want to miss it.

Brown Vegan

9. HEALTH & WELLNESS: Brown Vegan

Monique Koch, a vegan family coach, shares how to transition into a healthy lifestyle, and even if you're still not too sure about cutting your favorite jerk pork or fried chicken from your diet, you'll find more information from featured guests about the specific health benefits of using essential oils, incorporating adjustments for fitness goals, or adding more interesting seasonal veggies to your meals.

10. SEX & LOVE: Whoreable Decisions

Anytime you hear the words "one night stand", "on her face", "got a rash", and "parasites" in the same sentence, you know it's going to be an interesting night. This is definitely NSFW, but once you get a private moment and hear hosts Mandii B and WeezyWTF break down the tea and crumpets on trending news, celebrity shenanigans, girl-did-you-know wise cracks, and issues of sex and love that raise more than an eyebrow.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
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