Gia Peppers Tells Why She'll Always Ride For Black Communities And Push Self-Care In The Process

Gia Peppers Tells Why She'll Always Ride For Black Communities And Push Self-Care In The Process

Gia Peppers is that girl-next-door, friend-in-your head who slays and stays super-booked and super-busy, cares a lot about the plight of Black folk (especially sistas), and makes sure you stay enlightened and reflective about some of the most difficult but necessary topics affecting Black communities. She’s also that bestie that is sure to drop some Bible-laced inspo as easy as breathing, with quips and realness that remind you why we, as Black women, need sisterhood, friendships, and thriving networks now more than ever.

“I just want people to not put too much pressure on themselves for this new year and don’t worry if their goals are not done within the first month,” she said in an interview with xoNecole. “To give themselves the grace that we may give others all the time. We’ve been through a crazy last two years and it takes a lot for us to fully show up within the parameters of what we want to accomplish without really dealing with what these last two years have done to us as a people, especially for Black women because that’s what I know and who I am.”

Courtesy of Gia Peppers

The award-winning journalist and TV personality–who, by the way, is doing triple-duty as a contributor on the Today show, host on Amazon Music’s R&B Rotation, and co-host of the wildly popular podcast, Black Girl Pod—is geared up for Season 3 of More Than That With Gia Peppers.

The Rutgers University grad, who splits her time between New York and Los Angeles, is super-excited about the opportunity to continue to serve radio and online listeners in more than 100 markets, with many of the episodes airing via Black-owned stations across the U.S. The show amplifies Black voices, excellence, perspectives, and experiences on subjects including wellness, entertainment, and wealth. “We were awarded Adweek’s Best DEI podcast in 2021," she added. "So we are doing work that people are finally really celebrating, which is awesome because we have a team of creatives who are just as passionate about telling these real stories that impact us as I am.”

xoNecole caught up with Peppers to get the deets on just what's in store for the show, why she continues to ride for the power of storytelling in shifting narratives and forging change in Black communities, and what she loves more about the unique medium of podcasting.

​xoNecole: You’ve had a successful career in media for years. What would you say is the key to the longevity?

Gia Peppers: It starts with your mindset, as everything does. You have to be relentless in your pursuit of storytelling, evolving with technology as it evolves, and figuring out new ways to enter into this space that align with what you believe you’re here to do. It’s a balance of purpose. It’s [also] a balance of reflection and realigning.

xoN: You’ve got some fresh conversations coming with your podcast and radio show, More Than That. What’s new that listeners can expect from season 3?

GP: First, More Than That is one of those shows that we have the privilege of being able to tell stories about the conversations we’re having in real-time. One of my favorite things to note is that we’ll literally pull conversations that are trending and figure out the experts to talk to when it comes to how we can approach wellness in a whole bunch of different ways and that doesn’t just mean wellness traditionally. How can we make sure that we’re talking about sustainability and what does that really mean and how do we apply it.

This season we’re really setting our eyes toward the future. We did a lot of great storytelling in 2020 when we started this. It was the height of the Black Lives Matter 2.0 movement where we were in the racial reckoning in this country and we had to tell the reality of what it means to move forward within the grief of what we’ve been through but also understand there are more ways to tap into what we want to say and do and be in this moment.

And we continued that for season 2 with motivation and this time we’re thinking about the future. Our first episode, one of the great things we’ve seen is the resurgence of the attention on HBCUs [from] the mainstream and how that’s affecting enrollment and funding and things like that and I mean, the culture is clearly impacted by HBCUs and the graduates. We have a great conversation about how we are going to utilize this moment within our culture so that this is not a passion moment—that HBCUs thrive from this moment on.

We have David Banner, an HBCU graduate, and [he is] just one of those iconic men who gets all the aspects of hip-hop culture [and] education moving forward. We talked to Cari Champion as well, because she’s something who has covered sports for the past 15 years and is a person who knows how incredible it is to have athletes coming out of high school, who are the top-ranked in the world, choosing HBCUs and what that means to our community. And the same way ADifferent World impacted how many people looked at HBCUs twice, this new wave of athletes is also doing the same thing for our high school and our Gen Z students.

It was such a great conversation, and again, we’re thinking about forward movement.

Courtesy of Gia Peppers

​​xoN: Working in media, you can have some very prolific moments with interviews and conversations. Who has been your most memorable guest on the show?

GP: Well, there have been so many great people on our show! It’s hard to choose! We did an episode featuring a farmer from Urban Mothers Finest Farms in North Carolina, and she just changed my perspective of going to put my feet in actual soil and grounding, and what properties exist in the sun and the land, especially for Black women. Just standing there and being more centered and being connected to the space where so much trauma has happened and for our people in this country specifically but where so much life is. I learned we absolutely need to put our feet in soil sometimes and sit there and be connected to something that is bigger than ourselves.

And the healing—I know as I’m driving down the East Coast and you get to certain parts of town, you [are] like ‘Dang, this used to be a plantation. I don’t even want to look at it.’ But then it’s like yeah, but these people survived and thrived, and I am the living evidence of their dreams and prayers and their faith that something would change. Just the idea of watching something grow and seed and sprout is good for our mental and spiritual health. She just changed my mind in so many ways.

Another person who was so great was Lynae Bogues. Of course, we all know her. We get her brilliance every week in Parking Lot Pimpin.’ She’s just such a brilllant historian and she knows so much about the past and beautifully connects it with the future.

​xoN: What do you love the best about podcasting that’s different from other types of media?

GP: This one is hard because I might like all of media the same. All of it is a lift. Your best version of that story is you showing up in the fullness of your experiences, your research, your passion for the conversation—that’s always going to be the common thread with all types of storytelling. It doesn’t matter the medium.

With podcasting, people are a lot less worried about cameras and more interested in the conversation and feel less pressure to be perfect. We do a lot of focus on making sure our guests know that this is not a get-ya-got-ya show [and] this is not a tea [gossip] show. This is a real conversation around what matters to our community, what’s affecting our community, and how we can make it better.

I love that, with this particular podcast, we get to have conversations that don’t just focus on messiness and focuses on solutions around how we can be better within our personal and external lives.

For more of Gia, follow her on Instagram @giapeppers. And click here to check out the new season of More Than That.

Featured image by Jonavennci Divad

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This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.

For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.

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