I wanted to write a bit of a love letter to some folks that I’ve had the blessing to get to know and admire deeply from afar, through podcasting.
As I was meditating on them, I recognized that they are making history.
They are making history in podcasting.
They are making Black history in podcasting.
The podcasting industry is relatively young, and there is not much pertaining to historical events chronicled, other than on Wikipedia and some books with references to notable events, like when the first use of the term “podcasting” happened, when the first enclosure tag was added to an RSS feed, and when the first podcast hosting company was created, etc.
But the historical events of note that I mean — those subtle inflection points often buoyed by people doing the work — the industry doesn’t really see or put on record.
Let alone from historically excluded communities – *cough* hence, the historically excluded part.
It’s LOVE Day and Black History Month, and this is a love letter to Black podcast creators, the flex point makers, in podcasting.
This list is highly biased. It is not meant to be exclusive, definitive, or all-encompassing. It is my super short, personal list of people that I believe are making Black Podcasting History.
This love letter is a call to action for you to write your own “love letter” to highlight and amplify Black podcasting leaders and creators that you know are making podcasting history.
(Quickie shout-out to the Black & Brown Podcast Collective who have published posts on Black podcasting history.)
Afros and Audio & Talib Jasir
Talib Jasir is so many things: creator, community organizer, life coach, and author; he holds a B.A. in Public Policy and Africana Studies.
He came into podcasting in 2017, after creating an audio “romcom” drama called “The Fussings: Until One of Us Is Dead”.
His claim to history is creating the first two-day event for Black podcast creators and audio professionals called Afros & Audio Podcast Festival.
He decided to create what he wanted to see after starting to produce his podcast and not finding the resources, information and support that he was looking for.
He did it without knowing anything about organizing a two-day conference, only a clear vision of what he wanted to create and a group of early supporters pushing him forward. He went all in and 5 years later — the rest is history.
The first Afros & Audio conference took place on June 22 and 23, 2019 in Brooklyn, NY. His dream was that this event be led by the podcast creators and professionals that are stakeholders in their own success and others in the podcast industry and stems from his mission and commitment to “community and collaboration”
One of the key components of Afros & Audio is strengthening the connective tissue of Black podcast creators and audio professionals to make sure “that we know each other exists.”
The ability for Black creators to find each other, to connect, to educate, and collaborate drives what Afros & Audio is all about.
The conference looks to break the barriers that historically excluded voices often come up against — lack of access, education, and information.
Black Podcasters Association & Corey Gumbs
And then comes Corey Gumbs! He’s an audio engineer and oh so many other things, primarily centered around work in audio.
Corey also stepped into podcasting and immediately joined a bunch of podcasting groups to get to know the what’s what. Although he participated in many groups, he recognized that they weren’t quite serving the type of information, communication, and connection that he was looking for.
He saw a divide between the information that was being shared in these groups and the reality of what it would really take for a Black podcaster to not only podcast, but to up-level their existing podcasts.
And so in March 2020, he created the Black Podcaster Association as a Facebook Group. Since then, the BPA has become so much more.
Our mission is to bring together a diverse group of black podcast creatives and professionals who are committed to reshaping the podcasting landscape while striving to create a foundation that fully supports our creative voices, respects our brands, and celebrates our unique voices.
He wanted a safe and supportive space where Black podcasters could find each other and help each other build better podcasts.
Corey is always fighting the good fight for the best quality of all things audio production and creation, empowering Black podcasters to have access to that information.
His dream, to have The Black Podcasters Association be “the premiere place for Black creatives and Black professionals within the podcast space for the industry.” One place where podcasters can find community and top-notch education. He wants the BPA to take away all the things that are taking away from Black creativity.
Black Podcasters Association partnered with Afros & Audio! History. Made.
Two brilliant organizations with similar visions providing even more together for Black creators and audio professionals.
Community, education, and conference!
Danielle Desir Corbett — The Thought Card, WOC Podcasters, Grants For Creators
It’s 2015 and Danielle begins her journey into chronicling travel and finance with The Thought Card blog after planning a trip to Europe.
Danielle didn’t get caught up on whether she should focus on just travel or just finance. She found that in doing both, her audience resonated with it — and it also provided an outlet for her, creating the type of content that she was looking for that she hadn’t been able to find — how to pay off student loan debt while traveling.
But man, oh man, she did not stop there! Here’s a bullet list of Black podcasting history-making:
- Danielle applies to Spotify’s SoundUp in March 2018.
- Spotify delays its planned announcement of the cohort and it causes chaos!
- Lots of the women that applied are on social media looking for information and wanting to communicate with Spotify and each other.
- Danielle builds a WOC Twitter list centering the folks that applied using the hashtag #SoundUpBootCamp and creates the WOC Podcasters Facebook Group.
She did all of that out of instinct and not fully knowing what she was getting herself into, but recognizing that this might be big — even though she didn’t even have a podcast.
And using the momentum of Spotify’s SoundUp and WOC Podcasters, she finally launched The Thought Card podcast in September 2018.
Ever since Danielle has tried almost every possible way to monetize. She has multi-faceted insight into what it takes to build brands, businesses, and true diversification of income — from successful, personal experience.
Everything that Danielle has done and continues to create comes from an organic, natural, instinctual, and experimental leadership style. She leads from a place of wanting to know how to engage and grow together.
Anna DeShawn — E3 Radio, The Qube
Anna DeShawn’s path to Black podcasting history-making comes with creating her own radio show in November 2009 and building E3 Radio, an online radio station playing queer & independent music in high rotation: “E3 is Queer Radio Done Right.“
Ever since, Anna has had a clear and single-minded mission: to bring more awareness and visibility to the voices of Black, Brown, queer, and trans People of Color.
That mission expanded from E3 Radio to their annual event, Purple Tie Affair, a concert, and silent auction benefiting Anna’s favorite non-profits, and then finally the pièce de résistance, the development and creation of The Qube App.
Anna recognized that consumption of audio, plus the ability to find music and podcasts centering Black, Brown, queer, and trans People of Color all in one place, was an often-voiced pain point in her community.
The answer, The Qube App.
She quit her full-time job and became a full-time entrepreneur in February 2021 to devote herself to building a curated destination for the best podcasts & music by BIPOC creators.
She continues to inspire and inform her community by forging meaningful partnerships with other podcasting organizations and thought leaders who authentically align with her vision, in addition to her weekly podcast Queer News.
Anna sees the world through collaboration, not competition.
She’s moving Black podcasters forward, all day, every day.
Keep Your Own Black Podcasting History
I am not Black.
I am El Salvadorean. I hold a small piece of podcasting history as the first woman and Latina inducted into the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame. I need to do a better job of building my own historical archives, gathering records, artifacts, preserving the past, and claiming my place in podcasting history.
As do, I believe, most other BIPOC podcasting creators and professionals.
As a podcasting community, especially for historically excluded people and voices, we need to keep the records.
Write it down.
Make it searchable. And let’s all share it.
Black Podcasting is thriving. Black podcasting pioneers are present and have been present. Black podcasters worldwide have been shaping the podcasting industry since its inception. There must be records kept and shared.
The dream = when querying ChatGPT or whatever other OpenAI service, have it answer the question “When was Afros & Audio created?” and have it KNOW plus give correct information. 🙄