I’m basically just a stereotype of myself at this point, but whatever. It’s almost been a year since I wrote 9 Podcast Recommendations, and now I’m back with 10 fresh new recommendations of podcast episodes. Whether you need something to listen to for the trip home, while you’re cleaning out your room, or for whatever fun winter shenanigans you happen to be up to, here are some of the best podcasts of the past year.
- Call Your Girlfriend, #72: Giving and Gifting
In this podcast, two kickass women, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, talk pop culture, politics, and shine theory (aka, women shine brighter when they support one another). Love, love, love the discussion in this episode on privilege, activism, and allyhood. Aminatou and Ann also talk about how supporting women does not mean blanket approval of everything women do (cc: Taylor Swift), but rather investing in each other – and sometimes that investment is constructive criticism.
- NPR Politics, Covering 2016 As a Muslim
Usually, this podcast is a rundown of the latest political news. But in this episode, Asma Khalid, who reported on demographics for the 2016 election, reflects on her experiences as a visibly Muslim woman on the campaign trail. She discusses the extra work she had to perform, her identity as a midwesterner, and how the tokenization of her identity can be just as hurtful as stereotyping. (Also, things that warm my heart: this photo of her with Sam Sanders at the White House.)
- Another Round, #73: New Studio, Who Dis (with Janet Mock) & #72: Water Protectors and Fear Allerton
Heben Nigantu and Tracy Clayton talk pop culture, race, gender, mental health, and squirrels in the podcast Another Round. Episode 73 is a landmark episode because – after a long separation – Heben and Tracy are finally together in the stude again! Also, they talk to the brilliant Janet Mock about her new film, The Trans List. Episode 72 is another great one – they talk to Dr. Adrienne Keene about Standing Rock and #NoDAPL, and hear stories from people there on the ground.
- In the Thick, Will History Absolve Fidel Castro?
This is a political podcast, brought to you specifically by journalists of color. As someone not particularly well-versed in Cuban history, I appreciated the context and multiple perspectives Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela provided on the death of Fidel Castro.
- 2 Dope Queens, #23: That Time I Had Sex With The Rock
Jessica Williams (of The Daily Show) and Phoebe Robinson (author of You Can’t Touch My Hair) host this comedy podcast that more often than not features stories about race, sex, and Bono. I can’t pick a favorite from this past season, but definitely entertaining is this episode, which features – well – a (fictional) story about having sex with The Rock. #YQY!
- Sooo Many White Guys, #8: Phoebe and Roxane Gay Toast to the Good Life
Phoebe Robinson (also of 2 Dope Queens) interviews artists who aren’t White Guys in this intimate and funny podcast. Again, all of them are good – but #8 features Roxane Gay, and you can’t go wrong with that.
- Planet Money, The New Telenovela
This podcast features stories about economics, but this episode in particular looks at the woman who revolutionized telenovelas. And yes – they mention Jane the Virgin.
- Code Switch, Asian American Letter on Behalf of Black Lives
Another podcast specifically brought to you by journalists of color, about race in America. In this episode, Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow spoke with Christina Xu about her crowd-sourced project, Letters for Black Lives, which is a resource for AAPI/immigrant children to talk to their parents, families, and communities about #BLM. There are letters in 20+ languages as well as some which are tailored to specific communities, all addressing anti-Black police brutality. (An aside: as a Chinese American woman myself, this episode fucked me up and made me cry at work.)
- More Perfect, The Imperfect Plaintiff
If you’re interested in the Supreme Court, you should listen to all of More Perfect. This episode in particular, though, dives into some of the history behind landmark affirmative action and LGBTQ rights court cases.
- The Longest Shortest Time, #99: When Grace Lin Realized She Was Chinese & #88: W. Kamau Bell Talks to His Mom About Sex
This is a podcast about parenting, but it’s not necessarily for parents. In #99, a thoughtful dialogue about identity and Asian American and PoC representation in literature. Also, some discussion on a question I’ve thought a lot about: how do you introduce your kid to your Chinese heritage, especially when you yourself can barely speak Chinese? (Also, how do you talk to your kid about identity? Race?) In #88, as the episode title describes, comedian W. Kamau Bell (you might know him from United Shades of America) has a frank, funny, and insightful discussion with his mom about her sex life while she was raising him as a single mother.
(By the way – also have sex on the mind? Submissions are open for Issue 11: The Sex Issue. We want your thoughts on sex, sexual health, sex ed, or sexuality! Email firstname.lastname@example.org!)
Art Director, What the F Magazine