I said last week that there’s really nothing more important in the world of pop culture than the protests fighting against police brutality.
That still stands this week.
Last week, I wrote about the pieces of pop culture that changed my perspective on the struggle of black people in America. Maybe you had time to check those out or maybe you didn’t. I get it, we’re all busy.
But during the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen the desperate need for empathy and understanding of why people are protesting and why the systems meant to protect black people have failed.
If you’re on the go, there’s no better time to get a shift in perspective than podcasts, specifically led by black hosts.
Here are four episodes that have affected me during the past couple of weeks. Because of the subject matter, almost all of them contain some explicit language.
The Daily “Why They’re Protesting” — With anecdotes from black people ranging from seasoned elders to young girls, each lays out their own experience when they faced blatant racism, whether it was a police officer questioning them for no reason or a person harassing them during a protest. During all of this time of news, the individuals tend to get lost in the noise. This puts a voice to the pain of racism, gives reason to why people are out there protesting and why they want change.
Code Switch “A Decade Of Watching Black People Die” — So often, people tend to see a video of a black person being abused by a person of authority, get outraged, post it on social media and that’s about where it ends. Re-airing a piece that ran in 2015 after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by then-New Republic writer Jamil Smith, it looks at how much traumatization these videos cause and, in re-contextualizing it for 2020, how little change happens. It’s a heartbreaking piece that, in a flurry of videos of death and brutality, looks into the void and asks if there will be a video that have people saying “Enough!”
Popcast “How Did The Source Cover the 1992 Los Angeles Riots?” — From a pop culture perspective, New York Times journalist Jon Caramanica reaches out to former hip-hop magazine The Source reporters James Bernard and Reginald Dennis about the sea change in pop culture journalism that followed the Rodney King beating and the L.A. rebellion. It’s a wonderful, dare I say, lighter piece that shows the importance of black voices when it comes to protests and also an underdog story about how a hip-hop and fashion magazine shifted to covering a different section of the black culture.
Culture Kings “A Message From The Kings” — Normally, this podcast is a funny, irreverant, hourlong look at pop culture from comedians Jacquis Neal and Edgar Momplaisir. What was meant to be a 10-minute message in support of Black Lives Matter and the protests turns into a half-hour venting session on the pain both are experiencing, watching both the protests and the reaction on social media. They give advice on what white allies can do, as well as what they should stop doing. It’s enlightening and engrossing.