Sometimes, I need to hear black people speak for a while.
As someone who has lived in Raleigh for more than a decade, I’ve spent most of my time in the company of pale-faced folk. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got nothing against white people. They’ve got nice homes and you can always ask them for cash. However, I miss just talking to black people about black people stuff. Whenever I’ve brought up black people stuff to my white friends, they usually have that look on their face that says, “Hey, I’m white – you know I don’t know what you’re talking about!” (I could go to Durham and find some African-Americans to shoot the breeze with, but that’s too far!)
These days, I’ve been getting my black-talk fix by going online and listening to podcasts hosted by black people. There is beginning to be a vibrant network of African-American podcasters flooding the Interwebs. Top on my list is “The Black Guy Who Tips,” which broadcasts right here in North Carolina. Charlotte couple Rod and Karen Morrow are the hosts of the show, which they do out their home several times a week. The pair spends their airtime commenting on the news of the day, whether it’s national news, pop-culture news or LGBTQ news (they usually play a snippet of Sylvester’s “Do Ya Wanna Funk” before they go into that news segment). They also do silly bits like “Guess the Race” where they read odd news items and ask their chatroom audience to racially profile the person or persons in the story. They recently started a new segment called “White People News,” where they talk about the latest news about President Donald Trump in a bit called “That’s Y’all Man!”
Do a show that you can be proud of. Do a show that represents yourself. ... Just keep it 100.
Rod Morrow, host of “The Black Guy Who Tips” podcast
It’s always refreshing listening to these two go back-and-forth. While “Tips” mostly consists of the Morrows cracking each other up (the show’s worth listening to just to hear Karen’s insane laughing fits, which can go from a deep cackle to a high-pitched yelp), they also bluntly speak on racial issues that are still affecting the black community.
It’s that mix of hilariously off-the-cuff commentary and brutal honesty that made me not only a fan, but made me interview them for Ebony.com last year. When I asked Rod if he had any advice for African-Americans trying to break into the podcasting game, he basically said never be afraid to keep it real. “If you're going to do it you need to do it for your own amusement first and foremost,” he said. “Do a show that you can be proud of. Do a show that represents yourself. This way it never feels like work and you never have to worry about keeping up a facade to please an audience. To summarize, just keep it 100.”
Listening to “Tips” also made me realize that there’s a nice little community of African-American podcasters who appear on each other’s shows and have each other’s backs. It was on “Tips” that I discovered other heavily addictive podcasts like “Where’s My 40 Acres?” where a foursome of friends from different parts of the country dish weekly on the latest in hip-hop and black pop culture. There are also movie-review podcasts done by black folk. My two favorites are “Black on Black Cinema,” where three brothas from Baltimore mostly review films for black audiences every two weeks, and “Medium Popcorn,” a weekly bull session where two New York comics go off on whatever film they review, whether it’s newly-minted Best Picture Oscar winner “Moonlight” or some goofy junk like “Good Burger” (which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, by the way).
What makes these podcasts fun to listen to is that you usually feel like you’re eavesdropping on an entertaining conversation black people are having at a barbershop or somewhere. These shows also prove that black people can, in fact, have honest, intelligent, insightful, witty conversations – and still do it with flavor. So, white people, if you want to know more about black people or are just curious about what interests us, don’t be afraid to get on your iPhone and listen to these shows.
Craig Lindsey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org