BIPOC is an acronym used to refer to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Although the term is gaining popularity, it was actually coined way back in 2013.
Cynthia Frisby, strategic communication professor at the Missouri School of Journalism explains how the term evolved: “The Black and Indigenous was added (to POC — people of colour) to kind of make sure that it was inclusive.
“I think the major purpose of that was for including voices that hadn’t originally been heard that they wanted to include in the narrative, darker skin, blacks and Indigenous groups, so that they could make sure that all the skin shades are being represented.”
What’s in a name?
To further explain, BIPOC is an inclusive term that refers to people of African or Caribbean descent, native inhabitants of North America, and immigrants from India, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, among others. So many ethnicities, right? But they have one thing in common– when it comes to Western society, these are all minority groups doing their best to thrive in a system that wasn’t built with them in mind.
Minority groups have historically experienced discrimination in the US and other parts of the world because of their race, religious beliefs or cultural practices. Too often, access to opportunities are limited and their voices are suppressed.
Fortunately, the internet has broken down these barriers and many BIPOC are speaking up in ways that wasn’t possible just a decade ago. And with legacy media no longer the gatekeepers of news, information and opinions, BIPOC can broadcast their views to a global audience without needing permission to do so.
Podcasts and BIPOC women
Podcasts are an efficient way of obtaining information and entertainment. According to the platform Podcast.co, podcasts have also become a way for “content creators to get their message out there”. These are just some of the reasons why podcasting is growing in popularity. Podcasting offers a chance for people, including BIPOC women, to tell their stories and express their views. And in a world where the voices being amplified in legacy media and other institutions are overwhelmingly white and male having access to wider perspectives and different worldviews improves our understanding of current issues and helps us tap into differents ideas and creative solutions.
So here are 10 podcasts hosted by BIPOC women to subscribe and tune into:
Sisters Jessie Tu and Helen Stenbeck are Australian-Asians who have created their own space in the podcasting arena and explore a range of issues, from travel, vegetarianism and literature; to sexual scandals, sexual empowerment, and women’s empowerment. These are uncensored convos between the sisters and as you listen on, feel like you’re eavesdropping in on a private discussions as they share what’s happening in their lives, analyse racial injustice, cases of discrimination and the systemic racism embedded in Western systems and institutions.
2. Brown Girl Green by Kristy Drutman
Kristy Drutman an environmental justice warrior interviews equally passionate environmental leaders about “diversity and inclusion as well as creative solutions” in combating climate change. In a recent podcast episode, Drutman interviews LaTricea D. Adams, the founder of Black Millennials 4 Flint and during the zealous discussion covers the issue of environmental racism and how it harms communities of color.
An audio series from the New York Times about racial injustice, 1619 is hosted by the multi-award winning journalist Nikole Hannah Jones who takes us back to 1619 when the first enslaved Africans arrived in what would later become the United States of America. 400 years later, their fight for freedom still persists. If you want to understand what led to the Black Lives Matter movement, this is required listening.
This is a podcast that will have you reflecting on power, privilege, and racism. This is also the podcast to recommend to your white friends who want to be “co-conspirators” and allies of BIPOC women. It is hosted by Myisha T, a mental health and women empowerment activist, and the woman behind the Check Your Privilege series. She is effective in turning passive allies into active supporters for the empowerment of the BIPOC community and has shone a light on how much work there is to do to achieve racial equality.
5. Hear to Slay
Hosted by Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom, this is the “black feminist podcast of your dreams.” It is both informative and entertaining because the hosts get so real about life, culture, art, politics, love, money matters, and more in their captivating and honest conversations. These women really know how to slay with their insights about politics and pop culture that shape our society.
Now in their second season, hosts Mikaela Loach and Josephine Becker are making audio time more productive and informative as they talk about the issues that make us want to say “Yikes!” Exploring history, politics, climate change, racial injustice, mental health, and how media affect our world views, the hosts are open and transparent. And they don’t just discuss the problems, throughout the podcast, they’ll leave you feeling hopeful and give you advice on what you can do to affect change.
Hosted by two women of indigenous descent, Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), this podcast features fun and informative discussions about various issues facing First Nations, indigenous and native peoples. Matika and Adrienne keep the conversations light but weave in their authenticity and their passion to ensure perspectives, ancestry, and culture are remembered and advocated for. According to the hosts, “To be an Indigenous person is to be engaged in relationships—relationships to land and place, to a people, to non-human relatives, and to one another.”
Because after all, aren’t we all related to each other in one way or another if we trace the origins of humankind?
8. The Stoop
This podcast is a place where black is celebrated and covers issues of black identity. The Stoop is hosted by Leila Day and Hana Baba, who share views and stories that don’t usually get covered or amplified in the media. Learn about Black Muslims, Black homosexuality, Black introverts, and many more. This is a podcast that opens our eyes up to what it’s like to be black in the 21st century and the various issues, stereotypes and injustices the black community continue to deal with.
9. The Green Dreamer with Kamea Chayne
This podcast features thought-provoking conversations with educators, scientists and experts focussing on society’s collective healing, the restoration of our planet, and how to achieve true abundance and wellness for all humankind. A great episode to start with is the one titled “Questioning the criminalisation of poverty and struggle that perpetuates systemic injustice”.
10. She’s Got Drive
In this podcast, host Shirley McAlpine, a life coach and consultant with 28 years experiences, inspires us to become the best version of ourselves. She interviews successful black women to uncover wisdom and advice to help listeners make better life choices and better deal with challenges. This is an empowering and life-changing podcast because each interview motivates you to reach greater heights in your personal and professional life, and Shirley equips listeners with tips, tricks, tools and strategies to help you succeed.
Podcasting has given remarkable BIPOC women a powerful platform to make their voices heard. Determined to make an impact in the world, they’re making their voices loud and speaking their truth. The journey to freedom, equality and empowerment requires more representation and diversity of views and experiences, and these women are leading the way and encouraging us all to take risks and share our journeys too.
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Cover image by Helga Khorimarko.