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These Black Women Are Bringing Representation To The Podcast Space

As is the case in many industries, Black women are disrupting the podcast sector, a $1 billion market that’s historically left out diverse voices.

Among these trailblazers are Karen Civil, Scottie Beam, Ming Lee and Renae Bluitt, who are using their podcast platforms to amplify the voices of other women of color. For(bes) The Culture caught up with some of these trailblazers to discuss the importance of ownership and leading the way for future generations of Black and Brown female podcasters.

“There isn’t anything more important; representation is paramount,” says Scottie Beam, who, alongside Bexx Francois, Gia Peppers, Sapphira Martin and Alysha P. Beam, is a podcaster on Black Girl Podcast. Beam has made a name for herself as a culture shifter, using her platform to amplify Black-owned businesses and curating her buzzed about #ListenToBlackWomen Spotify playlist. 

Recently, the Black Girl Podcast partnered with Verizon Media for In The Know & Black Girl Podcast Presents: Enter The Chat, a six-week video series featuring guests such as The Creative Collective’s Simone Harrington and actress Khadeen Ellis. Beam was also tapped to be one of two co-hosts for the Okay, Now Listen podcast with writer and former Buzzfeed AM to DM on-air personality Sylvia Obell. Obell and Beam’s critically acclaimed podcast was recently renewed for a second season on Netflix’s Strong Black Lead initiative, a platform that aims to  celebrate Black history  every month. 

“Being part of [Strong Black Lead] means being part of a vertical that understands the beauty and importance of our stories and how essential it is to amplify the voices telling them,” says Beam. “It’s support and platform are unlike anything I’ve seen or have been blessed enough to be a part of.” 

Podcasting, says Beam, is also a unique opportunity to bond over collective experiences. “It’s as much a point of amplification as it is one of connection,” she says.  “We don’t fully appreciate how many of our stories have similar themes and threads until they’re shared. I’m blessed to be a part of these shows where I get to shine a light on trials, triumphs, feelings—and that blessing is compounded when I get a message from a listener letting me know how much they’ve connected with what I’ve spoken to.”

Above all, she hopes her podcasts help Black people understand they aren’t alone in their experiences. “I hope they each help the Black and Brown community to understand just how beautiful their voices and experiences are,” says Beam. “I hope they help all ages to find their share, to see the joy and beauty in their failure as much as in their fortune. I hope the cultural relevance resonates.”

Best friends and serial entrepreneurs Karen Civil and Ming Lee have joined forces for their Girl, I Guess podcast with a similar goal in mind: to highlight the candid, raw experiences of Black women. The two were approached by broadcaster Joe Budden about launching a podcast as part of his Joe Budden Podcast Network in the midst of the pandemic. “We are taking back the reminisce of FUBU—for us, by us—and it’s great to be embraced and be a part of something that was created by a Black man with Black women,” says Civil. “Everything we’ve been doing has been embodying our Black culture.”

Girl, I Guess discusses everything from scaling your business to managing your time to dating, cooking and taking care of your mental health. “People know us from the business aspect but they don’t really know our real personalities and that we go through things,” says Lee. “People think I’m perfect or we have this easy going life when we go through the same trials and tribulations that everyone else goes through.” 

For Renae Bluitt, the brain behind the 2019 documentary She Did That, which showcased the momentum behind Black women entrepreneurs, podcasting is a way of doubling down on amplifying these voices. Just in time for Women’s History Month, Bluitt launched  the She Did That podcast this week to continue the conversation about the importance of Black female entrepreneurship. Her first episode will feature an in-depth conversation with The Honey Pot founder Bea Dixon and other forthcoming guests in the first season will include Mielle Organics’ Monique Rodriguez, Spiked Spin’s Bri Thompson and Fe Noel founder Felisha Noel.

“There’s a huge appetite for this content,” says Bluitt. “People enjoy being introduced to these Black women entrepreneurs and getting a better understanding of the way we approach entrepreneurship.” 

Bluitt’s goals for the podcast mirror those of the documentary: normalizing discussions around Black women and their prominent role in history. “Black women are making history every single day in business, the arts and politics but we’ve been excluded from textbooks and mainstream conversations about American history,” she says. “When I think about the cultural relevance for young Black girls, it’s really about seeing it and as a result of seeing it, believing that it’s possible for them.”

Bluitt acknowledges that she’s in good company: The more Black voices taking up space in the podcast world, the better. “This is our way of ensuring that the people in our community who are doing amazing work—who otherwise may fly under the radar—stories are getting told,” she says.

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