PodBlog #8 - Black History Month
Celebrating and recognizing Black History Month is now more important than ever. Podboard dropped the ball in delivering our message of reverence so late, plain and simple. We committed an outright dereliction of the duty of decency. We'd like to use February's only PodBlog to celebrate BHM and recognize that Black Lives Matter. 1 month to celebrate Black History just isn't enough anyway!
We'll also be publishing March's Podboard on the 3rd and it will be a PodLand continuation of February's BHM and BLM. Black Lives Matter eternally and Black History should be learned and celebrated constantly.
Ear Hustle host, Earlonne Woods is a former inmate at San Quentin state prison in California. It was while he was imprisoned that Ear Hustle was launched. His co-host, Nigel Poor would host from the outside while Earlonne delivered us moving stories about life as an inmate inside of San Quentin. In 2018 and after 21 years of incarceration, California Governor Jerry Brown commuted Mr. Woods' 31 years to life sentence, due in no small part to the work that Mr. Woods did on Ear Hustle.
These stories from inside the prison walls are deeply humanizing for a population of our fellow humans that have been forgotten, marginalized and demonized by much of mainstream society. Particularly emotional, actually as tear-jerking as it gets, are the November/December announcement and episode from 2018 (Season 3) when Mr. Woods experiences his commutation and lives in freedom for the first time in 21 years.
Ear Hustle is an important show for any time of the year and is essential listening for all Americans as we attempt to understand the travesty of the prison industrial complex and how degrading it is for American society across the board. This is especially poignant during Black History Month, as a massively disproportionate number of black people are in prison as compared to the rest of American society.
Ear Hustle is stories about the human experience from a vantage point that almost no one should see the world from. The Pod can be reminders about how important family and community is for ALL people. EH can also serve to remind many listeners that we are all equally as human as everyone else, no more and no less. Essential listening for all times, check it out.
“Black History is American History" -Yvette Clark
America in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd is a place where the harsh truth about what life is like for black people in America has finally been illuminated in a way that nobody can ignore. Black people are systematically oppressed in every conceivable manner. Equality is an aspirational word in America; it's a theory that's a long-distance in time away from being a reality. Equality will also forever be an active word in America because the work of achieving equal rights for all will always be a work-in-progress. A major component to this oppression is targeted violence against black people, especially by law enforcement. Black men are killed and jailed exponentially more often than any other demographic. None of this is news, this is American History from jump street.
Recognizing that this hateful and violent racism is, in fact, our shared American history has to be the kick in the pants that privileged white people, such as myself, need in order to become agents of change. American evolution in race relations involves major advocacy alongside black people and all minority communities in America, by white people. The oppression and racism has been carried out by white people and so it takes a white reckoning to work toward love and equality. Hopefully, 2020 has brought that awareness to bare for the long-haul. I feel that part of that awareness needs to come from hearing stories about the hateful, racist, violent oppression that black people face in America everyday. They've faced it everyday in America since this country's founding. That is Black History in America, that is American History.
Consuming content produced by Black People; listening to Pods about Black History and Black Lives
While it's appropriate for me to address the reality of being a black person in America through the lens of how Ive been thinking about Black History Month during BHM, it's now appropriate to get back to what Podboard does best: turning you on to great Podcasts! For BHM, it's also best that you hear from the people who've lived this harsh racist American reality. So, we are featuring a few more Pods produced by or about Black people. We are also making a very special exception to March's Podboard and the top-10 Pods will also be shows by and about black people. 1-month really isn't enough!
Black Talk Radio Podcast and their rotating guests and topics is news, info, analysis, art and so much more from the Black American perspective. This perspective is the progressive future of America. The Pod publishes at least 2x per week. "New Black Media for the New Millennium"
The Emmett Till Project Podcast is the absolutely essential and crushing story of the murder of Emmett Till and moreover, the reverberating implications of the crime and subsequent acquittal of the monsters that killed him. For anyone that may not understand the mortal fear that Black folks must always be living with in America, this collection of Pods is for you. The fear of experiencing what happened to Emmett Till is real for Black People today, in the form of licensed assailants that are protected by a badge and operate with impunity. Visit www.emmetttillproject.com/podcasts exclusively to listen and read up on their scholarly articles while you're there. (This Pod does not currently appear on Podboard - vote it in for March!!)
Mogul began as the story of music producer and legendary record industry executive, Chris Lighty's rise to success and his devastating and untimely death. Season-1 (Chris Lighty) is absolutely expert narrative storytelling. The show has evolved into the history of hiphop in subsequent seasons and is equally as masterful.
The final featured Pod this week tells another essential story of what it must be like to live with inequality and to be oppressed, this time in a manner that doesn't include physical violence but can be equally as damaging. Reply All recently produced a series about toxic workplace bigotry and discrimination called "The Test Kitchen." It was while in production that stories of toxic workplace discrimination against mostly Black and Minority employees trying to unionize, played out in the Reply All offices. Eric Eddings, coincidentally a co-host of Mogul, bravely blew the whistle on the toxic and racist issues occurring at Reply All. This story is important to continue to shine a light on the realities of discrimination and bigotry that Black People have always faced in America, notably in the workplace today.
Happy belated Black History Month. One month isn't enough anyway. Why? Because Black Lives Matter.