It seems like everyone has a podcast now, your mama and cousins included. With the rising tide has come a litany of compelling and not so impressive chatter on the internet about, well, everything. However, among this wave are some incredible, funny and intriguing podcasts about cinema, TV shows and more by black people on the mic. We here at Shadow and Act would be remiss if we didn’t give some of these passionate hosts doing the most some shine. So we’d like to present an introductory, but by no means definitive, list of dope black media podcasts you should add to your rotation.
This technically isn’t a podcast, but it counts because it still gets served as one! Hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell, this KCRW-affiliated-and-broadcasted show features the quiet but warm NPR-styled interviews you know and love. From debating the romantic grotesqueness of monsters with Guillermo Del Toro to intimate conversations about coming out with Dee Rees, Mitchell is a focused, compassionate and well-read interviewer that will enlighten you at every turn.
Hosted by a circle of talented black women—Shannon, Cameron, Lauren and Mel—The Nerds of Prey podcast is like being a fly on the wall to a girls night with a bunch of good friends. Each episode functions as a roundtable and topics include everything from media news of the week to what each co-host is reading, watching and working on, along with movies and nerdom. So if you’re looking for sharp, insightful and funny opinions on your favorite and not-so-favorite things onscreen, this podcast should be on your list. And when you’re not listening to your new favorite hosts talk, you can check out their written work at the Nerds of Prey’s website.
Hosted by comedians and film enthusiasts Brandon Collins and Justin Brown, Medium Popcorn is a raucous hour on the couch with two guys who love movies and other stuff, too. More often than not, you’ll find them arguing over whether a film deserves to be in the dog poo pile. Guests are on every once in a while, but it’s their show with strong opinions and even stronger jokes. Of course, if none of this convinces you, listen to the intro song they remixed. It’s classic stadium rock meets ridiculous hilarity. In fact, it’s so good that Rod from The Black Guy Who Tips podcast loves it dearly.
A mammoth effort backed by Reggie “Combat Jack” Osse’s LoudSpeakers Network and led by the “Multicultural Maestros” DJ Benhameen, Tatiana King-Jones and Kimson Albert, FanBros is your one-stop shop for geeky stuff. From reviews of the biggest films of the week to dope interviews with actors, directors and fellow nerds, FanBros offers more content than you have time available!
Outlaw Barz is housed under the FanBros umbrella and focuses specifically on anime. Hosted by three black women—Sopé (show-pay), Tamara and Diva, Outlaw Barz offers an underappreciated perspective on anime and anime culture. From arguments about how much Naruto’s obsession with Sasuke sucks to who stans whom to the latest anime you haven’t heard of but should watch, Outlaw Barz is a must-listen for any self-respecting adherent of the genre.
Hosted by S&A’s very own Tonja Renée Stidhum and Berook, Cinemabun Podcast is a sweet roundup of movie news, reviews and friendly conversation between two good friends. It’s a refreshing break from the pure “yell about movies for an hour” type of podcasts out there. And the best part? Tonja and Berook are courteous and patient enough to give you a spoiler-free review and a break before diving into a full-on spoiler-filled review in the middle of each episode. They are a class act together, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This podcast is all about funny-as-hell “black womanist race nerds” Queen and J mind-melding about living in New York, global issues, politics, race, mental health and everyday foolishness with flair and style. While their core show has this game down pat, they’re on this list for their funny and layered recaps/critiques of Dear White People and She’s Gotta Have It. If you already know Queen and J, you’ll love this new mini-series. And if you’re not hip enough yet to know them, well, what are you waiting for?
Speaking of Tea with Queen and J, J is a proper friend of the #MarshasPlate Podcast, and you should be, too! Named for performer, sex worker and trans rights activist Marsha P. Johnson, this podcast is hosted by Diamond Stylz, Mia Mix and Zee. Describing themselves as “black feminists, civil right advocates, and trans people of color,” any of the trio’s episodes are amazing. But the magic happens on their current reviews of FX’s Pose. Authentic, grounded and sometimes emotional, you won’t want to miss them.
Hilliard Guess is a 16-year veteran of show business, and his podcast reflects that. Despite wide-ranging conversations on everything under the sun, Guess makes a point to always come back to the craft, concerns and labors of creative writing for the big and little screens. With his regular recurring guests, he turns every episode into a raucous, exciting writers room. Overall, this podcast is a uniquely learned and needed black and queer perspective to the media podcast space.
Hosted by Brittany and Mary, this podcast is on the black-owned and operated Indie Creative Network. As the name suggests, it focuses on black web series, giving love to projects big and small with discussion, passion and a fan’s attention to detail. From Keloid to Growing Up Immigrant, Series-ly will put you on to new shows and keep you up-to-date with your faves. Short, sweet and always engaging, this podcast fits a niche much needed in this list.
11. MTR Network
Founded by Kriss, the Movie Trailer Reviews Network is also one of those all-in-one operations. From reviews to previews and conference coverage and more, Kriss and his team do it all. On the movie-specific podcast, Insanity Check, he holds court with a regular cast of guests to talk everything around movies, from politics and nerd issues to casting decisions and airing out clickbait film sites. As one of the OGs of the podcast game, this team brings a seasoned and fiery perspective to everything they do and is well worth a listen.
Imagine a podcast where two folks decide to watch every black film ever made, for the culture. Good thing you don’t have to wish for it, because that’s The Micheaux Mission, hosted by Black Tribbles alum and radio broadcaster Len Webb and Baltimore City Paper veteran and man of letters Vincent Williams, Ph.D. Together, they take listeners on a chill ride of shoutouts from the community mailbox, personal updates and—most importantly—deep dives into the context, subtext and impact of the films watched with rigor and debate. If you’ve ever wanted to be party to serious conversations about Diary of a Mad Black Woman or peel back the layers of Scream Blacula Scream, you’ve come to the right place.
Hosted by comedians Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan and James III, Black Men Can’t Jump in Hollywood’s mission is to highlight and discuss films led by a black actor. Thanks to their gaggle of friends, you can enjoy their convos with folks like Keegan Michael Key, Phoebe Robinson and Langston Kerman. At the end of every episode, you’ll find yourself adding your two cents with their unique rating system, “The Cause”: a black fist if it furthered the cause of helping black talent lead projects and get work, a white palm if it held the race back and harmed an actor’s career, or just nothing at all if it sucked and contributed nothing to society.
As we said before: this is by no means a definitive list. So, if you’ve got your favorite media podcasts hosted by black folks, you better shout them out in the comments!