Hear Their Voices: 10 Podcasts and Films About Race to Check Out

Check out this compiled shortlist of podcasts and films that can help contextualize racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and and more, conversations about racial justice and violence have come to the fore across a number of media platforms. In addition to protesting, donating, and contacting local policymakers, many have also taken to educating themselves.

For those wanting to consume more knowledge on race, racial injustice, and Black lives, this list is for you. Check out this compiled shortlist of podcasts and films that can help contextualize this moment we are living through.

See also: The Asian community must be allies in the fight against anti-Black racism

PODCASTS

NPR’S CODE SWITCH

NPR’s “Code Switch” is currently one of iTunes’ most popular podcasts at the moment, and for good reason. The race and culture outlet addresses the pervasive impact of race on everything in America. Gene Demby and co-host Shereen Marisol Meraji talk through everything from parenting, sports, and history in the bite-sized episodes. Each episode explores how race intersects with culture and society and is about thirty minutes long.

THE STOOP

The Stoop is a podcast that focuses on sharing voices and stories from the Black diaspora. Co-hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba discuss professionally-reported stories and interviews on what it means to be Black.

INTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS

Civil rights advocate and critical race theory scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw explores intersectionality across a variety of disciplines by diving into the nitty-gritty of politics, law, and other world events. The podcast offers a more academic and literary examination of race theory and is grounded in a fierce, analytical examination of the intersectional and international implications of justice and race.

THE DIVERSITY GAP

The Diversity Gap is a project that explores the space between intention and impact when it comes to understanding the “undeniable presence of difference”in everyday life and the workspace. Host Bethaney Wilkinson, speaks with a variety of leaders, writers, and creatives to unpack issues surrounding race and find practical and intentional ways to apply the things we learn. Each episode ranges from thirty minutes to an hour, making it the perfect bite-sized podcast to listen during any commute.

See also: How to talk to your Asian immigrant parents About racism and Black Lives Matter

STILL PROCESSING

The podcast boasts a vast repertoire of topics and ideas, including a walkthrough of the Smithsonian, a debate on the use of “read receipts” in text messages, and a discussion on the musical Hamilton. Each episode ranges from thirty minutes to an hour and a half. Wortham and Morris’ sharp, witty banter round each episode out into the perfect blend of discussion, debate, and education.

FILMS

13th (Ava DuVernay, 2016)

This 2016 documentary explores the racial disparities within the American prison system. It provides powerful insight into the history of the problem, tracing as far back as the end of the Civil War. The movie exposes the perpetual cycle of presumption, conviction, and incarceration that enables an ill-disguised de facto system of slavery.

Streaming: Netflix

FRUITVALE STATION (Ryan Coogler, 2013)

Coogler’s Fruitvale Station poignantly resurrects the last twenty-four hours in the life of a young black man, Oscar Grant, who was shot to death in Oakland, California in 2009. The biographical drama film digs out the unexpectedly pedestrian parts of Grant’s life and puts them alongside more tempestuous moments. The contrast challenges viewers to view him as complex and vulnerable, leaves Grant teetering on the precipice in a move that prompts audiences to consider (or reconsider) the ways in which young black men are perceived and understood in pop culture, media, and film.

Streaming: Tubi, Vudu

Rent: YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV

SELMA (Ava DuVernay, 2014)

Like Fruitvale Station, Selma offers a complex understanding not just of the larger-than-life figure at the center of its story, but of the environment, atmosphere, and events surrounding it. DuVernay teases apart small, intimate moments in the film to draw open the curtains and shed light on a historical moment that still resonates with people and sentiments today.

Streaming: FX Now, Hulu, Vudu

Rent: YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV

See also: To read is to begin to understand: Ten great books by Black authors to read right now

GET OUT (Jordan Peele, 2017)

In this clever horror film, Peele tackles black-white relations in a bold, satirical manner that dances on just the wrong side of uneasy confusion before exploding. It presents a dialed up exploration of persistent paranoia that offers sharp social commentary on what it means to be Black in contemporary American society.

Streaming: Currently, Get Out isn’t available on any subscription streaming service.

Rent: YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (Barry Jenkins, 2018)

Adapted from James Baldwin’s 1974 novel of the same name, this non-linear, romantic film tells the love story of a couple separated by glass. Fonny, Tish’s boyfriend, is incarcerated for a rape he did not commit. The film, while fraught with many moments of anger and injustice, demands that its viewers and characters not lose hope. It flits between suffering and joy and colors its narrative with a fierce pride that asks its viewers to consider the enduring power of storytelling in protecting and preserving Black history.

Streaming on: Hulu

Rent: YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV

Bonus: ZOOTOPIA (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, 2016)

For the littler ones around us (or perhaps within us), Zootopia offers a platform to jumpstart broader conversations on discrimination and prejudice. While it might seem outwardly flashy with its vibrant animation style, the film offers a setting and premise that echoes present-day issues and conversations about equality and freedom.

Streaming: Disney Plus

Rent: YouTube, Google Play, Prime Video, Apple TV

See also: Identity through the eyes of a Black Asian: Part 1

LISTENING AS A START

This list is but a quick skim over a vast ocean of voices, experiences, and media. Find further lists here (NPR), here (Time), and here (Cold Tea Collective).

Reflecting and learning about the history and experiences of others is an immense undertaking and journey. “And the discomfort of being made to see something that you just couldn’t see before, […] because the time wasn’t right for you to see it, or no one had sufficiently forced you to look at what you were enjoying so much” can be difficult to sit with (Morris, “Still Processing”).

We might not quite know how to do right all by ourselves. There are things we can and must do beyond consuming art and literature. But know this: in these moments of listening, we are made more aware of our interconnectivity and the roles we play in each others’ lives—a realization that hopefully, will spur future action, but also help us feel a little less isolated, a little less alone.

See also: Seven tips for attending your first Black Lives Matter protest

Making Asian American media

We believe that our stories matter – and we hope you do too. Support us with a monthly contribution to help ensure stories for us and by us are here to stay.

accessible

The future of Cold Tea Collective depends on you.

People chatting at the Making It documentary screening.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top