Things That Matter

Oprah Helps Bring The Focus On Latinx Podcasts In Her Magazine And We Are Totally Here For It

Oprah — yes, that Oprah — has released a list of the best Spanish and Latinx podcasts in Oprah Magazine. Latinx folk are gaining visibility in the mainstream. While it is certainly not at the pace we all would have hoped (we have been in the states for quite some time now), it is always great to celebrate our continued come up in the cultural zeitgeist. 

Oprah Winfrey is a black woman who propelled herself through adversity, using grit and tenacity, into the hearts and minds of Americans. She created a magazine, named it after herself, and puts herself on the cover of every issue. To grace the pages of Oprah Magazine is an honor exclusively reserved by Oprah, and can only be earned by a lucky few. 

So for those who want light-hearted or heartfelt adventures deeper into Latinidad, you might want to add a few of these podcasts onto your lists. 

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an episodic digital audio series that can be downloaded or streamed. I use Spotify to listen to my favorite podcasts but you can use iTunes or a podcast app like Stitcher. Basically, podcasts are episodic talk “radio” shows, except they’re not transmitted through radio waves. It’s kind of like how we still call Netflix series “TV shows,” when they don’t exist on television networks. Like streaming TV, podcasts are an old format on a new medium. 

Why do Latino podcasts matter?

Podcasts have become a growing and profitable industry in the last 15 years. Breakout podcasts like SerialPod Save America, and Welcome To Nightvale, have spawned television series and HBO documentaries. However, they have largely been operated by white people even when the subjects of the podcasts have not been. Podcasting is another path to greater Latinx visibility. The comedy duo Desus & Mero, who are Jamaican and Dominican Americans respectively, have risen to fame largely earned by their popular Bodega Boys podcast. The pair now have had late-night talk shows on VICE and Showtime. 

It goes without saying, where ever there are people talking about culture from the frivolous to the political, Latinx voices need to be there taking up space. When you’re left out of the conversation, there’s no way you can be heard. As a recent study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on Latinx representation in Hollywood discovered, over the past 12 years only 4.5% of 47,268 speaking or named roles in films were portrayed by Latinx actors. Moreover, in a time where we Latinxs are being politically targeted, our voices and stories matter even more. Representation can normalize the Latinx experience and further humanize us during a time of extreme, radical, dehumanizing language being weaponized against us. So, shout outs to Oprah! 

Scratch Your Political Itch with… 

In The Thick Of It

Hosted by the award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, In The Thick Of It doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations about race, politics, and identity. If you’re itching to get a Latinx perspective on news and events Hinojasa and Varela have got you covered.

Listen here.  

Radio Ambulante

For those fluent in Spanish who want a deeper look at the Latin American experience, Radio Ambulante will fill that bottomless void in your life. The series focuses on untold stories and uses investigative journalism to uncover heartfelt and moving narratives about Latinidad. 

Listen here

Super Mámas

For moms with a sense of humor (doesn’t every mom have to have a sense of humor? Kids are weird.), Super Mámas is here to drop some major funnies. Hosted by sisters Paulina and Bricia Lopez, the talk show provides comedic commentary on motherhood. However, the show has still got a lot of heart and insight. Prepare to be hit in the feels with profound conversations about postpartum depression, Latinx parenthood, and being a working mom. 

Listen here

Brujaja Podcast

Listen to comedians Anna Valenzuela, Vanessa Gritton and Cindy Aravena as they hilariously discuss everything from growing up Latinx to stereotypes to cannabis to Selena. 

Listen here

Scratch Your LGBTQ+ Itch with… 

Locatora Radio

Diosa and Mala host a “radiophonic novela” that highlights the experiences and contributions of femmes and women of color. Discussions of gender, sexuality, consent, and technology abound on this popular podcast.

Listen here

Brown Bitter Femmes

Cassandra Alicia and Rubén Angel discuss women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to dismantle bigotry and oppression. Their motto is “dismantling shit while talking shit,” and that sounds like an excellent brunch to me. 

Listen here

These are just a few of many incredible Latinx podcasts. For more suggestions check out Irina Gonzalez’s list at Oprah Mag

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