Barack and Michelle Obama Partner with Spotify to Produce Exclusive Podcasts

Barack and Michelle Obama recently partnered with Spotify to produce podcasts that will cover an array of their favorite topics with the goal of creating compelling content that entertains and inspires viewers.

According to a recent press release, the power couple will produce under their newly formed production company, Higher Ground Productions, which took flight in 2018 with their initial partnership with Netflix. This will include developing, producing, and starring in the audio voice series. The distribution will be supported by Spotify worldwide.

“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said in a statement provided by Spotify. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world,” Michelle Obama said. “Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds—and their hearts.”

Spotify is a great home for the Obama’s with its 100 million Premium subscriber base and more than 217 million active users a month.

“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world’s most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content,” said Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff in the statement. “Connecting people with original and thoughtful creators—especially those with the ability to highlight underrepresented and indispensable narratives—is at the core of our mission and we are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort.”


Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Summer Entertainment: Let’s Name Favorite Books, Magazines, Podcasts, Bingewatch TV, and More

woman holding a kindle by the pool

As everyone starts to get rolling on summer travel plans, I thought now might be a great time to talk about favorite entertainment items. In the past, we’ve had threads on brain candy books, favorite magazines, and podcasts for working women, but let’s just combine them all today and ask everyone to fill out the following with ONE suggestion each for your fellow Corporette readers. What do you heartily recommend for entertainment? For purposes of this mini-survey let’s assume people will NOT have good WiFi access, as you do while sitting at the beach, so will want to download things ahead of time.

Fiction Book (please note genre): 

Nonfiction book:



Podcast (general):

Podcast (storytelling, like Serial):

TV Series to Binge:


Mobile Game:

My own answers are below (all links to Amazon are affiliate links; thank you for your support)…

Fiction Book (please note genre): The last really fun book I read was The Royal Runaway (rom com); I still stand by my earlier brain candy recommendations.

Nonfiction book: Not terribly new, but I was fascinated by NeuroTribes.

Audiobook: Fire & Fury (political); #GirlBoss was also great on audiobook. I’m listening to White Noise now, and while I enjoy it as a “reread,” I’m not sure I’d recommend it on audiobook for your first “read.” (I’m new to the genre of audiobooks but find I need to take a break from all of my political podcasts at the moment!)

Magazine: Vanity Fair is my go-to airport reading.

Podcast (general): A friend just turned me on to Throughline, from NPR — in each episode they look at the history of a modern problem to better view it in context (so for opioids they looked at the history of morphine and heroin).

Podcast (storytelling, like Serial): I enjoyed Bag Man (Rachel Maddow).

TV Series to Binge: Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)

Movie: (pass, haven’t seen anything non-kid related in too long, unless this counts: Iliza: Elder Millennial)

Mobile Game: (pass, curious for recommendations!)  

Two Other Random Recommendations for Beach Reading

In addition to the favorite apps we recommended a few weeks ago, including Overcast for podcasts, I’ll give a shoutout to two other techy things: 

  • a Kindle is great for the beach, and you can usually even get library books sent to it — I love mine but it’s super old (circa 2016), has a cracked screen, and has been dropped numerous times in the water. (Whoops.) It’s still holding up great but it might be time to get a new one, so I’m eyeing this one — what are everyone’s thoughts?
  • I just got this mobile charger and love it — if you forever find yourself texting your travel companions your phone’s battery percentage (“FYI I’m at 1%! See you at the hotel at 6 p.m.!”) then just get a mobile charger and be done with it. This one works as advertised — I got this teensy cord to connect my phone to the charger without a lot of excess.

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

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20 Must-Listen to Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Podcasting is a big business and one that is expected to keep growing. According to Podcast Insights, there are currently over 660,000 podcasts and over 28 million episodes as of last month. Convince&Convert states podcast listening by women has increased 14% in one year. Yet, podcasting remains a genre mostly used and created by white people. In fact, The Columbia Journalism Review asked recently, “Why are #PodcastsSoWhite?” Even major podcast platforms including Spotify and Google are holding competitions in an effort to increase podcast diversity. There is anecdotal evidence, though, that more black people–and black women in particular–are turning to podcasting as a way to amplify their voices. With that in mind, here is a round-up of 20 podcasts by black women that are sure to inspire, spark joy, and give you a few giggles.

20 Must-Listen to Black Women Podcasts for 2019

1. Affirm 

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This biweekly mental health podcast is for women of color who seek wholeness through affirming their worth and placing value on their mental health.

2. Balanced Black Girl

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This self-care podcast hosted by Lestraundra Alfred is known for providing a dose of real-life wellness for women of color. She often has guests on who have candid discussions surrounding healthy lifestyle and happiness.

3. Black Girl Podcast

Having met at radio station Hot 97, hosts Scottie Beam, Gia Peppers, Sapphira, Bex, and Alysha P come together for giggle-worthy conversation on the topics of sisterhood, pop culture, love, dreams, and growth.

4. Black Women About Business

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This entrepreneurial podcast, hosted by Demarra Gardner, MA, LPC, CAC, is fairly new to the scene, beginning in November of 2018. All episodes are under 20 minutes in length and deliver information to support black females to “intersect business, leadership, and wellness.”

5. Clever Girls Know

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosted by Bola Sokunbi, this podcast is a platform for financial education that assists women to get out of debt, save, and build their wealth. If you’re looking to improve, maintain or build upon your wealth, this one is for you.

6. Courtney Sanders Show 

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

On The Courtney Sanders Show (formally known as The Think and Grow Chick Podcast), host Courtney dives into entrepreneurship, finances, spirituality, and personal growth topics that are sure to kick you in the butt to chase your goals.

7. Gettin’ Grown

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosts Keia and Jade are two happy and whole 30-somethings figuring their adult lives out. On a weekly basis, they discuss all things regarding black women self-care and pet peeves sure to give the listening audience a chuckle.

8. Halfway Bougie

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

In this podcast, hosts Perri Furbert and Courtney Roberts promise to keep it “halfway bougie and all the way real.” Touching on all things pop culture, the two Millennials mix personal stories with real world problems, sparking reflection, and lots of head nods.

9. Happy Black Woman Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

If you’re an ambitious black woman who wants to have her cake and eat it too, this is the podcast for you. Host Rosetta Thurman empowers women to have it all in this personal development podcast through interviews with powerful black women who’ve created lives of happiness and freedom for themselves.

10. H.E.R. Space: Uplifting Conversations for The Black Woman

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The H.E.R. in H.E.R space stands for healing, empowerment and resilience. In this podcast hosts Terri Lomax and Dr. Dominique Broussard are the catalysts for meaningful conversations, discussing everything from “fibroids to fake friends.”

11. Introverted Black Girl Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast touches on society biases and pop culture in a relatable way. The host of the Introverted Black Girl Podcast, who is set to reveal her identity this Spring, shares stories of her day-to-day experiences as a black introverted girl in a world that seems to be rigged for extroverts.

12. Jesus & Jollof

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Hosted by Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Oriji, this lifestyle podcast is a random mix of talk on life happenings, success, food, and all things the hosts love. In a nutshell, it’s two Nigerian goddesses chatting it up for listener entertainment.

13. Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This inspirational podcast’s aim is to assist listeners to “awaken, discover, and connect” to the world around them. Oprah has personally chosen the audio of interviews she has conducted with some of the world’s top movers and shakers in an effort to guide all who listen to be the best version of themselves.

14. Rants & Randomness

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

Luvvie Ajayi is known for being a NYT best-selling author and blogger at, but she prefers to call herself a side-eye sorceress and professional troublemaker. In this hilarious podcast Luvvie rants about society and all things pop culture. Her Jan 7 episode entitled “Do Better: Social Media Etiquette” is a must-listen for all.

15. She’s Got Drive

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast, hosted by Shirley McAlpine (business consultant and executive coach) asks black women what empowers them. McAlpine strives to dive deeply into the source of guests’ success, finding how they overcame obstacles and pulling out tools and strategies that listeners can apply.

16. Side Hustle Pro

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This entrepreneurship podcast hosted by Nicaila Matthews Okome shines the spotlight on black females who have scaled their side hustles to profitable, established businesses in an effort to assist listeners to learn actionable strategies they can apply in the infancy stages of their business.

17. Spiritpreneur School: Spiritual Business for Entrepreneurs

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The host of this podcast, Abiola Abrams, is an empowerment superstar and author whose mission is to assist heart-based entrepreneurs succeed. She touches on all things law-of-attraction and healing to build soul-fulfilled, thriving businesses.

18. The Broomstick Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

The Broomstick Podcast hosted by Natalie Edwards shares all things weddings and marriages for women of color. If you’re getting married soon, or feel the time is near, this is a great listen to get you prepped for your walk down the aisle.

19. The Glow Up Podcast

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

This podcast hosted by Lené Hypolite is the success antidote for women. The Glow Up Podcast shares stories and takeaways to assist listeners to glow up in their career, finances and personal life.

20. Therapy for Black Girls

Black Women Podcasts for 2019

As a licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Joy Harden Bradford, PhD, provides a weekly share session on all things mental health and personal development. Dr. Bradford touches on the latest mental health news and trends, as well as provides practical tips and answers listener questions.

Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


Here Are the Winners of the Google Podcasts Creator Program

Previously, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported that Google and PRX, a leader in podcast content, training, and technology were looking for multicultural podcast creators to participate in the accelerator portion of the Google Podcasts creator program. Well, it seems they are locked and loaded. Here are the participating teams:

AfroQueer, Nairobi, Kenya

Google Podcasts

AfroQueer, Maeve Francis, Aida Holly-Nambi, Selly Thiam (Image: Google)

A reported, narrative-driven podcast about queer Africans living, loving, surviving and thriving on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Las Raras, Santiago, Chile

Google Podcasts

Las Raras, Martin Cruz, Catalina May (Image: Google)

This Spanish-language, non-fiction podcast tells stories of “The Weird Ones,” the people who live on the margins of society because of their background or life choices, and how these stories challenge social norms.

Timestorm, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Google Podcasts

Timestorm, Michael Aquino, Dania Ramos (Image: Google)

This audio fiction series tells the story of 12-year-old twins, Alexa and Beni Ventura, who travel through time to uncover hidden moments in the history of Puerto Rican culture.

Long Distance, Los Angeles, California

Google Podcasts

Long Distance, Patrick Epino, Paola Mardo (Image: Google)

This reported, narrative podcast uncovers unknown histories and present-day realities about life in the Filipino diaspora.

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland

Google Podcasts

The Colored Girl Beautiful, Baltimore, Maryland (Image: Google)

Explores black women’s concepts of beauty, then and now, using Emma Azalia Hackley’s 1916 book The Colored Girl Beautiful as a framework.

Who Taught You How To Drive?! Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Google Podcasts

Who Taught You How To Drive?!, Tanikka Charraé, Melissa Tsuei, Tezarah Wilkins (Image: Google)

A humorous interview podcast about how we get around told through the stories of drivers, walkers, riders, and bikers and their habits on the road.

“The teams selected for the first round show incredible promise, and we couldn’t be more excited to help these producers develop and grow their shows,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Product Manager of Google Podcasts which launched in June 2018. “This program is one of the ways we hope to ensure that our millions of listeners have access to a variety of content for all types of global audiences.”

The program is funded by Google and run independently by PRX. The creator program aims to remove barriers to podcasting, increase the diversity of voices in the industry, and make sure content is available for all audiences through a series of educational programs, including a 20-week podcast training and accelerator program.

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Lifestyle | Black Enterprise


The Top 10 Podcasts of 2018

Unlike film, television or music, there’s a low barrier to entry in the podcasting world: All you need is a microphone and someone to speak into it. Perhaps the ease and intimacy of podcasting is what drives so many people use the medium to ask uncomfortable questions. For many, 2018 was a year of conflict and upheaval, a year that left us wondering: How did we get here? Several shows tried to whisper the answers in our earbuds: Slow Burn and The Wilderness looked to presidents past in order to explain our current political divisions. Several years into the true crime boom, investigators on Serial and In the Dark focused on local cases to trace historic, systemic problems in our criminal justice system.

Even in the cultural realm, Binge Mode: Harry Potter mined an iconic story about teens fighting the magical equivalent of Nazis to explore the nature of the resistance, while Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness brought an unabashed eagerness to his interviews, asking questions others were too afraid to vocalize.

Point being: If you want answers, podcasts have them. Or at least, the best shows are trying.

10. 30 for 30: Bikram

30 for 30: Bikram
30 for 30: Bikram

ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcast broke from its tradition of tackling a new sports story every episode for a five-episode arc on Bikram yoga’s #MeToo scandal. Host Julia Lowrie Henderson was a devotee until Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the cult-like empire, was accused of sexual assault. Henderson hands the microphone to Choudhury’s victims to share their experiences, setting an example for how to tell a story about perpetrators of abuse while honoring survivors’ pain.

9. Everything Is Alive

Everything Is Alive
Everything Is Alive

The premise of this podcast is admittedly weird: Ian Chillag interviews inanimate objects played by improvisors. Yet the show manages to be laugh-out-loud funny, surprisingly informative and often moving, like when a grain of sand explains that he thinks of himself in the ­plural — just one among many — ­suggesting that if humans thought that way too, they’d be kinder to one another. It all makes for a profound pleasure.

8. Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye fame interviews subjects about, well, everything. Guests run the gamut from fellow members of Queer Eye’s Fab Five and Reese Witherspoon to psychologists and activists. Van Ness’s effusiveness buoys the show, even extending to the titles of the episodes (“How Can We Be Less Rude to Bees?”). It’s an age-old interviewer trick to pretend to know less than you actually do, but Van Ness disarms his guests with his genuine eagerness to learn.

7. The Wilderness

The Wilderness
The Wilderness

The Wilderness is the best post-mortem of the 2016 presidential election yet. Crooked Media co-founder Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for Barack Obama, asks why the Democratic Party fell apart and how it might recover. While he interviewed over 100 people for the series, his most intriguing talks are with voters who cast a ballot for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. Their insights, however they might frustrate liberal listeners, elevate the show above partisan politics.

6. The Dream

The Dream
The Dream

The Dream investigates multilevel marketing companies that employ strategies resembling pyramid schemes. Host Jane Marie travels back to her hometown in Michigan, where many women have been enlisted to sell makeup or Tupperware for one of these morally dubious companies, and explores how MLMs grew into big businesses that ensnare millions.

5. The Habitat

The Habitat
The Habitat

Whoever travels to Mars first will be stuck with several other astronauts for years on end — so NASA enlisted six strangers to live in a remote, Mars-like environment in Hawaii for a year in order to research the social dynamic. Podcasting company Gimlet recorded the whole thing. As romances and feuds ensue, listeners learn a lot about space travel while bearing witness to an engrossing social experiment.

4. Binge Mode: Harry Potter

Binge Mode: Harry Potter
Binge Mode: Harry Potter

If Harry Potter spin-offs like Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts haven’t sated your longing for more stories about J.K. Rowling’s magical universe, this exhaustively researched, ridiculously fun show should do the trick. Hosts Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion meticulously recap every single Harry Potter book, chapter by chapter. They highlight Rowling’s careful plotting and discuss how her themes of tolerance and resistance feel more relevant than ever.

3. In the Dark

In the Dark
In the Dark

In the second season of the Peabody-­winning podcast, the producers moved to Winona, Miss., to investigate the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man who was tried by a white prosecutor six times for the same murder. If only all true-crime shows would take this boots-on-the-ground approach: host Madeleine Baran susses out leads at family barbecues and on witnesses’ porches. The podcast diligently avoids ­sensationalism — a rarity in true crime. Instead, Baran breaks down the case against Flowers quietly but thoroughly.

2. Slow Burn

Slow Burn s2
Slow Burn s2

After re-examining Watergate in Season 1, Slate writer and host Leon Neyfakh turns to Bill Clinton’s impeachment for Season 2. The recency of that history makes for a more complex podcast: Clinton is still alive, and today’s feminists are still reckoning with the way the media treated Monica Lewinsky. The parallels between the FBI investigations into Donald Trump and Clinton prove fascinating too — especially since many of the same political players appear in both sagas.

1. Serial

Serial s3
Serial s3

Serial became a runaway hit in its first season, then hit a lull in its second. But the true-crime podcast’s third season is its best. Instead of focusing on one case, the show covers a new story at the Justice Center in Cleveland each week. The cases may seem ­mundane — like a man caught carrying weed — but many stories end in jaw-­dropping revelations, exploring the effects of racial bias along the way. Host Sarah Koenig expertly demonstrates how daily miscarriages of justice amass into systemic problems.

Entertainment – TIME