Last Christmas I discovered the podcast Serial, a spinoff of This American Life on NPR that explored the murder trial of a Baltimore teen. My partner Jeremy and I devoured it on our 9 hour drive from Detroit to St Louis. Normally out like a light before we even leave our neighborhood, this podcast kept me awake the entire time.
[Tweet “NPR is the gateway drug to podcasts”]
If you’ve never heard of a podcast it’s basically a radio show released in episodes about any topic or genre you can think of. Bored with listening to the radio during my commute I became addicted to NPR. I’d listen to it from the moment I woke up until I ended my day. With the onslaught of police shootings and violence in the world I literally went on a news and social media fast.
[Tweet “I challenged myself to only consume music, books, or articles that inspired or motivated me”]
After my initial love affair with a Serial was over I realized that I needed something else to listen to. I quickly discovered that since Serial (which became the most downloaded podcast in history) there were now hundreds of thousands of shows to listen to. I began devouring podcasts on personal development (Happy Black Woman and Tony Robbins) and entrepreneurship (EOFire and School of Greatness).
[Tweet “When these ran out I’d be in a show hole desperate for something to listen to”]
I began searching for political shows (that weren’t depressing or talking about Hillary or Trump) that actually shared perspectives from black people or dare I say black women, especially those actually running for office. They were few and far between.
[Tweet “That’s when it occurred to me – what if I could start my own podcast? “]
A few months ago I didn’t know jack about starting a podcast. But once I set the intention to create one the steps began virtually unfolding in front of me. My mentor Rosetta put me in touch with a guy who led me to a roadmap and that roadmap led me to entire communities around the world of people launching podcasts.
A coffee meeting led me to Robin Kinnie and Motor City Woman, a state of the art studio and radio network in Detroit that was literally made for shows like mine. The best part is that elected officials (many who I’ve never met before but were totally friends in my head) began saying yes to being on my podcast. Mayors, city council members, state representatives and badass black women from across the country have agreed to share their stories (many for the first time in this way) on my show.
[Tweet “Changing the Face of Power is personal for me”]
The seat that I ran for in the Michigan legislature has never been held by a woman. 91% of US elected officials are white, 71% are men, and only 4% are women of color. Oh, and there’s not a single black woman in the US senate.
[Tweet “I didn’t see myself represented in our country’s definition of politics”]
But I knew that there were thousands of amazing elected officials and candidates who were using their black girl magic to change the world. And now I have a platform to share their stories. Each week I’ll interview a black woman elected official or candidate who will share her journey into politics and occasionally I’ll answer questions from women looking to get their start. Most importantly, we’ll build a community of women who will help inform, inspire and support each other during one of the most challenging experiences of their lives.
I hope you’ll listen to (and download, rate and review) Changing the Face of Power, the first and only podcast in the nation dedicated to informing, inspiring and supporting black women to run for elected office. Also, please feel free to share it with a woman who is being called to run but just needs the right push. I’ve cut back on watching hours of TV and scrolling through Facebook to make sure I put my own voice into the world (at one point I had a post it note on my computer that read “stop making other people rich“). If you’re a writer – write more. If you love to teach – go teach. I promise, taking consistent action every single day will get you so much farther faster than you can imagine.
[Tweet “A few weeks ago I was listening to other people’s podcasts. Now I have my own. “]
P.S. Are you creating more than you consume? If not, what’s keeping you from sharing your brilliance with the world?