With pandemic shelter-in-place measures forcing us all to practice mindfulness and reflect on ourselves, podcasts have provided us with an external sounding board to sooth our internal struggles, like a cup of chai for the soul.
Since their inception in 2004, podcasts have become a form of both entertainment and enlightenment for just about everyone. For this issue, we’ve compiled a list of AAPI-hosted podcasts that can provide you with hours of engagement and empowerment to prove once and for all that we are far from being the silent minority.
These 10 podcasts will help you celebrate the transition out of our social distancing cocoons and provide an alternative to the constant Top 40 radio rotation on our days in L.A. traffic.
Jeff Yang (Wall Street Journal columnist and father of “Fresh Off The Boat” star Hudson Yang) and Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man blogger) host “They Call Us Bruce” and tackle the Asian American experience. Yang and Yu recently chatted with author SL Huang about the recent passing of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and the dangers of movie sets. Other guests have included Simu Liu, Kelly Marie Tran and Jon M. Chu.
“I Weigh” started as a social media post two years ago, but has since evolved into a movement for change and conversation. Actress, presenter and activist Jameela Jamil (whom you might know as Tahani Al-Jamil on “The Good Place“) hosts candid discussions that focus on mental health, body image and more as she navigates through spaces of healing and breaking stigmas with her guests, such as Gloria Steinem, Tig Notaro and Dr. Deepika Chopra.
“Fun With Dumb” is a weekly podcast hosted by multihyphenate artist Dumbfoundead. Hailed as the King of K-town, he and his rotating squad of co-hosts (Steffie Baik, Rick Lee, Rekstizzy and more) talk about their experiences as Asian Americans in the music industry, as well as sharing anecdotes of growing up as Korean Americans. Recent guests include Justin Chon, Bobby Lee and Randall Park.
Hide your kids, shut the blinds and close your eyes—“Two Horny Goats” is a cacophony of organic, plant-based realness mixed with unfiltered dialogue from two ball-busting Taiwanese Capricorns, musician Priska and filmmaker Roxy Shih. The two hosts aim to break common stereotypes and expand the scope of Asian American living, with topics that include Tony Leung sex-appeal appreciation, fatphobia and more.
Sameer Desai spearheads this podcast, highlighting South Asians in entertainment and media who went off the beaten path to follow their dreams and make a dynamic impact in their respective fields. The guest list features a wide array of inspiring South Asian artists, such as global musician and activist Madame Gandhi, “Deadpool” actor Karan Soni and filmmaker and actress Sujata Day.
The team behind “South Asian Stories” hopes to redefine what success means and looks like for South Asian Americans. Media lead Meera Tikku says, “We could be missing out on the next Robin Williams because Sahil’s parents shattered his passion for acting with a MCAT book—who knows!”
Desai adds he finds inspiration from the podcast’s guests. “The main takeaway I’ve received is their affinity for resilience as they navigate balancing their identity,” he says.
Friends Helen Wu, Melody Cheng and Janet Wang joined forces to make a podcast specifically for the modern-day Asian American woman. Although “AsianBossGirl” began as a hobby, the trio soon left their corporate jobs behind to turn their podcast into a multimedia company with goals of building a supportive community for Asian women.
Kinjaz dance crew members Ben Chung, Charles Nguyen and Mike Fallorina have created a podcast to explore different disciplines like dance, visual arts, sport and more with leading talent in each field, providing a space where people can learn about the processes and mindsets behind greatness. Past guests include musician AJ Rafael, chef Roy Choi and boxer Brandun Lee.
Writer and activist Paola Mardo teamed up with actor and producer Patrick Epino to cover new ground in storytelling about the Filipino diaspora. The pair released a mini video docuseries that pairs with their episodes, which approach traditional immigrant narratives through a modern lens by creating space for dialogue between generations. The podcast is on hiatus at the time of writing, but their back catalogue is well worth diving into as Mardo and Epino explore the history of Filipinos in the U.S. Two full seasons are currently available to stream, featuring guests like filmmaker Dante Basco and activists Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan.
Actress Sara Sohn and lifestyle blogger Chriselle Lim are two moms and lifelong friends who started a podcast called “Being Bumo.” This podcast sparks honest conversations about motherhood, bringing in childcare experts, leaders and celebrity guests to talk about the ups and downs that all parents face in their daily lives. Episode topics include setting boundaries on kids’ screen-time, postpartum struggles and single parenting after a loss. All moms—and dads—are welcome.
Food serves as the centerpiece in this National Public Radio podcast hosted by James Beard Award-winning journalist Francis Lam, but the discussions Lam has with guests like chefs David Chang and Padma Lakshmi and musician Questlove of The Roots go far beyond simple dinner chats. Conversations cover wide-ranging topics like lifestyle, family, cooking techniques and more. So, grab a good drink pairing and enjoy the love baked into these episodes. Bon A-Pod-it!
This article appeared in Character Media’s Annual 2021 Issue. Read our full e-magazine here.