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James Baldwin Podcasts

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56 of The Best Podcast Episodes for James Baldwin. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about James Baldwin, often where they are interviewed.

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56 of The Best Podcast Episodes for James Baldwin. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about James Baldwin, often where they are interviewed.

Updated daily with the latest episodes

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James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room "Not your typical Love story"

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On this podcast episode, the Bruhs discuss James Baldwin’s “Giovanni’s Room.” This tragic love story follows David, a man who struggles with balancing self-acceptance against the norms of society and ultimately leads him to lose the only person who loved him.  Set against a background of 1940's Paris, Baldwin skillfully binds us to these star-crossed lovers who can never be. We’re joined by one of the bruh’s daughters, Nikyya, who offers a fresh perspective on the tale.


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Sep 13 2020 · 1hr
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Eddie Glaude on his timely book about James Baldwin, Racism, and the Betrayal of the Civil Rights Movement

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Eddie Glaude is the chair of Princeton University’s African American Studies program and is a regular fixture on the set of “Morning Joe.” Eddie has written several books over the years, such as "Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul," and "In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America.”

Eddie’s latest book is “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own."

Glaude wrote this book before George Floyd was killed on Memorial Day this year. But the book — a passionate, grief-stricken account of a Black historian’s attempt to make sense of our times and to find a way forward — could not be more timely.

“Part of the reason why I wrote the book is that I was grappling with my own despair and disillusionment” after the election of Donald Trump, said Glaude. “How I came out of the other side of that despair was a kind of insistence on bearing witness, on telling the truth about who we are, laying bare the consequences of our monstrous actions over time and over our history."

To begin again, he writes, is to “reexamine the fundamental values and commitments that shape our self-understanding, and ... look back to those beginnings not to reaffirm our greatness or to double down on myths that secure our innocence, but to see where we went wrong and how we might imagine or recreate ourselves in light of who we initially set out to be.”

“Baldwin called the nation, in his after times, to confront the lie of its own self-understanding and to get about the work of building a country truly based on democratic principles,” Glaude writes.

You might not agree with everything Eddie says, but I think if you read this book, it’s almost impossible not to be enriched and challenged in a very productive way. 

Outro music: "Bloody Waters" from the Black Panther Soundtrack

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Sep 11 2020 · 42mins
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2409 - James Baldwin's America & Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own w/ Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

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Eddie Glaude Jr. joins the show once again to discuss his new book, Begin Again: "James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own."

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Aug 24 2020 · 52mins
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How Did Yara Shahidi Get James Baldwin's Signature?

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Tight Rope, our hosts are joined by Dr. Cornel West’s very own student at Harvard, award-winning actress, producer, and change agent Yara Shahidi of Grown-ish fame. Learn about Yara’s passion for storytelling, her new production company 7th Sun that she launched with her mother, as well as her Black Iranian heritage. Yara reads and discusses her favorite passage from James Baldwin. The episode ends with a fascinating Office Hours discussion on John Lewis, his life, legacy, and politics. Join the rich dialogue that brings together joy and justice with Yara Shahidi, Dr. Cornel West, and Professor Tricia Rose on The Tight Rope.  

Cornel West

Dr. Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University. A prominent democratic intellectual, social critic, and political activist, West also serves as Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. West has authored 20 books and edited 13. Most known for Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, West appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now. West has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films, including Examined Life, and is the creator of three spoken word albums including Never Forget. West brings his focus on the role of race, gender, and class in American society to The Tight Rope podcast. 

Tricia Rose

Professor Tricia Rose is Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University. She also holds the Chancellor’s Professorship of Africana Studies and serves as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives. A graduate of Yale (B.A.) and Brown University (Ph.D), Rose authored Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994), Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk about Sexuality and Intimacy (2003), and The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop and Why It Matters (2008). She also sits on the Boards of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Color of Change, and Black Girls Rock, Inc. Focusing on issues relating to race in America, mass media, structural inequality, popular culture, gender and sexuality and art and social justice, Rose engages widely in scholarly and popular audience settings, and now also on The Tight Rope podcast.  

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi is a 20-year-old actress and producer, most known for her role as Zoey Johnson in Black-ish and Grown-ish. Among numerous nominations and awards, she was a 2020 NAACP Image Award nominee for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (Grown-ish) and 2019 Teen Choice Award nominee for Choice Summer Movie Actress (The Sun Is Also a Star). Yara is a vocal activist and champion for social justice. Her newly launched production company, 7th Sun, recently signed with ABC to “develop and produce scripted and alternative television projects for cable.” The aim of 7th Sun is to focus on stories from underrepresented communities and their histories, heritages, cultures, and joys. Yara is the youngest producer to work on network television, and she is also involved with Girls for Gender Equity and the Third Wave Fund. 

Insight from this episode:

  • Strategies on creating spaces of joy and sanity in the present moment of crises and pandemics. 
  • Behind-the-scenes look at Yara’s life as a student at Harvard and growing up in Hollywood in the context of Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement. 
  • Reflections on Yara’s connections to both Prince and the Obamas and their role in shaping her and her family. 
  • Selections and analysis of James Baldwin’s “The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity.”
  • An honest look at Black freedom fighter and neoliberal politician John Lewis, and productive myth-making, Black violence, and the seduction of politics. 

Quotes from the show:

  • “We have to come to terms with catastrophe, such that we are not surprised by evil nor paralyzed by despair.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “In what ways, given the time that we were growing up, was the myth of utopia not even granted to us? We were born into a world in which we’ve seen corruption at heightened levels… In many ways, purpose has been two-pronged in that it has helped me, with an exceeding amount of clarity, move forward and say, okay, what are the moves I want to make in my world to try and make an impact?” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • On being entrenched in corporate America: “How do I balance the impact of what I’m doing on a personal level to the positive impact I make to this corporate world that I’m still trying to figure out how I want to deal with?” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “I wouldn’t be where I am if people hadn’t handed the mic to me.” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10 
  • “How do I pay enough attention to the world around me to service it to the best of my ability?” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10 
  • On Prince: “I really do feel that he created the foundation for how we move through this industry.” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10 
  • “My last name, Shahidi, means witness or to bear witness. I hope that through art or whatever these other avenues are-- I’m considering law school, we’ll see-- that I’m able to do that [bear witness] to the best of my ability and to continue to open doors in every space.” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10 
  • “Many people that are frontlines in this movement are also creatives in the truest sense. It’s something I struggle with is seeing the level of vitriol sent their way in a movement that is so steeped in love. In hearing [James Baldwin’s] words of that cognitive dissonance that occurs when you see someone aware enough that it calls attention to your own state of sleep, that that is what [the vitriol] stems from really contextualizes this moment.” –Yara Shahidi The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “My dear brother John Lewis was part of a rich tradition of Black people that put a primacy on morality and a centrality on spirituality. He was such a kind human being. He was so gentle. He was a sweet person. He had a soulfulness to him.” –Dr. Cornel West The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “Is it a fair standard to hold him [John Lewis] to? Can a person be in Congress 33 years, 15 years, 5 years and not fundamentally have to wrestle with the contradictions that will in a sense require a less pure response? I just don’t see how you do it.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “Don’t come talking to me about what my violence might look like when you’re constantly crushing my neck to death.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #10
  • “The arc of the force of their [Black freedom fighters] efforts is what we want to recall while we still the truth about all our human frailties.” –Tricia Rose The Tight Rope Episode #10 

Stay Connected:Cornel West


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Tricia Rose


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The Tight Rope


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This episode was produced and managed by Spkerbox Media in collaboration with Podcast Laundry

Aug 13 2020 · 1hr 2mins
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Day 2: James Baldwin Claps Back

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It happened on a Thursday.

February 18, 1965.  

The exact moment we fell in love with James Baldwin.

It wasn’t because he was a boy genius who spent every day at the library. It wasn't event his fiery church sermons as a teen or loving debates with Malcolm X as a young man. It was on this day, that he was propelled onto the world stage.  He was raw, nervous, authentic.  A Black man with vocabulary as arsenal, able to tag a full picture of our pain.  This was his opus.  His coming out as our Jimmy, our defender against bullies on the schoolyard.  Baldwin stood toe-to-toe with “the father of conservatism,” segregationist William Buckley in the hallowed halls of Oxford under the glare of entitled white boys. By himself. With a cloak of our peoples' sorrow and swag flying from his tiny frame. He said, not today.  At that moment, he became our tragic hero - an outcast, small, gay, committed, way too smart for any neighborhood.  It was swoon-worthy.  And from there he went on a world tour of verbal lashing and protest speeches, articles, and books to demand the total liberation of Black people. 

Let’s go on a victory lap for this man’s life.
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Aug 04 2020 · 31mins
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Side Effects of James Baldwin (with Eddie S. Glaude Jr.)

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This week, we talk to Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again, about the depth, value, and necessity for James Baldwin and his work in our current time.

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Jul 29 2020 · 1hr 25mins
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Eddie Glaude–I Love James Baldwin

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Eddie Glaude is one of those brilliant intellectuals who makes the life of the mind seem cool. He’s an MSNBC star, a Princeton professor, and the author of Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own which mines Baldwin’s work for modern lessons. I’m a huge fan of Baldwin’s and a big fan of Glaude’s so this was a real treat.

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Jul 15 2020 · 31mins
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James Baldwin had a great talent for taking old stories and tales and retelling them in an entertaining way.

In this episode we bring you 1) Androclus The Lion- a story of a societal cast out who befriends a lion, 2) Bruce and The Spider- A Scottish king learns an important life's lesson from a spider, 3) Damon & Pythias- true friendship is a rare and valuable thing indeed, 4) Horatio At The Bridge- a story of how one man's courage inspired an entire city, 5) King John & The Abbot- King John becomes jealous of an Abbot who lives a grand lifestyle so he tells the Abbot he must answer three questions correctly or lose his head and all his property. A lowly shepherd provides a solution.


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Jul 05 2020 · 25mins
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Eddie Glaude Jr. on James Baldwin and America’s Opportunity to ‘Begin Again’

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In his work and life, writer James Baldwin often balanced between feelings of despair and faith that the U.S. could be better and become a truly multiracial democracy. It was Baldwin's ability to balance faith and despair as well as love and rage that fascinated Princeton University professor of African American Studies Eddie Glaude Jr. and prompted his new book, "Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own." We'll discuss the book, Baldwin, and the current "moral reckoning" Glaude sees upon us.
Jun 30 2020 · 51mins
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11: Nothing can be changed until it is faced: James Baldwin, Activism and why white women need to rise up

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Going solo again today troops.

There is a lot to discuss.

In this episode I am discussing white fragility and how it presents itself in white women, the relationship between black people and white women and police brutality. The wonderful James Baldwin, the essence of activism and why we need to do better and fast.

Please note I discuss in detail some fo the brutality inflicted on black people, so particular if you are black/ brown you may find distressing, so please exercise self care and proceed with causation -  if you are white, this is an awareness and educational piece and an invitation to you to sit in the discomfort of this reality.

This episode ends with a one minute silence for George Floyd.

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May 27 2020 · 47mins