Black podcast coalition Afros & Audio hosted its inaugural two-day festival at live recording audience theater We Are Much Different in Brooklyn.

The festival brought together notable names in the Black podcast and audio/digital tech communities. Throughout the weekend, speakers acknowledged their current contributions and successes, and developed strategies for leadership positioning, monetization and career opportunities within the podcasting industry.

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A growing number of African Americans are turning to podcasting to get their voices heard. With internet access and a microphone, podcasters have created shows on various topics centering on the Black experience. The number of podcasts are increasing along with the number of listeners.

Afros & Audio founder Talib Jasir said the podcast festival brought people together to build a support network.

“It began with a desire to create space for one another to build community,” he said. “Together we can build and create anything we want.”

Afros & Audio seeks to be a mainstay in the lives and work of Black podcast creators and audio/digital tech professionals.

“The state of Black podcasting is the state of Black people,” said We Are Much Different co-founder Minista Jazz. “It’s essential like the rebirth of hip-hop as I see it where there’s been so much trauma, especially after 2016, that we need to passionately express that with urgency. The quickest, easiest and most free form of doing that is podcasting.”

The inaugural festival also marked the launch of Afros & Audio’s Industry and Business Partnership Initiative, specifically designed to align business and industry leadership with Black podcast creators, tech professionals, digital agencies, media networks and others.