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21 Audiobooks And Podcasts By Black Canadians You Have To Listen To

From memoirs and fiction to pop culture and politics, there's something on this list for everyone.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate, educate, and support the contributions of Black Canadians, look no further. Whether you're clicking away on your laptop or just enjoying some downtime, audiobooks and podcasts are the perfect way to fill the silence and enjoy some hands-free reading.

Universal Television / Via Giphy

February is Black History Month, but you can enjoy these bingeworthy audiobooks and podcasts all year long.

1. The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole

The cover of Desmond Cole's book The Skin We're In
Audible / Via

Inspired by a 2015 story for Toronto Life about the numerous times he was carded by police, Desmond Cole recounts a year's worth of news stories about the racial injustices Black and Indigenous people faced in 2017. The Skin We're In shatters the proverbial rose-coloured glasses that many Canadians wear and instead offers a real account of what it's like to be a person of colour in Canada.

2. Other Side of the Game by Amanda Parris

Cover art of CBC's podcast that says PlayME in large letters
CBC / Via

If you love the theatre, you'll want to tune into this audio drama written by CBC radio host Amanda Parris. The three-part series tells the story of Beverly, a university student in the 1970s, who is drawn to the Black activist movement and the man leading it. Then there's Nicole, a young mom living in the 2000s, whose future is complicated when her ex-boyfriend Devonte gets released from prison.

3. Saga Boy by Antonio Michael Downing

The cover of Antonio Michael Downing's book Saga Boy
Audible / Via

Saga Boy is about Downing's early years as a young boy immigrating to a small and predominately white town in Northern Ontario. Music becomes a sweet escape from his tumultuous family life. His journey to invent and reinvent himself mirrors the experience of many young immigrants and their search for identity and belonging in Canada.

4. The Drip with Patience Adamu and Kurtis Vermont

An illustration of Kurtis and Patience with a title below that says the drip
BuzzSprout / Via

The Drip is a weekly podcast that series sheds a light on the Black millennial experience in Canada and the fight against racism. What started as a discussion about COVID-19 in the GTA has grown into a platform that covers Canadian politics, pop culture, and newsworthy stories.

5. They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternity Martis

The cover of Eternity Martis' book they said this would be fun
Audible / Via

Toronto-based journalist Eternity Martis recounts her experience at university, and it's a reality that people of colour know all too well. From being the only Black woman in class to dealing with microaggressions on a daily basis, Martis unmasks the sexism and racism that pervade Canadian campuses. This memoir is equally painful and heartwarming, as Martis leaves university with a greater sense of self.

6. The Secret Life of Canada with Leah-Simone Bowen and Falen Johnson

An illustration of Leah and Falen reading a book
CBC / Via

If you enjoy watching Heritage Minutes, you'll love The Secret Life of Canada podcast series. Featuring a mix of short three-minute soundbites and longer in-depth episodes, Bowen and Johnson talk about a variety of noteworthy Canadians, places, and historical moments that you never — but definitely should have — heard about in school.

7. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

The cover of Esi Edugyan's book Washington Black
Audible / Via

History buffs, this one's for you. Washington Black is an 11-year-old slave working on a sugar plantation in Barbados. When he is loaned to his master's brother Christopher Wilde, an explorer and secret abolitionist, Wash discovers a new world full of science and wonder.

8. Black Canadian Content Creator‪s‬ with Sherley Joseph

A picture of Sherley J's face with a caption that says Black Canadian Content Creators
BlackCanadianCC / Via Facebook: BlackCanadianCC

Black Canadian Content Creators is a seasonal podcast that any veteran or budding creative needs to know about. Joseph interviews a variety of Canadian authors, bloggers, journalists, and photographers (just to name a few). You'll hear how they started what keeps them inspired, and how you can break into the industry of content creation.

9. Ossuaries by Dionne Brand

The cover of Dionne Brand's book Ossuaries
Audible / Via

The award-winning novelist and poet brings her book-length poem to life in Ossuaries. Interwoven with Brand's own narrative is the tale of Yasmine, a young woman trying to flee the mistakes of her past. Her life, although cold and solitary, takes her across the world with stops in Algiers, Cuba, and Canada.

10. Black Tea with Dalton Higgins and Melayna Williams

An illustration of a cup of tea with the title Black Tea above it
Frequency Podcast Network / Via

Black Tea is a Toronto-based podcast series that addresses the best and worst experiences affecting Black Canadians. Higgins and Williams are unapologetic in their discussions of pop culture, politics, and Blackness and TBH, we're here for it. If you're looking for a series that is equally funny and informative, this is the one for you.

11. Code Black with Renee Weekes, Maxine McDonald, and Bunmi Adeoye

An illustration of a barcode with the title Code Black Communicator Network below it
Code Black / Via

Hosted by three Toronto-based communicators, Code Black addresses the systemic barriers Black Canadians experiences within the world of public relations and at large. They cover a variety of topics including current events, pop culture moments, industry secrets for media professionals, and the importance of representation.

12. Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard

The cover of Robyn Maynard's book Policing Black Lives
Audible / Via

Maynard's novel shatters the illusion of tolerance and unravels the complexity of systemic racism in Canada. She chronicles almost 400 years of state violence against Black Canadians and demonstrates how its effects can still be seen today. Policing Black Lives is both a history and a call to action that seeks to educate and encourage listeners to dismantle the systems of oppression.

13. Conversations With Coco + Friend‪s‬ with Catriona Smart, Cleo Ellis and Pilar Adams

An image of Conversations With Coco + Friend‪s‬
CWC & Friends / Via Apple Podcasts

Conversations with Coco + Friends is a podcast about wild conversations that women have with their friends. This podcasts talks about everything from business to dating to fertility and everything in between. Recognize Cleo Ellis? She's one of BuzzFeed Canada's regular contributors.

14. They Call Me George by Cecil Foster

The cover of Cecil Foster's book They call me George
Audible / Via

The untold story of Canada's Black train porters is a missing, but significant part of Canadian history. As a minority group in the 1950s, Black Canadians were treated as second-class citizens and denied many of the social and political freedoms other citizens enjoyed. They Call Me George is a literary portrait that gives the contributions of Black train porters and the fight for social justice in Canada the recognition they deserve.

15. #CitylineReal on Race with Tracy Moore

A picture of Tracy Moore with the title Cityline Real on Race
Frequency / Via

In this limited series, Cityline host Tracy Moore explores the nuances of discrimination and inequality in Canada with a panel of experts. Each episode explores different issues related to racism including microaggressions, white privilege, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

16. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The cover of Evan Winter's book The Rage of Dragons
Audible / Via

In a world where a few lucky men use magic to transform themselves into killing machines and even fewer women have the power to summon dragons, Tau is a giftless young man caught in the middle of an unbeatable 200-year-long war. His dream is to escape, but when the people closest to him are murdered, Tau becomes an expert swordplayer to kill the men responsible.

17. Days by Moonlight by André Alexis

The cover of Andre Alexis' book Days by Moonlight
Audible / Via

Botantist Alfred Homer goes on a road trip with a family friend to learn about the disappearance of an Ontario poet, but instead discovers a set of strange towns where Black citizens only speak in sign language and witches and werewolves may actually exist.

18. Shame On Me by Tessa McWatt

The cover of Tessa McWatt's book Shame On Me
Audible / Via

In her memoir, Tessa McWatt explores the complexity of identity and culture as a multiracial person living in Canada. Her own body, which she carefully catalogues into bits and pieces, is a critique of how we think about race today and it begs the question: How to do you find a sense of belonging in a society where you are Black, but not Black enough?

19. Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

The cover of Tea Mutonji's book Shut Up You're Pretty
Audible / Via

Mutonji’s book is a collection of stories about a Congolese woman and her family as they settle in Canada. The characters grapple with the importance of tradition, trials of womanhood, and bridging the gap between generations. Each tale comes together to create a picture of a young woman struggling to find identity, femininity, and happiness.

20. In the Black written by B. Denham Jolly and narrated by Tim Puckett

The cover of B Denham Jolly's book In The Black
Audible / Via

Tim Puckett narrates the life of Jamaican Canadian teacher, entrepreneur, and activist B. Denham Jolly and his fight to launch the first Black-owned radio station in Toronto, Flow 93.5. In the book, Jolly celebrates the work of activists in the 1950s to create a more inclusive society. In the Black also measures the distance Canada still has to travel before we reach our stated ideals of equality.

21. Gutter Child written by Jael Richardson and narrated by Phoenix Pagliacci

The cover of Jael Richardson's book Gutter Child
Audible / Via

Gutter Child is a dystopian novel about a young girl who lives in a police state called the Gutter. In this society, 100 children get drafted by the Mainland government to be part of social experiment and Elimina is one of them. When her Mainland mother dies, Elimina's must secure her own freedom and dismantle the system that's designed to oppress her.

With so many audiobooks and podcasts to choose from, your hardest decision will be which one to pick to first. Let us know what you'll be listening to in the comments!

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