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10 Podcasts That Keep It Real And Raw

Culture

N eed some entertainment for your commute? Want to switch up your music routine? Try one of these 10 podcasts that keep it real, raw and entertaining.


Ctrl Alt Delete

What it is: Hosted by the former social media editor of British Glamor Emma Gannon, this podcast mainly covers our relationship with the internet, but also covers topics like social media, feminism, creativity, health, career and everything in between. By interviewing new guests every episode, Gannon’s breadth of conversation topic is vast and always relevant.

Why You Should Listen: Our relationship with the internet is constantly changing and evolving. As we spend more and more time online, it is important to step back and discuss (or listen to discussions) about how it affects us and our mental health. Ctrl Alt Delete is also great because of the different and inspiring guests that provide varied perspectives every episode, and Gannon draws on her own experiences to discuss the online world.

Best Episode to Start With: #107: Lucy Sheridan: How To Stop Comparing And Despairing Online.

Millenial

What it is: A podcast about coming of age. While Megan Tan is no longer making episodes of Millennial, it is still a wild, real-time story about growing up. Tan began making the podcast after she graduated college, and she covers topics like money, starting a creative business, pursuing a career and just general life change.

Why You Should Listen: Each episode is a wonderful story that pulls on your heart strings and urges you to keep listening. If you are a college student or an emerging young professional, this is the podcast for you.

Best Episode to Start With: #1, Welcome to Millennial. As Tan says in the beginning of every episode, you should start at the very beginning. It truly is a story, and you don’t want to skip over a chapter.

Gossip

What it is: A scripted serial by NYT best-selling

author Allison Raskin. This is the first-ever comedic soap opera podcast, loosely based on the real town that Raskin grew up in. While it is a scripted podcast, Raskin keeps it real with humor and characters that resemble people we all love to hate.

Why You Should Listen: This story is so well produced that it sucks you right into the story. If you need to get away from your own life, you can escape to Golden Acres and soak up all of their drama instead of your own.

Best Episode to Start With: 1. Poly Employers.

Anna Faris Is Unqualified

What it is: Anna Faris delivers a laugh-out-loud advice podcast covering the many topics she doesn’t know much about. Faris interviews different celebrities and takes calls from listeners.

Why You Should Listen: Listening to this podcast is like listening to advice and lessons from an older sister or best friend. Sometimes we dole out advice we are unqualified to, sometimes it flops and sometimes we come across sound realizations. Plus, Faris is hilarious.

Best Episode to Start With: ep 132: Kelly Ripa

Terrible, Thanks For Asking

What it is: Nora McInerny faced multiple devastating personal losses within a very short time period. In this podcast, she speaks with others who are also struggling with grief.

Why You Should Listen: McInerny allows her guests to answer the question “how are you?” with how they are truly feeling. In this podcast, expect honest, emotional conversations every episode. Listen to this if you need some sort of catharsis, or are struggling with sadness of your own.

Best Episode to Start With: 33: Witness.

Where Should We Begin With Esther Perel

What it is: Esther Perel is a relationship therapist that brings 10 anonymous couples in search of insight before her audience. Each relationship has its own real issues for us to learn from, and feel empowered within our own relationships.

Why You Should Listen: By documenting the real problems within these relationships, Perel is the definition of keeping it real and raw. There are tears, harsh words and revelations to be uncovered in this podcast.

Best Episode to Start With: There’s You There’s Me and There’s Us.

2 Dope Queens

What it is: Hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams bring three guest comedians to every

episode and hold discussions on race, gender and social issues in addition to romance, hair journeys and living in New York. Robinson and Williams bring humor to the serious nature of these topics.

Why You Should Listen: Robinson and Williams make a point for highlighting women, people of color and LGBT comedians.

Best Episode to Start With: #37 Sitting Too Close To Queen Latifah.

Thirst Aid Kit

What it is: A love and sex podcast hosted by Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins that unabashedly describes their celebrity crushes, thirsts and desires. It is funny, honest, relatable and allows the fangirl in us all to shine.

Why You Should Listen: These women are battling society’s expectation for women to stay shy about their sexual desires. Oftentimes, the shy, meek woman holding onto a crush is what is society expects. Adewunmi and Perkins throw these expectations out the window and unapologetically discuss their thirsts. Plus, we all need to talk about how hot Chris Evans is sometimes.

Best Episode to Start With: Chris Evans (feat. Chris Evans).

By The Book

What it is: Hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer agree to live their lives according to the rules of self-help books for two weeks. Sometimes, the results are hilarious. Occasionally, they run into life-changing advice and steps. It’s where you should go if you’re skeptical about a self-help book - or want to explore its effects.

Why You Should Listen: Greenberg and Meinzer are likeable hosts, who explain the books they are living by methodically – so you are sure to know how they’re about to change their lives and why. By the Book also naturally brings societal commentary about what it means to better oneself, and what you can do to get there.

Best Episode to Start With: The Five Love Languages or You Are a Badass.

Personality Hacker

What it is: This podcast breaks down the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. You will learn about your own mind, skill, talents and how to create the best version of you.

Why You Should Listen: If you’re obsessed with learning about yourself and others, had all your friends fill out the Myers-Briggs test or just want to improve yourself – listen to this. Hosts Joel and Antonia discuss you, you and your relationships and career path, as if they know you intimately.

Best Episode to Start With: The one dedicated to YOUR personality type. They will dissect your innermost feelings.

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Judge Tanya Acker On Overcoming Racial Barriers And Her Rise To The Top


You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.

The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.

“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.

Shaping Her Career

Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.

"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.

“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."

After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.

As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.

How Did Acker Become A Judge?

In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."

Judge Acker in white pantsuit with her dog. Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.

Acker's Time Away From Home

Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.

Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."

She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.

“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."

“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."

Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."

Overcoming Racial Barriers

As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.

At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.

Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker

The Power Of Self-awareness

“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."

Know Your Support System

“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."

Learn From Your Experiences

“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.

“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.

Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.

This article was originally published May 15, 2019.