The best new stories of the week for July 6, 2019: 1865, Freaknik, and more

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them while you’re doing other things: Washing dishes, going for a run, coloring, and especially, driving. But there are so many podcasts these days that it’s simply impossible to keep up. There are new ones debuting all the time, and it’s hard to know whether they deserve a spot in your feed.

Every week, we highlight new and returning podcasts we couldn’t put down. Whether you’re looking for the latest and greatest or you’re just dipping your two into the vast ocean of podcasts, we’ll find you something worth listening to. This week, we’ve got podcasts about the days after Lincoln’s assassination, beauty products for people of color, and a freaky picnic. 

History podcast


1865 Podcast

Why should I listen?  The transfer of power wasn’t as simple as Andrew Johnson waking up one day to find himself president.            

How many episodes are there and how long are they? There are four episodes, each around 30 minutes. The explainer episodes are around 15 minutes.       

Describe it in one word: Disorderly. 

Veep, Designated Survivor, and Commander in Chief are TV shows that all deal with presidential succession. It’s the order in which members of the government assume the presidency, should something happen to the POTUS. If enough people die, you end up with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development leading the country, in the case of Kiefer Sutherland. 

But the line wasn’t always so clearly established, and that made things chaotic after John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. The podcast 1865 is a fictionalized history of the days following Lincoln’s death. Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, is aghast at the thought of Andrew Johnson taking over, and he’s not entirely sure the vice president didn’t collude with Booth to destabilize the government. In companion episodes, creators Steven Walters and Erik Archilla discuss the real events behind the story with director Robert McCollum. 

Beauty podcast

Foxy Browns 

Foxy Browns Podcast

Why should I listen? You want beauty advice from bargain-hunters.              

How many episodes are there and how long are they? The first episode is 58 minutes.       

Describe it in one word: Beguiling. 

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has been credited with pushing makeup brands like CoverGirl and Maybelline to diversify their foundation lines, offering shades that match a range of skin tones. “It was also important that every woman felt included in this brand,” Rihanna said. “We are all so different, with our own unique skin tones, so we started with the 40 foundation shades out the gate.

For people of color, it’s not just the perfect foundation that can be difficult to find. In the U.S., the beauty and haircare industries skew towards white women. Writers Priyanka Mattoo and Camilla Blackett host Foxy Browns, a beauty and wellness podcast that’s a mix of reviews (muslin diapers are great for your face, apparently), interviews, and critical thinking about beauty standards. They ask their first guest, April Quioh, about her early beauty ideal and how it has changed over the years. 

Culture podcast


Freaknik Podcast

Why should I listen? You need to know about Atlanta’s biggest party.             

How many episodes are there and how long are they?  There are two episodes so far, each around 40 minutes.      

Describe it in one word: Frenetic. 

I never went on a booze-fueled, sun-soaked spring break trip, like so many of my fellow college students did. But I did live vicariously through The O.C. gang and, of course, Arrested Development’s Kitty Sanchez

In the first episode of Freaknik, host Christopher Frierson revisits the “spring break, whoo” ethos, exemplified by MTV’s yearly celebration. Frierson starts with spring break to explore Freaknik. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, students from Atlanta’s historically black colleges and universities attended the three-day celebrations. Frierson is a documentary film maker, and for the podcast he tracked down many of the festival’s creators and early attendees. As Freaknik grew, more and more out-of-towners flocked to Atlanta for the music, dancing, and partying. The city struggled to keep up and eventually the mayor banned Freaknik celebrations. This year, a more family-friendly revival took place.

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