Black Podcasters Are Platforming White Supremacy And It’s Sickening to Watch

Joe Budden, DJ Envy and Charlamagne tha God gave anti-Black racism a home on their shows.
Candace Owens at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2023.
Candace Owens at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2023.
Pacific Press via Getty Images

A month or so back, I listened to a clip from “The Joe Budden Podcast” in which the crew played a snippet of Candace Owens — the worst Black woman in existence since Mary J. Blige’s character on “Power Book II: Ghost” — giving Ariana Grande a verbal drubbing for being a “ho.”

Everyone on the pod — even the sole woman, Melyssa Ford — gave Owens props for her takedown. It was a bizarre moment even for a podcast that prides itself on being contrarian for contrarianism’s sake. Especially since Owens has made a career off of taking Black people to task to appease her white listeners.

Budden didn’t just side with Owens. He was intrigued.

So color me (un)surprised when Budden and Owens linked up for an episode of his podcast, which was released on his Patreon on March 15.

For the uninitiated, a brief primer on Owens: She’s a different brand of foul right-wing f**kery. She’s built a career downplaying racism, hoisting up Donald Trump and promoting homophobia, sexism, ableism and any other -ism you can muster — all in the name of getting Black folks away from the Democratic Party, and all while being a dark-skinned Black woman.

Among her headline-making absurdities: She testified to the House Judiciary Committee about how white supremacy is not nearly as big a deal as a culture that doesn’t promote “masculinity,” and walked down a dark path with Kanye West, using the hip-hop culture she often condemns to her own benefit.

Unsurprisingly, Budden let Owens speak with little pushback as she went through a medley of rancid talking points, including the idea that Black people will be “free” of structural or institutionalized racism if only we “think” our way out of it. She reminded him that Black rappers once loved Trump, who is only being “misinterpreted” because of the media (and not because of what’s come out of his own goddamn mouth in the last eight years).

Owens isn’t the first Black conservative, but she’s among the most noxious and the most followed, with millions of supporters across multiple platforms. And Budden likes her energy because … she talked s**t about Ariana Grande?

Budden’s homeboy Charlamagne Tha God also has the platforming-assholes thing down bad: His “Breakfast Club” radio show recently interviewed Republican presidential candidate (and inevitable loser) Nikki Haley.

Haley, who’d just been cooked for refusing to acknowledge that the Civil War was about slavery, traipsed on this Black show and refused once again to explicitly acknowledge that racism is the lifeblood of America.

“When you look at the inequalities in America, in education, you know, homeownership, employment and wealth, health care,” Charlamagne asked. “Can you admit that America is, systemically and structurally, a racist country?”

“I think culture has a lot to do with it, right?” she responded.

That Owens and Haley are both women of color is immaterial — but it might actually make them more dangerous.

This isn’t the first time Charlamagne, DJ Envy and company have placed a spotlight on terrible humans: They took an on-air phone call from O.G. conservative death adder Rush Limbaugh about George Floyd’s murder.

Charlamagne was pictured in 2016 with conservative blonde mudslinger (and former Donkey of the Day) Tomi Lahren, when she was at the height of her popularity. He claimed it was a publicity stunt, but he knew who she was when he walked with her — like Black folks are walking shoulder to shoulder with David Duke, just because.

Defenses for these men and their choice of white supremacist guests have largely fallen into the “let’s hear both sides” argument, but everyone can miss me with that. Why do we need exposure to the “side” of fomenting anti-Blackness and general hatred?

Owens has several million followers and all the space in the world to get off bulls**t so ridiculous that I’m not even sure she believes it. She’s in no risk of not having her side heard, and there’s zero reason to Black media to engage her in dialogue outside of getting money — because not all money is good (or ethical) money.

Owens is ecstatic that Black media is giving her play right now because, ostensibly, she believes Black folks are on the verge of an “awakening” that will see us dip out from the Democratic party en masse, and finally acknowledge that Toupee Fiasco will bring us all to the Promised Land.

But I think she’s just excited about getting to flex her intellect over Budden: Owens is very loud and frequently wrong, but she’s not stupid, and she knows that Budden couldn’t hang with her intellectually. (In contrast, I bet she wouldn’t step foot on Roland Martin’s show.) Charlamagne and DJ Envy can also get steamrolled by their guests.

And that’s just one of the problems with these podcasts — another is their tendency to demean women while claiming to boost them up, making them “manosphere” podcasts in disguise. And if they’re not platforming anti-Blackness, they’re going in the polar opposite direction: Budden and “The Breakfast Club” have both hosted Dr. Umar Johnson — a man who, oddly enough, espouses the same homophobic, pro-“masculinity” message as Owens, but framed in a pro-Blackness way.

Balance, right?

It doesn’t matter if your guest is on some clock-is-right-twice-a-day stuff — If their message is consistently that of racism, discrimination and wholly unnecessary attacks on marginalized groups, find another guest. I’m sure Budden and company can find someone else who thinks Ariana Grande is a ho.

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