The world is full of black people
But when the mainstream media talks about the world, we hardly ever hear from them. Black Diplomats—a podcast dedicated to international politics and culture from the perspective of people of color—is going to change that.
The 45-minute weekly show will take on domestic issues like immigration, policing, and protest movements through a globalized lens. The podcast is called Black Diplomats because I believe every black person is a diplomat at heart. It’s crucial that we claim space in the global conversation because much of that conversation directly impacts us—yet we so rarely lead it.
The show will have a conversational style similar to VICE, with a twist of Desus and Mero humor to add an urban flavor, making it accessible to people who aren’t used to being centered in foreign policy conversations. It will resist the impulse of network television to pander to an “all sides” mindset. I believe there is a right and there is a wrong: Imperialism is bad. Racism is bad. White supremacy is a motivating philosophy for many powerful people.
Black Diplomats will be something new. American media outlets aren't interested in people of color’s thoughts on global affairs—especially those outside of the mainstream. Although I'm a Russian speaker and travel to Ukraine every few months, I struggle to find opportunities to speak on foreign affairs. We need a new venue, and it should grow with our audience, tackling new subjects, highlighting new perspectives, and giving the black perspective on world affairs the respect it is due.
Former Black American CIA Operative Analyses America's Fractured Democracy
Jerwayne Cook was an Operations Manager who worked at the CIA for over a decade during the height of the War on Terror. He has seen nations fall into civil war, experienced radical terror first hand, and dismantled networks aiming to destabilize governments. And that’s why he’s worried about America.
Host Terrell Starr talks to Cook about what kind of assessments the Agency would be making if another country had a dictator who wouldn’t recognize the results of a free and fair election. Cook also talks about some of the well known successes and failures of American intelligence, including the decision to go into Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, but not Saudi Arabia.
After nearly 13 years in the CIA during the height of the War on Terror, Jerwayne Cook has a remarkable resumé that is very light on detail. Since leaving the Agency in 2016 he has been in demand as an intelligence specialist and operations consultant for clients he lists as “confidential”.
Describing his time in the CIA as “a season in life”, Cook has an expansive mind and keen insight that he’s using to help demystify American foreign policy for the rest of us.
What do Democrats owe Black voters?
The 2020 election is mostly wrapped up and one of the big takeaways is the profound effect of BIPOC organizers nationwide, from the Stacey Abrams juggernaut in Georgia, to the turnout among Native Americans in Arizona, even as Covid-19 ravages their communities.
Today on Black Diplomats, host Terrell Starr talks to activist Dr. Melina Abdullah and journalist Anoa Changa about what Democrats owe BIPOC voters, how Joe Biden became the nominee in the first place, and what it’s going to take to repair the damage done by the Trump administration.
Dr. Melina Abdullah is a recognized expert on race, gender, class, and social movements. She was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a Los Angeles chapter leader.
She is also Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Abdullah earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African American Studies.
An organizer by nature and a lawyer by trade, Anoa Changa has a deep history of working within the realms of advocacy and justice. Her passion lies in building collaborative political spaces that fundamentally change the way communities and grassroots organizations engage with the social and political systems around us. Expanding on her experience as an attorney, Anoa has been a grassroots digital organizer and strategic advisor to several organizations.
Election Analysis with In The Thick
On this episode of Black Diplomats, host Terrell J. Starr is joined by the two people who got him into podcasting: Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, hosts of the In The Thick podcast.
The 2020 election for President of the United States was this week, and it looks like Joe Biden is going to win the Electoral College count, as well as the popular vote. What happens in the courts is yet to be seen.
All year long people have been predicting a Blue Wave that would result in control of both houses of Congress, and the Executive, but at this point Democrats are barely holding onto a narrow majority in the House and may not win the Senate. What happened to the Wave?
And how did President Trump increase his percentage of the vote among white people?!
As a reporter who was the first Latina in many newsrooms, Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. To that end, in 2010, she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content for and about the new American mainstream in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.
Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela is the Founder and Publisher of http://latinorebels.com/ (Latino Rebels). He created this community in 2011, propelling it to a must-visit source in the digital space. In 2018, Latino Rebels was acquired by Maria Hinojosa’s Futuro Media, an award-winning independent nonprofit media company based in Harlem.
As Digital Media Director for Futuro Media, Julio works with the Latino USA team to promote the show’s episodes and expand its digital reach. He is a frequent contributor to the show and the editor of the show’s official site, http://latinousa.org/ (LatinoUSA.org). He also co-hosts http://inthethick.org/ (In The Thick) with Maria Hinojosa. Recently, he was named by Futuro to focus on the company’s new business opportunities.
Check out www.blackdiplomats.net for more information.
Thank you for listening!
The Anatomy of a Kleptocracy, According to Gaslit Nation
kleptocracy https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/noun (noun) klep·toc·ra·cy | \ klep-ˈtä-krə-sē \ plural kleptocracies
: government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed
also : a particular government of this kind
On this episode of Black Diplomats host Terrell J. Starr is joined by Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa, founders of the podcast juggernaut Gaslit Nation. Terrell asks them to define what a kleptocratic government looks like for folks who might not be familiar with the word, and then they cover some of the many examples from the Trump Administration. They talk about the Russian oligarchs and advisors who’ve steered Trump from the start, and what a second term could look like. With friends like Paul Manafort, who has time for enemies?
Gaslit Nation is hosted by writers https://www.twitter.com/sarahkendzior (Sarah Kendzior )and https://www.twitter.com/andreachalupa (Andrea Chalupa), experts on authoritarian states who warned America about election hacking before the 2016 election. They take a deep dive on the news, skipping outrage to deliver analysis, history, context, and sharp insight on global affairs. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/gaslit-nation-with-andrea-chalupa-and-sarah-kendzior/id1400926647?mt=2 (Subscribe today )to catch up on previous episodes and get new ones! (also available on https://open.spotify.com/episode/00edfEFtrgmqdFiUevjJep?si=V--2sT_JRICeNB8RAN18JQ (Spotify), http://stitcher.com/podcast/range/gaslit-nation (Stitcher), https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0# (Google Play), http://tun.in/pi6cN (TuneIn), and https://pca.st/TFwp (PocketCasts)).
The War for Nagorno-Karabakh
Today’s episode of Black Diplomats is a primer on the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed region in the mountains between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Host Terrell J. Starr talks to Lika Zakaryan, a journalist who has spent her life in Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Artsakh to the locals. Over 90% of the population of Artsakh is ethnically Armenian, but due to political wrangling in the Soviet era it is considered a territory of Azerbaijan.
Zakaryan could hear bombs going off in the background during our interview, and was interrupted near the end with news of a ceasefire planned for the next morning. With family and friends on the front lines, Zakaryan has chosen to tell human stories rather than political ones. Her powerful testimonials remind us all of the cost of violence, and the indifference of the people in power.
Lika Zakaryan is a journalist with CIVILNET who is reporting directly from Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh where she was born and raised, and currently lives. Go to https://twitter.com/LikaZakaryan (her Twitter feed) to access her reporting from the ground.
Thank you for listening!
Trump's White Supremacist Foreign Policy
On Black Diplomats this week, host Terrell J. Starr is joined by two experts in world affairs to talk about President Trump’s foreign policies, and how he has tried to use the State Department to further his own interests. What does having a White Supremacist in Chief mean for American relations with the countries in Africa? They also discuss the advantages of diversity in the diplomatic corps from an insiders perspective, and what it’s going to take to repair the damage done by Tump’s shallow posturing.
Desiree Cormier Smith is the Senior Policy Advisor for Africa, Europe, and Eurasia for the Open Society Foundations. Previously, she was a Senior Director of the Africa practice at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic advisory firm. Prior to that, she was a Foreign Service Officer with assignments in Ethiopia, Mexico, South Africa, and Washington, DC.
Mr. Travis L. Adkins is a Lecturer of African and Security Studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. As an international development leader, he has two decades of experience working in governance, civil society and refugee and migration affairs in over 50 nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. This includes serving as Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, working with leading international NGOs and think tanks, as well as within several branches of the United Nations system.
Check out blackdiplomats.net for more information.
Thank you for listening!
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Must Listen Podcast!
I remember the first time I heard you on ITT during one of my weekend podcast binges. Your voice and spirit spoke to me and been fan-gurling ever since!
New to the podcast but it's about to become a staple
Came for the episode featuring Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa of the Gaslit Nation Podcast and am here to stay. So excited to have found a podcast with such unique insight. I'm mid-way through the episode with Desiree and Travis and it is just so fascinating and inspiring to hear Black folk discussing their work and experience in Foreign Service and as well as the policy implications of the current administration. I'm absolutely on board and look forward to going through the back catalog and spreading the word about this podcast. Terrell is a great host and this is an invaluable platform not just for us but for anyone wanting to further understand our government, policy matters, and our role in the world.
Chalupa and Kendzior
Two of my favorite people on your podcast?!? OK!