As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we know how hard it can be to find content that speaks to our lived experiences. For Black and Brown members of the queer community, that search of sifting through music, scanning streaming services, and sampling podcasts in search of the right fit can seem even more daunting. Luckily, social entrepreneur Anna DeShawn is here to make this search much easier.
DeShawn is a Chicago-born media visionary who creates unique spaces and places for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color (BIPOC), and queer and trans people of color (QTPOC) to be heard. In 2009, DeShawn founded E3 Radio, a listening platform where music by Black, Brown, and queer creators is celebrated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The station is home to Queer News, an award-winning podcast DeShawn hosts and releases every Monday morning. Listeners engage with the podcast and station via the Instagram hashtags #QueerNewsDoneRight and #QueerRadioDoneRight, respectively.
Now DeShawn is expanding that success with their newest project, The Qube, a podcasting network featuring content for and by the BIPOC and QTPOC communities. “Our stories deserve amplification and to be heard,” DeShawn tells Tagg. “In the podcasting space, you can’t find us—our content or our stories—and it’s frustrating. So I wanted to find a space that centers and celebrates us.”
The Qube offers 60 curated shows exploring the diversity of lived experiences within BIPOC and QTPOC communities, covering the “model minority” myth, human trafficking, TV series pilots, and everything in between. Intersectional identities are common among The Qube’s creators and spark discussion in many of the podcasts. This level of inclusion is by design. “We are so much more powerful if we are all together in one space,” DeShawn says.
Three of The Qube’s offerings—Black HIV in the South: How Did We Get Here? which examines the lack of HIV education and care available to Black southerners, The Head Nod which explores Black experiences at predominately white institutions (PWIs), and Rebound Revolution which covers the on- and off-court happenings of the WNBA—are Qube originals, podcasts created specifically by the platform to amplify untold stories. A fourth Qube original, Second Sunday, will debut on October 4 and delve into the experiences of Black queer folks who grew up in the Christian church.
This October, The Qube will complete its first tour, comprised of seven stops across the U.S. Each stop offers a unique immersive listening experience where attendees listen to three to five-minute podcast excerpts while wearing surround sound, noise-canceling headphones. This approach allows people to hear podcasts individually, as they would at home or in the car, but then discuss them immediately after, which is something listeners naturally want to do. “We often listen to podcasts by ourselves, but podcasting as a whole is a community thing,” DeShawn says. In The Qube’s case, it’s a community where new members are always welcome: All they have to do is sign up and start listening.