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theGrio's "Dear Culture" Podcast

Finalist in Art & Culture Podcast


Blackness and Black culture is limitless and thus present all around us.

No matter who, what, when, where or why, Dear Culture will always stay true to our love for and dedication to Black culture.  When we revamped theGrio's flagship podcast, our mission was to inject new life into an already successful podcast with a new host and new vibe while staying true to our values and our loyal fanbase.

The new Dear Culture was born.  A podcast version of the conversations you’re already having with the people you don’t even realize you know.    What are bald-headed games, and who is playing them?   What are the Blackest songs of all time, and why? Is there a marketplace for Black joy?  Host and cultural commentator Panama Jackson indulges and delves into all areas of the culture with people from all areas of Black life to come and share stories, expertise, and information about, well, anything and everything, from the roota to the toota.

Dear Culture engenders everything Don King meant when he uttered the words, “...and that’s the Blackness.” We might not know where we’re going when we start,  but what we do know by the time we get to the end, we will undoubtedly say that was Black, and that was the culture.   Dear Culture is the podcast for everyone who knows the appropriate call-and-response for when somebody enters the room and says, “God is good…” because that is the culture.

Strategy and Execution

Dear Culture.    The name is perfect.  We couldn’t give it up. It was vital to our brand identity and mission to continue furthering the conversations already in the Black community and creating new ones that our loyal fan base would love while attracting a new audience. All while leaning into the talents of a new host with a different perspective and point of view.  We had one month to launch theGrio Black Podcast Network.  Dear Culture was the first podcast to premiere on the new network.  We decided to launch our first episode in the last week of May.   We officially passed the torch and recognized the contribution of original host Gerren Keith Gaynor, who was leaving podcasting to cover the White House for theGrio. It was an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of having a Black voice and face in the White House Briefing room. It was a seminal moment to showcase the work of Gerren and Grio colleague April Ryan.  It was essential to get Gerren’s blessing on Dear Culture’s future and new host, Panama Jackson.  Panama segued into new segments Blackfession, a confession about your Blackness, and Blackammendation, a recommendation featuring Black culture.  Gerren was first on the hot seat.  The first episode was a celebration of the end and a new beginning. 

We leaned into Panama's love for music in June with the start of Black Music Month. We started with the episode Superstar Siblings Janet vs. Michael with a lively debate on which superstar sibling has the best albums.   With a controversial album, we asked should King Kendrick keep his crown. Is Brandy the “vocal bible”? The cultural importance of Biggie Small, and we asked.

What are the Blackest Songs of all time?

We get into deep, powerful personal conversations; Panama discusses how politics and Donald Trump destroyed his relationship with his white mother as he reconciled with her recent death, recalling what happened to his family after a scathing article who wrote about a Black man with a white mom who loves Trump.

We took our podcast on the road, producing live episodes from theGrio Awards red carpet and HBCUs Morehouse College and Grambling State  University. 


The new Dear Culture video podcast has successfully kept its promise as a love letter to Black culture.  It’s kept its cultural identity while allowing a new host to be his authentic self and laced with the brilliance and ridiculousness he brings to meaningful conversations.

Along the way we have improved the production value of the video podcast.  It is much more than people talking into a microphone.  The look, the sound, the content is true to the mission and true to the culture.


Video for theGrio's "Dear Culture" Podcast

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