Lenard Larry McKelvey, known professionally as Charlamagne tha God, has moved to balance the scales and create more equitable opportunities for talented Black podcasters. (Photo: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

by Jay Conner —

Much like the rest of the entertainment industry, despite all of the money and resources being thrown around, the wonderful world of podcasts is still very much a game of have and have nots – especially for Black creatives.

Joe Budden’s exodus from Spotify highlights how Black creators are habitually devalued by media companies despite our tremendous influence and the profits we generate. So in order to balance the scales and create more equitable opportunities for talented Black podcasters, Charlamagne Tha God has revealed his plans to correct course.

On Wednesday, the polarizing radio host announced the launch of The Black Effect Podcast Network, which will provide much-needed perspectives on myriad topics that directly impact the Black community. From pop culture to social justice and mental health, The Black Effect Podcast Network seeks to educate, enlighten and entertain audiences while putting money and muscle behind some of the most influential Black voices of today.

iHeartMedia, the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher in the world, will partner with the Radio Hall of Fame inductee on this endeavor as part of a historic joint venture.

“Blackness has an immediate, culture-shifting effect on everything,” Charlamagne said in a statement provided to The Root. “Blackness controls the cool. Blackness is the culture, but Black Voices are not monolithic. The only way to appreciate the diversity of thought and experiences in Black culture is to build a platform for those voices to be heard. Unapologetically Black experiences, unapologetically Black thought, unapologetically Black ideas.

“The vision for The Black Effect is to amplify, elevate, and empower emerging and established talent. Our goal is to shift the narrative from Black creators signing transactional deals, to instead forming legacy partnerships that build generational wealth while allowing each creative to have an equitable stake in their future. As a long-time partner of iHeart, it’s an honor to make history with them.”

The roster for The Black Effect will feature some of the biggest names in entertainment, including N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s ubiquitous “Drink Champs,” Karlos Miller and DC Young Fly’s “The 85 South Show,” and Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s “All of the Smoke.”

Charlagmane’s own “The Breakfast Club,” which he co-hosts with DJ Envy and Angela Yee, will serve as the network’s flagship show.

Other noteworthy shows on the network include “Whoreable Decisions,” Tamika Mallory and Mysonne’s “Street Politicians” and Eboni K. Williams’ “Holding Court.” The network will also produce “exciting limited series podcasts in conjunction with various high wattage creators and talent, musical artists, actors, actresses, sports and literary superstars to support their upcoming films, music releases and related projects.”

In addition to iHeartMedia, The Black Effect Network will also be backed by PepsiCo Beverages and media communications agency OMD Worldwide.

“We knew we wanted to support this groundbreaking partnership as soon as Charlamagne and iHeart shared their vision for the network,” Katie Haniffy, PepsiCo Beverages Head of Media, said in a statement.

“This opportunity connects our brands to consumers through the newer trusted medium of podcasting, and more importantly, supports the overall PepsiCo strategic initiative to invest in Black communities and support diverse voices.”

It can’t be understated how much of a major power move this is for Black creators, and hopefully, it will serve as a catalyst for equitable changes throughout the rest of the podcast industry.

 (Jay Connor: Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast.)