Audible’s Black History Month Slate Includes Originals Featuring Queen Latifah, Tessa Thompson And More

Audible has announced their slate of original content featuring Black voices just in time for Black History Month, Blavity can exclusively report.

Audible’s slate of Audible Originals is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to uplifting Black creatives and to their Hear My Story Initiative. The stars attached to the projects include names like Tessa Thompson, Queen Latifah, Kevin Hart, John Legend, Charlamagne tha God and culinary group Ghetto Gastro, author Brit Bennett and chef Marcus Samuelsson, among others.

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“Meant to inspire dialogue and foster thought across genres, these titles represent the best of what Audible Original content can accomplish, elevating marginalized voices and creating a vibrant space for Black storytelling,” stated Audible. “Joining Queen Latifah, Brit Bennett and Ghetto Gastro are works by bestselling author Kennedy Ryan and from Orion Pictures’ critically acclaimed film TILL, all lending their contributions to the myriad of genres (memoirs, documentaries, fiction, romance, sports, and more) available on Audible.”

Part of the Audible Original slate featuring Black creatives includes the latest projects under the Words + Music series including John Legend’s Living Legend, Brandy’s A New Moon, Hart and Charlamagne’s Summer of ’85, Samuelsson’s A Seat at the Table, and Chad Sanders’ Direct Deposit.

Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios, said: “This new slate exemplifies Audible’s commitment to Black creators and listening audiences. We’re deeply invested in being an entertainment company that can offer multicultural storytelling across genres – this February, listeners can find a nourishing food podcast with established and acclaimed culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, an uplifting listen about community activism with Queen Latifah, and an immersive short story from one of the most acclaimed fiction writers today, Brit Bennett, performed by the brilliant Tessa Thompson.”

Other projects include the following:

Unity in the Community (debuting Feb. 2, 2023)

“Written by Eric Wiener and Tanayi Seabrook, Performed by Queen Latifah–Sometimes it only takes one person to decide they want to see change for that change to happen. Join Queen Latifah for Unity in the Community, a celebration of unsung heroes with the passion and the drive to fight for a more equitable existence. This inspiring series features seven stories of struggle and triumph that lift us up, nourish our souls, and fill us with hope for the future. These are real stories about real people solving real problems in their communities. We meet changemakers like Jesusa Rivera, a caseworker committed to helping farm workers find education and job training, and Rashida Govan, who founded Project Butterfly to help Black girls become the most empowered versions of themselves. There’s also Miya Iwataki, relentless in her resolve to preserve and protect Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. In an era filled with negative news, Unity in the Community is a bright light and a welcome remedy—a heartfelt series with humanity and kindness at its core that encourages all of us to be the change we want to see…because we know when we do good, we all do great.”

In the Cut with Ghetto Gastro (releasing Feb. 2, 2023)

“Created and performed by Ghetto Gastro, in collaboration with Gunpowder & Sky–Street-to-table is the only way to break bread on the block. It’s nourishment through the food, the flavor, the vibes—if it ain’t fresh, it ain’t served up. Join in on a trip down the sidewalks of the Bronx with culinary collective Ghetto Gastro for In The Cut, a gastronomical deep dive into the dishes and cultures that shape the New York foodscape. From “Chopped Stease” and hood Chinese to “Twerk n Jerk” and mofongo, Ghetto Gastro takes us through the origins and legacy of the borough’s food culture. From restaurants to bodegas, each episode explores an iconic dish through unfiltered conversations with tastemakers, cultural experts, and neighborhood icons like Questlove and Black Thought, Von Diaz and A$AP Ferg. After choppin’ it up on the block with guests, they take their recipes back into the kitchen to lead listeners in a hands-on cooking demo with their signature spin. So grab a plate, take a seat and get your ears ready to feast—with Ghetto Gastro everybody eats. Ghetto Gastro is the Bronx-born culinary collective from Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker. The group has notably defined its own lane, merging food, fashion, music, art, and design. Claiming both the beauty and grit from the streets with the aspiration and aesthetics of the finer things, Ghetto Gastro’s interdisciplinary approach celebrates the Bronx as a driver of global culture. The crew masterfully blends influences from the African diaspora, Global South ingredients, and the pulse of hip hop to create offerings that address race, identity, and economic empowerment.”

Some People Have Real Problems (debuting Feb. 2, 2023)

“Written by Brit Bennett, performed by Tessa Thompson–Ever wonder what it would be like to have chosen a different life path? In these moments, looking back may be the best way forward. Some People Have Real Problems, written by Brit Bennett, the New York Times best-selling author of The Vanishing Half and performed by Tessa Thompson, is a darkly funny short story about one woman’s reflections on the routes she’s taken through life and the detours she’s made along the way. Doubts and guilt swirl through her mind as she rides the train to her fertility appointment. Each stop stirs up introspective thoughts on her marriage, the loss of her baby, and the lover who got away—contemplations that push her ever closer to wondering if she’s made the right decisions. This masterful tale is an intrinsically relatable, courageous journey of self-reflection. It reminds us that while life may not always go as planned, we all possess the strength to move ahead.”

Till Today (debuting Feb. 16, 2023)

“Created by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios, Orion Pictures, Audible Studios, performed by April Ryan–Four new episodes of Till Today, the standalone, Audible Original five-part audio series hosted by White House correspondent and journalist April Ryan, release on February 16, 2023. “Till Today” examines Orion Pictures’ critically acclaimed film TILL, which tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son Emmett Till who was lynched in 1955 while visiting his cousins in Mississippi. The audio series explores how Mamie’s work has continued to influence us, with Ryan guiding listeners through what’s changed, what hasn’t, and what we can learn from our collective past. Featured guests include attorney Ben Crump; #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke; renowned actor, co-star and producer of TILL, Whoopi Goldberg; the film’s lead actress who beautifully plays Mamie, Danielle Deadwyler and many more. Upcoming themes explore activism, what justice looks like, the significance of Mamie’s work, safe spaces and more.”

Coming Home (debuting Feb. 9, 2023)

“Written by Kennedy Ryan, performed by Wesleigh Siobhan and Jakobi Diem. Created in collaboration with Frolic Media–Toureì Wallace and Niomi Spencer were close friends at Finley College, the prestigious HBCU they attended. The attraction that simmered between them every semester was a question they never got to ask or answer before soaring ambitions launched them to opposite corners of the world. Both chased their dreams of grit and glamor as high- profile journalists. They got it all… except a shot at being more than friends. Years later, Toureì is an award-winning investigative journalist and Niomi is America’s most popular morning show host, but they both feel like something’s missing. When their alma mater recruits its most famous alums for an interview during homecoming, every look, every touch is electric. The air hums with what could have been, and they’re tempted by what they could have right now, if only for one weekend. Have they traveled the world, chasing something special, when all it took was coming home? Featuring the musical stylings of Southern University’s marching band, “Human Jukebox.”
A RITA and Audie Award winner, USA Today bestselling author Kennedy Ryan writes for women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Kennedy and her writings have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, TIME, and O magazine.”