Getting through 2020 and Beyond: Brenna Clarke Gray

By Amplify Team Date: May 17, 2021 Tags: Podcasting

Looking back at our first year as a network, we asked some of our members to reflect on the podcasts that got them through the global pandemic, revolution-filled year that was 2020 and beyond. One of the many things podcasts do well is help us cope with the unpredictability and constant changes that life can throw our way, especially in a year like the one we just had. In this series, we ask: What podcasts are helping you get through? What podcasts are inspiring you? What are your all-time favorites? 

We hope each post will give you a glimpse into the individual team members that make up The Amplify Network. If you have a podcast that is helping you get through, share it with us at @AmplifyPodcasts on Twitter or send us an email, we’d love to hear from you. 

In our last Favorite Podcasts post, Amplify podcaster Daniel Heath Justice shared their favorite podcasts bringing hope and a critical ear to indigenous issues, music journalism, and the love of trees.

Next up, podcaster Brenna Clarke Gray sits down over Zoom with Amplify supervising producer Stacey Copeland to share the top four podcasts Brenna listens to time and time again.

Brenna Clarke Gray

So, I made a list of podcasts that are my “day one” listens. I have so many subscriptions, but these are the podcasts I listen to the day they are released. A big day one podcast for me is Ear Hustle. A podcast made by and about prisoners in the US prison system. I just find it fascinating to listen to hear these stories from this world that I do not have access to and to hear stories told with so much heart.

In a similar vein just in terms of exposing me to a world that I’m not part of is Crackdown. This podcast is about, by, and for drug users in the Downtown Eastside [Vancouver, Canada], particularly around the war on drugs. I wanted to talk about both Ear Hustle and Crackdown because I think of them both as scholarship. Crackdown is explicitly a SSHRC funded project, whereas Ear Hustle doesn’t define itself as scholarship but it’s new knowledge for most of the people listening and it’s done really rigorously. Both shows challenge pre-existing thinking and work toward a social justice mission – all things I think good scholarship can and should do.

My third podcast is one some would call a guilty pleasure [laughs]. The Scientology: Fair Game with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder. I am semi-obsessed with the idea of American religion as a concept, religions that are born in the US and exported around the world. Other podcasts on this topic I’ve been obsessed with are The Missionary and Heaven’s Gate. I also just find Leah Remini delightful to listen to. I really enjoy her.

Finally, one podcast that is done now but I’d like to give a shout out to is This is Not a Drake Podcast. This one really got me through some pandemic times. It is a CBC podcast about the music world, it’s not about Drake, but rather the music world that Drake came up in. It’s a really thoughtful history of that moment and I found it absolutely gripping to listen to. So yeah, those are my day one podcasts.

Bonus listen: After this conversation, Brenna started listening to CBC’s Life Jolt, about the experiences of incarcerated women in Canada, and she recommends it alongside Ear Hustle.

Keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned in the months to come for more Favorite Podcasts posts from the Amplify Podcast Network.