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Mic drop: Podcasts highlight Latino, black and LGBT voices in North Texas

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Tyler Hicks, For Guidelive.com

Halfway through the taping, the hosts begin to turn on one another.

The talents behind De Colores Radio, Don't Do BS Radio and Cabronas y Chingonas are recording a pop-up podcast together, and they have spent the last 30 minutes applauding the work done by all of the women (and one man, excluding this writer) in the room.

But there is one issue that threatens to splinter the harmony.

The issue, of course, is the debate over the greatest rapper alive.

"We all know who it is," Rafael Tamayo of De Colores Radio says, throwing up Jay-Z's hand sign.

"Of course. It's Kendrick Lamar," responds Cynthia Garcia, co-host of Cabronas y Chingonas.

The room descends into chaos, with members of all three podcasts hurling hip-hop hot takes across the recording studio in a rare moment of discord. It will be several minutes before the conversation turns calm again, and the seven podcasters return their focus to the central topic at hand: giving representation to the people and communities that have never had it.

De Colores Radio, Don't Do BS Radio and Cabronas y Chingonas are gathered with Dallas Morning News entertainment writer Dawn Burkes for a special episode of her pop-culture podcast From the Hip. The hosts discussed their shows' origins, their aspirations and LL Cool J, among other things. While the shows are different in content and style, they all hope to leverage their podcasts to create change.

Podcaster Cynthia Garcia with "Chingonas y Cabronas," which is available on iTunes.DMN
Podcaster Cynthia Garcia with "Chingonas y Cabronas," which is available on iTunes.
DMN

"We've never seen women of color represented like this, or at all," Garcia says.

Garcia and co-host Stephanie Sosa created Cabronas y Chingonas to dissect and discuss television's representation — or lack thereof — of women of color and those who identify as LGBTQ. The pair grew up searching for themselves in media, and now focus their attention on what today's shows get right, but mostly wrong.

Likewise, De Colores Radio delves into pop culture while celebrating the diverse creators in the Dallas area. Tamayo and sisters Eva and Pat Arreguin host the podcast, which has welcomed musicians, poets and young "dreamers" onto the show to discuss their work and the issues plaguing the local community.

"We didn't have a space, and no one was giving us one, so we had to create our own," Arreguin says.

That space extends far beyond the podcast. De Colores also presents art shows, film screenings and live recordings to engage their audience and the community.

Don't Do BS Radio takes a similar approach. The show is created and produced by four black women. All of its episodes are recorded live. The hosts throw in music and religion, politics, pop culture and everything in between.

Local podcasters Rafael Tamayo and Eva Arreguin with "De Colores Radio."DMN
Local podcasters Rafael Tamayo and Eva Arreguin with "De Colores Radio."
DMN

All three shows tackle conversations head-on, often with biting humor.

"When we have fun with it, it makes discussing these problems a little less difficult," Brandie Crank says. Crank, also known as DJ BLoveIt, is one-fourth of Don't Do BS Radio. She hopes that their show dispels the notion that all women of color think the same.

"Anyone who listens to our show is going to hear four different opinions about something, and it's up to you to decide which you vibe with," she says. "The only guarantee is that it'll be real, because the show is called Don't Do BS for a reason."

The other shows share a similar position: Embracing differences and having the hard conversations is the only way to create positive change.

"But what does change look like?" Burkes asks as the pop-up episode nears its end. "Is the fact that you have these shows proof that you've reached your goals?"

"Yes and yes," Tamayo answers. "It's great that we have these shows and are having these conversations, but there's so much more we can do for our communities."

At that, the room descends into a different kind of chaos.

The three shows talk collaborations, co-hosted events and projects that will benefit marginalized groups across Dallas. Gone is the playful vitriol during the debate about the greatest rapper alive. Now, the room is full of nothing but love and impassioned conversation about the medium of podcasting and the possibilities it brings to Dallas.

Each group has ideas of its own about where to go from here, but everyone agrees with DJ BLoveIt: "If we all work together, we can make something truly special happen."

Listen to the entire discussion here, and follow De Colores Radio, Don't Do BS Radio, Chingonas y Cabronas and From the Hip on the shows' channels and websites. Listen on iTunes or Audioboom.

TYLER HICKS is a freelance writer based in Dallas.

FEATURED IMAGE: From left, Keisha Blocker with "Don't Do BS Radio," Cynthia Garcia with "Chingonas y Cabronas" and Brandie Crank, also with "Don't Do BS," introduce themselves during a recording of a podcast in The Dallas Morning News' podcast studio on Nov. 9. (Ron Baselice/DMN)