Gia Peppers is what you call a woman of many talents and has effortlessly found a way to create a table for herself in all sorts of mediums throughout the entertainment industry. The on-air talent, entertainment journalist, and podcast host hailing from Washington D.C. has been a knowledgeable source for things that relate to and affect the culture through the lens of a millennial Black woman.
She's had the opportunity to take up space in mainstream media outlets, appearing as a contributor on shows such as The Today Show and Entertainment Tonight, as well as a co-host of the wildly popular podcast, Black Girl Podcast.
Her gracious journey from interning in radio to helming her own creative projects has made way for her latest venture, More Than That with Gia Peppers. The 20-minute podcast is a sonic journey through the qualms of Black America that investigates a myriad of challenges our communities face, one candid conversation at a time. With a thirst for telling our stories openly and honestly, Peppers has paved a one-of-a-kind path for herself in this industry that's allowed her to not only open doors for herself but for others just like her.
21Ninety had a chance to speak with the young media maven recently about her exceptional career path, where she discussed representing for Black women in media, her newest podcast, and how impactful the show has been on her life so far.
Njera Perkins: So much is happening in the world right now. I have to ask how you are really doing. And how are you taking care of yourself at this time?
Gia Peppers: Thank you for asking that. The last ten days have been so traumatic, obviously. We had five little minutes of relief and then to find out, in the most gut-wrenching way, that a 16-year-old girl [Ma'Khia Bryant] was taken from us the day of the George Floyd trial where Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all counts. The trauma and the never-ending anxiety of being a Black person in this country is so real. I've been doing a lot of logging off, binge-watching shows that make me happy, and listening to music that reminds me of my faith.
NP: You're having a real full-circle moment right now. You started in radio as an intern, and now you're hosting your very own podcast.
GP: Yeah, that's where my career officially began. My internship was in radio, so it was a full-circle moment with my show More Than That. It's a podcast and radio show. We have really awesome conversations about the many experiences of Blackness. But also, the intention of the show is for Black folks to be well in every aspect that we can.
I think the most realistic part of 2020, especially with the racial reckoning we experienced in this country, there were a lot of conversations that were trending that talked about our wellness and aspects of our life that we couldn't prove. Things that we all acted like we knew about, but we surely didn't know. So we had those conversations that started especially out of how do Black folks maneuver in this country from a space of well and good, joy, growth, family, and creativity. This show was almost like a college course of learnings and things I never even thought about. My hope is that people listen to [the show] and think about things differently in a way that gets them closer to wellness in whatever space they need to be better in – especially us, Black women.
NP: I believe I listened to the latest episode, and you talked about Black maternal health?
GP: I learned so much from that episode. We talked to three Black doctors who are the founders of [The Institute for Antiracism], but they basically started an entire group to hold up a mirror to all of the biases continuously shown and the systemic racism in our healthcare system. The Black maternal mortality rate is so different from every other group of women on this planet because this bias is ingrained within our systems that Black women do not feel pain and are not human. That is so disgusting. That episode was life-changing for me because they talked about the importance of having a doula and someone there with you should things go awry. We are really in the most vulnerable moments we'll ever be in when we are pushing out life while trying to hold onto our own. So we need to have these conversations for our wellness and that connectivity to know that you're not alone in anything you go through.
NP: These things often happen, just as you said in the episode. Serena Williams said the same thing like, 'I'm in pain,' but nobody listened. Those things are too common.
GP: Yes, like, can racism just take a break somewhere!? I can't even have a baby without racism? That is crazy to me. We all know it, and we all feel it, but that should not be the case. The more we have these conversations, we are preaching to the choir in many ways because these are played in mostly Black circles. But the thing is, Black women need to hear this, so when we go into these spaces, and our doctors might not be Black, we know and have the necessary tools to ensure that we and the baby come out healthy.
I love what those three Black doctors are doing at the institute and bringing it to the doctors who are not Black to make sure they see us. But we also need everybody to know what's up to move forward in a way that makes us better and keeps us alive.
NP: How are you personally fighting for more representation for Black women in media and making space for others?
GP: I'm very selective about the jobs I take on and the career choices that I make. A lot of the spaces I work in are funded by or run by Black people. I've worked with BET, ESSENCE, Color of Change, REVOLT, and many [other] Black-owned media conglomerates because I don't have to explain why I don't have too much energy today because I saw another hashtag.
In that same vein, when I do get opportunities with more mainstream platforms, of course, it's something I've always wanted. As a journalist, you don't grow up and think I just want to do one thing; you want to do as much as you can. So I've loved working in spaces where Blackness is the most important experience, and then I've also loved working in spaces where I've put on for Black folks even harder because I know it's not what everybody's talking about. It's about making space for people to be seen, affirmed, and heard.
NP: What's one piece of advice you can offer other young, aspiring women who wish to follow in your same career path?
GP: The biggest piece of advice I would give to any journalist, multi-hyphenate creative, or Black woman who wants to take up space in this crazy industry is to figure out your why early on and write it down in a place that will never leave you. Also, believe in yourself because no one will sell you like you.