THE BIG STORY

They’ve Got a Read on Black Culture

Tap to meet the hilarious hosts of pop podcast The Read.

On a cold January evening in a midtown Manhattan recording studio, Kid Fury and Crissle, the Beyoncé-obsessed hosts of the irreverent culture podcast The Read, are extremely on brand. Her shirt says “FLAWLESS.” His neon green hoodie: “HOLIDAYONCÉ.”

Fury is on his laptop, Crissle on her phone. They’re about to spend hours bantering on the most pressing topics of the week for their podcast, which simultaneously celebrates and skewers black celebrity culture, devouring all things that take place on the internet, IRL, and in the hosts’ personal lives.

The Read, which is available in the Apple Podcasts app, is unrivaled in its comedic prowess, honesty, transparency, and willingness to say what many are too scared to say. The cohosts come off as two great friends who feel like your two great friends.

We feel very protective of young gay people, trans people, just because we both know what it’s like to grow up in that community.

—Kid Fury

“I take it seriously as work,” Fury says. “But I haven’t really taken it that seriously.”

After getting to know each other on Twitter, in 2011 Crissle and Kid Fury met in person at a party on New Year’s Eve in Atlanta. Having two traits in common—being both black and funny—the pair immediately hit it off.

But they were worlds away. Crissle worked in Oklahoma, and Fury was building his social media presence in Miami. Both felt the urge to do something different.

“We were kind of over the mundane existence that we were living in our hometowns,” Fury says.

In 2012, the two budding entertainers both moved to New York to start over. Chris Morrow, CEO of podcasting company the Loud Speaker Network, approached Kid Fury about doing a podcast—Fury agreed, as long as Crissle could do it with him. Months later, The Read was born.

“There was no plan, because I didn’t know anything about podcasts,” Fury says.

“We just went in the studio and started talking about stuff,” Crissle says.

Even after almost six years, they still crack each other up. That humor permeates the numerous tangents the show takes.

Like a segment called “Black Excellence,” where Fury nominates someone in the African American community to celebrate—such as director Ava DuVernay when she received her massive $100 million deal with Warner Bros.

We just went into the studio and started talking about stuff.

—Crissle

Or “Crissle’s Couch,” where Crissle responds to listeners’ letters (often dishing out relationship advice), muses on topics that have come up in her therapy sessions, and discusses the most important issues of the week (from national news to social media drama).

And then there’s “The Read,” where the hosts offer hilariously harsh opinions on a person or subject. No one is off-limits (except Beyoncé and her offspring). Homophobes, racists, and misogynists are especially put on notice.

“We feel very protective of young gay people, trans people, just because we both know what it’s like to grow up in that community and how easy it is to feel discarded, depressed, unimportant, and excluded,” Fury says.

Kid Fury (left) and Crissle are among the first generation of entertainers who made their names with a podcast, rather than breaking in with another medium.

“And so I feel it’s very important to combat a lot of the ignorances behind that, as well as the patriarchy and misogyny—because so many women are dealing with guys that don’t put forth any effort, that are disrespectful or abusive.”

Fury and Crissle spend so much time mocking men behaving badly that they’ve developed a catchphrase: “Break up with him.” They say it often enough that they’ve actually emblazoned it on a crewneck sweatshirt and sold the garment online.

Not surprisingly, it’s since sold out.

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