Planned Parenthood Launches Self-Care Audio Series With Black and Latina Wellness Leaders
Black, Latina and nonbinary wellness experts offer affirmations, meditations and words of wisdom on mental and physical health issues to the women of those communities in "Tone," a new audio series from Planned Parenthood.
Streaming across Apple and Google podcast platforms, as well as Amazon Music, the project provides cultural understanding and empathy on a range of topics. In tracks running two-to-five minutes, "Tone" promotes empowerment and discovery, touching on race, class and gender in the context of personal well-being.
- Blair Imani: Educator, bestselling author and creator of #SmarterInSeconds
- Isis King: The first trans woman to compete on America's Next Top Model
- Steph Long: Refinery29/Unbothered deputy director and podcast host
- Jade Fox: Comedian, queer lifestyle content creator and YouTube personality
- Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu: Racial wellness expert and founder of e-learning platform Making the Body a Home
- Sasheer Zamata: Comedian, writer and women's rights advocate
- Brittany Lackey and Germani Manning: Hosts of the Black Girl Bravado podcast, seeking to build a stronger, more vibrant community for women of color
- Cheyanda Onuoha: Planned Parenthood health expert and sex educator
- Alexis McGill Johnson: President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Each track also features original music composed by Black, Latina and nonbinary artists. A second "Tone" volume will launch in coming months.
According to Planned Parenthood, the initiative "provides an accessible and welcoming safe space where the lived experiences of Black and brown women are understood, represented and reflected in its content." That's especially important given "the inaccessible and exclusionary state of the mainstream wellness world," the organization says.
Below, we dig deeper into "Tone," with its creators sharing their insights, goals and aspirations:
Muse: Why go the playlist route?
Shakyra Moore, senior creative, Virtue: We wanted to create a solution that would have a lasting impact on our audience, not just a fleeting 90-second film or traditional ad. It's a tangible tool that can help improve the quality of lives and expose many to new ways to care for their minds, bodies and communities.
In thinking of all the barriers to entering the wellness space that our audience faces, "Tone" was created to democratize self-care for those who need it most. Audio podcasts are one of the most accessible mediums out there—especially or people working second shifts, taking the bus home, or finding a little bit of quiet time wherever it makes sense in their lives. This is a free source of wellness. All you need to participate is a way to listen.
It reminds me a bit of Spotify's "Outside Voice." Was that a source of inspiration?
Stefanie Gómez, associate creative director, Virtue: Not really, but both seem to come from a similar root. We were inspired by the the tensions that Black women, Latinas and nonbinary folks face within self-care spaces. From working with Black and brown women and nonbinary composers to create our background music, to choosing talent that represents the many diverse identities of the community, we wanted our audience to truly feel seen in every element of "Tone."
When folks find this content, what do you want them to think or feel?
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood: There's an old saying that when white America catches a cold, Black folks get pneumonia. We know that stress hits differently for Black and Latino communities, especially in the past couple of years amid hardships like the Covid pandemic and relentless attacks on our bodies and our rights. We are saying to these communities: We see you—all of you. Not just you, the patient visiting our health centers, or caregiver you, or savior you. We see you trying to keep it together all the damn time. We see your Herculean efforts to be strong, to continue to protest police violence, and to show up at work, and for your families, and communities. And we want to affirm all of that and say, "Hey, sis. Don't forget to take care of you."
Is there a specific call to action? Do you want listeners to change their behavior or mindset?
Alexis McGill Johnson: "Tone" is a digital safe space—a space to find comfort through reflections on life, including practicing positive affirmations ... that you can adapt to your lifestyle. I'm not a sage-and-crystal kind of sister. So, I am living proof that "Tone" can jumpstart a new self-care routine, or support self-care practices you already have in place—taking a warm bath, journaling before bed, going for a run or walk, or just taking a break for yourself during the day.
Can you share some bits of wisdom or advice that really resonate for you?
Shakyra Moore: "Don't feel bad taking the time you need to get your mind right"—from "Wind Down" featuring Brittany Lackey and Germani Manning of the Black Girl Bravado podcast. Sometimes, self-care is just kicking it with your homegirls, sharing a conversation together, and letting them be there for you when you need support.
Stefanie Gómez: "I deserve to decide what my love looks like," from "I Deserve" featuring Isis King. This episode is one that I keep coming back to. Self-care can look so many different ways for Black and brown communities. Some people dance, others spend time listening to an aunt's stories. But in this track, we hear Isis examine self-care through a lens that's often seen as taboo. She shares empowering sex-positive affirmations. The way the music composed by Erica Lewis-Blunt feels like it's straight out of a '90s Black chick-flick adds another amazing layer to its message.
Ylonda Gault, senior director, brand editorial at Planned Parenthood: "Everything in my life must contribute to my joy. Anything that doesn't must go"—from "Shameless" featuring Cheyanda Onuoha. I felt this track with my entire being. We are not taught to think this way, and it seems selfish at first. But it is, I think, the simplest starting point for self-care. I'm a writer, and I know that nothing coherent or clear comes from chaos or clutter in your mind. Cheyanda speaks to the idea of prioritizing your joy. As a wife and mom, I can co-sign that as you get older you realize that everything you want, plan for, dream of—is borne out of that self-awareness and being happy with yourself. It reminds me of the famous Toni Morrison line from Song of Solomon that says, "If you wanna fly you gotta give up the shit that weighs you down." And Cheyanda really preaches on this track about claiming the right to feel good, spiritually, sexually. I just love it so.