‘Blackberry Jams’ Podcast Explores Black Phish Fan Experience

Ben & Jerry’s and PRX will soon launch the podcast co-created and co-hosted by Lenny Duncan and Leslie Mac.

By Andy Kahn Aug 10, 2021 8:23 am PDT

Blackberry Jams, a new podcast exploring Black Phish fan experiences, will launch on August 31. Presented by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and public media organization PRX, Blackberry Jams will be co-hosted by co-creators Lenny Duncan and Leslie Mac.

Duncan and Mac are both longtime Phish fans. Mac, who saw her first Phish show in high school in 1993, comes to the podcast as communications director for The Frontline, digital organizer for Black Womxn For and founding chair of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board. Among her accolades are inclusion on “Essence” magazine’s list of 100 Woke Women and being named an Election All-Star by BET in 2020.

“As a well-known Black Woman organizer and strategist, so much of my life is on display –– my experiences as a Phan have been life-affirming and a self-care safe haven for me over the years,” said Mac. “I’m so excited to talk about the good, the great, and the ugly with my friend Lenny, who I’ve spent many hours dissecting everything from our favorite ‘Tweezer Reprise’ to which show venues are the most racist. Telling these stories will offer a peek into how music helps me cope with the difficulties of the world and my hopes for how this scene can change to meet the current moment.”

Duncan founded and was former pastor of Jubilee Collective and second vice president of the NAACP’s Vancouver, Washington branch. He is the author of several books, including United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope and Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S.

“The truth is that my life has been forever altered by this scene, it’s people, and of course the music.,” said Duncan. “When America abandoned a 13-year-old Black Queer boy to its streets, a Day-Glo bus filled circus-jam-packed with dreams of revolution rescued me. This scene, this band, and others like it, have been my North Star when all other stars have long since faded. The chance to talk about it from a Black Queer perspective with Leslie is the icing on the cake. Her power analysis, organizing credentials, and educational work in anti-racism is only topped by her real compassion for those she comes across. The Black Phan experience and Blackberry Jams are coming to a shakedown near you.”

Those with Black Phish fan show stories are invited to share them with Duncan and Mac by calling 888-PHAN-JAM (888-742-6526) and leaving a voicemail message. The 10-episode series will run weekly through Tuesday, November 2 on all major hosting platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

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