Back Issue podcast

Back Issue

Pineapple Street Studios

Remember when Monica allegedly punched Brandy right before they performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards? When Freaknik took over Atlanta, and changed the game for parties everywhere? When tasteless critics panned Mariah Carey’s Glitter? (#JusticeforGlitter!) When Beyonce told Farrah that someone could send her luggage? We do!Back Issue tells the stories behind formative moments in pop culture. In each episode we look back at some of the moments that shook us, that changed us. Join Tracy Clayton (host of Netflix’s Strong Black Legends, Mailchimp’s Going Through It) and Pineapple Street Studios Senior Producer Josh Gwynn as they reckon with some of culture’s biggest questions, from "How did we let this happen?" to ‘Why do we still love this?" Because nostalgia is more than just a feeling. Got an issue you’d like us to investigate? Hit the Back Issue Hotline at (678)-74ISSUE.

31 Episodes

  • Back Issue podcast

    That Time We Literally Looked Back At It 🍑 (feat. ✊🏾 Nikki Giovanni, Nichole Perkins, and Savala Nolan)


    In our final episode of Season Two, we had to “end” it just right, by doing what we do best— looking back at it (aye!) — so we’re backing thangs up with a conversation on booty. That’s right: Tracy and Josh are investigating the history and trends around round, plump posteriors, butts, dumps and humps. They invite writer and podcaster Nichole Perkins to help define terminology around Black women and girls’ bodies and sexual agency. We learn from author, professor and speaker Savala Nolan, who teaches us about the body as a site for learning. Finally, we witness wisdom in action, as we hear from Civil Rights activist, educator, poet and writer Nikki Giovanni, who shares her own body journey and some affirmations that we could all live by. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time We Read U, Wrote U


    Racers, start your engines ‘cause this week’s maxi challenge is gonna leave you gagging (don’t worry; that’s a good thing). Josh and Tracy tackle the good, the bad, and the ooooh girl of RuPaul’s Drag Race, from favorite moments like Valentina’s prophetic mask and Trinity K. Bonet’s un-bey-lievable comeback, to concerning trends like how access to money and designers have become more important than talent on the show. And, because an episode about drag artists demands a sprinkle of EXTRA, Josh and Tracy are also debuting their own drag personas, Chaka Tom and Uncle Tracy. 💅💄💋 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time We Needed To 🗣GO LAY DOWN


    This week, we’re taking a moment to breathe, shoop shoop, and exhale. Tracy and Josh explore mental health with our favorite therapist, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast! With Dr. Joy’s guidance, our hosts tackle huge questions like: How do we take care of ourselves when it feels like The End Times™️? How do we bounce back from burnout? And how do we stop thinking of rest as something we need to earn? Grab your fluffiest pillow, ‘cause we’re all about to go lay down. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time Y’all Played Too Much


    It’s game night, so get your "Draw 4" cards ready 'cause it's about to go down! Josh and Tracy invite the very special and highly competitive hosts of the For Colored Nerds podcast, Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, to share their favorite game night memories, some game night horror stories, and play an original game Tracy invented called Aight Bet! Will they still be friends afterward? Gotta listen to find out! Then, Josh and Tracy talk to someone who makes games for a living, Teddy Philips, creator and developer of the mobile apps For the Culture and For La Cultura, who explains why game night is so vital to American Black culture, and why there’s a need for more games for us by us. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time Music Videos Made Us Want to Emote in the Rain


    Welcome to the Fifty-Eleventh Back Issue Video Music Awards! Join Josh and Tracy as they honor their favorite music videos of the ‘90s and 2000s in categories you might expect (Most Iconic Look in a Music Video) and some you absolutely won’t (Best Use of Water in a Music Video & Best Music Video Sponsored by Old Navy). Spoiler alert: our Blifetime (nope, that’s not a typo) Award goes to THEE Director X, who’s worked with pretty much everybody, including Usher, Aaliyah, DMX, and Drake. He helps answer the questions: what makes a great music video and what does the future hold for the medium? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    Introducing: 9/12


    How did 9/11 the day become 9/11 the idea? That question drives award-winning host Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Running From COPS, The Line) to shift his focus to what happened on 9/12, and every day after that. 9/12 is a poignant, surprising, and surprisingly funny seven episode series about people who wake up on 9/12 having to navigate a new, radically altered world. A teenager gets caught up in an out-of-control conspiracy theory that he helped start. A Pakistani business owner finds hundreds of his Brooklyn neighbors are disappearing. Joke-writers at The Onion must figure out just how soon is “too soon”? 9/12 asks what it all means. We know what happened on 9/11. But what happened on 9/12 to alter our memory and our perspective forever? Listen to 9/12: All seven episodes of 9/12 are available to stream now on Amazon Music or Wondery+. Episodes will release weekly everywhere starting September 8th. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time The Clownery Came Back To Bite 🤡


    Reality TV dating shows are a subgenre of “reality” that seem to get weirder by the year. Josh and Tracy have watched their fair share of trash reality TV but could never get into nor get the appeal of the most popular reality dating hell show franchise of all: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Why do shows like this exist and what keeps people coming back for 25 seasons straight? We’ll hear from Ali Barthwell, a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Vulture Magazine’s Bachelor recap columnist, as she breaks it all down for us, and maybe convinces our hosts to join the Bachelor Nation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time Aretha Asked Celine If She Knew Jesus


    Glamour. Sass. Unadulterated talent. What makes a diva? Podcast divas of the universe Tracy and Josh go deep in their diva bags and unpack the origins and evolution of divas as well as the politics around diva-dom. They invite Wayne Isaak, former Executive Vice President of Music Programming and Talent for VH1 and Co-Producer of VH1’s Divas Live ’98 and ’99 to explain all things diva, and he gives the tea on what really happened behind the scenes between the ultimate diva/divo acts like Tina Turner, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin. Is a diva still a female version of a hustler or has it been reinvented? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time We Sat There And Ate Our Food


    Grab your sporks and your doggy bags! This week, Josh and Tracy dig in and dig deep about their mutual love of food and its way of connecting people, places, and stories. Joining them is founder of Herb ‘N’ Cooking and Food Network's "Chopped" finalist Chef Mustapha Abdul-Rahiim. He breaks down food’s ability to socialize us and its inherent connection to memory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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    That Time We Did It For the '99s and '00s


    Music has a way of scoring life’s big and small moments, and this week, Josh and Tracy team up to create the ultimate mixtape that ushers in all the feels. They discuss their musical influences, test their knowledge on R&B and pop groups we thought we remembered, and maybe—just maybe, reveal that one of them is secretly a recording artist. Together, we are reminded why music makes us lose control, and why sometimes, that’s just what we need. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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