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Phoebe Robinson’s New Podcast Puts Women and People of Color in the Spotlight

Refinery29 Unveils Power-Focused Video Slate At 2016 NewFrontsRefinery29 Unveils Power-Focused Video Slate At 2016 NewFronts
Phoebe Robinson presents Refinery29's power-focused video slate at NewFronts on May 02, 2016 in New York, New York.Photograph by Cindy Ord—Getty Images for Refinery 29

Phoebe Robinson has a way of making people feel at ease.

Watching her on stage in Brooklyn during a taping of her podcast, WNYC Studios’ 2 Dope Queens, feels like being at the dinner party of an old friend. You know, the one that manages to get you to confide your most embarrassing high school moment—and you don’t even mind when she guffaws with laughter and promises to tell the story to all of your mutual friends.

“You look very boob-ular tonight,” she jokingly compliments Dulce Sloan, one of the guest comedians on the show, who wonders out loud if listeners can hear her chest on the radio.

Robinson uses her talent for getting others to open up to shine a light what mainstream media might otherwise miss. In 2 Dope Queens, which Robinson began co-hosting with former Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams earlier this year, listeners were introduced to comedians who don’t fit the typical white-guy mold: women, African Americans, Muslims, LGBTQ individuals.

 

“There are just so many different people that aren’t highlighted enough,” Robinson says in an interview with Fortune. “And we started thinking, ‘What if it wasn’t just stand-up based?'”

Robinson explores that idea in her new solo show, Sooo Many White Guys. Launched this week, the show is an interview series, featuring performers, musicians, authors and artists who are “killing it in their fields.” There is one other requirement: They cannot be white men. Guests include Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Lizzo (who Robinson is “in love” with), trans-rights activist Janet Mock, and Broad City‘s Ilana Glazer, who is also an executive producer of the podcast.

“When I like someone, I just become obsessed with them,” says Robinson, and listening to her talk about her collaborators, you call tell that’s not an exaggeration. She calls actress Nia Long “disturbingly beautiful” and becomes a “total fan girl” when she talks about comedian and director Jill Soloway, with whom she is currently working on a new Amazon pilot called I Love Dick, based on Chris Kraus’ 1997 novel. “It’s crazy to be in the same room with her,” says Robinson.

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Though many of Robinson’s projects focus on highlighting other people—she also has a video series on Refinery29 called “Woke Bae” where she spotlights attractive, socially conscious men—her own profile is also on the rise.

In addition to her multiple podcasts and stand-up appearances on shows like Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Late Night with Carson Daly, Robinson is increasingly getting attention as a writer. Her site, Blaria—short for “black Daria,” a reference to the 90s MTV show Dariahas developed a small, but fiercely loyal following, and her first book, You Can’t Touch My Hair, will be released in October. The book is a collection of essays on race, gender, and pop culture, with titles that include “How to Avoid Being the Black Friend” and “Dear Future Female President: My List of Demands.”

Of course, that kind of resume don’t just happen overnight. “I used to cry so much,” she says of the “exhausting” five-year period during which she worked as an administrative assistant while doing stand-up shows in the evenings.

“It’s crazy that I did that, but it’s what I need to do,” she says. “It was worth it.”