Buzzfeed’s “Thirst Aid Kit” is a joyful, full-bodied blush of a podcast dedicated to unabashed lust. Hosted and produced by Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins, each episode features one (or a few!) man that inspires the podcasters’ thirst. Mahershala Ali, Michael B. Jordan and Tom Hardy are just a few of the men who’ve been featured. And because of the insight, humor and pre-show preparation, listeners are treated to hilarious conversations between two friends who break down why these men are irresistible.
The thirst subjects themselves are magnificent, but what I enjoy most are the voices of the hostesses. Adewunmi, a British Nigerian, and Perkins, a Tennessee native, have PhDs in humor and thirst. Each episode is reminiscent of calling your girlfriend for a chat where you’re guaranteed to laugh so hard you’ll lose your breath. Listening to two black women speak openly about sex, lust and the qualities they find attractive is refreshing.
I grew up during the wave of must-see Black television in the early 1990s. “Living Single” and “New York Undercover” featured Black and brown people living, loving, and laughing together. When I hit my teenage years during the early 2000s, however, music videos often featured lighter skinned Black women with “good hair.” Television and film studios were intentionally against creating films with predominantly Black or brown casts.
The relationship between Black women and the media has long been complicated. So much of the media we consume is catered to the white gaze, and often, when we see Black girls and women exploring their sexuality, it is distorted by white supremacy. Shows that featured mainly white casts, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Felicity,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Friends” dominated. On my TV, white girls and women have explored their sexuality and waded through sordid love affairs. Sexually autonomous fictional characters like Blanche Devereaux from “The Golden Girls” and Samantha Jones from “Sex and the City” didn’t come in shades of Black.
For decades, Black women have been erased from any media that seriously explored their sexuality, wants and desires. Only in recent years have we seen these important themes and rites of passage explored with any regularity in shows like “Insecure” and “She’s Gotta Have It,” which is why content like “Thirst Aid Kit” is so important. Adewunmi and Perkins are two Black women who make no apologies about who they find attractive. In two seasons, they have discussed sexy and talented men all while bringing attention to the fact that media has regularly force-fed us white men and influenced much of what, and who we find attractive.
“Thirst Aid Kit” offers the intimacy of girlfriend conversations and reminds its listeners that men of color are only just now being seriously considered as romantic leads. While media gatekeepers have largely ignored Black women’s sexuality, Adewunmi and Perkins are making sure we see and hear each other.
Stay thirsty, my friends.