It’s been a year in the making, but finally, Speakeasy with Denene is here! It’s a fitting week for the release of the first episode, entitled LOVE; I celebrated my 51st birthday on Monday, and what could be a m ore perfect gift than sharing with you this passion, this magic, this love we poured into my new podcast?

I adore the LOVE episode not just because it was the first we conceived and recorded, but also because we created it during a vulnerable, introspective moment in my life, not long after I left my then more-than-two-decades-long marriage. I was thinking a lot about, well, love and dating and where I fit into it all after almost a quarter century of being off the market. (Damn. A quarter century. That kinda makes me feel a little, um, extra seasoned. But we like well-seasoned food, don’t we? Be clear, it makes for the best meals.)

I digress.

Me and the homies, Joyce (center) and Ida (right), talking smack and eating that good good gumbo.

To kick off the first episode of Speakeasy with Denene, I invited two of my besties, Ida and Joyce, to do what we do: eat good food and laugh heartily and talk stuff. The three of us are single Black women in Atlanta, which comes with, let’s just say, certain challenges. Namely, we outnumber men by some ridiculous number that can make meeting and truly connecting with the kind of men we want feel like it’s way more of a challenge than it needs to be.

That’s just one obvious aspect of the subject, but I wanted this episode to explore all the manifestations of love in the black community, including how love shows up in trying situations, like in the case of social injustice. I invited my friend Tayari Jones, author of the bestselling, award-winning novel, “An American Marriage,” to dig deep into that discussion, using the premise of her book to kick off the exploration. If you haven’t read it, get to it: it’s about a young couple married for just over a year when the husband is accused of raping a white woman and sentenced to 12 years in prison. I wanted to know why Tayari chose to tell that story, why she made the choices she made in the storytelling, and what her premise says about love in the era of inequities in the judicial and criminal justice system and high-profile cases, like the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

How does Avery*Sunshine write all those pretty love songs in a musical age when every song seems to be about getting money and getting naked? She tells me on my new podcast, #SpeakeasyWithDenene. Listen here. Click To Tweet

Finally, to round off what I think are fascinating conversations, I invited one of my fav singers and songwriters to Speakeasy with Denene to talk about what it takes to write a love song when so much of the music these days is all about the hit it and quit it. Avery*Sunshine knows her way around a love song, okay? And her voice? HER. VOICE. It mesmerizes, ya’ll. I so enjoyed listening to her talk about her love, her passion, her music and her gift, and I’m especially pleased to share some of my fav songs by her with you in the segment. I just know you’ll love it.

To celebrate the episode, I curated a list of 35 of my fav loves songs—songs about good love, self-love, longing love, romantic love, agape love. You’ll want to follow the playlist, as I will likely add on to it as the mood hits. The mood always hits.

Of course, that we’re kicking off the podcast with the word LOVE is purposeful. Speakeasy with Denene is truly a gift from my heart to the topic that has, and always will be, near and dear to my heart: blackness. It is what I love. It is who I love. It is how I love. Black and strong and sweet and everlasting. I hope you feel that in every word you’ll be listening to when you press play. LISTEN TO SPEAKEASY WITH DENENE HERE.

If you haven’t subscribed, now’s a good time. I don’t want you to miss out on all this fabulousness. Seriously. Get to it. It’s free. And it’s dope. And available on all podcast platforms, including Stitcher, Spotify, Apple Music and so many more. What more could you ask for?! You can also subscribe on

Until the next Speakeasy, be easy.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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