“I Can’t Breathe”: George Floyd Protest Update Podcasts

George Floyd mural

Nine minutes does not seem like a lot of time, but for George Floyd, a Black man from Minneapolis, it was the difference between life and death, For Minnesota and many other cities around the U.S., the death of Mr. Floyd on May 25, 2020, marked the difference between peace and protest. Beginning in Minnesota on May 26th as peaceful marches and rallies by outraged supporters Black and white of the Black Lives Matters movement and others to speak out against a death regarded as murder, not an unfortunate casualty of law enforcement doing its job.

Later that day, the protests became violent as police cars and stores were set afire and stores looted and damaged. As the week progressed, both the peaceful protests and violent riots spread throughout the 50 states, withs incident in over 200 cities nationwide and abroad. As we walk into June, those protests show no sign of stopping.

If you want to know what’s happening, there are plenty of news sources that offer commentary and video of the event and the aftermath, but some of the most in-depth coverage of events and reactions to them occur through podcasts. Vurbl today presents some of the most insightful podcasts to help you become aware of what happened, keep you aware of ongoing developments, and make you think about what changes need to be made. These are the podcasts you should be listening to now to keep abreast of this unfolding social movement.

What Are The Facts?

First of all, what did happen? According to video complied by CNN from security cameras and bystanders videos, George Floyd was stopped for supposedly passing a counterfeit $20 at a convenience store. Three police officers accosted him and demanded that he show his hands; at least one officer had his gun pointed at him. The officers pulled Floyd from the car and walked him to their squad car. Floyd allegedly struggled with the officers and fell to the ground, as he said he could not breathe.

At this point, one officer held Floyd’s back and another his legs, as a third officer placed his left knee on Floyd’s neck. Despite the victim’s continuous screams of “I can’t breathe,” “Mama,” and “Please,” the officers retained their position. Horrified bystanders trying to encourage the police to stop, but the one officer stoically kept his knee firmly in place on Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes and 46 seconds, with 2 minutes and 53 seconds of them after Floyd stopped moving. The video of this incident is slow, painful, and difficult to watch. The nation is outraged, and chaos has ensued.

What Are the Best Sources for Ongoing Information?

First, we have The Daily Turnup. Hosted by M.R. Shannon, who releases episodes Monday through Friday. Shannon aims to get out as much news as he can in 10 minutes or less. This is a great and digestible way to catch up on what’s going on every day. He stays to the facts as much as possible, with some analysis. Most importantly, he asks important questions, such as what will make the protests die down? The arrest of all four officers (only one is in custody now)? Police reform? Boredom as time passes?

The New York Times gets involved in their own way with daily updates. Their podcast, The Daily, groups its contributions under the title “A Weekend of Pain and Protest.” Every day the podcast, which always breaks down news from the world, of course, focused on the protests. The podcast often includes on-the-ground coverage from NYT reporters stationed around the country to offer coverage of what’s happening coast-to-coast.

Other major news outlets are getting involved as well. It should be no surprise to see CNN on the front lines and in more than one way. First, they produce Reliable Sources which looks at the news from a journalist’s perspective. With so many journalists under attack by police who fired rubber bullets at, threw tear gas at, or arrested journalists recently, the podcast has had a lot to talk about.

CNN also hosts The Daily DC, which has been providing updates every day since the protests began. The podcast covers what’s going on in the nation’s capital, where protests have been continually growing. Of course, protestors aren’t the only actors in DC. CNN is happy to cover the many political aspects of what’s going on.

NPR is eager to get involved, as well. This podcast focuses less on daily updating, and more on political analysis. With the tensions boiling over on that side of the spectrum, The NPR Politics Podcast has had more than enough to discuss recently. This is some of the best analysis you’ll find on the internet.

Of course, NPR has a slight liberal lean. Many of the other podcasts we’ll discuss lean that way even further. Unsurprisingly, liberals aren’t the only people with something to say on the protests. Get Off My Lawn is a more conservative take and analysis, which will provide thoughts from the right on these protests.

It’s important to also get an idea of what Black voices are saying, as well. The Ringer has stepped up here, providing a Black perspective that is both human and analytical. Higher Learning has long been one of the most popular podcasts on their network. Their most recent episode is both thought-provoking and heart-wrenching.

Another Ringer podcast - The Bill Simmons Podcast - does not provide a Black voice. However, it does show just how far these protests reach. The podcast is usually about sports, mostly basketball. In light of recent events, they have stopped their usual chatter to provide social analysis. And they do so with wide-open hearts.

Deconstructed provides another important view - a non-American one. With protests breaking out in every corner of the world, this has become a global movement. Mehdi Hasan has been providing fantastic analysis for The Intercept_ for a long time and continues to do so through these dual pandemics.

These podcasts will help you tune into the George Floyd protests, and contextualize what’s going on. It’s a difficult time in American and all around the world, and it’s hard to know what’s happening. There are new developments every minute. If you need to slow down and catch up, this is how we suggest you do it.

Black Lives Matter.

More News and Politics…

9 Most Engaging Political Podcasts of 2020

My Fellow Americans! The 12 Best Presidential Campaign Podcasts

News & Politics Podcasts

About the author


Eric Turner is a writer and digital marketer with a lot of ideas and no clue. Eric is obsessed with storytelling in any and all of it's forms, from high literature to abstract art to pro wrestling. Eric has been featured in The Guardian and enjoys working with people from all around the globe.


Eric studied Business Administration at the SUNY University at Albany, with intentions to enter law school. When it became apparent that law school wasn't for him, Eric had to scramble and ended up here. Eric has yet to graduate after taking some time off but intends to return to SUNY Albany to finish his degree in 2020 (or maybe 2021, all things considered.)

Work History

Eric began his career in 2016 writing narrative non-fiction for Popularium, and grew from there into writing content for businesses. He's written for many companies on many subjects, and took those skills to a career in digital marketing. Eric was the community manager of Slant.co (now Lustre.AI) and marketing lead for app Mixtape. Eric continues to write, most relevantly about podcasts and other enticing audio for Vurbl.

Our Mission

We bring together the very best of online audio while providing audio creators a place to publish their voice, find a following, and earn money.

Have we reviewed your podcast yet? Submit for consideration at [email protected].

Social Media

Follow @getvurbl