“Ear Hustle,” is a podcast that talks about the daily realities of life inside prison shared by real inmates living within the prison system. Prison life has always been a popular and interesting genre for movies and TV Shows. Some examples are the movies “The Shawshank Redemption (1994),” “Shot Caller (2017),” or TV shows like “Prison Break (2005),” and “Orange Is the New Black (2013).” I’ve actually seen all these movies and TV shows, which were super entertaining, but the fact is that it’s made that way to keep viewers interested. “Ear Hustle” takes away theses overly dramatizes story plots that are seen in most moves and TV shows and tells the true stories and problems that most regular inmates face while serving their time.
This podcast was co-founded by Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams, who have partnered up with Nigel Poor. Poor is a Bay Area visual artist who works with incarcerated men in San Quentin State Prison, she is the co-host and co-producer of “Ear Hustle.” Earlonne Woods has since been released from San Quentin State Prison after serving 21 years of his 31-years-to-life sentence for attempted second-degree robbery in 1997, he is the co-host and co-producer of “Ear Hustle.” Antwan Williams is currently still serving a 15-year sentence for armed robbery with a gun enhancement, and he is the sound designer of “Ear Hustle”
The format of this podcast is a combination of conversation, interviews, storytelling, and education. The co-hosts will introduce a topic that may seem pretty normal or basic to most people, but for people in prison, it’s serious. For example, in episode 1, they talk about finding the right cellmate to share your space with. Although this may seem boring, the podcast does a great job of illustrating the reality of being an inmate where your room is the size of a closet and you’re supposed to share that with a second person. Furthermore, other inmates are brought and interviewed on the show, where they are given the opportunity to share their story, experience, the reality of their situation and how their life got them there.
Many of the stories that the inmates speak of are serious and they are not acting like in the movies or TV shows. Some of these people know what it’s like to kill or physically harm someone close to death, and they have to deal with those memories every day. Although these people share a serious past filled with violence and crime, the podcast now shows them in a time where they can talk about it and how far they have come through reflection and reform. The podcast even sometimes gives the overall genre of prison life a lighter tone because even the inmates know you can’t do anything but laugh sometimes at the reality of dealing with prison life.
I believe the audience of this podcast can be those who are just coming out of prison and reforming back into society. This subject is something they know, and it can be comforting to hear that other people have gone through those experience as well. Also, it can be for fans of the prison genre who are curious and looking for a new realistic take on what it means to go to prison without actually going to prison. In addition, it can be for people who have family or loved ones in prison and are looking for a way to understand and connect with them more, without overstepping or overwhelming the person in prison with a thousand questions.
The podcast is called “Ear Hustle,” because just like in any community knowing the news, drama, or trends that are going on within your community is important. In prison, this is especially important because it can help you find opportunities, regardless if they are positive or negative ones, and avoid any unwanted trouble that might find your way.