‘Ear Hustle’ Podcast Imparts Unfiltered Tales Of Prison Life

By OBSERVER Newsroom

Ear Hustle: Enters the Chat with Sacramento Public Library

Eavesdropping. Getting the tea. Listening in on other people’s conversations. That’s what “ear hustling” means. People incarcerated at San Quentin borrow the term for their popular podcast. Launched in 2017, “Ear Hustle” allows listeners to hear about what’s going on inside San Quentin, the state’s largest prison, straight from the source: those living that reality. The award-winning podcast was co-founded by Bay Area artist Nigel Poor, Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams while the latter two were incarcerated. It was the first podcast created and produced in prison that shared daily experiences. With more than 70 million downloads, “Ear Hustle” is one of the most popular podcasts in history and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020. Woods and Williams since have been released and the podcast has expanded to also share post-incarceration stories.

In May, Woods and Poor were guest speakers at the Sacramento Public Library’s new “Enters the Chat” discussion series. View video of their talk on YouTube.

Over the coming weeks, “Inside Out” will highlight the experiences of formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, look at efforts to improve local jail and prison facilities, and share the perspectives of Black correctional staffers and attorneys who work on change from within and activists who have dedicated their lives to shining a light on the inequities of the criminal justice system.