Sometimes you’re destined for greatness from the very start.
Taking a glimpse into Gia Peppers’ past, it appears her story was pre-written. Her father introduced Peppers to the newsroom at just two months old and told his NPR coworkers she would become a broadcast journalist one day. Thanks to the combination of faith and hustle, she exceeded his expectations.
Although she’s “most known for her work as a contributor” on NBC’s “TODAY” show, the award-winning journalist, digital content creator, and on-air host has also been on the podcast scene with “Black Girl Podcast” and has a nationally syndicated series called “More Than That with Gia Peppers.”
And, it appears as though it’s only the beginning.
Peppers understands the power and beauty which lies in the world of storytelling and it blossomed throughout her upbringing in the Washington, D.C. area. Peppers’ mother was a Howard University alum, who went on to become a dentist and she had aunts who were doctors and lawyers. Therefore, “Black excellence was not only mandatory but it was the norm.” Exposure to all facets of the Black experience from love and pain to joy shaped Peppers’ vision and she realized journalism could be a stepping stone for telling stories for those who are underrepresented.
“I learned early on that Blackness and Black life is beautiful no matter where you are on your journey, no matter what socioeconomic level you’re at, people deserve respect, and people have a story,” Gia Peppers told AfroTech. “I have always understood the power of Black people having a seat at the table, but also doing something with that seat to stand in the gap for folks who are often underrepresented.”
Peppers’ stepping stone began as a radio intern and she found herself working with Donnie Simpson, “The Wendy Williams Show,” and “Live with Kelly and Michael” all while attending Rutgers University. Peppers credits Simpson for giving her the first shot to be featured on national radio.
Peppers’ collective experiences affirmed she was in the right arena and her growing resume landed her an editor position with Essence Magazine after working at HOT 97 for Ebro Darden. It was during this time of working at the New York commercial radio station that podcasting would be a seed planted for Peppers, eventually leading to the popular audio series “Black Girl Podcast” starring Peppers, Rebecca “Bex” Francois, Sapphira Martin, Alysha Pamphile, and Deanii Andrea Scott, also known as “Scottie Beam.”
The Next Mogul
Although Peppers has continued to prove she can do it all, her habits have also been molded by the power of community and mentorship, which she received before diving into the entertainment industry.
While attending college, she participated in the Women Entertainment Empowerment Network founded by Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Kristi Henderson, Lauren Lake, and Sabrina Thompson Mitchell in 2007.
For six weeks, Peppers learned the ropes and pitfalls of the entertainment industry directly from powerful women in media. The experience taught her what it would take to become the next mogul.
“We all received incredible learnings and tools from those six weeks. We had all these incredible Black women who had just taken up space and they were there to pour back into us,” Peppers said. “It took off the lid of what we thought entering the entertainment industry would be, and it showed us the real.”
"More Than That With Gia Peppers"
With over a decade of experience, Gia Peppers knew she wanted to continue telling Black stories on more platforms.
When the opportunity to have her own podcast presented itself, it was an immediate green light. The podcast — “More Than That with Gia Peppers” — later went on to have an “award-winning first season.”
The second season has already kicked off, and listeners should expect an impressive lineup with guests such as Master P, Angela Simmons, and more.
“We have a space to get to know these different ideas that are happening within our community. You will see more of that for season two because we create more commerce conversations that aren’t just available on podcasts either because we are in 106 radio markets every single weekend,” Peppers said.
In addition, Peppers has landed a new role as the show’s executive producer.
“This is my first time being an executive producer of a show,” she said. “So, I’m learning from the other executive producers — I’m learning and watching how people make decisions.”
She continued: “One of the things that I really wanted from season one to season two is to have a voice in what happens with our content, how we’re doing our interviews, how the shows are being written since my name is on the show. We have to be mindful of what we say, do, and what is allowed in the show. The executive producer opportunity gave me just more of a voice in the creative process.”
To tap into “More Than That with Gia Peppers,” click here.