More Than That With Gia Peppers Was a Finalist in the Outstanding Society and Culture Podcast Category of the 2024 NAACP Image Awards

Since graduating from Rutgers, Gia Peppers has worked to put Black voices at the center of the conversation.

In 2020, as racial tensions simmered in the United States, she was tapped to host a nationally syndicated Dentsu and Urban One Radio show and podcast called More Than That With Gia Peppers to spur dialogue about how to move forward as a country. In the last four years, she has covered topics that have included Black women’s health, rest as resistance, legacy and Black love and has interviewed people including radio personality Angela Yee, former New Jersey Secretary of State DeForest Soaries and film and TV show producer Kenya Barris.

“It’s for the Black community and those who support the Black community,’’ said Peppers, who is also an executive producer on the show. “It serves to challenge every listener to see themselves as more than what any barrier of society portrays us to be. We are more than whatever we believe is happening in our lives that we can’t change. We are more than what our current circumstances look like. And this serves as a space to address the conversations that are happening on our timelines, at our dinner tables and in our group chats.”

Her work lifting voices was recently nominated for a NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Society and Culture category. The podcast plays in over 106 radio markets across the country.

“When everybody was focused on making sure that the world knew Black lives mattered, we were wondering, what does this moment look like moving forward? How do the companies and people that are in decision-making positions find a way to really invest in Black creators and Black people? There was a pitch to create a Black show that would be a space for conversation about what we do from this point forward as a culture, and with luck, I was selected to host this show,” Peppers said.

Her favorite part of the show is interviewing people whose perspectives may not match their public persona.

“Having rapper and entrepreneur Master P on to talk about climate change through the lens of Katrina and the realities of what happens when Black and brown communities are the most at-risk for climate change disasters was so eye-opening. We’re always looking at ways to address a big topic and how we can bring on experts or public figures who understand the topic to really unpack it,” Peppers said.

Peppers, a Washington, D.C., native and the daughter of a seasoned journalist, graduated from the School of Communication and Information in 2012.

Gia Peppers at Rutgers commencement in 2012
Gia Peppers graduated from the School of Communication and Information in 2012
Courtesy of Gia Peppers

During her time at Rutgers, she went to work as an intern for The Wendy Williams Show and Live! With Kelly and Michael in New York City.

“I originally wanted to be a hybrid of Free, one of the hosts of BET’s music video countdown show 106 & Park, and Oprah,” Peppers recalls. “But that’s not the way it went in the beginning.”

Instead, she began working on hard news and landed her first gig at CBS Radio News working overnight in the newsroom. After working on some difficult stories, including the trial of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooter and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, she decided she wanted to move in a different direction. 

“It was too heartbreaking,” Peppers shared.

Ultimately wanting to land within the entertainment industry, Peppers began to network and attend events that would put her in the same room as the people she was looking to work with, including visiting Sounds of Brazil, also known as SOB’s, a live music venue in SoHo. She got to know their press team and started working for a blog called Music Exclusives. Peppers covered major red carpets events, including VH1’s “A TLC Story” premiere, and even at the Barclays Center when Jay Z was performing.

Soon after, an opportunity to jump into sports presented itself.

“The Washington Wizards, my home basketball team, was trying to find a new woman cohost. The great thing about Rutgers is that everybody knows each other, and the guy who was hosting at the time was from New Jersey. A lot of my friends who knew him recommended me, then I applied and they reached out, so I went through a really long process and, ultimately, the fans voted for me to be the next in-arena host for the Washington Wizards.”

From there, she expanded her portfolio to include working with Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning radio show, Essence Magazine covering Essence Fest,  working with the Washington Wizards simultaneously. 

Gia Peppers at the 55th annual NAACP Awards
Getty Images

Last summer, Dentsu began a partnership with Revolt TV to bring the radio show to television. The four-part limited series covered HBCU funding, wellness, food equity in Black communities and more. 

While she is excited about the projects she is working on, she is also aware that being a journalist is not always easy or safe— especially in the context of all that is happening in our country. “Seeing journalists being killed or held in prison for doing their jobs is very scary. Journalism right now is in a very scary place, and I don’t think people grasp the widespread sorts of issues that we are seeing. People say that journalism is dying, but in reality, journalists are struggling in various ways, and I’d like to see more done to protect the importance of media and those who make it,” she said.

Her journey is still unfolding, but she credits her time studying with her father, as well as professors Steven A. Miller and Ben Davis, for teaching her what it takes to be successful in broadcast journalism. Other than a new season of More Than That, which is also led and executive produced by a fellow Rutgers alum, Simmy Bhargava, Peppers recently launched a new series called, Healed Girl Era Podcast, on YouTube, Apple and Spotify. In all her work, she hopes viewers are reminded to pursue the innate greatness that exists inside every single one of us.