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Class of Rebels

College Initiative

The Vanguard Podcast Network powered by Afros & Audio™ (VPN) is on a mission to increase the number of active Black podcasts in the market by teaching the next generation of podcast creatives and audio professionals the skills to enter the podcast industry.* 

*The global podcasting market size was valued at USD 11.46 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.1% from 2021 to 2028. -Grand View Research

This ambitious initiative will connect higher education students interested in learning the fundamentals of podcasting, creative development, podcast production, B2B podcasting, marketing, and distribution.

Download the Press Release


Class of '22-'25

 VPN has partnered with Black student affairs and academic departments for a collaborative podcast development campaign. The campaign mission is to increase active podcasts by Black creatives in the marketplace, support industry DEI hiring efforts through skill training, and boost Black listenership.

Ready for the World of Podcasting

The Class of Rebels campaign will emphasize the viable opportunities to create and produce podcasts, seek employment and entrepreneurship in podcast media, and become a knowledgeable and ethical podcast industry influencer.


Through the use of expert facilitators, skill-building exercises, and audio equipment training, this project-based campaign will produce and distribute podcasts, establish institutional podcast networks, and prepare students for an evolving industry that is predicted to impact every other existing industry in the foreseeable future.


Class of Rebels
Podcast Series

Vanguard Podcast Network powered by Afros & Audio™ will teach young adults the fundamentals of audio storytelling with a focus on the visibility and representation of Black students in higher learning environments.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Train and build skills for podcast development, all stages of production, marketing, audio scriptwriting, and voice acting.

  • Present podcasts to a live audience of peers, select sponsors, and facilitators.

  • Publish and distribute audio stories created and produced by program participants.

Flexible Curriculum Options

5-8 hour in-person/virtual Bootcamp:

  • 2-3 hours podcast fundamental training

  • 1-2 hour creative development

  • 2-3 hour production

Institutional Podcast Network:

  • 1-semester faculty and student training

  • Studio development

  • Establish 2-3 legacy podcasts

  • Develop institutional SOPs and training documents

Podcasts are hosted on Libsyn Pro, distributed locally, and on Vanguard Podcast Network under "The Rebel Class" umbrella channel.

Podcasts will focus on the experience and perspectives of Black students and the importance of Black student organizations on campus. 

Alternative Options:

  • 7-8 week self-paced course with 90-minute weekly check-in (can be adjusted to bi-weekly)

  • 20-hour in-person/virtual Intensive

Adding value matters

The Class of Rebels campaign has the opportunity to impact the media/podcast industry by providing:


  • Industry-standard trade skills

  • Employment opportunities for freelance audio professionals

  • Market increase of active podcasts by Black creatives

  • Growth in Black listenership data

  • A talent pool of young adults enthusiastic about adding value to the podcast industry

Excerpt from "The Healing Power of Black Storytelling"

CasSandra Calin


We live in a society where we are told to talk, think, and write based on White cultural values. Black storytelling can be a symbol of healing and resisting. Black storytellers offer historical and cultural truths about the Black community from their own perspectives.


Black storytelling welcomes people to see Black culture for how beautiful it is. This leads to healing between the Black community and those who don’t know much about it.

Student Experience

Collaboration is Key

Collaboration and optimal engagement will fuel podcast development and production. Students can expect, live group discussions, lessons, and assignment feedback.

Establish a Creative and Professional Network

We provide a range of opportunities to engage with podcasters and instructors, share insights, and keep the creativity and production going after the course is complete.

Course Outcomes & Completion

Experiential learning is ideal. Students will master each new ability through creative lessons and engaging exercises. Course completion is determined by in-depth knowledge, audio production skills, and a portfolio to apply to their industry endeavors.


Committed Instructors & Mentors

Our instructors are industry experts, podcast creatives, and audio professionals with years of expertise. Every facilitator has the professional knowledge and real-world experience to assist students on their learning path. 

Meet The Team

Talib Jasir.jpg

Talib Jasir

Talib is a creative entrepreneur with over 19 years of professional experience managing accounts in marketing and advertising. In 2018, he founded Afros & Audio Podcast Festival the first two-day conference for and by Black Podcast Creatives and Audio Professionals in Brooklyn, NY.

Afros & Audio expanded in 2020 with the launch of their online Community Network, now Black Podcasters Association powered by Afros & Audio and production company, Vanguard Podcast Network

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Founder/Program Director

Profile AJ 2.jpg

Armand Jennings

Armand Jennings is first and foremost, an Audio Engineer. As a storyteller and teacher, he finds joy and excitement in sharing stories or helping others share their stories through audio-related media. With over 8+ years of audio engineering experience and 12+ years of teaching experience he embraces innovation and creativity. He has managed, edited, and mixed several podcasts throughout the years and worked his way to multiple audio positions including Co-Chair for the HipHop and R&B track for the Audio Engineering Society and Speaker Liason/ for Afros and Audio Podcast Festival.  Armand Jennings is constantly seeking to share his own story as well as the stories of others through podcasting, audio dramas, and other audio archetypes.

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Program Lead


Michael McConnell

Michael McConnell is a brand consultant, community builder and wellness advocate who has helped launch everything from tech start-ups to orchestrate community meditation groups. He is a multi-dimensional creative and community leader. Michael is the founder of The Rebel Camp LLC a brand consulting and multi-media agency.

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Community Outreach Manager


We'd love to hear from you


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