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44 minutes | May 20, 2021
'Before I Let Go'
When the three opening notes of the song hit, there’s only one thing to do: Find your people and dance. Today, we’re talking about “Before I Let Go,” by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, and the song’s unique ability to gather and galvanize. It wasn’t a huge hit when it came out in 1981, but it has become a unifying Black anthem and an unfailing source of joy. We dissect Beyoncé’s cover, and we hear from friends, listeners and the Philadelphia DJ Patty Jackson about their memories of the classic song.You can find more info on today's episode here.
39 minutes | May 13, 2021
The People in the Neighborhood
A powerful — and revealing — aspect of the Derek Chauvin trial was the community it created out of strangers. Week later, we’re still thinking about the witnesses, and the way they were connected in telling the story of how George Floyd lost his life. This phenomenon is reflected in works of art, like Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” which explores the conflict inherent in a community.You can find more info on today's episode here.
42 minutes | May 6, 2021
She’s simply the best. A new documentary on HBO (called, simply, “Tina”) explores Tina Turner’s tremendous triumphs, but we wanted to go deeper. We talk about how her entire career was an act of repossession: Taking back her name, her voice, her image, her vitality and her spirituality made her one of the biggest rock stars in the world, even in her 50s. You can find more info about today's episode here, and follow Wesley’s playlist of his top Tina Turner songs. Also, Jenna and Wesley want your help in settling a bet! Do you know the song “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze? Did you play it at a party or dance to it at a wedding? Do you jump to your feet every time it comes on? Grab your phone and record yourself telling a story about what the song has meant to you. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
37 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Cathy Park Hong
The Asian-American poet wants to help women and people of color find healing — and clarity — in their rage. Hong's book of essays, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning," came out in February 2020, and it’s taken on new urgency with the rise in anti-Asian violence and discrimination during the pandemic. You can find more info on today's episode here. And check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on Asian-American racism from 2018.
43 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
Lil Nas X Isn’t Sorry
Social media apologies have become the standard celebrity response to internet outrage. But why do they feel so deeply inadequate? Jenna and Wesley dissect a new spate of public apologies from the last year. And they look to the activist and writer adrienne maree brown for an example of a “fully evolved” apology.You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!
42 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
40 Acres and a Movie
Disney owns a piece of every living person’s childhood. Now it owns Marvel Studios, too. Jenna and Wesley look at depictions of racist tropes and stereotypes in Disney’s ever-expanding catalog. The company has made recent attempts to atone for its past. But can it move forward without repeating the same mistakes?You can find more info about today’s episode here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Send us your questions and thoughts about the book at email@example.com.
37 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
No Country for Any Men
“Promising Young Woman” is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders. It’s a dark revenge fantasy that asks a sweeping moral question: What if there are no good men? Wesley and Jenna go deep into the film and consider what it gets right — and wrong — about sexual assault and justice. Beware: There will be spoilers.You can find more info about today’s show here. And in our April 29 episode, we’ll be discussing the book “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong. Read it along with us!
42 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Now That's What I Call a Bridge!
“Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo makes Wesley nostalgic for his favorite part of a song: the bridge. Bridges used to be a core feature of popular music, but they’ve become an endangered species, right next to the sitcom laugh track. While Wesley laments the demise of the bridge, Jenna points out that TikTok has given us new ways to experience the best part of a song. You can find more info about today’s episode here, and follow our playlist of Wesley and Jenna’s favorite bridges.
51 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
It’s the episode we’ve been wanting to make for years. In our season premiere, we’re talking about the N-word. It’s both unspeakable and ubiquitous. A weapon of hate and a badge of belonging. After centuries of evolution, it’s everywhere — art, politics, everyday banter — and it can't be ignored. So we’re grappling with our complicated feelings about this word.
3 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
The Return of Still Processing
We’re back with a new season on March 18! Join culture writers Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in the juiciest group chat, the coziest diner booth, the crowded kitchen at a house party with the best snacks and the real talk. Each week, they’ll come together to talk art, identity, politics, the internet — whatever they’re grappling with. Subscribe for deep chats, uncomfortable but necessary conversations and incisive takes on the cultural landscape. New episodes come out every Thursday.
54 minutes | Feb 25, 2021
Best of the Archives: Whitney Houston (2017)
We’re preparing to drop a whole new season this spring. In the meantime, we want to make sure you’ve had a chance to hear some of our all-time favorite episodes. Like this one, about Whitney Houston. It’s been nine years since Ms. Houston died. She was one of the biggest pop stars of her time, but she’s often remembered as a tragic figure. In this episode, we argue that her music is much more important than any of the scandals. When we listen to some of her best performances, we remind ourselves who we actually lost: the greatest singer of the rock ’n’ roll era.
45 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Best of the Archives: Whiteness in America (2017)
When “Hillbilly Elegy” showed up on Netflix last November, it was just the latest in a series of media attempting to explain whiteness to its audience. We’re revisiting a better (though not perfect) example: the podcast “S-Town.” Check out our episode from 2017 while we prepare for a new season of Still Processing — coming to you in March.
47 minutes | Feb 11, 2021
Best of the Archives: Psychobros (2019)
Not long ago, Harry Styles graced the cover of Vogue magazine in a dress. It was just one example of how traditional ideas of masculinity have been expanding — on the runway and in culture. In our episode “Psychobros” from a couple of seasons ago, we appreciated another man in a dress on the front page of a magazine: Brad Pitt on the cover of Rolling Stone, published just as the movie “Fight Club” came out in 1999. It’s one of our favorite past episodes coming your way … while we're getting ready to drop a whole new season this spring.
55 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
Best of the Archives: Aretha Franklin (2018)
Next month we’re starting a whole new season of shows! Yes, in March! We’re thrilled. While we’re getting ready, we selected four of our favorite past episodes for you to enjoy. This first one is about one of the greats: Aretha Franklin. A singer, writer, arranger, pianist, performer and more, Ms. Franklin channeled both the difficult and beautiful aspects of American culture to make the songs that have scored our lives. She left a legacy of virtuosity and swagger that will live on — both online and off.
33 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
Sweet, Sweet Fantasies, Baby
With the election (nearly) resolved, we have a moment to step back and look at what fantasies our country is built upon. From the role of president, to the threat of another civil war to the soul of the country itself, we’re all harboring some kind of fantasy that we should probably interrogate.
38 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
'Waiter, There's a Fly in Our Bubble'
With a monumental election on the horizon, we want to bring up a few recent events that show some sort of truth amid the confusion. From the NBA bubble to the fly in Mike Pence’s hair to HBO's “Lovecraft Country”, these are moments that point us beyond the present, to be our best and greatest selves.Discussed this week:“Scandal” (Season 4, Episodes 9-12, ABC, 2015)The N.B.A. bubbleThe vice-presidential debate (Oct. 7, 2020)“Lovecraft Country” (Episode 7, HBO, 2020)Sun RaMore Sun RaEven more Sun Ra
38 minutes | Jul 23, 2020
Ziwe May Destroy Hamilton
“Hamilton” is back in the mix, but the flavor has changed from beloved historical blockbuster to “wait, that’s what this is?” Elsewhere, in new works like “Baited,” on Instagram Live, and “I May Destroy You,” on HBO, Black women are getting personal in ways that are expanding our palates for discomfort.Discussed this week:“Hamilton” (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Disney+, 2020)“Baited” on Instagram LiveZiwe Fumudoh“I May Destroy You” (written by Michaela Coel, HBO, 2020)Native Land project“White Fragility” lecture (by Robin DiAngelo, 2019)
36 minutes | Jul 16, 2020
Reparations for Aunt Jemima!
When Quaker decided to take Aunt Jemima off the red pancake box after 131 years, did it also try to scrub the legacy she represents? And what sort of compensation is appropriate — and to whom — from a brand that maintained that image in public for so long?Discussed this week:“Aunt Jemima Brand to Change Name and Image Over ‘Racial Stereotype’” (Tiffany Hsu, The New York Times, June 2020)“Aunt Jemima: I’se in Town, Honey” (Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University)“The Dixie Chicks Change Their Name, Dropping the ‘Dixie’” (Ben Sisario, The New York Times, June 2020)“Lady Antebellum Sues the Singer Lady A Over Name Change” (Joe Coscarelli, The New York Times, July 2020)“Aunt Jemima’s Heirs’ $3 Billion Lawsuit Against Pepsi, Quaker Oats Tossed by Judge” (Tim Kenneally, The Wrap, February 2015)“What Is Owed” (Nikole Hannah Jones, The New York Times, June 2020)“The Case for Reparations” (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014)
27 minutes | Jul 9, 2020
So Y’all Finally Get It
Excerpts from our June 12 live event, where we caught up about the uprisings and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is the first of three special summer episodes.Discussed this week: Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris in a live New York Times event (June 12, 2020)“‘Cops,’ Long-Running Reality Show That Glorified Police, Is Canceled” (The New York Times, June 2020)“LEGO Pulls Back Police Playset Affiliate Marketing Amid George Floyd Protests” (ToyBook, June 2020)“NASCAR Says It Will Ban Confederate Flags” (The New York Times, June 2020)Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris on “CBS This Morning” (Aug. 18, 2017, CBS)Speech by Stokely Carmichael (a.k.a. Kwame Ture) (Oct. 29, 1966, Berkeley, Calif.)“John Lewis: Good Trouble” (directed by Dawn Porter, July 2020)
40 minutes | May 14, 2020
New Loop, America
In our final episode from our living rooms, we visit the dystopia of “Westworld” and the utopia of “Hollywood” to see if we can glean anything about what might be in store on the other side of this pandemic — and about who we want to be.Discussed this week:“Westworld” (HBO, 2016-20)“Hollywood” (Netflix, 2020)Ryan Murphy“The Stepford Wives” (directed by Frank Oz, 2004)“The Stepford Wives” (directed by Bryan Forbes, 1975)The Motion Picture Production Code of 1930“Love Jones” (directed by Theodore Witcher, 1997)“Love & Basketball” (directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000)Anna May WongHattie McDanielOscar Micheaux“Delivering Thanks Team” (Papa John’s, 2020)
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