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Top Rank Podcast
65 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Episode 36: Influencers & the future of labor
The social media influencer is one of today’s most talked about and divisive figures. They represent the convergence of technology and the surveillance state with a consumer culture that encourages us to conceptualize our identities through market logic—each of us entrepreneurs within our own lifestyle brands. On our latest episode, we spoke with Anuli Akanegbu (@anuliwashere), anthropologist & NYU doctoral student, about the rise of the influencer marketing and its impact on contemporary culture. Anuli’s research examines how race and desirability factor into the success of Black-identifying social media content creators and influencers in the particular creative economy of Atlanta, GA. We talked with Anuli about how racism structures the industry, and about how the power of influencer culture may effect the future of labor itself. Check out Anuli’s podcast @BLKIRL where she digs into these topics even further. https://www.blkirl.com
46 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Episode 35: Identity politics & cosmetic surgery: A conversation with Professor Alka Menon
Cosmetic surgery is one of the fastest growing medical procedures in the United States. According to 2019 figures from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the US has the highest number of cosmetic procedures conducted annually, as well as the largest number of practicing cosmetic surgeons, who are among this country's highest paid medical professionals. Cosmetic surgery is also a rapidly growing industry globally and countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea are sought after destinations for people seeking specialty procedures. Though highly variable according to context, aesthetic standards for beauty are always socially and politically constructed. In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Alka Menon, a medical sociologist and assistant professor at Yale University whose research centers on the relationship between the body and social identities, especially race and ethnicity, and how these ideas manifest in the realm of cosmetic surgery. How is cosmetic surgery enmeshed in the thorny politics of race, ethnicity and gender in the US, and around the world? And, as surgical interventions become increasingly normalized, how is the virtual space of social media shaping physical aspirations about what it means to be beautiful?
49 minutes | Dec 24, 2020
Episode 34: A Conversation with April Walker on streetwear and the future of fashion
For our final episode of 2020, we welcomed a personal hero of both of ours—the trailblazing designer, entrepreneur, and thinker April Walker (@iamaprilwalker), who in the past three decades has been instrumental in shaping the industry and aesthetic category we now call “streetwear.” In 1987, Walker launched her custom clothing boutique, Fashion in Effect, out of her own home. The following year, she opened her first shop on Greene Avenue in Brooklyn, paving the way for the birth of her seminal ready-to-wear label, Walker Wear, adored by the likes of Aaliyah, Mike Tyson, Tupac Shakur, and the Notorious B.I.G., to name just a few. For our 34th episode, Walker shares snapshots from her experience bearing witness to the interconnected evolutions of Hip Hop and New York fashion, and explains why collective work and cooperative economics are crucial for inventing a different and better future for the fashion industry. https://www.instagram.com/iamaprilwalker/ https://www.instagram.com/Walkerwear/
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