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It's Been a Minute
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Has it been a minute since you heard a thought-provoking conversation about culture? Brittany Luse wants to help. Each week, she takes the things everyone's talking about and, in conversation with her favorite creators, tastemakers, and experts, gives you new ways to think about them. Beyond the obvious takes. Because culture doesn't happen by accident.

  • In the latest revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, there are no singing cats. The actors have basically ditched the furry ears and velvet tails and reimagined the characters as competitors in the ballroom scene, vying for trophies and a new chance at life. This week, host Brittany Luse talks to Cats: The Jellicle Ball star Chasity Moore and co-director Zhailon Levingston about ballroom, spectacles and memories.Want to be featured on IBAM? Record a voice memo responding to Brittany's question at the end of the episode and send it to ibam@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Last Saturday, former president Donald Trump was speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania when a gunman shot at him – killing one spectator and clipping Trump in the ear. The response? Outrage, condemnations, and prayers on all sides... but there's been less chatter about the gun that shot at him. And this gun has a lot of symbolism: The AR-15. Host Brittany Luse is joined by The Wall Street Journal's Zusha Elinson, co-author of the book American Gun, and Jennifer Mascia, senior news writer and founding staffer at The Trace, a nonpartisan nonprofit newsroom that covers guns. Together, they discuss how the AR-15 style rifle went from an outcast in the gun world to the one of the biggest pro-gun symbols and why that actually reflects bigger cultural shifts.And later - cop comedies are getting big reboots this year. But why do audiences want to see funny Black guys playing cops? And what does it mean that the characters poking fun at power are also the ones enforcing it on screen? To find out - Brittany is joined by Soraya Nadia McDonald, who wrote a deep dive on all of Will Smith's law enforcement roles, and Washington Post opinion columnist Alyssa Rosenberg, who wrote a five part series on Hollywood's long relationship with law enforcement on and off screen.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • We're at the peak of summer, which means sunny days on the grass with a good book! Bestselling authors Tia Williams and Jean Chen Ho join host Brittany Luse to give their recommendations for great summer reads. They also offer some armchair theories on why we love a gossipy summer novel.Books mentioned in this episode:The Guest by Emma KleinMeet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong Hip-Hop Is History by Questlove with Ben Greenman Devil is Fine by John VercherGood Material by Dolly Alderton Piranesi by Susanna Clarke Fiona and Jane by Jean Chen HoA Love Song for Ricki Wilde by Tia WilliamsWant to be featured on IBAM? Record a voice memo responding to Brittany's question at the end of the episode and send it to ibam@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • What did the raunchy joke say to the podcast host? That we might need to pay attention to the "zynternet." Host Brittany Luse is joined by Slate's Luke Winkie and sex and culture writer Magdalene Taylor to understand why the "hawk tuah" phenomenon is emblematic of a corner of the internet that's both culturally and politically powerful. Then, we're breaking down one of the most potent symbols in America: the cowboy. Brittany revisits her conversation with New York Times culture critic J Wortham, and Museum of Contemporary Art Denver director Nora Burnett Abrams to unpack the history of the symbol and explain why it continues to lasso Americans.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • This week, the legendary singer and civil rights figure Mavis Staples is turning 85 and there's no sign of her slowing down: She released a new song, "Worthy," and a children's book, Bridges Instead of Walls: The Story of Mavis Staples. Today, Mavis joins host Brittany Luse to share stories from her life: what it was like to be mentored by Mahalia Jackson, how she helped create the soundtrack for the Civil Rights movement, how she was spurned by the church then welcomed back, and what it was like to collaborate with Prince. Want to be featured on IBAM? Record a voice memo responding to Brittany's question at the end of the episode and send it to ibam@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • It is the first week of July, which means we are officially halfway through the year. And what a year it's been! Brittany sat down with NPR Politics reporter Elena Moore and co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour Stephen Thompson, to take stock of what's happened so far in 2024.Then, remember when brands weighed in on politics? Like when Gushers said Black Lives Matter or Pepsi made that Kendall Jenner ad? However, in the past few years brands seem to have shied away from touching on "woke" politics. And if advertising reflects culture, what does that say about our culture now? Brittany sits down with Michael Serazio, professor of communication at Boston University – who specializes in the study of advertising - to uncover what's at the root of the reversal.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Too often, our attempts at nailing the family recipes end up in disaster and disappointment. This week, host Brittany Luse is joined by former Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson, author of Praisesong for the Kitchenghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks. The two talk about Appalachian food culture, turning oral recipes into written ones, and the emotional relationship between food, family and memory.Want to be featured on IBAM? Record a voice memo responding to Brittany's question at the end of the episode and send it to ibam@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • The internet freaked out when Charli XCX and Lorde revealed - and put to rest - their pop girl rivalry on Charli's "Girl, so confusing" remix. That same day, Brandy and Monica seemed to settle their decades long feud when they appeared on the remix of Ariana Grande's version of "The Boy is Mine." But while the pop girls are healing, a lot of fans still seem to want blood - can this music heal us? To break it all down, Brittany is joined by NPR Music Editor Hazel Cills, and Pop Pantheon podcast host, DJ Louie XIV.Then, AMC's Interview with the Vampire is back for a second season and so Brittany revisits her conversation with the star of the show, Jacob Anderson. But first, Brittany sits down with Black vampire aficionado, Kendra R. Parker to help understand what these monsters say about our fears and desires.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • It's Black Music month! This week, Host Brittany Luse invites Howard University professor and trombonist Myles Blakemore to talk about how classical music influenced some of our favorite musicians. They look at how the counterpoint technique of Johann Sebastian Bach may have inspired Nina Simone, and how a love of Ginuwine can turn into a career in classical music. Want to be featured on IBAM? Record a voice memo responding to Brittany's question at the end of the episode and send it to ibam@npr.org.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • First up, there has been a media frenzy around the fouls made against rising basketball star and Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark. Commentators and fans have called her fellow WNBA players bullies, jealous, and catty. But Code Switch co-host Gene Demby and Defector's Maitreyi Anantharaman say a lot of the people commenting misunderstand the WNBA. Host Brittany Luse learns what the new fans might be missing and how racism, sexism and homophobia could be fanning the flames of the latest hot takes. Brittany also leads Gene and Maitreyi through a game of "But Did You Know."Then, what is up with all the deodorant being locked up in stores? It's not just you, it's a peculiar nationwide trend that Brittany is trying to understand. Vox policy correspondent Abdallah Fayyad and The Marshall Project's engagement editor Nicole Lewis join the show to explain how this is related to a big shoplifting panic and what it could mean for the shelf life of certain crime policies across the country.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy