Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope with Ayanna Dozier

Book cover of Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope

A Black female artist fighting to control her career, her body, and her life, Janet Jackson was a 20th century icon. As a part of our minicast on politics, Ayanna Dozier – author, filmmaker, and performance artist – shares her experience writing about The Velvet Rope for our 33 1/3 series, while tackling Black women’s sexuality and bodily autonomy, technophilia, online structures of oppression, and much more. This episode is for anyone wondering about Janet Jackson’s life and legacy and the influence she still has on artists today.

Slavery in the Age of Memory with Ana Lucia Araujo

Slavery in the Age of Memory book cover image

Slavery is a horrifying yet fundamental part of history that still shapes modern racism and culture. As a part of our minicast on politics, author and historian Ana Lucia Araujo draws on archival research, interviews, slave narratives, and other resources to explain how slavery is discussed and taught in modern society and the role that memory plays in how we understand race. This episode addresses issues such as the collective and public memory of enslaved people, the willful forgetting of past trauma, and modern attempts at reparations. It also addresses current movements such as the Black Lives Matter protests, the dismantling of pro-slavery monuments and symbols, and the construction of memorials around the world. For anyone looking to discuss collective memory and learn how we can create systemic change to heal from the past.

The Art of Political Storytelling with Philip Seargeant

The Art of Political Stroytelling book cover image

In order for any politician to be successful, they need to tell a good story—one they can weave into their platform and policies, and one that grabs the voter’s attention. As a part of our minicast on politics, author Philip Seargeant discusses how narratives are used by conservatives and progressives, activist movements and conspiracy theorists, to create a political identity. Covering everything from the US presidential election to domestic terrorism to the climate strikes and Black Lives Matter protests, this episode is for anyone wondering how our leaders, our media, and the people around us are manipulating facts in the era of social media.​

How to Lose the Information War with Nina Jankowicz

How to Lose the Information War book cover image

The spread of false information, whether purposeful or unintentional,  poses one of the biggest threats to democracy today. As a part of our minicast on politics, author and analyst Nina Jankowicz draws from her experience working in Russia, Ukraine, and Washington DC to answer questions on combating Russian interference, regulating tech and media companies, fighting foreign and domestic terrorism, and confronting disinformation in the digital age. This episode is for anyone wondering how we can protect our democratic process while still maintaining our basic rights and freedoms.

D’Angelo’s Voodoo with Faith Pennick

D’Angelo’s Voodoo Book cover photo

D’Angelo is an artist with endless emotion and honesty, one who seems to literally put the soul in soul music. In this episode, author Faith Pennick discusses why so many are entranced by his work and how his songs inspired her to write D”Angelo’s Voodoo. We go beyond his music, analyzing his career, the strong messages of mental health in his lyrics, his experience as a Black musician, the release of his “Untitled” music video, and more. For R&B fans looking to explore the meaning behind D’Angelo’s music and discover what has everyone so captivated.

The Raincoats’ The Raincoats with Jenn Pelly

The Raincoats’ The Raincoats book cover

Born out of 1970s Britain, The Raincoats were a band formed from the ashes of experimental punk and rebellion. In this episode, author and journalist Jenn Pelly transports you back to a world of indie record stores, feminist ideals, DIY music, and a fight against capitalism as she discusses four independent, talented women, their work as artists, and their impact as a group. Explore their history, songs, opinions, and culture with someone who traveled to London to speak with The Raincoats themselves.

Sex and Suits with Alok Vaid-Menon

Sex and Suits book cover

Fashion, in many ways, is an extension of the person who wears it and can be used to make a statement, create a persona, or even claim an identity. In this special episode, performance artist, writer, and LGBTQ+ rights activist Alok Vaid-Menon talks about their experience reading Sex and Suits, the history behind gendered fashion, their own choices in style, and the fight against the gender binary.

Othello with Ayanna Thompson

Othello book cover

Ayanna Thompson is a scholar, activist, and self-proclaimed Othello whisperer. She is the co-author of Teaching Shakespeare with Purpose, the author of Passing Strange and Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage, and the editor of Weyward Macbeth, Colorblind Shakespeare, and the Arden Third Series’ Othello. In this episode, Ayanna Thompson outlines the complexities of Othello, the history of racism in theater, and the strides the industry still needs to make to reach equality. For any theater buff, aspiring performer, literature professor, or Shakespeare fan, this is a conversation you’ll want to join.

Fashion Forecasting with Lorynn Divita

Fashion Forecasting book cover

An important skill for any designer is the ability to create the future of fashion, or at least be able to predict it. Learn how to do just that with author Lorynn Divita as she shares her secrets to anticipating emerging trends in the fashion industry. Covering a wide range of topics including fashion theory, cultural appropriation, economic status and affordability, style tribes, and more, this episode is perfect for any aspiring fashionista or trend-setting trainee.

An Ethical Guidebook to the Zombie Apocalypse with Bryan Hall

Everyone knows that in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, what is considered normal or rational human behavior goes out the window. How would you react? Author Bryan Hall has some ideas. In this interview, we discuss philosophical theory in the fictional context of an ungoverned, zombie-infested world and in the very real context of COVID-19. An interesting exploration of ethics and society, this episode is for anyone looking to study moral philosophy in a new light.