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popular culture



  • In ‘Genius: Aretha,’ Respecting the Mind, Not Just the Soul

    "The full scale of Franklin’s contributions to her own music has long been obscured. She was a gifted songwriter and a superb pianist. In the studio, she was a taskmaster, pushing herself and her collaborators until they captured the exact sound she heard in her head — not easy for a Black female musician of her time."



  • How Black Women Musicians Defined What We Call Culture

    Daphne Brooks's new book "Liner Notes for the Revolution" examines the ways that Black women as creators, critics and consumers of popular music have advanced a political vision of transforming society. 



  • The Culture Warped Pop Music – For Good

    Partly due to the way streaming service users listen, the structures of pop music songs have changed in recent years; although today's hits are built differently than those of the 1960s, it's part of a long pattern of change in pop. 



  • Fifty Years Later, ‘Tapestry’s’ Hope And Optimism Still Resonates

    by Tanya Pearson

    "Sincere, earnest and personal, 'Tapestry' embodied the emerging political argument ‘the personal is political.’ This phrase became a defining characteristic of second wave feminism at a time when women and others challenged the institutions of marriage, the nuclear family and its values and state control of women’s reproductive rights."



  • Lucky Luke, the Comic Book Cowboy, Discovers Race, Belatedly

    While Emmanuel Macron decries American obsessions with race and prejudice, right-wing French comics readers have reacted with anger to an effort to update the longstanding cowboy-themed comic franchise with heroic Black characters. 


  • "Hamilton" and Politics Today

    by Donald J. Fraser

    The phenomenally successful "Hamilton" takes some liberties with its subject, but it still offers some valuable perspective on our politics today. 



  • Operation Desert Shirt

    Writer Matt Stieb examines the cultural reaction to the first Gulf War by studying the topical t-shirts of the day. Blithely invoked violence and casual bigotry silkscreened on cheap fabric should be a reminder of the cruelty inherent in war.