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Fresh Air from WHYY, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio's most popular programs. Hosted by Terry Gross, the show features intimate conversations with today's biggest luminaries.
June 15, 2021
Writer Ashley C. Ford On Her Memoir 'Somebody's Daughter'
For most of Ashley C. Ford's life, her father was incarcerated for rape. This was especially traumatizing for Ford, as she herself is a survivor of sexual assault. Her new bestselling memoir 'Somebody's Daughter' details her evolving relationship with her father and her own body. "I'm in love with my humanity. I love being a human. I do," she says. "The range of emotions is terrifying and beautiful. The range of actions are terrifying and beautiful that a human can experience, and some of my experiences suck really, really bad. A lot of them are fantastic." Also John Powers reviews the second season of the Netflix series 'Lupin.'
June 14, 2021
Anthony Ramos On 'In The Heights' & 'Hamilton'
Anthony Ramos says Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical 'In the Heights' filled him with hope about a life on the stage: "I felt like I'm watching my cousins and my aunts and uncles on the stage ... like friends that I grew up with. And these people are speaking vernacular that's familiar to me." Now he's starring — and singing and dancing and rapping — in the film adaptation. We also talk about his roles in 'Hamilton,' his childhood, and his Calvin Klein ads.
June 12, 2021
Best Of: Rita Moreno / Daisy Hernández
Rita Moreno moved to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico as a child. She says her 'West Side Story' role is "the only part I ever remember where I represented Hispanics in a dignified and positive way." Moreno is an EGOT, a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.Film critic Justin Chang reviews the film adaptation of the musical 'In the Heights.'Also, we'll talk with Daisy Hernández, author of 'The Kissing Bug: The True Story of a Family, an Insect and a Nation's Neglect of a Deadly Disease.' It's part medical history, part personal history about growing in an immigrant family, including her aunt who had the disease.
June 11, 2021
Catching Up With Stephen Colbert / Remembering Clarence Williams III
We remember actor Clarence Williams III, best known for playing Linc Hayes, one of three hippie undercover cops on the TV series 'The Mod Squad' from 1968 to 1973. Also, Stephen Colbert begins taping the 'The Late Show' in front of a live audience again on Monday. We hear his interview with Terry about doing the show from home taping during the pandemic. "I got into show business in a way to not be alone. Like a lot of comedians, I'm a bit of a broken toy," Colbert says.And Justin Chang reviews the new film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical 'In the Heights.'
June 10, 2021
Inside The Ransomware Industry
New York Times investigative reporter Michael Schwirtz gained access to the dashboard of DarkSide, a ransomware operation that's pulled in more than $90 million since it began last August. Schwirtz talks about DarkSide's business model, its customer support system to help the hackers it enables, and help the victims learn how to use Bitcoin to pay the ransom.
June 9, 2021
The Space Race & The Dangerous Early Days Of NASA
On the morning of Feb. 20, 1962, about 100,000 spectators gathered in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the launch of the Friendship 7, the United States' first mission to put an astronaut in orbit around the Earth. Historian Jeff Shesol says there was real fear that astronaut John Glenn wouldn't survive the day. We talk with Shesol about the early days of NASA, and how the Cold War pushed the U.S. space program to its limits. His book is 'Mercury Rising.' David Bianculli reviews the Disney+ series 'Loki' starring Tom Hiddleston.
June 7, 2021
Moreno moved to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico as a child. She says her 'West Side Story' role is "the only part I ever remember where I represented Hispanics in a dignified and positive way." We talk about some of the racism and sexism she experienced in Hollywood, her relationship with Marlon Brando, and why she's happier than ever now at 89 years old. Moreno is an EGOT, a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
June 5, 2021
Best Of: Exonerated 5 Member / Reckoning With The Legacy Of Slavery
In 1990, Yusef Salaam was one of the five boys wrongly convicted in the so-called Central Park jogger case. Salaam spent nearly seven years behind bars and wasn't exonerated until 2002, when a serial rapist confessed to the crime. Salaam tells his story in his memoir 'Better, Not Bitter.'Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews 'Black to the Future' by Shabaka Hutchings and the Sons of Kemet. In 'How the Word is Passed,' writer and poet Clint Smith visits eight places central to the history of slavery in America, including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation and Louisiana's Angola prison. "This history that we are told was so long ago wasn't, in fact, that long ago at all," he says.
June 4, 2021
Producing The Philly Sound
We hear from songwriter, arranger and producer Thom Bell. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records. Among the songs he arranged were Joe Simon's "Drowning in the Sea of Love," and "Back Stabbers" by The O'Jays. Bell is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He also wrote and arranged for The Stylistics, The Spinners, and The Delfonics. He spoke with Terry Gross in 2006. Also, Justin Chang reviews the horror movie 'A Quiet Place Part II,' the sequel to John Krasinski's 2018 film.
June 3, 2021
How Russia Used An Overt Agent To Attack Biden In The 2020 Election
'Time' investigative correspondent Simon Shuster says that Andriy Derkach, a seven-term member of the Ukrainian parliament, and widely believed to be a Russian agent, gave misleading information to Rudy Giuliani to discredit Biden during the 2020 campaign. Derkach and Giuliani are both under investigation by federal prosecutors in the U.S.
June 2, 2021
The Racist Roots Of The 2nd Amendment
Carol Anderson says the Second Amendment was designed to ensure slave owners could quickly crush any rebellion or resistance from those they'd enslaved. "One of the things that I argue throughout this book is that it is just being Black that is the threat. And so when you mix that being Black as the threat with bearing arms, it's an exponential fear," she says. "This isn't an anti-gun or a pro-gun book. This is a book about African Americans' rights." Anderson's new book is 'The Second.'Ken Tucker reviews the album 'Outside Child' by Allison Russell.
June 1, 2021
Reckoning With The History Of Slavery
In 'How the Word is Passed,' writer and poet Clint Smith visits eight places central to the history of slavery in America, including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation and Louisiana's Angola prison. "We are taught that the history of slavery is something that happened almost like when there were dinosaurs," he says. But Smith notes that his grandfather's grandfather was enslaved — and that "this history that we are told was so long ago wasn't, in fact, that long ago at all." Maureen Corrigan reviews two thriller novels: Chris Power's 'A Lonely Man' and Jean Hanff Korelitz's nightmare of a thriller 'The Plot.'
May 31, 2021
50 Years Of Philadelphia International Records
TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia) was the theme from 'Soul Train,' and was one of the many hits written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for Philadelphia International Records, the label they co-founded. The label is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. They recorded The O'Jays, Patti LaBelle, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Billy Paul, McFadden and Whitehead, Soul Survivors and more. We'll listen back to the interview Terry Gross recorded with Gamble and Huff in 2008, in which they talked about their partnership, their label, and some of their greatest recordings.Also, Kevin Whitehead reviews the album 'Black to Future' by the London quartet Sons of Kemet.
May 29, 2021
Best Of: 'Opal & Nev' Author / The History Of Juneteenth
Dawnie Walton's novel, 'The Final Revival of Opal & Nev,' is a faux oral history about a '70s interracial rock duo. Opal is a Black proto Afro-punk singer from Detroit, and Nev is a goofy white British singer-songwriter. Walton was inspired by Grace Jones, Betty Davis, Elton John and Bowie. We talk with Walton about how her career in journalism and her taste in music growing up informed the book.Maureen Corrigan reviews 2 suspense novels: 'A Lonely Man,' by Chris Power, and 'The Plot,' by Jean Hanff Korelitz.Juneteenth, formerly Emancipation Day or Jubilee, celebrates the day slavery ended in Texas, June 19, 1865. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed studies the early American republic and the legacy of slavery. Her book is 'On Juneteenth.'
May 28, 2021
2 Concerts: Rachael & Vilray / Loudon Wainwright III & Vince Giordano
The music duo Rachael & Vilray perform songs from their debut album — new songs written by Vilray that could have been on the radio in the '30s and '40s, and songs from the '20s and '30s. We'll also hear from Loudon Wainwright III and Vince Giordano. They teamed up last year to record an album of songs written by Fats Waller, Harold Arlen and others. It's called 'I'd Rather Lead a Band.'Also, Justin Chang reviews 'Cruella,' the origin story of Cruella de Vil, starring Emma Stone.
May 27, 2021
How States Are Making It Harder To Vote
'New York Times' reporter Nick Corasaniti says Republican-led state legislatures are restricting voting and seizing more power over how elections are run — making previously non-partisan jobs political. David Bianculli reviews three documentaries the commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.
May 26, 2021
'Exonerated Five' Member Yusef Salaam
In 1990, Yusef Salaam was one of the five boys wrongly convicted in the so-called Central Park jogger case. Salaam spent nearly 7 years behind bars and wasn't exonerated until 2002, when a serial rapist confessed to the crime. "When the truth came out, that's when we got our lives back," Salaam says. "But for those of us who had five to 10 years prison sentences, we had done all of someone else's time. ... We will never know what our life would have been like had we not gone through this horrible experience." Salaam tells his story in his memoir 'Better, Not Bitter.' And podcast critic Nick Quah reviews a stunning new series called 'The Line.'
May 25, 2021
The History Of Juneteenth
Juneteenth, formerly Emancipation Day or Jubilee, celebrates the day slavery ended in Texas, June 19, 1865. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed studies the early American republic and the legacy of slavery. "It was a very, very tense time — hope and at the same time, hostility," Gordon-Reed says. Her book is 'On Juneteenth.'
May 24, 2021
'Opal & Nev' Author Dawnie Walton
Dawnie Walton's novel, 'The Final Revival of Opal & Nev,' is a faux oral history about a '70s interracial rock duo. Opal is a Black proto Afro-punk singer from Detroit, and Nev is a goofy white British singer-songwriter. Walton was inspired by Grace Jones, Betty Davis, Elton John and Bowie. We talk with Walton about how her career in journalism and her taste in music growing up informed the book. And John Powers reviews 'Whitstable Pearl,' a crime drama on Acorn TV.