Today: The undoing of Kanye West. “We’re in deeply vile territory, and I can’t make intellectual sense of that,” Wesley Morris says about West, who now goes by Ye.In 2004, when Ye released “College Dropout," he seemed to be challenging Black orthodoxy in ways that felt exciting and risky. But over the years, his expression of “freedom” has felt anything but free. His embrace of anti-Black, antisemitic and white supremacist language “comes at the expense of other people’s safety,” their humanity and their dignity, J Wortham says.Wesley and J discuss what it means to divest from someone whose art, for two decades, had awed, challenged and excited you.
Plastic Off the Sofa
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” came into theaters with a huge responsibility: It had to address the death of Chadwick Boseman, the star of the first “Black Panther” movie, who died of cancer in August 2020.Wesley and J discuss how the film offers the audience an experience of collective grief and mourning — something that never happened in the United States in response to the losses of 2020. They interrogate what it means that this gesture of healing came from Marvel and Disney, a corporate empire that is in control of huge swaths of our entertainment, and not from another type of leadership.Additional resources:To hear what Wesley and J had to say about the first “Black Panther” movie, listen to this episode of “Still Processing” from 2018. Ryan Coogler, the director of “Wakanda Forever,” spoke to the author Ta-Nehisi Coates about the making of movie, and how it captured the real-life grief that people experienced after Chadwick Boseman’s death. Listen to their conversation here.
I'm That Girl
Beyoncé’s latest album, “Renaissance,” showcases a pop star letting go of all expectations. Wesley and J go deep into the album and this new era of Beyoncé. It’s an era of play, freedom, comedy and queerness — unlike anything we’ve ever heard from Beyoncé Knowles-Carter before.
Wesley and J discuss the push to “return to office” — and what it means for their lives, as well as American culture as a whole. What have 50 years of workplace sitcoms, from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to “Abbott Elementary,” taught us about our romance with the office? And what do TikTok parodies and the TV show “Severance” get right about the history of labor in America? In this period of returning to so-called normalcy, Wesley and J reflect on how we can ensure that the lessons of the early pandemic aren’t forgotten.
Donna Summer’s 1977 hit “I Feel Love” is the inspiration for the final track on Beyoncé’s new album, “Renaissance.” Summer became the queen of disco in the ’70s, but her catalog goes much further than that. You can hear her legacy in decades of electronic and R&B. “She is an architect of the pop culture we experience today,” J says.In this episode, J and Wesley revisit her 1982 album, “Donna Summer” — and explore why, out of all of her music, this self-titled album is the most distinctly Donna.