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popular culture



  • The Significance of Yasuke, the Black Samurai

    by Warren A. Stanislaus

    "While media coverage of Afro-Japanese encounters overwhelmingly focuses on incidents of racism or misunderstandings, Yasuke’s interaction with Japan has helped illuminate a rich but overlooked history of Afro-Japanese connectivity." 



  • The 70s are Back, But Not How You Think

    by Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff

    "In the coronavirus era, disco themes resonate. People long for community and wonder if leaders have our backs. Social media offers some of the trappings that defined disco — from the clothes to the allure of being seen in a new way."



  • Charlie Watts Put Some Jazz in Rock and Roll

    by Victor Coelho

    "In an era when rock drummers were larger-than-life showmen with big kits and egos to match, Charlie Watts remained the quiet man behind a modest drum set. But Watts wasn’t your typical rock drummer."



  • Reassessing Gladys Knight's Talent and Impact

    "The scholar Mark Anthony Neal has written that Knight was “the female voice of the Black working class in the 1970s”—more grounded than either the divine Aretha Franklin or the glamorous Diana Ross—and the group’s sensibilities were also working-class."



  • Daphne Brooks on Truth-Telling Music

    African American Studies scholar Daphne Brooks tells the back stories of Black women in music and the cultural impact of their songs. 


  • 1920s "Tutmania" and its Enduring Echoes

    by Gill Paul

    A remarkable confluence of events and circumstances launched a cultural mania for ancient Egypt in Britain and the US with the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. 



  • As Immigration Politics Changed, So Did "In the Heights"

    by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz

    The film release of Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights" reflects the way the show has evolved in response to the shifting politics of immigration and nativism in the United States. 



  • When Bob Dylan Heard the Cicadas

    When an insect emerges from the ground en masse every 17 years, it's bound to connect with some significant changes in culture and society.