Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour: '12 Years' And Rites Of Passage

A drawing of two clinking martini glasses.
NPR

On this week's round-table podcast, Glen Weldon and I are joined by the marvelous Gene Demby and Kat Chow of NPR's Code Switch project. We're always happy to see Gene and Kat, who bring their very own brand of thinly veiled, sibling-like hostility, which is something we can fully relate to.

First on the agenda this week is Steve McQueen and John Ridley's gorgeous, painful film 12 Years A Slave. We chat about how it fits into the existing body of films about slavery in the United States, as well as how it stands on its own as a fascinating story of a man placed in an almost unthinkable set of circumstances.

We also tackle another listener suggestion with a discussion of rites of passage. Glen and I both choose films that we think might, for very different reasons, play a role in ushering teenagers safely into adulthood, while Gene and Kat both choose happenings in the world of popular culture that are natural parts of the progress kids make from young enthusiasts into more experienced ones.

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Glen is happy about a collection of films that motivates him to perform an entirely new voice, and a new Glen voice is always a good thing in my book. Kat is happy about a Reddit AMA that Code Switch recently did about a story the team worked on for the last while. Gene is happy about Janelle Monae (who wouldn't be?), and also about a video I certainly hope you'll check out if you haven't already. And I'm happy about reading a terrific book and watching a terrific television show that is, at the moment, killing it.

Find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter: me, Glen, Kat, Gene, producer Lauren Migaki, absent Stephen, absent Trey, and our esteemed producer emeritus and music director, Mike Katzif.

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