Sam Sanders Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders.
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Sam Sanders

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Sam
Josh Huskin/NPR

Sam Sanders

Correspondent and Host, It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Sam Sanders is a correspondent and host of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders at NPR. In the show, Sanders engages with journalists, actors, musicians, and listeners to gain the kind of understanding about news and popular culture that can only be reached through conversation. The podcast releases two episodes each week: a "deep dive" interview on Tuesdays, as well as a Friday wrap of the week's news.

Previously, as a key member of NPR's election unit, Sam covered the intersection of culture, pop culture, and politics in the 2016 election, and embedded with the Bernie Sanders campaign for several months. He was also one of the original co-hosts of NPR's Politics Podcast, which launched in 2015.

Sanders joined NPR in 2009 as a Kroc Fellow, and since then has worn many hats within the organization, including field producer and breaking news reporter. He's spent time at three Member stations as well: WUNC in North Carolina, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and WBUR in Boston, as an intern for On Point.

Sanders graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009 with a master's degree in public policy, with a focus on media and politics. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, with a double major in political science and music.

In his free time, Sanders runs, eats bacon, and continues his love/hate relationship with Twitter.

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Story Archive

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The Warped Reality of Eric André's 'Bad Trip'

Sam talks to actor and comedian Eric André about the evolution of the prank genre with his Netflix hidden-camera comedy Bad Trip. They chat about the complications of making a prank show while Black, who André would never prank, and why everyone could use a little absurdism to warp their realities.

The Warped Reality of Eric André's 'Bad Trip'

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'It's Been A Minute' Examines Black Performers On American Culture

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African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Reginald Jackson announces a boycott of Coca-Cola Co. products outside the Georgia Capitol n Atlanta. Jackson says Coca-Cola and other large Georgia companies haven't done enough to oppose restrictive voting bills that Georgia lawmakers were debating as Jackson spoke. Jeff Amy/AP hide caption

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Jeff Amy/AP

What's The Strategy? Corporate Activism And Anti-Trans Bills

Corporations have spoken out against the new restrictive voting law in Georgia, but to what end? Sam talks to Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick about whether that tactic actually effects change—and whether it's just a performance. Plus, Sam talks to author and historian Jules Gill-Peterson about the historic flood of anti-trans bills in state legislatures and how these bills echo anti-gay rhetoric of the past. Then, friends of the show Saeed Jones and Zach Stafford join Sam to play Who Said That.

What's The Strategy? Corporate Activism And Anti-Trans Bills

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A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle drives along the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Ross D. Franklin/AP hide caption

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The Human Cost of Family Separation

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Is 'Diversity And Inclusion' Far From Its Roots? And What's An NFT?

Sam talks to Kim Tran, an anti-racist author and consultant, about her article in Harper's Bazaar on how the diversity, equity and inclusion industry has strayed from its movement roots. Plus, what's an NFT? And why are people buying them? And what are they again? Sam breaks it all down with tech reporters Bobby Allyn and Erin Griffith to explain the phenomenon of the non-fungible token — and whether it can last.

Is 'Diversity And Inclusion' Far From Its Roots? And What's An NFT?

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Author Hanif Abdurraqib Megan Leigh Barnard/Megan Leigh Barnard hide caption

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Megan Leigh Barnard/Megan Leigh Barnard

Hanif Abdurraqib's Rabbit Holes into Great Black Performance

Hanif Abdurraqib's latest book is A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. In it, Abdurraqib researches the impact of Black performers on American culture throughout the past several hundred years, touching on everything from minstrel shows to Soul Train, the concept of the "Magical Negro," and playing spades. Sam talks to Abdurraqib about lesser-known performers like Ellen Armstrong, the first Black woman magician, and they revisit the mythology of household names like Whitney Houston. Plus, they share aspects of Black performance they've missed most in this pandemic year.

Hanif Abdurraqib's Rabbit Holes into Great Black Performance

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Star Samkus, who works at the King Soopers grocery store and knew three of the victims of a mass shooting at the store a day earlier, cries while kneeling in front of crosses placed in honor of the victims, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption

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David Zalubowski/AP

Gun Violence Never Went Away, Plus The Overlooked Talent Of Asian Actors

It might have seemed like mass shootings were down last year, but 2020 was actually one of the deadliest years for gun violence in decades. Sam talks to Abené Clayton, reporter for The Guardian, about why some shootings get more coverage than others. Plus, Sam talks to Shirley Li, staff writer at The Atlantic, about Minari and the way stereotypes inform how white audiences view the performances of Asian actors. Then, Hannah Giorgis, also of The Atlantic, joins Sam and Shirley to play Who Said That.

Gun Violence Never Went Away, Plus The Overlooked Talent Of Asian Actors

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Can't Let It Go

A special episode from our friends at NPR's Planet Money: A show all about the things we're obsessed with. Sam joins Planet Money co-host Karen Duffin to dig into obsessions including the Beyoncé of economics, an actual musician, Lubalin, finding deep inspiration in shallow web posts, and curried chicken. Also, we stage an intervention, and, we bring you Planet Money's first ever meditation to help you breathe deeply and let go. Just let it go. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.

Can't Let It Go

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It's been one year since the spread of COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic. Solskin/Getty Images hide caption

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Our Pandemic Year

We take stock of a year that challenged us emotionally, culturally and politically. Sam talks to Hira Deol, a former contestant on Big Brother Canada, about what it was like to learn about the pandemic while sequestered away from the outside world. Plus, Sam chats with culture writer Anne Helen Petersen about the gradual return to our "normal" lives — and just how messy it's going to be.

Our Pandemic Year

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Sohla El-Waylly Says There's Still Work To Be Done A Year After Leaving 'Bon Appétit'

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Chef Sohla El-Waylly. Jingyu Lin/Narrative PR hide caption

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Sohla El-Waylly on Race, Food and 'Bon Appétit'

Sohla El-Waylly called out her previous employer, Bon Appétit, during the magazine's racial reckoning last summer and resigned. The chef and food star is now a columnist at Food52 and star of the YouTube series Off-Script with Sohla. She and Sam talk about racism in the food media industry (and everywhere else), The Cheesecake Factory, and certain kinds of mushrooms.

Sohla El-Waylly on Race, Food and 'Bon Appétit'

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Seeing Through A Trans Lens: Torrey Peters Pens 'Detransition, Baby'

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Omar Sy plays Assane Diop in Netflix's new French series Lupin. Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix hide caption

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: L'Amour For 'Lupin'

Sam joins the Pop Culture Happy Hour team to talk about the French Netflix series Lupin with culture writer Bedatri D. Choudhury and co-hosts Aisha Harris and Glen Weldon. They discuss the twisty caper's exciting (if implausible) plot, dissect its take on race and class, and gush over Omar Sy's performance.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: L'Amour For 'Lupin'

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People wait in line to vote at a polling station in front of Benson School District Board Room in Benson, Arizona on November 3, 2020. ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Voting Rights Under Threat, Plus Do We Still Need Sports?

A new case before the U.S. Supreme Court could jeopardize the power of the Voting Rights Act. Sam talks to Mark Joseph Stern, staff writer for Slate, about what's at stake and how so much of the current debate goes back to Reconstruction. Sam also chats with contributing writer for The Atlantic and podcaster Jemele Hill about how tv viewership across almost all sports has tanked during the pandemic.

Voting Rights Under Threat, Plus Do We Still Need Sports?

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