With 36 billion streams on Spotify, 14 No. 1 hits and 9 Grammys, Rihanna is regarded as one of the most well-known artists of the 21st Century. But she also spent the last decade changing the fashion world, launching brands that transformed her from music star to business mogul and billionaire. Her illustrious career began 20 years ago, when she was just a 15-year-old in Barbados. She performed Destiny's Child songs in a trio with her friends. Soon, an American record producer visited the island, saw her audition and launched her to stardom. This week on Making, hear the tale of Rihanna's come-up from record producer Evan Rogers, music journalist Bill Werde and head of British Vogue Chioma Nnadi, featuring exclusive archival tape of Rihanna's early rehearsals.
Virgil Abloh changed fashion in the 21st century. His brand Off-White redefined streetwear and youth culture for a notoriously elite and inaccessible industry. And he broke barriers to become the first Black artistic director at a French luxury fashion house. "His whole career is dedicated to opening up the gate for everyone," said Marc Moran, his long-time friend and collaborator. "And I think that's what made him such a force to reckon with." Virgil Abloh passed away from cancer on November 28, 2021 at the age of 41, leaving behind a sprawling legacy. But before he took over an industry, he was a quiet and humble suburban kid who loved soccer, skateboarding, T-shirts and turntables. This week on Making, host Brandon Pope talks with Abloh's family, friends, critics and collaborators – including his father, his high school soccer coach and the head of British Vogue – to look back at the life of a Chicago icon. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe now.
Hyphy Kids Got Trauma is an exploration of a transformative year in Bay Area music history, 2006, through the eyes and ears of Pendarvis Harshaw. A college student and burgeoning journalist at the time, Pendarvis navigates the shifting tides of a culture in transition, all set to the seminal sounds of the Bay Area's "Hyphy Movement." an era fueled by uptempo, bass-heavy songs with a free and fun-loving vibe. But 2006 also marked the second highest homicide total Oakland has ever seen. The violence was compounded by drugs, over-policing, the onset of gentrification, and the ongoing War On Terror. The wounds that occurred almost twenty years ago still impact the adults of the Bay Area today. Hyphy kids got trauma, and this is why. Listen to the whole series today on Rightnowish.
In early September, 19-year-old Coco Gauff won the U.S. Open. She is the first American teenager to win the tournament since 1999, when 17-year-old Serena Williams took the crown. Gauff has said Serena is the reason she plays tennis. She is her tennis idol, and for good reason. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles – more than any player in the Open era. But before becoming a household name, Serena was a girl from Compton with a drive. This week on "Making", Brandon Pope revisits the years before anyone knew Serena's name. Hear from the people in the room and on the court during her evolution to tennis prodigy, including her sister Isha Price, former tennis pro Chanda Rubin, and childhood coach Rick Macci.
Over the course of her climb to the Hollywood A-List, Whoopi Goldberg has worn many hats: stand-up comedian, Broadway star, screen actress, and daytime television host. But before her breakout role in a Steven Spielberg film, she was a young mom hopping around the country, taking odd jobs and doing avant-garde theater. This week on Making, we chart Whoopi Goldberg's winding path to stardom, from living off welfare, to landing on Broadway with her one-woman show. Host Brandon Pope chats with her first theater partners, her first director, and her first stage manager to discover who Whoopi was when she was just a wide-eyed talent waiting to be discovered. "The first time I saw her, I knew she was going to make it," said William Farley, the director for her first on-screen performance. "She was an original. And an original, they become seen."
Since November, dozens of states have introduced legislation that could criminalize drag performances, including Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. This week on Making, we look at the life of an iconic Black TV creator whose art is at the center of this new political hot button. RuPaul Andre Charles brought drag to America's main stage and opened doors for queerness. But before his Emmys and Tonys, he was a go-go dancing young person determined to be a star. Host Brandon Pope chats with RuPaul's close friends, collaborators and mentees, including drag queen Lady Bunny, DJ and songwriter Larry Tee, drag historian Simon Doonan and RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars winner Shea Coulee. This episode was originally published on Nov 17, 2022. This season of Making covers a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don't miss an episode.
Shonda Rhimes has been called TV's greatest. With groundbreaking shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, she became one of the most powerful showrunners in Hollywood history. But, the battle to Hollywood's highest echelons wasn't a joyride for a Black woman from Chicagoland. Hear from mentors, colleagues and cultural commentators on how the queen of television came to be.
Jordan Peele is responsible for modern classics in the horror genre, including the films Us, Nope and the Oscar-winning Get Out. Before all that, he was a self-described nerd. He majored in puppetry in college before dropping out with his friend Rebecca Drysdale to pursue a career in comedy. Hear from Drysdale, Peele's early collaborator Brendan Hunt and cultural critic Aisha Harris about Jordan Peele's rise to comedic and horror genius.
Part 2: It all falls down. Ye becomes a mouthpiece for the more sinister parts of American society. In the second episode of our two-part podcast series, hear from friends, journalists, activists, fans (and former fans) on Ye's second act, from superstar status to cultural pariah. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don't miss an episode.
Part 1: Touch the sky. Before becoming a cultural lightning rod, Kanye West was a self-confident teenager, handing out mixtapes on the South and West sides of Chicago. In the first episode of our two-part podcast series, we track Kanye's meteoric rise from uncredited producer to headlining star. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don't miss an episode.