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It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

Author: NPR

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Each week, Sam Sanders interviews people in the culture who deserve your attention. Plus weekly wraps of the news with other journalists. Join Sam as he makes sense of the world through conversation.
328 Episodes
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"Karen" is not just a name. It's also a persona, an attitude, a label for a certain type of white woman determined to get what she wants—especially at the expense of Black people. Karens are part of a long lineage going back at least a couple centuries. This week we share an episode from Code Switch about the origins of "Karen" as an archetype, who her ancestors were, and why such a label even exists.
A special bonus feed drop from The Los Angeles Times podcast Asian Enough: A conversation with Top Chef host, model and writer Padma Lakshmi about growing up Indian American in the San Gabriel Valley, cultural appropriation vs. appreciation in food, and her new Hulu show Taste the Nation.
Should I wear a mask while running? How often should I wipe down my phone? Can I say hello to other people's dogs? Our listeners had questions about coronavirus, we have answers. Sam is joined by Short Wave host Maddie Sofia to dig into the science behind some of the decisions we have to make about everyday encounters in this pandemic. Then, Sam is all caught up in the buzz around Netflix's Indian Matchmaking, and he calls up journalist and former It's Been a Minute intern Hafsa Fathima to break it down.Follow us: https://twitter.com/NPRItsBeenAMin Email us: samsanders@npr.org
All relationships have a backstory, even friendships. Best friends Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, hosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, are out with a new book called Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close. In it, they write about their friendship story and they share lessons for all of us about how to keep our own friendships strong. Sam chats with them about going to friend therapy and what it's like to have a deep friendship with someone of a different race.Follow us: https://twitter.com/NPRItsBeenAMin Email us: samsanders@npr.org
We're in a recession, and it's hitting women especially hard. So how does it compare to the last recession, and how much of it has to do with childcare? Sam is joined by Planet Money's Mary Childs and Stacey Vanek Smith to make sense of it all. Then Sam chats with Reverend Jes Kast, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, about how faith and scripture provide solace in moments of uncertainty like this.
Sam revisits his 2019 conversation with actress and writer Michaela Coel, who is the star and creator of the new critically acclaimed show, I May Destroy You. Before that show, Coel made waves in the hit British sitcom Chewing Gum. Her work as the creator, writer, and lead actress on the show earned her a BAFTA. She tells Sam about the emotional transparency that comes from shaving her head and how she once embraced the Pentecostal faith. They also bond over their feelings about Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.
Colleges and universities are getting ready for a new year, but like everything else, coronavirus is complicating everything. Some are closing campus and moving online, others plan to bring students back with social distancing. Sam checks in with Tressie McMillan Cottom, associate professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy, about the state of higher education and why not all colleges are created equal when it comes to prioritizing health over business. Then he chats with comedian and Desus and Mero writer Ziwe Fumudoh, whose recent interviews with white celebrities like Alison Roman and Rose McGowan have generated a lot of social media buzz for her frank questions about race. They talk about the art of the interview and her comfort with discomfort.
The newsrooms that covered the protests for racial justice are now being forced to confront racism and inequity within their own organizations. Black journalists and other journalists of color are sharing their experiences on social media and leading a public debate over what it means to be "objective," whose stories are told, and how whiteness still dictates newsroom practices, opportunities and compensation. Sam chats about this reckoning within newsrooms with The Undefeated's Soraya Nadia McDonald, Futuro Media president and founder and Latino USA host Maria Hinojosa and NPR public editor Kelly McBride. Thanks for listening to our show! We want your feedback. Please visit npr.org/ibamsurvey to submit your thoughts now.
Four months into the pandemic, it seems like we're no better off in dealing with the coronavirus. There are still so many questions and few definitive answers about how this all ends, and for a lot of us, that's turned into anger and frustration. Sam talks to comedian Laurie Kilmartin about how she used Twitter and her iPad to process her mother's illness and death from COVID-19. Then he chats with Houston bar owner Greg Perez about how he's trying to keep workers and customers safe while also keeping his business afloat. And Sam asks Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo in Miami about how to make sense of all the mixed public health messaging on the coronavirus.
Last year, comedian Chelsea Handler made a documentary on Netflix called, Hello Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea, where she explored the idea of white privilege. Which happens to be a thing that a lot of people are talking about again... right now, in 2020.Sam talks to Chelsea about what she's learned since then, her latest book — Life Will Be the Death of Me...and You Too! -- and coming to terms with both her own white privilege during the protests... and herself, in therapy.
It's summer without a lot of the usual summer fun because, you know, pandemic. But we've got music and TV recommendations to keep you company. Joining Sam are All Things Considered co-host Audie Cornish and Code Switch co-host Gene Demby to chat about their TV picks — Netflix's Bojack Horseman and HBO's I May Destroy You — and to play a special summer songs version of Who Said That. Then, Sam chats with gospel musician, songwriter and author Kirk Franklin about how his music and faith are a balm for these turbulent times.
Ever wonder what it would be like to take hundreds of photos of yourself for a giant coffee table book ... wearing only a bikini? Comedian Nicole Byer has. And did, for her new book: #VeryFat #VeryBrave: The Fat Girl's Guide to Being #Brave and Not a Dejected, Melancholy, Down-in-the-Dumps Weeping Fat Girl in a Bikini.Sam talks to the "Nailed It" Netflix host about what it was like to make the book, what it taught her about her body, and why the store Lane Bryant touches a nerve.
How much has Big Tech changed since the 2016 election? Sam is joined by Washington Post tech reporters Elizabeth Dwoskin and Tony Romm. They chat about Facebook and Twitter and how their platforms and views on free speech have evolved since the last presidential election. Sam also chats with Washington Post columnist and satirist Alexandra Petri about her book of essays Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why and how she uses humor to uncover bigger truths.
Actress Tracee Ellis Ross has been acting for years — from the early 2000s sitcom 'Girlfriends' to her Golden Globe winning role on ABC's 'Black-ish.' She talks to Sam about pushing back against Black stereotypes on and off-screen, pursuing success at any age, finding Black joy during a tumultuous time, and sharing her singing work in her latest film 'The High Note' with her mother, music legend Diana Ross.
What does it all mean when so much change happens at the same time? This week, the Supreme Court protected the rights of two marginalized groups — DACA recipients and LGBTQ workers — and protests against police brutality continued around the world. Sam chats about the Supreme Court with Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, then checks in with Tobore Oweh, a DACA recipient who is hopeful yet realistic about her status. After that, Sam calls across the pond to UK writer Candice Carty-Williams about the Black Lives Matter protests near her.
James McBride is the National Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and the best-selling memoir, The Color of Water. His latest book is Deacon King Kong, which is set against the backdrop of 1960s Brooklyn and tells the story of how one man's decision upended an entire neighborhood. Sam talks to McBride about race, religion and community, the parallels he sees to the world we're living in today, and why he's still optimistic, despite protests and a pandemic.
The killing of George Floyd has inspired global protests against police brutality, and it seems like everyone has something to say, including the entertainment industry. Sam's joined by NPR television critic Eric Deggans and Tonya Mosley, co-host of NPR/WBUR's Here & Now and host of the KQED podcast Truth Be Told. They talk about the cancellation of the long-running reality TV show Cops, the removal of Gone With the Wind from HBO Max, and what it all says about this moment. After that, Sam chats with Rev. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister at Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan, and Rev. angel Kyodo williams, a Zen priest. They talk about what Black people and white people should be doing differently now and give Sam a bit of sermon.
2020 is '68 all over again. But not the '68 you think. Yes, 1968 also saw protests, racial divisions and political polarization. Adam Serwer covers politics for The Atlantic, and he says you can certainly draw comparisons between Trump and Nixon – in that Trump is actually a backlash to the policies that came out of 1968. But Serwer says 1868 is a better point of comparison – it was a moment of hope, when white Republicans had been fighting for black rights for years, before ultimately abandoning them to pursue white voters. Serwer sees Americans coming together in this moment, as they have in the past, but as a student of history, he says the backlash always comes eventually.
Not Just Another Protest

Not Just Another Protest

2020-06-0541:508

There is so much to unpack in this current moment. Sam has a candid conversation with Aunt Betty about how history has shaped her view of the current protests, and he walks around downtown Los Angeles to get the perspective of people he meets. Sam also talks to BuzzFeed News reporter Melissa Segura on her recent reporting about police unions and what they mean for reform, and Morning Edition executive producer Kenya Young about being a black parent during this time.
Comedian Hasan Minhaj is not afraid of talking about his faith, even when it gets him in trouble. He's a two-time Peabody Award winner and host of the Netflix show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, which has just begun its second season. He talks to Sam about being an Indian American Muslim, how he finds joy in family and what his faith means to him today.
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Comments (24)

Adriano Chiaretta

Totally agree on shaving your own head.

Aug 4th
Reply

muffen jr

I want so BADLY to hear the unbleeped version of this episode.

Jun 30th
Reply

Ntete Bassey Duke

such a rollercoaster of emotions episode

Jun 19th
Reply

Jes L Schultz

I wonder what history lessons you may have about what the big upperclass to rich America have done to keep the lower-lower middle classes quiet and happily pegged/immobilized .

Jun 12th
Reply

Arielle Niss

Love what you do with this show, Sam! Thank you for producing and reporting this.

Jun 10th
Reply

Xavier Doc Jenkins

Andrew Glouberman

Mar 11th
Reply

Sam Yeagle

"Scooters are bad, but people are good." 😊

Feb 22nd
Reply

i.am.fearlessone

"Anyway, this has been everything I wanted it to be." 🤣🤣🤣 This was fun to listen to. (:

Jan 1st
Reply (1)

Jennifer Ingram

💜💜💜💜

Nov 16th
Reply

jabtrack123

Most campus sexual assaults are by people the victim knows not strangers and also occur outside of frat parties. It's also not like drinking stops after college but we clearly don't use that as the scapegoat for sexual assault elsewhere. Drinking is a factor but it is not the cause and going after that won't magically stop assault. A lot of people drink and the majority do not assault someone while doing so. I really don't think the presentation of the issue by Gladwell was accurate and quite frankly it did sound like victim blaming not "victim prevention."

Sep 18th
Reply

Xavier Doc Jenkins

I need that “what” sound byte as a text tone.

Aug 24th
Reply

TheRealMrPink

if the trans Victoria secret model is hot, I'm sure it'll get some views but guaranteed if Victoria's secret keeps going down this ridiculous Woke path and think the majority of their viewers of the show want to see plus size models and trans people who do not come off as well as they'd like, they will go either out of business or their catwalk show will be cancelled. these are facts.

Aug 11th
Reply

Cheng Zhang-Stoddard

Love this talented man!

Apr 10th
Reply

Lizzie Sullivan

Thank you for the trigger/content warning right up front. I appreciate it.

Mar 12th
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Dani Vasquez

Sam is so tuned in. I love that he learns the language needed to help him connect to each person that he interviews. He brings in techniques that are probably representative of his training and education while maintaining an air of authenticity. This interview is no exception. Thanks for turning me on to artists that are new to me in a way that makes me feel like I've been listening to them for a while.

Feb 22nd
Reply

Isaac Sanchez

one of my favorite podcasts. the tone is just right with a good balance of intellect and blissful pop culture ignorance. keep up the good work you guys!

Jan 12th
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Victoria Rose

I hire day workers for 20 an hour so I could work for that too. and if I need some Brawn I could higher one of those heavy lifting types for some Things. does that sound doable?

Dec 26th
Reply

Anna Linnell

I'm challenging your declaration of the "youngest person elected to congress". Check it out, Abby Finkenaur from Iowa's first congressional district is just 29.

Nov 17th
Reply

Danica Hay-Skattum

please be sure to talk about the sexual harassment of males especially when talking about servers. Women can be just as out of line with comments and unwanted touching of males but males are, in my opinion, even more so chastised for speaking up against it!!

Oct 2nd
Reply

jmike s

thanks so much for the Updatez I gvxkmt pzx I'm looking hey mang oh Chris k

Sep 21st
Reply
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