Connect with us


Analyzing Black Pop Culture Got Me Through 2020



jonathan majors and jurnee smollet standing beside a car in a still for hbo's show lovecraft country

It’s 2020. There’s a global pandemic, my state is on fire, government officials are showing disrespect for Black bodies and disdain for Black lives, a new piece of society-shaking news comes out every day…and I’m spending every spare minute bingeing Girlfriends and reading tweets about Black art.

Black pop culture has kept me sane through the trash fire that has been this year. I don’t care if it seems frivolous amidst an ongoing global crisis—it brings me joy. In these times when I can’t see my family and friends in person, I find relaxation in revisiting a classic or obsessing over a new form of art. I process my feelings as I watch and listen, and giving Black pop culture attention—through appreciation or critique—reinforces that Black stories and Black life are important. Now more than ever, I need depictions of Black joy and strength to remind me that my life matters and people like me deserve the world.

Lately, I’ve been turning to podcasts for conversations about Black culture. Though the field is still majority-white, there are many great podcasts about Black pop culture, including The Read, The Nod, Still Processing, and Strong Black Lead. And in the midst of 2020’s chaos, two new podcasts premiered that highlight how Black cultural analysis and appreciation affirm and revere Black lives.

On each episode of Back Issue, host Tracy Clayton and producer-host Josh Gwynn discuss a Black pop culture moment they’ve been thinking about for years with an expert who brings behind-the-scenes insight. So far they’ve covered America’s Next Top Model with Jay Manuel, the show’s creative director for the first nine seasons, and talked to comedian Tommy Lee Davidson about In Living Color. They also bring listener interactions into the show—for the Beyoncé episode, they played listeners’ voicemails thanking the icon for the impact she’s had on their lives.

Nostalgia has been big this year. After dealing with nothing but conflict in the outside world, people who can’t handle suspense in their entertainment are returning to shows they already love. On July 29, Netflix announced it would release a slate of beloved Black sitcoms, two a month from August to October. Since then, Black Twitter has been dominated by clips from the shows and reminders of long-forgotten plot points. As Gwynn puts it, “nostalgia is harm reduction.”

“Giving Black pop culture attention—through appreciation or critique—reinforces that Black stories and Black life are important.”

“I think the current conditions lend themselves to seeking comfort in something that’s so readily available, like streaming content,” adds Clayton. “Also, times are so shitty and we want to go back. It transports us to a time when we were lighter—a more peaceful time. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, and also peace, sweet peace. So maybe this is a way people are trying to find that peace.”

Revisiting these works also provides a chance to give them the recognition they deserve. Though a lot of mainstream American pop culture has been influenced, or outright stolen, from Black pop culture, art and media made by Black people haven’t generated the same amount of cultural analysis in popular magazines or academia. We’re in the midst of a Black cultural renaissance—movies like Get Out and Moonlight, TV shows like Insecure and Atlanta, books like The Hate U Give, plays and musicals like Slave Play and A Strange Loop, the list goes on—but before very recently, there weren’t think pieces or TV segments about Black art and culture in white-led outlets.

“These formative moments [are] important to us and they’re important to our community, and no one can deny that Black culture is pop culture,” Gwynn says. “So if Black culture is pop culture, then these moments that are formative moments to us are formative moments to American pop culture at large—whether they realize it or not.”

Clayton adds, “They should have been on 60 Minutes with Barbara Walters. They should have been in New York Magazine. This is a way to go back and pay the proper respects where respect was due, now that we have a bigger ability to do so.”

Mainstream media’s current willingness to pay more respect to Black culture is bittersweet. Though part comes from Black critics having larger platforms, a greater part comes from the dominant, white-led culture realizing that Black people have a lot to say. More ambitious work about Black lives has been greenlit, funded, and acquired, and analysis of that work creates bigger cultural conversations.

HBO’s Lovecraft Country is one of the most ambitious works of Black art in recent years. On Lovecraft Country Radio, the show’s official companion podcast produced by Pineapple Street Studios, writer and critic Ashley C. Ford and series writer Shannon Houston discuss the themes and references in each week’s episode. They dig deep into history, gender studies, and personal experience, all through a Black female lens, to get to the heart of a show that subverts horror tropes, examines generational trauma, provides visions of Afro-futurism, and so much more.

Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett in Lovecraft Country.


Listening to Ford and Houston, the audience gets a sense of how discussing art can be a powerful form of connection. The hosts have yet to connect in person—they met over the phone when the podcast was being developed—but they build an easy camaraderie with their observations about the show. You can hear the excitement when Houston mentions a discussion that happened in the show’s writers’ room, or when Ford brings up an idea that Houston hadn’t considered.

“I’m having a blast,” Ford says. “I get to watch a wild ass show, the likes of which my Black ass has never seen before. And then twice a week, I get to talk with somebody who was in the writer’s room, who is thinking about this show on a broader scale, who’s constantly bringing things up. I’m having a lot of fun.”

While Back Issue covers the classics and revisits conversations with a few decades of distance, Lovecraft Country Radio gives an immediate reaction to a work of art. Ford, serving as the observer of the two hosts, didn’t even watch past the current week’s episode when they recorded. For Houston, who wrote on the show and has more knowledge of the creative choices, hearing Ford’s and viewers’ responses is part of the fun.

“This is just a little sliver of all the stories that still need to be told.” —Shannon Houston

“That fresh perspective means a lot because as a writer, I’m going to defend the show. I think it’s really important to have those other critical eyes, like, ‘Okay, that may have been your intention, but this is how I felt,’” says Houston.

Every episode of Lovecraft Country Radio ends with recommendations for further reading: books, films, poems, essays, and other works that enhance the show’s themes. In addition to generating conversation about the TV show, Houston and Ford hope the podcast’s discussions and recommendations open listeners’ minds, especially Black listeners. They both know Black people are not a monolith, that we have an array of opinions about art and culture and life, and they want those opinions to be heard—both on Twitter and through new works of art.

“I can’t wait to see what people are going to make after this,” Houston says. “I can’t wait to see what people will think just by discovering that there’s such a thing as a Kumiho. What kind of stories will people give themselves permission to tell? That’s why we have all those references, cause we’re like, ‘keep digging, keep doing more.’ This is just a little sliver of all the stories that still need to be told.”

As long as people keep talking about these stories, debating them, and sharing insights, the future of Black storytelling is bright.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at


28 Commoners Who Married Royals



28 Commoners Who Married Royals

Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary

She became an Iranian queen when she married Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1951. The daughter of a German mother and a father who was a member of Iran’s powerful Bakhtiari family, Queen Soraya was the Shah’s second wife and later became an actress. She went on to star in two films, I Tre Volti and She, after the couple’s divorce in 1958.

Continue Reading


35 Unforgettable Royal Wedding Scandals, Shockers, and Bizarre Moments



35 Unforgettable Royal Wedding Scandals, Shockers, and Bizarre Moments

Princess Stéphanie of Monaco married her bodyguard.

Grace Kelly’s daughter, Princess Stéphanie, tied the knot with Daniel Ducruet, who had previously been assigned as her bodyguard. When the couple wed, they already had two children together. At the time, The Associated Press described Ducruet as “a former pet shop salesman and fishmonger known to have a hot temper,” and noted that Stéphanie’s father, Rainier III, opposed the love connection. The wedding took place on July 1, 1995, at Monaco Town Hall. However, little more than a year later, the marriage ended in divorce when, per the AP, Ducruet “was caught by paparazzi in a poolside romp with a Belgian stripper.”

Continue Reading


All of Queen Rania of Jordan’s Best Fashion Moments



the king and queen of jordan will visit the basilica of st francis of assisi

Franco OrigliaGetty Images

Since her husband, Abdullah II, became the King of Jordan in 1999, Queen Rania of Jordan has been hard at work. The Queen is best known for her advocacy in public health and education, as well as her supremely trendy sense of style. Throughout the years, Rania has proven that her sartorial tastes are impeccable. She has a penchant for monochromatic looks and pops of color, but also knows her way around a neutral palette. Read on for 63 of her best royal style moments here.

1 of 63

April 17, 2019

Rania stepped out in a casual tank and pants combo during a tour of Jordan, and brightened it up with a coral jacket.

2 of 63

March 29, 2019

For a visit to the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Queen wore a collared navy midi dress, a trendy Louis Vuitton handbag, and added dainty silver earrings.

3 of 63

March 29, 2019

While visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, Queen Rania wore this bold monochrome look, which features a pleated midi dress and a tailored leather jacket.

4 of 63

October 14, 2018

The Queen stunned in a belted pinstripe midi dress for the state opening of Jordan’s Parliament.

5 of 63

June 25, 2018

On a visit to the White House with her husband, Rania wore a flowy blush pantsuit with a matching purse and pumps.

6 of 63

May 22, 2018

Rania wore a gorgeous grey-blue pleated turtleneck dress to her daughter Princess Salma’s graduation.

7 of 63

March 21, 2018

Rania chose a tailored grey blazer, turtleneck, and crisp white pants for a visit to the Netherlands. Her suede heels and elaborate woven handbag were perfect complements to her neutral outfit.

8 of 63

March 20, 2018

Queen Rania showed us that she isn’t afraid of a bold pop of color. Here, she wore a bright blue swing coat with statement buttons and a white neck scarf over her grey dress.

9 of 63

November 11, 2017

For this look, Rania paired a simple white top with a brightly patterned pencil skirt and coral handbag.

10 of 63

August 11, 2017

For the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy, the Queen chose a bright pink quilted princess coat and matching heels. She accessorized with a black purse and silver jewelry.

11 of 63

May 21, 2017

Rania glowed at the Fashion for Relief event at Cannes, wearing a delicate white dress with lace details and simple jewelry. She posed for a photo with Princess Beatrice and Sarah, Duchess of York at the event.

12 of 63

December 3, 2016

The Queen wore an elegant A-line gown with pink silk details to a gala in Germany.

13 of 63

November 11, 2016

Rania chose a simple black blazer and pencil skirt, drawing attention to her intricate turtleneck, for the state opening of Parliament in Amman, Jordan.

14 of 63

September 11, 2016

Queen Rania stepped out in a beautiful crimson and blue gown for the Celebrity Fight Night gala.

15 of 63

June 2, 2016

Rania arrived at the Great Arab Revolt centennial wearing a deep teal dress with gold embroidery, turquoise drop earrings, a cream quilted clutch, and black heels.

16 of 63

May 25, 2016

For Jordan’s 70th Independence Day, Rania chose a belted maroon top with an extravagant red and white detailed skirt, maroon heels and silver accessories.

17 of 63

May 18, 2016

Rania wore a soft pink swing coat adorned with a floral detail and black kitten heels alongside the Queen of Belgium during a visit to Brussels.

18 of 63

May 2, 2016

The Queen turned heads on the red carpet in a feathered gown dotted with delicate silver gems by Valentino at the Manus x Machina Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

19 of 63

January 8, 2016

During a visit to London, Rania wore a hot pink pencil dress with a complementary belted coat and black pointed-toe heels.

20 of 63

November 20, 2015

While in Spain, the Queen wore a black and white striped accordion skirt, a white blouse, and a mahogany wide belt.

21 of 63

November 19, 2015

Here, Rania paired a trendy leather pencil skirt with a patterned blouse for a visit to the Prado Media Lab cultural center in Madrid, Spain.

22 of 63

November 19, 2015

Queen Rania walked with Queen Letizia of Spain on the airport tarmac as she arrives in Madrid, Spain for a royal visit. Rania’s chic ensemble proves that even after a long plane ride, the royal is glowing. This look features a simple sky blue dress, a red and white woven wrap coat, and glittery heels.

23 of 63

September 25, 2015

For the UN Foundation’s Gender Equality Discussion, Rania stepped out in an all-white ensemble, but it’s far from dull. The detail in her top, her snakeskin clutch, and her reflective pointed-toe heels make this a style to remember.

24 of 63

August 26, 2015

Rania and her daughter walked the red carpet for the Medef Summer University Conference. The Queen wore a simple A-line dress and accented it with a Louis Vuitton bag and strappy heels.

25 of 63

May 19, 2014

Here Queen Rania wore a black and white patterned top, a black midi skirt with a sheer overlay, and pumps.

26 of 63

March 12, 2013

Rania and Camilla Parker Bowles pose for a photo during Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal tour in Jordan. Rania chose a bright blue and white knee-length dress adorned with a flower, and pearl drop earrings for the occasion.

27 of 63

May 18, 2012

Queen Rania chose a classic flattering dress for a dinner at Buckingham Palace. The celebration was held in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, her 60th anniversary on the throne.

28 of 63

May 18, 2012

Rania wore a white ruffled top with gold accents, paired with a fiery red pencil skirt, and her signature black pumps for an event at Windsor Castle in England. The royal was in town to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

29 of 63

April 2, 2012

The Queen was glowing on a visit to the Royal Palace in Italy, wearing an embroidered double-breasted trench coat, peep-toe heels, and a sleek black purse.

30 of 63

June 19, 2010

Rania stepped out in a purple gown—the color of royalty—paired with a tiara and sash for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling’s royal wedding in Stockholm, Sweden.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2020 Diliput News.