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Soledad O’Brien’s “Matter of Fact Listening Tour” Returns to Explore Race and Injustice in America

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soledad o'brien interviewing shaka king for the matter of fact listening tour


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A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost a year after police brutality protests erupted across the country, it is increasingly challenging to make sense of where America goes from here. Rolling up her sleeves to bring brilliant minds together, all in search of an answer, is renowned journalist and documentarian Soledad O’Brien.

This spring, she’s once again crusading against ignorance with another installment of her “Matter of Fact Listening Tour.” The series, an extension of her half-hour weekly talk show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, is creating ongoing forums to explore race and injustice in America, with a strict rule against sugarcoating. The second special, “To Be An American: Identity, Race And Justice” is set to stream on Thursday, March 18, beginning at 7 p.m. EST.

Now more than ever, O’Brien says, the need to examine who and how we identify as Americans is paramount to the nation’s survival. As the country reels from the pandemic’s disparate impact on Black and brown communities; the fallout from the Capitol riot in January; and the continuing protests around racial equity and police brutality, “those circumstances—combined with questions about who should vote, who should cross the border, who should get their day in court—all point to a need to reassess who we are as Americans and what holds our nation together,” O’Brien says.

Soledad O’Brien interviewing Shaka King for the Matter of Fact Listening Tour.

Courtesy of Matter of Fact

The broadcast, which will stream live at matteroffact.tv, will open with a pop quiz of sorts: a “citizenship test,” which will quiz viewers on how well they know the United States and grant them an inside look at what immigrants must learn to be granted naturalization. The idea is to examine what really binds us together as a people—”an elegant legal document written in the 18th century,” as O’Brien puts it, or something greater and more contemporary.

This episode of the listening tour will also feature a number of interviews, performances, and essays from prestigious guests, including:

  • Ilyasah Shabazz, an educator, activist, author and daughter of civil rights leader Malcolm X
  • Nikki Pitre, Executive Director of the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute
  • Shaka King, director of the Oscar-nominated Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Gina Brillon, a Bronx-born comedian and winner of NBC’s Stand-Up for Diversity contest
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the New York Times‘s special report, the 1619 Project, among many others.
    ilyasah shabazz with soledad o'brien

    Ilyasah Shabazz with Soledad O’Brien during the Matter of Fact Listening Tour.

    Austap Wolfgang

    O’Brien revealed the conversations with King and Hannah-Jones are particularly enlightening. “[King’s] commitment to storytelling and to bringing historic figures to life authentically, and his direct and thoughtful way of evaluating ideas—that was really fun/heartening,” O’Brien says of her experience reporting and creating this show. “Nikole Hannah-Jones—a friend, someone I admire—someone who is weathering the attacks against her…She has so much to say to us.”

    Viewers can stream the special live on Matter of Fact’s website, YouTube, and Facebook Live channels, or by bookmarking this page and watching the broadcast above. Pre-show begins at 6:30 p.m. EST, with the full segment starting at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, March 18.

    Catch a preview here:

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Fashion

28 Commoners Who Married Royals

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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.

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Fashion

35 Unforgettable Royal Wedding Scandals, Shockers, and Bizarre Moments

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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.”

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Fashion

All of Queen Rania of Jordan’s Best Fashion Moments

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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.

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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.

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October 14, 2018

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

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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.

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May 22, 2018

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

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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.

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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.

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September 11, 2016

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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November 20, 2015

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

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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.

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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.

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May 19, 2014

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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