Arts & Culture

Arts and culture

Britney Spears, a blonde white woman wearing a black dress, smiling at the camera
Wikimedia Commons

You don’t have to love Britney Spears to have heard her story. She was the shiny celebrity with hits like “...Baby One More Time” and “Toxic” that have now become classics. And then she was the woman whose love life, family dynamics and run-ins with the paparazzi were blasted across celebrity magazines. Now, the recent New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” reveals how the same media and cultural forces that brought her to fame tore her apart.

Dating Across Differences

Mar 4, 2021

Research shows daters 50 and older are more likely than younger ones to say it’s very important that online dating profiles include race and political affiliation. Laura wonders if being too specific about race, religion or politics leads to overlooking some solid romantic options.

Check out Dating While Gray on Facebook or share your stories and questions at


Logo for Rhythm Lab Radio
Radio Milwaukee

WUNC Music is thrilled to welcome Rhythm Lab Radio to its weekend lineup.

In this 2018 photo provided by Duke University, Sam Hammond, university carillonneur, plays the Duke Chapel carillon at the university in Durham, North Carolina. Hammond died Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Durham, the university said in a news release.
Jared Lazarus / Duke University

When J. Samuel Hammond arrived as a freshman at Duke University in 1964, he knew nothing about the musical instrument that allowed a player to send melodies ringing across campus from the bells in the school's iconic chapel tower. A demonstration from a fellow student introduced him to the 50-bell carillon that would become his life's work as he played music that marked the end of the academic day for countless students.

An image of Letters To A Young Ghost
Courtesy of the artist

WUNC Music is excited to give you a first look at the video for 'Bluebird' by the Raleigh, NC electropop duo Letters To A Young Ghost. The video stars Jacki Huntington (of TOW3RS, Teevee Nicks, and See Gulls) and was also shot by Huntington after the duo sent her 15 balloons and asked her to film herself roller skating to the track.

Money and Romance

Feb 25, 2021

Laura's the first to admit: She'd rather talk with potential romantic partners about any topic other than money. But is she just delaying the inevitable by  pushing off conversations about personal finances?

Check out Dating While Gray on Facebook and Twitter. Share your stories and questions at

Pauli Murray made impressive use of her time on Earth.  Murray is known as a scholar, an activist, a poet, a priest and an inspiration to countless people drawn to social justice during her lifetime and now.

Join WUNC Wednesday, March 3rd at 6:30pm, as we celebrate the many contributions of this American hero with an evening of poetry and speaking truth to power.

Defining Home Sweet Home

Feb 18, 2021

Since her divorce, Laura's happily lived alone with Jade, her Australian Shepherd mix. But she wonders what it might have been like to go through the pandemic sharing space with a housemate.

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Trivia Night: Black History Essentials

Feb 17, 2021

Calling all nerds!

Test your knowledge and compete against friends, neighbors and members of the WUNC community  Wednesday, February 24th at 7pm.

Co-hosted by WUNC's Kamaya Truitt and quizmaster Clayton Mack, this virtual trivia night features questions specially prepared by North Carolina Central University's Quiz Bowl team and Albemarle Regional Library. It's a chance to show off your intelligence and win a prize package from Bright Black Candles and some WUNC swag. 

The pandemic has made it hard for singles to find romance, and for couples to keep it alive. Host Leoneda Inge interviews couples therapist Mary Hinson about how partners can reconnect after a bit too much time together. Plus, Laura Stassi introduces "Dating While Gray," the latest addition to the WUNC podcast family.

Multiple hands all interconnected in a circle

To anyone who thinks being in a relationship is easy: please share your secrets. Relationships take work, and we ask for trust, communication, commitment and fidelity from our partners. But we often understand those concepts based on a standard of monogamy — and that one-partner-fits-all model doesn’t work for everyone. 

Polyamorous relationships look as different as the people they involve. But they all take some learning and “unlearning” of our standard relationship structures.

This story was updated at 9:28 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 11.

The keyboardist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea — one of the most revered figures in contemporary jazz, but an artist whose work spanned fusion to classical — died on Feb. 9 at age 79.

Pandemic Love: Slow, Fast, and Furious

Feb 11, 2021

Laura is admittedly freaked out by dating apps. But she's also curious how other gray daters are connecting during the COVID pandemic. Does being high risk for the virus have to put a limit on love?

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Unsplash / Creative Commons

As you continue to hunker down for this stay-at-home period, here’s a creative way to bring in a little company and curiosity from the outside world. Cameras sprinkled across the state dive into the daily lives of North Carolina’s rich marine life, take you to an idyllic small-town street corner, and peer over the marshes of the Intercoastal Waterway.

Courtesy North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

It's not easy keeping the family engaged and entertained during this unprecedented time, but these North Carolina museums are making that tall task a little more accessible. Across the state, museums have turned to digital technology to craft online tours that aren’t subject to regular business hours.

The pandemic has shuttered traditional performing arts venues, but many artists have been inspired to create new shows to entertain the public while educating audiences about health disparities.

Host Leoneda Inge interviews playwright Dasan Ahanu, whose ethno-drama “A Crisis of Moments” was staged at North Carolina Central University this winter. Plus, Christina Rodriguez of Carolina Performing Arts previews the organization's virtual spring season.


Updated on Jan. 22. This post will be updated periodically as we tackle your questions.

North Carolina had a rocky start to its initial rollout of vaccinations against COVID-19. Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked the state as sixth worst in the country for initial vaccine distribution per capita. Since then, state officials made significant moves in hopes of speeding the process. On Jan. 5, Governor Roy Cooper announced that he mobilized the NC National Guard to support vaccine distribution. On Thursday, health officials released a significant revamp of the state vaccine rollout plan. Essentially, they’ve done away with the previous sub-tiered four-phase system and introduced a new five-group plan.

Anna Luisa Daigneault, known as Quilla, is the audio muse that makes the Embodied podcast sparkle. WUNC collaborated with Quilla to craft the theme for Embodied and other background music for the recurring series, which approaches taboo topics through a feminist lens.

New Year, New Hope

Jan 1, 2021

Host Leoneda Inge rings in the new year with astrologer Tali Edut and asks what the stars have in store for 2021. Plus poet and cultural historian Darrell Stover shares his favorite Kwanzaa principle.

Frank Stasio’s Fondest Shows: Meet Little Brother

Dec 31, 2020
Two Black men pose for the camera together without smiling
Courtesy of Phonte Coleman

In 2003, Frank Stasio spent time in North Carolina guest hosting The State of Things, and one of the conversations from his early days on the show is one of his most-memorable from his 15-year tenure as host: sitting down with hip-hop group Little Brother.

Two younger boys pose on either side of a man with gray hair as he holds up an album to the camera. The boy on the right is holding a violin.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond/WUNC

Logan Valleroy and Casey Valleroy might be teenagers, but their musical prowess makes them seem like professional musicians. The brothers have been playing music since they were young. Today, the pair play a myriad of instruments like the violin, keyboard, drums, saxophone and guitar, but started out as kids banging on pots and pans around the house.

An old postcard photo of the Gastonia community center, which includes the Women's Club Building, Memorial Hall and Public Library.
Boston Public Library

This March, our world turned digital. Zoom meetings, virtual school and video chats dominated work, school and home life. To ease this transition to computer-based life, the state’s public libraries stepped up for their communities.

A black pen lying on a piece of paper with handwritten words.

  The letters begin with various greetings. “Dear 50 year of age self.” “To my future children.” “Dear future me, It’s me, I mean you, but circa 2020.” These are the words of a group of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill undergraduates who processed the reality of a pandemic-dominated year through letters to the future as a class assignment this spring.

A young woman and an older woman posing together in front of what looks like a food truck.
Courtesy of Cecilia Polanco

Cecilia Polanco’s parents did not dream of their daughter owning a food truck when they emigrated from El Salvador to the United States in the early 1980s. Their expectation was that she would get a respectable profession after college, or even better, a career, like her older sisters who work in law and insurance. So when she proposed the idea of a pupusa business, her mother naturally had some concerns — Polanco did not even know how to make the traditional Salvadoran fare.

Tested Presents: 'Occasional Shivers'

Dec 22, 2020

This special episode is a gift from the team at Tested to you, the listener, with hopes for a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year.

Enjoy "Occasional Shivers," an original musical production from WUNC, North Carolina Public Radio featuring Branford Marsalis, Mike Wiley, Nnena Freelon and more.

He Was An Architect

Dec 22, 2020

In my undergraduate studies I was able to take two courses from the architecture major. We learned a lot about design, cultivated attention to the built environment. My professors emphasized imagining things as they could be, if only we had the fortitude and verve to bring those things we sensed with our imagination into being. I loved it.

Courtesy of Blair Publishing

Twenty-five years ago, renowned poet Lenard D. Moore invited a group of his peers into his basement for a session of writing critique. That monthly gathering evolved into the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, which has supported over 60 writers across a variety of styles through their careers. 

A man wearing a brown jacket and holding a guitar standing in front of a microphone. The man is looking forward.
Ben Phantom

Asheville-based singer-songwriter Ben Phantom’s father never talked about his time in Vietnam. So when he finally decided to go back for a visit after 42 years in the United States, Phantom brought a video camera.

(AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

When former schoolteacher Jane Whaley and her husband, Sam, founded Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, NC in 1979, no one could have imagined all that the institution would become: a religious movement with global impact; a community that provides housing and job opportunities to its congregation; and a cult dogged with allegations of physical, psychological and spiritual abuse

An image of H.C. McEntire
Heather Evans Smith

H.C McEntire's latest album is firmly rooted in her home along the banks of the Eno River in North Carolina. She writes about the changing seasons, working the land and caring for the people she holds dear. 'Eno Axis' is informed by traditional country gospel, but is fueled by a live band captured largely in first takes with plenty of electricity and edginess.