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#BackChannel: The Women Behind ‘Queen Sugar’ And Remembering Aretha Franklin:

Hundreds of people lined up in Detroit this morning to bid farewell to Aretha Franklin at her public visitation. The singer’s outsized legacy has crystallized in the days since her death on Aug. 16, 2018. 

Aretha Franklin's music took up a huge space in my life. So when Aretha came to the Apollo Theater, my parents got tickets and took me [...] In some ways in saying goodbye to Aretha I have to say goodbye to my mother also.- Mark Anthony Neal

The “Queen of Soul,” has been described by nearly every superlative, including “America’s truest voice,” “as immortal as can be” and the “greatest American singer of the 20th century.” Throughout her six-decade career, Franklin earned 18 Grammy Awards, recorded more than 40 studio albums and became the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

It's like God is underscoring the idea, the beauty and majesty of being young, gifted and black. She just cuts loose at the end [...] To get you to believe you're young gifted and black.- Natalie Bullock Brown

Host Frank Stasio talks with popular culture experts Mark Anthony Nealand Natalie Bullock Brown about Aretha Franklin’s career, music and influence in this episode of #BackChannel, The State of Things’ recurring series connecting culture and context. Natalie Bullock Brown is a filmmaker and teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University, and Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Professor of African and African American studies and chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University in Durham.

Bullock Brown and Neal also review season three of “Queen Sugar,” the TV drama created by Ava DuVernay on the Oprah Winfrey Network and hear from Rachel Raimist, a professor at the University of Alabama who directed season three episode 311. Raimist is among a cohort of all-women directors who were invited by DuVernay to work on her show, despite their limited experience in episodic television. 

Here's the trailer for Queen Sugar Season 3:

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.