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It's Been a Minute


Has it been a minute since you heard a thought-provoking conversation about culture? Brittany Luse wants to help. Each week, she takes the things everyone's talking about and, in conversation with her favorite creators, tastemakers, and experts, gives you new ways to think about them. Beyond the obvious takes. Because culture doesn't happen by accident. If you can't get enough, try It's Been a Minute Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at


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Has it been a minute since you heard a thought-provoking conversation about culture? Brittany Luse wants to help. Each week, she takes the things everyone's talking about and, in conversation with her favorite creators, tastemakers, and experts, gives you new ways to think about them. Beyond the obvious takes. Because culture doesn't happen by accident. If you can't get enough, try It's Been a Minute Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at




The year concert etiquette went to trash and why

Every couple of weeks there's a new story of a fan at a concert misbehaving. One fan threw ashes at Pink, another hit Drake with a cellphone, Miranda Lambert stopped her show when fans took selfies with flash photography. Extreme instances have landed performers in the hospital, but more often attendees have noticed the audience has gotten louder and more distracting than ever. Where is all of this coming from? Brittany Luse is joined by YouTube commentator Tiffany Ferguson to breakdown how ticket sales, artist merch, and social media create a perfect storm for fans to act out.


Is capitalism in its flop era?

In 2017, Today, Explained co-host Noel King says she started getting a vibe: young people were discussing and dissecting capitalism. She began noticing the word in pop culture and cultural reporting — but found her own tribe of economics reporters were missing from the conversation. Flash forward to 2023, and the word capitalism is all over politics and culture: it's on the stage at the Republican debates, it's on the picket lines and the language of union strikes from Hollywood to New York City, it's even in the new Indiana Jones movie. How did we get here — and has talking about capitalism made us more divided? Noel King joins host Brittany Luse to discuss her new multi-part series exploring how a new generation of Americans are coming to terms with capitalism.


Rock and roll's pioneer is a queer, Southern Black man

When you think of rockstar royalty, a queer, Southern Black man normally doesn't come to mind. But director Lisa Cortés wants us all to reconsider that thought. Her documentary, Little Richard: I Am Everything, takes viewers through the life and legacy of one of the most influential men in music - Little Richard. From the bawdy roots of his hit song, "Tutti Frutti," to teaching Mick Jagger how to work a crowd, Little Richard's impact spans generations. Host Brittany Luse and director Lisa Cortes talk about the documentary, Little Richard's struggles with own identity, and the queer influence on rock and roll.


The Photo of the Year; plus, whose RICO is it anyway?

When former President Donald Trump's mugshot was released, pundits immediately searched for meaning. Was it defiant? Was it embarrassing? Turns out what we see in that image could change over time. Brittany Luse is joined by Vanessa Friedman, senior fashion critic for the New York Times, to talk about the cultural meaning of infamous mugshots and their resounding impact on us. Then, we welcome Emory law professor emeritus Morgan Cloud to talk about the legal tool that's taking pop culture by storm: the RICO charge. We explore what the act was originally intended to do, and the role of the RICO reboot in several big pop culture cases today, from rapper Young Thug to fashion retailer SHEIN.


20 years of pumpkin spice power

It's been 20 years since Starbucks debuted the first pumpkin spice latte in 2003. Since then, it's become a cultural phenomenon greater than itself: it's shorthand for fall, for basicness, for femininity, and even for white culture. Why did the PSL become so powerful — and how do food trends garner so much meaning? Host Brittany Luse chats with Suzy Badaracco, food trend forecaster and founder of Culinary Tides, to discuss the $500 million dollar industry, and how little miss pumpkin spice has held on to her cultural power.


Luther Vandross and Samara Joy sing across generations

Music is all about pushing the envelope, and no one knew that more than Luther Vandross. His rendition of "A House is Not a Home" is so beloved, many fans don't even know it's a cover. His sound also laid the groundwork for many popular artists today, from Jazmine Sullivan to Beyoncé. Host Brittany Luse is joined by Craig Seymour, author of "Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross" to discuss Luther's impact and why his name isn't often in conversation with other greats - even though it should be. Then, Brittany is joined by Grammy award-winning jazz singer Samara Joy. Samara talks about her album, Linger Awhile, and how she makes music that sounds timeless.


'All The Things She Said': queer anthem or problematic queerbait?

In September 2002, the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. released their smash single "All The Things She Said." The song is a grungy euro-dance track, and the video features the lead singers Lena Katina and Julia Volkova dressed in schoolgirl uniforms and making out in the rain. The video was banned from UK television for being "not really suitable for children." That did not stop the song from becoming a global sensation. It topped the charts in 13 countries, and in the United States the duo would perform the song over and over on live television. During performances, they made a point to do as they did in their video and make out. But here's the thing: neither Katina or Volkova identified as lesbians or queer at the time. From Harry Styles to Katy Perry, debates over queerbaiting have raged online, and t.A.T.u.'s "All The Things She Said" fits squarely in that lineage. But despite roleplaying as lesbians for their own success, is there something redeemable in how they represented lesbianism at a time when no one else would put two women kissing on camera? And how should we look at this song today? It's Been A Minute senior producer Barton Girdwood talked this out with Girls Can Kiss Now author, Jill Gutowitz. You can email us at


Skincare is dewy diet culture; plus, how to have the "Fat Talk"

In this conversation from November 2022, host Brittany Luse chats with beauty reporter Jessica Defino about the increase in celebrity skincare lines and why the the way we talk about skin is regressive. Plus, Brittany revisits her chat with "Fat Talk" author Virgina Sole-Smith: they dive into anti-fat bias in parenting and why it's important to embrace fatness. And later, Brittany gives her take on Jennifer Aniston's latest comments on cancel culture.


Why we don't trust the 'vanilla girl'

This week is all about beauty and diet trends. In this first interview from March, host Brittany Luse chats with Forbes staff writer Steffi Cao to discuss her essay, "white women want their power back: on bbls and balletcore, and the entropy of aesthetic." Steffi points to the online rise of the 'clean girl' and 'vanilla girl' aesthetics, just as the myth of innocent white womanhood erodes in the public sphere following outrage at "Karens" and critical looks at stars like Miley Cyrus who borrowed from Black aesthetics for years.


'Abbott Elementary' and 'Succession' take on love and grief

This week, we're looking at some of the best TV of the year. Brittany Luse revisits her November 2022 conversation with Abbott Elementary writers Brittani Nichols and Joya McCrory. They talk about creating a world that feels both authentic and funny to American teachers. Then, Linda Holmes of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour stops by to chat about the television episode that had our group chats in a chokehold, and how it eloquently captured the way we experience death and grief in real life. Note: all interviews were conducted before the 2023 Hollywood writers' and actors' strikes.


Why aren't there more union stories onscreen?

In this conversation from March, Brittany Luse is joined by Chicago Tribune TV and film critic Nina Metz to chat about why there are so many shows and movies about rich jerks — Succession, White Lotus and Billions, to name a few — and why we're experiencing a dearth of stories about workers.


Getting lit for hip-hop's 50th birthday

On August 11, 1973, hip-hop was born at a house party in the Bronx. 50 years later the genre has been reshaped in the image of cities and regions around the world. Brittany Luse and NPR Music's Sheldon Pearce take a tour of those regions and look at where hip-hop might go in the next 50 years. Plus, Brittany is joined by KQED's Pendarvis Harshaw to do a deep dive into a hip-hop scene from the Bay Area known as hyphy. It was loud. It was silly. But underneath all that partying, the hyphy movement also helped a community grieve. To see more of Pendarvis Harshaw's coverage you can check out KQED's year-long exploration of Bay Area hip-hop history. To dig into NPR's series on the regional sounds of hip-hop, you can check out All Rap is Local. You can email us at This episode has been updated to include a listener question and the credits.


How pop culture framed the crack epidemic

The crack epidemic has had seismic impact on American culture, from music to TV and film. This week, Brittany Luse talks to Donovan X. Ramsey, author of When Crack Was King: A People's History of a Misunderstood Era, about why pop culture can't let go of the "crack fiend" or the drug dealing anti-hero. They discuss how both those tropes miss some very big marks, where the stereotypes originated and who tried to set the record straight. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


The tension behind tipping; plus, the anger over box braids

Over the past few years, tipping expectations have changed: we're asked to tip in restaurants and coffee shops, yes, but also at bodegas, farm stands, even unmanned grab-and-go kiosks. And while the pandemic increased tips, inflation and a return to normal may put downward pressure on them again. Now, it seems none of us can agree on what the minimum should be. Host Brittany Luse chats with Ramtin Arablouei, co-host of the NPR history podcast Throughline, about the long and fraught history of tipping in the US, and what shifts in tipping may say about where we are today. And later — we explore hair braiding gone wrong. Online, women looking to get box braids have gone viral with their complaints about confusing pricing structures, minimal care, and poor customer service. Brittany Luse chats with public historian and YouTuber Jouelzy to get an overview of the tension. Then, Jessica Poitras, legislative counsel for the Institute of Justice, joins the show to talk about the legal roadblocks many hair braiders face in setting up their businesses. And later, Brittany is joined by stylist Tyré Rimple to discuss the hidden costs behind braiding. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


How racism became a marketing tool for country music

The top three songs in America right now are country tracks, and the top two hits are by artists facing allegations of racism. At the top of the charts is Jason Aldean: he shot to number one after releasing his music video "Try That In A Small Town," which included montages critical of the Black Lives Matter protests and showed Aldean singing in front of a courthouse where a Black teen was lynched. Morgan Wallen has the number two hit, and his popularity rose after being cancelled for using the N-word. But this is not unprecedented for the genre. Brittany sits down with historian Amanda Martinez to talk about country music's history of marketing itself in opposition of Blackness for financial gain. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Viral dating screenshots and the absurdity of 'And Just Like That'

Screenshots of dating apps are making the rounds online and what feels like mundane exchanges are generating lots of ire and discourse. As these screenshots become more common in our feeds, how does it impact the search for love? And what happens when people use the apps to swipe for content? We talk to Rolling Stone culture reporter Miles Klee about modern dating expectations and if the apps have changed them. Then, Vox senior correspondent Alex Abad-Santos talks with host Brittany Luse about dating on television. Sex and the City was one of the most culturally important shows to air on television: it showed the aspirational lives of four single women in their thirties and forties. Now that we have the sequel series And Just Like That, Alex and Brittany sift through its nonsense to ask: what important things does the show have to say about women in their fifties and beyond? You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Lil' Kim's fashion legacy is undeniable

Think of the top women rappers of our time: Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj. They all showcase signature styles that include multicolored wigs, skyscraping heels and designer logos on everything. But that blend of high fashion, femininity and attitude began before any of them joined the game. It was pioneered in the 1990s by the original queen bee: Lil' Kim. Ahead of her time, Kim's ingenuity – and her cementing of the relationship between fashion and hip-hop – has not always been recognized. Host Brittany Luse and fashion journalist Scarlett Newman make the case for why it's time Lil' Kim gets the credit she deserves.


The spectacular femininity of bimbos and 'Barbie'

The Barbie movie has arrived and we seem to be reaching peak Barbie-mania. But, Barbie's brand of hyperfeminine fun has been on the rise for years — especially online among left leaning femmes who call themselves bimbos and have been giving the term a new meaning. Host Brittany Luse and Hannah McCann, a lecturer at the University of Melbourne who specializes in critical femininity studies, explore how both Barbie and real-life bimbos are criticized for being bad role models, and yet this carefree, maximalist, feminine style may actually be a little subversive.


Twitter vs. Threads, and why influencers could be the ultimate winners

In the wake of user dissatisfaction with Twitter, a crop of hungry new apps have sprung up to replace it. This week on It's Been A Minute, host Brittany Luse is joined by Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz to unravel Meta's newest app: Threads. They also discuss the latest changes in the the social media landscape, our power to shape it and why influencers could ultimately come out on top. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at


Where's the song of the summer? Plus, the making of Beyoncé's 'Crazy in Love'

It's been 20 years since Beyoncé's single Crazy in Love poured out of every radio, car speaker and club for a whole summer — setting her up to be the solo star she is today. Host Brittany Luse revisits that moment and shares the surprising story behind the music with show producer Corey Antonio Rose. Then, she sits down with Beyoncé's longtime stylist Ty Hunter, who put together the iconic looks in the Crazy in Love music video. And finally, she discusses why there is no song of the summer for 2023 — and why that matters — with NPR culture editor Bilal Qureshi.