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Making

Chicago Public Media

WBEZ's critically-acclaimed bio-podcast series explores how an icon is made.

Location:

United States

Description:

WBEZ's critically-acclaimed bio-podcast series explores how an icon is made.

Language:

English

Contact:

312-893-8585


Episodes

Making Fred Hampton

2/29/2024
“I don’t believe I’m going to die slipping on a piece of ice. I don’t believe I’m going to die because I got a bad heart…I believe that I will be able to die as a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle.” - Fred Hampton, 1969 Fred Hampton became the Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party when he was just years out of high school. His oratory talent and intellectual grasp on leftist literature quickly shot him to stardom in activist circles. But, his leadership did not last long. In 1969, when he was just 21 years old, he was assassinated during a raid on his home orchestrated by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. “He knew the power and potential of Fred Hampton,” former Congressman Bobby Rush said of the FBI Director at the time. “So I’m telling you, the man was nothing but greatness.” Today, in a special Black History Month episode of Making, in collaboration with The Rundown podcast, we tell the story of iconic Chicago liberation activist, Fred Hampton. Our hosts Brandon Pope and Erin Allen sat down with original members of the Black Panther Party, attorneys who fought his post-assassination lawsuits in the 1960s and family members who carry on his legacy. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe now.

Duration:00:42:43

Maya Angelou: Going from Strength to Strength

1/18/2024
In just 86 years Maya Angelou lived dozens of lives. Perhaps best known for her seminal autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated literary minds in history, whose poetry and prose has touched generations of readers. But before Caged Bird, Angelou danced and sang on and off Broadway, earned the moniker “Miss Calypso” in the 1950s, called dozens of American cities and African nations home, and even became the first Black woman to work as a cable car conductor in San Francisco. On this episode of Making, host Brandon Pope sits down with Rita Coburn, co-director of the Peabody-Award-winning PBS documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise; Randal Jelks, professor of African and African American studies and American studies at the University of Kansas; and Dr. Maxine Mimms, the founder of the Tacoma Campus of Evergreen State College and a longtime friend of Angelou. “Her main word was courage,” Dr. Mimms said, “The courage to love, the courage to walk, the courage to move.” Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe now.

Duration:00:34:39

Making Derrick Rose

12/14/2023
“Why can’t I be MVP of the league?” Derrick Rose said. With unimpressive statistics and an unselfish playing style, sports media did not take the third-year point guard seriously. Eight months after those famous words, he became the youngest MVP in NBA history. Derrick Rose was Chicago’s pride and joy. Fans and journalists alike called him the next Michael Jordan. Some thought he would be the greatest of all time. When an ACL tear took him out of the game, those high hopes turned to high scrutiny. On this episode of Making, host Brandon Pope explores the years before Derrick Rose changed the NBA. He grew up in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood, raised by a loving mother and three protective older brothers. By his sophomore year of high school, his talent and name was known across the city. We chatted with his high school coach who shaped his rise, veteran Chicago journalists who traced his steps, and Bulls insiders who witnessed his history-making. “He'll forever be one of the greatest basketball players to come out of the city,” NBC Chicago host Jason Goff said. “I make no bones about it.” Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe now.

Duration:00:42:53

Rihanna: Mother and Mogul

11/16/2023
With 36 billion streams on Spotify, 14 No. 1 hits and 9 Grammys, Rihanna is regarded as one of the most well-known artists of the 21st Century. But she also spent the last decade changing the fashion world, launching brands that transformed her from music star to business mogul and billionaire. Her illustrious career began 20 years ago, when she was just a 15-year-old in Barbados. She performed Destiny’s Child songs in a trio with her friends. Soon, an American record producer visited the island, saw her audition and launched her to stardom. This week on Making, hear the tale of Rihanna’s come-up from record producer Evan Rogers, music journalist Bill Werde and head of British Vogue Chioma Nnadi, featuring exclusive archival tape of Rihanna’s early rehearsals.

Duration:00:39:06

Making Virgil Abloh

10/19/2023
Virgil Abloh changed fashion in the 21st century. His brand Off-White redefined streetwear and youth culture for a notoriously elite and inaccessible industry. And he broke barriers to become the first Black artistic director at a French luxury fashion house. “His whole career is dedicated to opening up the gate for everyone,” said Marc Moran, his long-time friend and collaborator. “And I think that’s what made him such a force to reckon with.” Virgil Abloh passed away from cancer on November 28, 2021 at the age of 41, leaving behind a sprawling legacy. But before he took over an industry, he was a quiet and humble suburban kid who loved soccer, skateboarding, T-shirts and turntables. This week on Making, host Brandon Pope talks with Abloh’s family, friends, critics and collaborators – including his father, his high school soccer coach and the head of British Vogue – to look back at the life of a Chicago icon. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe now.

Duration:00:37:09

BONUS: Hyphy Kids Got Trauma

10/2/2023
Hyphy Kids Got Trauma is an exploration of a transformative year in Bay Area music history, 2006, through the eyes and ears of Pendarvis Harshaw. A college student and burgeoning journalist at the time, Pendarvis navigates the shifting tides of a culture in transition, all set to the seminal sounds of the Bay Area’s “Hyphy Movement.” an era fueled by uptempo, bass-heavy songs with a free and fun-loving vibe. But 2006 also marked the second highest homicide total Oakland has ever seen. The violence was compounded by drugs, over-policing, the onset of gentrification, and the ongoing War On Terror. The wounds that occurred almost twenty years ago still impact the adults of the Bay Area today. Hyphy kids got trauma, and this is why. Listen to the whole series today on Rightnowish.

Duration:00:03:05

Serena Williams: The Blueprint

9/21/2023
In early September, 19-year-old Coco Gauff won the U.S. Open. She is the first American teenager to win the tournament since 1999, when 17-year-old Serena Williams took the crown. Gauff has said Serena is the reason she plays tennis. She is her tennis idol, and for good reason. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles – more than any player in the Open era. But before becoming a household name, Serena was a girl from Compton with a drive. This week on "Making", Brandon Pope revisits the years before anyone knew Serena’s name. Hear from the people in the room and on the court during her evolution to tennis prodigy, including her sister Isha Price, former tennis pro Chanda Rubin, and childhood coach Rick Macci.

Duration:00:31:49

Making Whoopi Goldberg

8/10/2023
Over the course of her climb to the Hollywood A-List, Whoopi Goldberg has worn many hats: stand-up comedian, Broadway star, screen actress, and daytime television host. But before her breakout role in a Steven Spielberg film, she was a young mom hopping around the country, taking odd jobs and doing avant-garde theater. This week on Making, we chart Whoopi Goldberg’s winding path to stardom, from living off welfare, to landing on Broadway with her one-woman show. Host Brandon Pope chats with her first theater partners, her first director, and her first stage manager to discover who Whoopi was when she was just a wide-eyed talent waiting to be discovered. “The first time I saw her, I knew she was going to make it,” said William Farley, the director for her first on-screen performance. “She was an original. And an original, they become seen.”

Duration:00:41:03

RuPaul: ‘Empress of Drag’

7/6/2023
Since November, dozens of states have introduced legislation that could criminalize drag performances, including Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. This week on Making, we look at the life of an iconic Black TV creator whose art is at the center of this new political hot button. RuPaul Andre Charles brought drag to America’s main stage and opened doors for queerness. But before his Emmys and Tonys, he was a go-go dancing young person determined to be a star. Host Brandon Pope chats with RuPaul’s close friends, collaborators and mentees, including drag queen Lady Bunny, DJ and songwriter Larry Tee, drag historian Simon Doonan and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Shea Coulee. This episode was originally published on Nov 17, 2022. This season of Making covers a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don’t miss an episode.

Duration:00:38:28

Making Shonda

6/1/2023
Shonda Rhimes has been called TV’s greatest. With groundbreaking shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, she became one of the most powerful showrunners in Hollywood history. But, the battle to Hollywood’s highest echelons wasn’t a joyride for a Black woman from Chicagoland. Hear from mentors, colleagues and cultural commentators on how the queen of television came to be.

Duration:00:39:03

Making Jordan Peele

5/18/2023
Jordan Peele is responsible for modern classics in the horror genre, including the films Us, Nope and the Oscar-winning Get Out. Before all that, he was a self-described nerd. He majored in puppetry in college before dropping out with his friend Rebecca Drysdale to pursue a career in comedy. Hear from Drysdale, Peele’s early collaborator Brendan Hunt and cultural critic Aisha Harris about Jordan Peele’s rise to comedic and horror genius.

Duration:00:39:27

Unmaking Kanye

5/4/2023
Part 2: It all falls down. Ye becomes a mouthpiece for the more sinister parts of American society. In the second episode of our two-part podcast series, hear from friends, journalists, activists, fans (and former fans) on Ye’s second act, from superstar status to cultural pariah. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don’t miss an episode.

Duration:00:38:03

Making Kanye

5/4/2023
Part 1: Touch the sky. Before becoming a cultural lightning rod, Kanye West was a self-confident teenager, handing out mixtapes on the South and West sides of Chicago. In the first episode of our two-part podcast series, we track Kanye’s meteoric rise from uncredited producer to headlining star. Making tells the story of a different, iconic figure every episode. Subscribe and don’t miss an episode.

Duration:00:38:52

The life-changing moments that make an icon

12/15/2022
Robyn Rihanna Fenty was just a 15 year-old student in Barbados when she showed up late for her audition with record producer Evan Rogers. Fortunately, her tardiness didn’t matter. She crushed it. “I just heard something really unique and special in her vocals, even though they were raw,” Rogers said on Making. “It was just one of those moments where I think I have something really special here.” This was just one of many critical moments we’ve dissected in this season of Making – the make-or-break moments that change the course of a life and often the course of history. In this week’s season finale, host Brandon Pope takes a look back at some of the key put-up-or-shut-up moments from this season, from Serena Williams to Frederick Douglass to RuPaul and more.

Duration:00:27:53

Making Ida B. Wells

12/8/2022
When Ida B. Wells was just 21 years old, authorities kicked her off a train for sitting in the all-white “ladies’ car.” She sued. She wrote about the experience in her local church newspaper. “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap,” she said later. Wells would soon become one of America’s greatest journalism pioneers. After the lynching of her close friend, she investigated the prevalence of lynchings across the American South. She collected data, interviewed sources on the ground and wrote fiery articles that dispelled racist myths. By the end of the campaign, she was one of the most famous Black women in America. While her force can be felt over a century later, in her time Wells faced backlash from the white and Black community alike. She co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People – or NAACP – in 1909, but was temporarily ousted for being too radical. “Doing good journalism actually means that you're not making any friends,” said journalist Caitlin Dickerson, who wrote Wells’ obituary for The New York Times series Overlooked. “It’s a bad sign if there's one group of people who think of you as ‘on their side.’” On the latest episode of Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation with Dickerson, Wells’ great-granddaughter Michelle Duster and acclaimed scholar Paula Giddings, author of Ida: A Sword Among Lions, on the life and legacy of this journalism and civil rights hero.

Duration:00:36:07

Making Jesse Owens

12/1/2022
Jesse Owens’ four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is the stuff of legend. “A man who's a second class citizen at home, son of a sharecropper, grandson of slaves, going over to Hitler's Germany,” explained ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap on Making. “And he rose to the occasion in a way that embodies true greatness.” But Owens’ journey from Alabama to Ohio to Germany and back again was filled with many highs and lows. His mother used a hot knife to excise a tumor from his chest when he was 5. He tied the world record in the 100 yard dash as a senior in high school. His college years at Ohio State were marked by both racial segregation and unparalleled athletic achievement. And after his return to America following the Berlin Olympics, Owens and other African-American medalists did not receive the same invitation to the White House that their white counterparts did. “It was one of the things that really hurt him,” said Marlene Rankin, Owens’ daughter and the co-founder of the Jesse Owens Foundation. “Not everything got to him, but I think that did.” On this week’s Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation on the years that defined Jesse Owens’ life, featuring Rankin, NBCNews.com contributor Cecil Harris, Owens’ son-in-law and former business partner Stuart Rankin, and Schaap, author of Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics.

Duration:00:38:32

Making Frederick Douglass

11/24/2022
Frederick Douglass’ journey out of slavery and into the most powerful rooms in the country is a story of tenacity, luck and self-liberation. Hear the story of his improbable rise with Douglass’ great-great-great-grandson, Ken Morris; Douglass’ Pulitzer-prize-winning biographer, David Blight, and Emmy-award winning actor Jeffrey Wright, who’s lent his voice to Douglass for HBO and Apple Books. "He's a founding father of the American conscious.” Wright says of Douglass on Making. “That’s how I view him.”

Duration:00:46:30

Making RuPaul

11/17/2022
When RuPaul’s mother was pregnant, she went to a psychic who said RuPaul would be famous. That psychic was right. With Emmys, Tonys and 14 studio albums, RuPaul Andre Charles has become the world’s most famous drag queen. But before superstardom, Ru was just a kid in the big city, go-go dancing to make ends meet. “None of us had any money back then. We were all shopping at thrift stores,” said friend and legendary drag queen Lady Bunny. “We were all kind of artsy-fartsy bums.” Joining Lady Bunny are DJ and songwriter Larry Tee, author and drag historian Simon Doonan and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Shea Couleé in conversation with host Brandon Pope. A dive into the critical years that turned RuPaul into a supernova.

Duration:00:47:03

Making Maya Angelou

11/10/2022
Perhaps best known for her seminal autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated literary minds in history, whose poetry and prose has touched generations of readers. But before Caged Bird, Angelou danced and sang on and off Broadway, earned the moniker “Miss Calypso” in the 1950s, called dozens of American cities and African nations home, and even became the first Black woman to work as a cable car conductor in San Francisco. On this episode of Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation on Maya Angelou’s early days and what made her who she was. Joining him is Rita Coburn, co-director of the Peabody-Award-winning PBS documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise; Randal Jelks, professor of African and African American studies and American studies at the University of Kansas; and a legend in her own right, Dr. Maxine Mimms, the founder of the Tacoma Campus of Evergreen State College and a longtime friend of Angelou.

Duration:00:46:28

Making Kobe

11/3/2022
Hear the story of how a legendary athlete climbed the NBA's mountaintop of greats. It's a story that takes asymmetrical turns before ending tragically and prematurely. On this episode of Making, we look at the whole picture of Kobe Bean Bryant. Join Making host Brandon Pope for a conversation about Bryant’s origin story with his high school basketball coach, Gregg Downer, and Bryant biographer Mike Sielski. Then, Pope leads a conversation on the complex second half of Bryant’s life, with ESPN senior writer David Dennis Jr. and former sports radio host, attorney and author Julie DiCaro.

Duration:00:47:39