A Word … with Jason Johnson-logo

A Word … with Jason Johnson

Slate

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having ... the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock, to empty promises, to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race … ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word With Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race, and ideas on the way forward.

Location:

United States

Genres:

World Talk

Networks:

Slate

Description:

America doesn’t need another conversation about race. At least, not the kind we’ve been having ... the ones that are sparked by a crisis and move quickly from shock, to empty promises, to forgetting. No. What America needs are REAL conversations about race … ones that shine a light on the facts, the history, and the reality of how race plays out in our politics and society. That’s what Slate offers each week on A Word With Jason Johnson. A veteran political commentator, Johnson will bring his incisive wit to thoughtful discussions with leaders, journalists and other change-makers who will tell the truth about America’s challenges around race, and ideas on the way forward.

Language:

English


Episodes
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Haitian Chaos, American Neglect?

5/24/2024
Haiti has suffered under decades of crises, but the latest may be its most intractable. Violent criminals are now effectively in charge of the country, after years of assassinations and political instability left a power vacuum. As a new international force prepares for an intervention, A Word host Jason Johnson discusses the current troubles with Patrick Gaspard, leader of the Center for American Progress. They explore how Haiti fell into such dire circumstances, the role that American guns and policy have played, and how Haitian Americans and the U.S. government could help Haiti find stability. Guest: Patrick Gaspard, chief of the Center for American Progress Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:38:42

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Hit After Hit: Rap in a Post Kendrick v. Drake World

5/17/2024
Drake didn’t know who he was messing with, and was never on Kendrick Lamar’s level in hip hop. That’s the verdict of cultural commentator and author Touré. On today’s episode of A Word, he joins host Jason Johnson to break down the meaning behind the brutal rap battle, and whether Not Like Us, BBL Drizzy, Family Matters and other songs central to the beef will rewrite the blueprint for diss tracks forever. Guest: Touré, host of the Touré Show podcast, and author of Nothing Compares 2 U: An Oral History of Prince Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:45

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Between the World and Us

5/10/2024
Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates is arguably the strongest voice of his generation on the role of race and identity in American politics and culture. He’s the author of several books, including “Between the World and Me,” “We Were Eight Years in Power,” and “The Beautiful Struggle,” and the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant and a National Book Award. For this week’s episode, we feature a conversation between Coates and host Jason Johnson, recorded live at the recent Cascade PBS Ideas Festival. They discuss everything from the diss track battle between Drake and Kendrick Lamar, to the campus protests over the Middle East, to the limits –and necessity– of participating in electoral politics. Guest: Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:45:55

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Flint: A Decade of Disappointment

5/3/2024
The city of Flint, Michigan made headlines in spring of 2014, after public officials recognized dangerously high lead levels in the water supply. After ten years and three presidents, many African American Flint residents say their health is still being compromised by their water, and civil actions aimed at compensating them have –so far– only enriched lawyers. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Adam Mahoney, the climate journalist for Capital B News. They discuss how the water crisis has affected everything from schools, to crime, to housing, and about ongoing efforts to make it right. Guest: Adam Mahoney, climate reporter for Capital B News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:29:59

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True Life, True Crime

4/26/2024
True crime is a hot topic for movies, television, and –yes– podcasts. At the center of many of these stories is a missing woman. In the She Has A Name podcast, veteran journalist Tonya Mosley tries to reconstruct the death –and life– of a woman who went missing in 1987, a woman who happens to be her long lost sister. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Tonya Mosley to talk about uncovering the mystery around her sister Anita’s disappearance and death, and how the podcast helped her connect to a family that she never knew. Guest: Tonya Mosley, host of the podcast She Has A Name Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:28:45

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Freaknik: Party in the Black

4/19/2024
Nostalgia for the 1990s is everywhere, and for a generation of African Americans, perhaps nothing symbolizes the fun of that decade more than Freaknik. A sprawling days-long festival of all the good –and bad– of spring break behavior, at its height, Freaknik drew tens of thousands of partiers each year from around the country to Atlanta. So why did the party stop, and is there any way it could ever come back again? On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson discusses the Hulu documentary Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told with director P. Frank Williams and executive producer Geraldine Porras.. Guests: P. Frank Williams and Geraldine Porras, the director and executive producer of Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told on Hulu. Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:10

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Candace Owens: Back to Black?

4/12/2024
Commentator Candace Owens’ messy fall from grace in conservative media coincided with her appearances on popular Black chat shows. That includes The Breakfast Club, led by radio host and personality Charlamagne tha God. Once a minor social media personality who condemned Donald Trump as racist, Owens became one of the former president’s chief defenders, and a leading Black voice of anti-Black rhetoric. So is Owens saying anything new in Black media, and were those outlets doing the right thing by inviting her? On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Michael Harriot. He’s a columnist for The Grio, and the author of Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America. Harriot recently wrote for The Guardian, criticizing the choice to platform Owens in African American media. In this interview and an earlier version of this episode description, we incorrectly stated and implied that Candace Owens’ interviews on Joe Budden’s podcast and The Breakfast Club happened after The Daily Wire announced her separation from the outlet on March 22. They both occurred before, with the Budden interview recording the week of February 27, and being published in mid-March. The Breakfast Club discussion was recorded on March 18 and aired on March 21. We regret the error. Guest: Writer Michael Harriot Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:42:17

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Criminal Injustice

4/5/2024
A young Black man, wrongfully accused of sexual assault, is convicted nonetheless. Evidence that could’ve exonerated him is withheld or covered up, and he spends much of his youth in prison. It sounds like a movie-of-the-week, but it was the real life nightmare of Jarrett Adams. Throughout his incarceration, he fought for his freedom and eventually won. Now, he’s a defense attorney who helps other wrongfully convicted people find justice, and build better lives on the outside through his organization Life After Justice. On today’s episode of A Word, Jarrett Adams joins host Jason Johnson to talk about his experience with the criminal justice system, and why the punishment may continue long after a conviction is overturned. Guest: Jarrett Adams, co-founder of the non-profit organization Life After Justice Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:33:20

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Run for the Border?

3/29/2024
The American Dream has long been out of reach for many Black people in this country. Between police violence, the lack of economic opportunity, and the threat of a second Trump term, many African Americans are considering building their dream lives in another country. And for thousands of people, Mexico is one of the top destinations. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Adam Mahoney of the CapitalB News to talk about why many Black Americans are moving south of the border, where they’re settling, and whether their new country is as welcoming as they’d hoped. Guest: Adam Mahoney, reporter for CapitalB News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:26

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Love, Family, and Freedom’s Ultimate Price

3/22/2024
Myrlie Evers was arguably the first civil rights widow, a woman who was plunged into activism after the assassination of her husband—Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers—in 1963. She survived to become a leader of the movement in her own right. But what’s less well known is the remarkable story of how the couple came together, and how their love endures, decades after his death. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by journalist Joy-Ann Reid to talk about her book, Medgar & Myrlie: Medgar Evers and the Love Story That Awakened America. Guest: Joy-Ann Reid, host of MSNBC’s The ReidOut Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:28:34

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Black Country Renaissance

3/15/2024
Beyoncé has announced that the second act of Renaissance will be a country album. “Cowboy Carter” is set for release at the end of March, Women’s History Month. Beyoncé has already made history as the first Black woman to top the country charts with “Texas Hold ‘Em,” and recently received Dolly Parton’s blessing to cover her classic song, Jolene. While Beyoncé may seem to be breaking new ground, much of country music has always been rooted in African American culture, and Black women have been singing country for decades. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by DePaul University Professor Francesca Royster, the author of Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions. They talk about the history of Black women in country music, the racial tension that has kept many African American fans away from the genre, and whether this moment represents a new era for Black country artists. Guest: Professor Francesca Royster, author of Black Country Music: Listening for Revolutions Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:40:34

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Freedom Fight Like a Woman

3/8/2024
March is Women’s History Month, and for centuries, the roles of Black women in key moments of American history have been diminished. One book that takes a unique approach to exploring their stories is Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. The book combines historical narrative with illustrations depicting African and African American women rising up against their enslavers, often at the cost of their own lives. On today’s episode of A Word, host Jason Johnson is joined by Wake’s author, attorney and educator Rebecca Hall. They discuss the leading role many Black women played in slave uprisings, and the complicated politics that have kept their stories hidden for so long. Guest: Rebecca Hall, author of Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola. Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:27:30

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Green Black Power

3/1/2024
Environmentalism has long been viewed as a preoccupation of white, educated, affluent voters. But climate change disproportionally impacts communities of color. Now a new generation of activists is building political awareness around environmentalism in the Black community. That’s part of the mission of the Hip Hop Caucus, a group that’s been working for decades to activate young voters around climate justice as a civil rights issue. On today’s episode of A Word, Hip Hop Caucus leader Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. joins host Jason Johnson to talk about the impact of environmental policy on Black Americans, and how to harness political power around the issue. Guest: Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., chief of the Hip Hop Caucus Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:35:50

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Diversity in the Diaspora

2/23/2024
The American obsession with categorizing people by race isn’t just a problem for our institutions. For multi-racial and multi-ethnic Americans, it can be intensely personal. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by journalist Natasha Alford. She shares her own unique experience navigating America’s complicated ideas about race in her new book, American Negra: A Memoir. Alford shares how her African American and Puerto Rican heritage shaped her understanding of race in her early life, and how those ideas were challenged when she attended Harvard University and later became a journalist. Guest: Natasha Alford, author of American Negra: A Memoir Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Want more A Word? Subscribe to Slate Plus to immediately access ad-free listening across all your favorite Slate podcasts. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts by clicking “Try Free” at the top of our show page. Or, visit slate.com/awordplus to get access wherever you listen. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:41:38

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Ghost in the Medical Machine

2/16/2024
The promise of artificial intelligence in medicine is that it can reduce the influence of human error and bias in health care. But there’s growing concern that A.I. in medicine –as in other fields– can reflect the biases and lack of diversity among its creators. And that can have life threatening consequences for African American patients. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Margo Snipe, a health reporter for CapitalB News. They discuss how A.I. can sometimes fuel medical racism, and reasons to hope that it can change. Guest: Margo Snipe, health journalist for CapitalB News Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:40

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True Crime in Black and White

2/9/2024
The 1989 murder of Carol Stuart in Boston became a national story, fueled by anxiety over urban crime. The city’s police broke down doors in the Black community, strip searched dozens of Black and brown men on the street, and arrested a Black suspect. Then Stuart’s husband was exposed as the killer. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Boston Globe associate editor Adrian Walker, who hosts the Murder in Boston podcast about the infamous case. They discuss the history of racial tension that led up to crime, and the lasting consequences for the families of the victim, the killer, and the wrongfully arrested Black suspect. Guest: Adrian Walker, host of the Murder in Boston podcast Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:11

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Revolutionary Recharge

2/2/2024
A generation of activists –and well-meaning citizens– was pulled into intense social justice work by the murder of George Floyd in 2020. And the horrific crime, the fight for progess, and the backlash has taken a toll on their mental health. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by writer and activist Ijeoma Oluo about her new book, Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too. It’s the collected wisdom of activists across a range of issues about how to do the hard and emotional work of confronting racism without losing hope. Guest: Writer Ijeoma Oluo Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:32:31

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Fix Your CROWN

1/26/2024
Texas is one of the 24 states that has passed the CROWN Act. “CROWN” stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, and these laws are supposed to stop discrimination against Black people who wear their hair in natural styles. But high school senior Darryl George has been fighting suspension for months over his dreadlocks. The issue is now set to be decided in court in February. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois, a professor at Lone Star College in Texas, and a research fellow at Texas Southern University’s Center for Justice Research. They discuss the specifics of Darryl George’s case, and why the CROWN Act in Texas seems to be falling short. Guest: Professor Jennifer Wyatt Bourgeois of Lone Star College in Texas Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:23:52

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Send In the Clowns?

1/19/2024
Decades before most people had heard of Barack Obama, Black Republican Colin Powell was widely believed to be on the path to the presidency. And the Republican Party was the first political home of many African Americans. But the contemporary G.O.P, led by former President Donald Trump, has introduced a new class of Black Republicans who command little respect within the community. What happened, and is there a place for Black Americans in today’s or tomorrow’s Republican Party? On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson discusses that with Clay Cane, journalist and author of The Grift: The Downward Spiral of Black Republicans from the Party of Lincoln to the Cult of Trump. Guest: Writer Clay Cane Podcast production by Kristie Taiwo-Makanjuola You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:47:41

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Can He Get an Amen?

1/12/2024
President Biden’s campaign kick-off speech at the historic Mother Emanuel AME church in South Carolina was interrupted by protesters this week. It was an awkward moment that provoked a lot of debate on social media about whether demonstrators were abusing the spirit of the Black church, or honoring it. It also revived questions about whether Democratic candidates’ reliance on the Black church is still an effective strategy in motivating African American voters. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by veteran journalist Errin Haines to discuss whether President Biden and Democratic leaders are misunderstanding the strengths and the limits of the Black church as a political stage. Guest: Errin Haines, founding mother and editor-at-large for The 19th* Podcast production by Ahyiana Angel You can skip all the ads in A Word by joining Slate Plus. Sign up now at slate.com/awordplus for $15 for your first three months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duration:00:26:39