Co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour & Author of "Wannabe"
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Aisha Harris At A Glance:
Aisha Harris is a co-host and reporter for the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. She previously covered the arts as a critic, editor, and podcaster for The New York Times and Slate Magazine. Her subjects have included film and TV criticism, artist interviews, and cultural reporting/essays, and she has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs as a cultural commentator. She earned her bachelor's degree in theatre from Northwestern University and her master's degree in cinema studies from New York University. Aisha is the author of the essay collection "Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me".
Aisha is currently a co-host and reporter for the NPR podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour. From 2012 to 2018, she covered culture for Slate Magazine as a staff writer, editor and the host of the film and TV podcast Represent, where she wrote about everything from the history of self-care to Dolly Parton’s (formerly Dixie) Stampede and interviewed creators like Barry Jenkins and Greta Gerwig.
She joined The New York Times in 2018 as the assistant TV editor on the Culture Desk and produced a variety of pieces, including a feature Q&A with the Exonerated Five and a deep dive into the emotional climax of the Pixar movie Coco. And in 2019, she moved to the Opinion Desk in the role of culture editor, where she wrote and edited a variety of pieces at the intersection of the arts, society and politics.
Born and raised in Connecticut, she earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Northwestern University and her master’s degree in cinema studies from New York University. She is the author of the essay collection “Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture that Shapes Me”.
Inclusivity in Pop CultureHollywood’s efforts to bring more varied perspectives to the screen through casting/diversity programs/social media marketing, and how the industry has succeeded and/or fallen short. From 2016-2018, she was the host and co-creator of the Slate podcast Represent, which centered on discussions of film and TV created by and about people of color, women, queer communities, and disabled people.
Cultural CriticismWhat it means to be a professional critic in an era when anyone’s opinion can be broadcast to the public via social media, and how to tap into and refine our engagement with art.
Identity Politics in Pop Culture and Our Relationship to FandomThe conflation of taste and identity in today’s social media culture and how this over-affiliation warps the artist-consumer relationship while often revealing political and moral leanings (the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard case, Kanye West defenders, etc.).
NostalgiaOur culture’s fixation on revisiting and recycling the past, from Hollywood’s glut of reboots and sequels to reconsiderations of iconic figures (i.e. #freebritney, #nipplegate, Surviving R. Kelly) and how they reflect and impact the current moment.
Cultural Mythology and TraditionsPop culture’s ability to create mythologies and shape societal perceptions that are hard to combat – especially stereotypes around race, gender, sexuality, and class; depictions of law enforcement; ideas around American identity.