Michel Martin | WYPR

Michel Martin

Fashion Week is underway in New York City which means you can count on seeing many models working to navigate the runway while wearing high heels.

In previous years, videos have shown models trying to make their way down the runways in high heels, but tripping, stumbling and sometimes even falling because the shoes are so difficult to walk in.

From Louboutins to Manolo Blahniks, high heels have had their place in both pop culture and high fashion, but author Lauren Bravo says that the days of high heels could be numbered.

If you are heading to the movies to see The Angry Birds Movie 2, then you are in for a double treat. Playing before that feature is an animated short called Hair Love.

Conceived and directed by Matthew Cherry, it follows the story of an African American father — Stephen — and his daughter, Zuri. Stephen is trying to learn how to do young Zuri's glorious natural hair, and, well, it's not so easy.

When Tope Folarin sat down to write what would become his debut novel, he began by modeling its protagonist, Tunde, after his own life. Soon Tunde took on a life of his own.

"When writers used to talk about this, I thought it was mystical mumbo-jumbo — when they talk about characters doing their own thing," Folarin says an in interview. "That began to happen to me. And so I said: Well, this feels like a Tunde, and Tunde started doing all kinds of things that I didn't do and I wouldn't do. And so it kind of developed as a novel."

The play Fairview has won all kinds of acclaim from critics and audiences, including the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. It first ran last year at Soho Rep in Manhattan, and has now been remounted this summer at Theatre for a New Audience's home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn.

The Farewell is a movie with a wedding at the center — but the wedding isn't really the story.

The new film stars the rapper and actress Awkwafina as Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi, who travels with her family from the United States to China ostensibly to celebrate the marriage of her cousin. Really, it's to say goodbye to Nai Nai, her beloved grandmother. Nai Nai has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer — and her family decides not to tell her.

There's a funny thing about late night TV, says Mindy Kaling. Watching these shows, "there's such a joie de vivre" — but it's at odds with the "ruthlessness and mercilessness" that goes into making the show behind the scenes. "I was obsessed with how all these people could be working so hard and be so competitive to make a product that is so entertaining and light," Kaling says.

Here's a puzzle: Do the qualities that allow a man to block 300lb bodies every day have anything to do with the qualities that allow the same person to solve three-body problems late into the night? Stumped? John Urschel can solve that puzzle for you.

Melinda Gates, the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has written a new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World.

Published this week, the book calls on readers to support women everywhere as a means to lift up society. She pulls from her lessons learned through the inspiring women she's met on her travels with the Gates Foundation, which funds projects to reduce poverty and improve global health in the developing world (and is a funder of NPR and this blog).

On his 2014 album, Afropolitan Dreams, hip-hop artist Samuel Bazawule, also known as "Blitz the Ambassador," vividly describes his journey from wide-eyed immigrant to multinational success story. In one song he declares: "I think I'm relocating back to Ghana for good."

And, he did.

Perhaps you have read a book or seen a play or movie set in a prep school: say, The Catcher in the Rye, or The History Boys, or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

The playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, who co-wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for the film Moonlight, has made his Broadway debut with his own take on the setting, called Choir Boy. But instead of the WASP elite, the school in Choir Boy has an all-black student body. The Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys says it wants to raise strong, ethical black men.

At the Oscars red carpet last Sunday, various stars posed for the cameras in show-stopping fashion: Lady Gaga donned a black Alexander McQueen dress and matching gloves, Rami Malek was dapper in a Saint Laurent suit by Anthony Vaccarello – and Billy Porter wore a velvet tuxedo gown by Christian Siriano that broke gender norms and amassed a huge response across the Internet.

This Tuesday's Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans has thrust into the spotlight a controversial local tradition dating back more than 100 years.

Every year, members of the city's Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club don grass skirts, feather headdresses and bone jewelry for the Mardi Gras parade.

The Zulus' African-American members — and even some of their white members — also paint their faces black.

After dance pioneer Alvin Ailey died in 1989, the future of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was uncertain. It's difficult to keep a dance company profitable after its founder is long gone – many have tried and failed. But 30 years later, the group is thriving, and decided to celebrate its 60th anniversary and founder by commissioning a new work titled Lazarus.

In 2015, a verdict was delivered on the cheating scandal in Atlanta Public Schools.

In an interview with NPR Thursday, former executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, responded to allegations of plagiarism related to her new book Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and the Fight for Facts.

"Though I did cite these publications and tried to credit everybody perfectly, you know, I fell short," Abramson said.

In the book, which hit shelves Tuesday, Abramson examines four news outlets Buzzfeed, Vice, The New York Times and the Washington Post as they navigate an age of multi-platform news.

Fears of brain injuries has deterred many parents and their children from choosing to play football.

After years of publicity about how dangerous football can be, football enrollment has declined 6.6 percent in the past decade, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Those who still play the sport are increasingly low-income students.

The path to innovation is not always a smooth, straight line. In some cases, it's U-shaped.

In September, a 2,000-foot-long floating barrier, shaped like a U, was dispatched to the Great Pacific garbage patch between Hawaii and California, where roughly 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic have formed a floating field of debris roughly twice the size of Texas. Made of connected plastic pipes, the barrier was meant to catch and clean-up the plastic.

Actor Jackie Hoffman grew up hearing Yiddish, but not really speaking it.

"I spoke what my mother calls kitchen Yiddish," Hoffman says — words here and there that she picked up from conversations between her mother and grandmother.

The language had always been a part of her life, but when she landed the part of Yente the matchmaker in a Yiddish-language version of Fiddler on the Roof, she panicked. "It was intimidating," Hoffman admits.

Regina King appears in a new film which brings the searing social commentary of James Baldwin to the screen. If Beale Street Could Talk is based on Baldwin's 1974 novel of the same name.

Beale Street is the story of two young lovers, Tish and Fonny, and their fight after Fonny is jailed for a crime he didn't commit. The movie is directed by Barry Jenkins — it's his first film since his Oscar-winning Moonlight.

Even if you don't follow the art scene, you might have heard about the wild incident at a London auction a few weeks ago when the street artist known as Banksy was selling a screen print.

The minute the hammer came down and the piece was sold — for nearly $1.4 million — the canvas started self-destructing because Banksy had installed a shredder inside the frame. There's now speculation that the piece might be worth even more after the stunt.

For some of the 40 million or so Americans who currently use online dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, the findings of the new HBO documentary Swiped might be intuitively obvious.

But for others, there may still be revelations aplenty in the film, which is subtitled Hooking Up in the Digital Age. It's about how these apps may change how we think about relationships — and it doesn't paint a positive picture.

A new movie from director Spike Lee has a premise that's almost impossible to believe.

It's 1978 and a black police detective in Colorado Springs, Colo., manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. He not only gets a membership card straight from Grand Wizard David Duke, but he's also asked to lead a local chapter because he's everything they are looking for — loyal, smart and a true believer.

He establishes a relationship with David Duke over the phone. And for meetings in person, he recruits a white co-worker to go in his place.

Oakland, Calif., means different things to different people.

For many, it's the birthplace of groundbreaking art and politics. But Oakland, like many major cities across the country, is changing.

That's the tension at the heart of a new film called Blindspotting. It tells the story of two lifelong friends and Oakland natives, one white and one black, as they grapple with fitting into this new world.

A GOP congressman and former FBI agent says he thinks President Trump was manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick told NPR's Michel Martin on All Things Considered that he drew that conclusion after the two leaders appeared in Helsinki.

"The president was manipulated by Vladimir Putin," Fitzpatrick said. "Vladimir Putin is a master manipulator."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

People have asked Janelle Bynum whether legislation would help solve the problem of police being called on black people for just going about their daily lives. Bynum, an Oregon state representative who herself had authorities called on her while canvassing for votes earlier this month, simply tells them, "You can't legislate humanity."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you were one of the millions of viewers who tuned into the royal wedding last weekend, you may also have been one of the many who were impressed by a young cellist.

Nineteen-year-old Sheku Kanneh-Mason played three pieces during the interlude in which Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed the registry.

Rose McGowan says she would "absolutely" like to testify if given the chance against Harvey Weinstein. McGowan spoke to NPR's Michel Martin a day after the mogul turned himself into police in New York after months of fighting sexual abuse investigations.

"I have had to have his arm around me and smile in photos," McGowan says on Weinstein embracing her at public events. "The cameras would flash and you're just kind of out of your body and [think], 'Don't cause a scene and just go with it,' because what else are you going to do? You're trapped.

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