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Michel Martin

Black Panther is a film that's not only hot but historic. It's based on the Marvel comic of the same name and is directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed). According to Fandango, pre-sale tickets for the film have already surpassed that of any previous superhero movie ever.

She says she was born doing it. He says a schoolboy crush got him interested. Years later, their mutual love for their shared art form has brought them critical acclaim, awards, magazine covers — and each other.

Black History Month is a time when a lot of people remember firsts, such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice. Now, the film awards season has given us two new names to join those ranks.

Mudbound director Dee Rees is the first black woman nominated for an Oscar in Best Adapted Screenplay. Singer and actor Mary J. Blige is the first anyone — ever — to be nominated for both an acting performance and an original song in the same film.

In recent years, these three words have become part of your visual landscape: Black Lives Matter.

You'll see the phrase on T-shirts, on yard signs, on billboards in front of churches and other organizations. You may also see other T-shirts and signs in response, proclaiming "all lives matter" or "blue lives matter."

If you are a fan of a certain television drama that airs on Thursday nights on ABC, then Joe Morton needs no introduction.

On the show Scandal, he plays Rowan "Eli" Pope, the notorious, scheming father of main character Olivia Pope. His scene-stealing work in the role earned Morton an Emmy for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a whole new generation of fans.

Talib Kweli has, for more than two decades now, been considered a standard bearer for what's sometimes called "conscious rap." Both as a part of the hip-hop duo Black Star with Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and as a solo act, his music provides social and political commentary layered over a bed of eclectic production. Outside the studio, Kweli has been just as outspoken. whether sparring with Don Lemon on CNN or trolls on social media.

Most people can acknowledge that discrimination has an insidious effect on the lives of minorities, even when it's unintentional. Those effects can include being passed over for jobs for which they are qualified or shut out of housing they can afford. And most people are painfully aware of the tensions between African-Americans and police.

She generated billions in profits for the fashion industry just by getting dressed in the morning. For some, she made gardening and gym class cool; for others, she is the poster child for what a successful marriage and family life can look like.

We're talking about Michelle Obama, the former first lady who is still a role model for millions of Americans who were refreshed by her style and authenticity, and moved by how she fulfilled her role as the first African-American first lady.

One of the most influential figures in hip-hop will now take a lead role in one of the nation's most prestigious cultural institutions.

Q-Tip, along with Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, formed A Tribe Called Quest in the early '90s. The hip-hop collective introduced smooth beats and sharp social commentary inspired by the group's friendship and the issues of the time.

Last year, the group released what would turn out to be its final album, We Got It from Here ... Thank You 4 Your Service, after the death of Phife Dawg.

For many people, the Jewish High Holidays are a time of celebration and spiritual renewal. But for those who have a more ambivalent relationship to their faith — those who might identify as culturally Jewish rather than religious — this time of year can be challenging.

The Detroit riots began 50 years ago Sunday, after a police raid on an unlicensed, after-hours club. They lasted five days, and by the time they stopped, 43 people were dead, hundreds were injured, thousands had been arrested and entire neighborhoods had burned to the ground.

The new film Detroit depicts the beginning of the riots and one of their most horrifying events: the Algiers Motel incident, in which three young black men were killed (some would say executed) by white police officers.

While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

Back in 2010, science writer Rebecca Skloot published a book that sounded like science fiction — except it was real. Skloot told the story of how a tissue sample from a young African-American woman in Baltimore, taken without her knowledge or consent, went on to become "immortal." Her cells contributed to scientific breakthroughs across disciplines and around the world, and they even went up with some of the first space missions.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It opens with a scene all too common in nightly news: A young man is dead in the street, shot by a police officer who thought he saw a weapon. It turns out there was no weapon.

But here's where the script breaks from the familiar: The officer is black and the victim is white.

That's the premise of Shots Fired, a provocative new TV drama on Fox, from co-creators Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood.

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