What's making us happy: A guide to your weekend reading, listening and viewing
Here's what the NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour crew was paying attention to — and what you should check out this weekend.
Sheryl Lee Ralph winning the Emmy
I absolutely sobbed watching her speech. She is such a talent — she's one of those journeyman actresses who has been around for decades putting in the work, doing incredible things in Black cinema, and not being recognized for her work.
#Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph: "Anyone who has ever, ever had a dream and thought your dream...couldn't come true. I am here to tell you that this is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don't you ever, ever give up on you." https://t.co/h3GrtHDUA6 pic.twitter.com/qPpGSFfGw5— Variety (@Variety) September 13, 2022
To see her get up on that stage and get her moment in the sun was just incredible. I loved it so much. — Cate Young
Kenan and Kel reunion at the Emmys
For every situation that makes you want to write off the Emmys completely, like The Underground Railroad not winning a single Emmy, to circle back to Thuso Mbedu and Sheila Atim's last big project The Woman King, is a moment like Kenan and Kel reuniting at the Emmys.
For a young person who kind of grew up in the late '90s and early '00s, Kenan & Kel on Nickelodeon was a foundational show. You always kind of heard rumors about the potential rifts in their friendship over the years. Like, you know, were they talking? Were they not talking?
So to see such an unfiltered, joyful moment between them just felt so pure, and I'm kind of hoping this might be a sign of them working together in the future. I don't need a Good Burger 2, it could be anything. — Marc Rivers
IAmTonyTweets' Little Mermaid song on Twitter
The Little Mermaid trailer for the new Disney "live action remake" – I don't know how much is actually going to be live action, but whatever – dropped a week ago. It stars Halle Bailey, who is a Black performer, and it's great to see Ariel being played in that role.
I have some quibbles with the trailer because it's super dark, you can't really see anything, and the special effects look terrible. But I will say in the wake of that trailer dropping, an old clip from earlier this summer started circulating from an online personality creator who goes by @iamtonytweets on Twitter.
It's basically him donning various wigs to play both Ariel and Ursula in the scene of "Poor Unfortunate Souls," but he remixes it. It just shows the creativity that Black people have, especially when taking things we grew up with that used to be super white, making it really fun and putting in our own spin on it.
I doubt that the movie is going to be as good as this minute-long tweet, but who cares? — Aisha Harris
The 1,000th Tiny Desk Concert with Angélique Kidjo and discovering musician Madison Cunningham
The closing credits of The Woman King have a song that features guest vocals from Angélique Kidjo, the great legend. She is the subject of our 1,000th Tiny Desk Concert, which we published this week.
But speaking of the Tiny Desk Concerts, I had a discovery myself watching a wonderful singer and guitarist named Madison Cunningham, who put out an album last week called Revealer. It is so, so, so beautiful.
She is such a subtly kickass guitarist, and this record contains one of the most beautiful, tear-jerking ballads I've heard in a really, really long time called "Life According To Raechel." — Stephen Thompson
More recommendations from the Pop Culture Happy Hour newsletter
by Linda Holmes
Mandalit del Barco has a new NPR series on Latinos in Hollywood. Listen to the first piece here. (You can also read. But I do recommend hearing the audio she gathered!)
It's an unusual recommendation, but here goes: I don't know how I got on the topic of the 2009 CBS murder mystery series Harper's Island, but after Twitter helped me remember what it was called, I had a great deal of fun visiting its Wikipedia page and reliving one of the most truly bonkers network shows I can remember — including the episode titles.
We got wonderful, wonderful news this week, which is that dear friend of PCHH Brittany Luse will be the new host of It's Been A Minute, which of course was the former domain of dear friend of PCHH Sam Sanders. We could not be more excited, and I commend to you the episode in which Brittany and dear friend of PCHH Eric Eddings (look, we have a lot of friends, okay?) talked about winding down their essential podcast For Colored Nerds as they begin new chapters.
As if that weren't enough internal news, the great Alt.Latino was relaunched this week with Felix Contreras and new host Anamaria Sayre, who our listeners also know from conversations about Bad Bunny and West Side Story, among others.
BUT WAIT. As Stephen mentioned above, this was also the week that the Tiny Desk celebrated its 1,000th — yes, 1,000th — concert. They've come a long way, truly.
NPR's Maison Tran adapted the Pop Culture Happy Hour segment "What's Making Us Happy" into a digital page. If you like these suggestions, consider signing up for our newsletter to get recommendations every week. And listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
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