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#BackChannel: Cancel Culture, Black Women And #MeToo And Trans Representation In Media

'On The Record' features Drew Dixon recounting her experience with sexual assault in the music industry.
'On The Record' features Drew Dixon recounting her experience with sexual assault in the music industry.

Has cancel culture gone too far? That question has echoed throughout American society for several months. 

Host Anita Rao talks to popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal about racial equity in higher education, cancel culture and more in this installment of #BackChannel.

And this week a letter published by Harper’s Magazine and signed by over 150 prominent writers and intellectuals — including Margaret Atwood, Wynton Marsalis and Salman Rushdie — argues against a “stifling atmosphere” that they say restricts public discourse.

Host Anita Rao examines the origins of cancel culture and how it is applied today with popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown and Mark Anthony Neal. They also share their analysis of “On The Record,” a new HBO documentary about the women who came forward to accuse hip hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault. Music executive Drew Dixon is one of them and one of the first women of color to participate in the #MeToo movement.

Three women featured in 'Disclosure': Mj Rodriguez, Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne.
Credit Courtesy of Netflix
Three women featured in 'Disclosure': Mj Rodriguez, Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne.

Plus, Brown and Neal review “Disclosure,” a Netflix documentary exploring the ways trans people are represented on film and TV; look at how higher education institutions are responding to the racial reckoning in the wake of the police death of George Floyd; and examine a new docuseries from PBS on the historic campaigns of women of color during the 2018 midterm elections. Natalie Bullock Brown is a filmmaker and teaching assistant professor at North Carolina State University. Mark Anthony Neal is the James B. Duke Professor and chair of the department of African and African American studies at Duke University. He is also an author and host of the webcast "Left of Black."

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

Anita Rao is the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content. She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest.
Amanda Magnus grew up in Maryland and went to high school in Baltimore. She became interested in radio after an elective course in the NYU journalism department. She got her start at Sirius XM Satellite Radio, but she knew public radio was for her when she interned at WNYC. She later moved to Madison, where she worked at Wisconsin Public Radio for six years. In her time there, she helped create an afternoon drive news magazine show, called Central Time. She also produced several series, including one on Native American life in Wisconsin. She spends her free time running, hiking, and roller skating. She also loves scary movies.