Today, we have a fascinating conversation about race and popular culture, particularly around what’s happened recently in the United States following the murder of George Floyd and the protests and uprisings that have followed. As you will hear, this event follows an unfortunate pattern and history that sadly, spans decades. I wanted to explore them within some historical and cultural context. So, I invited Dr. Todd Boyd, aka “The Notorious PhD” onto the podcast – and he graciously accepted.
If you are new to Dr. Boyd, he is the Katherine and Frank Price Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Dr. Boyd is an author, media commentator, producer and scholar. The has appeared in numerous documentaries, most recently in the popular Netflix series “The Last Dance” which was about Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. He wrote and produced the cult classic film “The Wood” and produced the Netflix documentary “At All Costs”. Dr. Boyd’s books include The Notorious PhD’s Guide to the Super Fly 1970s, Young, Black, Rich and Famous, The New H.N.I.C. and Am I Black Enough For You? He has written articles for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Guardian, amongst others.
Dr. Boyd is a pioneer. He developed a new field of study in the 1990s on Hip Hop culture. His work makes connections across sport, cinema, music, fashion, art and politics. This not just a conversation about race in the USA – and by extension many other countries. It is also a conversation about the importance of popular culture and how culture does more than merely reflect society – it can help shape it in unseen and often uncertain ways.
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