Charlie Shelton

Producer, "The State of Things"
An image pop singer Beyonce
Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

 


As the year comes to a close, popular culture experts Natalie Bullock Brown, professor of film and broadcast media at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, and Mark Anthony Neal, professor of African & African American Studies at Duke University in Durham, reflect on cultural media that stood out to in 2016.  They shared some of their favorites from the year in music, movies and television on The State of Things with host Frank Stasio.

An image of the band Elizabeth Haddix and the Gurley Flynns
Dave Clark

Back in the mid-1990s, singer/songwriter Elizabeth Haddix had just entered law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when she realized academics should not be the only thing in her life. On the first day of class, she went to the local music store and bought herself an acoustic guitar to fill her passion for a creative outlet.

An image of the book 'Fields of Battle'
Courtesy of Flatiron Books

When most people hear “Rose Bowl,” they immediately think Pasadena, California. But in 1942, the Rose Bowl was relocated to Durham, North Carolina, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's the only Rose Bowl played outside of Pasadena, and the game almost did not happened.

In his new book "Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl and the Boys Who Went to War" (Flatiron Books/2016), sports writer Brian Curtis tells the story of the game and the men who first met on the field as opponents and later as allies on the front lines.

An image of the book cover for 'Metaphors Be With You'
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Poet Robert Frost once said, "An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor."

An image of former UNC housekeepers Barbara Prear and Marsha Tinne
Charlie Shelton-Ormond / WUNC

On November 26, 1996, a group of housekeepers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill settled a lawsuit with the university that provided the workers with increased wages, improved career training and education programs and more transparent communication with university administrators.

The settlement was the culmination of a movement led by the UNC Housekeeper's Association. The group's efforts follow a legacy of activism by workers at UNC-CH.

An image of the book cover for 'Game Changers'
Courtesy of UNC Press

Dean Smith is known as a legendary basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His teams won 879 games and two NCAA national championships.

But one of Smith's most crowning achievements isn't instilled in a trophy. In 1967, Smith recruited basketball player Charlie Scott, the first African-American scholarship athlete at UNC-CH. It was a seminal act for Smith and furthered his push for civil rights in the South.  
 

An image of comedian Paula Poundstone
Michael Schwartz

More than 30 years ago, comedian Paula Poundstone hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled the country performing in small comedy clubs.  Over the years, Poundstone rose up through the ranks of comedy and eventually earned her own HBO special.

Image of Ivey Ghee and her mother, participants in the podcast 'Out In The South'
Jeff Sykes

The series "Out In The South" features the narratives of five generations of LGBTQ Southerners. It showcases residents' experiences navigating their identity in a cultural environment that can be supportive at times, and polarizing at others. The series includes a podcast and a written component published by Greensboro-based publication YES!Weekly

Triangle-based musician Jasmé Kelly grew up singing in church choirs and eventually decided to pursue music as an independent musician. Kelly combines her upbringing in gospel with popular blues and soul aesthetics in her new album called "Lady Jasmé."

An image of Dave Chappelle with members of A Tribe Called Quest Joribe White and Q-Tip
Rosalind O'Connor / AP

After years of mostly staying out of the spotlight, comedian Dave Chappelle hosted NBC's  "Saturday Night Live" last week. Chappelle's opening monologue mirrored the stand-up comedy that helped make him famous more than a decade ago. Chappelle's jokes grappled with a Trump presidency.  

An image of Bertha Landis with her children in 1985
Tom Davenport

For more than 80 years, the Landis family has gathered at their family farm in Creedmoor, N.C. for a family reunion. The event is a testament to the strong sense of place and kinship within the family.

An image of classical musicians
Courtesy of Mallarme Chamber Players

Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn is most known for writing more than 100 symphonies in the 18th century. However, Haydn also wrote 175 compositions featuring a unique instrument: the baryton. The baryton is a string instrument similar to a cello in the front with six string that are bowed.

An image of writer Margot Lee Shetterly
Aran Shetterly

From the 1940s through the 1960s, a group of elite black women mathematicians known as "human computers" helped NASA put rockets, and eventually astronauts, into space. The women began working with federal aeronautical agencies at the Langley Research Laboratory during World War II, computing endless sets of data while enduring racial segregation and discrimination of the Jim Crow South. 

Roy Cooper at a podium with his wife, addresses his supporters in Raleigh. North Carolina gubernatorial candidates Cooper and incumbent Pat McCrory are locked in a tie with their race likely heading to a recount.
Brian Batista / WUNC

Last night, North Carolinians watched as successful candidates for President, U.S. Senate, and State Supreme Court took to the podium to thank crowds of exuberant supporters in their acceptance speeches. But one race is still undecided: the race for North Carolina's governor. Only a few thousand votes separated Republican incumbent Pat McCrory from his Democratic challenger Roy Cooper. 

President-elect Donald Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. He is seen on stage clapping at a rally.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Voters cast their ballots and elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. Trump won by nearly four percentage points in North Carolina. North Carolinians also re-elected Republican Richard Burr to the Senate, and Democratic Judge Mike Morgan as the newest  N.C. Supreme Court Justice.

An image of writers Clare Beams and April Ayers Lawson
Kristi Jan Hoover/Jason Ayers

When writing a short story, an author must be swift and succinct. A short story does not allow a plot the same amount of breathing room compared to a novel. Writers April Ayers Lawson and Clare Beams welcome the immediacy inherent in a short story as they integrate intimate and engaging tales into their work.

An image of Peter Lamb and the Wolves with Maceo Parker
Peter Lamb and the Wolves

For their latest album, "Carolina Tiger Milk," Triangle-based jazz group Peter Lamb and the Wolves invited some of North Carolina's most prominent musicians.

The band's guest  lineup includes vocalist Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony, saxophonist Maceo Parker and members of the Mint Julep Jazz Band.  

An image 'Black Righteous Space' by Hank Willis Thomas
Hank WIllis Thomas

For Hank Willis Thomas, a good photograph is an image that sticks with somebody long after they first see it. As a photographer and conceptual artist, Thomas uses images to critique cultural perceptions about race, gender and class. 

An image of a gavel
creative commons

More than 300 veteran treatment courts exist around the country to help former service members who have been charged with low-level crimes. The courts put veterans in counseling and rehabilitation programs for issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. 

The number of veteran treatment courts has grown in the last decade, and proponents argue that the system better serves veterans while also cutting court, jail and prison costs. However, in states like North Carolina, only three courts exist to treat a large veteran population. 

An image of Nicole Sarrocco
Jason Hedrick

For Nicole Sarrocco, experiences with the supernatural are nothing new. As a child growing up on a tobacco farm on the border of Wake County, she knew that her family's land was filled with spirits. 

 

She went on to live in multiple haunted houses, and encounters with ghosts seemed to follow her wherever she went. Sarrocco has since worked to come to terms with the occult and channeled these experiences into a novel. 

 

 

An image of a bottle of OxyContin
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Deaths by opioid overdose are on the rise nationwide, and North Carolina remains hit hard by the epidemic.  In 2014, opioids killed more than 28,000 people, more than any years on record.  At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. 

An image of former state senator Josh Stein
Public Doman

Democrat Josh Stein and Republican Buck Newton are vying for the open seat left by Attorney General Roy Cooper who stepped down to run for governor.

Brett Villena

The Raleigh-based hip-hop group Kooley High started nearly a decade ago after its members had spent years trading rhymes with each other on campus at North Carolina State University.  In 2004, some of Kooley High's members started a hip-hop club on campus called "H2O" and helped spark a grassroots rap scene in the city.  

Vianney Le Caer / AP

The highly-anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation" tells the story of a slave rebellion led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831.

An image of folk singer Leadbelly
Public Domain

Rock music has roots in many different musical forms. It is shaped by the blues and jazz. Meanwhile, the narratives in rock songs can be traced back to English ballads.

An image of Duke postdoctoral associate Duke Marisol LeBron
Marisol LeBron

Growing up in the Bronx, Marisol LeBrón witnessed two conflicting realities. She saw the diverse and vibrant communities around her neighborhood of Parkchester, but she also witnessed the struggles of Bronx's residents around stigmas about poverty and crime.

An image of a memorial to Ash Haffner, who died by suicide in 2015
EdNC

The youth suicide rate has increased in North Carolina since the start of the decade. Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults between ages 15 and 19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

Meanwhile, LGBT youth are twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. Organizations including the Child Fatality Task Force and the Wake County Public School System have offered policy recommendations and programs to prevent the rising teenage suicide rate.

An image of peace activists Ali Abu Awwad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Courtesy of Hanan Schlesinger

Even though Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger has lived in the West Bank for 33 years, he had never spent much time with a Palestinian. That was before he met Ali Abu Awwad. Schlesinger lived in the area with for decades seeing Palestinians as an invisible "other." 

An image of an empty hospital bed
Public domain

Thousands of Medicaid recipients across North Carolina are being denied government-assisted funding for personal-care services. In April 2015, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Medical Assistance changed the requirements for personal-care eligibility.

Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP

The International Bluegrass Music Association is underway in Raleigh with the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Awards. The group The Earls of Leicester won Entertainer of the Year for the second year in a row. The group led the field in nominations. Host Frank Stasio talks with John Lawless, editor of Bluegrass Today, about notable awards and emerging bands in bluegrass.

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