Arts and Culture

A Young Woman Claims Her Power In 'Open Me'

1 hour ago

Young women occupy a perilous space in the world: Their bodies are desired, their youth fetishized, and they're simultaneously placed on a pedestal and reviled as maddeningly seductive. Rarely, if ever, are their own desires allowed to flourish without judgment, slut-shaming side-eye, or envious jabs. And if they are left alone, they often fall into the opposite trap of considering themselves unwanted, unwantable, their desirability carefully measured by culture, fashion, and violence.

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Sasha Velour is a winner. In June of 2017, the drag queen took home the crown on season nine of RuPaul's Drag Race. More than a year later, she's still using her queendom to spread the word about drag, and challenge perceptions about the art form.

On stage at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York, Velour was dressed in yards of shiny silver fabric adorned with hundreds of huge, multicolored gems. She described the look to NPR's Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg as "a crown as a dress," or "what Queen Nosferatu wears to her daughter's lesbian summer wedding."

Awkwafina: 'No Turning Back'

19 hours ago

When Nora Lum chose Awkwafina as her rap name, she was 16 years old, writing music in her childhood bedroom in Forest Hills, Queens in New York. At the time, she was an aspiring concert trumpeter attending the prestigious Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, teaching herself how to produce beats, and writing lyrics to flesh out the songs. Over the next two years, she recorded more than 500 tracks, including "My Vag" — a response to Mickey Avalon's self-aggrandizing "My Dick."

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Story Behind The Numbers.

About Steven Pinker's TED Talk

It might seem like the world is getting worse and worse. But psychologist Steven Pinker says that across the board, data suggests we've made a lot of progress. The question is — will it continue?

About Steven Pinker