They changed the world. So can you. Each week, award-winning journalist Aarti Shahani meets fascinating humans who've done big things. They answer two questions: (1) How does power work in the real world, anyway? (2) How has wielding power changed you?
The movement begins here.
Listen now. Let your volcano erupt.
How will you fix this broken world?
The inaugural season of WBEZ’s Art of Power podcast comes to a close after nearly 30 episodes. In our season finale, Aarti asks listeners to take stock, internalize lessons learned and make a commitment: What am I doing — or going to do — to fix this broken world?
We, the creators and listeners of Art of Power, are not just in the business of learning. We are in the business of learning in order to do. To help you, Aarti and her producers share their favorite power lessons. And she publicly shares a commitment she is making — one that may go very, very badly.
‘You Cannot Take From Me What Is Mine’: Tarana Burke, ‘Me Too’ Movement Founder
Tarana Burke created the “Me Too” movement 15 years before #MeToo went viral in the wake of the 2017 Harvey Weinstein scandal.
On Art of Power, she tells host Aarti Shahani how she did it. Burke, author of the new memoir Unbound, said she had to fight with herself before she could even say the words “me too” out loud. She had to build a grassroots movement in the shadows, in defiance of movement leaders who wanted her to fight against racism, not gender violence and sexism. And she had to reclaim her movement after it appeared to be hijacked by the white Hollywood establishment.
Overwhelmed by the visibility and attention of #MeToo, Burke said, “I really shrunk.” It took time to realize her only limits were the ones she put on herself. Though, she jokes, “that would have sounded like Kumbaya nonsense to me before.”
‘You Don’t Even Know You’re Invisible’: Margaret Cho Forces A Generation To Be Seen
Margaret Cho, an elder stateswoman in comedy, began touring the stand up circuit as a teenager. She dropped out of school and, at age 23, launched the very first TV sitcom about an Asian-American family, All American Girl.
The show bombed. And in the immediate aftermath, she looked in the mirror (literally) and blamed the failure on her inability to lose weight. Years later, she realized she was missing the historical context of the era and the “invisibility” that Asian-Americans were dealing with.
Today, Cho is host of The Margaret Cho, a podcast on the EARIOS network, where she dedicated a season to discussing anti-Asian violence. Cho talks with Art of Power about her mistakes, including how she mistakenly looked up to a white male leader who was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife. She also gives a mini-master class on what makes a joke funny (in case you wanted tips).
‘I Was Dimming My Light’: Common On Music, Love And Change From Within
Common is an actor, writer, and hip hop artist who’s won a Grammy, an Emmy and an Oscar, putting him a Tony award away from a rare EGOT.
As he explains on Art of Power, Common is not just a man of contradictions, but a man able to hold contradictions — the dark and the light, hate and love. That’s key to his worldview and his inordinate success.
You may have seen him on screen, in Selma, John Wick 2 or dozens of other films. He’s also got a new album out, A Beautiful Revolution Part 2.
He talks with host Aarti Shahani about his activism against juvenile incarceration, why he was able to forgive his father for kidnapping his mom and him at gunpoint, how it felt to lose Grammys, and how acting class helped him find peace in failed relationships.
Want To Change Careers? A 7 Step Guide With Peloton’s Robin Arzón
Nearly one third of American workers under age 40 are thinking about changing careers, according to a Washington Post poll. I was one of them. I pivoted from grassroots organizer in prisons to NPR’s Silicon Valley correspondent. I then pivoted again, to podcast host/owner and book author.
As a woman who devours career change stories, I can safely say: Robin Arzón has one of the very best.
Arzón is the head instructor at Peloton. An ultramarathoner and a fitness guru with fans across the world, she didn’t even consider herself an athlete just a few years ago. She was a corporate lawyer.
On Art of Power, Arzón explains why she left a very lucrative career — one she enjoyed — to chase something undefined. She wanted more. She traces her journey back to a horrific moment when, at age 20, she was held at gunpoint. I break down her path (and mine and many others) into seven simple steps. Well, simple to say, but maybe not so simple to follow. Arzón and I also discuss how her workouts have changed since giving birth to her first child.
Do Black People Wear Belts? Kemp Powers On Creativity And Tackling Stereotypes At Pixar
When Kemp Powers seized the world’s attention in 2020 with two blockbuster movies — 'One Night In Miami,' which he wrote, and 'Soul,' which he co-wrote and co-directed — he was 47 years old. His envious achievements are the culmination of an un-envious journey, a hard slog filled with tragedy and self-doubt. A recovering journalist, Kemp and Art of Power host Aarti Shahani talk about how the newsroom almost killed his creativity and how he salvaged it one snowy night when he nearly died.
Powers became the first Black director in the history of Pixar, an American cultural institution that is … very white. In the process of writing and directing Soul, Pixar's first feature film with a Black lead character, Powers found himself on the forefront of changing the company culture. He had to educate his white colleagues who believed things like “all black people hate cats” and “black people don’t wear belts.” He says his work at Pixar has taught him the importance of “managing up.”