29 episodes

WBEZ's critically-acclaimed bio-podcast series explores how an icon is made. Providing an unmatched view from the beginning, all the way to the their rise to the top.

Making WBEZ Chicago

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 3.5K Ratings

WBEZ's critically-acclaimed bio-podcast series explores how an icon is made. Providing an unmatched view from the beginning, all the way to the their rise to the top.

    Making Serena

    Making Serena

    Serena Williams is a household name. The recently retired tennis legend has won 23 Grand Slam titles – more than any player in the Open era. But before becoming one of the most dominant athletes of all-time, Serena was a girl from Compton with a dream.
    In the Season 4 premiere of WBEZ’s Making podcast, host Brandon Pope revisits the years before anyone knew Serena’s name. Hear from the people in the room and on the court during her evolution to tennis prodigy, including her sister Isha Price, former tennis pro Chanda Rubin, and childhood coach Rick Macci.

    • 38 min
    Making Rihanna

    Making Rihanna

    Robyn Rihanna Fenty was just 16 when she signed a record deal with Jay-Z. She was 19 when her smash hit “Umbrella” took the world by storm. Now at 34, she is not only known as a popstar but also a fashion mogul and billionaire.
    But how did she get here? On this week’s episode of Making, host Brandon Pope explores Rihanna’s origin story with music journalist Bill Werde, Vogue.com editor Chioma Nnadi and record producer Evan Rogers, who discovered Rihanna in Barbados in 2003.
    “I warned her it's a roller coaster, you're gonna get kicked in the gut. Are you sure?” Rogers recalls asking the then-15-year old. “And I'll never forget, with no hesitation it was like, ‘It's all I've ever wanted.’”
    Featuring exclusive archival tape of Rihanna’s early rehearsals, learn how Rihanna became a global icon.

    • 41 min
    Making Jesse Jackson

    Making Jesse Jackson

    Before there was Barack Obama on the ballot, there was Jesse Jackson. Preacher, civil rights soldier and activist, Jackson ran two memorable campaigns for the American presidency.
    “Our time has come,” Jackson declared during his famous ‘David and Goliath’ speech while he was running for the Democratic nomination in 1984. “Red, yellow, black and white, we’re all precious in God’s sight! Our time has come.”
    But what ingredients create a civil rights legend? Join biographer Barbara Ann Reynolds, long-time friend and collaborator Frank Watkins and Jackson’s son, Jonathan Jackson, in conversation with host Brandon Pope. They dissect Jackson’s decades-long career – as a mentee of Martin Luther King Jr., as the leader of Rainbow PUSH and as a renowned orator – on the latest episode of Making.

    • 41 min
    Making Kobe

    Making Kobe

    Hear the story of how a legendary athlete climbed the NBA's mountaintop of greats. It's a story that takes asymmetrical turns before ending tragically and prematurely.
    On this episode of Making, we look at the whole picture of Kobe Bean Bryant. Join Making host Brandon Pope for a conversation about Bryant’s origin story with his high school basketball coach, Gregg Downer, and Bryant biographer Mike Sielski. Then, Pope leads a conversation on the complex second half of Bryant’s life, with ESPN senior writer David Dennis Jr. and former sports radio host, attorney and author Julie DiCaro.

    • 47 min
    Making Maya Angelou

    Making Maya Angelou

    Perhaps best known for her seminal autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated literary minds in history, whose poetry and prose has touched generations of readers. But before Caged Bird, Angelou danced and sang on and off Broadway, earned the moniker “Miss Calypso” in the 1950s, called dozens of American cities and African nations home, and even became the first Black woman to work as a cable car conductor in San Francisco.
    On this episode of Making, host Brandon Pope leads a conversation on Maya Angelou’s early days and what made her who she was. Joining him is Rita Coburn, co-director of the Peabody-Award-winning PBS documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise; Randal Jelks, professor of African and African American studies and American studies at the University of Kansas; and a legend in her own right, Dr. Maxine Mimms, the founder of the Tacoma Campus of Evergreen State College and a longtime friend of Angelou.

    • 43 min
    Making RuPaul

    Making RuPaul

    When RuPaul’s mother was pregnant, she went to a psychic who said RuPaul would be famous.
    That psychic was right. With Emmys, Tonys and 14 studio albums, RuPaul Andre Charles has become the world’s most famous drag queen. But before superstardom, Ru was just a kid in the big city, go-go dancing to make ends meet.
    “None of us had any money back then. We were all shopping at thrift stores,” said friend and legendary drag queen Lady Bunny. “We were all kind of artsy-fartsy bums.”
    Joining Lady Bunny are DJ and songwriter Larry Tee, author and drag historian Simon Doonan and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Shea Couleé in conversation with host Brandon Pope. A dive into the critical years that turned RuPaul into a supernova.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
3.5K Ratings

3.5K Ratings

The Katherine Harrington ,

Incredible!

So inspiring. Thank you for bringing these important stories to life! You do an outstanding job. KH

Hasani Henderson ,

Sensational Show!!

This show doesn’t miss! I’m not much of a podcast listener but this has me hooked. Love Brandon’s authenticity and candor. You’ve got a loyal fan out of me!

The Boy Home ,

Incredible Depth from Brandon Pope

So happy with the direction of the show under Brandon Pope. There’s a new level of depth and the focus on culturally competent stories has me excited for the upcoming seasons.

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