Here are 12 'City Lights' interviews that amplify women's voices
March is Women’s History Month, and WABE is celebrating by recognizing the women that are #AmplifyingAtlanta. “City Lights with Lois Reitzes” has a diverse catalog of episodes that feature women making an impact in arts, entertainment, food, fashion and more. Here are 12 standout interviews.
A talk with Nikki Giovanni — one of America’s best-known poets – Feb. 21, 2020
Nikki Giovanni’s career as a celebrated and controversial poet began during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. She’s a recipient of the Langston Hughes Medal for Outstanding Poetry. She fearlessly writes about America’s political and poetic landscape, with recurring themes of family, food and the people who influenced her. Her collection of poems “Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement” solidified her status as one of America’s foremost poets.
Ruth E. Carter is the creative mastermind behind the costumes worn in “Black Panther.” She won an Academy Award for her culturally rich, memorable designs that put an afrofuturistic twist on superhero costumes. Carter has also worked with several of today’s most acclaimed directors, including Spike Lee, who she’s worked with on 14 movies. Her exhibition “Afrofuturism in Coustme Design” was on display at the SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film.
Pam Longobardi is an environmentalist, activist and Distinguished Professor of Art at Georgia State University. Her exhibit “Reworlding” showcases art made of plastic waste. She was inspired by seeing plastic pile up on shores in Hawaii, which she described as a “collision of nature and human culture.”
“There was a very, very complex and alarming and complex story that was being told in these [plastic] materials,” Longbardi said. “So I really thought about them as these haunted objects that were a kind of ghost of our consumption.”
You may know Emily Blunt from her role as an actress in “The Devil Wears Prada.” But, she’s also an advocate for the American Institute for Stuttering. In her interview with “City Lights” she shared her experience growing up as a child with a stutter.
“You are not defined by your speech,” Blunt said. “You do not have to be defined by it. It is not who you are, it is part of who you are.”
Breonna Taylor’s memory was kept alive when Vanity Fair made her the posthumous cover star of its September 2020 issue. The image is a painting (which now lives in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture) and in it, she’s wearing a beautiful, flowy blue dress. The dress was designed by Jasmine Elder, the founder of the plus-size fashion line Jibri.
Elder on designing the dress: “I wanted it to be something that her mom would love and her fiancé would love because I knew for this painting, it would be like her forever dress.”
Arpita Chadha took her pandemic hobby to a new level when she started sharing her family’s vegetarian Indian food recipes. It evolved into the East Atlanta India Company, now known as some of the best vegetarian Indian food in the city. The pop-up restaurant’s dishes take inspiration from different regions where her family lives.
“My Name is Not Mom” is a live, stand-up comedy show that takes audiences on a comedic journey through motherhood. Tiffany Jenkins, Meredith Masony and Dena Blizzard are the mothers, comedians and internet sensations that share their experiences in motherhood — and make people laugh at the same time.
“No matter where you are on that motherhood journey, this will resonate with you,” Blizzard said.
International concert violinist, composer and photographer Alice Hong played the role of a violinist in the Netflix original movie “Red Notice.” In her “City Lights” interview, she shared her experience of being on the movie set and discussed her own ventures. She owns a photography company and a classical music video series called Project Mainstream. Through this, Hong hopes to keep classical music alive with younger, ever-diversifying audiences.
The documentary “My Name is Pauli Murray” celebrates the lawyer, activist, writer and the first Black female Episcopal priest. Murray was ahead of her time in many rights — her activism touched on racism, sexism, gender identity and sexual orientation long before those conversations were happening in the mainstream.
“Pauli Murray’s work on gender discrimination was just the tip of the iceberg of this enormous career in law, in activism … not just for women’s rights but for civil rights in the labor movement,” said Julie Cohen, the film’s director.
The “honest history of Atlanta” is presented in song form by the Atlanta Women’s Choir in their show “Phoenix Rising.” It explores Atlanta from its early settlers all the way to OutKast, through a diverse program of music ranging from folkloric to modern pop. In lifting the veils from whitewashed tellings of history, the show is forthright about the true history of the South — a crucial step in moving forward.
When Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was presented the opportunity to write a children’s book, she jumped at it. “Stacey’s Extraordinary Words” tells the story of a second-grader whose love of language ends up teaching her more than just words. Abrams grew up around literature, and the story itself is a reflection of her younger self.
Tena Clark is an award-winning composer and music producer. In this interview, she discussed several of the songs she’s written about social justice topics. Some of the songs are about specific laws, and she’s even made a song that was commissioned by the State Department to present to Hillary Clinton.
“I feel like the best thing I can do is to use my art to try and make an impact,” Clark said. “And there’s no more of an emotional power than the connection of music.”
“City Lights” airs on weekdays at 11 a.m. on 90.1 FM.