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Aisha Harris on how pop culture shapes us

“Wannabe,” the debut single by the English girl group the Spice Girls, soared to the top of the charts after its release in June of 1996.

It’s one of the many moments in pop culture that Aisha Harris, cohost of NPR’s “Pop Culture Happy Hour” podcast, writes about in her new book “Wannabe: Reckonings with the pop culture that shapes me.” 

The collection of humorous essays is a journey through music, movies and television. It takes a critical look at media, both past and present — from the era of Spice Girl fandom to the more open discussions of intergenerational trauma in kids movies in recent years.

The book weaves those moments into Aisha’s own life,and her identity as a Black woman who came of age in the ’90s and early 2000s. She joins us to talk about the pop culture that shaped her, and how we can all be better critics of the pop culture that shapes us. 


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Anna Casey