NPR 4 THE DEF: Giving Public Radio Edge Since 2006


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Janelle Monae, the 25-year-old singer, songwriter and performer from Kansas City, blends cabaret, soul, funk and rock ‘n roll in her music. Her 2007 debut album Metropolis: The Chase Suite featured a character named Cindi Mayweather, Monae’s android alter-ego from the year 2719. “Many Moons,” a single off the album, earned the singer a Grammy nomination, and helped Monae catch the ear of Sean “Diddy” Combs, who signed her to his Bad Boy roster and re-released the album. In 2005, Outkasts’s Big Boi included two of her songs on his compilation, Got Purp?, Vol. 2. Monae also performed in Outkast’s Idlewild soundtrack.


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How do we create safe communities? What is the Kensington community doing in response to the violent events of the last two weeks? A car driven by a man with a bench warrant out for his arrest ran over and killed two young girls, a 22 year-old mother and her baby girl in the Feltonville neighborhood; and a vigilante mob beat up a rapist of an 11 year-old girl in Kensington. We check in with two people who have been building communities in Eastern North Philadelphia. JULIA LOPEZ is the Executive Director of Centro Peter Claver, an asset-based program that works towards a self-sufficient neighborhood through home foreclosure prevention counseling, a youth summer arts school, physical development of neighborhood and many other programs to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life. STEVE HONEYMAN is a community organizer has worked in neighborhood development in Kensington as the former Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project, recently pressuring the Philadelphia School District to rebuild Willard Elementary School.slavery2.jpg

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According to our guests, KEVIN BALES and RON SOODALTER, there are as many as 27 million trapped in modern slavery worldwide. They join us to talk about human trafficking and slavery in the U.S. Their new book is “The Slave Next Door.”


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In this show, sons and daughters get to find out the one thing they’ve always wanted to know about their father. The answers aren’t always what they hope for. Prologue. When Aric Knuth was a little kid, his dad would leave for six months at a time. He was a merchant marine. And Aric would record cassettes of himself and send them. He’d leave one side blank, for his father to record a response. But he never did, even though Aric asked him to on every tape. Aric talks to host Ira Glass about what it was like to finally ask his dad why. (7 minutes)

Act One. Make Him Say Uncle. 
Lennard Davis grew up hearing from his parents that he should, at all costs, avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. Later, after his father died, that very same uncle told him that his father was not, in fact, his father. Instead, he said, Lenny was a product of in vitro fertilization, and he, Uncle Abie, was the sperm donor. At first, the evidence points to the possible truth of Abie’s story, then more evidence seems to indicate he was lying. It takes Lenny more than 20 years to sort out whether it was true, and he finds out the answer—definitively—as tape is rolling. (30 minutes)

Act Two. My Favorite Martian.

Paul Tough’s father was a mild-mannered professor. And then one day he left his family and went on a quest. In this story, for the first time, Paul joins him on that quest: to make contact with extraterrestrial life. Paul asks his father the questions he’s always wanted answered about his alien pursuits. Paul is an editor at The New York Times Magazine. He first read a version of this story at the Little Gray Book Lecture Series in New York. Paul’s father has set up a website for extraterrestrials to use in contacting humans: (IETI stands for Invitation to ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence). (18 minutes)

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Luke Temple’s first band project, Here We Go Magic, is a remarkable departure from the singer-songwriter’s folky solo vision.

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