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Art of Power

English, Social, 1 season, 48 episodes, 1 day, 9 hours, 36 minutes
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.
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Special: Shoes Off

WBEZ Chicago has a new podcast that we think Art of Power fans will enjoy. It's called Shoes Off: A Sexy Asians Podcast! It's a show celebrating badass Asians who are making a mark on pop culture and entertainment. Give it a listen!
2/17/202342 minutes, 32 seconds
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Franklin Leonard finds the best scripts in Hollywood

His annual ‘Black List’ elevated films like ‘Juno,’ ‘Argo’ and ‘The King’s Speech.’ Now he wants to change how Hollywood finds its talent. Franklin Leonard tells Art of Power’s Aarti Shahani how his nerdy beginnings in Georgia set the precedent for his career as a revered film executive. He explains how creating his first 'Black List' broke an unwritten Hollywood rule, what show biz can learn from the NBA about finding the best talent, and the power of imagery in dismantling racism and asserting personhood.
5/12/202236 minutes, 45 seconds
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Former ‘Roe’ attorney Gloria Allred on NDAs, empowering victims and a world without legal abortion

Back in the 1960s – before Gloria Allred became one of America’s most prominent women’s rights attorneys – she says she was raped at gunpoint. She became pregnant and had a back-alley abortion that nearly killed her. “It did teach me a lesson,” Allred tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani. “And the lesson is that abortion should be safe, legal, affordable and available.” In conversation with Shahani, Allred explains how that traumatic life event changed her worldview and preceded her decades-long career in civil rights law (10:20). She explains why she uses a cheeky sense of humor to get what she needs (4:30) and how she’s represented some of the most famed names in women’s rights, including “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade and O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson (14:35). Plus, Allred defends a long-standing practice she’s been criticized for: negotiating non-disclosure agreements (26:20).
5/5/202234 minutes, 18 seconds
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Dolores Huerta on organizing, motherhood and ‘sexual coercion’ in her labor rights movement

She helped organize one of the largest labor movements in history, but her name is often left out of the narrative. As an organizer in the 1960s, Dolores Huerta says it was not always easy to assert her power. “As a woman, I had to do something about the way the women were being treated,” she told Art of Power’s Aarti Shahani. Huerta explains how she raised 11 children in voluntary poverty while leading a nationwide civil rights battle (01:45). She dissects the mechanics of the famous 1965 Delano grape boycott, including how she allied with some of America’s biggest leaders (13:50). And for the first time, she reveals how higher-ups within the organization handled an alleged case of what she calls “sexual coercion” less than gracefully (30:40).
4/28/202238 minutes, 48 seconds
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‘Hangover’ producer Scott Budnick cannot be pigeonholed

Scott Budnick might be best known for producing The Hangover trilogy, one of the most successful R-rated comedy franchises ever. But making frat-boy comedies and spending years among ladder-climbers and clout-chasers in Hollywood left Budnick wanting. “I just felt empty inside,” he tells Art of Power’s Aarti Shahani. Budnick tells Shahani about the turn of events that led him to become one of California’s foremost advocates for criminal justice reform. He explains how he broke into the film industry — and then why he left it to found the non-profit Anti-Recidivism Coalition. And he describes his pivot back to creating films — including the 2019 Michael B. Jordan drama Just Mercy — through One Community, a production company with an explicitly political agenda.
4/21/202238 minutes, 1 second
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How 'Queer Eye' Changed The Culture

'Queer Eye,' both the original version on Bravo and the newer Netflix reboot, is one of the most celebrated reality TV shows on the planet. But it was no sure thing. Creator David Collins tells Aarti Shahani the show's amazing creation story. He says God used him as a vessel to help gain cultural acceptance for the LGBTQ community. And he reflects on how others can do for their community what 'Queer Eye' has done for the LGBTQ+ movement. This episode was originally published on May 6, 2021.
4/14/202239 minutes, 11 seconds
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Stacey Abrams does everything

Stacey Abrams is one of the highest profile democracy activists on the planet. She's also an entrepreneur, lawyer, novelist, and she nearly became the first Black woman to govern a state in the U.S. In conversation with Aarti Shahani, Abrams opens up about her inner wiring. She says she writes novels in order to live the adventurous lives she cannot, she explains why neither victory nor defeat are permanent, and she reflects on her 2018 election loss. "Crisis sometimes changes us, but more often it reveals us," she tells Shahani, "and my crisis was a revelatory moment." How does Stacey Abrams recover from heartache? “Slowly.” This episode was originally published on July 15, 2021.
4/7/202243 minutes, 34 seconds
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Sal Khan, Founder Of Khan Academy

First, a lovely update from Aarti. Then, Sal Khan, a man who challenged the education model we’ve been using for centuries. In so doing, he created the largest school in existence. Khan tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about the humble origins of Khan Academy, how he wanted to offer a world class education — like a Harvard or an Oxford — except online and free for everyone, and how he had the confidence to revolutionize education. This episode was originally published on May 20, 2021.
3/31/202238 minutes, 47 seconds
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From BLM activist to Congress: Rep. Cori Bush

In this week’s episode of Art of Power, host Aarti Shahani sits down with Congresswoman Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a former Black Lives Matter activist who lost two elections before finally winning Missouri’s 1st congressional seat in 2020. Rep. Bush tells Shahani about her early exposure to politics (12:36), the adversities she endured in her early life — including eviction, homelessness and rape (19:12), the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson that pushed her to seek public office (4:00), and why she didn’t quit after two lopsided electoral defeats (32:45).
3/24/202239 minutes, 23 seconds
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Indra Nooyi smiles through the BS

In this week’s episode of Art of Power, host Aarti Shahani sits down with Indra Nooyi, who became the first woman and immigrant to head a Fortune 50 company when she was named CEO of PepsiCo in 2006. Nooyi and host Aarti Shahani discuss her unusual family – where the men pushed her to be more ambitious. Aarti asks Nooyi how she manages to stay so light-hearted when people cut her down at work. (It’s something she does over and over again.) Her answer? It’s not what Aarti expected. Indra Nooyi’s book, My Life In Full, has a provocative passage. Describing the times she’s been invited into rooms with the most influential people on the planet, she writes: “The titans of industry, politics and economics, talked about advancing the world through finance, technology, and flying to Mars. Family – the actual messy, delightful, difficult and treasured core of how most of us live – was fringe. This disconnect has profound consequences…In a prosperous marketplace, we need all women to have the choice to work in paid jobs outside the home and for our social and economic infrastructure to entirely support that choice.” (emphasis added) Aarti dissects that call to action with her. It sounds like the call of a feminist or labor leader. Nooyi posits her argument is simple economics. “If you think like an economist, not a feminist, then you say you want the best resources available, which means that men and women, the best talent, have to be in the service of the economy,” Nooyi says. “And that requires some social support. … If you don't provide them a support structure, and then lament about the great resignation, it's crazy.”
3/17/202242 minutes, 30 seconds
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Vladimir Putin hates her: Meet Daria Kaleniuk of Ukraine

In this week’s episode of Art of Power, host Aarti Shahani sits down with the woman who helped build Ukraine’s fledgling democracy. Daria Kaleniuk is the executive director of Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center. She has spent a decade building sweeping anti-corruption infrastructure, much to Russia’s chagrin. As Vladimir Putin invades her home, you may have seen her calling out U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a recent press conference that went viral. In our conversation, Kaleniuk questions the value of her life’s work: “We are being executed by Russia for fighting corruption and building rule of law,” she tells Shahani. “Those allies which helped us…are betraying us. They are not providing means to protect our democracy.” To understand the war in Ukraine, you need to understand her story: where she grew up, the uprising that shaped her, and the threat that she poses to Vladimir Putin. We discuss her early childhood in the post–Soviet state (1:43), her protest work during the Maidan Revolution (7:00), Putin’s recent speech that cited the organizations she helped create as a pretext for his invasion (27:37), and her call to action for Western governments (32:02). Editor’s note: This interview was recorded on Monday, March 7, 2022. It provides vital context for understanding Russia's attack on Ukraine, but does not reflect the latest developments on the ground.
3/10/202245 minutes, 48 seconds
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Jameela Jamil wants vengeance

Jameela Jamil has been revered and despised as the internet’s loudest anti-fat-shaming activist, a social media Candyman out to get the diet industry. But whatever the public opinion, she couldn't care less. In this week’s episode of Art of Power, host Aarti Shahani sits down with the premiere social media activist of a generation. We discuss her unexpected career launch in the U.K. (1:40), a life-threatening discovery that shook her into upending her life (2:41), her unfiltered social media battle with entertainment giants (7:17), her decades-long battle with depression and suicide (18:20), the origin story of her media company, I Weigh (30:09), how her Brown girl identity has shaped her career trajectory (38:51) and her deadly phobia of bees (0:00). “I will die fighting the f***ing diet industry,” she says. If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
3/3/202245 minutes, 23 seconds
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‘I am literally nonbinary, and not just in gender’: Taiwan Digital Minister Audrey Tang on COVID, democracy and identity

Audrey Tang is a genius, a hacktivist, and a software engineer who protested Taiwan’s government during the 2014 Sunflower Movement – and then became an insider, as the first nonbinary and openly transgender cabinet member in the world. Tang and host Aarti Shahani talk about Taiwan’s COVID-19 “miracle”; the platform they helped create to democratize Taiwan’s fragile democracy; a rare childhood heart condition and Taoist meditation; and how their personal identity is a metaphor for the way they publicly lead.
2/24/202243 minutes, 5 seconds
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Living between war and peace: Azmat Khan on the personal toll of war reporting

America’s air campaign against terrorism in the Middle East was one of the most precise in history, according to military officials and media reports at the time. But award-winning investigative journalist Azmat Khan did not believe what she read in the papers. So, she decided to find the truth for herself. She put her body on the line and crisscrossed war zones to figure out how America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were actually going. We discuss tricks of the trade: how Azmat shook off Iraqi officials who were on her tail, how she distinguished between ISIS fighters and civilians, and how she built relationships with her sources. We meet the most important source in her life, Basim Razzo, an Iraqi man who lost his family in a U.S. drone strike. He was labeled, incorrectly, as a member of ISIS. We also go to a place Azmat does not like to visit (at least not in public): her inner life. Living between war and peace takes a real emotional toll.
2/17/202248 minutes, 49 seconds
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How Big Tech silences dissent: Timnit Gebru’s insider account

Google hired computer scientist Timnit Gebru to sniff out bias and other unethical practices in the company’s sprawling artificial intelligence work. After she drafted a paper that did just that, she says, the company moved to fire her. In this episode of Art of Power, Gebru walks host Aarti Shahani through the twists and turns of life that led her to Silicon Valley. A refugee from Ethiopia, she migrated to Massachusetts as a teen, and then headed to Stanford University (though her college guidance counselor didn’t think she was Stanford material). Gebru became a different kind of tech unicorn – a woman and an under-represented minority in the industry. Her departure from Google is one of the most high-profile exits that Big Tech has ever seen. She reflects on what her personal story means for a larger public that’s grappling with the unchecked power of a handful of companies. She also explains how she’s working to light little fires everywhere.
2/10/202246 minutes, 14 seconds
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Olympic champion Allyson Felix in her own shoes ... literally

Allyson Felix used her legs to become the most decorated track athlete in American history, with more world titles than Usain Bolt and Carl Lewis. Though it wasn’t until her journey into motherhood that she found and used her voice. In this episode, host Aarti Shahani talks with Felix about her metamorphosis – from quiet superstar to unexpected activist. The daughter of a pastor and a teacher, she discusses her early years, when she avoided politics (and also happiness!). We dissect just how she found herself in the center of a massive battle over maternal rights … and why exactly she took on her corporate sponsor, the biggest name in footwear: Nike.
2/3/202243 minutes, 51 seconds
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Journalism is not a ‘neutral profession’: Nikole Hannah-Jones on ‘The 1619 Project’

Nikole Hannah-Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for creating The 1619 Project, a series from The New York Times that reframes American history by placing the institution of slavery at the center of the national narrative. The project was released as a book this month. On this episode of WBEZ’s Art of Power podcast, Hannah-Jones tells host Aarti Shahani how she dreamt up the project while on sabbatical, what the backlash has taught her about how power works, and why journalism is not a neutral profession. “I want you to feel deeply disturbed and hopefully guilty by the time you finish my work so that then you will feel the desire to do something differently,” she said. We also trace her journey from dutiful education reporter at a small town newspaper to, well, firebrand.
11/18/202145 minutes, 43 seconds
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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.
10/14/202132 minutes, 13 seconds
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‘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.”
10/7/202147 minutes, 16 seconds
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‘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).
9/30/202148 minutes, 7 seconds
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‘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.
9/23/202145 minutes, 24 seconds
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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.
9/16/202146 minutes, 13 seconds
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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.”
9/9/202147 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Director Who Breaks Silence

Yaël Farber grew up in South Africa during Apartheid, an era when the country’s white minority government racially segregated and brutalized Black South Africans. Farber, a white woman, said the cognitive dissonance she experienced “turned into a clarity and a rage.” Today, she’s one of the world’s more respected stage directors and playwrights. She’s responsible for a number of acclaimed revivals (including Hamlet and The Crucible) as well as original plays documenting oppression during the Apartheid era. She also wrote and directed a shattering production called Nirbhaya, based on the true story of a violent gang rape in India in 2012. Farber tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about why she chose theater as a way to shine light on injustice. An empath and a truth-teller, Farber understands something a lot of us want to understand: how to get people to care. A warning: this episode contains an explicit description of rape and is not suitable for younger listeners.
9/2/202153 minutes, 11 seconds
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Defund The Police? The Data Scientist Behind Police Reform

For decades, the country has witnessed police shootings of Black people and grappled with a question: Are police racist? Are police departments racist? Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff and his team are finding answers using cold, hard data, and using it to reform the idea of what a police department is. Goff is a psychologist, a data scientist and the co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity. As a professor at Yale University, he’s also the rare academic who loves his job — and sees it having a dramatic impact on the world. On Art of Power, Goff tells host Aarti Shahani what defunding the police means to him, about his pioneering work in the field of implicit bias — including his regrets — and how he upended an entire police department in a city in New York. Also, he shares how an initially-offensive encounter with a Denver police officer led to a dynamic partnership.
8/26/202144 minutes
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Leigh Bardugo, Author Of ‘Shadow And Bone’

Leigh Bardugo is among the most celebrated young adult novelists of our time. She’s the author of - among many novels - 'Shadow and Bone,' a fantasy series with over 2.5 million books sold. It’s now a Netflix hit that became the most streamed show in the U.S. earlier this year, according to Neilson. But getting to that promised land was not easy. On Art of Power, Bardugo tells host Aarti Shahani about her many ups and downs: an absent father, an awkward adolescence, the loss of her editor at a pivotal moment, and an abusive relationship with a man that threatened to extinguish her career before it began.
8/19/202145 minutes, 9 seconds
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She Got The First American City To Pass A Reparations Bill

Evanston, Illinois is the first city in the United States to fund a reparations program for black residents with local tax dollars. That’s thanks to Robin Rue Simmons. She was a graduate of Evanston Township High School, just a one-term city council member, and a local official with a plan: keep it simple, keep it focused, and offer no apologies. She tells Aarti Shahani how reparations came to be, the obstacles the program had to overcome, and why the story didn’t make national news “until we made international news.”
8/11/202133 minutes, 18 seconds
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Fred Swaniker Wants To Educate 3 Million Africans To Lead

Fred Swaniker is CEO of the African Leadership Group. He's been named one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine. And the entrepreneur from Ghana has the ambitious goal of educating 3 million young people over 50 years. On Art of Power, Swaniker tells Aarti Shahani about his journey from child refugee to McKinsey management consultant to educator-activist, building schools across the continent of Africa, where almost 60% of the population is under 25. He also explains how he knows when an idea is worth pursuing. Most passions, he argues, are not worth your time.
8/5/202147 minutes, 2 seconds
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Randi Weingarten Reps 1.7 Million Workers

Randi Weingarten is the first openly gay president of a labor union in America. The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Weingarten represents 1.7 million teachers, healthcare workers and support staff across the country. Decades into organizing teachers, she represents more people than some governors do. An intensely private person, she talks with Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about when she chooses to let her personal life come into the public eye. They revisit her coming out story, as well as her experience as a survivor of sexual assault. And Weingarten explains how she’s won over billionaires and politicians (like Michael Bloomberg) by always coming back to the table.
7/29/202141 minutes, 23 seconds
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Justin Baldoni On Being 'Man Enough,' Porn And A Traumatic First Time

Justin Baldoni is best known for his role as Rafael, the bad boy heartthrob from the TV series ‘Jane The Virgin.’ In the real world, Baldoni is on a very public mission to “undefine” a version of masculinity he says is hurting men “far more than it’s helping us.” He’s doing it by telling deeply personal stories — about losing his virginity (it was without his consent, he says), about his battle with addiction to pornography, and about the insecurities he faced while working with actor Gina Rodriguez. “The more I talk about myself, the more I teach, the more I share this stuff, the more I become also self-aware and recognize things in the moment,” Baldoni told Art of Power host Aarti Shahani. “It's liberating.”
7/22/202145 minutes, 27 seconds
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Stacey Abrams Is Writing, Organizing, And Ready To Date

Stacey Abrams, one of the highest profile democracy activists on the planet, is many other things: politician, entrepreneur, lawyer, novelist, even TV producer. She nearly became the first Black woman to govern a state in the U.S. In a wide-ranging conversation with Art of Power host Aarti Shahani, Abrams opens up about her inner wiring. She believes victory and defeat are rarely decisive, so stamina is key in efforts to protect the ballot. Part of her work is to give citizens a reason to believe in the system and fight “despair.” Abrams also explains why she writes novels to live the adventurous lives she cannot. And, she is a whole woman — not just a powerful leader — who is looking for love and working to improve her texting game. “I've not been great at dating,” Abrams tells Art of Power. “I think I could get better at it. I just have to practice.”
7/15/202147 minutes, 51 seconds
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Meet The 27-Year-Old Who Changed Michigan's Constitution

The political divisiveness of the 2016 election led Katie Fahey to write a Facebook post. “I’d like to take on gerrymandering in Michigan,” she said. “If you’re interested in doing this as well please let me know.” Over the next two years, she found herself on an emotional, political and financial rollercoaster that was successful beyond anyone’s expectations. And it teaches an invaluable lesson: If there’s an intractable problem that needs solving, there’s also a perfect time to solve it. Even if you’re out of your element.
7/8/202142 minutes, 34 seconds
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Gaming Mogul Kevin Chou vs. Big Tech

Kevin Chou, who could definitely be retired, is definitely not. He’s on a mission to wrest power away from the handful of companies that seemingly own the Internet. Chou is the founder of Kabam, a video game company behind dozens of popular mobile games. A gamer turned gaming mogul, Chou tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani why he was initially reluctant to follow his childhood passion. He dissects how a screenshot of Elon Musk sold for $25,000 (he had a hand in that). By the end of our chat, your brain may hurt a bit, but you will understand Internet economics and human nature like never before.
7/1/202142 minutes, 4 seconds
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Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, From Activist To Party Boss

What matters inside the halls of Congress is not how many retweets you get, it’s how many votes you control. Elected to Congress in 2016, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., has established that power with remarkable speed. She is chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has 93 House members — over a third of House Democrats. She got her start as an activist protesting the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11. Now she’s one of the most powerful members of Congress. Jayapal tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani how a horrific family crisis prepared her for anything — and what the pledge of allegiance means to her.
6/24/202142 minutes, 14 seconds
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Ezra Klein Kinda Hates Twitter

Ezra Klein, founder of, is now a New York Times columnist and podcaster. He wants to fix the broken system that is Congress, yet he finds himself operating from inside another broken system: mass media. Ezra talks with Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about how he’s trying to promote structural analysis — as opposed to character-driven stories — in politics. Ezra and Aarti revisit his days as a poor student — and the moment when he nearly got cancelled for a tweet. Ezra also talks about how podcasting — not Twitter — gives him a chance to really listen to the other side (and not just literally). The author of Why We’re Polarized and host of the podcast The Ezra Klein Show says he wants to find and build more open spaces in journalism. Ezra also says he’s come to learn his most basic assumption about how to win hearts and minds was all wrong.
6/17/202144 minutes, 20 seconds
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Real Talk On Burnout

Educating is hard work. And for the people who work for Geoffrey Canada — the man who created one of the most ambitious education models in existence — burnout is real. “It sounds glib when I say this work is not for everybody, but it’s not for everybody for their entire life,” Canada says on Art of Power. “When you’ve served well and it’s time for you to move on, I want to give you nothing for respect and love, because you did what you could do for as long as you could do it.” In this episode, Canada explains his views on burnout. He also explains his crazy idea that was eventually adopted by the federal government: If you want to help kids in poor communities, you have to invest in both the kids and the communities. He tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about how he grew up in poverty, broke out with the help of a good education, witnessed the lives of the well-to-do, and then came back home to build a school system in Harlem that at one point earned 100% of his students college acceptance letters. This episode was originally published on April 29.
6/10/202145 minutes, 28 seconds
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Founder Of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani

Reshma Saujani used to be a Big Tech evangelist. She raised a lot of money to build Girls Who Code, a celebrated organization that’s trained nearly half a million girls and young women in tech. But in recent years, she’s come to question if companies like Google have the will to change. For the first time, she goes on the record to talk about retaliation she believed she experienced for publicly questioning Google’s values.
6/3/202141 minutes, 9 seconds
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Ai-jen Poo, Godmother Of Social Movements

Ai-jen Poo’s life’s work involves bringing dignity and fairness to domestic workers, often women of color, who care for our children and elders and clean our homes. She has mentored and employed leading activists, including a founder of Black Lives Matter. She’s a hidden force in American politics. Her decades-long crusade has made the “care economy” part of President Joe Biden’s agenda. And as a woman of privilege leading a constituency with far less of it, she has grappled her entire life with a question that others have raised too: What is my place in this movement?
5/27/202140 minutes, 15 seconds
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Sal Khan, Founder Of Khan Academy

Sal Khan challenged the education model we’ve been using for centuries. In so doing, he created the largest school in existence. He explains how he wanted Khan Academy to offer a world class education — like a Harvard or an Oxford — except online and free for everyone. He succeeded. And in this episode, we make him explain how he had the confidence to be a revolutionary.
5/20/202137 minutes, 23 seconds
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Barack Obama Redefines What It Means To Be A Man

Former President Barack Obama tells ‘Art of Power’ that society has made progress in recognizing the most toxic elements of bad behavior by men. Now, he wants to flip the focus. “What are the positive values that we're trying to instill in our boys?” Obama tells host Aarti Shahani. “Showing compassion is not weakness. Listening is as important as talking.” Hear the former president explain his experience balancing ambition with family obligations, how he wants to expand the definition of what it means to be a man, and how he thinks the stories we tell about right and wrong have tremendous power.
5/13/202148 minutes, 40 seconds
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David Collins Has A Queer Eye

David Collins, creator of the Netflix hit ‘Queer Eye,’ used reality TV to push for cultural acceptance of the LGBTQ community. The idea for the show? It was born at a wine and cheese party.
5/6/202141 minutes, 16 seconds
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Geoffrey Canada Reimagines ‘School’

Geoffrey Canada had a crazy idea: If you want to help kids in poor communities, you have to invest in both the kids and the communities. He tells Art of Power host Aarti Shahani about how he grew up in poverty, broke out with the help of a good education, witnessed the lives of the well-to-do, and then came back to the inner-city to build a school system in Harlem — that at one point earned 100% of his students college acceptance letters.
4/29/202145 minutes, 10 seconds
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Mary Trump Weaponizes Her Privilege

Dr. Mary Trump is niece of The Donald. For a long time, her closest friends had no idea. She was a super private citizen. But then, she went mega-public to talk about her uncle’s cruelty during his presidency. She was the source for a Pulitzer-prize winning investigation in The New York Times into the Trump family’s finances. And her tell-all family memoir sold more copies in one week than Donald Trump’s Art of The Deal sold in its lifetime. It made bestseller history. Mary Trump isn’t used to talking about herself. But THAT is the point of our conversation. Mary on Mary. She’s self-effacing, she defected from her family. But why did she do it? Well, it comes down to privilege. She’s always known she has it. Then, the moment came when she knew she had to use it. And Mary fans: did you know she’s a bird person?
4/22/202147 minutes, 6 seconds
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Rosalind Wiseman Breaks Her Silence On ‘Mean Girls’

Mean Girls, the 2004 movie and later the 2018 Broadway musical, has made more than a quarter billion dollars in ticket sales. But the author of the original source material, Rosalind Wiseman, reveals for the first time on Art of Power that she did not reap the significant financial benefits attached to her creative work. In her contract with Paramount Pictures, Wiseman was promised 5% of net proceeds. Paramount claims the blockbuster film is in the red and has not paid her not a single penny in profits. Wiseman opens up about her disappointment with Paramount Pictures and screenwriter Tina Fey. Wiseman asked the celebrity comedian to use her power to help. Fey said she would, and then ghosted the fellow writer. This episode is about bad deals, Hollywood accounting, power and the people who use it.
4/15/202142 minutes, 23 seconds
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Vivek Murthy Is Not Your Model Minority

Just seven years into his career as a doctor, Vivek Murthy became Surgeon General. His rise happened not because he checked the boxes. He broke the rules and chased a feeling in his spine.
4/8/202137 minutes, 18 seconds
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Carol Moseley Braun Breaks The Glass Ceiling

The first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate talks about her time in the public eye. She didn’t let society’s low expectations keep her down. She also paid a price she didn’t expect. For anyone who wants to break a glass ceiling, it’s an inspiring — and challenging — listen.
4/1/202138 minutes, 20 seconds
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Gaby Pacheco Corners The President

Gaby Pacheco walked 1,500 miles — in the wrong shoes — to force the hand of President Obama. The result: legal protection for nearly 1 million people. Meet the young woman behind DACA.
3/25/202142 minutes, 50 seconds
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Art Of Power Trailer

Art of Power. 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.
3/9/20211 minute, 30 seconds