Bonus Episode: Lori’s Meltingpot Origin Story

March 14, 2019

On this bonus episode of the podcast, I want you to get to know me, your host, a little bit better. Everybody has an origin story and this is mine. It's not my life story, it's my meltingpot story. You will hear how I met my husband in Spain, and then how together we built a multiracial, multicultural, bilingual, meltingpot family. Our story was told as part of a special podcast series in 2017 called, The Loving Project. I hope you enjoy it. 

#8 The Challenges of Traveling as a Multiracial Family

March 1, 2019

On episode #8 of the podcast, we're discussing the challenges of traveling as a multiracial family. Thanks to Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, this issue recently made headlines when Mrs. McCain believed she was witnessing a case of child trafficking at an Arizona airport. What she really saw was a mother traveling with her mixed-race child, which according to McCain, looked suspicious and warranted police intervention. I'm joined by travel blogger and interracial justice worker, Carmen Sognonvi to talk about what it's really like to travel with a family that "doesn't match," and to discuss the benefits and joys of family travel.

#7 The “Beauty and Pain of Black hair” with Gillian Scott-Ward

February 15, 2019

On episode 7 of the My American Meltingpot podcast, I'm joined by Dr. Gillian Scott-Ward. In 2013, Gillian was a psychologist working at Barnard College. But when she decided to go natural, her whole world changed. On the show, we discuss how Gillian went from college psychologist to award-winning filmmaker with her debut film, Back to Natural. We talk about the "beauty and pain" of having Black hair in America and all around the world. It's a conversation that goes all the way to the roots of Black hair history and culture.

#6 Unapologetically Bold and Black: Diversity in Kids Lit with Zetta Elliott

February 1, 2019

On episode #6 of the My American Meltingpot podcast, I am joined by author, activist and educator, Zetta Elliott, for a passionate conversation about diversity in children's literature. Zetta has written over 30 books for children, teens and young adults and is committed to telling stories featuring Black characters in the most unexpected places. From sci-fi, to speculative fiction, to haunted historical fiction, Zetta has written it all and shows no signs of stopping. She is on a mission to decolonize all of our imaginations when it comes to storytelling for young people.

#5 Behind the Music with Sumi Tonooka

January 18, 2019

On episode #5 of My American Meltingpot, we’re going behind the music with legendary jazz composer, Sumi Tonooka. You might recognize Sumi’s name because not only is she the woman who created our Meltingpot theme music, she’s also a world class composer, jazz pianist and educator.  I talk to Sumi about her decades-long career in the music industry, how her African-American and Japanese-American heritage influences her creative work, and how she used music to bring attention to the injustice of the Japanese internment camps. It's a riveting and inspiring conversation, plus Sumi plays an original composition for us, live in studio, at the end of the interview. 

#4 The One-Drop Rule Revisited

January 4, 2019

On episode #4 of the MAMP podcast, we're revisiting the one-drop rule with two women who both believed they were white, until they discovered by accident, that they weren't. My guests are Gail Lukasik and Shannon Wink. Gail is the author of the new book, White Like Her: My Family's Story of Race and Racial Passing.  Shannon is a Philadelphia-based journalist and writer. In her late 40s, Gail discovered that her mother had been passing as white for her entire adult life. Shannon learned her maternal grandfather wasn't Native American as he'd claimed, he was actually Black. Listen in on a fascinating discussion about racial identity, passing, and what it really means to be Black or white in America.

#3 K-Pop Is Everything

December 21, 2018

K-Pop, or Korean pop music, is already a global phenomenon, but 2018 was arguably the year K-Pop went mainstream in the United States. Supported by a devoted, multi-ethnic fan base, groups like BTS dominated America's pop music charts all year long, even though they sing in Korean. On episode #3 of the podcast, K-Pop columnist for Billboard magazine, Tamar Herman, and teen K-Pop fan, Esai Malia-Tharps, join host Lori Tharps for a deep-dive into this diverse world of boy bands, girl groups, super fans, and catchy hooks. We talk about why the genre is so popular, why African American and Latino teens are some of K-Pop's biggest supporters, and why accusations of cultural appropriation and colorism keep coming up. 

#2: Racist Technology

December 7, 2018

Is it possible for technology to be racist? And if so, what does that mean for the human beings that use it? What does that mean for society in general? Who gets hurt by technology that's racist? (Hint: Anybody with extra melanin.) All of these questions and more are answered in this fascinating discussion with Meredith Broussard, author of the new book, Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World. We break down what technology is actually capable of accomplishing and what should be left to human hands. We learn what technochauvanism is. Plus, Meredith offers several ideas to help take the racism out of our technology. 

#1: Deconstructing Thanksgiving

November 23, 2018

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? What's this holiday really about? Meltingpot host, Lori Tharps is joined by Dr. Crystal Fleming, author of the new book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race and together they deconstruct the Thanksgiving holiday. Note, it's not pretty, but it's an important conversation we all should be having. Because we all need to be a little less stupid about Thanksgiving. 

The Trailer

November 15, 2018

Welcome to the My American Meltingpot podcast. A podcast where we have conversations about pop culture, parenting and identity politics from a multicultural perspective. In our trailer, meet host Lori L. Tharps and hear why she believes America needs a podcast that centers diversity.