Sam Sanders

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Janet Jackson opened her album "Control" not with a song, but with a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTROL")

JANET JACKSON: This is a story about control, my control.

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Every Friday, the hosts and guests on Pop Culture Happy Hour share the shows, movies, books and music that brought them joy that week. We hope they make you happy, too!

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Spike Lee has spent the last four decades making movies that force America to confront its history. His latest film, Da 5 Bloods, released last year on Netflix, centers on veterans who served in the Vietnam war. In the initial screenplay, the majority of the characters where white, but Lee and cowriter Kevin Willmott purposefully rewrote them as Black soldiers.

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Nineteen sixty eight was a year of upheaval in America. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated, and the country was embroiled in protests over the war in Vietnam.

That summer, several prominent anti-war activists, including Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden, were accused of crossing state lines and conspiring to start a riot at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The trial that followed transfixed the nation.

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Billy Porter is nominated for an Emmy this year for lead actor in a drama series for his portrayal of Pray Tell on the FX show "Pose."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "POSE")

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Nate Koch isn't sure what to make of the online dating scene.

"There's no rules," the 23-year-old Colorado resident says. "We don't know what to do on these apps. It feels like kind of, like, the Wild West."

And it can often feel extremely time-consuming and unproductive, says Koch, a recent college graduate. "I'm literally applying to jobs at the same time that I'm dating. The similarity between the two is a little, like, horrifying to me," he says.

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A man struts through the Los Angeles Convention Center wearing a mermaid-style gown, decked out with pink ostrich feathers. No one bats a fake eyelash.

He is just one of more than 60,000 people who streamed into the convention center in May for RuPaul's DragCon, the country's biggest drag queen convention, according to its organizers. Fabulous outfits, high-heeled pumps and colorful wigs filled the hall.

Loud and proud, drag culture is having a moment.

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June is LGBTQ pride month, and some of the loudest and proudest people in that community are drag queens. Now, drag queens don't have to be gay, but a lot of them are. NPR's Sam Sanders dug into the past, present and especially future of drag.

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More young people are leaning into the rental or sharing economy — owning less of everything and renting and sharing a whole lot more. Housing, cars, music, workspaces. In some places, such as Los Angeles, this rental life has gone to an extreme.

Steven T. Johnson, 27, works in social media advertising and lives in Hollywood. He spends most of his days using things he does not own.

He takes a ride-share service to get to the gym; he does not own a car. At the gym, he rents a locker. He uses the gym's laundry service because he does not own a washing machine.

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In Chicago yesterday, prosecutors dropped all of the charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. But Joe Magats with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office says this doesn't mean he's innocent.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

As the nation marks one year since the Parkland school shooting, many Americans are thinking about how the conversation about kids and gun violence has shifted.

In the weeks and months after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students took to the streets and the airwaves to call for fundamental change in America's gun laws. Stoneman Douglas students and students nationwide rallied in an effort to prevent that kind of massacre from happening again.

Jennifer Lopez has come close to quitting the entertainment industry. "You just get to those crossroads in your life," she tells NPR's Sam Sanders. The tabloids were full of stories about her, she says, and she wanted to regain control of her career. "Maybe I just shouldn't do this anymore," she remembers thinking. "Maybe I should just stop singing, and stop making movies, and do something else."

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Earlier this week, Drake secured the fourth solo Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 of his career with the song "In My Feelings," off his fifth studio album Scorpion. But while most of the raps are his, the song's skyrocket up the charts is due, in large part, to something Drake had nothing to do with.

It's hard to imagine a day when we all stop talking about Election 2016. It may be even harder when you're Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for Hillary Clinton's last presidential campaign.

Palmieri is out with a new book called Dear Madam President. The book is full of advice for a future woman world leader, but it also serves as an extremely revealing retrospective on Election 2016, posing big and lingering questions on the presidential race we just can't leave behind.

Ashley Nicole Black was four years into a Ph.D. program at Northwestern University when she decided to drop everything and pursue a career in comedy. It was a risk, but it ended up paying off. She's now a writer and correspondent on TBS' Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

When the "On Air" lights went dark in NBC's Studio 8H early on Sunday, May 21, Taran Killam didn't realize he had just performed on Saturday Night Live for the last time. Later that summer, after six seasons of his seven-year contract, NBC didn't ask him back.

"It wasn't super negative," he tells NPR's It's Been A Minute. "It was just kind of messy."

A panel at the 2017 National Association of Black Journalists conference in New Orleans featuring White House aide Omarosa Manigault quickly went south after Manigault refused to answer questions about the administration in which she serves.

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