Some of My Best Friends Are

Some of My Best Friends Are

Some of My Best Friends Are… is a podcast hosted by Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Ben Austen, two best friends who grew up together on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s. Today a Harvard professor and an award-winning journalist, Khalil and Ben still go to each other to talk about their experiences with the absurdities and intricacies of race in America. In Some of My Best Friends Are..., they invite listeners into their unfiltered conversations about growing up together in a deeply-divided country, and navigating that divide as it exists today.

Episodes

October 14, 2021 41 min

In the weeks after the groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Library, Khalil and Ben revisit the Obama memoirs, Becoming and A Promised Land: Volume I, on how the Obamas talked about race and racism. From Obama’s retelling of the financial crisis to Michelle’s upbringing on the south side of Chicago, Ben and Khalil discuss how American exceptionalism is intrinsically tied to the Obamas’ stories and their vision of America.

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Still basking in the glow of the 2021 US Open, Ben and Khalil take a trip down memory lane to talk about what it was like growing up on South Side Chicago’s predominantly Black tennis scene. From Khalil’s mother watching Arthur Ashe in the 1970s, to the Williams Sisters and Naomi Osaka changing the game, they break down why this sport is in a league of its own when it comes to Black female athleticism. 

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September 30, 2021 41 min

Can you stop history from repeating itself? That's a question Khalil and Ben ponder at the start of this school year amid conservative attacks and legislation across the country on the teaching of our shared history. They discuss the 1619 Project, the weaponizing of “Critical Race Theory”, its backlash, and the best ways to actually teach American history.

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September 23, 2021 43 min

To celebrate the release of the new Candyman reboot, Khalil and Ben revisit the original 1992 film and discuss its deep connections to time and place. They then dive into the 2021 reboot, exploring how each film portrays Chicago, public housing, gentrification, and the ghosts that still inhabit the city. Do you dare say his name five times? Ben and Khalil are up for the challenge!

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September 16, 2021 48 min

On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising, Khalil and Ben discuss trips they took, separately, to visit prisons in Europe. How did the Nazi occupation influence Germany’s modern day prison system? How do guards and incarcerated people interact inside of Norwegian prisons? And why is America’s criminal justice system so broken? Ben and Khalil answer these questions and more, while reminiscing over what made ...

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September 9, 2021 44 min

Khalil and Ben reflect on the formative movies they saw in theaters growing up that portrayed white and Black men as friends–mainly the 1980’s classics 48 Hrs.  and Lethal Weapon. How did these films shape public views on racism and the police? What did they say about being white and Black men at the time? Khalil and Ben share their take–examining the racial tensions in 48 Hrs. and its reaction to the reconstruction period of the C...

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Coming September 9th, from Pushkin Industries.


Some of My Best Friends Are… is a podcast hosted by Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Ben Austen, two best friends who grew up together on the South Side of Chicago in the 1980s. Today a Harvard professor and an award-winning journalist, Khalil and Ben still go to each other to talk about their experiences with the absurdities and intricacies of race in America. In Some of My Best Friends Are...

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Mark as Played

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