Back Issue

Back Issue

Remember when Monica allegedly punched Brandy right before they performed live at the MTV Video Music Awards? When Freaknik took over Atlanta, and changed the game for parties everywhere? When tasteless critics panned Mariah Carey’s Glitter? (#JusticeforGlitter!) When Beyonce told Farrah that someone could send her luggage? We do!Back Issue tells the stories behind formative moments in pop culture. In each episode we look back at some of the moments that shook us, that changed us. Join Tracy Clayton (host of Netflix’s Strong Black Legends, Mailchimp’s Going Through It) and Pineapple Street Studios Senior Producer Josh Gwynn as they reckon with some of culture’s biggest questions, from "How did we let this happen?" to ‘Why do we still love this?" Because nostalgia is more than just a feeling. Got an issue you’d like us to investigate? Hit the Back Issue Hotline at (678)-74ISSUE.

Episodes

October 11, 2021 56 min
In our final episode of Season Two, we had to “end” it just right, by doing what we do best— looking back at it (aye!) — so we’re backing thangs up with a conversation on booty. That’s right: Tracy and Josh are investigating the history and trends around round, plump posteriors, butts, dumps and humps. They invite writer and podcaster Nichole Perkins to help define terminology around Black women and girls’ bodies and sexual agency....
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Racers, start your engines ‘cause this week’s maxi challenge is gonna leave you gagging (don’t worry; that’s a good thing). Josh and Tracy tackle the good, the bad, and the ooooh girl of RuPaul’s Drag Race, from favorite moments like Valentina’s prophetic mask and Trinity K. Bonet’s un-bey-lievable comeback, to concerning trends like how access to money and designers have become more important than talent on the show. And, because ...
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September 27, 2021 41 min
This week, we’re taking a moment to breathe, shoop shoop, and exhale. Tracy and Josh explore mental health with our favorite therapist, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast! With Dr. Joy’s guidance, our hosts tackle huge questions like: How do we take care of ourselves when it feels like The End Times™️? How do we bounce back from burnout? And how do we stop thinking of rest as something we need to earn? G...
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September 20, 2021 48 min
It’s game night, so get your "Draw 4" cards ready 'cause it's about to go down! Josh and Tracy invite the very special and highly competitive hosts of the For Colored Nerds podcast, Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, to share their favorite game night memories, some game night horror stories, and play an original game Tracy invented called Aight Bet! Will they still be friends afterward? Gotta listen to find out! Then,...
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Welcome to the Fifty-Eleventh Back Issue Video Music Awards! Join Josh and Tracy as they honor their favorite music videos of the ‘90s and 2000s in categories you might expect (Most Iconic Look in a Music Video) and some you absolutely won’t (Best Use of Water in a Music Video & Best Music Video Sponsored by Old Navy). Spoiler alert: our Blifetime (nope, that’s not a typo) Award goes to THEE Director X, who’s worked with pretty...
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September 8, 2021 7 min
How did 9/11 the day become 9/11 the idea? That question drives award-winning host Dan Taberski (Missing Richard Simmons, Running From COPS, The Line) to shift his focus to what happened on 9/12, and every day after that. 9/12 is a poignant, surprising, and surprisingly funny seven episode series about people who wake up on 9/12 having to navigate a new, radically altered world. A teenager gets caught up in an out-of-control conspi...
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Reality TV dating shows are a subgenre of “reality” that seem to get weirder by the year. Josh and Tracy have watched their fair share of trash reality TV but could never get into nor get the appeal of the most popular reality dating hell show franchise of all: The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Why do shows like this exist and what keeps people coming back for 25 seasons straight? We’ll hear from Ali Barthwell, a writer for Last W...
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Glamour. Sass. Unadulterated talent. What makes a diva? Podcast divas of the universe Tracy and Josh go deep in their diva bags and unpack the origins and evolution of divas as well as the politics around diva-dom. They invite Wayne Isaak, former Executive Vice President of Music Programming and Talent for VH1 and Co-Producer of VH1’s Divas Live ’98 and ’99 to explain all things diva, and he gives the tea on what really happened be...
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August 23, 2021 54 min
Grab your sporks and your doggy bags! This week, Josh and Tracy dig in and dig deep about their mutual love of food and its way of connecting people, places, and stories. Joining them is founder of Herb ‘N’ Cooking and Food Network's "Chopped" finalist Chef Mustapha Abdul-Rahiim. He breaks down food’s ability to socialize us and its inherent connection to memory. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.co...
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Music has a way of scoring life’s big and small moments, and this week, Josh and Tracy team up to create the ultimate mixtape that ushers in all the feels. They discuss their musical influences, test their knowledge on R&B and pop groups we thought we remembered, and maybe—just maybe, reveal that one of them is secretly a recording artist. Together, we are reminded why music makes us lose control, and why sometimes, that’s just...
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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to pay tribute to this thing called Beyoncé’s internet. No, not today’s digital hellscape, but the one we first fell in love with way back in ye olde days of AOL, Napster, and LiveJournal. *dial up bings and gurgles* This week, Josh and Tracy reminisce on how being online once had the potential to affirm us. How did we go from that to *gestures at the entire World Wide Web* whatever mess t...
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August 2, 2021 49 min
This week, Josh and Tracy put together a mixtape of love to unpack Whitney Houston’s career and legacy -- from her gospel beginnings and becoming America’s princess, to that infamous Wendy Williams interview and Being Bobby Brown. What can Whitney’s life teach us about the tension between mental health and success? And how can we learn from what she went through to do better? P.S. If any of your relatives were in the Soul Train Awa...
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July 26, 2021 45 min
Now that the world is opening and closing...and opening, we’ve been thinking a lot about touch. This week, Tracy and Josh explore all the ways we greet each other – high fives! low fives! secret handshakes! – and what they say about us. They also get into a battle over whose hometown invented the high five. 🍿 And Barry White Jr. – no, not the crooner, but the teacher who went viral for memorizing individualized handshakes f...
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Your summer just got a lot hotter, 'cause Back Issue is back in the habit! 🔥Season 2 is about to serve even more joy and pop culture nostalgia than before. We’re honoring Whitney THEE Houston, giving the folks who *actually* invented the internet their flowers, and fighting over whose hometown dreamt up the high five. All along the way, we continue to take the advice of our patron saint Tyra “Move Ya Body” Banks and?&#x...
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Before We Bid Season 1 Adieu, Did You Know Tracy Almost Got An Ankh Tattoo? This week, Josh and Tracy close out Back Issue's first season with one last trip, all the way back to the heyday of Neo Soul, from how the genre shaped them to their faves. They talk to Perry Fair, one of the creatives behind Coke’s iconic Nu Classic Soul ad. Then, they sit down with THEE Jill Scott (AHHHH!!!) to talk about her music, her legacy, and re...
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Without A Doubt, I Miss The Cookout This week, take a break from your solitary quarantine as Josh and Tracy take you waaay back to some of the baddest, Blackest functions of all time, like ATL's Freaknik and the Kentucky Derby. Then, travel back in time with Josh and organizer Mariah Moore (of The Transgender Law Center, House of Tulip) to the celebration of life and death that was Aretha Franklin's second line in New Orle...
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Can You Hear It? I Know You Caught The Spirit This week, Josh and Tracy are taking you to church. First, they talk about their time in the pews, from the ways they've had to reconcile their faiths and identities to the music that has stuck with them. They hear about the deep, poetic roots of Gospel in Black identity from writer and professor Ashon Crawley. And they sit down with pastor and legend Shirley Caesar to talk about h...
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November 16, 2020 49 min
Day or Night, It's About To Be A What? Girl Fight!? This week, Josh and Tracy give you all things beefs, feuds, and squabbles. They explore one of the most formative feuds of their youth — Brandy vs. Monica — and get into where they were when one of the most shocking diss tracks of our time dropped (hint: it involves a pink diamond chicken wing chain). Then, rapper and talented multi-hyphenate Jean Grae joins to share why she t...
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Give Me A Break, You Ain't No Ricki Lake This week, Josh and Tracy take you through the world of daytime talk shows and unpack the fun, the messy, and the hard-to-reconcile parts of shows like Ricki Lake, Oprah, Jerry Springer, and Jenny Jones. Then, they sit down with Sherri Shepherd, Emmy-winning former host of ‘The View,’ to discuss why being on that show was the best and most painful experience of her career and what it was...
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Young And Free, I Want My MTV! This week, Josh and Tracy are talking all things MTV. From ‘The Real World’ cinematic universe to the boom boom kacks of ‘Making The Band,’ they take you through the channel’s best (and messiest) moments. Then, they get a sense of what it was like to work there from Erika Clarke, a former MTV producer who spent 10 years working on iconic shows like ‘Cribs’ and ‘Diary’ (y’all, she worked on the Aaliya...
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