Terry Gross

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

We have a great, entertaining show that seems right for the holiday, this Independence Day that comes just a couple of weeks after Juneteenth was declared a national holiday. We're going to hear my interview with composer, pianist, bandleader and singer Jon Batiste and with Batiste at his home piano so he could play and sing for us, including doing his interpretations of the national anthem and the Black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice."

After winning two Emmys for playing Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on Orange Is the New Black, Uzo Aduba says her current role as a psychotherapist in HBO's reboot of its In Treatment series is an exciting change.

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Ashley C. Ford was a baby when her father went to prison, and for many years no one in her family told her what his crime was. As a teenager, she was shocked to learn he had been convicted of rape.

"It was terrible to try to process it," she says. "With rape, there's no mistake about the intention to harm. You intended to harm someone and you intended to harm someone in a way that I understand intimately."

The first time actor Antony Ramos saw In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway production about a Latinx community in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood, he was floored.

"The pulse of this musical, it feels close to me," he says. "I hadn't felt that watching a musical ever. ... Watching In the Heights, it just gave me this hope, like, wow, this is what a Broadway show can be."

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Next week, for the first time in over a year, Stephen Colbert will be taping "The Late Show" in front of a live audience again. We thought we'd listen back to Terry's conversation with him in April about producing the show from home. Here's how she introduced their interview.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

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Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Actor Rita Moreno never had an on-screen, Latina role model as a child. "There was no such thing then," she says. "Certainly not for little Puerto Rican girls like me."

That changed when Moreno, who moved with her mother to the U.S. mainland from Puerto Rico in 1936 and spent years working as a contract player for MGM, landed her breakout role as Anita in the 1961 film West Side Story.

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Growing up in New Orleans, Atlantic writer Clint Smith was surrounded by reminders of the Confederacy. To get to school, he traveled down Robert E. Lee Boulevard. He took Jefferson Davis Highway when he went to the grocery store.

In elementary and middle school, Smith never learned about the legacy of slavery. Instead, his class took field trips to plantations — "places that were the sites of torture and intergenerational chattel bondage," he says, "but no one said the word 'slavery.'"

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In 1989, 15-year-old Yusef Salaam was one of five Black and Latino teenagers who were wrongly accused of assault and rape in the so-called Central Park jogger case.

At the time of his 1990 trial, Salaam, then out on bail, felt confident that the truth would come out and that he and the other teens would be proven innocent.

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Dawnie Walton was working as the deputy managing editor at Essence in 2015 when she decided to leave her job to become a novelist.

"I had been writing on the sort of edges of my day, waking up at 5:00 in the morning, staying up [late] sometimes if I had the energy after work to to plug away," she says. "And I just thought, ... maybe it's time to do something completely selfish and and just take this risk."

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Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Growing up, Seth Rogen wasn't much of a student, but he did like telling jokes. When he was 12, his mother signed him up for a local comedy class. He was the youngest person in the class by far, but that didn't stop him from performing stand-up in their show, which took place at a lesbian bar.

"It always will be a part of my story that the first time I told jokes was in front of about a hundred lesbians," Rogen says. "Most of my jokes were grandparent-based. ... I assumed the lesbians had grandparents just like I did."

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