Rachel Martin

Janet Jackson's album Control was one of the biggest hits of 1986 – and the Grammy-winning beginning of a legendary partnership between Jackson and the album's producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

What does it mean to live between cultures, languages and genders? That's something Vietnamese American author Ocean Vuong knows well.

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The pace of hiring is picking up but not as quickly as many employers would like. The Labor Department said this morning that employers added 850,000 jobs in June. Many businesses say they'd like to hire more folks if they had more applicants.

Updated July 1, 2021 at 9:53 AM ET

North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, doesn't make casual public remarks. They service a particular agenda and are highly calculated at any moment. That's why it raised eyebrows last month when he called the food situation in North Korea "tense" during a meeting with the Central Committee of his ruling Workers' Party.

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It's been over 100 hours and counting since a 12-story condominium collapsed in Surfside, Fla.

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For Manas Ray, the distance from his home in Massachusetts to India, where his extended family lives, has made the coronavirus pandemic feel like a nightmare.

At least 12 friends and family members close to the biochemist have been infected since April 2020, including his mother, Bandana. Reports earlier this spring from his friends and relatives were especially bleak as the second wave devastated the country he left 33 years ago.

"It's very hard on me because I'm so far away from them and cannot help," Ray tells Morning Edition.

At this time last year, Morning Edition was looking for ways to chronicle, and through that make sense of a moment as dramatic as anything in recent memory. We turned to music almost immediately, and specifically our Song Project — asking musicians to write an original song about their experience of the tumult.

The past year has been heavy and affected us in both small and big ways.

Now, millions of Americans have been vaccinated, businesses are reopening and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened guidance on mask-wearing for vaccinated people. As many begin to take steps to come out on the other side of the pandemic, Morning Edition asked NPR's audience to write a poem using Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise" as inspiration.

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Natasha Cobbs Leonard began singing early, performing "I Believe Children Are Our Future" at a cousin's kindergarten graduation while she was still in grade school, though she had a longer road towards realizing the scope of her now-obvious gift. "After that, I literally did not sing lead in front of a crowd until I was 15 years old."

The coronavirus pandemic has been especially tough on women, who are still bearing the brunt of the demands of child care and housework.

About 400,000 more women than men have left the workforce since the start of the pandemic. The percentage of women in the paid labor force has not recovered from the steep drop in the spring of 2020.

New York City schools will reopen in full this fall with no options for virtual learning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement during an appearance Monday on MSNBC, saying, "You can't have a full recovery without full-strength schools, everyone back sitting in those classrooms."

De Blasio said the nation's largest school district will meet in person five days a week, with no remote option available. New Jersey has similar plans, and other states want to limit remote lessons as well.

Restaurants are among the countless businesses trying to chart next steps given the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it's OK for fully vaccinated people to go unmasked outdoors and indoors.

An attorney for Andrew Brown Jr.'s family is disputing a North Carolina district attorney's contention that Brown used his vehicle as a deadly weapon against the deputies who fatally shot him.

On Tuesday, District Attorney Andrew Womble announced he had decided not to file charges against the Pasquotank County deputies.

Colonial Pipeline reportedly paid nearly $5 million worth of bitcoin to recover its data from cybercriminals who had hijacked the company's computer systems. The shutdown disrupted gas supplies across large parts of the South and East Coast.

The hackers used ransomware, which takes control of a victim's computer and locks them out of their data unless they agree to pay an anonymous hacker, usually in cryptocurrency. Hackers may also threaten to leak a company's sensitive data to the public unless paid to keep quiet.

Children's immunizations dropped dramatically during the pandemic, and health officials are eager to get kids caught back up on their routine shots before they return to school.

As a rapper, the Twin Cities-based artist Matt Allen goes by Nur-D – and the name kind of fits. "It's something embedded into my soul," Allen tells Morning Edition. "Comics, Dungeons & Dragons, professional wrestling...."

His positive music has made him one of the most popular artists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. But, when George Floyd was murdered by a former Minneapolis police officer a year ago this month, Nur-D's life took a new turn.

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The opioid crisis in the U.S. has never gone away.

Almost every year, more people die of opioid overdoses than in the year before. More than a half-million people have died from prescription painkillers, heroin and illicit fentanyl since 1999. Provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 66,000 people died of an opioid overdose in the U.S. in the 12 months to September 2020, a huge jump from the previous 12 months.

Updated May 4, 2021 at 1:11 PM ET

Facebook's independent Oversight Board on Wednesday is expected to announce its biggest decision yet: whether to uphold or reverse Facebook's indefinite ban on former President Donald Trump.

In her new book, Persist, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren returns to the call for transformational change that was her rallying cry in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. It's a book, she tells NPR's Morning Edition, she has been unwittingly writing her whole life.

"I've been writing it through every battle, through every fall, every stumble, everything I got wrong and had to come back and try to fix later on," she says.

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Early in his presidency, Joe Biden signed an executive order that aimed to reunite kids who'd been separated from their parents at the border.

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Much has been written about how the pandemic came to be, but not so well known are the details about how it was able to spread so quickly in the United States.

Author Michael Lewis has written a new book, The Premonition, that fills in those blanks. And it is a sweeping indictment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mark Ramos Nishita, better known as Money Mark, is 61 and lives in LA surrounded by his massive collection of instruments – guitars and recording gear including more than 70 Casio keyboards. Nishita is sometimes called the "fourth Beastie Boy" for his songwriting and touring work with the group, including keyboard contributions you may recognize from Check Your Head and Ill Communication.

Renee Ekwoge can't remember the last conversation she had with her father. They stopped talking regularly months ago, after she moved nearly 1,000 miles away for a new job last summer.

"The last time I saw my dad, he was painting my house," Ekwoge says. "He came and helped paint all weekend. It was nice when we lived closer and had ways to hang out that didn't include nonsense videos."

Those "nonsense videos" are about conspiracy theories. They've become a major focus for her father — on topics like COVID-19 and Sept. 11, 2001. He watches them on YouTube.

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