Sarah Smarsh & Nick Smarsh: Are You Different Than Me?
As a journalist and author, Sarah Smarsh has built her career around examining socioeconomic class. In 2018, her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth became a New York Times bestseller and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award.
Sarah grew up outside of Wichita, Kansas, and spent much of her childhood on her family's farm. The Farm Crisis during the 1980s led to her family leaving farming behind, and her dad, Nick, had to find work elsewhere —f irst, he worked locally on construction crews; now, he puts up buildings for fast food chains in far-flung places like Mississippi and Texas.
In this audio essay, Sarah interviews her dad about the changes he's endured throughout his lifetime, and about how, at 63, he thinks about his future as someone who builds things with his hands.
This episode is part of Death, Sex & Money's 2019 Maternity Leave Lineup.
Mahershala Ali & Rafael Casal: Envy Is A Hell Of A Drug
Today, Mahershala Ali is an Oscar-winning actor who lands leading roles in TV shows like True Detective and Hollywood blockbusters like Green Book . But he got his start as a poet-turned-rapper in the Bay Area, where he grew up.
Rafael Casal is another Bay Area poet and musician who recently made his big screen debut in the movie Blindspotting, which he co-wrote and co-starred in with his creative partner, Daveed Diggs. "We put a movie out and everyone back home thinks I'm on," Rafael says. "And I'm like, that was an indie movie. I lost money."
Mahershala interviews Rafael about his childhood as a "knucklehead," his life-changing discovery of slam poetry when he was a teenager, and how he and Daveed handle uncomfortable discussions about money and creative credit.
This episode is part of Death, Sex & Money's 2019 Maternity Leave Lineup. Mahershala Ali first joined us on Death, Sex & Money in 2016, along with his wife, Amatus. about faith, love and success, taped live in Brooklyn.
Alia Shawkat & Esther Perel: Life In Our 30s, And 60s
Actor Alia Shawkat just turned 30, and she's got some questions about what's coming around the corner in this decade. So this week, she talks with Belgian-born psychotherapist Esther Perel about what that period of time was like in her life —when she had just moved to the U.S., gotten married, and was figuring out the "pleasure and the pride" of making it on her own financially. Plus, they talk about adult friendships, and why it's important to stay in touch with people from all the different decades of your life.
Alia Shawkat first appeared on Death, Sex & Money in 2017 for our live show in Los Angeles, called . The episode also features Niecy Nash, and includes questions from listeners about how to navigate the first decade of officially being an adult.
Tressie McMillan Cottom & Trevor Noah: Optimistic and Depressed
When Trevor Noah started hosting The Daily Show in 2016, he says he told his head writer early on that he might sometimes be late to work. "I'm suffering from depression and sometimes I do not see the purpose of getting out of my bed or living life," he says he told him. "And he was like, 'Wait, what?'"
Trevor and guest host Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom talk about why radical honesty around mental health can be liberating. Plus, they talk about Trevor's feelings of being an outsider growing up in apartheid South Africa, about why he believes another black man will be elected president of the United States before a woman, and about how he got so good at doing hair.
Sociologist Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom first joined us on Death, Sex & Money in 2017 to discuss student loan debt during our live call-in. Hear that, and our two-part series featuring your stories about student loan debt, .
Al Letson & Nikole Hannah-Jones: Sensitive, Not Scared
Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones spends time in some pretty elite spaces—she's a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine , the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, and a force to be reckoned with on Twitter. But, as she tells Al Letson (host of Reveal ), she's careful not to forget her roots in Waterloo, Iowa, and the people there who raised her. "The benefit of being a working class black girl who has spent a lot of time around more affluent white people is you do quickly learn they're actually not really smarter than you," she says. "They just have had advantages of things and opportunities that you haven't had." This week, the two of them talk about Nikole's childhood growing up in a biracial family, reporting on inequality from a place of anger, and what happened when she tried therapy last year.
You can find episodes of Reveal , the podcast from The Center for Investigative Reporting, .