Rachel Martin

Morning Edition Song Project is the series where songwriters are asked to write an original song about the COVID era. The newest addition is brought by Michael League. He plays all kinds of instruments; he's a producer, too — and the lead of the jazz-fusion group Snarky Puppy.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Kat Edmonson started live-streaming a weekly variety show out of her living room during the pandemic – a surprising but necessary adjustment after the singer-songwriter's touring life was locked down, leaving Edmonson with little to no work. It was a blow at first, but she's come to really embrace the format.

Central to the new documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light is a pivotal art exhibition that debuted in 1976.

"Two Centuries of Black American Art" was the first major show by a Black curator to look at the history of art produced by African Americans. Covering the period between 1750 and 1950, it featured 200 works and 63 artists, with painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics, crafts and decorative arts.

Jared Stacy is still processing his decision to leave Spotswood Baptist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., last year. Until November, he was ministering to young parishioners in their 20s and 30s.

But in the four years since he had joined the church as a pastor, Stacy had found himself increasingly up against an invisible, powerful force taking hold of members of his congregation: conspiracy theories, disinformation and lies.

Stacy has seen the real consequences of these lies build up over the years; he says it has tainted the name of his faith.

Robin Wright is not afraid to go to the most painful parts of the human experience. Her latest film, Land, follows a woman named Edee after the deaths of her husband and young son. Her grief pushes her away from the world and she escapes to a small, abandoned cabin on the side of a mountain in Wyoming.

"We toyed with the word 'survival' ... " explains Wright, the film's director and star. "It's not so much that she wants to die. She wants to erase herself — the self that she was with her family — because it'll never be the same."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY WORLD IS EMPTY WITHOUT YOU")

THE SUPREMES: (Singing) My world is empty without you, babe.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Poetry can help us become more human. We saw it on display as 22-year-old inaugural poet Amanda Gorman read her stirring poem "The Hill We Climb" last week. It felt joyous and truthful, necessary and hopeful, and there was power in both her and her words.

The Biden administration says the federal government needs to do a better job of acknowledging the ways that communities of color are blocked from fair and equal access to housing.

"Today the average Black family has just one-tenth the wealth of the average white family, while the gap between white and Black in home ownership is now larger than it was in 1960," Susan Rice, head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, said in a news briefing Tuesday.

"I just remember being very scared."

That's how Lydia, a 39-year-old mother of three in Canada, describes feeling when she was pregnant in 2008 with her daughter and had questions about vaccinating. She worried it might cause more harm than good.

"I remember feeling some trepidation and saying to my husband, 'We can't undo this once we do it,' " she says. NPR is not using Lydia's full name because she's worried about backlash from a community she once believed in — people opposed to vaccines.

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