Pop Culture

Dystopian movies and novels have been all the rage recently, and you might feel like if you've seen or read one of them you've seen all they have to offer. Well here's a twist that might pique your interest. What if I told you this one takes place during the second ice age and is set on a train that travels the world?

On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee chats with Dr. Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University about the movie and now televistion series, Snowpiercer. Can the plot from the movie survive as a series? How do the two compare? What should we expect if we're tuning into the series without having seen the movie? You'll hear that and more on this episode of Pop Life.

The story of Jason Diakite into pop culture prominence isn't one that many will have heard before.  The Swedish hip hop artist wasn't discovered waitng tables and he wasn't regarded as a child star. Despite his less than conventional path, his music rings as true as any on the scene.

On this episode of Pop Life, Joe Lee chats with Jason Diakite about his journey from America to Sweden, what inspires his music, and what he's learned along the way.


The coronavirus known as COVID-19 is now a pandemic and causing major disruption to our lives in ways we haven’t experienced before.  With many of us being encouraged to practice social distancing, major events and cultural gatherings are being postponed and cancelled.  Concerts, movies, sporting events and more, have been cancelled.  It's requiring many of us to find other ways to entertain ourselves amid self-quarantine efforts. 

On this episode of Pop Life Joe Lee is joined Dr Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University to reccomend some worthwhile pop culture items to help pass the time.

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On this episode of Pop Life the celebration of Black History Month continues. The conversation begins with Ja'Net DuBois, but also includes Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and more.

Joining host Joe Lee to pay tribute to Dubois and to discuss some of the great sitcoms that featured African American ensembles on this Black History Month episode of Pop Life is the original guest expert Bob Thompson, founding Director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture and Trustee professor of Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University.

Tyler Perry, actor, director, writer, producer and now studio head is listed by Forbes as the highest paid man in entertainment.  His movies, including the latest A Fall From Grace, draw huge audiences, but are regularly skewered by critics, viewers and fellow film makers alike.  His formula for success, appealing to black women and black church culture hasn’t changed much over the years.  Is that formula starting to show some wear and tear? 

On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee is joined Charisse L’Pree, Assistant Professor of Communications at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School to discuss the filmmakers latest Netflix project, his production style, and the “sad black woman” trope that is prevalent in his storytelling.

It's still very early in 2020, but it's never too early to jump into some award show conversation. On Sunday February 9th, the film industry will honor the best work from the past year with the 92nd Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars.

On this episode of Pop Life Joe Lee is joined Dr Kendall R. Phillips, Professor of Communications and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University to preview the best pictures nominees for the upcoming Oscars.

According to music historians, Hip-Hop (or rap music) was born in 1973 in the Bronx, NY.  It’s first commercial success dropped in 1979 with the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rappers Delight”.  At 46 years old and many of its early hitmakers in their 50’s and 60’s, Hip-Hop is all grown up and impacting cultures all around the globe.

On this episode of Pop Life, host Joe Lee explores the early beginnings of rap music, the Hip-Hop movement and its profound impact on popular American culture with scholar Dr Don Sawyer of Quinnipiac University.  Dr Sawyer is Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Sociology.  He teaches a course on the Sociology of Hip-Hop.

Be sure to subscribe to Pop Life wherever you get your podcasts and follow the show’s Facebook page @PopLifeWAER.

On November 12th pop culture fans received an early holiday gift in the form of the new streaming service Disney+. Headlining the original content planned for the new service was the Star Wars original series The Mandalorian. 

This week on Pop Life, Joe Lee is joined by Seth Everett hosts the podcasts Hall of Justice and Sports with Friends. They discuss how to manage the plethora of streaming services available and their reactions to the first few episodes of The Mandalorian.

What better way is there to build a bridge between what happens in school and what happens in life than using popular culture?  Especially when it comes to subject matter that we find troubling or difficult?  On this episode of the Pop Life podcast, host Joe Lee explores how the use of popular culture as a teaching device has grown from frowned-upon activity to mainstream staple.

USA Network

The USA Network hit show Mr. Robot starring Oscar winner Rami Malek and Christian Slater is set to begin its 4th and final season.  The pop culture podcast, Pop Life with Joe Lee, discusses the cyber punk drama’s return from a 2-year layoff with National Public Radio TV Critic, Eric Deggans.  The two analyze the show’s development over the first three seasons and what fans can expect from season 4.