Audie Cornish

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

The movie The Wife opens with a phone call.

A husband and wife rush out of bed to pick up the phone in different rooms. The husband is euphoric: He's just been informed that he's won the Nobel Prize in literature. His wife's face — Glenn Close's face — reveals something very different. [Note: Spoilers follow.]

For decades, she's been doing more than proofreading her husband's books: She's been writing them herself. And that lifelong buried secret is conveyed in a stark close-up shot.

Create and star in a blockbuster hip-hop musical, and you get to do pretty much anything you want. For Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright and composer behind Hamilton and In the Heights, that means starring in the sequel to a hallowed Disney classic.

As a teacher, father and children's book author, Jon Scieszka avoids books full of lessons. "Since the beginning of kids' books ... it was like: learn your alphabet, learn the colors, or learn morals, learn proper behavior," he says. But the author of the kids' classic The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales says books for small readers don't need big lessons.

Today, there's a playbook for surviving a political sex scandal.

"In a campaign when something like this happens, you 'apologize,' I say with airquotes," says Jay Carson, a former Democratic political operative. "Because you're sorry that you got caught — you're not really sorry."

Carson has worked on three presidential campaigns.

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Andre Leon Talley is best known for his time as a fashion editor for Vogue and for what he wears on his 6'6" frame.

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The new film Widows is an action-packed heist thriller — with a major twist.

Masked men break into a Chicago vault. Very quickly, it goes very wrong. Within the first few minutes of the movie, the men are dead. Their wives — now widows — are left to finish the job.

The first thing you'll notice about musician Jacob Banks is his voice — a mesmerizingly deep baritone with timbre so rich, you can almost feel it wrapping you up in song. But that's not all the 27-year-old R&B singer brings to the table.

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1988 was a colossal year for hip-hop. Soon-to-be-classic albums from Public Enemy, N.W.A., Run-D.M.C, Boogie Down Productions and more solidified the artform birthed from the Bronx as a viable and music industry-funded endeavor. Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, who host NPR's What's Good podcast, remember the hip-hop revolution circa 1988.

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