Mallory Yu | WAMC

Mallory Yu

"If history is written by winners," author Maria Sherman says, "music history is written by rock critics, and they don't typically get along with boy bands."

For reasons that she explores in her new book, Larger Than Life: A History Of Boy Bands From NKOTB To BTS, Sherman says boy bands don't get the same respect as other music acts, especially their rock peers.

Over her decades-long career, Tracee Ellis Ross has starred in beloved shows such as Black-ish and Girlfriends. But as she sees it, her latest role is her most daunting one yet. In The High Note, available to stream on Apple TV on May 29, she plays a superstar singer named Grace Davis, who's facing career stagnancy. Meanwhile, Davis' personal assistant Maggie (played by Dakota Johnson) has musical ambitions of her own as an aspiring producer.

In a decade, Harry Styles has gone from teenage heartthrob to a global pop star in his own right. As he's distanced himself from his adolescent years as a member of One Direction, he's become his own person, starring in the 2017 blockbuster Dunkirk, hosting Saturday Night Live and creating music that pulls from a variety of influences.

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What if the scariest thing isn't a monster in your life, but the emotional demons in your own family? That is an idea Shaun Hamill writes about in his debut novel. NPR's Mallory Yu treats us to the story.

In the industrial city of Dongguan, China, the effects of the trade war on the Chinese economy are measured in idled machinery and empty bar stools.

"One year ago, you probably couldn't even get through the crowd because it would be so busy. But right now, even the smallest vendors can't survive," says Song Guanghui, the owner of Crowdbar, a tricked-out food stall in an open-air market in Dongguan.

Seventy years ago, Mao Zedong appeared on a balcony overlooking Tiananmen Square and conjured a new country into being. On Tuesday, Xi Jinping, arguably the strongest leader since Mao, appeared on that same balcony to reaffirm his vision of modern China.

That vision includes what Xi has repeatedly referred to as the "Chinese Dream," one pillar of which is the idea that all Chinese should have access to the shared prosperity of the nation.

I don't remember when the concept of consent as it relates to sex became part of my vocabulary, but it shapes how I approach my personal relationships and affects the way I move through the world. I was shaken when the #MeToo movement exploded, not only by the stories of sexual assault and harassment but also by the stories of women who had felt pressured or coerced into having sex they didn't want.

The breakout star of Crazy Rich Asians goes by one name: Awkwafina. Clever and profane, the 5-foot-1 rapper-actress catapulted to Internet fame in 2012 when she released a music video that we can't really name on this site.

One of the freshest reboots in the world of comic books is based on a kids show that debuted back in the '60s: The Flintstones. But this isn't the "modern Stone Age family" you might remember from your childhood.

Cartoonist Thi Bui's Eisner Award-nominated graphic memoir is called The Best We Could Do; it's the story of her family in the years before, during and after the Vietnam War. The Eisners — mainstream comics' top award — are given out every year at San Diego Comic-Con, where Bui was one of this year's featured guests.

Actor Lakeith Stanfield is having a moment. He was in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning horror satire, Get Out. He's in the FX show show Atlanta, where he plays Darius, the stoner sidekick to a rap star who often says pretty outrageous things — like speculating what life would be like if you could use a rat as a cell phone (people in New York City would be doing pretty well, for example). And this summer, Stanfield is in the new movie, Sorry to Bother You, which he calls "an absurdist dark comedy with magical realism that's set in the world of telemarketing.

Hereditary has been called "emotionally devastating" and "disturbing" by critics and audiences alike. It's a supernatural horror film, with sinister things lurking just out of sight, but when writer-director Ari Aster was pitching his first feature-length film to studios, he says he was careful not to call it horror: "The film is a horror film, it's unabashedly one, but as I was pitching it, I was describing it as a family tragedy that curdles into a nightmare."

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The movie "The Shape Of Water" is up for 13 Oscars, the most of any film this year.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE SHAPE OF WATER")

RICHARD JENKINS: (As Giles) A tale of love and loss and the monster who tried to destroy it all.

Black Panther is the latest offering from Marvel and Disney — if you don't already know the story, here's quick synopsis: It's about T'Challa, the superhero Black Panther and the king of Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African country that sits upon a rich deposit of the metal vibranium, the strongest substance in the Marvel world.

Musicians from all over the world are settling back at home, recovering from last week's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of musicians played throughout the week, for crowds big and small.