WBEZ Chicago’s Making podcast returns with new stories about Black icons, how they were made, and the people who were there

Season starts October 13 with tennis legend Serena Williams’ origin story

Making podcast
Making podcast

WBEZ Chicago’s Making podcast returns with new stories about Black icons, how they were made, and the people who were there

Season starts October 13 with tennis legend Serena Williams’ origin story

CHICAGO (October 10, 2022) – What does it take to go from a kid with a dream to a superstar? That’s the question at the root of the latest season of Making, the acclaimed documentary podcast from WBEZ Chicago that returns October 13 with new episodes. (Listen to the trailer here.)

Making is back with a new format focusing on the origin story of a different iconic Black figure each week, starting with tennis GOAT Serena Williams in the first episode, and Rihanna, Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, RuPaul, Kobe Bryant and Ye in future episodes this season.

Award-winning Chicago-based journalist Brandon Pope joins this season as Making’s host to tell the stories behind each icon, their formative years, and their rise through their work and influence. He will be joined in conversation with the experts, family members, friends and other people who were there firsthand during the most critical moments in each of their lives.

“Some people succeed. Some people change history. Some change industry. And some change the culture. But how is an icon really made?” said Pope. “With Making, we get to have some real, insightful and authentic conversations with people who helped shape some of the biggest names in the world, in a very intimate way.

“And, I’m thrilled for people to hear these dynamic dialogues!” he continued. “Through eye-opening insider details, entertaining personal stories, and profound statements on major societal issues, I’ve left each episode feeling uplifted, and I know people will feel the same after listening. Because no one starts out as an icon. It takes a tribe. I hope people leave each episode inspired to unlock the greatness within themselves, and to help others reach their potential.”

In the first episode about Serena Williams, listeners will learn how her sister Isha Price felt when Venus and Serena had to play against each other. Also this season, listeners will get to hear footage from never-before-seen home videos of Rihanna - recorded years before her big break - and also hear from some of Kanye West’s friends from the ‘90s who offer perspective on the controversial figure he has become.

“In today’s social media driven culture, it’s become easier and easier to separate humanity from the famous individuals we talk about online. I wanted to tell these stories to go deeper and provide more color to these fascinating figures,” said Pope. “It’s one thing to read about Rihanna or Kobe Bryant or Kanye West, and it’s another to hear from the people who were actually there. We can learn so much from their paths, because they often aren’t too different from our own.”

Previous seasons of Making included Making Oprah and the story of how Oprah built a media empire; Making Obama, with a look at President Obama’s path to becoming the first African American president; and most recently, Making Beyoncé about Beyoncé’s first years on stage and how she emerged as one of the world’s most significant entertainers.

“We’re really excited to shake up the format to tell multiple stories about multiple Black icons throughout this season, but the core premise of Making remains the same. We’ll explore the relationships, experiences and pivotal years that shaped these cultural icons before they were the larger-than-life household names they are today,” said Kevin Dawson, managing director of content development for WBEZ Chicago and executive producer of the podcast.

This season of Making will feature 10 episodes, with new editions available each Thursday. Making is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, NPR One, Pocket Casts or wherever listeners get their podcasts.

WBEZ Chicago production credits for Making:

  • Host: Brandon Pope

  • Executive Producer: Kevin Dawson

  • Producer: Heena Srivastava and Justin Bull

About Host Brandon Pope (Twitter: @bpopetv)

Brandon Pope is an award-winning and Emmy nominated reporter, television host, podcaster, media critic and columnist, with experience covering a range of topics from politics to sports. His work has been featured at CW26 Chicago, WBEZ, WGN Radio, Ebony Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, Medium, REVOLT and the Chicago Sun-Times. He is the president of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, where he focuses on shepherding in the next generation of journalists. He’s also an adjunct journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago.

About WBEZ Chicago

WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR news station, serves the community with fact-based, objective news and information. WBEZ’s award-winning journalists ask tough questions, dig deep for answers and expose truths that spark change and foster understanding. In addition to its local and national news programming, WBEZ Chicago is home to a growing portfolio of popular podcasts, including the “Making” series of Making Beyoncé, Making Obama and Making Oprah; an investigative podcast series, Motive; 16 Shots: A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald; Nerdette; and Curious City. WBEZ Chicago has a legacy of innovation as the birthplace of nationally acclaimed programs such as This American Life and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!.