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Forgive me if I seem a little sassier than usual on the air this week. I’ve been inspired by Dee Rees’ amazing new HBO biopic BESSIE, starring Queen Latifah. It’s time for me to reclaim some of my artsy edge.

FINALLY, after years of being ridiculed for having beer bellies, love handles and man boobs, dads have gained social-media acceptance, and our physical attributes have gone viral. Nineteen-year-old Mackenzie Pearson, a sophomore at Clemson University, has declared that the “Dad Bod” is in vogue.

When Mother’s Day rolls around, the tributes and memories are plentiful for many people. My mother has been gone for more than 30 years, and it gets harder to distinguish the remembrances from the myths.

It is never easy to hear about friends and loved ones passing, but it’s particularly difficult to say goodbye to those who once loved you unequivocally, long before they reached old age.

As of late February, there were over 15,000 people in Philadelphia’s municipal prisons. Each of them represents lost tax revenue through wages, lost community cohesion through absence, and lost potential through what will likely happen to them upon their exit from the system.

After being selected as President Obama’s first inaugural poet and the critical acclaim she’s gaining for her new memoir, Elizabeth Alexander is destined to become the household name that her pedigree demands. But she’s been a rock star to me ever since my freshman year at Penn, when she helped an insecure teenager accept her gift of verse.

I can barely imagine being alive for 50 years, yet Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea have been professional colleagues and personal buddies since the 1960s.

De La Soul is my favorite hiphop group of all time. And as they near their 30th anniversary in the music business, they are rethinking their relationship with the creativity they love and seeking new collaborations and forms of expression to extend their storied career. I am watching and learning.

In life, as it is in music, “getting free” still requires some level of structure. A beginning. A theme. An ending. No matter how innovative we think we are.

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