Why Michelle Obama’s Portraitist Will Only Paint African Americans

The portraits of everyday people Amy Sherald painted after her official Michelle Obama portrait, and the unlikely making—and legacy—of “96 Tears,” by ? and the Mysterians.

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About the Show

Studio 360 is a smart and surprising guide to what’s happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt introduces the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy—so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life. Produced in association with Slate.

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Episode Notes

Kurt Andersen talks with Amy Sherald, who painted the official Michelle Obama portrait, about her strict religious upbringing, the surreal experience of interviewing with the Obamas, and why she’ll only ever paint African Americans. Our latest American Icons feature: “96 Tears,” by ? and the Mysterians, and how the band of Mexican-American teens managed to top the charts and help fuel the growing Latin influence on pop music in the 1960s.