JANELLE MONÁE
She gave amazing performances in “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures,” and her jazz-infused hip-hop makes sci-fi nerd culture cool. Fingers crossed for a surprise appearance from either Monáe or Solange — “A Seat at the Table” could be the theme album for our moment in time — at Kenyon’s Summer Sendoff. A president can dream, right?

“THE WEST WING”
I have a somewhat embarrassing (at least to my children) soft spot for Aaron Sorkin. I’ve seen “The American President” more than any film without “Star Wars” in the title, and I’m one of the very few folks out there who found the HBO show “The Newsroom” enjoyable. So it was strange that, until recently, I had not seen a single episode of “The West Wing.” Now I find it relaxing to escape into the alternate universe where Nobel laureate Jed Bartlet is our president and C.J. Cregg, played by Allison Janney ’82, is the press secretary.

“THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD” 
Colson Whitehead long has been one of my favorite novelists, someone whose work ranges from science fiction (“The Intuitionist” and “Zone One”) to satire (“Apex Hides the Hurt”) to an African American coming-of-age story (“Sag Harbor”). “Underground Railroad” is a must-read for everyone. And, while you’re at it, check out some of the other books in rotation on my nightstand: Zadie Smith’s “Swing Time” and J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy.”

“POP, RACE AND THE ’60S”
This five-episode podcast on Slate is a must-listen for fans of Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder and the Beatles. The discussion of Stevie’s cover of “We Can Work It Out” will change the way you listen to the original. If you find yourself wanting more, check out Jack Hamilton’s book, “Just Around Midnight.”

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