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The Stoop

Originally aired Fall 2018

The Stoop celebrates black joy, digging deeper into stories about blackness that we don’t hear enough about. Hosts Leila Day and Hana Baba bring you honest, lively conversations from across the black diaspora.

This special miniseries of The Stoop is produced and hosted by Leila Day and Hana Baba, edited by Julie Caine and Casey Miner, engineered by Seth Samuel and Chris Hoff, and associate produced by Jessica Jupiter. Music by Daoud Anthony and artwork by Neema Iyer. Special thanks to KALW, the NPR Story Lab, and California Humanities.

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THe team

Hana Baba (Host, Co-producer) is a San Francisco Bay Area journalist with 20 years experience in radio.

She is a reporter and host of Crosscurrents, a daily radio newsmagazine that broadcasts on public radio station KALW in the Bay Area. Her interviews and reporting range in topics from ethnic community issues, poverty and health to culture, religion, politics, and the arts. An Arabic speaker and Sudanese-American, Hana also reports from and about Sudan and Sudanese communities.

On a national level, Hana’s freelance work appears on NPR programs, PRI's The World, BBC World Service, and New America Media.

Hana regularly emcees at benefits and events around the Bay Area, and moderates panel discussions on local media and journalism. She is a voice of the audio tour of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's permanent exhibit.

Leila Day (Host, Co-producer) is an award-winning journalist based in San Francisco where she's worked as a senior producer and editor at KALW public radio. She's produced content for NPR, AARP, USA TODAY, and various podcasts.

In 2015 Leila was the recipient of the USC Annenberg Reporting on Health Journalism Fellowship, reporting on mental healthcarewithin black communities. Her work has garnered national and local awards through the Society of Professional Journalists, NorCal, and PRINDI.

Leila has a degree in anthropology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and studied documentary radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Before radio life she spent four years in Havana, Cuba, where she developed a dance intensive program and was a frequent contributor to Cuba's national newspaper, Juventud Rebelde. You can find some of her reporting advice on NPR's Training site.

 
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EPISODE #1 – YOUR BLOOD DON’T LIE

What percent of black makes you Black? We meet people whose DNA tests changed their lives – and not always in a good way.

 

Episode #2 – gullah Geechee

Lean in for this one, as The Stoop heads to the lowcountry of South Carolina to celebrate the language and culture of the Gullah Geechee, a people rooted in a mix of African cultures.

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CHAPTER THREE: THE STOLEN BRAIN

After writing a revolutionary memoir, William Styron declares he has beaten depression, but he is wrong. A frightening repeat of madness and writers block brings on shame and desperate measures. He seeks help from brilliant neurologist Alice Flaherty, who has herself admitted to being “openly crazy.” Can she save him?

 William and Rose Styron.

William and Rose Styron.

 Alice Flaherty was being interviewed regularly in the 1990's.

Alice Flaherty was being interviewed regularly in the 1990's.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: THE WHITE WHALE

William Styron could never finish the war novel that was meant to be his masterpiece. Did that failure lead to his final depression? Or did depression stop him from writing? He and his doctor Alice Flaherty pore over the question together, trying to ward off his suicidal fears and a baffling paralysis, until his wife makes an unconventional and risky suggestion.

 William Styron in his Marine Corps uniform. He served in two wars before winning a Pulitzer Prize. Photo Credit: Special Collections. Duke University Library.

William Styron in his Marine Corps uniform. He served in two wars before winning a Pulitzer Prize. Photo Credit: Special Collections. Duke University Library.

 William Styron struggled with the guilt he felt over the bombing of Hiroshima. This is an image of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb being loaded onto the Enola Gay.

William Styron struggled with the guilt he felt over the bombing of Hiroshima. This is an image of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb being loaded onto the Enola Gay.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: THE SHINING WORLD

In the final episode, after years of struggle with depression, William Styron keeps his bargain with his readers, and his wife manages to keep up his will to live until the very end. Alice Flaherty emerges from her own years of madness to a happier life, albeit a less literary one.

 Alice and her twin daughters.

Alice and her twin daughters.

 Styron's grave, with a quote from his translation of Dante.

Styron's grave, with a quote from his translation of Dante.

BONUS: A VISIT WITH TONY SHALHOUB

Actor Tony Shalhoub is well known for his role as one of the few openly mentally ill characters in television – an obsessive compulsive detective on the long-running show Monk.

In this bonus episode, Shalhoub sits down with co-producer Karen Brown to read passages from William Styron's work, and share his perspective on mental illness and creativity.

 Actor Tony Shalhoub at the Paley Center for Media in 2008.  Photo by Kristin Dos Santos / Creative Commons

Actor Tony Shalhoub at the Paley Center for Media in 2008.
Photo by Kristin Dos Santos / Creative Commons

 William Styron in his writing room on Martha's Vineyard in 1989. Photo by William Waterway Marks / Creative Commons

William Styron in his writing room on Martha's Vineyard in 1989.
Photo by William Waterway Marks / Creative Commons