Friday marked the one year anniversary of my MSNBC show So POPular! and I was able to recap our inaugural year with an editorial that celebrated our first 33 episodes, with interviews with Lena Dunham, Issa Rae, Laverne Cox, Rashida Jones, Amber Rose and more. Watch the clip and read the transcript below:
Welcome back to So POPular! I’m your host Janet Mock and we’re embarking on the end of our final show for 2015. Today marks So POPular’s one-year anniversary…and I am so proud to have done this show alongside Nick and the entire So POPular! team. When the powers that be at shift by MSNBC approached me to host their weekly culture hour, I immediately wanted to do a show that unapologetically centered popular culture. An hour where our guilty pleasures made us smarter, where we talked about everything trending in the zeitgeist, where we discussed the things we all pretend we’re too smart to like.
The intent of So POPular has always been discussing culture in a way that expanded the idea of what is considered political and worthy of analysis. Nearly every Friday for the past year – I got to show up at the legendary 30 Rockefeller Plaza tasked with leading cheeky, yet insightful conversations about the world of entertainment and celebrity and mine nuggets of truth from the cultural experiences that consumed our time.
Growing up in Hawaii with a single mother, my siblings and I spent much of our time in front of the television. Actors, storytellers, characters, movie stars, pop stars, sports stars, actors, reality stars, talk show hosts – they helped raise me. They were the ones who pushed me to People magazine where I told stories about famous people for a living – before actually becoming the story myself. The idea of being myself and doing what I love has always been part of my activism and being myself on this show has enabled me to shift conversations about what I love most in our culture and uncover how the things and people that entertain us shape and represent us.
I’ve been called the first blah blah blah blah blah to host a show on a major network, but that does not bring me pride. What brings me pride is having been able to share space with folks from all walks of life engaged in culture, whether they were critics and writers like my beloved Smart Ass Pop Culture Feminist Clique…or they were creators just like Issa Rae, whom I bonded with over having both been little cyber hos in chatrooms. Or Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, whose friendship has helped them create a feminist empire, from Girls to Lenny. Or Rashida Jones, who I got to talk about porn with and who urged that young feminists must storm the gates to ignite and make change. Or that time when I walked the streets of Los Angeles alongside Amber Rose in a crop top at her Slut Walk. Or being able to sit down in a midtown cabaret cafe discussing the importance and burden of representation with my friend Laverne Cox.
Holding court in this chair on this show for the past 33 episodes enabled me to talk about popular culture, and do so without turning off my politics and consciousness. My guests and I were able to turn up our politics, use our feminist and social justice lenses, mine our very personal experiences while also enjoying and critiquing our flawless faves and our problematic faves. We were able to be critical fans, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
Thank you so much for watching So POPular, for tweeting me and contributing questions to our celeb guests, for always making me laugh, and most importantly for being part of a dream I never thought possible. I got to exist on television in a space of my own creation which enabled me to bring all of myself to the chair — my activist self, my journalist self, my fangirl self, my critical self, my shady self and most importantly my younger self, the little curly-haired trans girl who never thought she would have her own show and be part of culture.