Sarah Handel

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Updated July 2, 2021 at 1:02 PM ET

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson knows you have probably heard a lot about Woodstock, the legendary summer concert festival of the late 1960s. But a few years back, Questlove, best known as drummer and composer with The Roots, was asked to direct a music documentary, Summer of Soul, about another legendary concert, one you probably haven't heard about.

Updated June 29, 2021 at 4:59 PM ET

As the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team clinched a victory in the 2019 World Cup, fans erupted in an unexpected chant: "Equal pay. Equal pay. Equal pay."

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A bipartisan infrastructure deal has been reached. Speaking at the White House today, President Biden says it's an important step for the country.

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Updated June 11, 2021 at 7:49 PM ET

Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's exploration of the American dream started in his own hometown of Manhattan — which holds the first chapter in many American stories, he says. Specifically, Miranda's first Tony-winning musical takes place in the immigrant neighborhood of Washington Heights.

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Maybe you thought we were done talking about cicadas.

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KELLY: No such luck - Brood X cicadas began emerging by the trillions weeks ago from the East Coast to the Midwest. And we have got weeks to go before they're gone.

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As the number of people lost to coronavirus in the U.S. ticks towards 600,000, we wanted to take a moment to remember someone who lost her life at the peak of the winter surge.

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Let's go back to March 19, 2020. I know you'd probably rather not do that, but stay with me here. The pandemic had just begun, and Adam Weiner of the band Low Cut Connie was feeling just like the rest of us.

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For more than a year, we have shared stories about people who have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. Today, the story of an Ohio couple who were childhood sweethearts.

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Tennessee could owe a historically Black university more than a half-billion dollars after it withheld funding for decades.

A bipartisan legislative committee determined last month that the state failed to adequately fund Tennessee State University in matched land grants going all the way back to the 1950s, costing the public university between $150 million and $544 million.

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Before she became a writer for TV, Sierra Teller Ornelas worked at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. And she remembers one year, teenagers kept coming in and asking about the Quileute Nation.

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President Biden imposed a tough new round of sanctions on Russia today.

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There are certain hit songs that are almost inseparable from the dance moves that go with them. Hum a few bars of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," and your hand might start flipping back and forth on its own.

Choreographer JaQuel Knight created that dance for Beyoncé when he was just 19 years old — and this summer, he did it again with the routine for the monster hit by Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, "WAP."

With nearly 30 years in show business, Kristin Chenoweth has won an Emmy and a Tony Award for both her singing and acting. In one of her most famous roles, she sang her way through Oz in a story about sisterhood — the award-winning musical Wicked. Still, Chenoweth says some people are surprised to learn that she's a singer.

"It's so funny when people come up to me and they're like, 'Oh, I didn't know you sang.' And I'm like, 'What?!,'" Chenoweth says.

If you've turned on your radio anytime over the past quarter century, there's a decent chance you heard the voice of Sheryl Crow. From "All I Wanna Do" to "If It Makes You Happy," the Missouri-born music-maker has been consistently pumping out feel-good pop rock for more than three decades. Now, after nine Grammys and more than 50 million albums sold, the singer-songwriter says her 11th album, Threads, out Aug. 30, will be her last.

The new Netflix comedy Dumplin' is all about Dolly Parton. But she's not in it. And that was deliberate. Instead, Dolly did what Dolly does best — write and sing songs for the movie.

The film follows a young girl, Willowdean (Danielle Macdonald), who lacks confidence, but after being inspired by Parton's music, participates in a beauty pageant in Clover City, Tx., despite her mom's objections. That mom is played by Jennifer Aniston, who also co-produced the film and helped get Parton on board.

While conducting research deep in the archives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland last summer, Patricia Hall, a music theory professor at the University of Michigan, discovered something unexpected. Professor Hall unearthed manuscripts of music arranged and performed by prisoners in the Nazi death camps. A buoyant foxtrot titled "The Most Beautiful Time Of Life" stood out to Hall, and has now been recorded by Michigan's Contemporary Directions Ensemble.

Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., has made her name in music melding pop and hip-hop with bold visual art and political commentary. In the process, she's crafted a successful career with early 2000s hits like "Bucky Done Gun," and "Paper Planes."

For the past several years, Beth Ditto was known as the dynamic frontwoman of the dance-punk band Gossip. She established herself as a singer with a helluva voice who embraced being queer, feminist and fat.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four reads.

From NPR's Washington correspondent Don Gonyea:

It's only rock and roll.

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