July 7, 2016 10:10 pm

This Week, Neil deGrasse Tyson gets personal with Queen Latifah

Image of Ellie, voiced by Queen Latifah, in the upcoming movie Ice Age 5: Collision Course, from 20th Century Fox.

Out of 7 seasons of the StarTalk Radio podcast, we’ve only done a handful of our one-on-one, “A Conversation with…” episodes. And whenever we do, they are special, and they’re unique.

If I had to come up with a reason, I’d have to say it is because they give our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, an opportunity to get intimate and personal with the person he’s interviewing.

Think about A Conversation with Alan Rickman, A Conversation with Morgan Freeman, or one of our most beloved episodes, A Conversation with Nichelle Nichols.

And we get to listen in, as if we are a fly on the wall. We get to hear his guests talk about the role science has had in their lives and their hopes for our planet and for the future.

They may not be as crammed with science as an episode of Cosmic Queries, but they can be just as illuminating. Take A Conversation with Edward Snowden, which first brought the idea into the public zeitgeist that we might not even be able to discern alien transmissions from background noise, since advanced societies eventually tend to encrypt their communications.

This week’s podcast is another of these intimate conversations, in this case with Queen Latifah.

While we may know a lot about the multi-talented, award-winning actress, talk show host, and pioneering hip hop superstar, it is typically StarTalk that Neil would find out that deep down, she is dying to make a science fiction/martial arts film.

In the course of the episode, Neil and Queen Latifah talk about climate change, taking a virtual reality trip under the sea, and using hip hop as a social movement for feminism, empowerment and getting women into STEM. They talk about Bessie Smith, Neil’s “flat earth” beef with rapper B.O.B., and how Queen Latifah fought to get the role of Momma Morton in Chicago.

They even talk a little bit about an upcoming movie they’re both in, Ice Age 5: Collision Course. Queen Latifah, of course, is reprising her role as the woolly mammoth, Ellie, a role that she says has made her a hero to her nieces and nephews. And while they talk about Neil’s role in the film, they are disappointingly (and likely contractually obligated to be) short on specifics.

The episode ends with Queen Latifah asking Neil about the meteorite in his desk drawer. And Neil’s answer is so profound, so powerful, that after a moment of silence, all Queen Latifah can say is, “You owe me an interview.”

Please join us Friday, July 8th at 7pm EDT for A Conversation with Queen Latifah on iTunes Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, SoundCloud and right here on our website.

That’s if tor now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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