Kai Wright

Host & Managing Editor, Notes From America with Kai Wright

Kai Wright is host and managing editor of Notes From America with Kai Wright, a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. The show airs live on WNYC, Sundays at 6p eastern.

The Atlantic hailed the show as one of the “The Best Podcasts of 2018,” declaring that it “has always been able to swiftly explain current events through the lens of the past.”

In addition, Wright was the host of WNYC Studios’ other limited edition podcasts with social justice themes: The Stakes, There Goes the Neighborhood, and Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, which was honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. He also served as one of the hosts of Indivisible, a national live radio call-in show that WNYC convened during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration to invite Americans to come together across divides.

Wright’s journalism has focused on social, racial, and economic justice throughout his career. Formerly, he was an editor at The Nation and the editorial director of Colorlines. As a fellow of Type Investigations, he covered economic inequality, access to healthcare, and racial inequity. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Mother Jones, and Salon, among other outlets, and his broadcast appearances include MSNBC and NPR. Wright is the author of Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York, as well as two surveys of black American history.


Kai Wright appears in the following:

Silicon Valley’s History of Fumbles with Capitalism

Thursday, September 28, 2023

The model for amassing obscene wealth, pioneered in 19th century California, may be finally hitting its limits.

What Does It Mean to be Free?

Monday, September 25, 2023

In her latest novel, best-selling author Ayana Mathis unpacks what it means to be free in America.

The Birth of Climate Denial

Monday, September 18, 2023

When the movement that doubts the reality of climate change began — and how scientific consensus has been perpetually undermined.

When Chicago Closed 50 Public Schools at Once

Thursday, September 14, 2023

It was the largest mass closing in U.S. history. Chicago promised a chance to revitalize communities. 10 years later, it’s a different reality.

Public School’s Failing Prospects

Monday, September 11, 2023

“The Death of Public School” author Cara Fitzpatrick tells the story of a movement, six decades in the making, that’s picked away at the very idea of public education in the U.S.

When Hip Hop Tried to Fight the Power, and Lost

Thursday, September 07, 2023

On the 50th anniversary of hip hop, how one corner of rap from the ‘80s and ‘90s shaped our culture for decades to come.

The Blurry Line Between Appropriation And Appreciation

Monday, September 04, 2023

You’re in the U.S., you’re an immigrant, but when others try to group you in with a particular diaspora, you don’t feel it fits. Where does your community exist?

Republican Debate No. 1: How Do You Limit Demagogues?

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Vivek Ramaswamy labeled Trump the best president of the 21st century. Chris Christie compared Ramaswamy to ChatGPT. Conservative callers reflect on the first Republican debate.

Trump’s Indictment: Georgia’s Crucial Voters Respond

Monday, August 28, 2023

From Stone Mountain to Alpharetta, we hear from listeners around the state and unpack what Trump’s indictment means for future elections and our democratic process.

The Music of Your Diaspora

Thursday, August 24, 2023

From Polynesian DJ remixes to the Isley Brothers, our listener-generated summer playlist is still bumping.

Doom. Denial. ‘Hopium.’ What About Climate Action?

Monday, August 21, 2023

Fatalism is becoming as harmful as denial in our effort to face climate change. So, let’s talk solutions.

The Planet Sent a Bill. Here’s What We Owe.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Davids Wallace-Wells calculated the cost to fix our climate. It requires us to reconsider what needs to change and who’s responsible.

The Radical Roots of Plant-Based Eating

Monday, August 14, 2023

What hippies, civil rights activists and anarchist punks put on their plates and how it might be the key to imagining a different climate future.

Critical Race Theory: What It Actually Means

Monday, August 07, 2023

Understanding its origins is the first step in understanding the evolution of civil rights and whether racism could be a permanent fixture of society.

Reading the Indictment of Donald Trump

Friday, August 04, 2023

Guests take turns reading the Donald Trump indictment from the Department of Justice special counsel, probing into the former president's 2020 election interference and Jan. 6, 2021

When Barbie Stopped Being White

Thursday, August 03, 2023

The story of the first Black doll to have the name Barbie.

The Misunderstood Era of Crack Cocaine

Monday, July 31, 2023

A disastrous period in the 1980’s. Where we went wrong and what we keep doing wrong today.

A Punk Rock Guide to Making a Scene

Thursday, July 27, 2023

All great punk is a reaction to something. For artist James Spooner, he created Afro-Punk when he saw a room filled with nazis, and decided to make his own.

A Song to “Define the Most African Moment of My Life”

Monday, July 24, 2023

Which music speaks to your life in the U.S. when you’re part of a diaspora? Listeners tell us.

The Case for 29 Supreme Court Justices

Thursday, July 20, 2023

We’re gonna need a bigger bench.