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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Pieces of Britney

Available on Apple podcasts / Podcasts

Since last year’s premiere of Free Britney, a New York Times documentary about the 13-year coercive conservatorship of pop star Britney Spears, American media has quickly and relentlessly reversed course on its Spears narratives. The outlets and critics that speculated on her purity and stability while publishing her crotch shots and party photos are now staunchly Team Britney. Depending on your mood, they’ve either seen the light or realized that the public has a new cause. Pieces of Britney, a BBC Radio podcast about the conservatorship, looks at Spears’s plight with clarity afforded by distance. Before the host, Pandora Sykes, starts the podcast, she tells listeners that hers is “a sympathetic narrative”—not corrective, like many others. Over eight episodes, and with scripted scenes, audio clips from decades of Spears interviews, and clips from Spears experts, Sykes tells the story that started in McComb, Mississippi. She includes details some others have shied away from, such as Oprah asking the teenage Spears if she shared a bed with her boyfriend, Justin Timberlake. —J.D.

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