NPR Staff

On Tuesday, the MacArthur Foundation awarded 33-year-old photographer and video artist LaToya Ruby Frazier a MacArthur Genius Grant. Frazier's work is set in Braddock, Pa., the small town outside Pittsburgh where she grew up. Built on steel, today Braddock is struggling to get by. Frazier tells NPR's Ari Shapiro why she chose to focus her lens on her hometown.

Interview Highlights

On why she chose Braddock as her subject

It's difficult enough to start an orchestra, but Zuhal Sultan founded the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (NYOI) as a teenager in the middle of a war. She brought together 40 young musicians from different Iraqi cities and sectarian backgrounds in an effort to unify a divided nation. Now, six years later, the Euphrates Institute has named her Visionary of the Year.

Liz Vice didn't grow up with gospel music, and she never really thought of herself as a singer. Things change: The 32-year-old from Portland, Ore. has now released an album called There's A Light, whose songs and sound challenge many of the stereotypes about Christian music.

The British band The Selecter began singing about race, gender and politics in the late 1970s. They were part of a musical moment that came to be known as 2-tone, which combined elements of early Jamaican ska with the styles that were bubbling up in the UK at the time.