All my favs are out here kicking ass and taking names and I live.
Peabody awards and Pulitzer Prizes were something I was taught to believe only old white men got. Earlier this week, the news came out that Kendrick won this year’s Pulitzer for music.
Now, the receipts will tell you that I have been a stan from time. I’ve been a fan of K.Dot’s since high school. I was really into the music blogs and things back then and I remember my first time hearing of his music was on Pitchfork.com. My good buddy at the time, Lev, one of a handful of white boys in the whole school district actually put me on.
I just remember him coming up to me, going “listen to this,” and handing me one of his ear buds. And I just remember the beginning of Backseat Freestyle and my mind just being blown.
I can go on and on with how much this dude’s music has meant to me over the years, but when I heard damn., I knew it was going to be one for the books.
And look at that: A mfn Pulitzer.
Then, just last week, a host of tweets actually brought me to tears.
Time’s annual “100 Most Influential People” edition that I’ve appreciated for a long time. As far as journalism, they’ve been a favorite of mine for as long as can remember reading and appreciating news journalism and writing. And somehow, growing up, I’d somehow gotten my fingers on a copy every year since senior high school, no bullshit. The list has featured many people who influence me, personally, and who have changed the game in their respective lines of work. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, Kanye West, Lin-Manuel Miranda… Beyonce – nuff said.
This year, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and Ryan Coogler made the list.
I’ve written, before, on the feeling that there’s truly a renaissance happening within Hollywood and, really, in the creative zeitgeist of the 21st century. And there’s all these beautiful black folks are leading the charge.
Issa’s been giving me life since Awkward Black Girl. Lena’s been moving calm for a while now and finally dropped “The Chi” on all our heads earlier this year. Ryan. Coogler. Black Panther. We’ve already been through that one.
Seeing how these three have been moving for so long has truly been an inspiration to watch. And now, some validation that if you really want and work for it, the world is yours.
The biggest bomb was dropped shortly thereafter.
My bitch, Issa Rae, has a Peabody. Like I said, folks, SINCE THE ABG DAYS. We been rockin strong.
Let’s pause on this for a moment. No, in theory, these constructed institutions that evaluate social and cultural value like the Oscars, the Grammy’s, McArthur Awards, Peabody and Pulitzer awards – they don’t validate us as black creatives. We know that racism is systemic and has found it’s way into these particular systems and that it’s not set up for us to win. But it’s a fact that times must and always do change.
To have the Peabody’s and the Pulitzer’s of the world acknowledge creatives of color is frankly, a big fucking deal. Because these are the things that inform the culture, the names that will be written indelibly in the cultural canon.
So shoutout to Kendrick, Issa, Lena, Ryan, and everyone else honored in this year’s round of awards and recognitions. They deserve and it’s about damn time.