The Griot of New Orleans
Published this profile of jazz legend Terence Blanchard a year ago, on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Give it a read. Let me know what you think.
My column this week, on Trump deputizing his supporters to ensure the election isn't "rigged," and why that is dangerous.
An exceptional column by Roxane Gay (duh) about the resurfacing rape allegations against Nate Parker, director and star of the highly anticipated film "The Birth of a Nation." Which, like Roxane, I won't be paying to see.
I reviewed Jesmyn Ward's new anthology THE FIRE THIS TIME. It's my first byline in The New York Times.
Donald Trump is about to lose to someone who is not a white man. Of course he’s crying foul. Many a white man has done that, as Rebecca Traister notes here.
It's been a while since I shared an item here on Pocket. That'll change from here on out: in the spirit of the late This., at least one item a day. I might reach back into the archives to share some things I've loved from the past few months, but let me start here with this beautiful meditation from my friend Eve Ewing on Frank Ocean, Harper Lee, and the demands we make on the recluse.
Anne Helen Petersen is the best celebrity profiler out here, and her latest has so many layers. I've long thought Affleck was an interesting cat, and this story confirmed it.
I'm worried about my hometown all the time, but now the Republican convention is coming. In my latest, I walk through what the real concerns should be.
This is, bar none, the best essay about the 2016 campaign to emerge to date.
I was more than done with the patronizing "respect" being doled out to Trump's supporters, as if they were his victims, not his voters. So I wrote this.
"We won’t have an anti-racist president elected in 2016. We aren’t likely to have one elected in 2020 or 2024 either. But if there are consequences for insufficiently anti-racist local, state, and federal politicians with presidential aspirations in the immediate future, somewhere down the line, possibly, things might be different."
My thoughts for MTV News on why the president's trip was so necessary.
Last Tuesday, I applauded two county prosecutors losing their jobs. Given how they treated the Tamir Rice and Laquan McDonald cases, respectively, neither Timothy McGinty in my native Cleveland nor Anita Alvarez in Chicago deserved to keep their jobs. But the fact that that mistreatment actually got them voted out is saying something. That, and much more in my latest for MTV News.
Ari Berman details the hell am elderly voter had to go through just so she could keep voting. On yet another primary day, a fitting reminder of how Republicans are instituting new poll taxes under another name.
Jelani Cobb on Trump and Chicago, now and then.
Jamelle Bouie is brilliant here on the "why now" of Trump, and the racist backlash against President Obama.
In advance of the next slate of primaries in Tuesday, my look at why my home state matters (and one person who matters in it).
I'm told by a reliable source that Greg Howard pretty much nailed this. I'm so glad he's gotten a chance to take a David Carr Fellowship at the New York Times; follow his work there.
Ta-Nehisi Coates's preview of the Marvel comic he wrote. I've never looked forward to a series with such anticipation. Not just because it's Coates. Because I never got to know this character.
Dahlia Lithwick on how Scalia's death has changed the Court, already.
Wait, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah went to James Baldwin's house in France, then wrote about it? Click.
Jelani Cobb's brilliant, sobering look at the present and future of the black liberation movement.
My column after the Democratic debate in Flint, prior to the Michigan primary. I was wrong on my prediction for that vote; I hope I'm wrong about Flint being forgotten, too.
My latest for MTV News, in which I recommend a new course for Bernie Sanders's quixotic campaign: attacking Donald Trump.
From Joy-Ann Reid, the best distillation I've seen of why most black voters aren't feeling the Bern. So good, I wish I'd written it.
My Super Tuesday column looks one day into the future, when the most important abortion case in a generation is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court.
My column on how the #JusticeForFlint benefit reminded us, on Oscar night, of the true purpose of entertainment.
The best commentary on the Oscars monologue I've seen yet. The idea that today's civil rights struggles aren't "real" when structural racism is still killing folks, that's rubbish.
My latest for MTV News, in which I argue that the pursuit of black votes must now include a challenge to white voters.
Rebecca Traister's new cover story for New York magazine, adapted from her new book, argues that single women are 2016's most significant voters.
My first column for MTV News, on the death of the Supreme Court Justice and the work yet to be done to fix the America he damaged.
The last (for now) episode of my New Republic podcast, INTERSECTION, looks at Hillary Clinton's campaign through the lens of identity. Stay subscribed to this podcast! Developments to come.
Rembert Browne, holding both white and non-white people to account for how quickly we judge an ally to be "woke," among other things.
Coates claps back at a Jacobin writer who took issue with his criticism of Bernie Sanders after the candidate refused to support reparations. A necessary read who thinks class-based solutions are a universal remedy for racial inequities.
Vinson Cunningham profiles the editor of Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Between the World and Me," and examines how he is making the world more open to honest writing about race.
My thoughts on why the Democratic insurgent's campaign is failing with black and Latino voters. It's going to take a lot more than inspiration in an election that isn't about "hope and change" for populations seeking good governance rather than political superheroes.
Cord Jefferson wrote this essay about his I'll mother in late 2014, and she passed away yesterday. It's one of my favorite essays, and I say that not just because Cord is a great guy who is going through something unimaginable right now. Read it and you'll see what I'm talking about.
My MLK Day essay for New Republic on icons, legacy, and ownership.
Ezra Klein, perhaps better than anyone I've ever read, explains how Hillary Clinton fails to campaign the way that she governs: in a progressive yet pragmatic way.
My New Republic column on the meaning of the president's executive actions on guns.
My argument in New Republic for what I'm calling the "Tamir Rice Rule": mandating independent investigators and prosecutors for every single case of police violence.
Jill Filipovic asks an essential question in the New York Times in the wake of the Cosby arrest: Why are there statutes of limitations for rape and sexual assault at all?
Written by the incredible producer of my own podcast, Mikaela Lefrak.
2016 will be the year that people stop asking, “Do you listen to podcasts?” and start assuming that you already do.
I'm disappointed that LeBron James feigned ignorance to a reporter when asked about the Tamir Rice grand jury decision. He's earned the expectation of speaking out with his past positive actions. But the demand from activists that he boycott NBA games in protest of the decision is both discouraging and counterproductive. Kavitha Davidson articulates that well here.
The final line of Clint Smith's exceptional New Yorker essay will haunt me for quite a while. Probably the best thing I've read about Tamir Rice this year.
Jezebel editor Emma Carmichael, with one of the better essays about nightmarish trauma I've read, ever.
Sady Doyle's meditation on why she finds Hillary Clinton (the person more so than the candidate) likable encapsulates many of my thoughts on the subject. Read every word.
Merry Christmas, White America. George Yancy has a gift for you: "Don’t tell me about how many black friends you have. Don’t tell me that you are married to someone of color. Don’t tell me that you voted for Obama. Don’t tell me that I’m the racist. Don’t tell me that you don’t see color. Don’t tell me that I’m blaming whites for everything. To do so is to hide yet again."