With Pulitzer, comes hope

 In Opinion

Just when we can’t stomach any more bad news and headlines that can easily be mistaken as political parody, there is a bright light; a rapper has won the Pulitzer.

The news that Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize in music for his album Damn, kinda made everyone check themselves and acknowledge that this is really something.

In these unsettling political times, this is the most welcome of topsy-turvy news. 

As we have learned, not only is this is the first time the prestigious award has been given to a pop music artist, it is an award usually only given to classical musicians. And Lamar was the unanimous choice among decision makers. 

The award recognizes the artist’s poetry and social commentary.

Lamar has come into a brighter spotlight recently as the creator of the music for the Black Panther movie. 

His music is layered with multiple references that, although challenging and worth an attempt at dissection, are nearly impossible to crack for those so far removed from the urban setting that inspired it. Which is why it is so impressive that a body that has almost always given the award to classical musicians, with the exception of some jazz musicians and a couple nods to folk and roots, has chosen to bestow this award on a rapper. Other rap artists have probably deserved the award in past years but the climate around politics, race and even gender have aligned to make this a defining moment.

When it sometimes feels like we are regressing, stories such as this are very welcome news.

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