Kendrick Lamar Won A Pulitzer


Yep, you read that correctly. Now, rapper Kendrick Lamar can add “Pulitzer Prize Winner” to his ever-expanding resume. In a historical feat, the “HUMBLE.” rapper beat out composers Michael Gilbertson and Ted Hearne for the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2017 album DAMN., an honor that’s previously only been awarded to classical musicians.

Speaking to Slate, Gilberton expressed his shock – and excitement – on learning he was nominated alongside Lamar. “I never thought my string quartet and an album by Kendrick Lamar would be in the same category,” he said. “This is no longer a narrow honor. It used to be classical composers competing against each other in relatively small numbers, but now we’re all competing against these major voices in music.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” Hearne added about the Lamar’s win. “When we say classical music, I think it’s a collection of audiences and musicians that have been grouped together and a big part of that grouping together, over centuries, has been about the exclusion of nonwhite people and nonwhite artists. Sure, in some respects, using violins and European classical instruments is a part of classical music, but so are a lot of other ideas. Especially in America, there are incredibly important musical thinkers who have been kept out of classical music spaces for a long time.”

Hearne’s comment speaks to why this moment is so radical. While, of course, we all know how amazing Kendrick Lamar is, but for him to be honored in a space that mostly (and historically) acknowledges cis, straight, white men – well, that’s incredible. Not only is hip-hop finally being recognized as a creative outlet as important as more traditionally celebrated genres, the world is also finally starting to support the voices of people of color.

Plus, DAMN. is a really great album.



Photo from the back cover of DAMN. by designer Vlad Sepetov


Sorry Your Screenplay Didn’t Make the 2012 Black List

It’s okay. It’s okay. We know. And you’re right—this was going to be your year. Your script had everything. We loved it! We struggled a bit with the Manic Pixie characters and the scene with the cellist on the subway lost us a bit, and then there was that part you wanted in Claymation with the sea monster, but we believed you when you said it would look cool on the screen. We had faith. Maybe you should take another year with it. Yeah, we know. Well, Rajiv Joseph has a Pulitzer nomination. You won the Lake County Independent Schools Young Authors contest in the eighth grade. It’s okay. Yes, he’s had more grants than you. You know what? Let’s go for a beer and talk this out. Come on. Put your head on my shoulder. There, there.

For those of you who aren’t devastated about your screenplay not making “Hollywood’s” (Hollywood in the most mysterious and hivemind-y sense, too, as hundreds of executives vote) list of the best un-produced screenplays, it hit the web yesterday for you to peruse in its full glory. A couple of the key films on the list have already are sort of in development and even have actors and directors attached, including Jack Paglen’s Transcendence, “An epic love story set in a time where a dying scientist is able to upload his consciousness into the Internet and… must fight against the forces who are actively working against the existence of a singularity,” and the top pick, Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman’s Draft Day:

“On the day of the NFL Draft, Bills General Manager Sonny Weaver has the opportunity to save football in Buffalo when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred.”

Joseph has a pretty strong track record for the stage and small screen: his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010. He also wrote for several seasons of Nurse Jackie. Rothman has written humor pieces for The Huffington Post and FunnyOrDie, as well as the in-development feature film Frat Boy, about a child who is abandoned on the lawn of a fraternity house and raised by the brothers, so there’s that. According to IMDb, Kevin Costner was considered at one point for the lead role, with Ivan Reitman (Meatballs) directing. Reitman is listed as a producer of the film.

Going for immediate Oscar bait must have been a theme here, because biopics and “based on true events” stories fared well in the first half of the list. Seuss, Eyal Podell and Jonathan Stewart’s depiction of a young Ted Geisel meeting his wife Helen and writing The Cat In The Hat and Rodham, Young Il Kim’s take on a young Hillary Clinton at the Watergate hearings, both scored high, while further down on the list are The Ballad of Pablo Escobar and Hey, Stella!, which explores Marlon Brando as he as cast as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Adaptations of Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life and John Green’s wildly popular young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars are also present.

This is all well and good, but I think the film that sounds the most promising of the bunch is Tucker Parsons’ Whalemen, in which “The leader of a fourteenth century Scottish whaling village must seek out and do battle with a whale many times larger than any he has ever seen in order to ransom back his son from the occupying English.” It sounds like a strange amalgam of Moby-Dick, Braveheart and Taken, and it could maybe work? Maybe? You could put Liam Neeson in it and you’ve got an instant classic.