Statement Celebrating Jericho Brown and Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prizes
Both Black same gender loving men, Jericho Brown won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Michael R. Jackson won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama
NEW YORK — In Response to the Pulitzer Prize wins of Jericho Brown and Michael R. Jackson in Poetry and Drama respectively, David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) released the following statement:
“With all that’s happening in the world it’s important to celebrate a little Black Boy Joy. For those who don’t already know, two Black same gender loving men recently won Pulitzer Prizes (awarded Monday). Jericho Brown, won for his book, The Tradition, and playwright Michael R. Jackson, won for his musical A Strange Loop. Jackson is the first Black writer to win the prize for musical theatre.
“The National Black Justice Coalition is proud of the many contributions that Jericho Brown and Michael Jackson are making to the world, chief among them highlighting the rich legacy of Black same gender loving men writing stories that capture audiences and leave lasting imprints. The Pulitzer Prize is an important acknowledgement; however, these brothers have been doing extraordinary work long before the spotlight. Let’s hope this global recognition helps to pave the way for more Black LGBTQ/SGL creatives to claim public space without having to explain or apologize for who they are and how their work shows up in the world.”
Jericho Brown’s poetry collection, The Tradition questions why and how we’ve become accustomed to terror: in the bedroom, the classroom, the workplace, and the movie theater. From mass shootings to rape to the murder of unarmed people by police, Brown interrupts complacency by locating each emergency in the garden of the body, where living things grow and wither—or survive.
A Strange Loop made its world premiere last year at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons in a co-production with Page 73. The musical is inspired by Jackson’s experiences and follows a young artist at war with a host of demons. Directed by Stephen Brackett with choreography by Raja Feather Kelly, A Strange Loop played an acclaimed, extended run at Playwrights May 24–July 7, 2019. In addition to the Pulitzer, the musical was named the Best Musical of the 2019–2020 season by the New York Drama Critics Circle and won two Lucille Lortel Awards for actors Larry Owens and John-Andrew Morrison. The production also recently earned six Drama Desk Award nominations.
NBJC is proud to continue a partnership with Teach for America and It Gets Better to host two virtual opportunities to reflect upon and discuss the importance of Black Boy Joy and the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight.
Moonlight is a 2016 coming-of-age, Academy Award winning film written and directed by Barry Jenkins based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. The film presents three stages in the life of the main character, Chiron: his youth, adolescence, and early adult life. It explores the difficulties he faces with his sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he endures.
Event I: Watch & Chat. Join Our Black Boy Joy: Moonlight Netflix Watch Party. Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:00 PM EST. To RSVP: rebrand.ly/BlackBoyJoy
Event II: Then, join Tim’m West (Teach For America); Justin Tindell (It Gets Better), and David J. Johns (The National Black Justice Coalition) in a virtual conversation about the film and the learning and development of Black boys during the: #BlackBrilliance Virtual Chat Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 7:00 PM EST. To RSVP go to rebrand.ly/BlackBoyJoyChat. Additional information will be distributed to those who register.