The Guardian

From Kendrick's Pulitzer to Beychella: how the mainstream woke up to black excellence

This week the unparalleled contributions of black performers were finally recognised by the establishment. Why has it taken so long?
INDIO, CA - APRIL 14: Beyonce Knowles performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella )

Did she just say … Kendrick Lamar? The satisfied little smile on Pulitzer prize administrator Dana Canedy’s face as she announced the final award of the afternoon confirmed what I thought I surely had misheard. In awarding the first Pulitzer for a hip-hop album and artist, the music jury, which included the jazz violinist Regina Carter and Columbia professor Farah Jasmine Griffin, cited Lamar’s “vernacular authenticity” and “affecting vignettes … on African-American life”. In other words, the boy can rap.

It has been an abundant week for black excellence: ; Beyoncé delivered ; and yes, Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer prize. We seem to be having a moment. But is it

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