In a recent book endorsement for Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” esteemed Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison wrote, “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly, it is Ta-Nehisi Coates.”
But Morrison isn’t the only one who thinks highly of Coates. This week, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that Coates is among its list of “geniuses” to be named a MacArthur Fellow.
Aside from the distinction of being regarded by the prestigious foundation, Coates will be awarded $625,000 to be paid out over five years.
The foundation remarked, “[Coates] is a highly distinctive voice [who is] emerging as a leading interpreter of American concerns to a new generation of media-savvy audiences and having a profound impact on the discussion of race and racism in this country. Writing without shallow polemic and in a measured style, Coates addresses complex and challenging issues such as racial identity, systemic racial bias, and urban policing. He subtly embeds the present—in the form of anecdotes about himself or others—into historical analysis in order to illustrate how the implications of the past are still experienced by people today.”
Others who made the list include Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright, composer, and performer; LaToya Ruby Frazier, photographer and video artist; and Patrick Awuah, education entrepreneur.