Between a socioeconomic crisis, a historical election cycle, a fatal pandemic that took the lives of millions and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, there was much to cover in the news this past year. And the Pulitzer Board just announced the journalists, writers, media outlets and news organizations it will honor for its exemplary coverage of the tumultuous events of 2020.
Amongst the awardees is Darnella Frazier, who received a special citation for this year’s Pulitzer Prize. According to the official Pulitzer Prize site, the teen was awarded “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”
As reported by NPR, prior to her 2021 Pulitzer score, many were calling for Frazier to receive the honor for photojournalism. However, it wasn’t long before she was honored with an award from PEN America, a non-profit organization focused on freedom of expression. “I never would imagine out of my whole 17 years of living that this will be me,” Frazier said during her PEN America award acceptance speech. “It’s just a lot to take in, but I couldn’t say ‘thank you’ enough for everything that’s been coming towards me.”
Fortunately, the Black excellence in this year’s Pulitzer recipients doesn’t stop there. Katori Hall, who is best known for her work on the hit STARZ series P-Valley, was awarded a Pulitzer of her own for The Hot Wing King. According to Variety, the play opened in February 2020 at New York’s Signature Theater but was forced to close only weeks later due to the outbreak of the pandemic.
As described by the Pulitzer site, the Drama Pulitzer-winning play is a “funny, deeply felt consideration of Black masculinity and how it is perceived, filtered through the experiences of a loving gay couple and their extended family as they prepare for a culinary competition.”
Other 2021 Pulitzer Prize winners included The Tampa Bay Times, Minneapolis’ The Star Tribune, The New York Times, The Marshall Project and BuzzFeed News, which was awarded its first Pulitzer for international reporting. The full list of winners can be seen here.