Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah calls it like she sees it.
The essayist, won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Best Feature Writing for her profile on white supremacist and home-grown American terrorist Dylann Roof.
Ghansah’s 9,000-word piece for GQ Magazine, “A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof“, was awarded for its examination of the historical and cultural forces behind the 2015 massacre that left nine parishioners dead at the Charleston Emanuel AME Church and ten families forever altered.
The article, which also won the National Magazine Award for Best Feature, was initially set to focus on the victims and their families but after spending three months in Charleston covering the trial Ghansah was struck by Roof’s silence and refusal to explain why.
Her decision and her hard work led her to win the Pulitzer Prize–a first for her and GQ. Ghansah has written features on Toni Morrison, Dave Chappelle, Missy Elliot, and Kendrick Lamar, who won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album Damn, among others.
“I like writing about people who look like me and the people I know who don’t have good pieces written about them, because we deserve it.” Ghansah tells PBS. “We don’t always hear about the people who we know as legends the ways that they were very true to themselves. I’m more interested in the moments when they were uncompromising and they were fearless, because what I hope is that that fearlessness tells us a little bit about how we can be fearless.”
Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah’s forthcoming book, “The Explainers and the Explorers” on how black america will define itself in the 21st century is expected to be released this November.
Highlighting the journey of Black women as they create spaces and elevate Black culture.