Kendrick Lamar Becomes First Rapper To Win Pulitzer Prize

Kendrick Lamar performs onstage with SZA during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 13, 2018 in Indio, California. PHOTO: Larry Busacca / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

 

Kendrick Lamar on Monday became the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, a milestone for which the board cited his skill in telling the African American experience.

With the Pulitzer, the 30-year-old from the historically deprived Los Angeles community of Compton joins the leagues of celebrated American composers such as Aaron Copland, Charles Ives and John Adams.

The Pulitzer board, which also awards literature and journalism, gave Lamar the prize for “DAMN.,” an exploration of a classic hip-hop sound for an artist who has shifted gears musically with each album.

In its announcement, the Pulitzer board described “DAMN.” as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”

“DAMN.,” which reached number one on the US albums chart, moves forward the conversation about race that Lamar started on his previous album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” which infused jazz and spoken word and gave voice to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“DAMN.” opens with Lamar addressing his cultural role indirectly with a snippet from a conservative talk show criticizing his lyrics against police brutality, which he again raises in the track “XXX.,” a reflection on the meaning of America that features U2.

But much of “DAMN.” is more personal and introspective, with the track “HUMBLE.” exploring the pitfalls of fame and Lamar also introducing a martial-arts alter ego, Kung Fu Kenny.

The Pulitzer board rarely awards mainstream music, last year giving the prize to the experimental opera composer Du Yun.

But the board in the mid-1990s introduced changes to make the award more inclusive. It has given the prize previously to jazz artists including Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman.

Hip-hop also has been recognized by the Pulitzer board in the drama category with “Hamilton” — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s modern retelling of America’s founding fathers — winning in 2016.

Despite the wide praise for Lamar, he has yet to win the most prestigious award of the music industry, the Grammy for Album of the Year, with both “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “DAMN.” losing out to pop works.

AFP

Oscars 2016: Leonardo DiCaprio Wins Best Actor

oscarsLeonardo DiCaprio has finally won his first Oscar for survival epic The Revenant, after six nominations.

He was named best actor at the 88th Academy Awards, with Brie Larson named best actress Oscar for Room.

Catholic Church abuse movie “Spotlight” was named best picture, the top award at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony, after a night peppered with punchlines from host Chris Rock about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has dominated the industry.

In a ceremony where no single movie commanded attention, Mexico’s Alejandro Inarritu nabbed the best directing Oscar for “The Revenant”, becoming the first filmmaker in more than 60 years to win back-to-back Academy Awards. Inarritu won in 2015 for “Birdman.”

“The Revenant” went into Sunday’s ceremony with a leading 12 nominations, and was among four movies believed to have the best chances for best picture after it won Golden Globe and BAFTA trophies.

The ambitious 20th Century Fox (FOXA.O) Pioneer-era tale, shot in sub-zero temperatures, also brought a first Oscar win for its star Leonardo DiCaprio, who got a standing ovation from the A-list Hollywood audience.

“I do not take tonight for granted,” DiCaprio said, taking the opportunity in his acceptance speech to urge action on climate change.

Yet voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Open Road Films’ (RGC.N) “Spotlight,” which traces the Boston Globe’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize winning investigation of child sex abuse by Catholic priests, for best picture. The movie also won best original screenplay.

“This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope can become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” said producer Michael Sugar.

Rising star Brie Larson, 26, took home the statuette for best actress for her role as an abducted young woman in indie movie “Room,” adding to her armful of trophies from other award shows.