Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 album wins Pulitzer

Emma Knudson, Staff writer

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In a historic and well-deserved moment, Kendrick Lamar won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in music for his album, ‘DAMN.’

It is the first body of musical work to receive the honor outside of the classical or jazz genre, making the win pleasantly unexpected. Yet looking through this year’s recipients, Lamar’s win begins to make sense.

Many of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners received the award because of their dedication to uncovering startling truths within our society.

The New York Times and the New Yorker won for their coverage of the Weinstein scandal, The Washington Post won for uncovering Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s sexual harassment of teenage girls, and both news outlets together won the award in National Reporting for their work on disclosing the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The winners for photography, both Breaking News and Feature, won for their images depicting the car plowing through the Charlottesville riots and the Rohingya refugees fleeing the horrors in Myanmar, respectively.

All of these wins were earned through exposing the world to the unsettling reality that’s seemingly becoming our new normal.

While Lamar has been rapping for a long time about his frustrations about racial inequality, ‘DAMN.’ struck a chord with audiences for its sensitivity, authenticity, brutal honesty and powerful self-reflection as a black man in America.

The album, too, acts as its own piece of reporting on our tense and divided nation and his own humanity.

One informs the other, turning the album into a dialogue: lust vs. love, pride vs. humility, etc.

The content on Lamar’s album discusses nothing new, yet everything necessary.

It exposes truths many are ignorant to, and perhaps choose to be ignorant to, much like many of the devastating situations occurring both within and outside of the U.S.

This makes his win that much more important: it becomes more than just the fact that he’s the first Pulitzer Prize music winner outside of the classical or jazz genre.

It’s about his voice, after rapping about racial inequality for years, finally gaining the attention of those outside of his company and those who’ve already appreciated his music.

When it comes down to it, Lamar’s achievement isn’t as much shocking as it is ‘about damn time.’

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