It was an honor to be the special managing editor for this very special commemorative project honoring President Barack Obama. Working with Ebony EIC Kyra Kyles and one of the best designers in the industry, I worked to create an issue that takes a long, loving look at America’s president while also delving into his legacy and what his family means to the masses. This was definitely a labor of love. I work on a lot of publications, but it’s not everyday that I get to shape the content of something like this. Plus, a major, major score was when my Soror, Nikki Giovanni, said she would write the poem that opens the book and sets the tone. Did you read it? It’s POWERFUL. (Shout out to all member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.!)
Given that Obama touched upon the issue of the so-called “post racial America” in his last, public farewell speech on January 10, 2017, I thought that Joy-Anne Reid’s essay on the fallacy of a post racial America was a very timely addition to this commemorative edition. NPR’s Eric Deggans penned an amazing look at Obama’s cultural legacy and California African American Museum’s Naima Keith explained the importance of the Obama’s impact on the humanities. And of course, former Daily Show writer and comedian Baratunde Thurston perfectly lauded Obama’s penchant for humor. I’m so happy I was able to work with such talented writers. The end product — the magazine — is magnificent.
I’ve always worked in newspapers, and I currently write columns for Forbes and pieces for Chicago magazine (amongst others.) But what’s nice about planning and hiring/editing writers for a magazine’s commemorative project is that we get to take a breath and a long view at a topic. Sifting through hundreds of images and contemplating headlines and reviewing items in Ebony’s archives was a treat. I was there, in Chicago’s Grant Park, when the votes came in. I covered the election from the ground, sending my story back to my editors via my cell phone. But now? As the managing editor of such an important book, I’m shaping the narrative in a different way. I like this long view.