Pulitzer Kenny makes history. Kendrick Lamar became the first hip-hop act to win a Pulitzer Prize in music for his 2017 album DAMN.
The Compton MC, along with his fiancée Whitney Alford, was on hand to receive the prestigious award during a ceremony at New York City’s Columbia University on Wednesday (May 30).
President Columbia University, Lee C. Bollinger, praised Lamar’s Grammy-winning album as a “virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that fers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity modern African-American life.”
The 30-year-old rapper didn’t comment while accepting the honor, but did speak in a video on Facebook Live ( Variety). “It’s an honor,” said Lamar. “I’ve been writing my whole life, so to get this type recognition — it’s beautiful.”
It was the first win for a non-classical or jazz musician since the awards began including music 75 years ago.
In an interview with The New York Times, Pulitzer administrator Dana Canedy reflected on the historic moment. “We are very proud this selection,” she Canedy. “It means that the jury and the board judging system worked as it’s supposed to — the best work was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. It shines a light on hip-hop in a completely different way. This is a big moment for hip-hop music and a big moment for the Pulitzers.”