The winners of the 2020 Pulitzer Prizes include two queer men of color. The first is Michael R. Jackson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his off-broadway play, A Strange Loop, which centers around a gay black man, Usher, trying to navigate life in New York City. By day, Usher works as an usher for the Broadway production of The Lion King. By night, he dreams of being a writer and creating his own plays. The show focuses on politics, religion, race, and sexuality.
Upon its release at Playwrights Horizon in Midtown, New York, the show received rave reviews. In Their review of the show, Variety stated, “Usher’s journey and Jackson’s show offer bracing insights into the endless strata of conflicts faced by those who are young, gifted and black — and so much more.”
Jackson jubilantly responded to the news on Twitter:
Never in my wildest dreams. NEVER. IN MY. WILDEST. DREAMS. Thank you to everyone who has supported me on my journey to such an incredible honor. I’m sure I’ll have more to say once I’ve caught my breath and looked at all these text messages and emails but for now, THANK YOU. https://t.co/P73Aonzy5t
— Michael R. Jackson (@TheLivingMJ) May 4, 2020
Another winner is author Jericho Brown, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His book The Tradition is a collection of poetry that focuses on trauma and terror – against people in the bedroom, against unarmed citizens from the police, against moviegoers in crowded theaters, and more.
In a review by the Columbia Journal, Brown’s collection was praised, with the journal stating, “There is ample opportunity to share in the sheer beauty of Brown’s language, to be soothed by his sense of romance, to appreciate his skill and inventiveness with form…”
Both winners receive a $15,000 cash prize (as well as the absolute honor of being Pulitzer Prize-winners). Congrats to Michael R. Jackson, Jericho Brown, and all the other winners of this year’s prizes!
For a full list of winners of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, you can visit the award’s official website.