Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates (/ˌtɑːnəˈhɑːsi ˈkoʊts/ TAH-nə-HAH-see KOHTS; born September 30, 1975) is an American author, journalist, comic book writer, and educator. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans.
Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications. In 2008 he published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. His second book, Between the World and Me, was released in July 2015. It won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and is a nominee for the Phi Beta Kappa 2016 Book Awards. He was the recipient of a "Genius Grant" from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2015. He is the writer of the Black Panther series for Marvel Comics drawn by Brian Stelfreeze.
Coates is currently working on several projects. These include America in the King Years which is a television project with David Simon, Taylor Branch, and James McBride about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, based on one of the volumes of the books America in the King Years written by Taylor Branch, specifically At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–1968. The project will be produced by Oprah Winfrey and air on HBO. He is working on a novel about an African American from Chicago who moves to Paris.
Coates is also set to adapt Rachel Aviv's 2014 New Yorker article "Wrong Answer" into a full-length feature of the same title, starring Michael B. Jordan with direction by Ryan Coogler.
Coates' first journalism job was as a reporter at The Washington City Paper; his editor was David Carr.
From 2000 to 2007, Coates worked as a journalist at various publications, including Philadelphia Weekly, The Village Voice and Time. His first article for The Atlantic, "This Is How We Lost to the White Man", about Bill Cosby and conservatism, started a new, more successful and stable phase of his career. The article led to an appointment with a regular column for The Atlantic, a blog that was popular, influential, and had a high level of community engagement.
Coates became a senior editor at The Atlantic, for which he wrote feature articles as well as maintaining his blog. Topics covered by the blog included politics, history, race, culture as well as sports, and music. His writings on race, such as his September 2012 The Atlantic cover piece "Fear of a Black President" and his June 2014 feature "The Case for Reparations", have been especially praised, and have won his blog a place on the Best Blogs of 2011 list by Time magazine and the 2012 Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism from The Sidney Hillman Foundation. Coates' blog has also been praised for its engaging comments section, which Coates curates and moderates heavily so that "the jerks are invited to leave [and] the grown-ups to stay and chime in."
In discussing The Atlantic article on "The Case for Reparations", Coates said he had worked on it for almost two years. He had read Rutgers University professor Beryl Satter's book, Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America, a history of redlining that included a discussion of the grassroots organization, the Contract Buyers League, of which Clyde Ross was one of the leaders. The focus of the article was not so much on reparations for slavery, but was instead a focus on the institutional racism of housing discrimination.
Coates has worked as a guest columnist for The New York Times, having turned down an offer from them to become a regular columnist. He has also written for The Washington Post, the Washington Monthly and O magazine.
Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic.
Image: Eduardo Montes-Bradley [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons