This is brilliant. Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and award-winning choreographer Kyle Abraham are among the 24 winners of 2013 MacArthur Fellows. These so-called “genius” grants from the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation come with a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 paid over five years.
"This year’s class includes five visionary artists and scholars of color," notes ColorLines. "Photographer Carrie Mae Weems, playwright Tarell McCraney, choreographer Kyle Abraham, musician Vijay Iyer, and researcher Angela Duckworth have been named among this year’s winners."
The 32-year-old McCraney has sometimes been described as the "heir" to August Wilson's legacy. McCraney is a Miami native and graduated from Yale '07 MFA. The wunderkind dramatist became one of the first winners of Yale University's new Windham Campbell Prize earlier. That award has a $150,000 cash tag and has been described as "one of the largest literary prizes in the world."
McCraney is best known for his acclaimed trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays. Other works include Wig Out!, American Trade and Choir Boy. The latter made its London debut in September 2012 and explores the competing roles of religion, Black cultural identity and sexual repression at a fictional African-American prep school. McCraney—who is openly gay—has been a member of the acclaimed Steppenwolf Theater Company ensemble since 2010.
The 36-year-old Kyle Abraham has been awarded a Bessie Award and a Princess Grace Award for choreography. Abraham established his company Abraham.In.Motion in 2006 after having worked with Bill T. Jones, the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and many others.
The Pittsburgh native has created a number of critically-acclaimed recent works including The Radio Show, Op. 1, Live! The Realest MC, and Pavement. A Ramp to Paradise. Live! The Realest MC explores "what it means to be Black and gay in the context of hip hop culture" and has been performed across the country. Pavement. A Ramp to Paradise describes the history of the iconic Black gay dance club the Paradise Garage.
Bravo and many congratulations to all of the winners. Watch Kyle Abraham and Tarell Alvin McCraney's introductory videos for the MacArthur Foundation AFTER THE JUMP ...