Ta-Nehisi Coates: 'Sometimes radicals are right'

New York (CNN Business)Award-winning author and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will guest edit the September issue of Vanity Fair, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Radhika Jones told CNN Business in an exclusive interview.

The issue will focus on art, activism and power in 21st century America. Jones said she and Coates had been talking about the opportunity for a while. Vanity Fair profiled Coates for last year’s September issue.
Author/writer Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks onstage at SXSW Convergence Keynote on March 10, 2018 in Austin, Texas.
“I’ve been a great admirer of Ta-Nehisi’s work for many years,” Jones told CNN Business. “When he writes, he really sets an agenda for national conversation. We had been wanting to work with him for some time now and this project unfolded out of this dialogue, out of what we’ve all been seeing happening in our country for the last few months. It was a natural fit for me.”

    Coates gained notoriety for his critique of American culture and racial commentary, including a 2014 article for The Atlantic titled, “The Case for Reparations.” He is the author of Marvel’s “Black Panther” comic book series and of best-selling books including “Between the World and Me,” which HBO is adapting into a TV special. (HBO and CNN share a parent company in WarnerMedia.)
    Vanity Fair’s September issue also will include the work of more than 40 prominent writers, artists and photographers such as Eve L. Ewing, Bomani Jones and Ava DuVernay.

    “I’m honored to be partnering with Radhika and the entire Vanity Fair staff on this project,” Coates said in a statement. “Equally, I’m humbled that so many of this country’s best writers and artists have agreed to participate. The moment is too big for any one of us to address alone.”
    Even with everyone working from home and the media industry under increasing financial pressures, magazine editors have been making sure their September issues stand out. The September issues of fashion magazines have long been heralded as the most important of the year given the start of the fall fashion season. While the prominence has faltered in recent years in part due to the decline of print, the issues still tend to be the thickest of the year and often include the year’s most monumental features.
    Vogue announced its plan for the September issue on Monday, sharing that for the first time in the magazine’s 128-year history, all 26 magazine editions will have the same theme: hope. For the September issue of The Oprah Magazine, Oprah Winfrey chose not to be on the cover for the first time in its 20-year history and instead the September issue pays tribute to Breonna Taylor.

      “I see it as something that’s very fitting as an editor, which is to bring in the voices you most admire and respect and want to highlight and showcase,” Jones told CNN Business. “That’s really been what’s been behind this project — partnering with Ta-Nehisi on it and empowering him to bring together a community of voices. To me, that’s the most exciting thing about being an editor.”
      Vanity Fair’s September issue comes out September 1.
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