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Press Release

Jamil Smith joins The Emancipator as editor-in-chief

Veteran journalist and Emmy Award-winning producer to lead award-winning digital magazine focused on racial inequality

Reginald Cunningham

Boston, MA - November 13, 2023 — Today, The Emancipator announced Jamil Smith as Editor-in-Chief, succeeding Amber Payne, who moved into the role of Publisher/General Manager earlier this year. Smith will drive The Emancipator’s editorial vision and serve as a key partner to Payne in growing the rising media startup’s reach and impact nationwide.

Previously, Smith was an essayist for the Los Angeles Times and has held senior positions at Rolling Stone, Vox and The New Republic. His political and cultural commentary have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times and The Washington Post to Esquire and Vanity Fair, including an award-winning 2019 Time cover story about the cultural significance of the film “Black Panther.”

Smith brings a diverse portfolio of media expertise to the position. Prior to his writing career, he worked in cable news and sports, clinching three Emmy Awards while at NFL Films. He also co-hosted “One Year Later,” a limited radio series for KCRW, an NPR member station in L.A., and has launched and hosted several podcasts during the course of his career. Smith also served as an MSNBC producer for both “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Melissa Harris-Perry.” He started out his career at the William Morris Agency, before transitioning into television and film production for CNN, HBO Sports and NFL Films.

“Jamil is the perfect person to lead The Emancipator at this pivotal moment in our growth. He is a brilliant journalist, a versatile media producer and an influential cultural commentator. His poignant observations on race and racism have helped shape the national conversation and his vision and passion for this work will be instrumental in taking The Emancipator to the next level,” said Payne.

Smith joins the staff at an exciting time for The Emancipator, with an all-new website and newsletter slated for release in early 2024. He is tasked with raising the profile and impact of The Emancipator brand, and helping to identify new opportunities to expand its reach.

“This is a singular opportunity,” said Smith. “I’ve been an admirer of what The Emancipator has accomplished thus far, and it’s an honor to join the University and this staff. I look forward to continuing to help audiences think more critically about the emergency that is racial inequity.”

About The Emancipator

The Emancipator is an award-winning digital magazine that reimagines the nation’s first abolitionist newspapers—for a new day. Our mission, like those who came before us, is to turn public opinion against racism. Through multimedia content, commentary and events nationwide, we explain and explore solutions to racial inequality in all aspects of life. Our stories expose the history, harms and pervasiveness of racism in America and explore solutions for its abolition. From health disparities and the wealth gap to climate inequality and the criminal legal system, we are unpacking and confronting the biggest racial justice issues of our time. The Emancipator is a media publication under Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research.