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Jabari Asim


Jabari Asim
Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is an associate professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston and the executive editor of The Crisis, the...


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Yet Another Actor Acting Out

“Grey’s Anatomy’’ star Isaiah Washington’s recent meltdown was as puzzling as it was repulsive.

Posted on Jan 25, 2007 READ MORE


Jabari Asim: Bone-Deep Similarities

Recent anthropological research suggests that our African and Eurasian ancestors were more genetically similar than we had thought.

Posted on Jan 16, 2007 READ MORE


Jabari Asim: Epithetical Distinctions

One of the poets credited with giving birth to rap music gives us another take on the most taboo racial epithet of them all.

Posted on Jan 8, 2007 READ MORE
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Jabari Asim: Lyrics Rated M, for Murderous

Are rappers’ ultra-violent rhymes a sign of lethal intent or just a cry against oppression?

Posted on Dec 25, 2006 READ MORE


Jabari Asim: Invisible Men

Despite their courage and achievements in the Revolutionary War, blacks usually went unnoticed.  Now, finally, one such man receives some recognition.


Posted on Dec 18, 2006 READ MORE


Jabari Asim: Paying Homage Isn’t Plagiarism

Let’s cut authors like Ian McEwan a little slack and allow him to “sample” from other works in the same way that every other artist does.

Posted on Dec 11, 2006 READ MORE


Jabari Asim: Here We Go Again

The recent shooting of an unarmed black man in New York is another chapter in a long and heartbreaking tradition.

Posted on Dec 5, 2006 READ MORE

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Jabari Asim
Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim is an associate professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston and the executive editor of The Crisis, the NAACP’s flagship journal of politics, ideas and cultureHis background as a book critic and a poet, plus his newspaper experience as a book editor, arts editor, and on the editorial staff of a large daily newspaper, contribute to commentary that is unique in perspective.

Asim is perhaps the most influential African-American literary critic of his generation. As a senior editor of Washington Post Book World, he helps determine coverage of not just black literature but also poetry, essays, fiction and nonfiction created around the world. For two years he wrote a book review column that appeared each Tuesday in the Style section of the Post, until he launched his nationally syndicated op-ed column in 2003.

Before coming to Book World, he worked as book editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during which time he was the only African-American to supervise book/publishing coverage at a major metropolitan daily. Other jobs he held at the Post-Dispatch include copy editor of the daily editorial and commentary pages and arts editor of the weekend section. His reviews and cultural criticism also have been published in the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times Book Review,, the Detroit News, The Village Voice, Hungry Mind Review, XXL, Code, Emerge and other journals and publications. Earlier op-ed essays appeared in the Phoenix Gazette, and on His literary essays have been published in “The Furious Flowering of African-American Poetry” (University Press of Virginia) and “Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of The New Black Literature” (Wiley & Sons).

An accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer, Asim has published work in a number of anthologies and literary magazines. He was the only writer to have both poetry and fiction included in “In The Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers” (Harlem River Press); his short story “Two Fools” appeared in “Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America” (Ballantine); and his poems, along with “Peace, Dog,” a one-act play, were published in “Soulfires: Young Black Men on Love and Violence” (Viking Penguin). Asim’s work also has appeared in “Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century,” (Black Classic Press) and in “Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art” (Third World Press).

“The Road To Freedom,” his first novel for young readers, was published in May 2000 by NTC/Contemporary. He is editor of “Not Guilty: Twelve Black Men Speak Out on the Law, Justice and Life,” published in November 2001 by Amistad/HarperCollins. Asim continues to write children’s books and most recently authored “Only the Strong” (2015).

Jabari Asim and his wife Liana have five children.

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