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Ta-Nehisi Coates has become a prominent name in recent times, especially in the tense climate surrounding race issues in the United States. Coates is plugging his new book, Between the World and Me, and the New York Magazine published a detailed profile on the life and rise of the writer and author.

The piece opens up about Coates’ book, which is fashioned as a letter to his 14-year-old son and lives as an example of how Coates has approached tough conversations of race with him.  With the help of Coates’ editor, the pair managed to snag a most glowing endorsement from legendary author Toni Morrison in where she passed the torch to the writer. From West Baltimore to his current post as Senior Editor for The Atlantic, it would appear that Coates has arrived.

From New York Mag:

Coates is not a Christian. The heavy force in Between the World and Me — what makes it both unique and bleak — is his atheism. It gives Coates’s writing urgency. To consider the African-American experience without the language of souls and destiny is to strip it of euphemism, and to make the security of African-American bodies even more crucial. It also isolates him from the main black political tradition. “There’s a kind of optimism specifically within Christianity about the world — about whose side God is on,” he said. “Well, I didn’t have any of that in my background. I had physicality and chaos.”

Coates was still wondering about the Charleston family members, Christians forgiving. He splayed his fingers over his brow and covered his eyes, so that as he talked he could not see. “Is it aspirational?” he wondered. “Like, I say, ‘I forgive you’ because I think I’m supposed to?”

Coates, now 39, started writing in the ’90’s while as a student at Howard University in Washington. He left the school to chase his journalism dreams, and details this struggle in his latest book. Currently, Coates stands as one of the more unique voices in discussing race matters and his pointed criticisms of President Barack Obama and his impending understanding of the man are all laid out in the New York Mag profile.

Read more by following this link.

Photo: “Ta-Nehisi Coates” by Eduardo Montes-Bradley. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.