Danyel Smith

Award-winning Journalist & Author

Award-winning journalist Danyel Smith is author of the acclaimed ‘Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop and creator/host of the NAACP Image Award-nominated Black Girl Songbook, a Spotify Original podcast that centers the sounds and stories of Black women in music. Danyel is a former producer, editor, and writer at ESPN, a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University, an arts fellow at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, and a 2021 Yaddo fellow. She was editor of Billboard, and the first woman and first Black person to serve as editor-in-chief of VIBE. Danyel has written two novels — ‘More Like Wrestling’ (2003) and ‘Bliss’ (Crown), and her recent work appears in the New York Times Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Danyel has appeared as an expert on ABC, ESPN, BBC, CNN, CBS, and NPR, as well as countless documentaries. She has shared her thoughts on culture in spaces such as the Library of Congress, Amazon Music, the Grammy Museum, Yale, and New York University. According to the New Yorker, “Danyel is one of the nation’s most astute chroniclers of pop and hip-hop culture.” A sometime cyclist and avid foodie, Danyel lives in Southern California with her husband, Elliott Wilson, and their Cairn terrier, Key.

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