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Coates grew up in a home and a world where consciousness in thought and deed was the ultimate reflection of what it means to be a human being, where books and papers surrounded him and reflected him. He sought other stories in comic books and novels. Baltimore in the ’80s demanded a different education of him, one where he was bored by teachers, fell asleep in class, walked through the streets assessing the landscape and the people incessantly, wary and aware that at any moment, at any time, he could be jumped and beaten for any number of imagined offenses by boys who looked like him. That world trained Coates to navigate violence with his body and his mind, pressured his inner self to become the man he is today, a man with a baby face and easy bearing whose looks belie the weapon within, a self honed to a scythe’s sharpness. Artists & Reviews 

The Beautiful Power of Ta-Nehisi Coates

With his groundbreaking nonfiction works, Ta-Nehisi Coates emerged as our most vital public intellectual. Now, his debut novel, The Water Dancer, takes him to uncharted depths. BY  JESMYN WARD PHOTOGRAPHY BY  ANNIE LEIBOVITZ AUGUST 6, 2019 Coates, photographed in Brooklyn.PHOTOGRAPH BY ANNIE LEIBOVITZ. When I meet Ta-Nehisi Coates, I am surprised. All of the photos I’ve seen of him are somber and inscrutable, but when I walk into the café where he’s suggested we meet, he’s not like that at all. He’s one of those people who looks young at any age:…

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