Executive Editor, Culture
Rutgers University, M.F.A.
Western Kentucky University, B.A.
Saeed Jones is everything: a Pushcart Prize-winning poet, a provocative writer, and a prolific tweeter. He is also BuzzFeed’s executive editor for culture and as his Twitter handle makes clear, he is also “the ferocity.” His humor is sublime. His passion palpable.
Jones tells his truth even when there could be consequences. For example, his brave essay, Self-Portrait Of The Artist As Ungrateful Black Writer, was his response to the lack of diversity in the publishing industry, which according to Publisher’s Weekly is 89 percent white. Jones told The Advocate that writing the article terrified him because of the backlash that so often greets vocal people of color.
“You become known as the whiny, angry person. And slowly but surely, the opportunities go away, because people go, ‘There’s that writer, that black writer who’s just angry about race all the time,'” Jones explained. That he wrote the piece in spite of the risk exemplifies who Jones is.
Since he was hired as BuzzFeed’s first LGBT editor in 2013, Jones has been very busy. His first book of poetry Prelude to Bruise was released the following year and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He next finished his memoir, How Men Fight for Their Lives is to be published by Simon & Schuster in 2017. He also found time to expand his role at BuzzFeed, first as the literary editor, and most recently as executive editor of culture. But he still wasn’t done.
It was Jones who pitched the idea for BuzzFeed’s Emerging Writers Fellowship for which the company received over 500 applications. This past January, four fellows began a four-month program that would include writing personal essays, profiles, and cultural criticism, as well as receiving mentorship and personal development.
For his book of poetry, Prelude to Bruise Jones was awarded the Joyce Osterwell Award for Poetry and the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Award for Literature.
Dear LGBT folks asking “why are they rioting?” We literally have a parade every year celebrating the Stonewall Riots. #Ferguson
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) November 26, 2014