Danyel Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Danyel Smith
Born (1965-06-23) June 23, 1965 (age 49)
Oakland, California
Residence Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Education Journalism
Alma mater University of California
Occupation Journalist
Years active 1989-today
Known for Celebrity interviews
Notable work(s) Beyoncé
Janet Jackson
Mariah Carey
Spouse(s) Elliott Wilson

Danyel Smith (born June 23, 1965) is an American editor, critic, novelist, media pundit and the founder of the cultural and political website The Smithian.[1] Danyel is a 2014 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.[2][3] She is also writing a history of African-American women in pop music.[4] Smith is also the former editor of Billboard[5] and the first African-American editor of the magazine. Also, she is the former chief content officer of Vibe Media Group and former editor-in-chief of Vibe and vibe.com.[6] She was the first African-American, and first female editor of Vibe. Over the course of her career, Smith has interviewed and profiled artists including Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, Queen Latifah, Usher, MC Hammer, Gang Starr, Wesley Snipes, Marc Anthony, Laurence Fishburne, and Jamie Foxx. Among other outlets, Smith has written for Elle, Time, Cosmopolitan, Essence, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, CNN.com, Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Publications, Ebony and NPR.[7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

Danyel was born and raised in Oakland, California.[9] She graduated in 1983 from St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, California, and went on to attend the University of California, Berkeley. Her mother is of Filipino and African-American descent. She has one younger sister, Raquel. In addition, she has a younger stepsister, Nicole, and stepbrother Keith. Danyel currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Elliott Wilson. They have married in Los Angeles in June 2005.[10]

She was named in "10 Mentors to Follow on Twitter" by Her Agenda.[11] Soon to be featured in Spike Lee’s Bad 25 documentary (about Michael Jackson’s acclaimed 1987 album), Danyel has appeared as a featured commentator on The Biography Channel, VH1, ABC, BET, CNN, CTV, PBSCharlie Rose, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, and NPR.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

Writing career[edit]

Danyel Smith started her career in 1989 as a freelance writer, columnist and critic in the California’s Bay Area at The San Francisco Bay Guardian[18] and The East Bay Express. From 1990 to 1991, she served as the music editor of San Francisco Weekly. By 1992, Smith was freelancing as a reporter for Spin magazine, where she wrote a pop culture/music column called "Dreaming America".[19] In 1993, Smith moved to New York to become Rhythm and blues editor for Billboard magazine. At that time, she was also reviewing live shows and recorded music for the New York Times.[20]

In 1994, she became music editor of what was then Quincy Jones’ new VIBE magazine. Two years later, Smith was awarded the National Arts Journalism Program fellowship at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. After her year in Evanston, Illinois, she was named editor-in-chief of Vibe in 1997.[21] She was responsible for all editorial content in the music magazine during its definitive era. Smith, in two years raised Vibe’s circulation from 500,000 to 750,000+ readers. In 1999, she resigned and joined Time Inc. as an editor-at-large. There she consulted and wrote for magazines including Time, Entertainment Weekly and In Style.

Smith left Time Inc. in 2001 to begin a five-year journey that included getting a Master of Fine Arts at the New School University, publishing two novels and teaching at the university level. Her first novel, More Like Wrestling (Crown, 2003), was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as "lyrical and original",[22] while The San Francisco Chronicle called it "beautiful, and in its way, miraculous".[23] Washington Post Book World said that Smith’s "prose sings with precision".[24] During this period, Smith worked as a workshop leader at the Radcliffe Publishing Course in Cambridge, Mass. She was on the adjunct faculty of the Writing Program at the New School University. And while working on her second novel, Bliss,[25] she was on the guest faculty at Saint Mary’s College of California. Smith was also a writer-in-residence at Skidmore College.

In 2006, Smith returned to run Vibe Magazine. This time, she was responsible for the digital as well as the paper platforms. Smith’s cover profile of Keyshia Cole was featured in Da Capo Press’s Best Music Writing 2008. After three years, Smith had a short stint at the Washington Post’s African-American political site, The Root, before returning to the music industry bible, Billboard, as editor. In 2012, she resigned and inked a deal to write a history of African-American women in pop music.[26]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Danyel Smith". March 29, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ http://knight.stanford.edu/ http://www.stanford.edu/
  3. ^ http://knight.stanford.edu/fellows/class-of-2014/danyel-smith/
  4. ^ "10 Mentors To Follow On Twitter". Her Agenda. May 3, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Billboard Publisher, Editor Out, Other Top Staffers Follow". Lucas Shaw. The Wrap. March 9, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Danyel Smith, formerly of Vibe.com, named executive editor of The Root.com". Targetmarket News. September 8, 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Danyel Smith - Editor in Chief, Vibe and Vibe Vixen". Taylor Mallory. Little Pink Book. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Rolling Stone contributors - Danyel Smith". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Danyel Smith Interview". Jeni Wright. Colored Girls. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Danyel Smith Misses the BART". NY Mag. May 9, 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "10 Mentors To Follow On Twitter". Her Agenda. May 3, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Mara Schiavocampo, Jeff Johnson & Danyel Smith on Black Enterpris (Youtube). United States. 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2012. 
  13. ^ Danyel Smith - Jackson Leegacy (CNN). United States: CNN. 2009. 
  14. ^ Private Funeral for Houston (CNN). United States: CNN. 2012. 
  15. ^ MLK Day and the inauguration (CNN). United States: CNN. 2009. 
  16. ^ "Jon Pareles & Danyel Smith on Whitney Houston". Charlie Rose. February 13, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Remembering Chris Lighty, Hip-Hop Leader And My Friend". Danyel Smith. NPR. August 31, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "Urban radio rage". Jeff Chang. SFBG. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  19. ^ "Dreaming america". Spin (Spin): 127. 1992. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "Danyel Smith - About". March 29, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  21. ^ "Former Vibe Journalist Named Editor-in-Chief of Billboard". Madame Noire. January 11, 2011. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  22. ^ "Junot Díaz: By the Book". The New York Times. August 30, 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "Oakland Underdog / Hip-hop writer Danyel Smith's debut novel makes her hometown the star". Christopher Hawthorne. SF Gate. February 19, 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Tambling Book Reviews". Nichelle Tramble. February 3, 2005. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  25. ^ "Bliss By Danyel Smith". Nathaniel Turner. July 19, 2005. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "Fmr. Vibe Editor Danyel Smith Named Managing Editor Of The Root". Black Snob. September 9, 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012.