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Armond White

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Armond White
Alma materColumbia University
OccupationFilm critic

Armond White is an American film and music critic who writes for National Review and Out. He was previously the editor of CityArts (2011–2014), the lead film critic for the alternative weekly New York Press (1997–2011), and the arts editor and critic for The City Sun (1984–1996). Other publications that have carried his work include Film Comment, Variety, The Nation, The New York Times, Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, and First Things.

White is known for his provocative, idiosyncratic[1] and often contrarian reviews, which have made him a controversial figure in film criticism.[2] These include negative reviews of widely acclaimed movies such as The Dark Knight, There Will Be Blood, Up, Toy Story 3, and Get Out. On the other hand, he has championed critically disliked films such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Jonah Hex, Grown Ups, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, the latter of which he indicated as being a better gay-themed film than Brokeback Mountain. His work led film critic Roger Ebert in 2009 to label White as a "smart and knowing [...] troll."[3]

Early life

White was raised in northwest Detroit, Michigan, as the youngest of seven children. His family was the first African-American family to move to a primarily Jewish neighborhood, where he grew up. Raised Baptist, he later became Pentecostal, and identifies himself as "a believer."[4]

His interest in journalism and film criticism began as a student at Detroit's Central High School, when he first read the book Kiss Kiss Bang Bang by film critic Pauline Kael,[4] whom he cites for "her willingness to go against the hype," along with Andrew Sarris, for his "sophisticated love of cinema,"[5] as being a major inspiration on his choice of professional career.[6][7][8] White received a Master of Fine Arts degree in film from Columbia University's School of the Arts in 1997.[9]


White was the arts editor for The City Sun, where he wrote film, music and theater criticism, for the span of its publication from 1984 to 1996. He was hired by New York Press in 1997 and wrote for the paper until it ceased publication in August 2011. He then assumed the editorship of its sister publication CityArts starting in September.

White is a member of the National Society of Film Critics[10] and New York Film Critics Online.[11] He was the three-time chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle (1994, 2009 and 2010),[12][13] and has also served as a member of the jury at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Mill Valley Film Festival and was a member of several National Endowment for the Arts panels.[9] He has taught classes on film at Columbia University and Long Island University.[6]

In 1992, White was one of nine newspaper and magazine writers to win the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for music criticism.[14]

In January 2014, White was expelled from the New York Film Critics Circle for allegedly heckling director Steve McQueen at an event for the film 12 Years a Slave.[15][16] White maintained his innocence,[17] and characterized his expulsion as a "smear campaign."[18] White received an Anti-Censorship Award at the 35th annual American Book Awards for being "unfairly removed" from the critics' organization.[19]


Critic Thelma Adams has cited White as an influence on her work.[20]


  • The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World, 1995 (ISBN 978-0879515867)
  • Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur, 2002 (ISBN 978-1560254614)
  • Keep Moving: The Michael Jackson Chronicles, 2009 (ISBN 978-0984215904)
  • New Position: The Prince Chronicles, 2016 (ISBN 978-1536878561)

Further reading

  • Roberts, Jerry. The Complete History of American Film Criticism. Santa Monica Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-59580-049-7
  • Lopate, Phillip (ed.). American Movie Critics: An Anthology From the Silents Until Now. Library of America, 2006. ISBN 1-931082-92-8

See also


  1. ^ McNeil, Daniel (2015). "The last honest film critic in America: Armond White and the children of James Baldwin". In Frey, Mattias; Sayad, Cecilia (eds.). Film Criticism in the Digital Age. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. pp. 61–78. ISBN 978-0813570723.
  2. ^ Moore, Jack (October 31, 2011). "The 14 Worst Movie Reviews From America's Jerk Film Critic". Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger. "NOT IN DEFENSE OF ARMOND WHITE". Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Jacobson, Mike (February 15, 2009). "No Kiss Kiss, All Bang Bang". New York. p. 2. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  5. ^ Staff (2004). "The Critic". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Kipp, Jeremiah (April 2002). "Beyond Entertainment: An Interview With Film Critic Armond White". senses of cinema. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  7. ^ Lingan, John (May 15, 2008). "Interview: Armond White". Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  8. ^ White, Armond (July 3, 2012). "Armond White's Mid-Year Awards". New York Press. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Armond White, New York Press". Archived from the original on August 31, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  10. ^ New York Film Critics Circle Archived March 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  11. ^ New York Film Critics Online. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  12. ^ Goldstein, Gregg (October 16, 2008). "N.Y. Film Critics re-elect Armond White". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  13. ^ White, Armond (2010). "Message from the 2010 Chairman" Archived January 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. New York Film Critics Circle. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "ASCAP Deems Taylor winners announced". Variety. December 1, 1992. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 13, 2014). "Why Armond White got kicked out of the New York Film Critics Circle". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  16. ^ Child, Ben (January 7, 2014). "Steve McQueen heckled as 'garbage man' at New York film awards". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  17. ^ Feinberg, Scott (January 7, 2014). "Embattled Film Critic Armond White: I Never Heckled Steve McQueen (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  18. ^ Chen, David (January 8, 2014). "The /Filmcast Speaks to Armond White About Heckling Claims: 'It's a Smear Campaign'". /Film. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  19. ^ Cornish, Stephanie (August 27, 2014). "Jamaica Kincaid and Armond White win American Book Awards". Afro. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  20. ^ Sollosi, Mary (January 30, 2014). "Profiles in Criticism: Thelma Adams". Retrieved February 19, 2017.

External links