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Brittani Samuel Receives First ATCA Medina Award for Cultural Criticism 

Samuel will receive a cash award and a complimentary annual American Theatre Critics Association membership.

NEW YORK CITY: Arts journalist, theatre critic, and 3Views co-editor Brittani Samuel will be awarded the inaugural Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism by the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA). The award, which will be presented at ATCA’s New York gathering this month, is intended to honor theatre critics and journalists in the United States from under-represented backgrounds who write about theatre and its role in highlighting people from various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. The prize also is intended to encourage increased readership of cultural criticism composed by diverse writers and critics from under-represented groups.  

“Brittani is a dynamic New York City-based writer who has collected an impressive collection of regional and national bylines,” said ATCA chair David John Chávez in a statement. “Her work has critically captured a plethora of topics from trends in the American theatre movement to touchstones of popular culture.”

Samuel is a Caribbean American culture journalist whose work has appeared not only at 3Views on Theater but in American Theatre, Broadway News, Glamour, Observer, Zora, and several other outlets. She is an alumna of the BIPOC Critics Lab and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute.

“Wow, I’m floored,” said Samuel in a statement. “I’m very honored to be selected for this inaugural award in reverence of such a special human being.” Samuel will receive a cash award, a complimentary annual ATCA membership and travel and accommodation costs for the November 2022 ATCA conference in New York City. 

Samuel was chosen by a panel of theatre, journalism, and communication professionals including Wei Huan Chen, Mirla Criste, Jiles King, Lynde Rosario, Yura Sapi, Russell G. Jones, and Jay Woods.

“Reviewing Brittani’s application, it was clear to me that she loves the theatre despite being able to identify systemic and longstanding problems in it,” said Jones. “I was really impressed by her piece on Claudia Rankine’s play Help at The Shed, and I am excited that ATCA is supporting her voice.”

“Brittani demonstrates a great use of personal voice that cultivates an honest and welcoming energy to readers,” said judge Yura Sapi, who is the founder of Advancing Arts Forward, in a statement. “As we reviewed submissions for the Medina Prize, we looked for writers whose unique voice has the potential to lead to large-scale transformation in the theater and theater criticism industries.” 

ATCA named the prize in honor of Edward Medina, a proud Nuyorican whose well-established life within the arts and entertainment industry included work as a recognized and award-winning producer, director, and author. Medina also was a critic and member of the American Theatre Critics Association, for which he served on the executive committee, as well as the the Membership and Belonging and Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion committees until his death in 2021. He emphasized the need for increasing diversity within theatrical production and criticism and sought to provide fresh opportunities and support for new critics finding their calling in this vital field.

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