If you didn’t already know, seasoned journalist Yamiche Alcindor is a prominent figure and influential voice in the world of politics, social issues, and civil rights. Her journalistic pedigree has seen her work for media giants from The New York Times to the PBS NewsHour, and, with a surname of such significance, some of Alcindor’s fans have speculated about the reporter’s possible high-profile relatives.
Yamiche Alcindor is not related to legendary NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born, Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr). However, despite not actually being related, Yamiche Alcindor has joked in the past about being related to the sporting icon who MVP six times over the course of his career.
Although the context of their individual achievements could not be more different, the truth of the matter is that both individuals have enjoyed successful careers in their respective fields, and Yamiche Alcindor’s pathway to success has been particularly enlightening.
How Did Yamiche Alcindor Become Famous?
Currently, a high-profile White House Correspondent, Alcindor’s career has been forged by her own hard work, grit, and determination. Interning at papers such as the Westside Gazette and the Miami Herald when she was still in her teens, Alcindor has clearly always known the significance of driving your own success.
One story on Alcindor’s formative years states that the award-winning journalist first fell in love with writing when she was just a child, frequently writing poems and short stories. Her interests purportedly shifted to journalism after she learned about the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955.
This exposure to the country’s complex history in regards to race relations and civil rights transformed Alcindor’s burgeoning interests into a burning desire to stimulate discourse through writing. For the Florida-born Alcindor, “journalism is all about civil rights”.
In fact, her short tenure at the Westside Gazette – a weekly African American publication – perfectly reflects her outlook on how journalism is inextricably linked to social issues such as civil rights.
Following her graduation from high school, Alcindor chose to study English, African American studies, and government with a concentration in international relations at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. These distinct subjects combined would come to reflect all her interests and the ways in which to promote change.
After further internships at papers such as The Seattle Times, the Washington Post, and Mmegi – a newspaper based in the Botswanan capital of Gaborone – Alcindor completed an MA in broadcast news and documentary filmmaking.
Gradually, Alcindor emerged in the big-time and began working towards achieving her dream of becoming a civil rights journalist. She worked for media giants such as Newsday, USA Today, The New York Times before eventually landing a job at PBS NewsHour.
During her burgeoning career, Alcindor reported on divisive current events such as the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the Baltimore protests in 2015, and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2018, and took the opportunity to discuss the complexities of race relations in the U.S.
Contributions to Journalism
Despite only being a professional journalist for a short time, Alcindor has achieved a lot in her relatively short time in the industry and has been recognized for her exploits too.
In fact, in 2016, Alcindor was nominated for a Shorty Award in the Journalist category, and, in 2017, the highly acclaimed journalist was ranked 13th in the Root 100 list of most influential African Americans between the ages of 25 and 45. Alcindor also won an award in a tribute for Gwen Ifill, who passed away in 2016.
In a letter titled “Dear Gwen”, Alcindor expressed her emotions toward Ifill and wrote about how her friend – who passed away at just 61 – helped her harness her self-worth. She said: “I think as I get older and as I look at all the breadth of your work, I think of knowing myself and knowing my name and owning who I am. It was so important that you told me that.”
During her tenure as a White House correspondent, Alcindor has also had a number of heated back-and-forths with President Donald Trump. And, this was undoubtedly pre-empted by her thoughts following the unrest in Charlottesville in 2017, where Alcindor said: “Donald Trump thinks that there are some nice neo-Nazis out there. That to me is really, really scary.
“The president has real issues with race, and as one of the only African American reporters at the New York Times, I feel an extra need to explain to people what’s happening.”
The Sky’s the Limit
For Yamiche Alcindor and her career in documenting the ins and outs of U.S. politics, the sky truly is the limit. And, although she hasn’t got anything to do with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, she certainly knows how to make it rain.