Farai Chideya (/fəˈraɪ tʃᵻˈdeɪ.ə/; born July 27, 1969, Baltimore, Maryland, United States) is an African American novelist, multimedia journalist, and radio host. She produced and hosted Pop and Politics with Farai Chideya, a series of radio specials on politics for 15 years. She currently produces and hosts “One with Farai,” a podcast for Public Radio International (PRI), in which she interviews distinguished individuals with a range of stories and opinions. Some of the guests Chideya has interviewed include Melissa Harris-Perry, Urvashi Vaid, and Alec Ross.
Additionally, since 2012 Chideya has held the position of distinguished writer in residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, where she teaches courses in radio production and media economics.
Chideya was a member of the improv comedy troupe The Immediate Gratification Players. In 2000, she was distinguished as the most honored alumna from Harvard. Her academic life includes being a professional in residence at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting professor at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California in addition to her current position as distinguished writer in residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.
Chideya is also the founder and president of one of the earliest pop culture blogs in the US, PopandPolitics.com. During the 15 years of its existence, PopandPolitics.com has been a training ground for young arts and culture journalists. In addition to her radio, video and online journalism, Chideya appears as a political analyst on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News, Fox News, BET and HBO. She began working as a senior writer for the blog FiveThirtyEight in 2015 covering issues including the 2016 presidential election.
In May 2009, Atria Books published Chideya’s first novel, Kiss the Sky, which details the life of a black female rock musician making a career comeback in New York. The book takes place just months before 9/11 and is rooted in the ethos of the Black Rock movement and the New York club scene. Chideya is also part of The Finish Party writing group, and is the author of three non-fiction books about race and politics: Don’t Believe the Hype, The Color of Our Future and Trust: Reaching the 100 Million Missing Voters.
Prior to 2009, Chideya was the host of the National Public Radio radio program News & Notes. Before that, she hosted “Your Call,” a daily radio call-in show on San Francisco, California’s KALW public radio. She got her start in journalism working for Newsweek magazine, MTV News, the Oxygen Network and the non-profit community news website, TheBeehive.org. She has subsequently written pieces for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Syndicate, The Chicago Tribune Syndicate, The American Prospect Online, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vibe Magazine, Spin Magazine and Glamour.
Chideya is the recipient of a Foreign Press Center fellowship that took her to Japan in 2002, a Knight Foundation fellowship based at Stanford University in 2001 and a Freedom Forum Media Studies Center fellowship in 1996.
She has won various awards for her work: a special award from the Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for AIDS reporting in 2008; an Enterprise reporting award from the National Association of Black Journalists for a piece on Skid Row in 2007; a North Star Award for covering communities of color in 2006; a distinguished honoree award from the Black Entertainment and Telecommunications Association in 2004; a MOBE IT Innovator Award and an Alternet New Media Hero award for PopandPolitics.com in 2001; New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens for The Color of Our Future in 2000; a WIN Young Women of Achievement Award in 1996; a GLAAD Award from Spin Magazine in 1995; and a National Education Reporting Award and an EdPress award for education reporting done for Newsweek in 1994.
Her speeches on civic engagement, electoral politics, digital media, hip-hop, race and politics have taken her around the world—from India to South Africa to Alaska. Syracuse University, the University of Southern California, the California African-American Museum in Los Angeles, M.I.T., the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, the University of Chicago, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, Louisiana State University, De Anza Community College, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Chicago State University, Harvard University and Smith College are just some of the places she has spoken.
Image Created by Rita Molnár 2000. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons