Danyel Smith

Author of
  • Shine Bright
    One World

Danyel Smith is a New York City-based media creative, television producer, and author. She is currently culture lead—senior producer and editor— at ESPN’s The Undefeated. Prior to ESPN, Danyel was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, where she co-founded HRDCVR, an innovative hardcover culture magazine. In addition to writing for Elle, ESPN The Magazine, NPR, The New Yorker, Condé Nast Media Group, The New York Times, and many other media organizations, Danyel has served as editor of Billboard, editor-at-large at Time, Inc, and as editor-in-chief of VIBE. She is the author of two novels, More Like Wrestling and Bliss. 

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Books by Danyel

Shine Bright

The Soulful and Sequined Store of how Black Women Took over American Pop and Changed Culture Forever

Stacked with original interviews, photos and found imagery, and in-depth reporting, Shine Bright is the interconnected story of Aretha Franklin, Marian Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight, Mahalia Jackson, Tina Turner, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Natalie Cole, Marilyn McCoo, TLC, The Dixie Cups, Anita Baker, Salt-N-Pepa, Sade, Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child, as well as the transcendent triumvirate that is Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. And more.

These are the women who set the stage for white female pop stars from Janis Joplin to Carly Simon to Madonna to Adele. The women of Shine Bright are not only the foundation of American pop, they remain the model. And they have been appropriated from and mimicked with great success since the explosion of recorded music in the 1940s. With all this vibrant history and reporting, plus Danyel’s piercing insights and lyrical prose, SHINE BRIGHT promises to be an essential contribution to the literature of music history.

Written by Danyel Smith, one of the foremost culture writers in the country, Shine Bright is a deeply-reported book in the tradition of Sheila Weller’s Girls Like Us, Paula J. Giddings’ When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America, and Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love.

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