Bomani Jones in Playboy:
When did you realize you had become somebody?
When I came to The Atlantic I’d been writing for 12 years. The Atlantic is seen as this arbiter of sophisticated ideas, well ensconced in the mainstream consensus, and then they bring in this dude. I wasn’t making the case for reparations back then, but I was saying that sort of shit. I could see the reaction, and it built a little bit, and then when “The Case for Reparations” came out—holy shit. But even then it was like, “This is one story, and I’ll go back to my life.” I thought Between the World and Me would hit people who read shit. When we did BookExpo America, the book-trade joint, there was a line of people to get the galleys. I was like, “What the fuck?” And I knew it was some shit when somebody said to me on Twitter, “Oh, you’ve got to be a celebrity to get this book?” [laughs] Who the fuck wants a galley? And then when you’ve gotten love from Toni Morrison—it still didn’t hit me. When I started seeing the reaction to it I thought, Oh, this is different.