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Casey Gerald’s Master Class on Profile Writing and Erykah Badu

Listen to this podcast we did with Casey and learn why, before he met Leon Bridges, he bought a shirt that cost a month's rent.
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Casey says that when he approaches an assignment, he's "accountable to dead people." Photo by Hallo Smith

Casey Gerald grew up in South Oak Cliff, went to SOC, then to Yale, and earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School. This is the top-line from a full life, which he detailed in his 2018 memoir, There Will Be No Miracles Here. The book made it onto end-of-year lists curated by everyone from NPR and the New York Times to PBS Newshour and the American Library Association. Here’s how the Times summed it all up.

He met us at the Old Monk last week because his name is on the cover of our January issue. Casey wrote the cover story about Erykah Badu, and that’s all I really should share, to avoid spoiling the story for you. It won’t be online until later this month, and you really should read it in print. (Subscribe here!) I don’t even want to spoil this podcast, except to say that it is one of the most interesting we’ve ever recorded. That being said, you’ll need some reference points, and I have a lot of links to stuff we talked about. Those and the podcast you’ll find below. You can also use your favorite podcatcher to subscribe to EarBurner.

  • “The Black Art of Escape” is Casey’s 2019 essay in New York Magazine. Read it here.
  • “The Elusive Erykah Badu” is Zac Crain’s 2017 profile of Erykah, which ran in D. Read it here.
  • “Peak Badu” is the shorter piece that New York Magazine ran; the January D cover story is mostly what did not run. Read NYM’s story here.
  • Robert Caro has spent much of his life chronicling former President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Here are all of those books.
  • “Texas Son” is Casey’s 2021 profile of Leon Bridges. Read it here.
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem is Joan Didion’s collection of essays, mostly focused on her time in California. Here is an essay about her response to watching a 4-year-old drop acid.
  • Here’s a short bit about the writer Grover Lewis’ quest to find Lightnin’ Hopkins in Houston’s Third Ward, which ran in the Village Voice in 1968.
  • Here is a selection of the work of the late photographer Richard “Dick” Avedon.
  • If you, too, would like to purchase an article of clothing from the luxury brand BODE, you can do so here.


Matt Goodman

Matt Goodman

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Matt Goodman is the online editorial director for D Magazine. He's written about a surgeon who killed, a man who…

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