Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the harrowing last minutes of George Floyd’s life, was awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize on Friday.
Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin fatally kneeling on Floyd’s neck, was honored with a “special citation" by the Pulitzer Prize committee for “courageously” documenting the tragic incident, according to The Daily Beast.
The teen’s video has since sparked racial justice protests around the world and brought awareness to the “crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice,” the Pulitzer Prize committee expressed.
Ahead of the Pulitzer committee’s announcement this week, former four-time Pulitzer juror Roy Peter Clark joined a community of media pundits who called for the committee to award the teen. He acknowledged that “the material and the creator fall outside the traditional boundaries” of the prizes but the impact of her video has “social and ethical purpose, one that aligns with journalistic values," according to The Washington Post.
DARNELLA FRAIZER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR COURAGE!! pic.twitter.com/HI4zzy1H1H
— Kompa Connoisseur (@mr_fete_) April 20, 2021
As Blavity previously reported, Frazier testified at Chauvin’s trial, where her recording would be regarded as a critical piece of evidence that contradicted the police’s original account and assisted in the former officer being convicted of three criminal charges.
The North Carolina chapter of NAACP issued a statement proclaiming that Frazier’s video "will go down in history.”
"Like the Abraham Zapruder film of the Assassination of President John Kennedy, the traditional police coverup was impossible," the organization’s statement read. "No one, not even many of Chauvin's police colleagues, could argue against Ms. Frazier's film."
However, the teenager doesn’t quite view herself as a hero. Despite the notoriety the recording has brought her, Frazier said she is still recovering mentally from the traumatic event.
“A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one. I was just in the right place at the right time,” she wrote. “Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day. Everyone talks about the girl who recorded George Floyd‘s death, but to actually be her is a different story.”
Following the trial, the teen posted on social media that she wept after learning of the outcome of the verdict.
"I just cried so hard,” she wrote. "I was so anxious, anxiety bussing through the roof. But to know GUILTY ON ALL 3 CHARGES !!! THANK YOU GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.”
For the anniversary of Floyd’s death last month, Frazier took to Facebook to reflect on the event she said has changed her life forever.
“It changed me. It changed how I viewed life. It made me realize how dangerous it is to be Black in America,” she wrote. “We shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around police officers, the same people that are supposed to protect and serve.”
"A lot of people call me a hero even though this was a traumatic life-changing experience for me, I’m proud of myself,” she wrote. “If it weren’t for my video, the world wouldn’t have known the truth. I own that.”