Erin Aubry Kaplan

Writer / Journalist


Erin Aubry Kaplan is a Los Angeles journalist and columnist who has written about African-American political, economic and cultural issues since 1992. She is currently a contributing editor to the op-ed section of the Los Angeles Times, and from 2005 to 2007 was a weekly op-ed columnist – the first black weekly op-ed columnist in the paper’s history. She has been a staff writer and columnist for the LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles. She is a regular contributor for many publications, including, Essence, Black Enterprise, BlackAmericaWeb, Ms. and the Independent. She is also a regular columnist for make/shift, a quarterly, cutting-edge feminist magazine that launched in 2007.


As a journalist, Erin’s passion has always been injecting the personal in features, commentary, criticism and essays. One of her most-remembered pieces is “The Butt,” an essay for the LA Weekly that pondered the many social and psychological ramifications of having the pronounced backside typical of black women ( Erin was the body model for the photos that ran with the story. She thought she would go unrecognized; she did not). Another Weekly piece, “Blue Like Me,” explored the modern connections between her own long battle with depression, family history and the still-distressing state of the race. That piece won the PEN USA 2001 award for journalism.


As a columnist and commentator, Erin has developed a voice that is at once personal and communal, assertive but always questioning and open to discussion. The bimonthly column she wrote for the Weekly, “Cakewalk,” preceded her stint at the Times. Though it was at the Times where she garnered the most attention, it was “Cakewalk” that reflected her full range of instincts as a writer and thinker.


Erin’s essays have been anthologized is several books, including “Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood” (Villard, Washington Square Press), “Step Into A World” (Wiley & Sons) and “Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood” (Doubleday). The last book’s contributors include Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks and Alice Walker, and won an American Book Award in 2004.


Erin was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in Inglewood. She is married (yes, to a Jewish man—no, she’s not biracial) and has two rescue dogs, Toby and Maude.


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