Cartoonist Ray Billingsley has been portraying Black family life for decades — and now he’s getting his due

Billingsley has just won the Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year. It is the 75th year of the National Cartoonists Society’s peer-voted prize — whose legendary recipients include Charles Schulz, Matt Groening, Rube Goldberg and Roz Chast — but 2021 marks the first time that it has been won by a Black creator, according to comics historians. “This has been a huge step for me, as well as a [huge] step for the NCS,” Billingsley says into the camera, adding: “This has been a very long journey, and I have literally lived my life on a deadline.”

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