While many were confused by the news of Beyoncé Knowles winning a journalism award for her Essence first-person story “Eat, Play, Love,” the New York Association of Black Journalists defended the selection. But, in an interview with The Root’s Journalisms, chapter president Michael J. Feeney reveals that they “just honored what was passed on” from the submission entries.

Feeney said that entries for the award were judged by members of the board–presumably being checked under the highest journalistic standards. The Beyoncé piece about her nine-month hiatus from work, specifically, was looked over by the Dallas chapter who were assured by Essence that it was written by the “Freakum Dress” songstress. While many are still skeptical of the piece’s authenticity and if it was even worth winning out of all the other submissions, Feeney noted that 40 other journalists will be honored as well. “As far as I am concerned, Beyoncé won fair and square,” Feeney said by telephone. “The current board is going to be looking at the criteria for next year….We’ve heard the complaints loud and clear.”

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