Shea Serrano is a Mexican-American author, journalist, and former teacher. He is best known for his work with the sports and pop culture websites, The Ringer and Grantland, as well as his books, including The Rap Year Book and Basketball (and Other Things), both The New York Times best-sellers. Writing about Serrano for GQ, Chris Gayomali said: "If you were to draw a triple Venn diagram of hoops, trunk bangers, and jokes made at the expense of J. Cole, Grantland writer Shea Serrano would be smack-dab in the center, probably wearing a Tim Duncan jersey." Serrano's activity and humor on Twitter have earned him referrals from GQ and other publications.
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
|Alma mater||Sam Houston State University|
Serrano was born in San Antonio, Texas and grew up in the neighborhood of Valley Hi. He graduated from Sam Houston State University, where he started as a criminal justice major but eventually earned a degree in psychology, he also was in Omega Delta Phi.
After graduating from college, Serrano moved to Houston, where he worked in construction before becoming a middle-school science teacher. He taught 8th grade science at a Title 1 school in Houston for nine years.
Serrano began writing in 2007 as a way to supplement his family's income when his pregnant wife was put on bedrest. After briefly writing for the Near Northwest Banner, Serrano freelanced for the Houston Press. He predominately wrote about hip-hop after noticing that the majority of the writers only wrote about rock music, despite the fact Houston is a cornerstone of southern rap music.
Serrano’s first work that drew national attention was his Houston Press piece on rapper Trae tha Truth's ban from a Houston radio station and the rapper’s subsequent lawsuit against the station. This piece allowed him to earn a place at the Houston Press’ sister publication, the LA Weekly. Serrano continued to earn national attention with his pieces about his children and stories about the songs played at his school dance and birthday party. While there, he wrote a piece describing having sex with his wife while listening to Drake. Grantland writer Molly Lambert saw the piece and passed it to her editors, who then invited Serrano to freelance for them. His first piece was about gift shopping with the rapper 2 Chainz. Serrano was hired full-time in July 2015.
Serrano’s first book, Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book, was published 17 September 2013. The book consists of coloring and activity pages based on popular rappers. The work was a collaboration with Houston rapper Bun B, although Serrano wrote and illustrated the book himself.
Serrano’s second book, The Rap Year Book: The Most Important Rap Song From Every Year Since 1979, Discussed, Debated, and Deconstructed, was published 13 October 2015 by Abrams Image. It soon appeared on The New York Times Best Seller List for the advice, how-to and miscellaneous category as well as the culture category. In March 2016, the book was optioned for a documentary series. In September 2016, the book was listed by Billboard as one of the 100 best music books of all-time.
Serrano's third book Basketball (and Other Things) was published in October 2017. Illustrator Arturo Torres, Serrano's collaborator on The Rap Year Book, also illustrated Basketball (and Other Things). It debuted at number two on The New York Times Best Seller list for the advice, how-to and miscellaneous category. In November 2017, it climbed to number one on The New York Times best-seller list for the sports and fitness category. On 31 December 2017, former U.S. President Barack Obama mentioned Basketball (And Other Things) in a Facebook post describing his favorite books of the year.
Social media and other projectsEdit
Serrano has an ardent following on his active Twitter feed, where "office hours are almost always open. He holds court daily on matters ranging from basketball to Taco Bell to Young Thug to parenting to the injustices of unpaid content creation...Periodically, Serrano will tweet out his email address so that anyone can ask him for advice on making it as a writer." The Verge called the community he created this way a "utopia on Twitter"; GOOD Magazine called him "Our New Favorite Internet Hero."
On 20 March 2016, Serrano announced a weekly newsletter "Basketball (And Other Things)", which comes out every Tuesday, focused on the National Basketball Association. The newsletter features musings from Serrano and illustrations from Torres. The inaugural issue featured NBA players in scenes from popular movies, starting with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in a scene from the 1987 movie Over the Top. Within weeks, the newsletter had reached over 30,000 subscribers. The newsletter is published for free, though Serrano and Torres allowed for donations to be made twice. They used the donations to make contributions to charities, including the Genesis Women's Shelter, Kids' Meals, Operation Turkey and more. In total, they've donated approximately $10,000 via newsletter donations.
Serrano's Twitter feed has also spawned considerable charitable giving. On 21 December 2016, Serrano and his Twitter followers, colloquially termed the FOH ARMY, joined up to give a parking lot attendant who'd helped Serrano find his car at an airport a $3000 tip. They playfully referred to it as the Radelle Christmas Miracle. On 9 March 2017, Serrano and company donated $12,539.87 to Planned Parenthood in recognition of International Women's Day. On 27 March 2017, Serrano mobilized the FOH ARMY again, this time to help one former student fund a trip to Turkey she was hoping to take to help teach children there English. She'd set a $3700 goal for her Go Fund Me page; Serrano and his Twitter followers raised nearly $4,500 in less than an hour. On 17 August 2017, Serrano and the FOH ARMY joined up to fund several teachers' Donors Choose pages to help them start the school year off right, often completing the requested funding in a matter of minutes; two days later, the group contributed over $10,700 to support an LGBTQ youth center in San Antonio, raising the money in less than seven hours. On 31 August 2017, Serrano invited Twitter followers to join him in a "Fuck Hurricane Harvey" round of donations to support Houston relief work, with Serrano putting in $200 to start the effort. Four hours later, the group had contributed more than $90,000; by the end of the night, they had raised more than $130,000. On 8 December 2017, Serrano and the FOH ARMY donated $19,000 to The Children's Shelter in San Antonio.
In addition to the documentary project based on The Rap Year Book, Serrano also has a sitcom in development. In October 2017, ABC Studios ordered a pilot for the show, written by Serrano and produced by Serrano and Michael Schur. The Hollywood Reporter described the project as "a single-camera comedy...based on Serrano's life growing up in a family with five uncles who all have different perspectives on manhood." On Twitter, Serrano wrote that he "got tired of waiting for there to be more mexicans on TV so i asked [Schur] to help me try & make a family sitcom for ABC about them."
Serrano lives in Houston, Texas with his wife, Larami Serrano, their three sons (nicknamed Boy A, Boy B, and the Baby), and their French bulldog Younger Jeezy. Shea and Larami met in college in 2000 and were married in a hospital after Larami was hospitalized the day before their wedding.
- Gayomali, Chris (26 October 2015). "How Grantland's Shea Serrano Became a New York Times Best-Selling Author". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Bustillos, Esteban (30 June 2016). "One-time teacher gets high marks for 'Rap Year Book'". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
- "Omega Delta Phi National Conference 2017". events.eventzilla.net. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
- "Interview: Shea Serrano – Urban Outfitters – Blog". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Gayomali, Chris (26 October 2015). "How Grantland's Shea Serrano Became a New York Times Best-Selling Author". GQ. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
- Serrano, Shea (23 June 2010). "Out of the Box". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Serrano, Shea (19 February 2014). "I Chaperoned a Middle-School Valentine's Day Dance". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Serrano, Shea (5 February 2014). "Here Are the Songs They Play At a Kid's Skating Rink Birthday Party". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Serrano, Shea (6 March 2012). "Drake Was Whispering Encouragement in My Ear While I Was Having Sex". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Shea Serrano – The Ringer". Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books – Best Sellers – October 29, 2017 – The New York Times". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- "Culture Books – Best Sellers – November 15, 2015 – The New York Times". Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- "Shea Serrano's 'The Rap Year Book' Set To Become A Documentary Series". 23 March 2016. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Bustillos, Esteban (19 May 2017). "Growing up with violence, Dallas artist wants to inspire kids to persevere | Visual Arts". Dallas News. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
- "Sports and Fitness Books – Best Sellers – The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- "Barack Obama". www.facebook.com. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
- Tiffany, Kaitlyn (6 July 2016). "The Rap Yearbook author Shea Serrano on building a tiny utopia on Twitter". The Verge. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Crucchiola, Jordan (30 May 2016). "The King Of Twitter: Shea Serrano Is Our New Favorite Internet Hero". GOOD. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Lang, Cady (22 December 2016). "This Woman's Act of Kindness Reportedly Got Her a Surprise $3,000 Tip". Time Magazine. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "Passenger leaves $3K tip for parking attendant at IAH". ABC13 Houston. 23 December 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "Shea Serrano on Twitter". Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "Shea Serrano on Twitter". Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Forrester, Jessica (17 August 2017). "Shea Serrano is the hero we need right now: While We're Waiting". Waiting For Next Year. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Bradshaw, Kelsey (21 August 2017). "S.A.-native Shea Sherrano raises $10k for local homeless LGBTQ youth through Twitter crowdfund". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- Montgomery, Sarah Jasmine (31 August 2017). "Author Of The Rap Yearbook Raises Over $90,000 For Hurricane Harvey Relief". The FADER. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- "How Shea Serrano and his followers raised more than $130,000 in one night for Harvey victims". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
- Serrano, Shea (8 December 2017). "hi -- for the past 3 years The FOH has done a cool xmas thing -- this year was our biggest -- we funded a camp for all of the children at The @Child_Shelter in SA for the 2018 summer". Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- Goldberg, Lesley (20 October 2017). "Mike Schur Developing Family Comedy at ABC (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
- Kiefer, Halle. "Mike Schur Developing a Mexican-American Family Sitcom Pilot with Shea Serrano". Vulture. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
- Shafer, Travis (1 July 2016). "Sportswriter Shea Serrano's unexpected writing career". Peninsula Press. Stanford Journalism. Retrieved 16 August 2017.