Terrell Star

An authority at the intersection of global politics and social justice


Terrell is probably one of the few foreign affairs reporters who compares diplomacy to the narcotics trade. In fact, one of his <span”>most popular columns compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to fictional drug lord Marlo Standfield on the HBO series The Wire. 

That’s Terrell’s approach to foreign affairs news in a nutshell: making things simple and relatable to the everyday listener. His work focuses on U.S. domestic politics, race in the U.S. and abroad, Eastern European affairs, and other foreign policy issues. 

Each week, Terrell delivers documentary-style video reporting about civilian life in war-time Ukraine on his Black Diplomats YouTube channel. For his reported political analysis, you can check out his newsletter, also Black Diplomats

Terrell’s sixteen years in journalism include stints as FUSION’s national political correspondent covering the 2016 presidential campaign. From 2017 to 2021 he served as The Root’s national political correspondent. Among the many notable interview subjects, he interviewed while covering the 2020 presidential race and the 2018 midterm elections include political powerhouses Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Before that, he was a senior reporter at Foxtrot Alpha, a site that focuses on military, technology, and policy. He is also a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine, the Washington Post, Outrider, and O, the Oprah Magazine. 

Terrell was in Kyiv when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in 2022 and his live, on-the-ground video stories for television networks such CNN, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera introduced his unique style of reporting to millions of people around the globe. 

As a Peace Corps volunteer in Georgia from 2003 to 2005, Terrell witnessed the Rose Revolution that peacefully ousted Eduard Shedverdnadze in favor of Mikhail Saakashvillli; he was also a Georgian language student in the capital of Tbilisi in 2008 when Russia invaded the country. Terrell lived in Ukraine as a Fulbright fellow and a freelance journalist from 2009 to 2010, during which time he produced a photojournalism project on the lives of Black Ukrainians. 

Terrell has a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies where his work focused on the EU’s integration of former communist states and a second master’s in Journalism from the University of Illinois. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English at Philander Smith College, a historically Black college in Little Rock, Arkansas.

While he is based in Brooklyn, New York,  Terrell spends much of his time in Ukraine and regularly travels to Central Asia and Western Europe for reporting assignments.