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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,940
Location: Long Island, New York

16 May 2021, 3:27 am

Michele Pinczuk, writer, filmmaker and U-Md. hip-hop DJ, dies at 27

Michele Pinczuk, who channeled her struggles with autism and a chronic inflammatory disorder into various creative outlets as a writer, filmmaker and college-station hip-hop DJ, died May 1 at a hospice facility in Derwood, Md. She was 27.

She had complications from eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease, a rare malady that attacks the digestive system.
Ms. Pinczuk (pronounced Pin-chuck), who was diagnosed with autism in elementary school, also had a range of social anxiety disorders that limited her ability to learn in standard classroom settings.

“I was misdiagnosed at an early age with other mental illnesses because I didn’t fit into any particular box,” she wrote in a 2019 essay for

“I see, hear, and feel the world differently than most other people,” she added, “and to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

When she left school after the fourth grade, she was functionally illiterate. She was home-schooled for eight years, with visits to special-education teachers, one of whom taught her to read and write when she was 11. Within two years, she was a published writer and a budding filmmaker.

Ms. Pinczuk was 14 when she made a four-minute documentary, “L’Chaim Israel,” which contains images of Jewish tragedy and triumph and interviews with Holocaust survivors — including her grandfather. The film won a best new filmmaker award at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival and was shown at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, making Ms. Pinczuk one of the youngest directors ever selected for the prestigious international festival in France. She went to Cannes with help from the Make-A-Wish foundation.

She later made another documentary about teenagers and the idea of freedom.

In the meantime, Ms. Pinczuk became one of the youngest contributors to the New York Times Book Review, after asking the editor why children’s books were reviewed by adults and not by children.

At 14, she wrote a young-adult novel, “Sparkle,” about a girl named Diamond who had a life-threatening disease and struggled with some of the same social issues, including bullying, faced by Ms. Pinczuk. The book included a foreword by rap artist Big Sean, and the two of them — accompanied by their mothers — toured schools together.

Borrowing a name associated with the late hip-hop performer Tupac Shakur, Ms. Pinczuk published the novel as Michele Amira, a pseudonym she often used. She had considerable knowledge of hip-hop music and, after enrolling at the University of Maryland in 2010, hosted a hip-hop show, “The Mecca,” on the university’s student-run station, WMUC-FM, for more than four years.

Ms. Pinczuk went through her childhood with frequent stomach pain and was unable to digest many foods. She was 13 when doctors diagnosed her gastrointestinal disease, which causes inflammation in the digestive tract. She also had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the skin, blood vessels and other connective tissues.

Throughout her life, Ms. Pinczuk hospitalized more than 50 times, sometimes for as long as three months at a stretch. Because it was difficult for her to eat solid food, she received sustenance intravenously or through a feeding tube in her nose.

Ms. Pinczuk was particularly drawn to the story of Anne Frank

In 2010, after writing an essay called “Trapped in the Attic,” Ms. Pinczuk received the Spirit of Anne Frank Award from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


Joined: 11 Aug 2015
Posts: 5,775

16 May 2021, 10:03 am

Thanks for posting. I did not know about this person before. Very impressive.

A finger in every pie.