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Defining Blackness

A Conversation with Yaba Blay

Dr. Yaba Blay is an activist, scholar, speaker, and author of “One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race.” Her work focuses on the lived experiences of Black women and girls. In this episode, Chanda and Yaba talk about the complexities of colorism, the history of Blackness, and the politics of race and identity.

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About Our Guest

Yaba Blay

Dr. Yaba Blay is a scholar-activist, public speaker, and cultural consultant whose scholarship, work and practice centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls, with a particular focus on identity/body politics and beauty practices. Lauded by O Magazine for her social media activism, she has launched several viral campaigns including Locs of Love, #PrettyPeriod, and #ProfessionalBlackGirl, her multi-platform digital community.

In 2012, Dr. Blay served as a producer on CNN’s television documentary, “Who is Black in America?,” and has since been named one of today’s leading Black voices by ‘The Root 100’ and Essence Magazine’s ‘Woke 100.’ She has appeared on CNN, BET, MSNBC, BBC, and NPR, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, EBONY, Essence, Fast Company, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Colorlines, and The Root, to name a few. Her commentary is featured in A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond, a permanent installation exhibited in the National Museum of African American History and Culture; and she is the author of the award-winning “One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race.”

Dr. Yaba Blay earned a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in African American Studies (with distinction) and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Temple University. She also holds a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from the University of New mo Orleans. The former Dan Blue Endowed Chair in Political Science at North Carolina Central University, she has also taught on the faculties of Lehigh University, Lafayette College, and Drexel University, where she served as the Director of the Africana Studies program.