Lit Fridays is a literary-focused, virtual salon presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, featuring conversations and guest performances via Facebook Live and Zoom Webinar. All conversations are moderated by AWAACC Literary Curator, Jessica Lanay.
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.
Widely respected as one of the foremost thought leaders on Black racial identity, colorism, and beauty politics, Dr. Blay is a globally sought-after speaker and consultant with an extensive client list of over two dozen academic institutions including Harvard University, Duke University, Spelman College, New York University, to name a few; and such corporate entities as Netflix, UniLever International, SheaMoisture, Estee Lauder Companies, Procter & Gamble’s ‘My Black is Beautiful,’ and the #meToo. Movement.
Dr. Yaba Blay earned a Master of Arts and PhD 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 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.